Grief

Featured

img_7343                                 Michael Alex – extraordinary drummer and friend
” We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us and make us kinder. We always have the choice.”           –The Dalai Lama

I hear it everywhere!  2016 has been a painful year. The world has lost many iconic and greatly loved musicians, there have been horrific acts of terrorism and war around the world, in November, the United States experienced the angriest and most polarized election of my lifetime, to the dismay of many, Great Britain left the European Union. I personally have moved and let go of partnership in the form that I expected it to be, my parents are aging, aunts and uncles who are both dear for themselves and also for the placeholders they have been for my childhood home community are sick and struggling, a dear friend took his own life, my closest girlfriends have moved out of town… I know I am not alone in this barrage of loss, stress and wondering how to deal!

My deep internal question is– how do I (a woman) find lasting joy and meaning in this tangle of grief and life? Becoming older has been difficult; I find that I am not jumping into life with wild abandon and the expectation of a glorious adventure. I run into hard places inside myself– walls…protections… and the seductive idea of safety.

My daily routine includes raising a teenaged girl as a single mom, apprenticing to become a classical Pilates trainer and working as a voice and performance coach to make my financial ends meet. This takes up a lot of hours!

I don’t have time for grief. I don’t like feeling grief. Grief is the emotion in me that inevitably starts a cycle of self-criticism, trying to control those close to me and being cranky and angry. I never understand why. It seems to take weeks before I suddenly have the thought that maybe I am sad and have not given myself the time to feel.

Grief will come out, like it or not.  Without time,  mine pushed itself out in another way! Twice this week I couldn’t sleep until 4 or 5am; thoughts, feelings, tears, stresses and worries rushed around in my body and brain for hours and hours… I turned on the light at 2:30am and wrote, hoping to release the internal pressure and find peace.

I am heartbroken and scared that prejudice and misogyny are still flourishing.

I am heavy and sad that making healthy boundaries with my parents has permanently changed our relationship; I am not the person they would like me to be. Instead I am myself.

I am shocked and anguished that my drummer Michael Alex– someone I loved and respected profoundly, took his own life. The world is not the same without him.

I feel powerless and sad that life weighs so heavily and stressfully on the shoulders of my teenaged daughter. 

I am afraid that my life is going by so damned quickly and if I don’t live fully NOW, it will be too late! I am sad that I am aging. 

As I write this, our family cat is yowling outside my bedroom door because I STILL won’t let her into my bedroom! My house is filled with other domestic sounds like movies being watched and the dryer drying towels.

This afternoon I spent several hours with my bass player recording guitar and vocal tracks on a couple of songs so that he could play with arranging them. I haven’t recorded in a long time! My band has been on hiatus so I’ve been performing solo. The delight and joy that flooded through me was a big surprise! I forgot that my greatest joy is in being creative and expressing myself! How can I forget something so basically fundamental to my nature? It is incredible!

I felt bubbly, silly, happy, outgoing… expressive… ME! I am so grateful for this reminder of who I am. I find joy when I sing! It is the journey to remembering that takes so much time, focus and intention! But it always makes life worth living!

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It’s Time To Wake Up!

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When is the moment when you suddenly realize that life has been so full of work, taking care of family and friends, managing the hopefully joyful but exhausting holidays, health concerns and all the rest of it– that somewhere along the line you ran out of fuel? You might be feeling tired, hopeless, cranky or just numb.

Perhaps it is while driving and listening to an especially moving piece of music. Your thoughts start to wander and the melody lifts you up in a way that inspires new hope. Or perhaps it is when you hear the news that a well loved acquaintance, a healthy young woman in her twenties dies suddenly of an unexpected health crisis. Your community gathers round in shock, trying to comfort each other and make sense of the unfairness. But underlying is that jolt of knowing– that we have limited time and no idea how long we will be alive!

Recently I was waiting for the women’s restroom to be free after an event I had attended. The restroom door happened to have a textured glass window so I could see the shadowy outline of the person as she finished washing her hands near the sink. Instead of completing her hand washing, she was jumping up and down and twirling. Although I didn’t say anything, the voice in my head was frankly bitchy as I said to myself, “whenever you finish your happy dance, I’d like to use the restroom!” The door opened and a young girl of about eight or nine walked out.

