Category Archives: God

No, Your Hate Won’t Break Our Love

It is unexpressed emotions harboring latent demands for redress which cause violent disruption to society. The seemingly extremes of heinous actions and vitriolic words each casting blame, instead of assuming responsibility and moving positively forward, actually feed eachother to ever escalating destruction. It is in the never ending cycles of human history rife with the absence of hope which manifest anger and discontent and, in some, a call for ‘retribution’. A politician stands up and speaks ‘on behalf of a nation’ with words that only serve to inflame those who hate, and exacerbate the fear amongst the panicked flock who demand a response to their collective fear with demands of isolation, xenophobia, and more brutality.

As Eve Ensler, poet, so perfectly and simply wrote:

“Bullets are hardened tears”.

We must unharden. We must stop the tears and the subsequent bullets and bombs. We must find a way forward between the madness and genius and that fraction of capability to cope with inequities tipping the balance to terrorist actions.

Anger can be a gift that keeps us sane; anger will make us sit-in, go on strike (hunger, walk off our jobs), meditate, light candles, and engage in activism we never imagined embracing fostering beautiful life affirming change. And, just like hundreds of thousands of cherry blossom petals ‘we’, coming together, cast a pink glow over our hurting world.

In various locations in Stockholm statues of St. George figure prominately – in the 12th and 13th centuries his legend came to include the story of a battle with, and victory over, a voracious dragon. In its purest form St. George’s tale is one of good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, life vs. death. Stockholm, Homs, Paris, Zliten, Baghdad, Nice, Kabul, Brussels, Boston, London, New York, Orlando, and sadly many other cities share a pain created in the absence of love. Our responses in each of the tragedies we have borne has been resilience and community.

“Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.” ~ Roger de Rabutin de Bussy

I believe that within us we are both a cherry blossom petal and St. George and the dragon we must slay is hatred, ignorance and fear. We must be kinder, more compassionate, empower not condescend, find a way to ensure hope remains a constant and together build a great reserve of universal love which cannot be extinguished in the name of any God.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via livelikeadog@gmail.com through PayPal, and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiPlease click here to order my book, thank you! 

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Without intention, here in Jerusalem

So much about our personal journeys are about revealing truth, to understand, to find light, to connect to ‘source’ – so too in walking a labyrinth.

I was alone at mid-morning in 1995 in San Francisco’s breathtakingly chartres from abovebeautiful Grace Cathedral the first time I walked a labyrinth. In 2001 I traveled to Chartres (1220 AD) to visit the cathedral and walk its original 13th century labyrinth. 15 years later I can still feel the scope of mysticism, the pure intentions, meditations and powerful energy of tens of thousands who have come before me resonating through my own footfalls from the smoothly worn stones and soaring up to the buttresses and the heavens to the Almighty like a silent, but mighty choir.

As a result of the Crusades in the Levant a pilgrimage to Jerusalem during the Middle Ages was an extremely dangerous undertaking so the Roman Catholic Church designated that seven European cathedrals, mainly in France, become “Jerusalem” for pilgrims.  Both the layout and architecture of Chartres and its labyrinth were made to fit the demands of sacred geometry which include representations for the length of time, essence and substance of creation, the wholeness of God represented through the Trinity and the cycle of a week representing the completeness of God’s creation. At the time of its construction people believed they were creating the most Divine thing on earth to the glory of God.

“God made the world in measure, number and weight: and ignorance of number prevents us from understanding things that are set down in Scripture in a figurative and mystical way.” ~ St. Augustine

So I find myself, quite without intention, here in Jerusalem. Consciously, I am not making a pilgrimage but experiencing. I follow no guidebook or map, what unfolds is (mostly) magical and sometimes mildly corrosive but with everything there is darkness and light – a delicate balance of all that our universe represents. Yesterday, against a post Sirocco-driven rain storm a perfect blue sky day filled with light and kindnesses in Jerusalem, and yes, three ‘darknesses’.

I did not (intellectually) know that the labyrinths I have walked previously 20160109_150835-2were created with the intention of mirroring Jerusalem until this morning. For those who have visited, busy with their guidebooks and itineraries, if you had started at New Gate and walked to the right passing through the Armenian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, and the Christian Quarter eventually you will circuit the entire walled Old City. My total footsteps ultimately equaled 4.55 kilometers of ascents, stairs, flat walks and descents – a meditation on all things held holy and how (if we let it) the secular collides with (our) quietude.

