After Paris, I did a workaway, in Brittany, (west france) on an old farm called La Gree Suzanne. The nearest village is a 15-minute bike ride down the road called Erce-en-Lamee.
First, I arrived in Rennes, the nearest city, where I awaited my host, Stephane. I had a look around a local park while waiting.
I also read the passage below from the book I’m currently reading, Crazy Wisdom.
The teaching of the non-existence of self and phenomena is a foundation in Buddhism. It has popped up again in my readings and was in the backdrop of my experience at La Gree Suzanne.
The property is serene. The view of the surrounding country is vast and open.
In the house is Stephane and Dominque, my workaway hosts, Eloan, Noa, and Mayleine, their visiting grandkids, David, a fellow workawayer (Swiss), and Cecile, a girl that is camping out in Stephane’s yard through a French website that allows for shorter communtes to work by connecting you with a host who you can stay with during the work week (gamping.fr). Later came Elynn, Eway, and Vivian, 3 fellow workawayers (Malaysian), Leo and Lucy, 2 more grandkids, and Lily and Christine, Dominque’s sister and niece. It was a full house to say the least.
I am just amazed when I meet these maha-hosts like Stephane who embrace community living and live by this idea of the more people, the merrier. He is an accommodating, generous host and is full of knowledge concerning gardening and DIY projects around the house, as well as life wisdom.
One of the first things he told me in the car ride home, in response to my question about what projects he had lined up, was something along the lines of, “The primary objective is to live together in peace.” In all my interactions with him, I could always see that, the function of the work, always took a back seat to the interaction and communication that took place before and during the work. Such an inspiring example of goodwill and patience.
Sometimes, Stephane would show animated films on projector from directors like Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki. I love animations like this, where the story plot has a good message behind it and there is space built into the story to simply observe the climate of the plot.
One day, Cecile and I took a bike ride to Erce-en-Lamee.
The food has been amazing! Dominque is an amazing cook. I love that the French end their meals with bread and cheese.
Many of my days were spent working in the garden.
The sunsets are late, so we get light until around 10pm. On a few occasions, we’ve had campfires and I’ve been able to do a few fire shows. On one special occasion, we burned loads of juniper. Juniper is used in Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies and special occasions to call down “Drala”, auspicious uplifted elemental energy that rides down from above on juniper’s smoke. I found the occasion of having juniper as primary burning fuel at one of the fires to be incredibly fortuitous.
One of the greatest delights of being here has been to play with the kids. Its great to reconnect with play.
I leave here with a renewed perspective of what it means to be; enamored, grateful, and conceptually bewildered with the inner workings of reality… groundless.