Immediately my heart opened and I smiled to myself with understanding and delight– it was okay, she was a child! But why don’t I, an adult woman take a moment to be joyful and carefree in this way?

All these thoughts spurred me into action. I LOVE Paris and I LOVE France. I don’t want to wait anymore before I walk cobblestone streets and see the elegance and grace of women of all ages that I see in Paris. I want to sit in cafes eating the most scrumptious food and feel my bare feet on the ancient wood floors of my favorite apartment in the Marais district. I want to stroll through the market at La Bastille and hear the merchants singing about their beautiful avocados! And I’d like you to come and have this experience with me because it is so much fun to share!

Magnolias

As a woman, there is always something to do. Nights and days are filled with meal making, cleaning, figuring out finances. If you’re a mom, there is worrying about your kids, figuring out taxes, washing the laundry, managing your business… the list goes on! I invite you to splurge and invest in yourself this spring.

Join “Joy & The Feminine Path” for its 3rd women’s retreat in France from April 1st – April 8th, 2018. Imagine a whole week of tending to your body with joyful exercise and rest, enjoying the bliss of your senses, sharing conversations and desires with interesting women and rejuvenating your spirit!

Stay tuned for details about our itinerary and activities… or to reserve your place, please contact: tiger@tigerzane.com.

And as Billie Holiday sings…

April in Paris
Chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees…
April in Paris
This is a feeling
No one can ever reprise
I never knew the charm of spring
Never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing…

The Mediterranean in Nice

                                      The beautiful turquoise Mediterranean in Nice.

Your Voice

cropped-img_2147.jpgThere is something in the bloom of a flower that is divinely feminine. The delicate way that a bud begins to open… the soft and shimmering surface of the petals… the fragrance held ineffably in place by invisible hands. Below the bloom like our gut level survival instincts, we find the stalk…the thorns… and the roots. Through it all, is a life force springing forth that will show up even in the dirtless crack of a stone wall or the hard earth of a parched, drought starved field.

I speak about flowers because I love them without effort. They make me happy and their beauty invites sensual enjoyment that is delicious and free of complications. My recent photographs are stolen moments with my iPhone on walks to and from work or when I’m out running. Seattle is full of growing things that make perfect subjects! I am so energized and inspired by taking photographs and keep promising myself to research a new and perfect little camera that has better focusing ability. But my phone is easy to grab… and so I do!

Everyone has a voice; and by voice I mean a unique life essence and the impulse to express it with others. Although I am a singer, taking photographs and sharing a visual of what moves me is a way of expressing my voice. Sometimes it feels simpler than music. Singing is such a vulnerable thing to do. Photographs and writing have an inherent distance from their audience which gives space and space can be comforting.

Over the years, I have come to understand that I am an artist. As such, my belief is that it is my job (and nature) to alchemize how I live and express it as something beautiful. I use different mediums: music, words, color, retreats, photographs, experiences. I trust and love my creativity and sometimes it lies dormant; distress and doubt come to visit. I feel like that hard earth of a parched, drought starved field.

To be happy, I must sing. To be fulfilled, I must sing to you… through music or other creative endeavors. These expressions of voice become the tools that dig me out of winter. There is something about France that feeds my creative self. As I prepare for my spring trip to Paris and the Dordogne, there is movement in my soul! I am excited and delighted to let my thoughts wander the ancient streets. I will be sharing my adventures with you on Facebook and in this blog…so stay tuned!

I anticipate writing, singing, walking, moving my body, eating and perhaps a teeny weeny bit of shopping… so much sensual pleasure! If flowers are feminine, so is Paris! How lucky to be reignited, to pay attention to the artistic longings inside that are so easily set aside in a busy, modern life. Join me…

À bientôt!

Tiger

The Joy of Moving!

Spring has started early this year in Seattle. The early mornings are filled with chirping birds– all busy and focused on doing something that sounds very important. The crocuses have burst out and close behind are daffodils, cherry blossoms and even some magnolias are starting to bud! This is life… growing, creating and it feels happy!

