Money can buy Happiness

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Do you hate Mondays?

Or maybe my question should have been, “Who doesn’t hate Mondays?”  Apparently there are a small number of people who actually do NOT hate Mondays.

Really?

We work to earn money to pay for and buy the things that we need. Money pays our rent, our mortgage, our insurance, our loans. With money, we can buy clothes, groceries, cars, services etc.

To earn money we have to work even though many of us dislike or hate our jobs. Some of us feel entirely indifferent towards our jobs. We get through Monday to Friday on automatic pilot and only really come alive during the weekend.

We have all been told and most of us firmly believe that money can not buy happiness.

It turns out that this is not true. Money CAN buy happiness:

If we were wrong about money and happiness, maybe we are also wrong about having to work despite hating our jobs?

Some people jump out of bed every Monday morning. I do. I love my job. I didn’ t always feel this way about work. I use to have a very stressful job and it took several cups of strong black coffee to get me out of bed, not only on Mondays, but on most days.

Somewhere along the line, I decided that life was too short, that I did not want to live my life this way anymore. Now, when I am working, I lose track of time. An hour feels like 5 minutes to me. What I do looks easy and effortless because it makes best use of my talents, training and experience. I love equine-assisted experiential learning specifically and personal development in general so much, that I could talk about it the whole day long. My work is a source of intense joy and it gives meaning to my life. I believe in what I do. I feel like I’m making a difference and I do it with all my heart, mind and soul.

Getting here has not been easy, I had to make several painful sacrifices. I was worth it though, a thousand times over.

How about you? Do you also feel that life is too short to spend 5 out of 7 days feeling miserable because your too stressful job does not inspire you?

Secure Your Future ebookIf so, I can help. Come and spend a few days with us here in the south of France. Or read my book, Secure Your Future.

I would like to hear from you. If you could do any sort of job at all, if you were free to choose a job that you loved, what would you choose? Please get in touch at margrethamontagu@gmail.com  or post a comment below. I am seriously interested in your choice!

If you know other women who might benefit from reading this blog post and watching these TED-talks, please share this post with them. If you would like to get a summary each month of the best posts on my blog, please subscribe to my Mpower Me e-magazine and mailing list (see top right corner of this page.)

Winter in the south of France

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Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in the south of France?

By the end of January, winter is well underway and a large number of people are starting to feel overworked and underpaid and thoroughly fed up with winter.

Living in the south of France has not been as easy or as enjoyable as it usually is either. When you think of the south of France, you probably think of endless sun-blessed days, sun loungers round the pool and long ice-cold drinks. For nine months of the year, that would be just about it.

The other three months are bitter. We live way in the south of France, in the foothills of the Pyrenées mountains, 90 minutes from the Spanish border. Since the beginning of January it has been snowing on said mountains and although we have not had any snow here yet, temperatures have been abysmally low. Maximum temperatures. Some days the maximum temperature barely reached 0°C (32°F). The sun shone brightly but it was freezing cold.

If we didn’t have the horses, I would probably have climbed in bed and hibernated until spring. No such luck, sadly. We have been out and about in this miserable weather and ever-deepening mud every single day, wearing at least six layers each, mucking out, lugging around bales of hay and straw,  breaking the ice on top of the water in the drinking troughs, repairing fences, feeding grain and so on and so forth…and I have to tell you, we are thoroughly fed up with it!

If you are also feeling overworked and overwhelmed, read on, because I have got an idea that may get us all in one piece to the end of February, maybe even midway into March. Read on …

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A Cure for Writer’s Block

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When I started writing, I often got stuck. I surfed the net and eventually found a Youtube video that changed my approach to writing completely. I never got stuck again.

Paulo Coelho explains in this video how walking the Camino de Santiago inspired him to start writing.  He wrote his first book, the Pilgrimage, after he walked the Camino. Thousands of pilgrims walk the Camino de Santiago to Spain every year and pilgrims have walked this route for at least a thousand years.

It just so happens that the Camino runs nearly past my back door and is thus easily accessible whenever writer’s block strikes. Thousands of pilgrims walk the Camino de Santiago to Spain every year and pilgrims have walked this route for at least a thousand years. Walking the Camino is, more often than not, a life-changing experience. It can certainly inspire writers, just as it did Coelho as well as a host of other authors.

