My love affair with Paris began in 8th grade. I had this rather odd, quirky French teacher at my high school. He was dramatic, expressive, and could hardly wait for us to ‘fall in love with French’. (And no, I did not fall in love with him). In order to demonstrate the verb, tomber (to fall), he actually stood atop his desk and proceeded to fall, bone straight sideways, onto the floor. This was just one of his many antics to help us remember the language. He would sing “Oh, Champs d’Elysees….” and have us all humming along, listening to French music, watching photos of France, and in particular, Paris.
I could hardly wait to go. The language and city mulled about in my soul and mind for years until I graduated from University and made my first of many trips. I am in love with Paris. People ask me why? I typically respond with a long list: the sound of the language (it’s so lovely to hear), the food (croissants, tarts, baguettes, cheese, wine….. the list goes on), the daily manifestations of art (in statues, buildings, on the street, people watching), shoes (they just are so chic), people watching (the outfits, scarves, the way they walk)…….
But the main reason I love Paris is the deep sense of freedom I experience while there and how each time, no matter how many visits, there it is again, rising within my soul. Something happens internally – a spark ignites and my heart expands – to love, purpose, calling, joy, tears, gratitude and wonder. It’s been my attempted practice over the past number of years to pay attention to my felt experience of deepening freedom and practice it at home, in my daily life. Paris calls forth my writer, my artist, my soulful wanderer, my inner chef, my lover of life, my ‘let it go’, my noticing of the ordinary, my inner pilgrim. And now, in just a few weeks, I get to share my love of Paris with my friend Kayce Hughlett and 6 other remarkable women as we wander Paris together – taking our souls for strolls through the magic that is this remarkable city.
And a final quote by Hafiz “Spring and all its flowers now joyously break their vow of silence. It is time for celebration, not for lying low.”
Merci et au revoir jusqu’å Paris