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Paris-It’s a Love/Hate Kind of City-Part 2

eiffel tower.jpg

As you read in Paris Part 1, I have a bias toward Paris, so let me start there;

The French, like any nation/culture have their own way of doing things. A way of eating, drinking and socializing that has earned them a place in history as gracious host to a generation of writers and artists who shaped the western cultural world. I can respect that.

Merci pour la petite cafe.

What I cannot respect, regardless of where I am, or who I’m interacting with, is rudeness.

As much as I love, love, love Paris, my most recent visit was a much different experience than that of years ago.

In general I find that human interaction during our day-to-day interactions lacks patience, empathy and kindness. More often than not, whether I am the client or the professional, people tend to express an inflated sense of entitlement and lack basic manners. The elements of civilization have been lost, and it shows in Paris.

Wait staff,  famous for snooty service throughout recent history, were stretched too thin, and much less charmingly rude as they were flat out over-worked.

This is a global phenomenon rather than a French one in my opinion. The world is becoming more economically divided, with access to security much less attainable. Consumer appetite for more, more, more has replaced any sense of spirituality, and everything is expected at the speed of our mobile browsers. We have lost our appetite for connection as our appetite as consumers has grown.

moveable feastParis is a city locked into a nostalgic identity. That’s why we flock there. We are there to see the places where great artists and writers were inspired, lived, worked, and sacrificed for their art. We are not there for the reality of out modern world.

Like any tourist destination the line-ups, pick-pocketing and general collection of human grime is inevitable. The airbrushed photos of the modern city set us up to try to create an unattainable reality, kind of like the airbrushed photos of Beyonce’s thighs.

We like the image of people relaxing on patio cafes, sipping coffee or wine, talking about ideas and art and sensual pleasures, but we find it almost impossible to embody this lifestyle. Addiction to our mobile phones and giant paper-cups full of coffee is a cultural phenomenon unto itself, but it is not compatible with our nostalgic idealism of Paris.  And this is why some people hate it there.

My partner described the city as Disney for Adults. Travel has become a collection of passport stamps rather than an experience. Line-up upon line-up of people at historical sites were more concerned with trying to take instagram-worthy photos than enjoying the actual experience. Watching this, I thought that handing out Valium and wine at the ticket booth would likely make the whole experience a lot more enjoyable for everyone. Even I got tired of my own posts with classic images of the city strategically placed in the background.

The idea of a person or place is often not the same as the reality.

The romance of Paris is like a real romance. Quite often we delight in the potential of our partner, but can’t acknowledge the reality; they’re a shitty person. With regard to Paris, we love it, but personalities don’t always mesh with a city so romanticized by history.

Personally, I can linger over a tiny coffee or scrumptious glass of wine all afternoon while writing or daydreaming, or being engaged in discussions about what matters to me in life; happiness, love, the creative process. For others, slowing down and living the ideal is a much harder thing to do.

 

 

 

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Lovers: Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Communication

“We all begin as stringers…”
~ANDSHELAUGHS~
Ego is a wild and wonderful thing. It can be a selfish thing, and for people who easily experience empathy, it can be a life-saver.

Don’t go all Freudian denotation on me  folks. You’re intelligent enough to get the gist of which I speak or else you wouldn’t be here. Basically, for givers, your ego is a check-in. Ego answers the question, Am I feeling like I’m receiving the kind of love that I need?

Recently I’ve had countless conversations about relationships; marriages, co-habitations, affairs, and long-lost loves. The common thread with regard to relationships is that we’re all seeking a match that allows us to be safe while being emotionally vulnerable. A place that allows us to be silly without being criticized. A place where we can explore the taboo sides of our sexuality without shame.

It’s a tall order, but to be fulfilled the answer is simple; one must feel desired, adored and respected by their partner. Which means you need to realize that you ought to do your best to make your partner feel the same way. It’s a two-way street.

It sounds like a tall order, but it’s not that difficult to do. Missing your partner? Tell them. Hell, in today’s world, you’re as far away as a text message or an email. Desiring someone? Tell them. Got something on your mind? Talk to them.

So simple, and yet so neglected.

Many conversations, arguments, or discussions are about reassurance, feeling connected, reaffirming that (in the words of the wise Barry White), your first, your last and your everything,  is indeed, that safe, friendly, silly and sexy shelter from the storm of existence that you thought they were.

When one or both people in a relationship feels neglected, less than desired, or disposable,  that’s when the trouble starts. So, if you love your sweetie, let them know.

My attitude is to err on the side of overboard. After all, in this one short, wild and unpredictable life, why not let the walls of your ego crumble for an opportunity to connect on a level we need and want.

If you don’t go after it with all of your heart darlings, you will never have it.

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When You’re Too Busy to Write About the Important Stuff

woman-reading-letterBefore I settle in to do some serious creative writing today, I must fulfill an obligation of friendship. I must escape the keyboard, and put pen to paper. I’ve been negligent of my duty to keep my friends abreast of my girl-news via proper letter writing.