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In my life, I’ve been experiencing a similar awakening! This year after noticing a few too many aches and pains, I began to feel both internal and external nudges to get more aerobic exercise! My knees were swollen and painful for more than 6 months and it was making me scared that over time I would be losing mobility and the ability to be active. Nothing like fear to motivate!! I did some physical therapy to help with knee pain– which resulted in exercises to practice and the recommendation to get more aerobic exercise!

I also got some bodywork done (massages and osteopathic adjustments) and while sitting in the waiting room for one of these, stumbled on the book, Younger Next Year For Women by Chris Crowley & Henry S. Lodge MD. The timing was perfect! I’ve been reading this book at a leisurely pace before bed at night and letting it inspire me to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Get in shape…I mean really in shape!

The main idea in the book is that although our bodies are amazingly complex and magical, they are also very simple. We are biologically and chemically designed to either “Grow” or “Decay”. When we are physically active, we send clear messages to all our cells and systems, that they should be growing, replenishing and strengthening. When we aren’t, all systems start to decay! The older we get, the stronger the tide of aging and decay. Sounds pretty depressing and honestly what I’ve been feeling in my body over the past couple of years!

But… the MD writer of the book, Mr. Lodge says that 70% of what we now consider aging and 70% of diseases caused by aging, are avoidable if we get 45 minutes of aerobic exercise, 6 days a week! That’s a lot– but the alternative is much worse! Being alive and unable to function as an active participant in life sounds like a living hell to me. I frankly don’t have the mental discipline to be a warm, loving human in that state!

So I made an agreement with myself that I’d start exercising every day. I wouldn’t beat up on myself if I missed a day– but I also wouldn’t give up! My goal: to be consistent and to have fun. I wanted to give myself the gift of the time and attention needed to change my life. The effects could only be positive!

It’s been more than a month and I am noticing wonderful results! I started with jog/walking 10 minutes. Then I began to increase my time– I’m up to 35 minutes now with less walking! I joined the YMCA with my daughter to add some novelty and variety; we go there for the occasional class or just to use the aerobic machines– stairs and stationary bikes etc. I was already doing Classical Pilates twice a week and I’ve continued with that.

Not only is it getting easier, I’m feeling stronger, more optimistic and more like taking on the adventure of life! There are often moments when I feel like giving up– like my first Zumba class when I couldn’t follow ANY of the steps and felt so frustrated I wanted to scream… or start crying in the middle of class.

The bonus gift in all of this is seeing the patterns that have been operating in my thinking and thus in other areas of my life. Patience is something I don’t have much of– especially with myself. But choosing to give myself this time and attention is real self love. The pay offs are moments like last week when I jogged all the way around the 2.8 mile Greenlake without stopping! Or the exhilaration when music on my iPod lines up perfectly with my energy and running feels almost ecstatic!

I am discovering that even when it’s tough, there is a profound joy created by moving my body which extends to my mind and spirit! This is is why I knew at an intuitive level that my Spring Women’s Retreat in France this April had to have movement! The combination of France’s delicious food and culture with walking and Pilates will be so fun! If you feel curious and moved (no pun intended), I invite you to join us on this French adventure. This is an opportunity to give yourself some time to relax and rejuvenate with other amazing women. There are 3 spots open and one is yours!

See the earlier blog “Wake up to spring in France!” for details or contact me at tiger@tigerzane.com to reserve your spot!

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Now I’m off for a run… Love Tiger

Wake up to spring in France!

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous…Coco Chanel

It’s time to rejuvenate your body and spirits with a French adventure! Join Joy & The Feminine Path for a week long retreat of fun and inspiration!

France is a country known for its beauty, elegance and delicious affair with the senses… a warm crust of bread, the fragrance of fine perfume, the click of a gorgeous pair of heels on a cobblestone street. It is the perfect place to inspire and delight the feminine mind and body!

Fresh produce from the market at La Bastille!

Fresh produce from the market at La Bastille!

Imagine yourself this April walking down the streets of Paris after lunch, as the enticing aroma of espresso wafts through the air… or waking up and feeling your bare feet on the curved wooden floorboards of a house built in the 1600’s for royalty!

