August in Paris feels calm and quiet. Earlier in August, I was sitting on the train with my daughter coming back to Paris after a hiking trip to the Alps. During the many hours of the train ride she kept saying how she was not ready to come back home. I tried to encourage her to think positive, but deep inside I was feeling the same. I was resisting the idea of change.
It felt disappointing to think that our summer travel had come to an end. It also felt that we would be the only 2 people we know of in Paris this month. Of course, this was just our minds thinking negative and our lack of readiness to let go of the past weeks to transition into the present moment.
The first thing we did when we woke up the next morning was to visit our local market. We went straight to our local producers where we buy our fresh seasonal vegetables and fruit each Sunday. As we walked outside, we realized that even with the heat wave in Paris, there was a nice breeze. We started walking with more confidence. We arrived to the producers’ stand and we were happy to see that there was a short line. We had time to chat with them and they asked my daughter what had she done during her holidays. One of the vendors gave her a small brown paper bag filled with fresh seasonal cherry tomatoes. She turned to me and said: “This is better than candy!”
During our market trip we bought fennel, lots of tomatoes, different types of lettuce, green beans, carrots, eggplants and fresh basil and mint. All of which are in season and are easy to prepare.
We also saw two other families that we know, who were also doing their weekly shopping. We had a quick chat and we continued searching for our weekly groceries. At this point we were feeling much better. It felt good to be back home, there was a sense of familiarity that felt good.
With a sense of relief, we looked at each other: “It is good to be back in Paris!”
So, wherever you are in your summer holiday journey, here is ONE tip to practice being in the present more often.
Wherever you are today: be present. Start building the habit of paying attention to the moments of your day that you enjoy the most.
If you are traveling: enjoy the opportunity to be outside of the “automatic pilot” that most of us fall into during the fast pace rhythm of the every day life.
If you are in Paris: use this opportunity to meet with those friends who happen to be here. There are probably more than you think. Enjoy the slower pace of the city and take more time than usual to do the same activities that you usually rush through during your every day life.
As author Rick Hanson says in his book Hardwiring Happiness: “ By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with a positive experience – even the comfort in a single breath – you’ll help turn a passing mental state into a lasting mental structure.”
This has become one of my favorite daily practices and I invite you to start practicing it too: “Learn how to take in the good”. Not only is important to be aware that you are having a good moment but equally important is to stay with it for a few seconds if you can. The more that you practice, the more that you will be able to savor moments in your daily life that would be lost otherwise.
Thank you for taking a moment to read this. Kind regards, Tania