Paris: The City of Enlightenment
Often I am asked how it’s possible to find so many things to write about in a week. The answer is that there are TOO MANY things to write about in a week. If time permitted, you’d be hearing from me daily as Paris is a cornucopia of life…not day by day, but minute by minute.
Some experiences are just part of the ‘norm’…
Like attending the “Soirée de Clôture du Carreau du Temple” to inaugurate the upcoming complete renovation of this historic building in the 3rd arrondissement (June 28th, learn more by visiting http://www.mairie3.paris.fr)…
Or the “vernissage” (opening) of British photographer Martin Parr’s zany look at life at the Jeu de Paume (of whom I am a huge fan!): “Planète Parr: La Collection de Martin Parr”…(learn more at http://www.paris-update.com/ or http://www.jeudepaume.org/)…
Or making REAL American hamburgers with all the ‘fixin’s’ on the 4th of July and sharing the holiday with friends…
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Or bringing together about 30 of you loyal and enthusiastic readers at Parler Paris Après Midi on a Tuesday afternoon to get to know one another and make new friends (read all about yesterday’s gathering at /parlerparis/apresmidi.html)…
And then there are the experiences which surprise you, not of the ‘norm’ that change your life more than might be obvious from the surface, but make a more impactful difference.
This is what happened on Monday afternoon…something totally unexpected, but enlightening.
The Paris Summer Institute started its 12-day “Advanced Intelligence Tools” workshop last Friday, inviting me to attend a session to witness what “NLP” is all about. “‘Neuro-linguistic programming’ (NLP) is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behavior and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them’ and ‘a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behavior.'” (Wikipedia.org)
That seems like a whole bunch of ‘garble’ that may be difficult to grasp without fully experiencing it — like trying to imagine the taste of a real buttery French croissant without ever having been in France. The first time you bite into one that melts in your mouth (as it should) you understand, but until then, it’s all just a mystery.
Nonetheless, the dozen or so individuals who came from far and wide (U.S., England, Brazil, France and other points around the globe) to spend 12 days in a spacious and bright apartment on the Butte Montmartre with 180 degree views of the city of Paris, clearly are ‘getting it’ and transforming their own thinking and lives in order to get the certification to transform others’. They are learning the “tools that make a difference” — “balancing your PQ + EQ + IQ” — or
Physical Quotient, Emotional Quotient, Intelligence Quotient. Uh oh. More garble.
I was the ‘guinea pig’ that afternoon, not knowing what to expect, and after meeting everyone, was positioned at the front facing the group. Only two or three people there knew me or what I did for a living. I was asked by Kristin Shannon and Antonio Meza, the instructors, to spend only a few moments describing my home and my hobby — my photo collection and interest in photographic art, but nothing about my career or skills.
Then, one by one the participants asked questions — only seven minutes worth — designed to learn more about me…but not the kinds of questions that make presuppositions, that have “yes” or “no” answers. The goal was to take only those seven minutes to make judgments about who I was as a person, what were my personal values and
how that knowledge would help them more effectively interact with me. This practice applies to improving every interaction one might have the rest of their lives, if learned and practiced.
Each time I was tempted to make a comment that would give away information, a symbolic cork was gifted, to not-so-subtly say “put a cork in it!” And as you might imagine, I collected quite a few! (Not so easy to stay bottled up!)
The ‘students’ were already well trained and well versed after only a few short days in the workshop. What they had learned from those few minutes about me was way more than I had ever learned about myself! Their observations were a new sort of mirror with which to reflect and while they were learning skills, I was learning a new kind of insight. I found myself tearing up throughout the session, although it’s hard to know if they noticed that. Likely they did, but made no mention of it, at least not verbally.
At the end of the session, I felt to be in a rather euphoric state, not unlike the feeling one gets after two hours of yoga with plenty of deep breathing and stretching the muscles and mind. It was hard to say goodbye to the supportive environment and presence of these people who seemed to be so enlightened by what we ‘mortals’ might otherwise view as the ‘norm.’
And you ask what all this has to do with Paris? Plenty.
As Paris lay before our feet, the gray rooftops glistening in the sun, the Eiffel Tower in the far horizon standing tall as “La Grande Dame” does day after day, we realized that Paris is very much a part of the “PQ + EQ + IQ” that makes these special experiences happen…and just another reason the “City of Light” should perhaps be more aptly named the “City of Enlightenment.”
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris, at “Après Midi” July 7th
P.S. Stay at least 6 nights and get 1 night FREE in Parler Paris Apartments luxury air conditioned “La Table du Roi” any time during the month of August — located in the heart of Le Marais and sleeps up to 4. Visit /parlerparis/apartments for more information and to book your stay!
P.P.S. Don’t miss hearing STING (Jeff Suzda, Michael Emeneu and Alex Stuart), a “Trio Electrique de Jazz,” Thursday night July 9th at Au Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean Pierre Timbaud in the 11th beginning at 8:30 p.m. Entry 4€-6€, Métro Parmetier or Couronnes.