My first ‘stop’ was at Couvent Armenien St. Jacques. Old stones speak a language all their own. Your touch joins 1300 years of the same, the oils found on our hands making the stone feel as soft as silk velvet. 20160109_132410-2.jpgKhatchkars (Armenian carved crosses) adorn the wall above your hand. Your head bows in supplication, a silent Our Father recited, a prayer for peace, protection and Divine intervention for our planet. The attendant returns and hands me a Host cradled in a white napkin, 9 January being the Saint’s Day of Polyeuctus, martyred in 259 AD. He tells me that I may take pictures, despite the sign indicating otherwise, he ushers me further into the complex to stand beneath 1300 year old stone arches, the orange, red and blue of the Armenian flag snaps in the wind against that crystalline blue sky. Rolls a poster documenting the Genocide and gifts it to me. As I take my leave he blesses me and then kisses me on both cheeks, outside the midday sun glints through ancient trees standing sentinel over the cemetery. I continue on my labyrinth walk. The next ‘sign’ (in both 20160109_134044senses) are old tiles pointing the way to the Western Wall but first I must pass Zion Gate and navigate the walkways around the Greek Orthodox Church, then the Jewish Quarter. The panoramic view of the Wall nestled at the base of one of Jerusalem’s natural amphitheatres, at this distance I take a 20 second video.

It would be apex of arrogance to visit the Western Wall and not be respectful of the sacredness of this place to Judaism, so before entering I pulled my shawl up over my hair (my clothing already very conservative). Despite having a Rabbi for an uncle and all of my 1st cousins being Jewish their religious practices never brushed up against my life; I  only understood the general rule of ‘no use of machinery or of working’ for the Shabbat. I had forgotten to write a prayer to place in the crevices of the Wall prior to coming, so before approaching via gender segregated ramp I found a flat surface, took out my fountain pen and tore a small piece of paper off of a folded sheet in my purse to write to God. It took no time at all for an Orthodox Jewish woman to yell at me for my violations, perhaps I could be forgiven actually writing to God and not being a Jew? I feigned ignorance of her English language. Mea culpa. Do I reconcile myself in the Divine presence of the Wall by walking backwards away?

The Muslim Quarter was a thrum of everyday life. The Muezzins voices ring out, at the fountain built by the order of Sultan Suleiman the 20160109_143948~2Magnificent a man does his ablutions, while a short distance away two men play backgammon. Spice and confectionary shops spill out into the streets filling the air with heady scents of Turkish delight, dried figs, pineapple, papaya and kiwi, mountains of rich Halvah.  I purchase a mixture of fruit tea and spices for making Bedouin and Moroccan rice, Jordan and regular almonds, the total takes my breath away – my second darkness. When I question it I know that I am being sucker-punched for being an American. It’s my own fault for not speaking Arabic (despite his English) or understanding the nuances of this culture related to negotiation because despite our lengthy conversation (and making his eyes fill with tears) I don’t feel like saying “put it all back” and haggling. The day has been too perfect, I bury my resentment; this is somehow the admittance price of being here so I give it over to God. I know that I have let this man feel he won a victory. Further along a spice pyramid crowned 20160109_171951~2by a crystal and gilt miniature Dome of the Rock, and then  God makes me an instrument of His will again. I duck into a small jewelry shop asking that two small silver links be added to my pearl bracelet so that the Roman glass charm can safely be held. I am poorer but wiser – when the price starts at 80 shekls I explain that I can wait until my Buddhist jeweler in the States can do this small thing for me for less than $5. Ultimately the work done for (the last) 25 shekls I possess. He needs to share his life story and in being kind I discover that his son nearby is (very) hungry but there is no money. A mere twenty minutes before I walked in he had told his son, God will answer. My purchase feeds the boy. An antique rose gold, handmade 19” chain is thrust upon me. No bill of sale, no expected date of payment or even a price. “When you can, pay me what you think it is worth.”

A text tells me that I need to get going to meet my friend for a ride back to her home, six hours have passed in the blink of my tear filled eyes.  I walk out of the Old City through the Damascus Gate, head up hill to the New Gate, too early by 45 minutes I sit on a park bench and am immediately accosted by a twenty-something man pan-handling. The only money that remains in my wallet are a handful of Croatian, American and Israeli coins – in total about $3 USD in value. He wants whatever I have and I find it’s easy to give up the coin than to stay exposed to his dark energy.

