My recent trip to Paris followed the story line of a movie about the modern day couple, working, 2 young kids, often ships passing in the sea. When we first landed, we were not yet accustomed to the lightness of leaving all of that baggage at home (including the kids). But as our eyes softened and our pace slowed, we began to enjoy the city of romance by surrendering to its beauty and culture.

We walked and ate and stopped to just be. Our list of “things to do” included kissing on every bridge and having a picnic by the Seine beside a live musician serenading us. We fell in love with the city as we fell in love with a deeper form of our relationship.

In Paris it felt like all of the best versions of ourselves from 22 years together came alive. We danced and played. We meandered aimlessly and discovered new delights that inspired us from the bottom up.

On the plane home, I found myself weeping from the realization of how immense my life is, how held I am and how deeply loved. A lifetime of searching for that place inside that is wanted, that belongs and is truly accepted as she is felt at peace. And so I disembarked back into my life feeling a sense of well being like never before.

The radiant glow continued well into the coming days, but at some point, I began guarding it like the glass globe memory of joy that we see in the movie Inside Out. A part of me fearful that if I let go a little, that deep feeling would somehow wash away.

Unfortunately, in my holding on, I began to cling to the desire of the past instead of fully connecting with my present. In my attempt to preserve the depth of joy I felt in Paris, I began to experience a fading of the colors around me at home. I found myself holding my breath and yearning for the very thing I sought to carry forward from my trip.

So, I hit pause and went back to that list of experiences we had made for ourselves in Paris. The list was about adventure and coming together in unexpected and unpredictable ways. And I realized that the thing I really wanted to experience was losing myself like I did in Paris. To meander and feel without purpose. So with the help of one of my teachers, I decided to try and “get lost” once a week for 15 minutes. On paper, not a lofty goal, and so worth a try.

Today I took the first of those 15 minutes, deciding to wander aimlessly and follow my soul. It was not planned. In fact it took me by surprise, when I realized I had 15 minutes to spare between meetings and no home base. And also by surprise, I found myself with my camera in my car. And so, I walked the streets of Ann Arbor in the morning hour. That perfect time when people start their day – walk to work, sip a cup of coffee, enjoy a sense of quiet before the bustle. It is the part of the day that holds the most promise.

I found myself pausing to see the things I so often overlook. I also gazed longer on sights I love but don’t take the time. As I clicked photos, I became aware of finding myself in the edges of many shots. Reflections in windows.

My slower pace also allowed me to linger on people. So many smiles and nods good morning. And so many walks of life – young, old, people in a rush, others meeting a friend, a man sitting on the ledge of a park. I could feel myself expand as I became aware of each of them as an aspect of myself. Focused, busy, carefree, engaged, and of course in that moment, absorbed in my surroundings.

It was one of those 15 minute experiences that felt like an hour and with as much impact as a deep meditation. A renewal. Feeling that joy from inside. Recognizing myself in everything I see and loving the reflection. It was as though I finally brought Paris home with me and stepped into the very heart of all that I tried so hard to protect the past weeks. But instead of reliving the past, I walked into something fresh with possibility for my future.

A possibility I discovered somewhere in Paris.