My continued journey in the stunning PO

by Caroline Postlethwaite

Following on from ‘Life in France, Finding my Path, the Inner me & the Life Force Within’

Well what a LOVELY day. It’s early April & as warm as an English summer & sunny, still & blue, blue sky. Everywhere I turn on my Fluff (our dog) walk there are beautiful wild flowers. It is my absolute favourite time of year in the PO. I have ordered some books on the Internet to help me identify them but I’ve not being that successful yet, as many flowers I see, just don’t seem to be listed. I love the idea though of picking myself a salad from the wild. Dandelion leaves for example. James returns daily with his wild asparagus harvest.

I found the this site quite inspiring. Next year we plan to pick more wild herbs & dry them or turn them into tinctures & creams. We will then only be renting out our villa in La Vallee Heureuse & managing a villa in Villelongue so will have much more time to do these things.

Last year I suddenly got an urge to pick a mass of Elderberry flower heads to turn into herb tea. There was an area in Taxo, Argeles, with tree after tree, so I collected them with great ease (apart from the fact that it had rained heavily & my feet got stuck in mud!) Mud is normally a rarity here isn’t it?

I proudly laid out my find on kitchen towel to dry & when dry put them in a glass jar. They have been wonderful medicine for the winter cold & flus that we all had. (Be careful though to use only the flower heads as the leaves & branches can be poisonous). There is something so special about collecting preparing & drinking ones own tea! Now that it may become impossible to buy herb tea in the shops anymore, this way may become the only way we have to access herbs. Big drug companies are trying to muscle out herbs. Find out more here & please sign the petition if you want to be able to keep buying herbs

At the moment I’m growing seeds in my seed grower. These are wonderful easy ways to grow herbs. I bought mine in the health food shop in Le Boulou( near Intermarché). I love the peppery taste in salads of my spouts. I grow mustard, radish & alfafa, which are all very easy to grow.

This week I have been through my kitchen cupboards, as I often seem to get plagued by the horrible little weevils in my flour & dried foods in the summer. As a consequence I have to throw out a lot of food. I am determined this spring to prevent them where at all possible. Most of the food I buy is organic so this is one of the consequences. Do you get them too?

This is what you can do to prevent them:

Carefully clean out kitchen cupboards, turning out old out of date food.
Place bay leaves everywhere near your food. Moths hate the smell.
Freeze any newly bought dried food for 4 days (this kills any possible eggs present)
Put everything dried into glass jars
Store as much as possible in the fridge
They especially love food you don’t use much so be extra careful with this.

Whilst on the subject of organic I have found myself feeling quite disturbed by seeing those dead brown patches between the vines. It hurts my heart. I know I cannot control every farmer’s use of herbicides but I just want the whole world to be Organic & it isn’t!! People say to me things like “well not everyone can afford organic”, but my experience is different. I go to Argeles Market & stock up on organic veggies for the same price as anyone else’s veggies. The stall is just off the main market (to the right if you are walking towards the river) which leads to a small square. It has a good selection of seasonal veggies & fruit. The friendly stallholder often gives me a free little extra, which is a nice touch too. It has become quite popular so he can run out of things though.

There are also many stalls now in Ceret market. Some are pricey here, but there is one lady on the right just before the bend who is very reasonable. Walk with the Pablo on your left & she is on the right usually just before the bend. She seems to have a mass of grown up children helping her (at least I think they are her children!) She is based in Reynes.

Organic meat is expensive. It kind of has to be to keep the animals in good conditions. The way I get round this is we eat less. Auchan has a very good selection of organic meat, though it’s hiding in many different areas in the meat section, so it takes some finding. I know we can just turn a blind eye, but is that right? We may not SEE the animals suffering but they still are. Compassion in world farming   are doing a wonderful job but there is a long way to go. We can all do our bit to help by buying Organic or at least free range. Look out for AB stickers.

I suppose I’m getting a bit preachy now aren’t I?  Since my last article I’m carrying on my journey of spirituality. I really want us all to join together & make the world a better place but  I also realise the only way  is to walk the talk so to speak.

My son now 16 years old has to get up at 6 am, which for me is much too early, though it’s easier now it’s warmer & gets light earlier. Unless we are on the ball he falls back to sleep! James has taken to getting up quickly & doing yoga. I on the other hand have began to open my window & lie in bed with the covers on (it’s still a bit cold first thing with the window open but beautifully fresh). I tune into the sounds from outside in a sort of meditation. Luckily being on the outskirts of Sorede it is very quiet. Outside my window in the distance are the Alberes Mountains. As I listen I hear the cuckoo far away, the cockerels also in the distance & then closer a wood pigeon & then closer still in the oak trees just outside, magical high pitched bird twitters. All these years I’ve lived here & hardly noticed all this just outside my window. What was I missing in my busy life schedule?