All day, “…yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” 1 Corinthians 15:10

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the “price of a cup of tea” in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com 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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Where we’ve been, where we’re going

I am not the same woman I was on this day a year ago as I set forth in a 20150106_101627-2.jpglittle red car from the Dalmatian coast near Trogir to drive to Zadar and then onto Velika Plana in the Velebit mountains of Croatia. I have spent more time outside of the United States than within it these last 12 months. I have given up worldly possessions, my things currently residing in a 10x10x10 storage unit. As a result of studied consideration I am without an address while not a refugee, though some might argue that point, rather a wanderer as I wanted to take what little time remains on this planet for me and to live even more fully than I ever have previously. I have created a new (virtual) communications consultancy with my dear friend Ken, and together we generated more than 28million impressions on various social media platforms for the Istrian Tourist Board. I have now visited Israel, a country never on my bucket list unlike the genuine longing I feel for Tibet, Bhutan and Nepal. On my first morning here I was welcomed in my friend’s garden 20151230_132038-2by the sound of the Muezzin’s voice as it rang out over this mixed neighbourhood in Jerusalem. After gently quelling Christians (pushing, shoving and being rude in their frenzy to kneel before God) in the Basilica and Grotto of the Nativity I spent Christmas Day eating Arabic street food in Bethlehem. I now wear an (energetically powerful) deep turquoise 2000 year old piece of Roman glass as a result of being here – the silver palm leaf as emblematic of my journey as the blue glass which mirrors the Adriatic Sea I have been engaged in protecting this last year. 

Numbers are the Universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth. ~  St. Augustine of Hippo (A.D. 354–430)

Today is 02 01 2016. My birthday is 16 02 2016. I know nothing (substantial) about numerology but I like the synergy of those numbers. I like to consider that they represent within this infinitely tiny window of human history (45 days, or 4+5 = 9) something amazing and inspiring which is about to happen in my life, perhaps even for the world, that will fundamentally alter e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.

After writing the above sentence I did a Google search of “numerology + 02162016” and the following came up as a result – posted by someone using the Avatar of Santa Mann on October 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm

The date is Feb.16th 2016 …
0216 = 9
2016 = 9 ….
02162016 = 18 = 9
9+9+9=27 = 9
If my calculations are correct this is a major date may even disrupt
elections for 2016

I will settle for something a bit less dramatic as I think the ripe New Year is full of promise and because how much more can we take of natural and man-made disasters as well as the wearying hate and destruction wrought by those whose lives are grounded in fear.

The New Year had has this ‘affect’ on me for a very long time – probably even longer than the loss I suffered thirteen years ago yesterday (where once again on New Year’s Day I was hit hard). Since childhood I have not made resolutions. I am reflective about the past and then it is time to move on. I have always believed that my journey was meant to be a singular activity and while that might sound a bit egotistical, aren’t all of our journeys singular? There are people who I hold in my heart more dearly than they can possibly know, but there is something about me (as my friend Kirstie points to my 7th House as the culprit) lacks ‘stickiness when it comes to relationships’ – all relationships, but in particular those forming romantic connections with men.

This morning 7575 miles away from where she and I sat at our respective computers, me at a rough hewn table with Narcissus picked from the 20160102_130834-2garden this morning their heady fragrance as much a balm as the cup of tea I was drinking, my childhood friend Mary dropped me a note on Facebook “…more comes from this time in your life than any other, be Faithful to yourself and know that all comes when least expected! I send love and Light my friend and embrace you across the miles…Namaste”.

Recently two very different men from two different cultures shared prophetic words with me. Both, whether they realised it or not, provided me with substantial gifts in doing so.  The first man, whose voice I have yet to hear, told me that I might be the woman he has searched for his whole life. Okay, whether I am or not if you are single isn’t it nice to think that ‘someplace out there’ there is one person who is keen on finding you?? Yet there are astonishing, and highly unlikely from a statistical perspective, synchronicities between his life and my own which would point to some reason for our (eventual) meeting including his having an important ‘life moment’ on my birthday last year.  The second man stood before me telling me that he had a message from God for me. Now before you pshaw that idea let’s recall that there is a long list of historic figures that the Almighty has spoken to, and plenty of contemporary false prophets spewing ugliness in His name from podiums tied to the politics of virtually every nation.  But I think Muneer is tied into something ‘older’ and somehow more authentic to our collective human condition.  There is love.jpgno way to explain, given the pure randomness of the way we met, how in posing his statements, subsequent questions and of his words (from God) he could be quite so accurate as to foster resonance in my heart chakra to the degree that my eyes filled (and spilled) with tears. The image at right PERFECTLY synopsis’s Muneer’s message.

