Joie de Vivre – by Louise Lavergne
Joyfull Living – June 2015
I love this expression. I have to admit I have a penchant for those expressions in my mother tongue, French. This one touches on a subject close to my heart: Joy. Reconnecting people with their inner joy is my passion and my life’s work.
Besides making your life more enjoyable, Joy is a powerful immune booster. It is also the fountain of youth. Recently I was speaking at the first Longevity Summit in the Rogue Valley. My friend and colleague Dr. Robin Miller was also a speaker and she reminded me about the oldest person to have lived to this date. A French woman from Arles, France named Jeanne Louise Calment who lived to be 122 years old. Dr. Miller did mention healthy diet and stressed the importance of not smoking, but her main message echoed mine: stress less—love more. She surprised her audience by pointing out the fact Jeanne’s long life was not so much about her diet but her ability to deal with stress. She had a strong joie de vivre, which translates as joy for living!
Jeanne Louise was not at all fanatical about her health. She enjoyed being active and did things she loved to do, she ate French food, lived on her own and cooked for herself until almost 110 years old. She also stayed active her whole life. She rode her bicycle until she was 100 and walked every day. She attributed her longevity and youthful appearance for her age to a diet that included a lot of olive oil for both eating and putting on her face. She said, “I’ve never had but one wrinkle, and I’m sitting on it.” She was also adamant about 2 other dietary contributing factors to her good health: a daily dose of Port wine and about 2 pounds of chocolate a week.
Jeanne also had genetics on her side, with many siblings and her father all living into their 90s. Which can explain the fact that she survived smoking until the age of 116. Also the fact that she didn’t have the stress of jobs and had a fairly leisured and active lifestyle that included tennis, cycling, swimming, roller-skating, piano, and opera did contribute to her long life.
But, she also suffered some hardships. Her only daughter Yvonne died of pneumonia a day shy of her 36th birthday. Jeanne then raised her grandson who became a doctor but lost him at the age of 36 when he died in a car accident. She outlived her husband who died at the age of 73 of food poisoning. By the time she was 90 she had no living relatives but her social circle of friends stayed constant. She didn’t live attached to the pain of the past. “If I can not do anything about a situation I don’t stress about it,” she told reporters. Jeanne also attributed her long life to her peaceful disposition, “I am a calm person. It’s in my name.” “Calment” which roughly means something or someone that calms you down.
In the end it’s not so much the number of years we get to live but that we en-joy the life we live. It all comes down to dealing with our stress and living in the joy of the moment to find our Joie de vivre. That’s what JoyFull yoga is all about: helping you feel good inside and out and connecting to your Joie de Vivre.
© Louise Lavergne 2001-2015 www.joyfull-yoga.com 541-899-0707 Louise is the creator and owner of JoyFull Yoga with studio located in Jacksonville, OR. She’s an author, international inspirational speaker and JoyFull living coach. Find out more about her 12-week online transformational coaching program FOUNDATION 4 your L.I.F.E. at www.LouiseLavergne.com.