Our retreat begins with 4 nights in one of the oldest areas in Paris– Le Marais, considered to be the aristocratic district– inhabited by royalty since the mid-13th century. Today its narrow streets are filled with boutique hotels, galleries, elegant shops and tempting restaurants. Every time I visit, I find new and fascinating places that appear as if by magic! We will let history guide us around Paris and see how even today we are touched by the lives of French kings and their consorts.

The entrance to our apartment...

The entrance to our apartment…

After our taste of city life, we will head southwest on a relaxing train ride across the countryside to the Dordogne. This region is known for lovely hills, limestone, lavender and wine. For three days we will enjoy the peace of a refurbished stone farmhouse (Les Tilleuls) nestled not far from the medieval village of Sarlat-la-Canéda.

Les Tilleuls

Les Tilleuls

Melanie our British hostess at Les Tilleuls is a master Pilates instructor who will offer us daily customized Pilates sessions as a wonderful compliment to home made organic and locally farm sourced meals! And for a delicious finishing touch, how about a hot air balloon ride over the area… floating above the French countryside…?

Dates:  Wed April 22nd-Wed April 29th, 2015
Retreat begins with dinner on Wednesday evening and ends with breakfast on Wednesday April 29th.
Investment for 7 day retreat ~ $3900. (does not include airfare)
Retreat includes:
~ 7 nights accommodations (double occupancy)                                                                    ~ Breakfast and dinner every day (Paris)                                                                                  ~ Live comedy show in Paris                                                                                                 ~ personalized Acoustic French music performed by Tiger                                                      ~ A luxurious afternoon at Les Bains du Marais

 Les Bains du Marais!

Les Bains du Marais!

~  Private Pilates session at the studio of world renowned instructor Philippe Taupin
~ 3 days of Pilates and beauty at Les Tilleuls retreat center in Dordogne                                ~ Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Dordogne                                                                              ~ Evening conversations with interesting women                                                                    ~ Transport to planned activities: train, taxi, metro etc.*

* Please note that price includes one way ticket from Paris to the Dordogne – for return trip to Paris on April 29th, add $75. Hot air balloon ticket is not included – expect cost to be appr. 250 Euros.

Ballooning over the Dordogne!

Ballooning over the Dordogne!

Your Body is A Vessel of Joy or…How about April in Paris?

Crocuses

 From the darkness of the ground and the rainy days

come the first sweet flowers of my heart…

How about April in Paris? What a beautiful way to awaken your spring! Flights right now are probably the least expensive they’ll be all year!

Joy and The Feminine Path is proud to announce this springtime’s French retreat for women. The inspiration for this trip is your body and the immense joy it is possible to experience just by being alive and attuned to your physical self! What better place to do it then France? Beautiful walks, delicious food, gorgeous shopping, the Seine… and top it off with customized Pilates at your perfect level (beginners are welcome)… Tiger Zane will be your host— fluent in French and delighted to share this once in a lifetime adventure with you!

Our dates are April 22nd-April 29th. We will spend 4 days in Paris in one of the oldest and loveliest areas of town followed by a short train trip and 3 days in the Dordogne– in a refurbished stone country house in the southwestern countryside.

Stay tuned for more information. To reserve your spot and find out more, please contact Tiger. (tiger@tigerzane.com)

Happy New Year! Where will it lead?

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As the new year starts, thoughts of travel are already wafting through my mind. Some dear friends of mine have spent their holidays in Paris and every day my thoughts rest on them for a moment. What crazy experiences have they had; what nooks have they found? The only news I have received since they left was this titillating Facebook post, “Please send my cat and guitar to Rue Poulet dans Montmartre!”

Paris is a perfect place to play guitar.

In Seattle last night for New year’s eve, my family and I spent several hours with friends who have a large house on a hill looking west towards the Sound. The basement houses an amazing array of vintage keyboards, organs, amps and guitars in a sort of dark brown den layered with Persian carpets, vinyl records, funky lamps and Velvet Underground posters. Their teenage son collects and curates the whole lot and attracts lots of visiting musical friends.

Georgetown, Seattle

Georgetown, Seattle

As the adults sat around an upstairs fire discussing the mysterious and ghostly history of Georgetown (an old section of South Seattle) and its ghosts, music began to build below. Our conversation turned to the delicious kind of curiosity that leads some to ravenously follow a thought… a subject… or a dream. It can lead into unexpected arenas and odd coincidences. This curiosity does not necessarily seek a definitive answer… more to wander through and revel in the fascinating experience of infinite life around us.

