Friday, April 18, 2014

All signs point to go

Even planning a journey is a journey - or - it can be. It has been in this case.

I set out for Paris many weeks ago when I bought the ticket. Actually, a part of me has been there since my 60th birthday. When I pressed the PURCHASE TICKET button on the Air France website, though, it felt like a much larger percentage of my soul took off over the Atlantic. I've been neither here nor there, forgetting about appointments or double booking people, eating badly and not sleeping well.

The part of me that remains in Washington DC has struggled mightily. On some level, I dug in my heels. I was conflicted, in flux, as the Sufi acupuncturist said. The part of me already in Paris argued bitterly with the part of me here in DC.

All the omens were dreadful until a couple of days ago. Maybe you wonder what kind of omens. Here's an example. I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in awhile, someone who had no idea I'm going.

Me: Hey, how are you?
Friend: Great! So good to be home from Paris. God, there's a pall hanging over the city. The restaurants are lackluster and the wine makers discouraged - people are depressed. They had that terrible pollution that made international news, and then the Sahara dust storm. I'm telling you, it was---
Me: Please stop! I'm going in 2 weeks!

That is a bad omen. Another sad portent: one of the women I'm traveling with has suffered the sudden loss of a sibling.

So you see I'm not talking about lukewarm omens.

But something in the time-space continuum shifted a couple of days ago. Maybe it was the acupuncture. I calmed down somewhat, and then the way cleared. On the way home from the acupuncture, I kept hearing Walk with the dragons. Walk with the dragons. Within an hour I had booked a room at the Hotel Du Dragon. I know someone personally who has stayed there. I believe I will be very comfortable. Also, the horrible rental agent from the apartment in Montmartre refunded my money. I had to threaten, but at last he relented. This may mark the end of the pattern of epic fails I've experienced recently. Usually it's hard to extract a refund, but they returned every penny. The omens have turned around.

The process of planning and thinking about the trip has been arduous. I had to let go of the idea that I could recreate the Paris of my Aunt Edie. That Paris is gone. My aunt is gone, but so is her era, the Jean Luc Godard Paris. The way I imagined this trip was utter fantasy. The process of deconstruction was painful and healing. I have grieved and let go as best I can.

As it turns out, I'm meant to visit the Paris of right now which will be, for me, a brand new Paris. I'm curious and at last looking forward to it.

Likewise, I'm meant to visit Paris as myself, not as the slightly intimidated niece of my Aunt Edie. When I've been there in the past, my aunt called all the shots - chose the restaurants, gave me wardrobe advice, explained what was going on, corrected my behavior. This time, I will think of her with warmth and love while doing my shamanic dance with the sandy basin of the land, the river and its many bridges, fragments of old city walls and such. I will go to the Paris of right now as myself, the urban shaman. I am so curious to see what that means.

At last I'm looking forward to going. I thought I might cancel the trip there for awhile. I was so discouraged! But the situation has turned around. I am grateful.


  1. Good! Be open to what it is. Your friend's opinion might have been more about her than Paris.

  2. It's a man who travels a lot. He is the jolliest, most upbeat guy you can imagine. He's Very Gay, beautiful, tall, shapely. He rows; he has his tribe. I've read about the restaurants' decline and the malaise in the national psyche. The Parisians are not often optimistic anyway. It will be interesting to taste the energy.

  3. I'm so glad you've turned the corner on this! Yes, this is a NEW Paris for you. See you soon!

  4. What a relief! It's always surprising to revisit something at different stages of life--I hope your insights are rewarding. (I'm sure they will be.)

  5. I, too, am glad you have moved beyond that "dreading Paris" part.