Paris Is Always a Good Idea

“When I was ten years old, my father and I took a trip to Paris, leaving my younger brother and mother in London where she was filming a movie. My dad believed in one-on-one time with us, and sometimes that extended to a weekend away. We stayed at a great hotel and he said I could order whatever I wanted for breakfast (French fries). We went to the Pompidou museum, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre – the usual spots. It was pretty great. On the plane back to London he asked me if I knew why we had gone, just he and I, to Paris for the weekend. I said no, but I felt so lucky for the trip. He said, “I wanted you to see Paris for the first time with a man who would always love you, no matter what.”

-Gwyneth Paltrow,  actress

I love some of the deeper shares from Gwyneth Paltrow and her website GOOP.


paris good idea

My first trip to Paris was at age 17 and also was made with my father.  At the beginning of my senior year of high school my father sat me down and said he would like to take me to Europe that coming summer.  He said that unfortunately, because of the family obligations (I am the oldest of 10 children), that he would not be able to pay for the trip, but that if I worked really hard that year, he would help me.  So my sister (the one just younger) and I set up a little cleaning business and I socked away every penny that I could.  That summer, before heading to college, I spent a magical month in Europe visiting 10 countries with my Dad and this same precious sister (who also had worked so hard that year) by my side.

Now, this travel was done back in the day when money needed to be exchanged at each border.  My Dad said that if I would hand my savings over to him, he would take care of all that needed to be done.  He got the tickets, set the itinerary, arranged the transportation, booked the accommodations and did all the money exchanging, etc.  All I had to do was just ask him for my money in as much of a given country’s currency as I thought I needed as we moved around.  I kept a careful eye on my budget, I spent wisely and I had a wonderful time making some incredible memories.

When I got home and I was getting ready to move away to school, one night my father came to me with an envelope.  Inside it was a copy of my bank statement.  Every penny that I had earned over that year for the Europe trip was still in my account.  He gave me a huge hug.  He said how proud he was to have watched me truly appreciate something that I had worked so hard to achieve and he said to enjoy the emergency fund I now had available to me while going through school :).  Since that first trip to Europe 26 years ago, I have had the privileged to return to that continent many times again and each time I appreciate it more and I also learn something new.

For me one the greatest gifts of travel outside ones home country and culture is being gifted a mirror back into ones self.  It is a unique mirror which helps show where I have allowed myself to be defined and to internally identify as who and what I am, that which is actually just external details… instead, just parts of where I was born and what that particular place has taught me about the experience of being human.  What parts I think make up who M is, are actually just voices that come from being born an American? …(and expanding on that being a woman, wife, daughter, sister, Christian, college graduate, middle class, dancer, challenged cook, cat lover, closet George Michael fan, yellow mustard eschewer, …and on and on and on). Travel gives a wonderful opportunity to be moved outside ones comfort zone and into the flow of the unknown where one must trust their true selves and the world around them when common language and familiar food, customs, locations, etc. are not available to help navigate the living of life.

With my background in psychology, from time to time I also keep an eye on what is happening in that field and recently I came across something they are calling the Paris Syndrome.  It is a condition where people visiting Paris for the first time immediately start exhibiting an acute onset of symptoms of mental illness.  Absolutely fascinating.  It is another very interesting dynamic on the importance and power of what one can learn about themselves and the way they construct their world by traveling:

I know there is an actual place on the map called Europe and it contains a city called Paris, but the deeper dive is that it is in the human mind and how we think about what is happening in our lives when in that place called Paris, which is what makes our experience of the world we see around us as really real.

Paris is always a good idea, but what that idea can give you in your life is completely and totally up to you.  Ultimately what Paris is at it’s core for me is a state of mind.  In my world Paris is watching the elegant decay of the old while encouraging blossoming of the new… all which I do not mind participating with one bit, hopefully while sipping a cup of tea at Mariage Frères in the Marais, preferably wearing something cashmere as I observe the world go by :).


I’ll be your dream
I’ll be your wish I’ll be your fantasy
I’ll be your hope I’ll be your love
Be everything that you need
I’ll love you more with every breath
Truly, madly, deeply do
I will be strong I will be faithful
’cause I’m counting on
A new beginning
A reason for living
A deeper meaning, yeah

(yes a big time cheese song, but oh, the beautiful maze of the street scapes of Paris… where I loose and find and fall in love WITH MYSELF over and over each time I go!)

This entry was published on April 30, 2013 at 11:13 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

13 thoughts on “Paris Is Always a Good Idea

  1. and to my beloved Papa-san…

    Dad, thank you for sharing your wisdom. For teaching me how to trust, love and be myself. Like Gwyneth, I am so grateful to have been gifted Paris for the first time, seeing it with a man who always loves me no matter what.