I have been reflecting on all these words expressed to me, turning them over in my head and heart, recognizing the truth found and opening myself up to the path to set forth upon with their accompaniment. These words give me something to ponder and have renewed my hope in possibilities just as the clean slate of the New Year always seems to promise.

My friend Mary says that as I walk fully in Faith I inspire her to do the same. I had never considered that my actions inspired others but perhaps that is what love is. We are loved because we are God’s light carried within our souls, not separate, but ‘at-one-ment’.

We are loved. We are love. Happy New Year.

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the “price of a cup of tea” in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com 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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Living in Holocene – Days Like These

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”                                                 ~ Psalms 90:10 King James Bible, Cambridge Edition

Hennaed hands, a mass of humanity – utterly naked adorned but in red dye as a piece of performance art by Spencer Tunick, mudder races, the exhilaration of the Hindu festival of Holi (Festival of Colours) – even when things appear the same, they are so very different; hennaalmost imperceptible subtleties, we are all united in the common human experience. Our joys and happiness have depth and shallowness, clarity, lingering as memories, captured in images, put in frames, or as a ‘picture memory’ indelible to ravages of time; the passage of each day a special gift to appreciate, or squander, life happens, even if you choose to be observant you are magically, exquisitely, ‘in it’.

I walked to meet a girlfriend and her fiancé this afternoon, shared a Magic Hat beer called Séance – the darkest carbonated alcoholic beverage I have ever consumed (it was delicious) – watched the tiniest bit of the (American) football game, the pretext to get together so I could hear her wedding plans, see “the ring” and then walked the mile plus back home. On my return there were nine, nearly identical, small radio operated model yacht raced a course around five buoys in the pond of the park, the breeze lifted as I sat at the picnic table wet with remnants of the mornings’ heavy rain, darkening grey moved quickly across the sky and I thought of Tunick’s installation art as it had been shared via Facebook earlier in the day. I had, in turn, shared and responded:

“I think this is less about holieach person finding their niche as it is THE PERFECT representation of how we are all joined by our common existence, made of precisely the same “stuff” with minor outward physical difference (in this performance art by Spencer Tunick – he has negated even those differences to the extent possible – exquisitely leveling us in our humanity)! BREATHTAKING, thank you for sharing – I feel inspired to play with more words as result. ox, Te”

I thought of Tunick’s vision again as I was just about to clear the park, we’ve had snow (albeit a very small amount) in the city in which I live and, yet, here was an apple tree still holding all of its fruit – small green apples (yes, I filled my purse to nearly overflowing with them) – tunickagain, common in their experience and nearly identical in appearance. How many people had even noticed the tree? You can be certain that plenty of people driving their cars took notice of a woman in a skirt picking these apples! The Holocene, in geological terms, commenced with the gradual warming of the earth, within it is all the written history of the human species and places (“urban”) that have been continuously inhabited for nearly 12,000 years. We don’t think of our four score and ten in our youth, perhaps not even as our middling years encroach on our passions, but the underlying messages of the songs embedded in this post (thank you Bon Iver and Die Toten Hosen) which I have united to form the title of this post, for me, amplify and echo our lives  – spent in community and in solitude.

Necessary to our health, we must celebrate, make time for now so we have a long view of miles and miles and miles to recognise with contented sighs at the end of our days…

Marijan, thank you for ‘starting some of my sentences’ for me!

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

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From darkness to light – lessons in living well

This is part of what my horoscope said today (thanks so Servane!): “Should your mood evolve further into dark reflections or doomsdayish daydreams, your best antidote is to step back Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Imagesand unashamedly laugh at your own melodramatic tendencies. The dark will always be here, periodically shadowing the light with its ever-impending scythe of mortal impermanence. Greet it, then: ‘Hello, there, dark. No, I haven’t forgotten you’re lurking. I just already have plans to be stupid and silly and rebelliously not-serious for this next little while. I’ll get back to you when my schedule permits. Later, dude.’”

