“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” –Oscar Wilde
I received a mail from Megan and decided to share it with you. She is visiting Paris. She is a lone backpacker and a deep-thinker. I was touched by the way she rediscovered the true essence of love in the magnificent city of romance.
Paris is the city for lovers and promises of togetherness but today I am in this romantic place falling in love with the city itself.
It took two hours in a Eurostar to reach the gorgeous city of Paris. I was mesmerized by the beauty of French countryside that passed me by and I couldn’t wait to discover more.
I checked in the warm and cozy hotel by the Eiffel Tower. It couldn’t get better than this. My eyes were transfixed by the spectacular view outside my window.
I grabbed some croissant and fresh juice and decided to stroll upon the famous Pont des Arts Bridge which crosses River Seine. Lovers’ padlocks cram the railings of the bridge; many of the locks have been cut off recently as the increasing weight of ‘love’ threatened to harm the structure. Just like affection laden with expectations impedes the progress of a relationship.
I walked past a young couple giggling at their private joke and another holding hands and gazing deeply into each other’s eyes and there was yet another by the side lost in a kiss. I felt nostalgic. It was redolent of the halcyon days when love bloomed in my heart for the first time. With passing time all I wanted to do was to recreate the gilded magic over and over again. I was addicted to the rush of oxytocin, serotonin and the ‘love hormones’ in my system. But the vagaries of time and fortune can leave you craving and finally withdrawing from the perfect place. I felt queasy and momentarily distracted by the thought and stopped by in a bistro for a cup of ‘joe’.
I met this young artist with deep, dark eyes and a cheerful smile set on a rugged jawline perched on a bench in the courtyard of the cafeteria along with a canvas of an unfinished painting. It was utopian. I felt I was once again in my Shangri-La creating characters from the scattered remains of my desires wanting to generate the happy-hormone.
We got into a conversation soon when I complimented him for his work. He was from Brussels which was my next destination. I started gathering information. He suddenly interrupted me and said, “Madame you look like a lovely portrait!” I was slightly embarrassed but thanked him before moving on to Louvre, the Parisian Icon, the largest and most visited museum in the world.
I hopped from one majestic site to the other happily. My mind kept poking me, reminding me of my solitary status, my family, my dwindling resources but somewhere deep down I felt liberated and detached from the drama. I felt valued and taken care of, only this time there was no particular object of adulation, it was just pure state of being in love not with somebody or something. A fountain of sublime self-love surged from within and I felt like paying attention to my needs, my dreams and my life for a change.
In the evening, I dug into the pleasures of rosé Champagne along with beet risotto and some chocolate mousse. I texted my husband a message of gratitude for gifting me my free-spirited self which was jaded in the attempt to please and conform. I thank you my friend for convincing me to take this leap.
Live and love as this is the only life you have and it’s meant to be a gift, not a penance for your sins.
Love & Joy,