Thursday, February 28, 2008

serene & wild--musings from paris #1

Well, the blogging gods are having their way with me this morning...I just wrote a wonderful post about my arrival yesterday and then it disappeared. Arrgggghhhh.. Rather than rewrite (for there is much to do), it will have to suffice that it was a charmed day of traveling including an early flight into Paris (an hour!!!), smooth transportation and checking into my apartment when I arrived rather than having to wait until late afternoon. Blessings abound!

I am certain I will share more about my apartment later, (It is tres charment!!) See a bit of my neighborhood here. I met the wonderful woman and child while wandering near the Eiffel tower in the Champs du Mars. I don't know anything about them, but I thought she was so beautiful and intriguing. Serene & wild all at the same time. (Sounds like me right now!) Several times during the day I wondered "What the heck are you doing?!?!?!" I resisted the urge to dive into the neighborhood Starbuck's (there is one right around the corner) when nothing seemed familiar. I forced myself to enter a restaurant for lunch...well a sidewalk cafe...and I just kept walking and pulling out my map when I needed to.

It is 6:00 a.m. here right now and I think I got about 8 hours of sleep, so I am ready to go. If I hurry up, I will be able to see the sun rise. Not sure yet if it rises over the Seine (which is about 3 blocks from my home) or not. I am so glad you are here with me. A naysayer to my "solo" trip told me that Paris "must be shared". So, it is your role this week to share with me!!! For the moment I have given myself permission to not respond to comments, but I hope you will continue to chime in! I am reading and enjoying every moment with you!!!!

Au revoir maintenant! (I think that means good bye for now).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

on my way...

check out lucy creates!!! for today's paris post!

merci et bon voyage!!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

what goes with me...

The excitement is building as the hours fly swiftly by. I still need to get some Euros, fine tune my packing, go to work for a few hours and BREATHE! While looking for a quote to kick off my Paris trip, I found this lovely gem by Picasso.

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children."

I realize the quote has very little to do with Paris specifically, but it has everything to do with the world as a whole. (And even though Paris calls my name today, I know it is in the world that I choose to live.)

Yesterday, a new reader (well actually a reader who self-admittedly had been "lurking" around my site for a while) offered me this wonderful aspirational quote:

"Everyone I meet is in love with me. I just don't expect them to realize it yet."

Both quotes ring loud and clear to me today as I embark on this journey that fills me with excitement and a healthy dose of fear. I feel I am stepping into the great unknown and yet I know that I am ready to do this. I will take BOTH of these affirmations with me as I leave Seattle early tomorrow morning and fly east toward Paris. I will take them with me today as I enter into the world around me.

How about you? Do you realize what a marvel you are? Can you believe that everyone is in love with you?...they are just waiting to discover it. Au revoir!

painting by Pablo Picasso

Monday, February 25, 2008

two days to paris!!!!!

I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full. ~Lord Dunsany

lunar eclipse © h3images

Friday, February 22, 2008

Love Unrequited

Last night I dreamed that I was traveling. No surprise there, huh? I was trying to get back home and somehow I ended up on top of a semi-truck. I lowered myself from the top down into the cab where I encountered an amazingly kind driver. He promptly fell in love with me and while I was attracted to him, I kept my boundaries. We politely exchanged phone numbers and then he disappeared. In the dream, my heart continued to long for him. It was his kindness, I think, and the fact that he thought I was really special.

Upon awaking, I thought of this dream and a recent reader request came to mind where I was asked to consider the topic of “unrequited love.” I wondered if this longing was what my reader spoke of. The fairy tales of life. Beauty and the Beast. The story of Ragnelle. Cinderella…this list goes on. The longing for moments when we are truly known and seen through the eyes of another. Often there are no words spoken, it is just a heart “knowing.”

Can love ever be “requited”? What does that even mean? The dictionary defines requite as “making appropriate return for.” Clarity of love, denouement if you will, seems so fleeting. We can all point to times in a movie or story where the hero and heroine look into each others eyes and we see that they are in love, but it usually lasts so briefly. Such is the case with real life, too. I wonder...can we learn to carry those glimpses love with us inside to meet ourselves at our deepest need? Do we need another person in our life to feel that we are being met? While I believe that we are made for relationship, I see also that we often forget there are three principal kinds of relationship: 1) with others, 2) with God and 3) with self.

