It is happening.
Right now you can see Parisians smiling, happy, open and full of energy. Yes, it’s that time of the year. La Rentrée is upon us.
Paris springs back to life. After 2 months of “les vacances”, everyone is back, happy to share their summer adventures and equally happy that life is back to normal. The feeling of les vacances is still alive, the evenings are still warm enough to meet on the terrace of a favourite café or restaurant. An energy of new beginnings is in the air…
La Rentrée is France’s answer to January 1rst.
When you think about it, it’s really a much better time of the year for a new start: honestly, aren’t you in better shape after the summer holidays than after having eaten way too much during the end of the year holidays? And doesn’t everything seem lighter, easier and more doable in September than it does in January (6o’clock morning run, anybody?). Whereas La Rentrée is a moment of new beginnings where you harvest what you have been preparing during the first half of the year.
Imagine yourself sitting in a café in Paris with moi, we watch the City come back to her bustling self and over un crème et un croissant you tell me what happened during the summer, how you feel now and what you want to bring to life over the next couple of months…wouldn’t that be nice?
But whether in Paris or in any other part of the world – if you want to adopt a La Rentrée mindset, if you feel that now is the moment to begin bringing that new version of yourself into the light – here are 7 questions for you to enjoy, to journal on, to think and talk through.
7 Questions for your Rentrée
1.) What have been the highlights of your summer?
Let’s celebrate a little bit: many of our best memories, sparkling moments, of our highlights are unplanned, unexpected, and often we only recognize them in hindsight. Maybe you will find that many of your personal highlights are linked to a special space you found yourself in. What was the quality of this space?
Make a list of your highlights and celebrate them. This is a simple exercise, but you will get so much out of it: firstly, it will fill you with joy remembering those moments. Secondly, we all have a tendency to forget the good things and dwell on the not-so-good ones. Remember, what you focus on gets stronger. So focus on the best moments. And thirdly, putting pen to paper will also serve you as an indicator as to what really lights you up. As I said, often those highlights are not where and what we expect them to be. So looking at what was your best reality this summer and in which kind of spaces it happened can show you the way to create more of it.
So much to the highlights of your summer. Now let’s look back a bit further:
2.) Since the beginning of the year, what has brought you the most joy and peace?
Maybe joy and peace seem too abstract or woo-woo, but in my book joy and peace are the foundation for everyone of us to build our own universe upon. Now of course it goes without saying that we all have moments or stretches of time when we feel anything but joyful or peaceful. The reality of life and all that. But it’s also worth reminding that we tend to put joy and peace on the back burner of our focus and priorities far too quickly!
Two thirds of the year have passed, that’s enough time to look back and take stock: what has brought you the most joy and peace? And generally speaking, are you getting enough of it?
Now would be the moment for a course correction, if needed. A small, consistent change in the right direction will make you feel like a different person at the end of the year. We all know that example of the plane that, if changing its angle for just 1 degree, will end up in a completely different destination!
Bien, so far we’ve looked back. Now let’s look forward to what you want to create with this energy of La Rentrée:
3.) Where in your life do you want to feel lighter?
Eight clients out of ten tell me that they want to feel lighter. Can you relate? You might want to feel lighter in your body, lighter in your thoughts, your relationship with yourself or with a partner. Maybe you simply crave more lightness in your everyday life, your environment, your finances, the way you eat, and for many women it is everything at once.
If that is you, I suggest that you start to focus on one area where you want to feel lighter. Once you start creating more lightness in one area of your life, it will snowball into other areas too, I can practically guarantee it. Whereas when you try to do everything at once, I can practically guarantee that you’ll end up with no result.
Usually it is a good idea to start with something that is body-related. Remember when you last felt content in your body. What were you doing? Were you moving or resting, doing strenuous exercise or yoga, getting a massage or spending time with your partner? Focus on what lights you up and do more of it!
Another way to lighten up is to release stuck energy in your physical environment – your home. (You knew that one would be coming, didn’t you? 😉 When your home feels lighter, immediately you will feel lighter too!