Today, few people can take off several weeks to walk to Camino from beginning to end. Luckily this is not essential – just walking the Camino for a day or even for an afternoon, nourishes my creative spirit, so much so that I felt the need to share the experience with other writers. Many of our mindfulness and meditation workshop participants have told us that the day they walked the Camino was the highlight of their holiday. With this in mind,  my husband and I sat down and worked out how we could best go about this. We decided on a weekend break, an introduction to the Camino de Santiago (St James’ Way/St Jacques de Compostelle) Pilgrim’s Route, as a walking and wine tasting holiday.

Read more…

Saturday Photo from the south of France

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“When your footsteps and thoughts carry you down the same path your heart and soul are directing you, you will know without a doubt that you are headed in the right direction.” Molly Friedenfeld

As for me, I think I will continue to follow in the footsteps of the two above. I took this photo on Monday, the 19th, my birthday. It was a wonderfully sunny winters day and we had lunch at a restaurant right on the beach, at Arcachon, just south of Bordeaux. A day to remember!

It is Christmas Eve. I would like to leave you with a quote that complements the season’s mood and meaning: “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” Henry David Thoreau

As well as a lasting gift that might re-direct your path:

You ARE Good Enough free e-book

Click on the picture to claim your free e-book

A very Joyeux Noel to you all
from the not-so-sunny south of France!

Prompt for this week’s photo challenge: “Path.”

Christmas Lunch in the south of France

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While snow has been falling for several months in certain parts of the northern hemisphere, here in the south of France we are still tenaciously hanging on to the last sunny days of autumn. We shall soon have to face the fact that although the sun still shines bravely and brightly every day, the ancient oak trees have now nearly lost all their leaves and the nights are long and very cold. As we speed towards the shortest day of the year, and towards Christmas in its wake, we already project our minds towards those early spring days that are but three months away…

But wait, what about winter? Is there no winter season in the south of France? Of course there is, and it is breathtakingly beautiful in its own right. Last Tuesday morning, I got up early to feed the horses because I was going to attend a Christmas Lunch at the Pigeonneau restaurant down the road, in the happy company of 49 other women, all members of the Ladies Lunch Club of Armagnac. Jack Frost arrived uninvited during the night and evidence of his passing lay thick and white on the fields. The sun was just slipping over the horizon, tinting the whole landscape various enchanting shades of pink. I thought to myself, “This is the stuff that fairytales are made of.”

I wonder if I could write a fairy tale? I wonder if I could write a story, a real story, with characters, a plot and a hero’s journey, instead of the non-fiction personal development books that I have been so comfortable with until now?

A winter’s tale?

I did not have much time to dwell on these distracting thoughts. I had to get ready for lunch. The Pigeonneau is one of my favourite restaurants, and as luck would have it, also one of the closest restaurants to the farm. Having a restaurant of this exceptional quality so close by is rare here in deepest rural France.

So it was wth a song in my heart that I joined the ladies that morning. I was not disappointed. I barely made it through the front door before a Kir(apèritif), as if by magic, appeared in my hand. With my Kir in one hand and my camera in another, I did the rounds. In this part of France, greetings are accompanied by a kiss on each cheek, so you can imagine that this was no easy endeavour.

We sat down to a delicious lunch with red or white wine. We started with a salad of grilled courgettes and mushrooms, accompanied by a small glass of pumpkin soup. This was followed by either Beef Stroganoff with Rice or Carrelet (Plaice) with beurre blanc sauce and Rice. I had the plaice and it was as good as it always is. We finished the meal with Pannacotta with red fruits and coffee.

Our club now has more than 150 members and 50 of us meet once a month for lunch.  As we have discovered in the past, it is not easy for a countryside restaurant to cater for such a large group, but the Pigeonneau did us proud. Thank you so much, Ruby and the rest of your team!

you-are-good-enough-cover2We all took a small gift to lunch. We all took one of these on our way out, after the lunch. I am going to open mine on Monday the 19th, my birthday. Since it is Christmas (and my birthday), I have decided to give my latest 90-page book, You ARE Good Enough – a 10 Step Strategy to Stop Sabotaging Yourself away free to all new subscribers to my mailing list. This giveaway is hosted by Instafreebie.

It would mean the world to me if you subscribed. I promise I will not spam you, quite the contrary – I have received many a compliment on the quality of my newsletters about our life here in the south of France. Just click on the link below and follow the instructions:

Claim you free copy of my book, You ARE Good Enough 

 

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