The Vas-y Effect. You know this secret to happiness and success...
Thursday, November 17, 2022
A random photo from Paris. You can never see enough hearts! Keep looking for them, and enjoy the following pick-me-up message.
TODAY'S WORD: "Vas-y!"
: go for it!
FRENCH SOUND FILE: Click below to hear Jean-Marc pronounce all 12 French terms in this post. Then scroll down to the vocabulary section to check your French comprehension.
Click here to listen to the French vocabulary
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
"The Vas-y Effect"
Coucou and a warm bonjour to anyone reading. I am sitting here trying to calm my mind and figure out where to begin today. So far I have woken up, enjoyed some reading/devotional time, and gone for a walk with my husband). Returning home, I picked up the house (that sounds funny doesn't it? How much does a house weigh?), had a boring bowl of flocons d'avoine and now sit quietly in front of my laptop, trying to stave off panic and doubt.
There are a dozen directions in which I could go from here (finish an article, begin a chapter, compose this week's blog post...). I could even call it a day--ça suffit pour aujourd'hui!--crawl under the covers and give up on my dreams. Abandonner. But if I am still typing it is because a still small voice whispers: Vas-y!
(Now those are two brilliant words in French: Vas-y! "Go ahead!" as in put one foot in front of the other and move forward.)
Meantime la peur, l'angoisse, le doute--for my work, for my family, for the holidays--it all threatens to steal this moment of concentration. And they say this moment is all we have. The future is made up of moments just like this one. We never reach that happy/balanced/focused place. We must uncover it here and now. Doing so involves risk. The risk of trying. Trying involves effort. And effort involves la volonté or will. Are we willing? At the very least are we able...
...to do what we need to do right now to be at peace, to find release, to be free...?
There is no denying we are capable. But do we want to? Yes, we want to move forward (but aren't we going in circles now? We spend so much time going round and round that the initial effort we so resisted would be done by now)! So it's discipline then? Discipline is the key to happiness??
Yes! Discipline does lead to happiness in my experience!
Well, thank you for listening to all that. I needed a personal pep talk this morning. And now my daughter has returned from some errands and says she has something to show me. I go downstairs and see a bounty of groceries. "I know you have la crève and it is not easy to cook... so I got choucroute for lunch...and there's plenty for dinner! And there are kiwis and crêpes and hot chocolate and..."
And I will end on that happy note! I do believe we are rewarded when we take the first steps towards our dreams/goals/or nagging to-dos. Trust the process, I tell myself, again and again. Now, off you go, dear reader, to face the moment. Vas-y! Vas-y!
While looking for "hearts" in my photo archives, I found this sweet soul, Smokey.
*The "devotional" I mentioned in the story, and highly recommend is The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
vas-y! = go for it
coucou = hi there
bonjour = hello
les flocons d'avoine = oatmeal
ça suffit pour aujourd'hui = let's call it a day
abandonner = to give up
la peur = fear
l'angoisse = anxiety
le doute = uncertainty, doubt
la volonté = will (to do something)
avoir la crève = to have a bad cold
la choucroute = sauerkraut
Enjoy your day and keep looking for the hearts in it. See you next week! For more calming thoughts, read Desiderata again in French and in English.
A Message from Kristi: Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.
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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety
Mes dilemmes annuels : est-ce que je fais un don ou est-ce que je saute cette année ? Dois-je donner ce que vaut votre colonne, ou dois-je donner ce que je peux me permettre, sachant que plus j'envoie dans votre direction signifie moins je peux me permettre d'en envoyer une autre. Alors, une formule : je visite Notre Dame de Paris annuellement, et je vous rends visite chaque semaine. J'espère que votre saison des fêtes est pleine de famille, d'amour et de paix, et que vous égayerez mes leçons pour une autre année.
Posted by: Andrew Kleeger | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 01:44 PM
L'« autre » fleuve coule aujourd'hui… bienvenue au Beaujolais Nouveau !
Posted by: Andrew Kleeger | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 01:48 PM
I love the words "vas-y" and "coucou" .... so fun!
I am reading a book right now that you might already know about by Jamie Beck called An American in Provence. I love the photos, essays and recipes.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Posted by: Eileen | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 01:59 PM
This was exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I try to remember that the doing is the happy part. It's the procrastinating that is anxiety-ridden and where I am stuck.
Posted by: Leslie NYC | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 02:51 PM
I recently discovered a video (and new author) who gives a new perspective on keeping balance in one's life. I'm not sure the author actually mentions that word, but that is what I took from her message. It's called "The Power of the Downstate." Kristi, your message today resonates with me the same way. I love it & I thank you for it. With heart!!!