Relying solely on others only brings heartbreak, because being human brings failure along with it. God can satisfy if we allow ourselves to be open, but some would say even God was lonely and therefore created man. And then man was lonely, so woman was created. Then woman was lonely…A never ending cycle? Is it our curse to always be lonely? That is the paradox for in some regard, I am always alone AND if I believe in God, I am never alone.

Still, my dream showed me the longing. Even as I have strong self-esteem, a great connection with God, friends who love and support me as well as a husband who adores me, there is still the longing. Will love therefore always be “unrequited”? Or can we (must we, perhaps) choose to acknowledge those little moments of love with self, God, others and trust them to be enough? (Realizing that we may always long for more.)

Those moments of trust are strung together like pearls to form a necklace of love around our hearts. Individually they are precious, while hard to see at times. If we allow ourselves to string together the moments, we can see that we have been known. That we are known. Maybe your love is a single pearl ring. Or possibly still even in the oyster. A pearl starts with an irritant (usually a grain of sand) inside the oyster and just like a caterpillar must bump up against the cocoon to form strong wings, so the pearl mills around the irritant while it is being formed. In both cases (the pearl and the butterfly), it is from the struggle that beauty is born. It is my experience that nature does not lie. Is it in the struggle that love is requited?

Maybe I’m still dreaming or living in a fairy tale or out of my mind. Who knows? I would love to know your thoughts on longing and love—be it requited or not ☺ .

photo © geezer dude

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

paris manifesto

One week from today I will be on my flight to Paris! Wow!! Here are today's thoughts and (soft) rules of engagement...

I give myself permission to:
  • look like a fool in Paris
  • take as many silly pictures as I desire
  • sit in one spot all day
  • write & write & write
  • OR not write at all

I give myself permission to:
  • wear clunky shoes if my feet hurt
  • sip champagne in the afternoon
  • climb the Eiffel tower at night
  • fall in love with everything OR nothing (ha!)
  • spend 5 minutes or 5 hours or 5 days in the Louvre

I give myself permission to:
  • walk into fancy stores knowing that I will not appear chic
  • pet haughty French poodles when they look my way
  • ride a bike through the streets of Paris
  • walk when I want to walk
  • take a taxi at least one time
  • ride on the boats along the Seine

I give myself permission:
  • to eat ice cream every day
  • to have croissants for breakfast, lunch & dinner
  • to drink red wine & smoke a cigarette at an outdoor café
  • to sit and write wherever whenever
  • to watch people unabashedly
  • to stare into the eyes of a French woman & not blink first

I give myself permission to:
  • smile & laugh or even dance when the mood strikes
  • touch the gold ring at Notre Dame
  • stand in the light of Saint Chappelle
  • take a train to Versailles or Chartres
  • OR never leave my neighborhood

I give myself permission to:
  • live each day as it comes with no regrets.
  • if I am tired I will sit.
  • if I am really tired, I will sleep.
  • I will stay up all night if the mood strikes.
  • I will follow my heart’s desire.

I give myself permission to:
  • post page after page of blog entries OR
  • not touch my computer until I return home.

I give myself permssion to:
  • be selfish
  • only read MY blog and save others until I get home
  • allow time to stand still
  • live in the moment
  • notice the diamonds around me

I even give myself permission to:
  • be disappointed if it rains
  • or the Mona Lisa is too small
  • or my apartment too dark.

I give myself this gift of eight days in Paris!! Yipppeeeee!!!!!

Merci beaucoup!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

stop. breathe. listen.

what has happened?
where did my spaciousness go?
waxing. waning.
full moon gone behind a cloud of busyness.
stop, my child. breathe.*

Early last week felt so spacious, so inviting, so wonderful. I was moving my body and feeling whole and inspired. This week I feel rushed and crushed. It is eight days until Paris and it feels like it is coming too fast. I will have only eight days there. I want these days to slow down. I want to linger here as I desire to do there.

