Paris Lockdown: Resilience


My world has become both smaller and larger, close ups magnify: butterfly on wild strawberry and magnolia leaves in my courtyard

Day 6 (I think):

Fear keeps rearing its ugly head. Worst case scenarios like “What if I never see my loved ones across the Atlantic again?”

Making a list of end-of-the-world situations our first-world grandparents, parents and we have come through over the past century: WWI, “Spanish” flu, Great Depression, WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Korean and Viet Nam wars, May 1968, Cuban Missile Crisis, Oil Crisis, Chernobyl, 9-11 Gulf Wars and Recession, Financial Crisis of 2008,…Pandemic?

Am I leaving anything out?

Fortunately French artist Catherine Jonville relayed this on her feed: *

(my translation)

From French radio station France Inter published on March 16 2020 at 6:57pm

“Boris Cyrulnik: After the coronavirus, there will be deep changes, that’s the way things work. 

The neuropsychiatrist was interviewed by Ali Rebeihi in the program Grand bien vous fasse, devoted to the epidemic. He explained how our society can survive this crisis and become resilient.


“We have to adapt to an invisible agressor. Humanity only evolves through crisis. After this crisis, the family and the couple will once again become havens of peace.

Crises are part of the human condition. There have been ice ages where we had to adapt by hunting more. And during the periods of global warming we had to farm more. We have already faced many epidemics which have triggered cultural revolutions, great adaptations.



Right now with quarantine and confinement we must focus on inner exploration. 


Along with reading, cooking will become more important whereas before we snacked on industrial food. We’ll listen more to the radio and music. We’ll adapt by retreating into ourselves, we’ll rediscover the values of our grandparents.


For those who worry about their jobs, their family, their children, I say we must worry about taking protective measures. If we follow them, uncertainty will decrease. If we adapt to confinement, there will be fewer reasons to worry.

When the epidemic is over, we will see that we have dusted off old values which will serve to develop a new way of living together. 

Every time there’s a natural catastrophe, there’s a cultural shift. After the trauma, we have to discover new rules, new ways of living together.
In the Middle Ages, people hadn’t understood that they had to quarantine. Infected people spread the bacillus everywhere. And in Europe, two years after the plague of 1348, half the population had disappeared. When the epidemic was over, social values had changed completely. People discovered the art of homemaking. Before that art was essentially religious. Suddenly there were stilllife paintings of game and fruit, carpets under the tables. 
Above all, the production relationships had completely changed. Before the epidemic, most people were considered as serfs and sold with the land. Afterwards, so many had died that the survivors who agreed to work were no longer serfs. They had to be paid for their work. Production relationships and the hierarchy of values had been completely transformed.”
Boris Cyrulnik is an psychiatrist, behavioural scientist and author, best known in France for developing the concept of resilience in psychology. He knows his subject from the inside, having survived as a Jewish child during the Nazi Occupation of France, as his parents perished in concentration camps.
For more about his life and works see:
*For more about Catherine and her art, see: 

Focusing on gratitude, connecting, going outside, moving my body, cultivating beauty, and releasing expectations of “normal” (see previous post)

Wishing you  resilience!

xxxxx Aliss


Coffee with Kisses

Due to a WordPress malfunction, some of the visuals display sideways on certain devices! Trying to correct…

DSC01577Hesitate to divulge the location of my favorite café, want to keep it all to myself… How do I love thee Pavillon des Canaux, let me count the ways: When you first opened last year (above)…

“My” big chair as I first saw it…DSC01602

Seen from across the water:      DSC02315 (1)

View from my table:    DSC02593

Ordering my latte:  DSC02659 And most of all:

Marion and Alexandra:DSC02366DSC02680

DSC02660DSC02661Simon and Lucas (Mr. Bean)…

Upstairs, downstairsDSC02145 DSC02066

Looking west along the canal: DSC02136This is how I dreamed Paris would be…

also on Facebook

xxxxx Aliss


Connect to Paris


Reflections on community and connecting:

In the midst of all the tragedies and absurdities far and near, I’ve been blessed to help my son with a citizenship project he’s working on. In the past week, we’ve written to our French senator Roger Madec for information about protecting nature (for a smile, see the correct salutation to use at the end of the letter below…), taken an emergency First Aid course at the Town Hall, researched ways to help prepare and distribute food to the homeless, and attended a town meeting in our neighborhood. All this turned our feelings of sadness and frustration into gratitude for the many people helping other people.

To feel connected:

Free First Aid Trainings:

This past Saturday, 3500 Parisians attended sessions led by Red Cross volunteers in the local Mairies to learn how to save lives in the event of further terrorist 1(Ivan with Mr. Bernard Jomier, Deputy Mayor of Mme. Hidalgo, and Red Cross training team, photo by Lucas Surel)

Because it was so successful, the Samedi Qui Sauve will be held again. To learn how to protect yourself and save others:

For other Red Cross trainings:

Feeding the Homeless, Emotional Support: Serve the City Paris

Current Serve The City Paris missions and campaigns:

Prêt A Manger food pick up and distribution
Monday – Friday 8:00am at Pret A Manger, 118 Avenue Charles de Gaulle, Neuilly
Pick up leftover food from the day before and then distribute in groups to the homeless. Also possible to meet at Concorde at 9am. Finished by 10:30am.
 Missions and campaigns in partnership:
Friday Mission Lunch
Every Friday meet at the American Cathedral 10am-2pm
Volunteers provide and serve a hot sit-down meal to those in need.
American Cathedral 23 Avenue George V, 8eme
Breakfast Mission
1st Saturday of the month in conjunction with American Church in Paris (ACP)
Prepare the Breakfasts Friday night 7pm at ACP; Meet in basement – room G7
Distribute the Breakfasts Saturday morning 8am at ACP; Meet at Reception
ACP 65 quai d’Orsay, 7eme
Sandwich Mission
3rd Saturday of the month in conjunction with American Church in Paris (ACP)
Prepare the Sandwiches Friday night 7pm at ACP; Meet in basement – room G7
Distribute the Sandwiches Saturday afternoon 1:30pm at ACP; Meet at Reception
ACP 65 quai d’Orsay, 7eme
SOS Help
The emotional support line in English is open from 3 to 11pm daily. They run two listener training courses annually. Listener volunteers cover 3 shifts and attend one meeting per month. Volunteers should be over 25 unless they have previous hotline experience. A 15 month commitment is requested. Visit or their FB page for dates of the information sessions, which are held at the American Church
La Soupe Populaire
Help the team at La Soupe Populaire, association centenaire, sert gratuitement, du lundi au samedi, des repas dans son local du sixième arrondissement de Paris.
Distribution de repas tous les midis, sauf dimanches et jours féries
4 rue Clément, 6ème
To sign up for any of the above, just email us your available date and time and number of people volunteering to


Local Town Hall meetings (conseils de quartier) are open to the public. You can find out about efforts to improve all aspects of local community life, including plans for city-wide composting to reduce the amount of garbage and associated pollution. Local reps record and respond to all questions and feedback. Information available on the local Mairie websites for all 20 arrondissements.

Now for the correct salutation to use when you write your French senator: “Avec mes respectueux hommages, je vous prie d’agréer, Monsieur le Sénateur (Madame la Sénatrice), l’expression de ma considération distinguée.” (With my respectful hommage, I pray you to accredit, Mister or Madam Senator,  the expression of my distinguished consideration). This French art form is endangered by the informal “Cordialement” (Cordially)  we all now use in emails. There are entire websites devoted to the almost infinite variations required for different social and gender permutations. Enjoy it while it lasts!