Hello little sleepy St-Paul-de-Vence. Beneath your car-free cobble stone streets, green facades, and chirpy birds I can sense a a vibrant energy bubbling under. I wonder if I drank from that fountain and stayed here, would I morph into an artist? While it must be terribly hot in the summer and dark and windy in the winter, right now it is just right. Ice cream weather and a splendid day for sketching the beginnings of a masterpiece. Many people come to stay for a while, but Chagall never left. I can understand why.(St-Paul-de-Vence, France; May 2016)
There is a reason for why the French Riviera is also called the Côte d’Azur, or the Azure Coast. And there is a reason for why so many late 20th century painters like Renoir, Picasso, Chagall, Matisse, Monet, and even Norwegian Munch, all stayed there – or moved there. I wish they would have had the delight of seeing the azure waters from the air.
I am not a painter, simply someone in dire need of a brain break and some girly time with a dear friend. A walk along the Antibes wall will do.
As I walked along the windy coast, I could not help but wonder how easy it is to be petty-minded and swirl down the vortex of “oh no, I missed that deadline” and “oh no, I still have not replied to X or done Y, what will they think of me?”. In the end this is all egoistic thinking: the company does not fall if I miss a deadline or don’t send an email. Nobody probably gets into trouble if I don’t complete a task in time. The company and most of my colleagues don’t really care about me in their daily lives. Sure it is great to have me around, and hopefully my leadership and productivity is beneficial, but should I leave (or die) nobody would miss me longer than for a week. At work, nobody is indispensable and nothing is really about me even if I’d like to think othewise.
Because our lives are usually all about “me, me, me”, we corner ourselves with expectations and are usually our own worst critics. The lunacy is only revealed once we step back (and take a brain break for example on the French Riviera).
With all the headspace and air around me I could not help but think of the Japanese proverb: “nothing in life is as important as gardening – and even that is not important.”
(Antibes / Juan-les-Pins, France; May 2016)