Posted by: Classis | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 03:09 PM
Bonjour Christie, Your words today are particularly poignant to me. After spending over a year not wanting to work on my art, I decided to work on another form of art two months ago. I am now working on abstract acrylic painting. It is such a wonderful way to express myself. It is so ironic that you mentioned look for the hearts as I just finished a piece that is named "Heart of Hearts" The piece didn't start out to be abstract hearts nor it is Valentines Day. It just happened.
Thanks for your words to Vas-y. I will and you too! Sending Hugs to you from Colorado.
Posted by: Kathy Lechman | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 03:10 PM
I think you might really enjoy Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation from the Center for Contemplation. Very rich, well-thought out-try a few and let me know if you enjoy!
Posted by: Dana | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 03:42 PM
A lovely reflection for the day. Some days, it is hard to get started or even want to attempt to begin. Your words let us know we all feel this way, sometimes. I appreciate all the thought and effort you put into your words. Thank you for opening your mind and heart to all of us.
Posted by: Jo-Anne | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 03:55 PM
Anytime you are anxious or down you know where to reach us….day or night. Go for it…
Posted by: Suzanne Dunaway | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 05:17 PM
I need this phrase in my studio and my life. Can I combine Vas-y and A L'attague? When first started reading this today it sounded like me in front of a blank canvas. Thank you for sharing. You kept going and created something lovely and meaningful. Vas-y!!
Posted by: Nancy | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 05:20 PM
Well done, dear Kristi.
Posted by: julie camp | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 05:23 PM
At first glance, the words “A LOUER” in the photo you posted look like “A Lover” - appropriate for the hearts beneath and then funny to realize.
I thought Jackie had moved back to the US?
I agree that Richard Rohr is wonderful. Prayers ascending for your serenity.
Posted by: Anne | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 05:25 PM
I so needed this today, this morning, at this very moment. THANK you!
Posted by: Lauren | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 05:30 PM
I think the hardest thing in creative writing is that you have to be of multiple conflicting minds. You are putting actual words on paper that represent a commitment (this word, not that word).
But then you are constantly testing those words and leaving yourself open to wonder "are these the right ones?" and imagining where you want to go with the next ones you write.
So you have to be in conflicting states of concentration, commitment, openness to change (your "dozen directions), and daydreaming all at the same time—something that may cause one to want to just go back to bed.
I think your solution of just forging ahead— "vas-y" —is very useful in that it gets the provisional commitment done. So it itself is a good discipline.
Once you do start, you have words that you can then use to help figure out where you want to go. Maybe they take you down a dirt road, but maybe you find interesting things to see on it that you might not have seen on a paved highway.
I think your generally playful approach is helpful in getting the words down to begin with.
I wish you well in continuing to find hope and inspiring others in what you do.
Posted by: Paul | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 05:56 PM
Our dear Kristi,
I wish possessed capability of expressing what encouragement and inspiration your words always give us.
You totally captured my attention with Vas'y! And by the conclusion of your post you had me motivated to get up and out of my easy chair (which to say the least is no easy accomplishment)and go finish at least one( of the three or four) projects I have been (for what seems like endlessy!) procrastinating about!
But what truly wrapped itself around my heart(besides the pictures of you and sweet Smokey) is how your beautiful, loving daughter bought food for you during your episode with la creve.... what an
Absolute angel( just like her dear maman!)
Feel better, ma chere.
PS I agree with Eileen: American in Provence is wonderful!!!
Posted by: Natalia | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 07:43 PM
Sometimes it is hard to get going with our days, that is so true. I love lists as they guide me and spur me to get things done and move forward. As someone else said, I thought Jackie had moved to Seattle? Well, I am off to tackle my daily to do list! Thank you for writing.
Posted by: Frances in Napa, CA USA | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 07:46 PM
When faced with a situation such as yours, I do just one thing at a time. Focus on accomplishing that first item and the weight of to-dos and hope-to-dos is a tiny bit lighter. Then do one more small task and you are moving forward...
Posted by: Claudine | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 07:52 PM
Thank you, Paul. I love your thoughts about this writing process. They are encouraging and heartening and I would go on but it would require more word-juggling and I think I will call it a night!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 08:18 PM
Dear Kirsti, I was very touched by what you wrote today. You described so simply and so eloquently the effort of trying to stay present in a moment, which is well understood by anyone who has ever tried to do the same. It is especially challenging since there are so many distractions, both inner and outer that are trying to take our attention away from what we are doing in any given moment. What is beautiful is that you stayed with what was going on and then found a way to move forward. What a help it is to be reminded of this! I also believe that the efforts you/I/we make will bring us many unexpected gifts, in other moments of "presence" and/or receiving presents, both of which you experienced today. Je vous souhaite bonne continuation dans vos efforts pour rester présent.
