About the courage

That’s pretty brave.” “I admire your courage!

I often hear and read sentences like that. On the one hand, I am happy to receive positive feedback on our emigration, or rather on our decision and the implementation of it, but on the other hand it also makes me think.

In an interview with the brain researcher Gerald Hüther, I once got to know a somewhat different view of courage itself or of courageous deeds. It is very much in line with my own perception. According to Hüther, people only need courage for deeds they don’t actually want to do. I have always felt that I was not particularly courageous. Not even in 1991, when I rode alone from northern Germany to southern France with two horses and two dogs one month after graduating from high school. It was not a walk in the park for me from a mental point of view. Day after day, steering the horses’ steps towards the south, never knowing what encounters fate had in store for us at sunset. Towards a distant and completely unknown destination. I only knew that I had to do it. Do.

And it’s the same in 2019, when on my first visit to Matou I felt “this is it.”

Nina with two horses on a trail ride from northern Germany to southern France
Nina with two horses on a trail ride from northern Germany to southern France

Have you had this feeling once or several times in your life? Something that occurs not as a wish without an effective will, but as a certainty? Or have you let your life and circumstances develop as they did? Decisions rather always made as reactions to the wishes of others and “society” and circumstances? What does the saying “The world belongs to the brave” mean? Do you own your world?

In this view, one aspect certainly applies. If you want to give me the label “brave woman”, it is true that I have often created a world in my life that was really mine. It belonged to me in a positive sense, it had above-average aspects of life to which I could say “yes!” with all my heart. The fulfilment of none of my dreams elevated me to the mental Olympus. There were many challenges, glaring problems, adversities, but the basic chant was always that of the right film. My world. Because I had chosen it and was willing to bear the consequences of my actions.

Nina's horse with saddle and panniers on the slope of southern French mountains
Nina's horse with saddle and panniers on the slope of southern French mountains

A few years ago I attended a lecture by Reinhard Sprenger. He began, “Would you rather be on the beach in Hawaii right now? The good news is that you can be on your way there in a few hours. If you say “I can’t” now, you are just shying away from the consequences. That you’ll be out of a job, your bank account will be overdrawn, your wife will think you’re an a… and your kids won’t have anything to do with you anymore, as an example. But you can go to Hawaii. If you accept the consequences.

The consequences of emigrating to the South of France can be of a similar nature to those Sprenger is talking about. If Mario’s and my move is now called courageous, it could mean that the speaker feels that these kinds of consequences are not bearable for him or her. It would then cost him or her courage to embark on such a path. But what if the consequences are not as bad and serious as feared? What if the positive and good in it carries strongly and nourishes the soul?

If you are thinking about changing something in your life, but you are in the “courage-if-I-didn’t” mode, the following exercise may be helpful for you: Take two sheets of blank paper, write down on one the hoped-for positive consequences of your idea or dream and on the other the feared negative ones. Pay close attention to your feelings as you write and imagine what this step would mean. Weigh and ask yourself again and again: Which is stronger?

Amadeus keeps a lookout over the mountains of southern France
Amadeus keeps a lookout over the mountains of southern France

Sprenger again: “A certain willingness to take risks is the prerequisite for creativity and innovation. Inner motivation arises of its own accord when people do what they do best and what they would voluntarily spend their time doing.

What do you like to do and do well? What do you think you need courage for? These and other questions will be explored during the “Le Matou Experience Week”. An unforgettable stay with body, mental and soul work and of course the six horses and chickens awaits you from March 2023.

Would you like to be part of it? Be one of the first to seize this opportunity? Write me an email and we will talk about your questions, wishes and ideas and who knows, maybe you will find out that this is exactly the right offer for you!

This offer will not be available in the shop for the foreseeable future. It is much more than a further education, it is an invitation into my home, an insight into my world… personal contact comes first. I look forward to hearing from you!

October on Le Matou

I left for Germany at the end of September, on the trailer firewood for friends in Germany. Mario gets the firewood from our forest and at the moment there are enough dead trees to be found so that trees don’t even have to die for a heated stove. Mario has also installed the solar system on the roof and with the good weather here in the south we can be optimistic!

The project “wood finishing” is taking shape, some conifers are ready to be harvested on the property of a Belgian friend. The sawmill, where the oaks for our rocker skids are also sawn to size, is to be mounted on the big trailer. This way, Mario can not only saw up our own wood for various construction projects still to come, but also saw the desired dimensions directly on site at different places.

While I visited our son, family and friends and had a lot of fun teaching, Mario and our intern Lilly stocked our experimental raised bed boxes. At the barn, we hayed down, collected it in a paloxe (a mixture of grid box and pallet), put 30 cm of soil on top as the top layer-et voila, the seeds for the winter vegetables can be spread. If the wild boars get too close to the house, it is still safe. Next year, when the chaff has rotted, we will hopefully have decided on a place for the garden and can empty the paloxes there.

The herd of horses grazing at the hand of Le Matou
The herd of horses grazing at the hand of Le Matou

What will also accompany us for a long time are the paths on Le Matou. Fortunately, we now have an “epareuse” to keep the existing ones clear. If we wanted to do it all manually, we wouldn’t need any other hobbies. There are some old ones to discover, uncover and repair.

In addition, we have the dream project that one day a passable – i.e. with a very off-road vehicle – path should run along the outer border. Which, of course, can also be used by horseback, mountain bike or on foot. So far, Mario continues to fight his way through the undergrowth with the Jimmy and is definitely having a lot of fun.

The small all-terrain vehicle is also the transport means of choice when it comes to fetching clay to the house. Lilly plasters the walls of the upper shell with it. Next year, when the first “Matou Experience Week” begins, it will eventually serve as a common room and hostel.

We are planning stays with a less focused training emphasis, but more into the theme of quality of life through awareness and well-being. The planning of activities then needs to be well coordinated. When some are playing with the mini-excavator, others are doing their training with the animals at the opposite end of the property… A big plus in experiencing also happens through silence, through noticing everything that is around you. And that completely without any machine-made background noise.

Under this sign of the challenges of the “civilised world” are also the tasks with the ponies and Jupiter after my return. The New Year’s Eve Challenge helps our animals to cope with the events of their not always animal-friendly environment. Would you like to support your animal too, or are you just curious what it’s all about? Then take a look here: New Year’s Eve Challenge