Notre Dame, New Bells, Big Questions

Before leaving for the States last Christmas, I noticed some mysterious construction taking form in front of Notre Dame.

When I returned in the New Year, the scaffolding had transformed into steps and an illuminated walkway. The shape was complete, but an air of mystery remained.

New Notre Dame Walkway

I soon learned that the new buzz around Notre Dame denoted an anniversary. 2013 marks 850 years of the cathedral, in fact!

Excitement spread as nine new bells arrived, the largest, named Mary, coming in at six and a half tons (6000 kilograms). The new bronze beauties will chime for the first time next Sunday, March 23 for Palm Sunday.

I didn’t see the bells while they were on display, but I was struck by the large questions lining the side of the walkway as one ascends toward the cathedral.

Why was I created? (Notre Dame)

Why was I created?

What is my relationship to others? (Notre Dame)

What is my relationship with others?

Why am I unique?

Why am I unique?

It’s been exactly a month since I updated the blog. Big questions like these above have been filling my mind, you see. Purpose, meaning, art, work, money, place, love. The ground is shifting; I am in one of those times of reevaluation, re-envisioning.

Often it’s helpful for me to bounce ideas off of others, to share the questions, to speak aloud the journey.

Sometimes, though, silence and sitting with oneself in quiet reflection is what is truly called for. Honing in so you can hear just the one voice – your own.

And so, that is what I am doing, friends, why I am less vocal here. I am trying to figure things out.

So scary and uncomfortable, uncertainty, but also what rich terrain to explore!

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

That quote by Mary Oliver often guides me during times like these.

Let me know what you’re doing with your one wild and precious life, friends. I miss you, even if I appear in your inboxes less often.

Someone shared this video with me recently. Flares are everywhere. I see them. I feel hope.

Speak to me of the flares let loose in the sky.

Love and light,


19 Responses to “Notre Dame, New Bells, Big Questions”

  1. 1 pretemoiparis March 17, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Dear Sion,
    I hope your reflection times comes up with beautiful answers, and I am sure it will…knowing you. And sometimes it is hard to see how amazing our life is, when we are so ingrained in it… so reflection time is also good to take a step back and realize that we are living a fantastic precious and wild life, all of us. And although I believe that we have many lives…(otherwise I don’t see how we could possibly become such rich souls in one life span), it is so wonderful to make the most out of each one, in whatever role we chose to play in this universe… I wish you fruitful meditation ma chère.


  2. 4 Aurelia March 17, 2013 at 11:18 am

    It must be a “figure things out” time of year–I’m feeling it, too! What to do, where to live, what’s the next big step? Like you say, the uncertainty offers room for personal exploration and growth. It can be scary when you’re deep in the thick of it, though.


    • 5 paris (im)perfect March 17, 2013 at 2:37 pm


      You’ve voiced *exactly* the questions I am mulling over! What to do, where to live, what’s the next big step. EXACTLY!

      You are a beautiful spirit and I know you will find the right answers for yourself. Good luck to both of us!


  3. 6 Ruth Sklar March 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    I am living my life the way I want. Children are grown, I live alone. I spend my money responsibly but as I want. I travel a lot! Just returned from Morocco, headed to Paris for a month in the fall. My one empty spot in my world is a wonderful man to share some of this with. Notice I said some, not all……


  4. 8 Buffy March 18, 2013 at 2:49 am


    I ask myself often, what I want out of this one life. I find myself as I get older, wondering what the next part of my life will be like, after I retire. I can retire younger than most at 50-55. My dream would be to retire in Europe. Time will tell. It is nice to have dreams even if they don’t always occur. I will say that when I set my mind to something, it happens quite often. Good luck with your reflections. You can go in any direction you want. Sometimes, I wish I was 10 years younger. I look that young, but in reality I am in the middle of my life. The decisions, good or bad have dictated a great deal of where I am right now. Where I am is fine. I am happy most of the time. I have been in a rut for the last couple weeks; thinking a need a change of some sort. Maybe I just need my vacation. Have a wonderful week, and take care. I hope Spring is working its way into Paris.


    • 9 paris (im)perfect March 18, 2013 at 4:51 am

      Hey Buffy,

      Great to hear from you. Sounds like a lot of us are deep in reflection mode. How wonderful to be able to retire so young! I’ve actually been in the States the past couple of weeks and I was thrilled to be able to celebrate my mom’s retirement after 50+ years of full-time work. Wow!

      I think ruts happen and even in seeming stillness a lot can be going on. Sometimes I think we need to slow down and just let things wash over us, allow ourselves time and space to think and to be.

      Vacation often helps, though! I’ll keep my fingers crossed that spring comes sooner rather than later. Hopefully will be super nice by the time you’re here in May!


      • 10 Buffy March 18, 2013 at 5:25 am

        I hope you enjoyed your trip home. I bet your mom is ready to retire after so many years. Thanks for the advice on my rut. It is nice to hear a different ideas about it. You are right, a vacation should help. I am soooo looking forward to it!! Hope to see you there soon!


  5. 11 Melanie Stephens (@feedyourmachine) March 18, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    You know these very questions have been flying around my head lately, and sometimes I make the mistake of thinking that I’m the only one asking them. It’s certainly refreshing to see that I’m not!

    I find it difficult not to get focused in on the details of day to day life, and more importantly, what success means for me. Quite often I forget that success really is something disconnected with career & money, and is rather is more about your relationship with life, with yourself, and perhaps even more so, it’s about how gracefully you handle the ever changing circumstances of life.

