I'm a Franco-American woman living in Lyon, France with my French partner and two European cats. I teach English as a Foreign Language, and spend most of my time biking around town, going to the organic farmer's market, reading, rock climbing and traveling around Europe whenever I can - all the while trying to deepen my daily mindfulness practice in order to enjoy as many moments in France as I possibly can.
Feel free to contact me directly at thismomentinfrance(at)gmail(dot)com
Mindfulness for me is the practice of becoming fully conscious and aware of the present moment, by focusing on my breath and coming back to myself over and over again when I find my mind wandering (which is often!).
I first learned about mindfulness during a college course on Buddhism many years ago, and I’ve been meditating regularly for about 5 years. I don't consider myself a Buddhist - at least not in the religious sense. I just try to cultivate mindfulness in my everyday life, which helps me to live more joyfully.But it’s surprisingly hard work, and does indeed take a lot of practice.
Up until last year, this was a largely solitary (and not entirely successful) endeavor, save for the occasional retreat or meditation session with friends.
Then I decided to ring in 2009 with a New Year’s Eve retreat at PlumVillage, a meditation center in France founded by Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master Thich Nhat Hahn.Not only did I find my spiritual home, I also discovered what it meant to be part of a sangha (community of practice).During my week among the joyous monks and nuns of PlumVillage I learned what it meant to live mindfully during each moment of the day - not just on the meditation cushion.
I also learned that I don’t have to go it alone.When I returned to Lyon I was fortunate to find a sangha that practices in the tradition of PlumVillage, and I now spend every other Tuesday evening cultivating mindfulness with a wonderful group of people who teach me more than I ever expected.
This blog is an effort to further strengthen my practice by writing about what I am learning in order to make sense of it all, and to remind myself to appreciate all that this beautiful country has to offer despite the challenges I face as an American expat living in France.