To Paris, With Love
by Jacqueline Smyth

To my lovely readers,

The blog entry below is more of an open letter, an open admission to the parts of my life that have been hidden in blind spots. To bring you up to full speed, we need to go back to the beginning. You can’t see until you can see, as they say- and my adventures in Paris, although dark and gloomy, have cast the brightest lights where I needed it most.

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What a journey it’s been for me to grow up on this blog. From my mid twenties, I introduced my voice on the blog as a reviewer of yoga studios. If you didn’t find me that early, I almost hate to say ‘reviewer’, because I didn’t review the studios with the traditional ratings, pros, cons, etc, that I myself don’t even believe in. I liken those posts to say, a Sex and the City episode, only framed from my perspective through a yoga class at a studio I’d never been to. 

The real premise was, what can I learn in the span of an hour or two if I’m really looking for the lesson? And the truth is that years later, I can now see how I’ve set up my entire adult life… looking for life’s lessons.

I, as I write this from my apartment, sitting in my bedroom in Paris, I am having the realization that lessons often come through hardships, something learned through having a difficult or challenging experience.

Cut to my late twenties on the blog, becoming a mother, and assuming that I could no longer do it on my own. I developed the belief that I needed to make this a community blog. So I found women that inspired me then, and continue to do so now, and I asked them to write. I redesigned to what you see now, I got big companies to believe in my vision, and had set my sights on the biggest relaunch I could possibly dream of. I had put a finish line on a dream, I just wanted (and needed) people to believe in my dream, and send it out into the world.

Which is what I knew how to do. 

Except, um. That wasn’t the finish line. I had concentrated so much on relaunching and the design and the set up, that I really had no idea how a community blog works. None, whatsoever. And so, long story short, I started to drown. I took my passion, took out all the things I loved about it, and created a managerial position for myself. I became someone that was just trying to claw and push, and make something work. I chased people for articles, I wrote emails with 0 responses, and I definitely did not lead by example. It was probably the most painful time in my adult life. Putting your all into something, throwing all security out the window on just a belief that you can do it, based on hope alone… And then seeing yourself slipping into quicksand. 

It’s scary. 

So I stopped. Because I didn’t know what I was doing, and because when I did, or pretended to, it was a painful chore. Was that how I was going to live my life? As a chore? If that was the case, shouldn’t I just go and get a stable job, go back to the traditional walk of life? Save my remaining sanity, right? Do what everybody said to do. Forego my dreams and shelf them for another time.

Except, I couldn’t. I didn’t know what to do, but I knew I couldn’t do that.

I don’t know a lot of things, but I know I haven’t lived the way I have, with adventure and the unknown and doing things my own way to live a life where there’s no passion. 

During this time I started doing a lot of internal work, really more forward motion work. I began to work with a coach, and apprentice her to be able to coach as well, and my life began to shift drastically. I can’t even begin to tell you how it opened. In the stopping, in the taking the time, our lovely friend hindsight shows up clear as day, bless her heart.

Most of you will remember when I had to really step forward, hugely humble myself and say hey, here’s me, this is who’s been talking to you without a face or a name or any recognition at all. 

It’s funny, when you don’t put yourself out there to receive recognition, most likely it’s because you’ve actually forgotten yourself. And that’s exactly what I had done. In my whole life. I didn’t stand up for myself, because I didn’t know what to stand up for. Looking back, I don’t even know if I knew how to stand up. I was playing victim, and it was really easy to do. I was looking for the lessons. And boy, all I found were fucking lessons. 

 What do I not know? What can something outside of myself teach me?

As I started to work on myself, I realized, it doesn’t come from outside of you.

And when I got that, when I stopped looking outside and was just okay with what was, something funny happened, I began to instead see gifts.

I created a big vision of what I wanted to unfold, and within 3 months my whole life shifted. My income tripled. My role as a mother blossomed in ways I could not be more grateful for, with connection and presence, and first and foremost love. The relationships that were not going to serve my big vision literally flew out the window. I’m not joking. Within those three months I only had two close friends left. Two. And although it was a painful process, that was okay, more like, it was perfect. Because even as it was happening I had the perspective to see, all of that needed to happen for me to grow where I want to grow. Passionate in work, passionate in coaching and teaching, passionate in every one of my relationships. 

I found the passion. And it literally did not take me years or months. Not even close.

It was a moment.

I say all of this because this site and this blog, for many reasons, has allowed me to track my own evolution. And this time in Paris gave me more perspective, and really more of an introduction to myself than I maybe have ever had.

Bali taught me who I can be. And Paris, as it ends up, told me who I am. 

We all experience change. The funny thing about social media and whatnot, is that in a world of change, we’re almost told to stay the same. Can’t post this, people with unfollow me. It’s not what they’re used to. Can’t post that, it doesn’t fit my feed, it doesn’t fit the site.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Yes. A blog is a business. And the ways you market it are a part of that business. But if your core values include Growth, and Inspiration, well… You better have em at every stage of the game.

The Universe and I have quite a relationship. It shows up all the time, nothing to me is a coincidence so the relationship I have to a higher power is everywhere, at all times. And, much like myself, the Universe can be quite a trickster. 