Over the past few years, I have noticed golden threads of interest that materialize and tug at me– beckoning and magnetic! When I listen and follow them, I find that they are not unfamiliar… hints have been dropped throughout my life. Some so long ago that I would never have realized until now, in retrospect… that they had significance.

When I was six years old, I remember knowing that I would live in France one day as an adult. Why? I don’t know. Nobody in my family had any connections to France and I knew nothing about it. In fact, my father tried to teach me German, but I wasn’t interested. Later in 6th grade, I was placed with a small group into a special French class because I had completed all available reading textbooks. Did my interest attract this opportunity? Or was this something different… a sort of predestined path?

Last summer I was drawn to pick up a book about Francoise D’Aubigné, the secret wife of Louis the 14th– secret for almost 40 years! It turns out that she lived for quite a long time in the Marais– my favorite area in Paris.

maintenon-300x290                            Print of Francoise D’Aubigné from linked article above

Another interesting thread… last month a fellow songwriter shared an article with me about a secret river in Paris called La Bièvre that was concealed a hundred years ago. It is a small tributary that flowed into the Seine and still flows somewhere below the streets as part of the sewage system. You can find it labeled on certain sidewalks. Apparently there is a movement to uncover it as well as artists who, inspired by its presence, are defining themselves geographically in relationship to the river. How I love the idea of uncovering history and seeing a river that no one has seen for a hundred years! Don’t we all have places inside that feel as though they have been concealed by time and life and yet long to feel free again?

In October of 2014, please join us for our second French retreat! Joy and The Feminine Path is about feeling the deep river of energy inside each of us and awakening! Our bodies, minds and spirits will be our guides, and Paris’s beauty, history, art and music will be our inspiration! Allow her to do so and she will weave a subtle and intoxicating new breath of curiosity and wonder into your life! More details to follow…

Happy New Year everyone! Where will it lead you?

Love Tiger

The Stolen Persimmon

The persimmon I picked…

It has been 4 months since October when I returned from leading my first Joy and The Feminine Path retreat in France. Time has been swallowed up by Seattle’s grey skies, the holidays, teaching and the multi-faceted landscape of being mother to a 12 year-old girl.

Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to fly to San Francisco with the Devlan James Band where they were performing at a high profile musical showcase called The Sunset Sessions. What fun to be lifted from daily life and transported to a sunshiny 55 degree San Francisco and thrust into the gushing waterfall of gorgeous live music, late nights out and sightseeing with people I love! It woke me up like a shower after a long sleep.

Writing inhabits a strange private stronghold in me that I do not always have access to; I know something is happening there in the creative darkness, but I can’t grab anything solid. This story has been growing for a few months while my mind thrashes around, irritated and restless… pushing at me to complete it. These past few weeks, something has started to stir and feel alive! Fruit is so much more satisfying when it’s ripe. Even now I can taste the nectar and honey sweet perfection of the persimmon which is my inspiration.

Leaving Paris

On the 4th day of our retreat, we left Paris for Grasse in the south. Feeling full and uplifted by the beauty and deliciousness of Paris– food, architecure, people… at 7:30 am, we said goodbye to our elegant, grand apartment in the Place des Vosges and headed by taxi to the Gare De Lyon.

Fresh dates from the Sunday market at La Bastille. Speaking of delicious fruit, these fresh dates from the Sunday market at La Bastille            in Paris were the first I’ve ever tasted. They get soft and almost flowery sweet               when they are ripe– as well as being beautiful!

Christophe our taxi driver was a dark, stocky man from Cameroun with a velvety voice and soothing manner. One of my clients had met him when he brought her into Paris from the airport several days earlier. He was so charming, that she kept his business card for future trips. The drive to the station was only a short distance, so we felt grateful that he’d gotten up in the early morning to tend to us.

When we arrived at the station he unloaded all our luggage. I turned to him with a hint of suspicion to find out what we owed– he had not started the taxi meter. He looked me in the eye and said warmly, “just give me something symbolic”.

