Think Tank Thursday: And the Winds Blow

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Today is a blustery day in Paris. Un temps d’hiver, gale winds and that spitting Paris rain that starts in October and parades through the streets with pride until early April. The wind might be great for sailing on the coast, but not so much walking the streets of Paris.

There is a reason all those romantic black and white images of couples holding red umbrellas exist you know???

Ahhh, but it is still Paris!  And nothing even comes close to it. The Eiffel Tower still lights up every night, for the next two days with the name of Johnny Hallayday, a kind of French Elvis Presley who died yesterday. The streets are lined with lights, some with small wooden chalets offering their wares in a temporary Christmas markets. Stores stay open longer (trust me, if you are an American, this is a big deal! Since we are accustomed to merchants open 9 to 11 everyday..)

So today, despite my reluctance, I wandered out in the elements. Being Paris, you typically shop for food every day, weather smeather. It is just an accepted fact. While out, however, I decided I would venture down to the closest street market. I still have Christmas gifts to buy.

And wow, I can’t even begin to describe the window displays. They are always intriguing, but during this season, they, well, they leave me almost speechless. I think the French are born with a special gene that enables them to turn everything into a work of art.

After a non-productive gift outing, collecting the requisite groceries and, I confess buying a new sweater and scarf, because you can never have enough of those around during winter, I headed home.

When I arrived, I had a message. I won’t go into the details, but it was one of those, let me sit down messages. The kind that pierces your heart and begs you to pay attention to this “one wild and precious life” as Mary Oliver puts it.

So, I am writing to you. I know I owe you the next steps in the process of writing your book in 12 months. I promise I will deliver.

But just for a moment I want to encourage you to look at your life, really look at it. And then ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the one thing that would bring me the most joy? (not food, clothes or a car.. real joy)

  • Am I making plans to do/get/be it?

  • If not, what is holding you back, cause if its time, we need to talk…

This is the season where we all seem to become gentler, kinder, more generous, more reflective.

I am asking you to

Be those things.

Tell your loved ones you love them. Forgive minor disagreements. Spend more time hugging than you do shopping. Gather around a table and ask everyone what they are most thankful for in the last day, the last hour or minute. Take a walk together and look at lights. Put music on, then sing and dance the night away.

Don’t let moments slip by unnoticed.

Romance the Odyssey that is your life.

À demain et Bisous!