I have to admit that even my friend Ken called me out on my “last post as being heavy” but tornado rainbowtoday we’re going to an inspiring and happy place, a place where deeds are based in fairness and personal integrity, an awe inspiring place where double rainbows come out and bird song accompanies symphonic compositions devoid of painful dissonance, and beauty clears away the dark ugliness that is draining all of us.

A year and a half ago a cross-country race was being run in Burlada, Navarre. Basque athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was running second, some distance behind race leader Kenyan Abel Mutai – the bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics – who mistakenly pulled up 10 metres ivanfernandezshy of the finish line, presumably thinking he had already crossed. Fernández Anaya could have easily exploited Mutai’s mistake to claim victory yet he guided the latter to let him cross first. That Fernandez Anaya is 24 years old is only important in the possibilities of his examples of good conduct will offer all of us in the future. His words after the race resonate in a sportsmanship all too lacking in contemporary society: “But even if they had told me that winning would have earned me a place in the Spanish team for the European championships, I wouldn’t have done it either. I also think that I have earned more of a name having done what I did than if I had won. And that is very important, because today, with the way things are in all circles, in soccer, in society, in politics, where it seems anything goes, a gesture of honesty goes down well.”

And so I dug around the life moment playground known as YouTube for other examples of gut wrenching, heart tugging personal integrity and humanity (shedding lots of good tears in the process) and offer you these three additional videos:
This, from the Barcelona Olympics and this one from a football (soccer) match between teams in the Ukrainian Premier League and this one, not of sports but of a boy in Oslo, Norway and ‘just like the rest of us’ Norwegians doing the right thing (and some clearly not).

We think heroism is a vague concept assigned to people with larger than life lives – that’s not respecttrue, each of us are extraordinary in our own way, and the tiniest gestures have impact – the pebble in the pond of goodness.  My friend Servane, in one of her TEDx Talks here, says something really important – something easy to remember and act within –  “Love is a political weapon.” (Whoa), and because of her words I thought of this meme that is making its rounds, of another athlete doing something political because he and his teammates see the suffering in Gaza and can make a grand gesture to draw attention to the plight ordinary Palestinians experience everyday – even as we all know that $9 Million USD is a drop of water against a desert of despair caused by Israel’s apartheid policies.

liberty

@albapro/Instagram

Fernandez Anaya mentioned the future gains for his name in the context of branding in his post race interview but in the visceral moment doing the right thing wasn’t a strategic business decision of “if I do this, I will get that” but humanity shining through brightly like a beacon of hope, of kindness, of how we wish to be treated and simply doing. It was the 4th of July in the United States yesterday – the celebration of our nation’s birth (something like the Arab Spring but 238 years ago).  The last line of the Declaration of Independence reads: “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” The best that we as Americans once had to offer the world were these ideals, every man, woman and child across the human experience should be free from ignorance and self indulgence, the destruction of our world and each other from greed, anger and fear. So today, (and tomorrow and all the next days after those) no matter where you call home, no matter where you aspire to live remember that without our mutually pledging to each other our lives we should not think ourselves as living well but merely existing.  To whatever God to whom you pray may s/he watch over and keep you in the light.

If you enjoy my blog please consider “buying me a cup of tea” in your currency via livelikeadog@gmail.com through PayPal and please 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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Expand my territories

This morning’s tears were based in humility of bearing witness, they came as my girlfriend and neighbor Kanika stood in the garden of my creation a little before 10AM – a silly thing to be moved to gulping tears about, really.

“Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. 

1 Chronicles 4:10

I was already in a place of gratitude because Kanika, an accomplished actress in India prior to DSCN0146marrying and moving to the United States, has exquisitely beautiful hands and she hates having them in dirt, touching worms and insects yet she had just powered through two hours of helping me to finish clearing a new bed. Together we broke up the sod, dug down 10 inches, shoveled the dirt into a 2×4 frame with ¼” wire and then sifted and culled the debris and rocks, over and over and over again. Then we filled feedbags from my girlfriend Amy’s horses with this dirt and hauled these through our lobby and into “the secret garden” I have created over the last six growing seasons. I was already in a state of awareness having found a scant 8 worms in this soil and moving them to the reclaimed dirt now with gallons and gallons of worm food to which peat moss had been added at a 50/50 ratio, and soon they would have more organic nutrients and plants and the tiny eco-system of the garden bed would be even ‘happier’.

