The question for me always, is the spiritual angle, because everything has to do with soul. The spirit and soul of life, the meaningful stuff … What does a thing feel like? Intuition, yes, in the quiet moments of my days, and what does a thing feel like as it happens … Or the thing I know my parents taught me, too, to wait until something emerges, a truth emerges, not to decide right away … I love this because it ties in with my more recent learnings about how not to react … Observe first. Which is not the same as being distanced or un-engaged, it’s learning how to experience a thing and not let it devastate or derail or affect you … More of a boundary, or protective womb … an energy field … a kind of like a super power.
Recently the topic of Paris came up in conversation which made me think of my memories of Paris ::
It was a spontaneous trip to visit my youngest sister for less than a week while she lived and studied there for a year. My dream design job in Manhattan ended when the amazing company closed its doors suddenly for personal reasons, not bottom-line-financial. Being in between jobs is the best time for us Americans to travel, it’s usually our only chance to get as much vacation time as Germans do … so I immediately booked my flight to Paris when my sister said yes to the idea …
What does a thing feel like? As I learn with bigger awareness to build a life, this only one life, as I imagine a fulfilling one with connection and meaning - which is very different from designing and controlling it - I go back in time to this little (un paid) vacation with my youngest sister in Paris …
This trip to Paris to have one-on-one time with her was pretty much a honeymoon without the honeymoon component - marriage, husband, rite of passage (sex) … Visiting a country without speaking the language is not appealing to me - I like the feeling of having some language control in Germany - so having E be my personal French-speaking tour guide was the best thing ever. Visiting her during this massive challenge in a French university, and hearing about all her challenges and successes … And having her show off to me her whole world - grocery stores, bakeries, cobble stone streets, university, friends, neighborhoods, subways … She picked me up from the airport and we arrived to her adorable studio where her prepared homemade French onion soup and wine … Having my little sister to myself, all her intelligence, massive observation skills, sense of humor, persuasive conversations (for example talking me out of a nap after flying all night and arriving at 6am … Instead to walk it out, walk the city that first day … !) I remember we called our German Aunt G in Northern Germany who just flooded us with love and adoration that we were taking sister-time like this for each other … Ja. I LOVE that I still have this visual reminder of where we walked every day, her idea to draw on the maps with a visual Key … :) We walked and walked and walked to museums, I bought a ridiculous number of art postcards, took photos as always, we sat in cold cafes with views, and created the fabulous memory of how American were we, that a 3 hour French dinner meant not pleasure but running out of conversation and being fine with wanting to leave after an hour … An oh thank god, you too, moment between us … I loved her sarcastic observations about French banking customer service or lack of it, and and better yet French men, and even French boy babies:: “Future asshole French men”. Out of the mouths of babes, my kid sister, where DID she come up with this stuff? (Beam.)
I think my sister is known for her fierce intelligence and the professional success. As enormously proud of her as I am, what I love about her are all her ways of seeing and describing a thing - God, anything - when she can be absolutely real, which I think maybe is not a space she can often have … There is intelligence but there is more emotional intelligence. There is her version of polite society humor but better yet, there is her real humor. There are the ‘safer’ life decisions, but I know too that when things go wrong, like her time in the Peace Corps - when she writes, it comes from her heart and intelligence, we can only give her our full attention with complete awe and adoration and respect. And love.
My only regret with this trip is that I didn’t follow her around and record every single word, image, facial expression, nuance … Or that I didn’t journal my way through the trip (only 5 days!), and collect every morsel of delicious wit, love, humor, social political environmental emotional observation … I am actually a little jealous of her husband, because that was the disruption of our sistership. I’ll just name it. Only because I can’t have that time back, two single sisters, very bonded, in spite of our 12 year age difference … Life is not a straight line, of course … My gratitude is that I had a lot of time with her to myself, the peak of which was this beautiful, beautiful art and thought and food and wine and talking and walking time in Paris …
As usual, I don’t have answers to how these webs of life on different coasts and create one unified thing, but I do know how a thing feels. So I’m going back in time to get it, this feeling, to remind me, how a thing feels.
I’ve been told that vacations are special, that of course THIS was special precisely because it was a vacation. Ja, no. I’m not accepting that.
Living in Northern California has opened me up the idea that normal daily life can be as good as a vacation, every day. The elements of this vacation that I am absolutely Intent on bringing into my daily life is that level of meaning and connection … More of it, not because I’m a princess (I totally am) but because life is short.
Create the meaningful. Create the magical moments where you are just amazed you get to hang out with that person.
This was magical, my trip with my sister to Paris … xoox.
So the question for me is how, can I create … More … in spite of things that look like obstacles, but by now I’ve learned that obstacles are usually only things we create in our minds …. So, here’s to more of this kind of quality of life ….
And grateful for all, as always … even The Mess of a Thing.