I am writing to you on a solitary Christmas Eve in the darkness of the night. It’s been a while since I have had true solitude. Thomas is spending a couple of days with family on the other side of France, and I’m here enjoying the stillness of Lescure, contemplating the year gone by.
The world seems to be traveling through the dark, spinning in flames and chaos, so more than ever I’m looking for beauty, hope and light. I was determined to feel energized and find connection in 2023. And it’s been glorious.
Of course, some of the year still unfolded in confusion and frustration as Thomas and I were pondering what’s next for the two of us and for Lescure. There were many days of waking up, feeling slightly anxious or a little unsettled. Thinking the drought can’t possibly go on another year, only for it to do so. But we just rolled up our sleeves every morning, put a smile on our faces, and got to work.
After years of fighting bee predators like the varroa mite and the Asian hornet, Thomas has been close to giving up on bees on many occasions, ready to get over a romanticized idea of barefoot beekeeping. But he continued to study bee math and he’s ending 2023 with thriving hives. We harvested honey twice (almost 25 kilos in total) and it tastes delicious.
For the first time in two years, despite the lack of rain in summer, the trees in the orchard carried apples and pears again, so we have cider in the making once more. And our newly planted fruit trees are finally starting to grow. The romantic in me finds this especially comforting and meaningful. We are keepers of the flame! Through our cider orchard we are part of this estate’s rich tapestry, we are a link to both past and future.
We also got around to building the outdoor kitchen in the bakehouse and made great progress on the aviary. Inside the château we’ve painted several rooms with home-made natural pigment paint, which has added beautiful texture to the walls. Finally, we have also started thinking more boldly about landscaping the grounds of the estate.
THE DEPTHS OF INTUITION
On the coaching side, Thomas embarked on a new path in his journey from head to heart. He discovered Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), and he experiences firsthand how having healing conversations with our inner parts transforms lives. He is now an IFS practitioner with a growing client base. I trained to be Soul Collage® facilitator, using intuitive collage to explore aspects of the self that are hidden from our conscious awareness. This reinforces what we have been doing here for years: forest bathing, wabi-sabi, breath work… And it all came together in our first private IFS-retreat. Thank you beautiful souls for giving us your trust!
I sit here considering the way I want to travel through the new year, knowing that I prefer going down a path of possibilities, wonder and hope. Besides, you don’t get into restoring a French estate if you don’t have hope. Through centuries of human upheaval, Domaine Lescure remains. I hope that the château’s wise old soul will continue to help hearts grow for years to come.
While Thomas and I continue to work on building soul-lifting experiences in this insanely beautiful place, I wish you all a peaceful 2024. And love, always love.