On The Road: 6.11.17
This week, I started to accept the fact that I actually will need a scarf and umbrella soon, I realised I have no prior experience with apartment heating due to my tropical Queensland, Australia upbringing, I let myself take the day off work on Friday because I felt like it and I saw lots of live music too.
The longer I stay grounded in this one place where I'm happy to be, the more relaxed I become. New waves of peace and productivity keep coming in. When you move around a lot, there are these levels of what you can possibly manage to organise for yourself to make your life better, almost like Maslow's hierarchy of needs. When I'm very ungrounded and moving around a lot, I'm basically in emergency mode, and I can only manage to organise the essentials – food, water, suitcase, wifi, bed, shower, meditate. As I become more and more settled in a place, I take on new things that make my life easier but take time to organise – workspace, really good food, wardrobe, seeing friends, calls back home, sim card. And now, as I've been here in this place for over six months, I'm reaching all new levels of luxury – lots of really good food, practising music, doing nothing, watching tv, sleeping in, reading, writing, yoga. I'm seeing more and more peace flood in to my life as a result of all and this and a really easy, natural productivity and creativity is becoming more and more available to me. I haven't felt this relaxed in a long time. My cup is filling up and up.
This week, I'm going to sign up for Yoga Connect, like the French Netflix for yoga videos, so I can practice yoga from home in the mornings or after work and work on my French at the same time subconsciously. I'll report back how it's going! I'm also going to make a weekly booking at a piano practice room I was going to a few suburbs away from me on Friday mornings, I was doing this when I first arrived here but got way too busy. I'm feeling like I have the time to take on this little luxury again now. When I know doing these seemingly unproductive things make me feel so good, grounded, connected, it's easier to make time for them.
One of our favourite local bars near our workspace, Bliss Studio, closed its doors this week and a few of us went down for last drinks one evening. This is a place that embodies a unique kind of Parisian charm for me; stylish in a nonchalant, under-the-radar way, effortlessly charming and cheeky, good quality without being too proud about it, this is how I'd describe the people that work here, frequent here and the décor that adorns this place too.
On our way to the bar walking down our street, we ran into a neighbour living above the workspace and he joined our pack, an unexpected welcome addition. He seemed to prefer to speak to French and we always want an excuse to have to do so, a Swedish girl and two Australians, so the night took on a new twist. He was perhaps the first Frenchman I've met here to actually wear the quintessential beret and turtleneck and, as a writer, he had lots of interesting questions for us and stories too. My friend told me, tongue in cheek, that he was the Hemingway of our street, but I kind of started to see it after a while; he did tell us he was writing a novel about his travels in Spain after all.
He asked us, my Australian friend and I, both from Brisbane, why we lived in Paris. We explained to him with overwhelming enthusiasm and imperfect French, that we live here because the city surprises us every day. For a big city, it's not as fast-paced as the likes of London or New York, life is still kind of slow, meandering, and because of this, unexpected things do happen quite often. We talked about how we found it novel and exciting that Parisians spend so much time out of their apartments, living their lives in the streets and cafés, because as Australians our houses are big, comfortable, lovely enough to want to spend a lot of time at home. We told him that the people we see on the streets are often characters we can't believe are real, dressing in clothes so fancy or wild so as to make them a bit magic. We explained all this to him, noting that even that night we hadn't expected to meet him there or for all the characters in the bar to ever walk in; this night was one of those surprises that make Paris wonderful.
With the full moon on this Saturday just passed, I must admit I was feeling terribly anxious and unfocused towards the end of the week. I couldn't sleep well and all the things that have been sitting, lurking in the back of my mind that worry me, my visa situation, relationships, work, money, future, all came to sit right at the front. Whenever I'm feeling the crush of these kinds of worries, I always listen to this meditation from one of my teachers, the Present Moment Awareness Meditation (free download here) to connect with the fact that right there, sitting in my bed or the bathtub or at work, I'm safe and all is well. Once I'm feeling safe again in the present and distanced enough from those worries, I can unpack them one by one and talk myself through them so much more constructively. I know this full moon energy comes up to help us heal things, to push things in front of our faces so we can't ignore them any longer, but man, they hurt sometimes.
Full moon back home in Australia by the beach at night a while ago.
So the full moon crush came and then started to go from Friday night onwards for me. I follow pretty closely the collective energy readings of teacher/writer Helen Jacobs on her Instagram, and she's been talking all year about the last three months of the year being a time for emergence. I'm really feeling this, it's exciting to have more and more clarity but also to be creating some new tangible things finally (like me feeling like writing in this journal more and more, for example). But as always, these things are never as dramatic as you expect them to be in your head.
Change comes in tiny drips so you could almost not notice it if you weren't looking. After a while it all adds up to something though, you turn around one day to look back and everything has changed. I know this is what's happening, I'm trying to celebrate and notice all the little changes I'm making every day, every week.
This week, Pitchfork came to town to put on a music festival, with the main event over the weekend at a huge hall and the avant-garde nights beforehand during the week at lots of tiny venues in the 12th for more up-and-coming bands. I've been wanting to go this festival for years but was either never in Paris or never organised enough to get tickets until now, yay for me. Paris is a city that values art and culture so much, for me it feels like one of the most important things in life here, it's not a side note. Every one of my friends here are either prolific creators or appreciators, or both, of art, music, fashion, photography. For me, being in the presence of art I connect with, art I think is beautiful, something I've never seen or heard or felt before, it connects me with something bigger, gives me faith that there's more than what we can just see, touch, explain, it's a good feeling.
We saw so many bands we loved, experimental electro/folk/pop Wovoka Gentle from the UK, pop/funk Isaac Delusion from France and indie pop Sylvan Esso from the US. These were my favourites that made me feel that good, connected feeling bursting from my body. Surely this feeling is good for me and overflowing into other parts of my life that I don't even understand.
I'll write again next week ❤