Me, My Heart, and I

by Melinda Gallo

Balancing thought and action

Saturday, September 8, 2012

This morning I woke up early to enjoy the beginning of my day on the Ile Saint-Louis. Even though the sun was still not up, I was eager to get ready. I smiled when I heard the street cleaners sweeping the streets and sidewalks and the garbage men picking up the trash in the narrow street below my window. I felt comforted by the noise because it reminded me of Florence. Normally, I find Paris rather quiet in the mornings.

I walked to the corner café to enjoy my petit déjeuner (breakfast). Not only did I want to treat myself to a croissant, but I also wanted to sit and write. I enjoy writing in cafés and restaurants when I’m in Paris. When I am in Florence, however, that desire never comes to me. Maybe it’s because I feel so anonymous in a Parisian café: I am never interrupted and can focus on the words flowing out onto my notebook. In a café in Florence, I always fear that I might bump into someone I know, feel a desire to chat, or just be distracted.

I used to think that Paris wasn’t conducive for my writing, but I think it was because I became too engrossed with my work and was exhausted by the time I returned home at night. When I give myself the time and space I need, Paris can be quite supportive of my writing.

The crisp air that wafts into the café feels good on my face. When I look up from my notebook, I see that the sky is a bright blue. The sunlight bounces off the large stone apartment buildings opposite me on the Ile de la Cité, next to Notre Dame.

After writing for at least an hour, I close my notebook and feel a sense of serenity come over me. I realize that I need to take more time out of my day to be alone and write. At times, I forget when I’m busy working, keeping busy, or chatting with people. I just need to be alone so that I can be silent, ponder, and write.

After arriving in Paris on Friday night, something shifted inside of me. I felt a surge of freedom that I haven’t felt in a long time, or maybe never before. I feel as if I have all the cards in my deck and it’s now up to me to play. For a long time, I thought I didn’t have what I needed, but I now feel that “non mi manca nulla (I’m not lacking anything).”

Since April, I have put my writing projects on hold because my personal life was in need of attention. It was a good excuse like all the others that I’ve come up with over the years. I had a habit of only dabbling in my writing projects when I was hit with a spurt of inspiration; however, I now know that I need to be more disciplined and move all my writing projects to the foreground. I’m unable to complete any of them simmering on the back burner.

For that reason, today I make a promise to myself to shift my focus to my writing. Along with that, I have also decided to let go of expectations, to express myself to my heart’s content, and to no longer care about what other people think of me and/or my writing.

I feel deep gratitude in my heart as I turn this important page in my life. I now believe that my dreams can, and will, come true.

Florence has been nudging me all these years to discover who I was born to be and to figure out what I am passionate about, and Paris is leading me to put my thoughts and dreams into action. The mix of the two cities has had a profound effect on me that I believe will continue. My new goal is to balance Florence (the creator/the dreamer) and Paris (the accomplisher).

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