    -xo, Your M


    and to seeingM readers…

    My father at age 18 was a farm boy from Idaho. Due to a selective service clerical error, he at age 19 was conscripted into the American military and ended up serving for two years at the Berlin wall in Germany. This initial paperwork error, which at the time was a huge challenge, in the end meant that when the mandatory draft later came for the Vietnam war, my father had already given his service to his country. As I had several friends in high school whose father’s died fighting in that war, I have a special gratitude for the blessings that can come from what at first can seem like terrible mistakes in life.

    I am so grateful to the man who is my Father for his courage, which birthed an adventurous spirit. It led him to make the choice at the end of his army service at age 21 to spend time traveling by himself in Europe… then at age 22 to serve a mission for his church, living for two additional years back then in Denmark. The importance of a larger exposure to the world and the power of what can be learned about oneself from the experience of it, was directly passed on to me from him. I live forever in gratitude to him for this.

  2. caimbeul on said:

    Doggone M I don’t know what to say except an absolutely touching the heart and bones post-thanks.

    • A true, deep and meaningful compliment coming from one, who with profound courage, left the watch on the dashboard of that fast car… THANK YOU M!

      made a little room past the BMW for truth to blossom?
      made the way into the night and back into the sun?

      I am happy to report that the purse that cost me more than my first car also has permanently made it’s home way in the back of my coat closet as well. Celebrating what was (and oh, Louis V how beautifully crafted you are) and what there is room for now as well (M how beautifully crafted you are)! 🙂

      Caimbeul, in the absence of those false securities, I suspect we are practicing a similar religion these days. Consciously switching that reality channel changer. Fast TO love is a beautiful place to be.

      Joy and a cup of freedom tea to you lovely man.

      (Was going to post up Fastlove, but think I will share this little love song instead:)

      Yes, with evolving eyes making things true, even George comes close to getting it. ALERT ALERT BAD TASTE ALERT! Shhhh… but, we won’t tell anyone else about my thing for him, now will we?! lol

  3. SeeingM – An expansive view is exactly right – a spiritual prescription today 🙂 I so love the stories through your telescope – I cry and laugh and dance all at the same time from what is embedded in your words/worlds. Your father’s life and gifts inspire me out of my day to day tasking and shift my eye more toward what’s possible. m x!

    • Thank you M! The structure of these posts at times can be rickety as they seem to spring out of each other, but the words are left with heart felt gratitude and love for whomever finds their way to them.

      How wonderful to find the true power and romance of conscious travel, at the end of the day, is always really only ever a thought away. Sharing a long distance cup of tea with you in a Parisian state of mind is a delight!

  4. Some bizarre humor to accompany your lovely post…

  5. Awake on said:

    Wow, everything about this post inspires a greater love. Thank you.

  6. “Paris, a state of mind” – so true. If so, what else? I am fascinated by the flow you allow and the landscapes it paints.. Thanks! tomas ♥ L’amour c’est beau oui !

  7. The challenge is painting a landscape that is recognizable, repeatable and that can be shared. So much seems to be dancing on the edges, just beyond the ability to be captured by words these days as “Paris” expands.

    That the flow found here is fascinating is a reflection of the connections you allow onto your corner of the shared canvas. Very happy to find my finger painting within your sights :). Appreciate your sharing in return. -x.M

  8. Thanks for sharing the magic, aren’t dads wonderful? Lol, the Paris syndrome sounds absolutely ridiculous, how self absorbed must one be to make oneself ill from reality? After college, I had the best time in Paris, exploring the culture, learning the language, making friends. The trick is to travel with zero expectations of what’s to come, then everything comes at you like a grand adventure, fresh and new. And that’s the way I choose to live my life, in this moment, anything is possible! Thanks for sharing your loving perspective on life. Remember if you want to have fun, leave your mind at home… but do bring daddy’s American Express! 😀 ♥

  9. The mind is so powerful. Yes, when we allow it full access to the drivers seat in our lives, many interesting things can happen that shatter our ability to navigate the actual reality that is right in front of our noses. Experiences like the Paris Syndrome are wonderful little bugs in the system that have the potential to cause pause. They create interference patterns that are hard to ignore and leave one with opportunities to wake up to some of the deeper layers involved with really engaging responsibly in ones life. Don’t like what you see when you look at Paris? Once you know you have a huge part in creating your experience of it, you take the first steps towards liberation and it’s re-creation.

    Your time in Paris sounds wonderful! For me it was a powerful thing when I learned to take those external experiences and boil them down to the essence of why they happened and what they had to teach me about my real life journey. Locations on maps no longer become about sightseeing, but rather provide insight seeing :). Being well traveled then becomes about how we are able to be inside ourselves no matter where we are to be found traveling outside in the world.

    Thanks for the share 1EU!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: