This extract is from The Ageist about how Sharon Mrozinski has followed her intuition to create her very grounded life surrounded by beauty.
Sharon has been following her intuition and her dreams for her entire life. With her husband Paul, she founded Marston House, on the central coast of Maine. They stock the store with their finds from France, where they are currently staying and have been spending half the year since the late ’90s. It is a life run on the principles of creativity, intuition, and beauty in all things.
How has this weird Covid time been for you?
The days fly by here for us too, just like the States, but our time is spent on us two. Walks and yoga and long talks and observations on the ancient beauty and the profound differences that is these two countries, USA and France.
Maine and Bonnieux: “Simple, hard-working, peasant-type places”
How would you contrast where you live in Maine with southern France?
In Maine we have the ocean which we are literally on top of now since 2016 when we bought on Vinalhaven. Our foundation is literally a granite slab in the salt water Carvers Pond which our home was set down on once the original structure The Toll/Gate House burned down in 1906. It is now our home and shop — Marston House Vinalhaven on Main Street.
Just across Main Street is the ocean and the working harbor of the fishermen. We are about 1 hour 15 minutes from the mainland in Rockland by ferry. It was home to a granite quarry in the 1800s where Italian stone cutters were brought over to cut some of America’s greatest architectural and decorative granite pieces.
In Bonnieux, France, we are at the top of the hill in the village and we have the ancient Luberon hills to wander freely and explore on a daily basis. The ancient trails and early stone walls give us hope for our future in America, knowing the history and imagining the blood that was shed in these ancient medieval hilltop-perched villages from the royal conquers to the religious wars and everything horrifying in between. Whether you had great riches or not, everything was up for grabs and the battles were horrific.
The places we have chosen to live are each simple, hard-working, peasant-type places. Neither of these places are easy, but their beauty and their peasant souls appeal deeply to both of us. I specialize in peasant things, especially peasant homespun linen cloth. This is the stuff that keeps me humbled and happy. Each piece comes with its maker’s hand, with his or her signature that if you dig deeply enough you find. This is the appeal of Maine and of France. Digging deeply is all you ever need to do to get to know all you need know about a place or a person, in fact. We love digging deeply.
In France, we read none of the news. It is a constant battle of the minds. We are able to be sort of 5-year-olds still. We are not fluent although we can get through just about everything. Paul is better than I am. I just don’t want to work hard enough to be fluent. I prefer feeling much younger than my years pretending not to be older than 5.
“I have always dressed in natural fabrics…easy clothing where I never have to look in a mirror”
You have a wonderful way of dressing, elegant but down to earth. Tell us a bit about your style.
Thank you for your compliment. I have always dressed in natural fabrics — synthetics are just not healthy and I knew this intuitively. Easy clothing where I never have to look in a mirror. When we were given a choice and chose to stay here in France and not return to the USA I had no summer clothes here. Paul had a few pairs of shorts which I stole one pair, rolled up the legs, cinched up the waist, and threw on a cotton shirt. A friend on VH recently asked if we needed anything and I asked her to go into my closet and pull a pair of sandals, 2 shirts — short sleeves, and 2 summer dresses. She wondered and asked for descriptions of which ones of my summer wardrobe I wanted and I said “Any of them; they are each me,” and it is true.
Plant-Based Diet and Intermittent Fasting
How do you take care of yourself? What are you eating? Do you do yoga, meditate, exercise?
I have always been strong physically and athletic. My mom was the same. I loved climbing trees and hanging from my knees. I used to run a lot. I treat myself more softly now. We take long walks daily, and yoga and lots and lots of stretching and breathing.
We forage in the wild. We changed gears in 2005 diet-wise. We had always eaten well, as adults. Almost never going out for a meal. We both love to prepare meals together with friends and family and this is what we have almost always done with few exceptions. We love to buy directly from the farmers that grow our food and we started that back in late ’70s in CA, in our other lives.
As we learned more in mid-2000, we gave up flour and meat and pasteurized dairy products and all processed sugars — anything changed by man was out. Neither of us have ever had weight problems. We both are the same weight and size that we were as teens. So we know our bodies well and pay close attention.
This year with the Covid pandemic we decided to fast after a late lunch. We eat a late breakfast after a long walk, a late lunch after 2. We are plant-based and have been since 2005 when we still had a bit of meat when we knew the farmer and felt like it. We gave up on meat completely a year or so ago and we seem to feel the best we have ever felt. We have a fresh veggie soup Paul makes for breakfast around 10 am with homemade “life changing” gluten-free seeds-and-nuts bread I bake.
Veggies fresh picked from the farmer, no chemicals, raw salads for lunch, with as much heat as we can find in greens like rocket, mustard greens, hot radishes, also adding broccoli, beets, cilantro, and kale. I have kombucha and I make our kimchi for soups and side dishes and ferment our lemon peels for salads. Little goes to waste here.
I have never enjoyed alcohol, sadly, even wine. Paul adores his French wines especially from this region, including the Rhône. I indulge my body and head with essential oils from this region of Provence and Tuscany that we get while here and travels to monasteries. It is my best health secret. My most favorite is Bergamot oils from the Sénanque Monastery near us and just beyond Gordes in the Luberon region. I started out and still use Vibrant Blue Oils blends by Jodi Cohen which I believe are the best you can buy in America.
The Gift of Parents in Love
What is more important to you today than when you were young?
My parents. I had no idea how important their gift of love of each other was to me until I discovered how many people are not nearly as fortunate to witness this gift. Eating fresh, organic, and wild veggies; music, Pauls loves music; living in wonderment each day.
Learning the gift and freedom of having little to no control over anything. Going to bed and waking up each morning with an open mind and open agenda. The laughter which I always took for granted.
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