Author & Mystic

A born mystic, Cynthia was raised in Arabia. There she began taking divine dictation at age 10, penning her first poems. Further expatriate decades led to more world travels and dual careers in journalism and global management development. After studying the perennial teachings, she created The Wisdom Wheel in 1996 and decided to leave corporate life. She moved to Rhode Island to found a spiritual retreat center, where she has taught and led ceremonies, for the past 20 years. The Importance of Paris, available on Amazon in eBook, Print and Audio, is the first in her series of memoirs. This book recounts her years living in more than one Paris. Though she came of age in the former Paris of the Middle East, Beirut, Lebanon, her family was forced to leave after her sister was shot and her father kidnapped when the war erupted there in 1975. The need to know why the country disintegrated consumed her. But Beirut was too dangerous to return to for answers. So she went to Paris, France hoping a woman whose own husband had been assassinated in Lebanon could explain the reasons behind the violence.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PARIS

Loves, Lies and Resolutions

a memoir

“A richly told memoir that’s steeped in history.– Kirkus Review

‘Davidson’s belief that historical knowledge is the key to understanding contemporary problems results in a well-told, jet-setting memoir that spans decades and continents. The book is rather lengthy, but its seamless digressions will keep readers’ interest as Davidson recalls important years in her journey toward psychological and spiritual well-being. A vibrant parade of people moved in and out of her life, and her stories range in tone from joyful to harrowing. She also offers considerable cultural and political insight, and a little bit of romance, along the way, as well as an intriguing take on Paris as a place of refuge and healing. – Kirkus Review

eBook  |  Print  |  Audio

Prologue

Paris has a soul and she’ll test yours.
Will you sell out or stay true?

Seekers of transformation have been flocking to the City of Light for centuries: artists, mystics, writers, revolutionaries, royals, and refugees. And twenty-seven million tourists a year were making Paris the most visited place in the world when I went there for a ten day vacation in January 1984. A month later, I put my affairs in order and returned, to become one of the two million who call Paris home.

My home had once been in another Paris, the “Paris of the Middle East” Beirut, Lebanon. Having come of age in that former Levantine colony of France, I believed I belonged there. But shortly after I turned twenty-one, Lebanon devolved into a gaping, bleeding war zone. Those of us who witnessed its demise can hardly believe the Beirut we knew is gone. The promise of its heydays lives on in our memories.

During the two decades of my most formative years, my family made our home in the Middle East, although we had all been born in the US. My American expatriate parents might have stayed in their Beirut apartment if Lebanon had not become another casualty of man’s inhumanity.

The Lebanese Civil War almost finished us: my sister was shot in Beirut, my father kidnapped, our apartment looted, and friends disappeared. Some were tortured and killed. Worse yet, some became torturers, killers, and black market profiteers. While others have the luxury of ignoring what went wrong in Lebanon, we who lost everything familiar there crave a decent explanation for its disappearance.

The nightmare of that faux Paris still had me in its thrall when I moved to France at age twenty-nine, determined to discover what had gone wrong in Lebanon. The ongoing fighting made it too dangerous to return to Beirut for answers. After the invasions of the Syrian and Israeli armies, my parents finally gave up and returned to America in the summer of 1982, after twenty-one years in the Arab world. Each member of my family struggled to readjust to life in the US after being abroad for so long. In addition to what was lost in the fighting, we had also lost our foothold in the world at large, and this wreaked havoc on my sense of belonging and identity.

Thoughts of Lebanon’s ruination preoccupied me. As the war raged on during my twenties, I dreaded having turned my back on a place and a people when they needed their friends the most. I didn’t know my grieving process had a label, and a form of treatment, until years afterward when the term “post-traumatic stress disorder” came into vogue. Desperate to draw conclusions and be done with the torment, I decided the best way to come to terms with the war was to find out what had caused it.

That meant finding someone with deep knowledge of the how and why. Only survivors had any credibility with me. Who else could be trusted to explain the reasons behind such devastating violence? Furthermore, it had to be a Lebanese national who had been there, not some foreign analyst, or a pundit with an agenda. Sure a local person was better qualified to tell the world what had gone wrong in Lebanon. If my country, the US, had fallen apart in a civil war, I would want a fellow citizen to explain the lived truths of our story.

Apart from nationality, I wanted to hear it from another woman. And I chose Georgina Rizk. Not because she had once been Miss Universe, but because the multiple tragedies she had endured since wearing that crown had left her fatefully suited to the task. Her involvement with people from opposing sides of the conflict had transformed her into a cipher, with insights from more than one perspective. So I put my faith in this search for the truth, via another person, without fully realizing the risks of such a plan. Nor did I comprehend the limits of logical, factual quests, which rarely repair our hearts or restore trust, in others or ourselves. My psyche steered me towards a female survivor, and a French city, each with their own experiences of wars and healings. Living in Paris put me through a process as peculiar as it was unexpected. And although my three-year cure in France came close to killing me, this memoir is a testament to how Paris managed my transformation. Vive la difference.

Beautiful, insightful memoir set against a backdrop of Lebanon and Paris

“This is a gorgeously written memoir that features a young American woman who comes to better understand herself and the world, while living and then working abroad. In her desire to write an account of Lebanon, which includes the Arab world’s first and only Miss Universe, the author comes to makes sense of how attachment to people and place can determine the course of our lives. Davidson’s writing beautifully illustrates her own struggle to better understand how history creates and shapes us, and how ultimately—and sometimes bravely—we can shape our own. Plus, it’s set in Paris…”

 ― Irene S

You cannot contribute anything to the ideal condition of mind and heart
however much you preach, posture or agree, unless you live it.

Faith Baldwin, born Oct. 1, 1893-1978, American author of 85 books, including Self-Made Woman (1939)

More gratitude is due to those who surprised me by purchasing a Gifts of Wisdom perpetual calendar after seeing it in the last newsletter. They make great birthday or holiday presents for men or women. I will mail them to anyone you designate for $19.95 (plus shipping). Supplies are limited so order yours soon.

The Wisdom Wheel

For over 20,000 years, people have been using wheels to find their way through life. Based in parts on the native American medicine wheel, the Hindu chakravartin ‘wheel of law’ and the Chinese lo pan compasses, the Wisdom Wheel can guide you through your own personal spiritual inner journey.

Together, the 36 individual stones or “Universal Laws” of the Wisdom Wheel identify the common ground of values, such as Balance, Compassion, and Enlightenment, that unite the world’s cultures, religions and countries.

“‘[…] women need to develop a new moral system in an otherwise doomed world… Not being sadistic, as a rule, women often fail to understand the basic fact about sadistic behavior: it is stimulated by the appearance of vulnerability in the prospective victim…  It would be better for women to assert their right to judge, to be bolder in questioning male authority, to demand the respect due to them as mothers and decent, caring citizens… The Crone can still serve as an empowering image of biological truth, female wisdom and mother-right, to which men must learn to defer, if they are ever to conquer the enemy within themselves.

Barbara G. Walker, in The Crone