Yesterday after clearing my kitchen cupboards I sat outside drank my tea & then lay back & looked up at the blue sky. I saw the clouds with their whispy sides, then I saw a plane with its plume of smoke gently dispersing behind it. Then before long another plane. I never realised how many planes flew above me. This morning in my meditation the plane had a beautiful orange glow from the reflection of the early morning sun. It’s also true that the dustbin men were doing their rounds & that was not such a pleasant sound! The familiar roar of their truck. I reminded myself that my dustbin did need emptying, but I must admit it did disturb my bird enjoying peace somewhat! All this has come about because of reading ‘The power of now.’ I am so eternally grateful to Tolle for writing it for me!

I feel so lucky to be able to be able to follow my inner voice & see where it takes me.

This week James assigned me to gardening in our house in La Valee Heureuse. I knew I needed to help him out a bit, but wasn’t that keen on loads of weeding. I went up rather reluctantly  & started. I felt a real resistance inside me & after about half an hour gave up saying I was no good at weeding. It needed precision & I was not a precise sort of person, plus the weeds were beautiful so why was I pulling them out anyway!! James reminded me very logically they would soon get out of control if I left them.

Later I mulled it over, looked at my resistance & thought about what I could do, as James did not want to let me off the hook that easily. Right I had a plan, I’ll buy some plants so that I’m not weeding only to produce brown patches of earth & that will give me an incentive to weed.( James is always worried about ideas like this as it means I’m spending money!) I’ll bring some music up to help too, I thought.

The next day I set off to buy some plants. All were easy to maintain, cheap & many were herbs. The next day I went up to weed & plant. With yoga meditative chant music blaring & the sun shining my attitude was amazing. I loved every minute of it & did far more than I ever expected. Being right on the river the music & gushing water sounds were exhilarating & inspirational. It wasn’t long before I’d produced a herb garden around the Ginko tree as well as much more. I really saw how by consciously changing my attitude & lining up with what helped me, changed the whole process from negativity to total joy.

The end of April I was hit by a big challenge in my relationship with James. It was very painful at times, but I managed never the less to keep my heart open, remain loving & refrain from be at all nasty( I certainly haven’t done that in the past). Though I can’t say I got that back at first, eventually James’s anger & blame shifted & we moved to a much more connected place together.

For me it was a lesson in the power of true love, unconditional love. Loving someone however he or she is or what ever he or she may say. Before I knew it intellectually, but now I understand it more deeply. Knowing that inside me & inside us all is a truth we often disconnect from, but never the less it is still there. Knowing that when someone talks from the conditioned part of themselves it is not who they truly are & yet paradoxically it is part of who they are on an outer level so we need to accept it & love it until hopefully they can connect to who they really are deep inside.

This process needs to start with ourselves so that we see what is the true us & what is in us that comes from learned thoughts & behaviours so we can let go of the parts that are not helpful to us in this moment. These outer parts of us are often negative thoughts & habits that pull us down especially if we had a lot of difficulties growing up.

The inner voice is one of knowing & is inspirational in bringing us towards the light. It is filled with light & love. Yet we need to love all parts of ourselves (good & bad) whilst getting in touch with what parts are truly us & going that way, following that path. I feel I have truly done this now. I’m not saying I’m always at that place, but I have been sometimes & I aim to be there more & more by getting in touch with the essence of me & the universe inside me. At the same time touching that place in others.

I now see it as dark & light. When I’m filled with blame, fear, anger, hurt, resistance etc this is darkness. I know I need to accept this is where I am, but also I recognise that I need to allow it to transform to light by shining light on it. I do this by reading ‘The Power of Now’. Meditating & getting in touch with what’s happening inside me to transform it, breathing & walking in nature. Whilst feeling negative I can be quite resistant to the idea of shining light on my darkness, but after I have, I know I always feel so much better that I do guide myself this way with the part of me that can see the darkness from a little distance. I also do my best not to speak to others when darkness is in me as what emerges from me won’t be helpful.

In the past I became quite identified with the dark part of me but now I no longer want this victim mentality. I see I have a choice. I keep moving to the light & following my inner voice.

I have a couple of wonderful friends here in the PO who are on a similar path to me & we share openness, joy & willingness to learn from each other & ourselves. It is for me a female bond of such amazing proportions that it is something I cannot put even into words. I see that by truly being able to look deeply & lovingly at others & ourselves means that really great things can be accomplished in releasing negativity & being the best of who we can be. Our journeys together are powercharged & I feel better now that I have in the whole of the rest of my life. The feeling of connection is awesome. Sometimes I feel my whole chest is opening right up as I connect to the oneness in our togetherness. It feels deeply healing. I see now that true openness & honesty are nothing to be afraid of. It is a great place to be. All we need to do is have the courage to open our hearts, look, admit & love.

In the last few days after having watched a great film about the laws of the universe ‘The Secret,’I stumbled across Dr Hew Len. He believes that the following phrases can really help a deep cleansing process inside us. He claims to have cured a whole mental hospital ward by working on himself. At least it was not exactly him, he worked on himself by looking at his reactionto  the names of the prisoners saying the phrases below & noticing the feelings that came up & he believes ‘The divine’ then cured them. He never even met them.

I love you,

I’m sorry,

Forgive me,

Thank you.

See more here.

Lots of light & love to you all. Please contact me if you need more information or for any reason!

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