Paris Lockdown: Turn on Your Inner TV


“Private Moon” Leonid Tishkov, Grand Palais expo La Lune, June 2019

Week 5 

Monday evening, April 13th, when President Macron announced another month of confinement, I felt both relieved and  challenged. Relieved because there’s a potential date to look forward to and challenged because I have to keep playing confinement sheriff to my teenager (whose friends seem to be escaping restrictions and parental control in ways I can only guess at). Not to mention the many questions: how to stay healthy, how to manage as a family in close quarters, how to uplift isolated family members from a distance? And what happens after confinement?

We’re all stretching beyond old habits to fill this time as productively as we can, inspired by the essential people keeping us alive. As we try to stay busy, are there open spaces in our new routines to pick up signals from inside? Whatever you call it, intuition? inner wisdom? consciousness? It comes in different forms like remembering a conversation or noticing a book, coming across a forgotten note on a post-it, following a hunch to call or email someone…connections to our next steps and maybe even a path to reimagine our world?

In spare moments, visualization and guided meditations can hone this access to our deeper selves and help us learn to trust it. I started researching and exploring it a while back when I felt completely stuck. It helped me so much, I wanted to share it with people I mentor and coach.

Here’s a mini workshop I put together for kids and teens so they could use this tool to expand their creativity, self confidence, and problem solving skills. It works well with adults, too renewing our playfulness and innocent imagining. If you’re a parent, listen with your kids.

The first part is a short introduction, “What is Visualisation?”

The second part is a guided meditation, “Turn on Your Inner TV”

Thank you to American bansuri flute virtuoso Steve Gorn for permission to use his gorgeous “Luminous Ragas”

And to Russian artist Leonid Tiskov for permission to use my photo of his magical “Private Moon” (Grand Palais’ 2019 “La Lune” expo). For more about his art:

Now or for future reference…

xxxxxx Aliss

Paris Lockdown: Inner Fire then Fun


Some are enjoying this (Photo by Lewis Primo)

Day 8 (I think):

France just announced 8 more weeks of confinement. When this is all over, it’ll be interesting to compare notes. Was it harder to be shut in with a 16-year-old as I am or with a two year old as are some of my family members?  For teens, isolation feels like punishment, add in peer pressure to dismiss and defy the restrictions and you get a perfect recipe for risk-taking and conflict with parents. A bad mix, for them and for us, adding to everyone’s frustration, uncertainty, and fear.

How to remove fear (fun info follows)

Trying the following recommendations from a Russian friend, Svetlana Nikandrova, psychologist, yoga master and bio-energy healing specialist. The only person in medical history to have had a pacemaker removed and live to tell the tale, she wrote two books about her journey back to health and helping others. (links below)

From Svetlana’s Energy Notes
“Highly relevant. Prevention techniques for those who do not want to get sick.
To remove all fears: in the present, future and even in the past.
   Tool: conscious sensory breathing
– Set the mood for fire breathing (you can breathe with a candle).
Heartbeat rhythm. 4 inhale, 4 pause, 4 exhale, 4 pause.
-Warm up the heart, liver, spleen. Listen to the pulsation of these three organs and synchronize them. Saturate the whole triangle with fiery energy.
– Circulate heat from the heart in a small circle around the circulatory system first in the  head, neck, shoulders, chest, arms. Then, in a large circle from the heart to the stomach, buttocks, hips, and feet.
– Then  circulate the energy in a fiery figure eight, alternating the upper and lower circles.
-Continue to warm the entire circulatory system: heart, blood vessels, large, small, veins, capillaries.
-Observe how blood warms the entire body.
-Complete a few cycles until you feel a pleasant calm in the heart, or see a glow in and around the body.
-Continue to track the pulsation in a 4-4-4-4 rhythm.
-And then, listen to your renewed heart. Let it bloom with love, tenderness and gratitude.
Thank the universe.”
Svetlana’s books Heart Breathing: Healing the Heart and Heart and Fateare currently available in Russian only:
English speakers can follow her on Facebook and Instagram, just hit the translation button.

Now, ready for fun?