My mailman hates me. You see, my mailbox doesn’t get the attention that it deserves.

I only make visits bi-weekly to clear out the junk mail; real estate flyers, fast-food coupons, and annoying letters from our Conservative political rep. Buh-arf.

On occasion there’s a little treat in the mailbox.  My friend in Newfoundland will take time to write a letter, despite her aching hands, and my gal-pal in the great-white-north, The Amazing C, will take time from her busy family life, writing to me about the things that matter to her (on sparkly paper no less).

There is something about the feel of a hand-written letter that’s so much different from something we type at our worn-out keyboards. There’s something about anticipating what’s inside the envelope, taking time to sit and savour the words that someone dear to us has thought to put on a piece of paper. There’s something about knowing that someone cared enough to get off their spectacular tushie and find a mailbox.

Perhaps it’s because I’m such a tactile person that I so enjoy holding that letter in my hands. Perhaps it’s because I’m a lover of words that I take so much pleasure from being able to read a dear one’s thoughts. Regardless, I do believe that the alchemy of letter writing is a stronger connection than digital light flashing and dying, being able to be turned off instead of being placed in my bedside drawer where a letter can be unfolded and read during those nights when sleep is somewhere far, far away, and my mind won’t be still.

The problem with letter writing is that it takes a bit of time. Not only do I type much faster than I write, but letter writing requires stationary, a pen, a stamp. It requires getting out of the house and finding a post box. It requires the person on the other end to  get their mail, open the letter, and pause to take in the news that was so important it had to be written down.

I’ve been terrible with my letters during the past two months. The speed of life has whisked away all but the essential functions; work, eat, sleep and work again. This is the first weekend I’ve been able to stop for more than 24 hours and catch my breath.

When my Newfie friend sent a text saying he was in town, I realized that I’d yet to write to his wife about the new love in my life. I kept thinking; This requires a letter. This requires her to stop, get a cup of tea, snuggle up in her chair, and take in the words that I had married together to tell her my thoughts and feelings, and how my life had changed. Communicating in a letter is the closest thing that I could do to sitting down together in her living room and seeing her eyes light up or fill with tears as I told her about my losses and my love.

Alas, time passes quickly when it’s not my own. Before I could do a damn thing about it darlings, her hubby was at my door and shaking hands with Mr. Wonderful. Mr. Wonderful of course thinking that if he were indeed that wonderful, why hadn’t I mentioned him to some of my closest friends.

I’m sure my pal on the east-coast is wondering the same thing.

All I can say is, sometimes it’s worth waiting to spread really good news. Sometimes, when it comes to the kindred spirits of true friendship, it’s worth making the effort to make the news as special as the story of your life actually is.

This rainy Saturday is a wake-up call, shaking me and telling me to catch up on some of the things that I’ve been too busy for, for far too long.

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Speaking With a Writer: How Not to Lose Your Mind

writersbrainYou avoid direct questions,” he said as he fumbled with something or other before we tucked in for the evening.

“Damn it, he sees me and he knows me, and he’s going right for the jugular, I thought, “That’s good. How very refreshing.”

I smiled, knowing all was finally  right with the world.

I don’t  avoid direct questions per se, but it takes me a while to mull them over. So far, no one has caught me at it, or at the very least, had the balls to call me out on it.

I’m a writer, and we tell stories. We subscribe to the old way of thinking, and believing that we are a culmination of all of the stories of our ancestors and all of their ancestors, and before that, the moon and the stars and the silent, mysterious breath of creation.

Writing came second to cave drawings, the first primordial expression of the human spirit.

I’m a writer who visualizes my thoughts, words and characters in my head. I make sense of issues by painting pictures of images which touch the deeper meaning of language and cut to the quick of our universal soul, despite my love of profanity and preference for clarity with regard to all things prefunctory.

It’s quite a process really, and it takes a damn long time to create the image, and then go back and pack it neatly into a package of language.

I don’t avoid direct questions. I just avoid answering them right away, because often direct questions are asked at critical crossroads, and at critical moments. I believe that we instinctively know what we need to do at these times. Overthinking really just mucks it all up.

Instinct rules in the moment. You may not consider it the right intellectual or emotional tool  for the long-term, but in the moment it often works best, and I’m ok with that. If you’re ok in the moment, you’ve got a firm foundation from which to navigate. That’s more than most folks, and a beautifully secure place to begin any journey.

Sometimes you know where you want to go, and it’s all smooth sailing. Sometimes you also know that conditions may not be just right. That means you change course, enjoy the view, and make discoveries at the mercy of the breeze. Why waste energy fighting it when you have so much to learn? Besides, you know want you want and where you’re going. Be a lover not a fighter darlings, it’s better for your skin.

When it comes to communicating with me, with a writer, with someone who entertains and quite enjoys having a Willy-Wonka mind,  it must be frustrating, fascinating and inspiration for many WTF’s. I would offer apologies, but I’m not sorry. I like who I am.

If you or your conversation is not significant to me, I’m direct, concise and clear with my language.