Posted by: Mary Ellen | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 08:29 PM
Ne limitez pas vos défis, devez vos limitez. Don't limit your challenges, challenge your limits.
Posted by: j | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 08:46 PM
Jolie Kristi. Great book. What is your love language? Mine is giving. Hope you feel better soon.
Posted by: Brenda | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 09:07 PM
Dear Kristi, thank you for your inspirational piece of writing. I have added the audiobook of the 5 love languages to my library and will listen to it when I’m walking my dogs. (Tilly and Poppy, red and black kelpies) (watch the movie Red Dog if you can !)
My husband and I are trying to salvage our 28 year marriage after a 14 month separation and I’m hoping that this book will give me and us a little guidance.
I’ll let you know!!
Love from Melbourne, Australia, Merci beaucoup Kristi!!❤️
Posted by: Clare White | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 10:02 PM
Thinking about "vas-y!" reminds me that when my kids were little, I would try to slip in some French words under protest, but the one thing they assimilated was "vas-y!" when we were in a hurry. The kids and even the dog knew when anybody said vas-y, it was time to get going.. With more time to spare, it was "allons-y".
Posted by: Joan | Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 10:13 PM
I agree with Dana. I met Fr. Thomas Keating and have never looked back. The French describe Centering Prayer as La prière du consentement. It is a spiritual discipline and their are many fruits. I also think you would like it because you are already very aware of the various levels of human consciousness.
Posted by: Joanne | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 01:45 AM
Thank you, Kristi, I enjoyed your pep talk. Some days I get weighed down in my thoughts and indecision. Others, I flow freely through my day.
I hope that you feel better very soon. Thank you for reminding me to keep my eye on the heart of the matter. Bless you! xoxo
Posted by: Stacy Lund | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 03:59 AM
Dear Paul - Sometimes I feel it is best not to over-analyze the process. I benefit from being still and seeing what pictures appear, trying to translate them into words, and then putting them all aside for 3 days. Review, rewrite, etc., which helps me focus on the product rather than the process. However, we all are different, which makes our products and our lives so enjoyable to share. Thank you for sharing yours. - Janet
Posted by: Janet | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 06:26 AM
Clare, I am glad you will listen to the book and I trust it will help you two! It helps if both partners read the book (ours is on Kindle) and discuss the bite-size, daily chapters. Cheering for you two! Sending love and bon courage. P.S. Thank you for the movie recommendation!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 09:36 AM
Mary Ellen, Thank you for mentioning another challenge regarding being in the moment: in addition to our internal distractions, there are all those external ones too! Sometimes we have to give up. Surrender. And be willing to begin again at a later time. Flexibility is a good daily practice :-)
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 09:41 AM
Thank you, Eileen, for the book recommendation. Your feedback is so helpful. I will add An American in Provence to our book list, here in the blog.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 09:43 AM
Thank you, Dana. I have a friend who is a big fan!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 09:44 AM
Janet, I really enjoy reading about your (and Pauls) thoughts on the creative process. It is different for each of us and can be different each time we face a blank page or canvas. This would be a good topic to discuss and it would be interesting hearing from others. Thanks.
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 09:55 AM
Thanks, Stacy. It is you who has reminded me to keep an eye on the heart of the matter. Wonderful conclusion. xoxo
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 09:56 AM
Vas-y is new for me, and I learned coucou from you too. So, Jackie is back from Seattle! Enjoy the holiday and now I need to get energize to make a dessert for Thanksgiving at friends.
Posted by: Suzanne in NJ | Friday, November 18, 2022 at 07:16 PM
Kristi ~ I echo Eileen's recommendation of An American in Provence. It's magnifique! Do you follow Jamie Beck on Instagram? You are so right to "trust the process" and at times taking a step back for however long you need is absolutely the right decision. Bisous
Posted by: Patricia Sands | Sunday, November 20, 2022 at 09:56 PM
Hi Patricia, Thanks for seconding Eileen’s recommendation for Jamie Beck’s beautiful book. I follow Jamie on Instagram and love when her daughter prepares Provence specialties!
Posted by: Kristin Espinasse | Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at 03:47 PM