I spent last weekend in Paris for my 40th birthday.
The light in Paris is like no where else I have experienced in the world.
Diffused by the colour of the buildings, the soft greenery of the leaves, the reflections on floor length windows it really does fill the atmosphere with an air of romance.
I’ve always had a love for Paris.
When I was small I always wanted to see the Eiffel tower as we drove every year to our home in the South of France – bypassing the city so I didn’t get the chance to witness it in person.
Apart from one year, when I was 6. My dad drove us through the city so finally I could catch a glimpse of the tower that I knew France was famous for. He didn’t however have the heart to wake me so after the diversion he took – I missed it – but what I did wake to was my very own replica Eiffel tower that stood around 4 inches high and I loved that little tower with all of my tiny might!
But one thing that I realised on this trip was that my love for Paris wasn’t just because of the light, it wasn’t because of the history, the rich artistic weave of talented artisans and musicians that flooded the streets years ago, it wasn’t the stories of grandeur or poverty or the incredible architecture – those iron balconies, tin roofs, dusky buildings and wooden shutters.
No, my love for Paris comes from my want to experience life to its fullest.
The Parisians live a different way than I am used to.
If you look at the time taken, the intricate detail, the combination of flavours put into each and every single item in a patisserie you can see how life gets to be about the small details, the pleasures, the moments that make up the whole.
And in Paris it’s so easy to take the time to experience that with each flavour, meal, pastry or cake being so bursting with richness, with fullness that you can’t help but take time to savour each and every bite and mouthful with delight, with passion, with love and experiencing light.
Each building is crafted with such intricate detailing, each street bursting with life, with history, with tree’s that make your heart flutter as the light tumbles and filters through the branches on to the sandy floor or cobbled path below.
Paris is a delight for the senses and if you take the time suggested by the architecture, by the landscaping of the parks, the design of the streets, the alfresco dining, the food, the fashion – the whole damn experience – you begin to find your self able to breath.
Being surrounded by beauty and suggestion to savour it – to be present in the moment – to enjoy life this second whether you’re tasting a macaron so bursting with flavour your mouth waters between nibbles you take to make it last longer - or whether you’re just taking a walk down a street everything around you asks you, calls for you to look, to be present, to take a moment, to be fully here right this second to experience life.
And that’s something we don’t often take time for.
Life has become so much about the fast result, we want everything at our finger tips and if our phones or internet runs slow for 30 seconds crisis hits.
We get so used to our surroundings that we forget to stop to appreciate them the way we did when we looked upon them with fresh eyes.
We get so used to eating the same foods because they’re fast to make, because we have so much to do that we forget to just be.
But we’re human beings not human doings.
We need to just be to feel alive, to experience life in its full capacity, to become present, to breathe and to take it all in for a moment.
I’ve returned from Paris with a heart so full that I could cry.
I spent time with my family walking the streets with no rush or time to have to be somewhere appreciating the design, appreciating the small moments like watching my daughter sit up to the table on an adult chair, for a meal in a restaurant, unaided for the first time. We visited Versailles and I got to experience Yvie running with abandon through the courtyard with delight to be in a beautiful open space it was almost as though she had been there before and was just so happy to return to her playground. We walked in the footsteps of Kings, of artists, of our ancestors consuming every thing we could fix our gaze upon with each breath.
And all of these details that I have already touched on and talked about just gave me that space to not even think or process, or have to do, or have to be anything other than present.
And its filled my cup.
Life doesn’t have to be about the hustle, about the doing, it gets to be about just being and when we take the time, use our power to design our lives so we can have the time to experience the beauty, to savour the moments and to be present more often we get to keep that fullness in our hearts.
It's only when our cups are full that we can give from the overflow without becoming exhausted, so like Paris suggests I fully intend to take more time to experience the beauty around me, to savour moments and to allow my self to just be without the guilt of having to do.
Design your life the way you want to live, be present in the small moments, do things that fill your heart.
We're only here this one time as far as we know so we may as well make the most of it.