Transforming our home as a tool to transform all other areas of our life is both tangible and satisfying! This is La Rentrée! Make your home light and sparkly!
4.) Which old patterns do you want to let go of?
When we talk about feeling lighter, there is of course also the inner work. As we grow there comes a moment where we are called of letting go of old patterns.
The first one I invite you to let go of: holding a grief against someone. Maybe something happened last week, and you feel so annoyed, hurt or angry that you can’t let it go and replay the scene in your head over and over again. But it could also be that you hold a grief against someone like your mother or father, and unfortunately sometimes you hold that grief for decades. Other examples could be status anxiety, the compulsive need to always be right, constant self judgement, not feeling worthy enough, always saying Yes when you want to say No or vice versa, avoiding decisions, relying on adrenaline as your sole fuel or victim mentality as your default mode.
Most of us know our patterns, and usually we are not so keen to look them in the eye and say goodbye. Because it is difficult to admit in how many ways those patterns manipulated us and it is also difficult to let them go, because they are familiar and the mind craves familiarity.
But there is a moment when we know in our hearts that it’s time to move on, like with a relationship. When a relationship doesn’t make any more sense, you might grief it, but you’ll know the time has come. And then even knowing that; we will still grieve it because it has been part of our life and our very own fabric. Letting go of the familiar demands courage. But it’ll set you free. So: which old patterns do you want to let go of?
Now that you have created space by committing to more lightness and letting go of old patterns – what do you want to fill that space with?
5.) What quality do you want to cultivate?
If there is one quality you’d really like to bloom into, what would that be?
Is it discipline, patience, willpower, savoir-vivre, passion, joie de vivre, gratitude, honesty, endurance, charm, curiosity, assertiveness, organisation, generosity, kindness, femininity, boldness, serenity, courage, and of course, dare I say it, elegance?
Whatever it is, make sure of one thing: choose a quality you truly want, not one that you feel you ‘should’ want. Make sure you like your reasons for choosing this particular quality (BTW, make sure you like your reasons for everything you do in life!)
6.) Which new habits do you want to establish?
“You are what you repeatedly do.” Aristotle
What you repeatedly do are of course your habits.
Habits are fascinating. We rarely think about them, yet they are probably the number one thing that shapes our life. When we do want to change our habits, the reason is most often so that we get a different result: classic example: you want to change your exercising habits in order to lose weight in order to look better. So what you are really interested in are not the quality of your exercising habits or lack thereof, but to look better. This is what James Clear in his book “Habits” calls outcome-based habits. Basically, think January 1rst, and you get the idea.
The elegant way of establishing new habits: establish habits that are part of your identity. This means that your belief systems support your new habit. This means that you shift the way you look at yourself, so that your old identity doesn’t sabotage your new habit. This means to become proud of the type of person you are (I am the type of person who IS this vs I am the type of person who wants this.
(I’m constantly working on my own habits, especially since my Word of the year, and I’ll share all I learned when the year is a bit more advanced.)
7.) What will be the best way to invest in yourself in the coming months?
If you have a dream, a desire, a plan or simply a project for the rest of the year, you’ll need resources. Time, money, energy, know-how, help from outside, and so on.
Of course your biggest resource is you and it will come as no surprise that I advocate for investing in yourself first and foremost. Invest in your self care (may I remind of the painfully obvious – the biggest resource is your health and your energy). Invest in your well being. Invest in your education. Invest in what you know will increase your value as a person (even if it feels scary at the beginning).
I know so many women for whom the idea of investing in themselves is at the bottom of their list, if it is even on the list. Investing in others, of course. Investing in an idea, a project, a cause, yes. But in themselves? Think about it: if you invest in anything else that matters to you but not in yourself, it’s like you have a beautiful flower in a flowerbed, and you’re doing everything to make the flowerbed look good and be thriving but you are not watering your flower!
So these are my 7 questions for your Rentrée. Work through them, implement them in small or not so small steps and have fun with them – and next January 1st will see you in a completely different place!
Have a beautiful Rentrée, mes amies!
PS: For more explanations of these 7 questions and examples from my own life, listen to the podcas