Sometimes, the seemingly spontaneous can bring about the most profound life lessons. This is certainly what I found to be true from a last-minute and unplanned trip to Paris for the weekend. When you’re not always in control, or not always thinking (or rather over-thinking) ahead of time, that blasé moment of almost gung ho-like fun opens up your mind and frees your soul to learn and grow. Here’s what I learned…
Hitting the streets of Paris for the very first time (I know, where have I been, right?) the smell and excitement of this vibrant city hits you straight away. Paris has its own ambiance, smell and sounds that I’ve never seen replicated elsewhere.
As you leave the metro in the heart of this cultural city, the pulse just envelops you and engulfs your senses like no other place. But carry on looking down and you’re missing a trick! Up above your head are layers-upon-layers of apartments, balconies and roof terraces. You might also entirely miss some of the most exquisite architectural features and beautiful blooms cascading down.
For me this was a lesson in just taking time, not always being in a hurry. Just be present in the moment, appreciate the small things, and be grateful for everything that surrounds you. Just stand still, and breathe….
You never know where there is hidden beauty – look through not just at the obvious façade.
Strolling through the narrow streets and passages of downtown Paris, you will see some beautifully-ornate doors, so plain ones, huge metal ones, tiny painted ones, etc. as you would in any major city. But in Paris, you can sometimes spy the unexpected, if you just take the time to look. Have an impish peep through a cut-out silhouette in the front and you might just see a whole secret and glorious world – lavish architecture, the most divine floral cascades from tubs and balconies, or even a building more impressive and grand than the outside would ever imply.
It made me realise that we often do this so much in life – take things and even people who are seemingly ordinary or boring and never look for that excitement; never dig deeper or investigate for those hidden gems.
If you think about someone you now know well – maybe your partner, or your boss – think about your first impressions of them – most likely you see them a completely different light than the way you initially met him or her? This is what we need to do more as a habit, extend our disbelief and judgement until we get to know people better. They may be our new best friend or even the love of our life. You just never know. Look for the extraordinary.
Go with the flow of life sometimes – don’t be too tense
Each city has a flow, a pace of life, a way of living that is unique. Parisians are always in a hurry and each minute seems to be precious – just look at how they drive and cross streets and you’ll see this in action – everyone has to get everywhere, first, and right now!!
However, they also enjoy life so much…great food, café lifestyle, staying in bars until late and night, and generally being out of the house and socialising. If you go to Paris and ignore the way they live, your visit might be awkward and harassed – and you would find yourself getting frustrated and annoyed at the noise, the traffic and the general hustle and bustle.
But, submit to it. Go with the flow. Allow yourself to be swept along with the culture and lifestyle. It’s all too tempting to be a bit rigid and to know who we are and what we love (and stick to it), but then you miss out on the possibilities to grow and take on board something unconventional or unfamiliar.
By letting other people show you and guide you, submit and submerge yourself in a different lifestyle- even for the shortest time – you allow yourself to learn not just something new but another pocket of your own personality, or another facet of who you are.
I went home a happier and more excited girlie – a heart full of love and joy.
Try something a new way to travel – you might just love it
Ok, so somehow I got to the age of 44 and have never been on a motorbike or scooter – and this weekend I ended up on the back of both – zooming through a crazy city and dodging in and out of cars like I’ve always been doing it my whole life.
For me, this taught me that sometimes we don’t always travel in the best way – there might just be a better way of doing things – something faster, lighter and without all the baggage that you’re used to. Letting go of your own pre-conceived notions of the ‘ideal’ and you might discover something so much more efficient (and maybe more fun and joyful too!).
You’re not always the expert – learn from the natives
For those of us who are generally control freaks (you know who are 😉 ) it can be very difficult to hand over control and decisions to others. We sometimes feel if we just keep all the reins to ourself, we will steer better than anyone else and, quite frankly, you just know best.
This weekend I submitted, entirely, and wholeheartedly to someone else’s judgement, knowledge, and ideas. And guess what? It was an absolutely refreshing change. I not only got to see parts of Paris that I would never ever have seen, but I saw parts of my personality that I had never seen. By allowing someone else to make all the decisions, I became free, almost child-like in my ability to enjoy. I talked less, and listened more, and learned… it was almost like time off from adulting and I came back rejuvenated and invigorated.
When was the last time you did something fun and extraordinary? Just because…
So what now?
If you enjoyed this post, then why not come and meet me in person? I’m doing LIVE events up and down the UK and we talk about body confidence and self love as well as positive self talk (as well as have LOADS OF FUN, drink bubbles, get some free gifts, and hang out with inspiring and empowering women!). Click HERE or on the link below to see what live events are coming up in your area. I would love to see you there! Kate xx