Q+A: Sheltering In Place in France with Diane Seyrig of Ma portion

Posted by Jaq Jaq Bird on

Our week of virtual introductions continues, as we invite you to get to know a few of our Jaq Jaq Bird friends from around the world and share their experiences as they shelter-in-place.
Prepare yourselves, as you are about to experience a strong desire for both a beautiful and delicious meal after meeting our dear friend, Diane Seyrig of Ma portion.
Diane Seyrig
1.  TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
Hi.  My name is Diane.  I live in France, near Paris, with my husband and our two girls of age 12 and 9.  I am an author.  Three years ago, I opened a writing and cooking blog, Ma portion, which, until recently, was more like a personal journal to me, in which I could explore my writing and use cooking as a sensorial anchor — to have my head in the sky, but keep my feet on the ground.  Just before the SIP, I launched my author website, offering various services around my writing such as personal development writing workshops, editorial missions or authentic storytelling and content for creative brands in French and English.  I guess everything is a little frozen right now, but I have the feeling it is under constraint that opportunities arise…

Serotonin Cookies

Serotonin Cookies

Garden Plum Pie

Garden Plum Pie

 
2.  HOW HAS YOUR JOB TRANSITIONED DURING SHELTER-IN-PLACE?
Well, at first, I found it very harsh and unfair that all my professional initiatives should (apparently) stop before even starting.  But then, after the first two weeks, my creativity somehow found a new space to expand and explore other ways of making things happen!  For instance, I had planned a physical (and very first) writing workshop for the end of March, not really knowing how I would lead this, thinking I would just « be myself and see how it goes ».  When I had to cancel it because of SIP, I thought I would have to wait until the end of it to start everything over again.  But then, thanks to kind and wise friends, and the support of my women circle, I am now working on the concept of writing as a personal development tool, with a whole digital writing program that I intend to propose on my website soon, containing a series of digital workshops amongst other exercises and resources.  A proper writing journey to set one’s creativity free and help you find your contribution to the world!  Versus a one shot writing workshop that would have probably taken me much longer to develop into something more meaningful and consistent (and much less profitable obviously).
 
3.  HOW HAVE YOU USED YOUR PROFESSIONAL SKILLS CREATIVELY OUTSIDE OF WORK?
I work with what I call a Circle of Women.  Each woman within this circle is developing her own and proper creative project:  one is a Textile Designer, another one is setting up a business combining Mindfulness and Design Thinking Techniques to develop creativity, I am an Author… and we all help and support each other benevolently and without judgement — thanks to weekly (for now cyber) gatherings on specific topics we need to unlock (such as money, creativity, communication, marketing or else) and regular retreats that we organize.  Everything we do for one another is probono.  I wrote most of the content of their websites for instance.
I strongly believe in the efficiency and creative power of women circles.  Women understand each other, and they all have a common goal in the end:  to set themselves free inside and out!
 
4.  WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPACE INSIDE YOUR HOME AND WHY?
I have to say I like changing places, according to my feelings and the moment of the day.  We live in an apartment, the kind of oldish Parisian apartment where everyone crosses everyone all the time. ☺  But, I managed to set up a little desk of my own in my dining room — my little island of serenity in the (sometimes tormented and agitated) family Pacific Ocean. This SIP somehow also teaches me how to preserve my personal space and freedom, and how to have my children understand and respect my work and need for intimacy, which is not always an easy task for a mother, especially living in a not so big home.  I also shoot all my cooking pictures on our little Moroccan wooden table.
Diane At Home

 My Couscous

My Couscous

Family Kugelhopf

Family Kugelhopf

 
5.  WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE UNPLUGGED ACTIVITY?
I have several, such as enjoying the sun at my window when it’s there or going for an hour walk (which is all the time out we have at the moment, more or less) in the park next door in the morning, to connect to nature and to my inner self.  Cooking of course brings me joy, alone or with my husband and children.  I also love cooking for others, neighbours and friends.  Reading delights me!  I just started The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz, a wonderful source of soothing wisdom in these uncertain times.  And I try to meditate and practice yoga whenever I can and feel like it.  A friend of mine who is a yoga teacher is generously sharing her knowledge through daily Zoom sessions during SIP.
 
6.  WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU HAVE DISCOVERED ABOUT YOURSELF WHILE SHELTERING IN PLACE?
Many things actually!  Like finding space and resources within myself, rather than by external means.  Thinking differently and expanding my limits.  To meet and overcome one of my greatest fears: constraint!  Feeling de-possessed of my individual freedom just as if I was cut from my own breath, asphyxiated like in my dark days of very bad asthma when I was a child… SIP gave me the opportunity to work on it obviously. ☺  But mostly, I realize that there are so many little windows we can open on demand, just by willing it, and that there is no such thing as boundaries other than the ones we build for ourselves…
"The pic I took that day..."
The pic I took that day
Thank you, Diane, and we hope to see you soon!
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