Diann Schindler, Ph.D.
Culture, Kindness, and Compassion: Episode Three, Falling for Paris
(This is the third of three episodes/blogs.)
For the last 35 years in France, the 21st June is not just the longest day of the year but also the day of the fête de la musique. This "festival of music" is no ordinary festival. Created in France in 1982, it has been taken up by neighboring countries where it has been just as successful. Music takes over the city's streets, with live bands, singers, amateur musicians, drummers, DJs and so on scattered throughout the city, expressing themselves through music and inviting the crowd to enjoy themselves.
My friends and I spent a wonderful evening listening to live music in our bohemian area of Paris. Music ranged from the 60’s to classical. What a treat!
I had been a rather long day. My friends and I parted, and I was on my way home, among a crowd of music lovers. I had my day backpack on my front of my body as a safety precaution, my cell phone in my hand with my trusty HERE GPS directions displayed to find my way back to my hotel, my stylish fedora on my head, and my great Frye boots! We were all walking on the pavement which rounded into an intersection of at least 4 streets.
I didn’t realize that the pavement narrowed as it curved. I felt the lightest nudge on my shoulder…just enough pressure to put me off balance. I fell off the curb and my body splayed on to the street.
For a moment, my day backpack cushioned my fall, but then the force of the fall stripped it from my body. My cell phone flew across the street and my hat disappeared.
Beyond stunned. I actually didn’t know where up was.
Yet, as quickly as I fell, I was up on my feet.
At least 6 people rushed to my aid, picked me up by both my arms and legs, put my hat on my head, my backpack on my back, and handed me my cell phone. And, each one of them asked me if I was okay, could I walk, did I hurt any where, did I break a bone, in all different languages.
Discombobulated, I stood in sort of a stupor, confused about which street to take. Passerby’s continued to make sure I was alright.
I nodded, continuing to assure them that I was fine.
I managed to find a small spot to stand, adjust myself and check my location on my HERE app. Finally, I had my bearings and continued my walk home, thinking how lucky I was to have so many people help me…complete strangers, make sure I had my belongings and that I was unhurt.
I marveled, once again, at the kindness and compassion of strangers all over the world.
I love travel. I love Paris.
I love that people from all walks of life and all countries are truly kind and eager to demonstrate compassion.
I spend nearly all my time finding ways to cultivate compassion. You can, too, with my 4-week, online Charter for Compassion Course: Cultivating Compassion through Travel. Class begin July 29! Check it out!