I spent the past weekend (Friday through Sunday) collaboratively creating a couples workshop for Soltura called “The Paradoxical Dance.” The project is energizing and exhausting all at the same time. We will join together again this weekend to fine tune what we have created so far. Thursday I have collage class and then I will ride the ferry across the Sound to visit friends. I will see students on Monday and Tuesday of next week and then very early Friday morning I will leave for Paris.

It feels too fast. I need to catch my breath. I wanted to go to yoga this morning, but sleep seemed more important. I have a to do list a mile long, but writing and processing a bit feels more essential. My visual journal is calling me as well as magazine clippings that say “create me into something.”

Create me into something. Is that my prayer today? I do not want these days to pass so quickly--only filled with busyness. My longing is to be intentional. To stop and listen to God. To see where my path is leading. To follow the rhythms of my soul. It is my own paradox. When I take time for myself, I seem to have abundant time in other places. When I give to others, I receive blessings in return that I cannot count.

Ahh...I cannot put words to it just yet, but it is my Lenten practice. The spaciousness is returning as I slow down, breathe and listen. Amen.

Where do you need to slow down? Breathe? Listen? What are the paradoxes in your life?

* see posts here and here. they helped me start to put into words how i was feeling this morning.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

award away!!!

It was really a banner day today as I caught up on visiting some of my favorite sites. At thru my lens lightly, I found that I was the recipient of an award. I decided to choose "I Love you this much!" Thank you, Kate I!!

At Sacred Ruminations, Storyteller bestowed the honor of "E is for Excellent" (and I realized then that Sunrise Sister at Mind Sieve had also mentioned me for this one a few days ago. So sorry for the lapse in acknowledgement...maybe I am not so excellent after all. Oops!!)

And one final mention for the day was found at Small Reflections where my favorite choice was "You make my heart flutter..."

As many of you know if you are regular readers, I often make up my own rules. In this case, I am choosing to give the award of your choice to YOU!!! If you stop by here and read (and especially if you comment), please know that I love your most excellent self and you make my heart flutter when you visit! I hope you will select the award of your choice and post it at your own site with my blessings!!!

I am so grateful for this funny little community!! Special thanks to the award givers!!! Write on!!!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

growing pains...mine or hers?

How do you protect someone who is spreading her wings? When is it time for the mother bird to push her baby from the nest? What happens when the baby jumps before the mother is ready? Are they lost to each other forever? Does the mother try to push the baby back into the nest or does she come alongside her young and help them learn to fly?

The natural world is brutal. So is the human world. Can I live with myself if I do not protect her? Can I even protect her? Nothing is in my control especially this bright, spirited young woman. “You have raised an amazing daughter,” she said to me. “You gave birth to a great person.” She is so right, so when will I trust her? When does she stand up and walk on her own two feet? She was so cautious as a baby; waiting until she was sure she could walk. Watching to see that no one knocked her over. Is she still so cautious? She has learned to walk and now she says she is ready to fly. Will I smother her inside the nest to keep her safe? Or will I let her leap, knowing that she may fall? Lord, help me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

snapshots of spaciousness (sans camera)

"If you don’t plow the earth, it’s going to get so hard nothing grows in it. You just plow the earth of yourself. You just get moving. And even don’t ask exactly what’s going to happen. You allow yourself to move around, and then you will see the benefit." --Ms. Fatemeh Keshavarz

This season of Lent has called me deeper into the need of spaciousness and movement for myself. The theme of holy vessel continues to stir inside me and around me. I am always amazed at how God manifests when I allow myself to be still enough and listen closely. The last two days have been glorious mid-winter days filled with blue skies and crisp air. It has been a much needed respite from the long overcast Seattle days. Yesterday I literally felt hypnotically pulled to get outside and walk toward the Olympic mountains that are offered in full view about a mile from my home. I took my i phone and was able to catch a few shots of spring breaking and snow-capped brilliance in my time out. My walk was narrated by a podcast discussing the poet Rumi, so spiritual images accompanied the visual ones around me.