If you are part of my heart, if your very existence resonates in my bones, and my soul smiles when I think of you, let’s just put it this way; you’re gonna have to take a seat, order a nice, slow cocktail and settle in for the duration. Hell, order one for me while you’re at it. My thoughts will reveal themselves to you, me, and us, after a long slow unfolding on the canvas.

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Reply All: A Guide To Email Etiquette

"Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much." ~Robert Greenleaf~
“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”
~Robert Greenleaf~

I happen to have the very best friends a gal could ever wish for. I also happen to be associated with some incredibly gifted, kind and passionate professionals as well. Having said that, we all do crazy things now and then, like hit the ‘Reply All’ tab when we’re responding to email.

Reply All. Hmmm….

A great idea in theory, but it’s the digital equivalent of the paper junk mail that clutters my inbox and kills bazillions of trees. I have to admit being guilty of it in the past month, replying to a  group email that has to do with a vacation that I’m really, really, really excited about.  I’m guilty of reply-alling.

‘Reply All’ is usually unnecessary however. Generally the person who generates the email is the ‘organizer’, the nerve center of communication, and they will ultimately gather responses, send out information neatly tallied and succinctly explained in another email, thus avoiding the thousands of irritating responses.

Asking for directions and parking is a no-no in a ‘Reply All’ response. MapQuest? GPS? Yes, techno-wizard, use it. The other common and particularly stunning faux pas with ‘Reply All’ responses is asking, or delivering personal information that ought to remain personal between the emailer and emailee . Yes, consider those your first new words of 2015.

More often than not ‘Reply All’ is not necessary, overflows already bursting inboxes and annoys the ever-loving-shit out of most folks.

You can thank me for your modern etiquette lesson later on darlings, for now, just nod and carry on being your fabulous selves.

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CU 2nite ;)

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”~George Bernard Shaw~
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
~George Bernard Shaw~

I love receiving text messages throughout the day that have nothing to do with what I’m doing.

Hearing from my whimsical gal-pals about their silliness makes me smile and laugh, a flirty text can bring my confidence level up when I’m in a meeting, and there’s nothing better than looking forward to; “CU2nite;)”.

The most significant pandemic of our time is said to be loneliness. There are few things other than words (whether written, spoken or sung), that provide a more immediate, and complete remission.

However truncated our messages have become, via text, social networking or email, they are a lifeline of connection to the people, places and things that bring quality to our lives.

I am often perceived as a confident, direct communicator. The reality is that I’m a babbler. Yes gentle readers, there you have it, my literary confession.

I talk before I think, and the written word is a handy tool that I use to craft my random, kaleidoscope of seemingly unrelated creative thoughts into some sort of structure which  others can understand. After all, our sense of connection comes from satisfying that very basic human need to be understood in a way that makes us feel safe and accepted.

The written word has the power to destroy, build-up, unify and divide. The dissemination of information for any great change in the world is via the written word. The tidal wave of change known  ‘Arab Spring’ (somebody really did a crappy job of labelling that one-more like the Arab Dash to Hell), was credited to real-time, digital communication. The vehicle was the internet. The goods being delivered were words; written, crafted and delivered  for a purpose.

The printing press prodded the European dark age into the sharp rays of enlightenment. The vehicles were flyers, books, and pamphlets. The delivered goods were words, carefully considered, written down to educate, persuade and inspire religious, political and social revolution.

Words inspire, connect and inspire us to action. That was the gist of a presentation that I had to give this week.

Even if you’re not known for your way with words, or your gift of gab, rest assured, your communication is a lifeline to someone out there.

So, I urge you, my incredibly sensuous, epicurean readers, pick up your smart phones and text or email the people who are in your heart.  Even if it’s simply for a cup of coffee with a pal, or a delightfully, lingering snog over a pint or two.

Communication is our life blood, and the ‘word’ still reigns above all else.

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What Happens When You Lose Your Voice

Hey, it’s great to see you. You’re lookin’ good! Come over here and give me a big hug. Oh, Mmmmm.  I’ve really missed you. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch, but somehow, somewhere, the techno-Gods decided to punish me with the loss of my home Computadora (as I so fondly refer to her).

I’ve been bubbling over all week, waiting to tell you about silly wedding stuff that baffles my simple yet still girly mind. I almost went mad thinking about how I would share with you the lightening bolt insight I had after reading this month’s edition of Men’s Health and Self magazines.Let’s just say I don’t think that men should watch “The Notebook”. I’m sure  at least one testicle evaporates while watching the second half of the movie.

 Boy oh boy I’ve missed you. I’ve missed your comments and feedback and insight.

It won’t be long now, and I’ll be sharing my oh-so-clever-and-cute thoughts with you again. There are more dating no-no’s and yes-pleases to come for both my hot, virile, sexy man-readers and my witty and gorgeous female readers.

Sheesh! This being silent is killing me. I miss you. I really do. Pray for a full recovery today of Ms. Computadora.

Mwah! Big kisses until next time….