It is impossible for me to believe that it has already been a couple of months since my return from Europe…and last blog post! As it always tends to, summer has truly flown by. Actually this whole year seems to be racing by. One of the highlights was a trip home to Regina in August to visit family, and attend my beautiful niece’s wedding. I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful way to cap off my travel adventures then to reconnect with the most important people to me, and witness an amazing young couple begin their new life together filled with love and promise. As I begin to reflect back on this past year of transformation and change, one word keeps resonating in my mind – Love.
The catalyst for the recent changes in my life (which if you are a new reader included walking away from my career of 20 years and heading off to Europe for several months) came from a place of love during a difficult time. After losing my beloved Mom to cancer last year, I began to question priorities, life balance and pursuing our dreams. It was through that most difficult of times that I found the strength to be true to myself, and begin to rebuild my life in a way that feels more authentic. Losing a precious loved one is unbelievably difficult, but if you open your heart to the experience and take every extra minute with that person as a gift, it can also be one of the most loving journeys that you will ever take. During Mom’s illness, our family fused together like never before. She was surrounded by everyone she loved most in the world as she let go of this life. A time of love and pain beyond compare, both aching and exquisite.
From letting go of one loved one to watching a new life begin for another, this past year has been a visit to all points on the spectrum of the heart. Through all of the challenges and changes, the love and support of my family and friends has been both humbling and unwavering, and I hope that each and every one of them feel my love for them tenfold in return. When I was staying in Paris for a few months this spring, I would see the word love or doodles of hearts everywhere I went. Spray painted on walls, written in chalk on the sidewalk, in abstract art, on bridges and hidden side streets…there were constant reminders of love everywhere I went. I find it interesting that I have been to Paris many times, but it was on this specific trip, that was a sabbatical to heal and reinvent myself that I saw these signposts everywhere. It was as if the universe and Paris conspired to envelop me in a message that love is the beginning and end…a circle of light that encompasses everything.
A few years ago a friend and I were talking about spirituality, and she mentioned that she felt most comfortable relating to God as a divine feminine Being. Several months later I was hiking alone in Spain and having a conversation with God (you can also interpret this as my higher self, spirit, or any other belief that resonates for you) as I often do when I am alone. As I rambled on I circled back to the earlier conversation that my friend and I had. I was curious, was God male, female or perhaps a duality of both? Let me make it clear that I was more or less just working through these complex thoughts, and not expecting an actual “answer”. However, no sooner did the thought flash through my mind, then a voice that was very much not my own said “I am neither male nor female, I am pure Love”. I had to stop and chew on that for a moment. Wow…it was so simple yet profound. If we are looking for the source of true happiness, light, hope, and a universal language it boils down to one simple word, Love.
I have included some of the pictures that I snapped while in Paris that capture this recurring theme of love. These are only a few examples, it was literally presenting itself everywhere I looked. If that doesn’t give you hope in a world that desperately needs more love and kindness…I don’t know what would!
Robert, Beautifully written and thoughtfully shared. My condolences on your mom’s passing. May much love flood into your life.
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Thank you so much for your lovely comment Shannon…it is so appreciated! Wishing you much love, light and joy in the new year, and always.
Robert, Missing your wonderful essays and photographs.
Your ‘On Rue Tatin’ cooking partner, Eleanor
Hello dear Eleanor, it is so nice to hear from you and receive this lovely comment! Work has really ramped up since last autumn, and unfortunately this has caused me to be very tardy with my blog. Funny enough, I began to write a post about winter as a time of contemplation while I was waiting to board a plane to New York a few weeks ago, and you have just inspired me to finish it! You are the best cooking partner ever. I hope to see you and Susan in France again soon!