Today was a very different experience. Again, I strongly felt the desire to be outside and moving my body; this vessel I have been called to pay especial attention to this season. This time, however, I sensed that no outside apparatus should accompany me. No phone. No camera. No i-pod. Just me and my good strong walking shoes. While walking, however, I had an image of Kirsten Dunst in the movie, Elizabethtown, in the scene where she fashions her fingers to take a mental snapshot. It felt really important today to “record” snapshots in my mind even though I was certain they would be forgotten by the time I returned home. That, however, was not the case. Here are a few of the images that met me along my morning sojourn:

A tiny sign upon a fence that said, “Please do not feed Riley. Doctor’s orders.” The sun gleaming on the steeple of a church I had never before noticed. White fruit of the looms flattened in the street. Lavender bikini undies at another spot along the way. (Had someone lost their wash or had the world stripped off its clothes to dance naked in the moonlight?) A “no trespassing” sign attached to a church door. Blue sky. Glistening sun. Tiny chickadees playing in bare tree branches. Red, freshly painted doors. Children playing at the park. People happy to be out in the sunshine. God’s presence everywhere.

This morning I was reminded that it is good to listen. It is good to look at the world around me. It is good to be present. It is good to be a vessel. Where are you being called to empty yourself this season? Where are you being called to be filled? How would you describe your vessel?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

night time musings

3:30 a.m. I probably shouldn’t read travel journals before bed. The excitement (and an aching shoulder) keep me awake. The journey. Paris. The details. How will I get to my apartment? My apartment!! I will live in Paris for just over a week. Rue Cler market near my new home. The little details swirl through my head. Can you drink the water? How will I avoid pickpockets? Bus or taxi? Will the drivers speak English?

I see myself rolling my suitcase through the cobblestone streets. Lost or exploring? If I take the Air France bus, my stop will be the Arc de Triomphe. How perfect! It must be done. The grand adventure, awaited a lifetime, coming so quickly. Too soon? No. It is time.

The “before” details. Hair appointment. Pedicure. The right bag. A new journal. Shall I take my favorite pen? Absolutement! I need another camera card. A money pouch. Xerox my documents. Print out instructions. Contact Tess.

What will I plan and what will I simply allow to happen? The surprise. Oh my goodness!! The surprise and adventure of it all. My French is inadequate, but it will be fine. Little movies run through my head. I am encouraged by Alice Steinbach—another woman traveling alone. Shall I take my scissors & glue? Absolutement! French magazines and maps will become my journal. A visual of the time.

What will I do that first day? Walk. Stroll. Wash my face from the all night journey. See the neighborhood. The Arc de Triomphe. The Eiffel Tower. Mona Lisa. (Yes, I have heard she will disappoint and still I need to see her for myself, but not the first day.) Ice cream on the Ile de la Cite. Where will me by favorite café? My favorite patisserie? Will I brave going to dinner alone? Will I make friends? Shall I take tours or do it solo?

That is the fun. I do not have to decide. It is my trip. My journey. Without reservations…or at least with only the necessary ones…the plane and the lodging confirmed. I have two weeks now to prepare. Whew!! I need to get to sleep!

Friday, February 08, 2008

Planning Paris

The plane tickets are purchased, the studio apartment (with free internet, of course) has been rented and for the first time in my life I acquired travel insurance. This is my personal little way of insuring that nothing will happen to keep me from going to Paris ☺. Reverse psychology or something like that, you see?

Thus far everyone I have encountered is delighted and saying “Go! Go! Go!” –with the exception of my 15-year-old daughter who thinks it is she who should be going; and a few friends who think I am nuts to go by myself. (But to be perfectly honest, I think they may just be a little jealous ☺.)

Since this adventure in many ways started with a blog post and I have received nothing less than enthusiastic support from my commenters, it seems only fair that I should keep you up to speed and include you in the plan makings! So, here we go:

Leave Seattle Wednesday, February 27. Arrive Paris Thursday, February 28.
My neighborhood is “in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower”. Don’t you just love that?
I will be returning home on Friday March 7. So, that is eight days and nights in the City of Light. ☺

Now, here is where you come in. A few helpful commenters have already given me “must do’s” for the trip. Your task is to add your own dreams to my list. If you’ve been to Paris before—great! If not, no worries just tell me what you would want to do if you went to Paris. Or perhaps even your favorite movie or book about Paris. Or what you would wear as an American in Paris (or what you wouldn’t wear.) You get the gist of this. You can continue to help me dream, sight see and pack. In return, I promise to take you along on the journey (virtually, of course ☺.)