    I’m not all to sure I’ll ever have the answers to these questions, but I think at this point the most important part is simply asking the questions in the first place, reflecting on them mindfully, and being flexible when the world doesn’t seem to want to comply with your bloated notion of the way things should be!

    Oh the fun of life!


    • 12 paris (im)perfect March 18, 2013 at 5:50 pm


      I love your thoughts here. I have little to add as you said it all so well!

      I went to a restorative yoga class yesterday where we were focusing on picturing “the larger view.” It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day details of life, as you say. It’s a good exercise to take a step back and view things on a grander scale.

      A lot of things are in flux in my life right now so it’s one reason I’m questioning on many levels, but I think it’s a useful exercise at any time.

      And isn’t it Rilke who said to “love the questions themselves”? That is what I am trying to do.

      Really nice to “meet” you here. I’ve had a look at your site: Feed your awesome machine sounds…well, awesome! Thanks for stopping by!


      • 13 Melanie Stephens (@feedyourmachine) March 20, 2013 at 5:15 pm

        Yes and to build on the idea of loving the questions themselves- I really am a firm believer that the quality of our questions directly influence the quality of our answers (and thus our life)… That there always is a number of ways to ask the same questions that will bring entirely different attitudes and outcomes. And most importantly we always have a CHOICE about what questions we ask ourself. We might not have total control of the situation, but we always have total control of our perspective – and that’s real power. (although I’m certainly not talking about all that fake positive thinking that kills our authentic experiences).

        But in saying this, I know full well how easy it is to remember this when we’re in the eye of the storm and when everything seems quiet and peaceful. The challenging thing is all the other times; when for some reason when the chaos hits, we end up in a total amnesic state where all the wisdom we’ve accumulated mysteriously seems to fly out out the window!

        I am starting to believe (or except?) that nothing in life is ever stable, and that life itself is always going to be in flux, we can either accept it or fight it constantly. But for those of us who have a touch – or more- of A type personality, letting go of our need to control our current situation and feel certain about where the future is taking us is the most difficult *sport* there is.

        But I’m also beginning to appreciate the value of learning to ride the wave of uncertainty….although this may be a skill I’ll need to work on for my entire life! But imagine if we could let go, revel in the excitement of the unpredictability of the day to come, and to totally surrender to the currents of life… we might just end up having more fun than we ever imagined. Who knows?

        I’m really glad I found your blog, I love your style and am glad to have met you too! Thanks for the positive feedback on my blog too, I really appreciate it.


  6. 14 Karene March 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Sion, I noticed your absence from your blog and fb, and I missed you. (However, I just checked out your fb page and saw that I’ve been missing a lot of posts from you. Now I will include your page in my notifications.)

    My life, too, is possibly shifting once again, and the past few years, I’ve discovered the value of taking time to be still and reflect on a regular basis. I would love to be able to sit over a cup of coffee or glass of wine with you, discussing life. My twenties and thirties were filled with the big questions you are dealing with now. Now that I’m a bit older, I feel at peace, even though life throws a curve now and then. How lovely that in your searching, the same questions you are asking are printed there at Notre Dame. Must be a divine appointment (as I like to call coincidences 🙂 ). I will pray for you in your reflection time.

    While you were “gone,” I started a blog myself. I hesitate to even mention it, because it’s still a fledgling. And I am only telling you because I think you were the one to encourage me (during a fb comment session). I may be completely off-base. But in case you are that person, I wanted to thank you. It was such a hassle for me that in the meantime, all my ideas blanked from my brain. I’m still trying to find my voice and my angle. But it’s a start, and thank you.


    • 15 paris (im)perfect March 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      Hey Karene,

      Congratulations on your blog! Whether I was the one who encouraged it or not, I’m glad you’re excited about it. (And it does sound like something I would say!) Blogging is a great way to find your voice. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – enjoy!

      Thanks also for signing up for FB notifications. FB changes so much and I know a lot of my posts now get lost or don’t always appear in people’s newsfeeds. Major Facebook fail!

      ANYWAY…much bigger things to contemplate…like yes! These big questions. I like your term, “divine appointment.”

      There is so much value in taking time to be still and reflecting. I’ve been finding that to do that I have to cut back on my social media consumption. As fun and great as it is, it can also be a distraction!

      Thanks for being there when I resurface!


  7. 16 Amy Kortuem March 19, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Me. Too. My blog kind of languishes. I do “micro-blogging” on Facebook while I try to figure it all out.

    I’m glad to know that you, and your other lovely readers here, understand the hard work and deep thought it all takes.

    Someday, the bell will go off and I’ll know. So will you. Thanks for sharing this.


  8. 18 Tammee April 5, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Such a great question especially when I find myself just trying to stay above water. I am at a frightening crossroad and I am hoping for the best, but trying to shore myself up for the worst. Still, as I looked at my motivation and inspiration collage this morning, I realized that so many of my wants and dreams have already come true. So, I tell myself I have to remember those good times when things are so uncertain and scary and know that good things will happen again.
    Thanks for your positive attitude and I wish you joy and peace wherever you end up.


    • 19 paris (im)perfect April 5, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Wow, Tammee. Sounds like a lot is going on for you. I wonder if there’s something going on in the universe or if this has just become the normal circumstances of life, but I know a lot of people (including me!) who are struggling right now. Crossroads by their very nature can be frightening, but I am also trying to remind myself what opportunities lie there, too. The fact that you have a motivation and inspiration collage makes me believe you see that, too. You’re right that it’s so important to remind ourselves what we have, what we have accomplished. I wish you much luck as you find your way and thank you for kind wishes, too.


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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