Escape from confinement with Velvet & Toads, the gorgeous, delicious YouTube channel by my friend Letitia Ferris Toussaint, about wild edibles, gardening, shopping, sights and all things fabulous and French. Relax and fantasize:
Or pick up healing tips like her latest, “Two ingredient natural recipes for cough and sore throat”
We’ll get by with a little help from our (multi-talented) friends.
xxxxxx Aliss


Happy Mothers Day


Thank you everyone for your warm reactions to my Return to Russia story on Facebook and Instagram, May 1st to May 8th.

This photo may seem strange for Mothers Day, but it expresses many things for me. It’s a statue at the Baby House near St Petersburg, Russia where I found my son on Nov 12th, 2007 and finally picked him up on May 8th, 2008 after three years of obstacles. The statue needs repairs, like the Baby House, closed down ten years ago.

I send love to all our mothers, all of us blessed to raise our own children and those of us who raise children whose mothers couldn’t. We stand on a fragile pedestal of joys snd challenges.

And love to my beloved daughter, who first made my wish to become a mother come true…

Happy Mother’s Day

xxxxx Aliss

Russian Dumpling Party

(In case you’re wondering…That’s my bubbly in the picture, not his 🙂 )


Still a long way to go until Spring… Having as much fun as we can in the meantime. No snow this year, but we pretend with Pelmeni, Siberian “ravioli” (from the Far East like all pasta, until Marco Polo brought it to Europe in the 14th century). Never realized what an institution this is for Russians until our Saint Petersburg friends initiated us. During our in-person tutorial, they told us how their clans gather around kitchen tables and make hundreds of dumplings to store outside on frozen apartment balconies all through the winter, bringing some in once or twice a week for dinners. Everyone competes to see who can make the most and the best, singing, telling jokes and stories. Each family has their own recipe and unique style so when a couple moves in together or marries, their traditions better be compatible or the relationship won’t be happy. Of course there are Pelmeni restaurants in the old country, but nothing compares to home-made ones. So, as soon as Parisian temperatures approach zero, we set out our ingredients, roll out our dough (gyoza and wonton wrappers are for sissies!), chop our meat and onions, cut out our circles, dole out filling, boil our broth, and enjoy with black bread, red caviar, sour cream, vinegar, chives (considered sacrilege by some) and only top-of-the-line beverages.


Veronika’s ST-P style, for 4: 1 pound of meat (mixture of beef and pork), 1 large onion, 1 pound of flour, salt, water, bay leaf, black pepper corns (+ fresh herbs, vinegar depending on the family…)

Olga’s Siberian style (more people, more elbow grease) filling: 2 pounds ground meat (half beef, half pork and veal, must not be too lean!), 1 tbsp water, 2 large onions, salt, pepper. Dough: 2 lbs flour, salt, water, 1 egg per cup of flour.


Pour flour on the table or counter, add a pinch of salt, make a little well in the middle, start adding water and mixing until it begins to form a ball. (Siberians add eggs)


Keep kneading, adding flour and water until it becomes smooth and elastic. Work as a team, taking turns, it’s strenuous! Never try this in the spring or summer!


Now we’re getting somewhere. Roll it into a ball, let rest.

Meanwhile, prepare meat and onions for filling (we put pork shoulder in food processor and mix with ground beef).DSC02505 Roll out dough on floury surface until thin and cut circles with the rim of a glass. These look huge, but are about 3″ diameter. Bring a big kettle of water to a boil. Pop in a bay leaf, black pepper corns, and salt.

DSC02506Put a spoon of filling in each center, fold over, moisten edges and pinch shut, fold corners to center, moisten and pinch again. (Variation: pinch off little pieces of dough and roll out individually, then fill, fold, close, fold again)


We cheated. Ours are bigger because we were hungry and in a hurry.

DSC02508Gently drop dumplings in the boiling water, about 5 per person to start (don’t let them glob together) and boil until they rise to the surface. It’s OK if one or two come apart, that makes the broth even tastier. Meanwhile, munch on whole grain black bread and red caviar.

DSC02510Dip dumplings out with a strainer, place in shallow soup plates with a ladle of broth, garnish with organic smetana, crème fraîche, or sour cream (and fresh chives, dill or parsley). Some people like a few drops of vinegar. Repeat as necessary.

Winter Heaven!

Broth can be refrigerated or frozen, reused once, for more pelmeni, soups or sauces, but do not refreeze 🙂