His gallantry took me by surprise and I found myself paying him generously for what was the equivalent of a 10 block trip! He set the tone for our day… and so, feeling happy and anticipating, we boarded the super fast train and set off for an easy, sleepy ride to Grasse and the Côte d’Azur.

Grasse

Stretching and stepping off the train into the Grasse sunshine felt lovely. The train station was small and nondescript, but as soon as we walked outside we felt the difference in the air. It was significantly warmer than Paris and had an irresistible aroma of lavender, jasmine, sun, smoky leaves and a hint of the sea. Taking deep and appreciative breaths, we crammed into the only taxi parked outside the station and headed over steep hills and valleys up to our hotel.

Grasse is about 20 miles from Cannes and the Mediterranean, nestled into a series of dramatic hills and valleys. From our hotel we could look south out over meadows of green and gold towards the sea. There is a haze of something in the air that hovers over the landscape which makes you feel like you are looking at a live Impressionist painting– perhaps Cézanne. The sunshine spreads and dapples across the land.

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Flowers on the side of the road in Grasse.

Once everyone was settled comfortably in their rooms, I left the hotel for a solo reconnaissance mission to see what the neighborhood had to offer. The path down to the main road outside the hotel was steep and dusty; I turned onto the main road which meandered back up the hill equally steep. It was lined with warm, light colored stone walls separating houses from the curb. I walked through the quiet residential area feeling peaceful and relaxed. I love being somewhere new and foreign. It makes me feel like the coast is clear and my inner self can come out.

After about ten minutes, I noticed some stone steps leading up a walkway. It looked so enticing that I couldn’t resist the invitation to cross the road and explore. Climbing the stairs I peered over high stone walls into back yards with terraces, seats, clotheslines… the occasional sounds of people and dogs. About 20 yards up the walkway on one side was a tree laden with fruit.

20121013_094648Only a few branch tips came over the edge of the wall and those were hung with the most gorgeous, slightly translucent, brilliant orange fruit. They hung heavy and tempting and almost impossible to reach. I glanced around and saw no one. I stretched and stretched and was able to put  my hands around one of the fruit. It was soft and perfect and I could sense that it was going to be sweet.

I hesitated for a second… and then pulled. The tree had so many fruit! Would one be missed? With the fruit in my hand I savored the color–a hint of brilliant pink mixed into the orange… the slightly dusty, warm green of the stem and leaves… and then bit into it.

Ahh… what pleasure! My mouth still waters as I think of it… sweet with a hint of the exotic… a persimmon at the peak of its ripeness! This tasted like nothing I had ever bought in a store. It seemed all the more delightful and foreign to me from Seattle– not a fruit that grows in the pine green, cold, wet Northwest! It was warm flavored and tasted of sun. As I finished eating and continued up the road, I was inspired to share this with my clients. How perfect! Joy and The Feminine Path– letting our senses guide and open our spirits.

A midnight walk

Grasse it turns out is a medium sized town filled with tiny streets, outside terraces, historical museums and bright, pastel colored buildings. My walk around the hotel neighborhood turned into a trip into town discovering interesting restaurants and shops to visit later. The local bus travels between the center of town and our quiet hotel in the outskirts. The distances are very steep and I was grateful for this option when I returned to the hotel for dinner.

My clients and I enjoyed a top notch and very elegant dinner at the hotel restaurant with a delicious local Rosé and a kind, knowledgeable waiter! We all agreed the change of pace was perfect. There are so many streets and sights and people in Paris that it felt good to relax; we gathered up shawls after dinner and stepped out into the warm evening. The smell of flowers and wood smoke were more obvious in the night and we walked and laughed feeling lucky to be so well fed!

I led us up the main road and to my secret afternoon walkway. I knew there was one more persimmon that was ripe and within reach of the path. We walked up the steps and stopped to look up at the stars. We stood for a moment while I surreptitiously plucked the persimmon off of the tree, leaves rustling in the darkness. They had no idea what I was doing. I asked my companions to close their eyes and breathe in the soft fragrance of the night air… then I offered them each a bite of the fruit.

Something about darkness allowed our senses to be more alert… the sweetness, the skin soft but firm and still slightly warm after the late afternoon sunlight…  full of juice … we were all drenched in the bliss of a moment when everything comes together… joy, gratitude… life.