SHIITE-MUSLIMS-DURING-ASHURA-2002 steve mccurry

Shite Muslims during Ashura, 2002 by Steve McCurry

My garden, I suppose like every gardeners’, is part ashram, gymnasium, temple and, I admit, largely an activity I throw myself into to the point of physical anguish to connect with the Divine, to find answers in the accompanying pain, to work through complexity in the simplicity much as religious zealots have been flagellates for thousands of years – in truth it is hard to ask for help when I need it, and often the path to realization must be solitary. I ached the good ache from working with my hands and body to create, in tandem with intellect, determination and patience, a place of refuge and beauty that brings pleasure.

I was already in a place of gratitude for the blessing of the first of my Oriental red poppies opening from the DSCN0137bud it was yesterday into the exquisite crimson silk fluttering bloom in the morning air discovered at 7:10 AM, the combination of the lush purple-ness of the two different Columbine, the Flag Iris and the German Iris and the heady scent of lavender and Russian sage in combination was equal to being in bathed in the light streaming through a cathedral’s stained glass windows and the intoxication to be found in the swinging of a censer burning incense of a high service.

The air tends to lift before dawn, so I had been awake since 4AM and as it caresses my face like a lover’s kiss I can’t help but wish to respond fully – awake and alive, bristling with the anticipation of creating something from the blessing of a new day even before most people consider it ‘day’.

I had felt all the sunshine pouring into me with the taste of the sour and the sweet of lemonade I had peeled zest from and squeezed out of lemons the night before.

And so, to the tears.

Last year I captured a picture of a robin frolicking in the birdbath that I was given by the executor of a estate sale I had attended.  She was back this year with her offspring and over the course of the last four weeks she has used my little garden as ‘easy pickings’ for teaching her babies how to gather worms.

This morning one of her babies who has been keeping me company in my state of quietude the last few weeks joined Kanika and I as we contemplated the next efforts. The baby robin, no longer shy birdbathat my presence or voice, felt sufficiently safe to do as his/her mom had last summer and bathe with our standing in proximity. And as the water drops picked up the sunlight and the feathers ruffled in and out of the water and Kanika and I stood there and took joy from ‘being present’ I welled up and cried.

A sanctuary of safety in which to be fully alive.  To be part of the infinite and endless, to exist in harmony and to be aware of the scope of the blessing to have been able to create with your own hands and every fiber of one’s being. The mandate of leaving one tiny piece of the world a little more beautiful so complete in this effort, in “fullness of being” and with the sure knowledge that I possess “all that I need”. To know such grace is beyond humbling – there is no word adequate to describe what I felt watching a second generation of common robin feel at home.

Oh such tears as these I welcome as frequently as my heart has the capacity to shed. Namaste.

If you enjoy my blog please 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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To Be Seen

revelryLast night as I waited for a girlfriend to show up (ultimately she didn’t and I left at the hour late time stamp) at a restaurant in my neighborhood I frequent, I watched as the bartenders (who always take very good care of me) basically work around a couple at the end of the bar. I couldn’t attribute the lack of service to anything in particular but it bothered my psyche somehow – and I dwelled on it, and dwelled on it and now this post.

My sister-in-law recently sent me a hyperlink that touched me in a way that Hallmark cards ‘use to’.  Her accompanying words were only, “saw this, thought of you”.  Even when we live small lives (by that I mean not a speaker on the TED circuit or appearing in the tabloids on a regular basis) our very basic human condition cries out to be seen. (She clearly ‘sees me’ even though the rest of my family think I am a freak.)  In expressing this ‘need’ to be seen I don’t mean in billboard sized gestures, I simply mean each of us deserves to be ‘not invisible’. In our hyper-connected world we are so incredibly disconnected from observing, acknowledging, extending kindness, or even offering a smile to our fellow beings it hurts the heart to consider. (I might be particularly sensitive to this because I had a German boyfriend some years ago – before Smart Phones – who “documented” everything taking pictures constantly but never actively being present; PUT THE DAMN TECHNOLOGY THINGS AWAY, YOU ARE MISSING LIFE!)

Last Friday morning, slipping inside the sanctuary offered by Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Boston (my former place of worship and community) to connect with the Divine, I was acutely reminded of our collective path. The pew I selected included a fresh take-away bag from L.A. Burdick’s with a fork, a napkin and a fresh, wrapped, untouched treat. In my kneeling humility I asked, as always, “expand my territories; make me an instrument of your will”. I believe that for the grace we desire to manifest we need to exist in a constant state of mindful gratitude, it’s never lost upon me how quickly I know that ‘my prayers have been answered’ as a result of this intention. The following took place in a physical space of less than two city blocks over the course of perhaps three quarters of an hour (least you ever question if the God you pray to is listening).