So I got to Paris, ready to have this epic adventure, and an interesting thing happened. All I felt was pressure. The pressure to look like I was having an epic time. Let me tell you a secret, Paris is cold now. Like really cold, and really barren. Rainy, dark, and grey. And so I spent the beginning of my trip looking, and looking… Searching around for anything that could fit the brand or the blog or the feed. WHATEVER. 

Here’s where my friend the Universe gets a little joke in. I have another account. One that I just follow all of my favorite inspirational photo accounts. Where their feeds are there to feed my visual imagination only. And so I logged out of my account. And then I logged back in. Ahem, tried to log back in. 

Nope.

Universal joke numero uno. Have you heard the one about the travel writer who has a travel feed to post travel photos and when she travels she GETS LOCKED OUT OF HER ACCOUNT?

(Slow clap cued in here)

It’s weird, something as new as social media has such a hold on us. I had taken this trip in part for business, but the other part is that with a travel blog, you’ve gotta travel. That’s the job. And so I had a mini heart attack that suddenly there may have been no point, just to keep it real, but I knew- I knew I was to find something in Paris, and stuff like this doesn’t just happen for no reason. So although I got a bit riled up, I knew there was a greater good.

I had told a few of my girlfriends that also have feeds similar to mine what was going on and while everyone was very supportive with suggestions on how to get it back, I knew that this was here for a reason. I practice (I try to always, and most of the time I’m successful) what I preach. There is a gift here, even if I can’t see it right now.

I know it’s here.

Two full weeks with no social media, and not because I wanted to go on a detox. This was different. Without the pressure of doing something or finding anything, my inspiration slowly began to come back in on what I naturally veer towards. And let me tell you, it’s quite different than most of the things I post. My friend Mary Beth said once to me at lunch, “By looking at your Instagram, you’d think you are big into color, with clothes, with your life”. Fun fact about me: I’m not. Ever. I’m scared of them. Kidding, I’m not scared, but I do feel most myself in plain clothes. Black mostly. I’ve tried other things, I just feel uncomfortable in them. My house is the very same way. A lot of plants, a lot of wood, and a lot of earthy and nude tones.

Yes, Bali was the inspiration for the site, it was my inspo for a long time. It was my 25 year old view on life. I would say that my eye is changing, but it’s not. Not even close. Sometimes you’ll see it, things that I truly find inspirational, but then it disappears in the noise of what I think I should post that people are used to.

We all do this. We think we need to be and do what others expect us to be and do.

But what if we were just more ourselves? Like, so ourselves that we couldn’t possibly be anything but? 

I was reading an article on Vogue, The French Girl Beauty Rules, which I highly recommend and have been living by the past few weeks, and came across this quote:

“But for the French, it’s very particular: What we want is to be ourselves—not a better version of ourselves. We feel like it’s better to be used to something than to try to change it. So we think: What style can I have with this face, and with this hair? That mentality is 100 percent French.”

Yes, it’s to do with fashion, but FUCK, how much easier would your whole life be if we thought like that? With this brain, and this eye, and this style, what can I have?

Paris reminded me, along with the Universe, of who I am. I don’t know for sure if I ever really took the time to look before. I always know who I want to be, but I skipped over the woman I was, and moreso the woman I am.

I believe in standing up for myself, I believe in growing as a woman, and as a mother- and I believe in doing it whole heartedly. I believe in that for everyone in my sphere, and that includes you too, if you are reading this. 

There’s a big world out there, but there’s also a big world right where you are- at all times. And Paris reminds me that I can saturate my everyday life with luxury and care, and of course magic. I don’t have to go anywhere, I will of course, but I can live this way at home. I’ve been more private about things like motherhood and my home life, and that part of my job will be changing. What you see is about 10% of my life, the other 90? Being a mom, being a friend, doing my best to live consciously in this world- both in mind and in body. Those are all things I’m proud of, and things that will be moving to the forefront. 

I also realize that I need to have a makeover with my branding, maybe more of a make under. It’s my goal to live 100% in line with not only my vision, but where I stand right now. So, stay tuned for that, because although it’s a big undertaking, I’m pretty excited about it. 

We grow and we change, it’s the best part of life, and it should be celebrated at every turn. I hope you grow with me, as you’ve been one of the most important influences in my life. 

Thank you for that.

Paris has inspired me to just be me, and I can’t think of anyone or anything that has ever inspired me to do something as simple as that before.
I found the Gift. And this time the gift is not only for me, but to share with everyone else as well.

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Comments: 2

Jacqueline Smyth

Proud mama. Destination Coach and Yoga Teacher. Writer. Traveler. Story Collector. Believer.
  1. Geri says:

    Hey Sweetie-what a soul searching journey you have been on. Your maturing into quite a fabulous woman. Follow your wonderful kind ❤️. I am always here for you Jackie. Love you very much

  2. Mandi says:

    Love this! I find inspiration from you most when you are being real and raw. You’re so relatable. Love that the Universe had given you this gift and can’t wait to see what is to come.

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