I hear my grandmother say, on the occasion of her 84th birthday, “I don’t know where all the years have gone, in my head I am still 19.”

ImageNelson Mandela is 94 (may he rest in peace) and has been in and out of the hospital for the last three months, what is clearly toward the end of a remarkable life.  Every news bit I hear about the former South African president and Nobel Laureate is like the world, specifically the citizens of South Africa, is waiting to exhale at the same time wanting to prolong his life.  Everything, every life, ends the as it begins – in impermanence. We cannot stop or hinder the cycles of the universe’s finite and connected energy.  His ‘mind pictures’ must surely be running together in a blur of fast forward motion rather than stand out singly in high definition clarity.  But with 27 of those 94 years confined to a prison, the ‘blur’ of those (particular) days must be more like watching slow motion photography.  Someplace in between balance can be found.

@TeresaFritschi Blur vs. Appreciation – cram too much into your day & cherished memories can’t take hold & ferment, the opportunity to express #gratitude.

With balance against the blur comes appreciation, gratitude, something I think a great many of us are lacking in our lives.  I listen to my sister-in-law (the latest ‘generation’ of moms known to me) speak of the events for their (various) country club memberships, plus kids swim & piano lessons, play-dates, birthday parties, school functions and friends who do the same with their kids but also squeeze in lake house visits, Little League, skate park, cheer-leading, gymnastics, cultural things (museums, historic sites), art classes, horseback riding, vacations that are more like running the gauntlet – I am exhausted. It’s of course NOT JUST THE KIDS but this syndrome bred in childhood of ‘not wanting to miss anything’ which perpetuates B-L-U-R onto everyday lives of adults we all know as well.  The state of dissatisfaction, always feeling like you might be missing something, always needing to be entertained, engaged and ‘doing’.  People, (borrowing from my dear girlfriend Jennifer Sertl’s amplification formulae here), breathe and ‘learn to be still’.  Instead of filling UP every minute of everyday focus on the magic, the beauty, feel reverence, be quiet, fill with one thing – fully. I bear witness to the frenetic nature of American lives and wonder – where is the joy?  Cultivating appreciation within us almost guarantees fulfillment.  Our awareness, in some circles mindfulness, gets you just a little bit more out of everything.   

DSCN0172This evening a child in a yellow cotton sundress lay across my lap, head supported by pillows, watching a movie on a computer screen. It was nearly the end of her ‘pre-birthday’ celebration, with her hand-made invitation in magic markers slid under my door earlier in the day. We had played boards games, ate chocolate cake that she had decorated with M&Ms and laughed as she attempted to blow out the trick candles her next elder sister had picked out. She had run around,  used her new chalk to draw on the sidewalk, and now, she was sprawled softly breathing in and out, in sure confidence that she was safe and being held in an invisible cloak cloakofloveof love, fully content with her lot in life.  I can honestly say that in the year I have known her only once have I witnessed (and then held her, soothed her) a meltdown and that came from her self perception of being unable to do something (spelling) to perfection so that she avoided the beast instead of confronting it. She is a happy person. Her curiosity is a delight, her retention inspiring. She is diligent in her kindness as a Bodhisattva, her gratitude expressed catches in your throat like a Hallmark Channel movie. Tomorrow she turns 8, and sooner than she can possibly realize she’ll be looking back at her life as my grandmother and Nelson Mandela wondering where all the years went.  My only birthday wish for her is to live in such a way that her abundance comes from within.  That while she (somehow manages to maintain her essence) she grows to have a mindfulness and gratitude which expands the smallest of her experiences into life altering blessings.  That the elegance and simplicity which comes from the current convergence of her brain and her diligence and a cardboard box will serve to fill all of her days. 

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 




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