The last time I was in Paris…

ImageI had the amazing good fortune to spend 3 warm, beautiful days by myself in the Marais– one of the oldest areas in Paris. It was August and many Parisians were away on vacation so the streets were peaceful as well as sunny.

The journey from the West coast of the U.S. was long and I was tired. After finding a tasty, neighborhood Spanish restaurant for tapas, I settled into a tiny hotel for the evening. I slept soundly and due to the time change, awoke the next morning at the crack of dawn. I opened the shutters from my 2nd floor room and looked out onto an unexpectedly green, plant-filled interior courtyard! The early morning quiet inspired me to bring out Carlos– my blue guitar. I began to play softly. The music swelled with natural reverb and the sound wafted sweetly into the courtyard– inviting me to sing.

Moments like this create space and a sense of freedom inside me. I can express myself– and am lifted out of the busy and important doing of daily life, earning a living and parenthood. Creativity for me is one of the guages of my well-being. The flow of self-expression and joy flavors everything with new color and aliveness. Even thinking back to that morning helps me to take a deeper breath and relax.

After this bright beginning, I ventured outside and staying in the neighborhood, wound my way through streets such as the one shown above until I found a little cafe. The owner was cheerful and welcoming and I ordered a little pot of tea with cream and sugar. The croissants were still baking and after a few minutes he served me, one fresh from the oven! Ahh.. the butter and the jam in France are so delicious! I went back every morning to the same cafe and although my stay was only 3 days, the owner welcomed me back like a regular.

Fast forward to my offering of this year’s October French retreat: Joy and The Feminine Path. My desire is to share this inspiration and creativity with a few women who want to have some fun and breathe in some new life! See August 13th’s post titled “October 2012 French Retreat” for an invitation and description of the retreat!

I found us a wonderful apartment in La Place de Vosges– a beautiful apartment complex that was built by Henri the IV in 1605! For our first 4 days in France, we will be based here– sharing scrumptious breakfasts, strolling on these cobblestone streets and visiting the Moroccan baths. How few of us get to stay in a home that has such history! Here is what Wikipedia says about the complex: La Place des Vosges.

Stay tuned for more about the Moroccan Baths… ahhhh!
Bisoux Tiger

* Please note that the above photo from a street in the Marais comes from this great website: http://www.aparisguide.com/lemarais

October 2012 French Retreat

Fall 2012 Retreat: Awakening The Body

France is a country known for its beauty, elegance and delicious affair with the senses… a warm crust of bread, the fragrance of fine perfume, the sound of a gorgeous pair of shoes on an ancient cobblestone street. It is the perfect place to inspire and exhilarate the feminine body! Even the door knobs are beautiful in Paris!

Indulge yourself by spending a week in France this October 7-14th 2012. Meet and connect with amazing women, explore Paris and Grasse, awaken your senses and inspire your creativity! Our journey begins in…

PARIS

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel

We will spend 4 nights in one of the oldest areas in Paris– Le Marais, considered to be the aristocratic district– inhabited by royalty since the mid-13th century. Today its narrow streets are filled with boutique hotels, galleries, elegant shops and tempting restaurants. The Picasso museum is in this area– one of my favorite museums!

GRASSE

“Your body is a flower that life let bloom…” – Ilchi Lee

Our feminine adventure continues with 3 nights and 2 days in Southern France in the ancient town of Grasse– perfume capitol of France. Flowers have been grown here for centuries, harvested and pressed to make the essences used in the making of fine French perfumes. Here we will attend a perfume making school to learn the art of creating our own signature scent and “Aromocholgie”– how essential oils influence moods, emotions and promote physical and spiritual well-being.

There will be free time to explore and enjoy the scenery in both Paris and Grasse. Perhaps we will have dinner in Nice or Cannes both of which are easily accessible from Grasse!

Retreat includes:

7 nights accomodation (double occupancy)

A scrumptious breakfast and dinner every day

Personal coaching session with Tiger (appr. 1 hour)

Live concert of acoustic French music

Trip to The Morroccan Baths in Paris

Perfume School in Grasse

Evening conversations about how the feminine body flourishes and heals.

Transport to planned activities: train, taxt, metro etc.

Investment: $3600. US (does not include airfare)