Looking up…(update 15/6/17)


Art on the canal… Many NLP (neurolinguistic programming) courses teach that when a person looks up to their left they’re making pictures and when they look up to their right they’re remembering pictures… This is controversial but MRI scans seem to show that imagining activates the neo-cortex (frontal lobe and most recently evolved area of the brain). According to these studies, vizualizing a best-case scenario activates all parts of the brain (frontal-visual, mammalian-emotional and reptilian-survival) in synergy, and there seems to be a loop effect–looking up stimulates positive image-making… so why not try it and “see”? To be continued xxxxx Aliss

Cakes and Cathedrals

Dear blog friends, Haven’t been able to post this week, hosting visitors, long conversations with long lost friends, sharing my favorite places. More thoughts taking shape about the soul of France, how cathedrals and cakes are holographic alphas and omegas of the traditional French experience, the first, centuries in the making, centuries standing solid, the second, sensual and ephemeral, but with the same love for graceful architecture, story-telling in images… More to come, love xxxxx Aliss

(Bakery Benoist, 29 avenue Secretan, Paris 75019, tel: 01 42 40 23 86, and rose window in Chartres Cathedral)

Thank You France


Emerging from election stress and heavy weather… This is where I wanted to be the day after  Macron was elected, immersed in the light of one of the great souls of France at Giverny…May 8th is a national holiday here (V-E Day) so the place was packed with French and international tourists, it was rainy and cold, but this living masterpiece, wonder of the world, was still perfect. Thank you France xxxxxx Aliss

Sanity Savers 12: Point Zero

Point zero

Photo: Jean-Jacques Breton, Paris à vos pieds, editions Parisgramme, Paris 2013, p. 106. (Scan and color-adjustments, Aliss Terrell)

Embedded in the cobblestones in front of Notre Dame Cathedral is this marker, the starting point of all main roads leading to French cities and the endpoint used for measuring their distances, the very heart of the country. DSC03304The cathedral itself is a visual encyclopedia of French culture and history.DSC03305

Beside the main altar stands a 14th century statue of the Mother. No matter what tradition you come from, she is the incarnation of compassion enfolding soul,  reminding me of Kwan Yin, (Guanyin) the Buddhist bodhisatva, sometimes compared to Mary.

DSC03307I’m grateful to have this sanctuary nearby, to sit in silence, in candlelight, sending and receiving love through this portal, always, but especially in times like the ones we are living.

To be continued xxxxx Aliss

Giverny October


Why would anyone go to Giverny at the end of October just before it closes for winter?  Because I made a list of places to search for the Soul of France (see Sept. 28 post). Number 1: the Orangerie Museum with Monet’s Waterlilies, Number 2: Giverny, 2+ hours from where I live in northeast Paris: Metro, Train, bus, walk. Not sure what I would find at this time of year. Partly cloudy, a few rays of sunshine, rain forecast. Pleasant surprise, train and bus not crowded,  people fairly relaxed, most actually speaking French. Arrive in the parking lot, get off the bus and walk through the village, streets almost empty. Just in case, experience has taught me to arrive between 11:30 and 12, have a bite at Les Nymphéas and then slip inside the gardens when everyone is elsewhere for lunch. This time, instead of the lovely salmon salad, I let the waiter talk me into the plat du jour, designed for descendants of 9th century Viking invaders (rôti de porc à la sauce normande, vegetable flan, mashed potatoes, apples) :dsc03009

Of course it was too much food, and all those calories felt like a roaring furnace in my belly afterwards, but that turned out to be just fine as I sat beside the lily pond in the muted fall light, totally immersed in chilly beauty:image

Then the sun came out. Yes, the Soul of France is here, incarnated for a few decades in Claude Monet, now living on as his gardens and house:dsc03012

A corner of his studio, reproductions of his private art collection:


Dining room:




View from front steps:dsc03015

When I was leaving 4 hours later, the bus driver called me “mademoiselle” and I laughed because that morning as I was buying my train ticket at Saint Lazare station, a young clerk asked me if I had a discount (did he mean “Senior” ?!) I didn’t take it personally because I was a sleepy mess, but does Giverny have rejuvenating powers in addition to opening our senses and spirit? To find out, I recommend visiting in October :-)))



PS Having the place almost all to myself, I saw things I never saw before, such as a sign pointing to Monet’s grave at the Sainte Radegonde (!) church located on the other side of the village. Too bad, have to go back in the Spring!

xxxxx Aliss


I, Witness

Pageant of tragedy and beauty, a morning in Paris… How to hold these images and emotions in my heart and mind simultaneously?

Police checking ID’s at edge of refugee camp on the corner of my street, under the Metro station:dsc02988

Sun rising behind the Eiffel Tower, on my way to renovated Musée de l’Homme for first anniversary ceremony:dsc02989

Tour of plant life recovered from the Amazon and transformed by Frans Krajcberg, 96, Holocaust survivor, Red Army hero, defender of Brazilian rainforest and native people:dsc03000dsc02990dsc02999

Message from Sarayaku tribe, sending their humming bird boat to Europe, as an emissary for the environment: http://www.museedelhomme.fr/fr/visitez/agenda/exposition/pirogue-kindy-challwa-peuple-kichwa-sarayakupirogue-colibri-1.png

Papou Chief, Mundiya Kepanga, entrusting his ceremonial headdress to the Musée de l’Homme, as a living symbol of his forest home, saying goodbye to it, and asking it to use its magical powers to inspire visitors to protect the earth:dsc02991

Photographer Anne de Vandière, Tribes of the World, total immersion experience:dsc02992(Pictured: Chundu Sagmu, Balami Bhuddist nun, Nepal)

To be continued…. xxxxx Aliss