Here to start the list are a few of my favorite suggestions thus far:

1) Sit in the garden with Rodin’s “The Thinker” on an overcast day. (Theresa)
2) The Musee d’Orsay comes highly recommended by many.
3) See the accessible gargoyles on Notre-Dame and the medieval treasures of the Musee Cluny. (Barbara)
4) Please make sure to touch the small brass ring in the ground in front of Notre Dame to ensure your return to Paris one day. (Pamela)

So, please make your own suggestions and I will add them to the list as we count down to Paris.
(18 days!)

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Vessels. Mother as vessel. Woman as vessel. Broken. Cracked. Whole. Sacred vessel. Holy vessel. Pregnant with hope and life.

A vessel for the season of Lent. If the vessel is closed, I cannot be fed. If it is poured to overfilling, it may crack. Today my vessel feels empty. No, it has been emptied for Lent with wonder and expectation, but the filling of Ash Wednesday was painful and venomous. I would rather be empty than filled with this poison. I do not enjoy this process of filling and emptying. Especially when my choice feels limited. When a fire hydrant opens and pours into your tiny jar, how can it not be tossed around, cracked or broken?

The choice becomes how to be in the brokenness. How to become a vessel that is open to let in the feelings that need to be felt, but to narrow the opening and not let poison fill me to the top. How do I learn to receive the pain that is mine to receive and not carry the guilt for that which I have no control over?

This season of lent feels so much about tending to my vessel. Being gentle with the cracks while not ignoring them. Mending the breaks that I can. Seeing myself as whole. A sacred vessel. Pregnant with hope and life…some days a little more than others ☺.

How are you called to tend the cracks of life? Have you ever considered yourself as vessel? What will help you stay open to God rather than closing off and obstructing your own pathway?

collage by lucy

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Imbolc. For three mornings now this word has been drifting in and out of my mind. (Probably starting with this post.) Imbolc is translated as “in the belly” and that seems to be exactly where the stirring sits. Inside. Embodied. Changing. Shifting.

Last week Sunrise Sister asked, “Has an old person moved into your body?” Some days it feels like one has as my knees creak and my body stiffens. But there is a very young person inside saying, “Make room for me. I have much to do and life to live!”

For many years I had a great discipline of walking several miles most days of the week as well as exercising on a regular basis. Somewhere along the way those disciplines drifted away. While still active, I realize that I now spend more time sitting, writing, and reading. I have not been sleeping as well at night and my head often pounds in the morning when I awaken. Again, I here the voice that says, “Take care of yourself. There is too much to do…to create…to see…to live!”

And so in this way of listening, I happened upon my Lenten practice for the year. It will be a time to take care of my body. Not in a “boot camp” sort of way, but gently and intentionally. Today is Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, which announces the beginning of Lent. Lent traditionally means a time of fasting which can in itself ring of deprivation and another start to already failed New Year’s resolutions. That is not what I am feeling for this season. Again, it is gentler, kinder and more being mindful of how I am treating my body. What I am putting in it. How I will keep it moving. Where I will find rest. It honestly reminds me of being pregnant. Thinking of a seed sprouting from inside. New birth. Growth. Taking care of my body as if it were pregnant, because (figuratively speaking) it is!

Germinating new moments & creations. Moving toward life. What is stirring in your belly as we enter this season of Lent?

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Yesterday I saw God. I saw God in the face of a child. In the eyes of grown men. In the embrace of a friend. In the glow of my husband. All…Skipping. Running. Resting. Excited & joyful. Tender & strong. Men of all ages. Young. Old. In-between. All of them, little boys & men of strength. Unwavering. Speechless & shouting. Hoarse & ever so clear. On their knees & scaling the highest mountain. God was there. Brother and sister. Two souls connected as one. Mother and daughter. Heart sisters. All joined together. Magic. Holy. Eternal. The eyes of a child. Yesterday I saw God. Amen.

Friday, February 01, 2008

My Male Companions ☺

Last week, my main "man" was featured in an interview here.

Today, my dearest furry friend finds himself in print here. (Warning: Riley's site is really for dog lovers only and/or those with a broadened sense of humor and imagination!)

I am blessed to be surrounded by such inspiration!! Je suis tres contente!