ImageFirst, before we even left Emmanuel, as my girlfriend Jennifer and I slipped into Lindsey Chapel the chamber music ensemble began Easter weekend rehearsal and I was met with the nod of recognition from the 1st violin – I was “seen” as someone familiar and welcome though it had truly been years since we had had any interaction.

DSCN0018Outside a young man in a hoodie weighed down with a box of potted daffodils each wearing blue foil wrappers to adorn Boston in conjunction with the Boston Marathon on Monday (he looked so incongruous I had to take his picture) provided a physical manifestation of Boston Strong – renewal, determination, solidarity, resilience and of sunshine.

Next, as Jennifer is newly divorced and starting to date again I wanted to introduce her to the luxurious beauty offered by La Perla lingerie, so we walked down Arlington to Boylston where this haven of femininity is located.  My current circumstances preclude purchasing and I think Jenn is still recovering – understandably – from price point as mortgage payment for the jacket she fingered but it was the level set for grace to happen, next.

Feuillage Tulle Set by Jean-Paul Gaultier for La Perla

Feuillage Tulle Set by Jean-Paul Gaultier for La Perla

As we left La Perla for Jennifer’s car parked alongside Boston Public Garden on Boylston another car identical to hers disoriented me for a moment – and that’s when my prayer “make me an instrument of your will” was answered.  You see, I am ever mindful of ‘but for the grace of God’ and it was the homeless woman crossing the street coming toward me that the L. A. Burdick’s bag was clearly meant for and the synchronicity of our meeting was ‘ordered’.  As I gave her the bag, our eyes met and hers replied back “thank you for seeing me” and I wrapped her in my arms and hugged her tightly and both of our eyes welled up with tears. (If you aren’t aware of the brouhaha some of my other Episcopalians are stirring up in North Carolina – click here and here and this will help explain the rich blessing of tears I experienced as a result of my encounter with this woman, this despite the fact that I do not consider myself a Christian.)

Years before, and years after, my friend and former colleague Kurt Anderson wrote on the back of one of my business cards “Use your power wisely” I recognise that I function best in a place obscured from scrutiny and floodlights.  The validation of “me” I require isn’t large, taking up too much space is something I struggle against in a society which encourages celebrity and grandiosity – this woman walking in the shadows of Boston’s Four Seasons, Hermes, Anne Fontaine, St. John and other such shops saw me and I saw her fully and completely in our common human struggle. Maybe it was the first time in days or weeks that she had been seen, her view of my being just as elemental and important.

Our filters, honed and influenced over a lifetime, determine our perception, how we will act and interact, what transparency is offered, how we see and what we see.  Toward the end of DSCN0089this same day, I dragged Jennifer (who had already stated loudly via email that she didn’t need anymore books) into another hallowed ground of the Greater Boston area, that of Cambridge’s Harvard Book Store.  People who love books surrounded us on this Friday evening but one in particular stands out for me – because while he was immersed in the pure joy of what he was reading, tucked into a wall niche that I had long forgotten existed, he graciously let me interrupt his revelry and let me take his picture.  For myself it was the laughter which spilled forth from “Mario” (clearly not his real chocolatname based upon our later email exchange) that garnered my attention, only when Jennifer said “Captain Jack Sparrow” did I make a connection to Johnny Depp physically. But I didn’t see him as the lead character of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean series, what I saw instead was “Roux” from Chocolat.  My lens, partly based on our tiny conversation, transformed Mario into the romantic drifter that makes things right in the face of prejudice and who subsequently ceases to wander as a result of what he finds when he opens his heart.

When we wake up in the morning we can’t know what actions we will be guided to take, or the impact these might have on the world around us.  As Amanda Palmer so eloquently points out in her TED talk (link above) there is a give and take of our human condition where each action provides is more gift than payment.  In this post-Easter season when righteousness runs a little higher in some folks (just as it had for Chocolat’s Comte de Reynaud) I think that there is an analogy around lingerie that is useful – “to be seen” can also mean to have impact without being seen by anyone at all, the power of lingerie is its secrecy; just as actions that bring about positive change can be quietly accomplished, one hug at a time.

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