Le Gare Du Nord
2008 © Tania Carriere2008 © Tania Carriere
As I looked out of the train window, I watched the country side slowly turn into the city. I thought of some of the people who lived in this great city before me, of all the people living their lives at this moment. I felt envious of some, and luckier than others. Then, softened by the slow rocking movement, I gave some real thought to who I was and what of me was enviable and what of me would people count themselves lucky not to be. It was as if each little alley, visible for a passing moment, was a window into some little piece of me. I took to this notion, and watched hypnotized by the moving vision before me; like the allies, some of the pieces I rejoiced in, some, I discovered, saddened me.
As we pulled suddenly into the Gare du Nord—strange that the timely and predictable arrival at the end destination felt sudden—I saw Paris in front of me. I quickly, for fear of leaving stuff behind, gathered all the pieces—sweater, book, journal—that I had strewn around and then paused; in that moment I had a flash. What if I left them on the train? Not my stuff, but my pieces. Why not leave the pieces of me that had saddened me? Why not leave them here on the train? Why not just decide in this moment to let go of what I don’t want and try on what I do? There was no one there to stop me, no one to caution me, no one who knew me, and thus could know that I had left something behind and say, when faced with the new me, “how unlike you.” Paris didn’t care who I had been, she sat there inviting me to become.
Excited to be off the train, I moved from the platform to the first café I could find, I watched the water spray those close to the fountain, the colourful, precise women in their French shoes and their tight skirts, the bobbing heads of the pigeons, and I laughed out loud. The sound startled me. It was not a sound that I was familiar with. It was followed by an equally unfamiliar sound. Silence. Or rather, the absence of someone saying, “how unlike you.”
I watched the waiter approach, leaned forward, clasped my cup, crossed my legs, and placed an inviting, if a little bit smug, smile on my face, the thrill of moment hanging before me. The first flirtation with myself.
I thought briefly of the pieces left behind. I don’t know if anyone ever found them; I do know that in one clear moment I understood that change and becoming the person we want to envy can be as simple as leaving it all on the train.
Tania Carrière has been inspiring leadership discovery for over 15 years in North America, the UK and France. Her background is in organizational behaviour, cultural transformation, team development, adult learning and facilitation. Her passion is designing transformational experiences compelling people to courageously stretch their boundaries, welcome change and celebrate themselves. An innovator in discovery workshops and experiential travel, Tania combines a gift for inquiry with a passion for renewal.
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