Saturday, March 5, 2016

“The Power of the Tower” by Nandini Daljit

Image from Fofors
Let me introduce you to my Eiffel Tower. Yes MY Eiffel Tower. I know everyone thinks it belongs to France - but I too claim ownership of this iconic work of art even if only as a global citizen who has been captivated by it’s mere existence. I recently visited the tower in all of it’s glory. Being able to see and touch it was a magical experience far beyond pictures and miniature models. Nothing will trump the real life experience of the tower. But then again my love for the Tower is unconditional so no interpretation it looks bad to me.

I find it a bit curious but also exciting that something that has such special meaning to me is something that is so recognized and well known to millions around the world. That’s okay - I’m happy to share. In fact, knowing that millions of people have laid eyes on this very structure and millions more have seen or an image of it somehow makes me feel universally connected. 

Of recent times the Eiffel tower may have been in the forefront of thought in connection with a city struck by ruthless acts of terror. And yet in stark contrast, this work of art still has the power to conjure up a nostalgic notion of romance that might be cliché if not for its modern-day renaissance character. I think that's one of those things I love most about the Eiffel tower. It just seems to stand there and it's known. It’s inanimate and yet it moves people. How awesome is that!

Vive la France. The tower reopens after Paris is struck by terrorists 
I really can't pinpoint exactly when I became infatuated with the Eiffel tower but I know that it happened in my new life. You see after my old life ended in illness I claimed a new life of wellness. I’ve been living this new life for almost eight years now. I guess I feel like I’m in my own renaissance period, having made the transformation from a life of doing and achieving to a life of being and enjoying. 

I never thought about it until now, but maybe one of the reasons I love the tower so much is because even though the it’s form never changes each time I look at it I see and feel something different. Much as in my own life, where my physical being holds strong but my sense of self continuously reassembles leaving me in a state of wonder that I’ve come to know as living in the moment.

When one lives in the moment and commits to the present peculiar ironies reveal themselves. For instance, once I was ill enough to stop working I became well enough to start living. The more I am awakened the more I dream. Once I realized the fragility of my health the stronger I became. Oh and this one is one of my favorites - when I opened my mind I found my heart. I think that’s when I fell in love with the Eiffel tower. I’m sure it sounds a bit wobbly - but I really can't explain it any other way.

Ironically again, my mere notice of the the Eiffel tower started with my trip to India. You see, six years ago I travelled to India for an experimental surgery as a desperate attempt to essentially save my life - at least my life as a fully able bodied person. My son was a young teenager at the time and we had no way of knowing what would happen. As we navigated our way through my old life of illness we agreed on one thing - we would always do our best to live our dreams into life.

“Dreams to Life” became our motto - or D2L - because that’s so much easier to send in a text. When I left for India the deal was not if but when I returned home safely, my son would have the words “Dreams to Life” tattooed across his chest as a memento of our living victory. 

I’m not sure why that constituted a deal of any kind really. I guess it was it was his way of daring me to live and in it’s quirky way it worked. The tattoo took over three hours as he opted for the long hand version across his chest rather than the D2L I had envisioned as an ink stain on his shoulder.

While the trip to India had not been a cure, it had fostered a deep healing nonetheless that opened my heart to the simple pleasures in life that I had forsaken while being a responsible career woman instead of a joyful soul.  My heart was opened and I fell in love with the world all over again, or maybe even for the first time. This began my connection with Paris which I envisioned as the city of love and of course my beloved Eiffel Tower. 

I felt confidant and inspired to plan again and committed to live my dreams into life. My life was once again stable. Yet the irony of stability is that it is both the end and the beginning of change. In fact the more I think about it the more I realize, that when things are stable they’re really neither here nor there - they’re just in that space in between. It was late spring last year that I received the news from the doctor - stability was as it should be - short lived.

I now think crisis is the universe’s way of tapping you on the shoulder to let you know its grow time again. I had asked my son to travel with me to Paris the year before, but he had declined my invitation saying that it was a trip for honeymooners. So I had put the trip off waiting for the right time, the right companion, the right deal until I realized that living in the moment rarely included a wait time. When I shared the doctor’s report with my son he immediately telephoned me to tell me that living his dream to life would be achieved by seeing me live mine.

My son and I travelled to London and Paris last summer. And yes... the great day came when I stood at the foot of the Eiffel Tour like a lovestruck teenager meeting the object of her biggest crush. Our hotel was in walking distance of the Eiffel Tower and we visited no less than twice a day every day we were there. The tears of joy, the hugs and even the unprecedented number of selfies were magical, memorable and rejuvenating. To this day we both remain mesmerized by the Eiffel tower and especially by our time and talks under the tower which that transformed us from mother and son to best friends. This is the power of the tower.

Nandini Daljit is a registered social worker and holds a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership. She's a proud mother of one son and a happy human to her dog Theodore. Currently, Nandini is attending the personal story writing workshop with Brian Henry where she is embracing and exploring her love and lessons of life through writing.

See Brian Henry’s schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Algonquin Park, Alton, Barrie, Bracebridge, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Guelph, Hamilton, Ingersoll, Kingston, Kitchener, London, Midland, Mississauga, Newmarket, Orillia, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, St. John, NB, Sudbury, Thessalon, Toronto, Windsor, Halton, Ingersoll, Kitchener-Waterloo, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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