It’s Valentines day. a day to celebrate love. and you are the beloved. so it’s time to give real love. to yourself. it’s called deep self-care. because if you can’t love yourself. well you know this. this is the first thing. before anything else.
Sometimes this is hard. really hard. maybe you weren’t loved as you should have been. or cared for attentively. it’s a sad thing to not be held. valued. loved. to feel unlovable in any way. inside yourself. deep down. you might feel undeserving. so you try to be more. all the while feeling you are not good enough. or thin enough. or interesting enough. or gorgeous enough. or successful enough. or whatever enough. your intellect tells you this isn’t true. or fair. or right. but deep inside you is that thing. the script that says you are not enough.
This is a Christmas Story. it might turn out to be one long rambling sentence. or take a more poetic shape. more likely it is snippets of something. pieces of a life that are gathered into a nonlinear narrative. think of it as a bit like the experience of watching a french movie. hopefully it’ll make sense in the end.
I plan to cast a net into the minor pleasures of a single morning. yet it is a particular morning.
An ordinary Christmas morning.
Stranger things are happening. To me. Literally. A Ms It’s Ageing Time Stranger Thing Person has turned up in my bathroom mirror. Seriously. I’ve freaked out a bit. I don’t know her. And she won’t leave. No matter what I do. It’s all rather startling. A bit of a brutal blow. You know what. Ms It’s Ageing Time Stranger Thing Person. You can f*#k off out of my life. I don’t have time for this. Not now.You see I’ve finally made a sort of peace with myself. Well with my younger self. I’ve gotten a lot of stuff sorted. Patched up the bruised and broken bits. I know myself. More clearly. I’m ready to get on with it. With full on living. Then I’m asked to age. Get old. Gracefully. WTF.
It wasn’t my fault that my childhood was a bit screwed up and I had to become a doctor and study psychiatry to sort it all out. I needed time for all that. Get me the latest anti-aging potions. I’ve got shit to do. Important shit. Really important stuff. So I don’t have time for this gracefully aging nonsense.
Paris is a feast. I believe everywoman deserves at least one long delicious Paris feast. Including you. So will you come. Take your place at that table. I’m preparing it now. For you.
Who of you hasn’t watched Amelie. Longed to skip stones across that canal. Splashing away time. In a red dress. I know I did. Actually I’m pretty sure it was that scene that alerted me to the fact that Paris actually had a canal. Through the Tenth Arrondissement. With picturesque iron bridges and lochs lined pale green. The light filtering softly through the chestnut and plane trees. That it might be a cool place to hang about in. And it is.
The Tenth Arrondissement is a modern everyday sort of Paris. Not postcard pristine. Yet oddly pretty. Sometimes. Still urban and multicultural. Yet in that bo-ho-fair-trade-organic-artisan-hipster kind of way these days.
I’m preparing a feast. And you mon soeurs are invited. To sit at the table. It’s with a small group of women. To savour the sweetness of life. In Paris. Are your tempted. You should be. It’s going to be delicious. The Feast will begin Sunday September 2nd. We’ll meet at lunchtime to share food and story and start the journey to deeper noticing. To real life mindfulness. From Paris to pleasure to passion. I’ll have some gorgeous goodies (like my handmade Journals, Personal Paris Prompts, Journey Cards and a surprise My Paris Story gift) for everyone. Later we’ll walk some Paris rues together and finish with a sunset boat ride on the Seine.
After this each day will be devoted to a different sense. To awaken the body and mind. To rekindle womanly wonder. Then we’ll bring it all together on the last day. To take a difference home.
Mostly we’ll meet as a group after breakfast and do some ‘learning’ and sharing. Just enough to inspire and energize you. After that we’ll be out on the street experiencing Paris in various ways. There will be a balance of organised and free time. Sometimes there will be personal Paris challenges that you’ll undertake then we’ll regroup. Share the apero hour. Of course. An essential Paris pleasure.
Here’s a sample day. Day 2. It will be about Scent. We’ll learn how the sense of smell links to memory and use various scents and smelling words to access our forgotten dreams. We’ll talk about my journaling technique of ‘Savouring the Sweet Stuff of Living’. It’s a bit like gratitude only more sensual. We’ll visit the new Grande Perfume Museum and later make our own signature scent at a private workshop. By the end of the day we’ll be smelling like roses. Literally!
Now I’m not going to give absolutely everything away. To save some surprises. But you need to have some idea of the budget. The cost will include 7 nights single accommodations with breakfast at a sweet hotel that I have personally stayed at. Daily cost of access to Museums and workshops. A boat trip on the Seine. A welcome and farewell meal. And your goodies package. Including two ebooks prepared by me to get you ready to go. And for when you come home. It won’t include travel to and from Paris nor travel insurance. I’ll be finalising the details soon but it will be about $4200. That’s Australian currency.
So if you are hungry for something like this let me know. If you are a midlife woman who needs to take time out for deep self care. If you sense your need to nourish your spirit to truly flourish. If you need to focus on yourself without the responsibilities of your everyday life. If you would love the support and company other other women. If you dream of uncovering the real Paris. If you are ready to open your heart to the pleasures of Paris. Then join me for this feast.
This is much more than a tour. It’s an experience that is designed to make a difference in how you experience life. To rekindle your passionate self. And to connect with other midlife women who are a lot like you. Numbers are limited to make it more personal. I’ll be taking deposits after Christmas and sending out the preparatory materials in March. In the meantime I’ll keep you posted. And I’ll be tempting you by sharing something that’s on the menu of each day.
It will be absolutely delicious. And life nourishing. So I hope you’ll give this to yourself. Join in the Feast. Because you are worth it. Because its Time. To Be the Rose.
With Love. Bernadette.
I discovered how to be beautiful. It was in Paris. And it’s good news ladies. It has nothing to do with the smoothness of your skin, the thickness of your lashes or even the firmness of your thighs. I wasn’t even on the look out when I saw it. The beauty thing. Yet in that moment as I understood what I saw I felt like I remembered beauty. It was as if I had re-found something lost to me. It was an authentic sort of quality I realised I had become separated from.
Mr G and I were recently lounging in our bed. Reading. You know those lovely lazy Sunday mornings. When time slows. Then he wistfully lamented. I miss the little boys. Time froze. Yes oh yes me too. In the long moment that followed our empty nest an aching void we held between us.
Later I weep. I’m listening to Patti Smith weep too. As she reads. It’s a piece from her wonderful memoir ‘M Train’. Her prose so lyrically articulates the particular sting of this pain.
‘We want things we cannot have. We seek to reclaim a certain moment, sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother’s voice. I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift. Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter taller than me, weeping from a bad dream. Please stay forever I say to the things that I know. Don’t go. Don’t grow.’
In those moments I think. Yes. We should have frozen our little boys. Somehow. So they could stay forever. Always eight and six. Caught those golden curls and the sweet cherub mouths. The agile limbs and giggling delight as they tumble ahead along the sandy path over the dunes down to Tallow Beach. This particular image is forever etched deeply inside me. Sunny and shining. Like a faded colour Polaroid.
Perhaps if I had thought to call out. No don’t grow. Don’t go. Please stay forever. And don’t decay. Don’t age. Or shrivel. Or break in any way. And never ever melt away.