Category Archives: mindfulness

Largesse.

Largesse: “generosity in bestowing money or gifts upon others”.

Whether we realise it or not gifts are a complicated. Like everything in our world every nuance of a gift, the intention behind it, its actual giving and the manner in which it is received, has a corresponding energy attached.  I am not going to discuss the ‘obligation gift’ (and its sometimes less than fully positive corresponding emotions) but rather focus upon the exquisite (unseen) beauty of a gift infused with mindfulness.

ottersLast night, standing in my girlfriend’s kitchen chatting she pulled a new £10 banknote out of her wallet. There was a back story about a book not being bought with the tenner, and then being purchased by someone else so it could be kept. On its face are two otters and it is issued by the Bank of Scotland.  Rachel and I met as seatmates stuck in a grounded plane on the Aberdeen tarmac for three hours fourteen years ago – the country is special to both of us for a variety of reasons. Otters (which, I happen to adore) are the Native American animal symbol for my horoscope.  She had been holding onto the note and made a gift of it. Sometimes money isn’t really money, in this case it is something much more powerful. This carries the energy of Rachel’s thoughtful intention and really seeing me. The otters will eventually be framed between glass bound in copper and sit on my desk.

Rachel, in her largesse, has made other gifts to me this last month. On the surface these might appear to be tied to enhancing beauty (haircut and massage) but they were more than that in that both Felicity, the stylist, and Nia, the masseuse, are enlightened beings – taking in and amplifying universal love and energy with their gifts before channeling it into their stoneslabours. It’s telling that on both occasions in which Nia has applied her skills, intention and heated black lava stones to my body she has commented on how ‘cold’ I was. Yesterday, after my session I asked her what she meant as I generally feel rooms are too hot. Within her experience (and storied expertise) people who are ‘cold’ give all their energy away failing to keep anything in reserve for themselves.

I believe that being a recipient is more complicated than simply receiving. Respecting, actually honouring the intention behind the gift, knowing you are worthy of the gift itself and then giving something of it back along the energy continuum is paramount.

Receiving has been my singular lesson the last couple of years.  Just a few months ago I could never imagine ever being back in Colchester let alone meet Nia and have her be the critical deliverer of such an important message for me.  With my mantra of ‘leaving the room lighter than it was when I walked into it’ I have not been very good about holding the light in reserve for my own benefit.

Full Moon

Super Blood Blue Moon over US Capitol photo: NASA

So while I address the topic of ‘light’ let me share that when Rachel came home she shared Nia’s warning. Unbeknownst to me Nia had charged her black lava stones in the Blue Moon with a full lunar eclipse (the first time such has happened in 152 years) and she wanted Rachel to know that I might be a bit more emotional than ‘usual’ as a result. Well, yes.

Which made reading my girlfriend Kirstie’s post this morning SO timely:

“Creating ourselves out of our experiences. […] the experiences and lessons some painful, full of conflict, some full of flow and contentment, which through time, reflection and work become skills, knowledge and wisdom. […] Our experiences become our gifts.”

Think about that. Our experiences become our gifts. Not success measured in any conventional capitalist theory tied to money but rather being who we must be based upon our life lessons and our growing wisdom put to the benefit of the world around us for the net gain of the collective but remembering to hold something in reserve for ourselves.

Go. Be. In largesse.

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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Unconditional love, be part of the stars

Sometimes writing feels like a moral imperative. It wakes you in the middle of the night. Beckons you from sleep, and your dreams, to rise, dress and pull a ‘blank sheet of paper’ from vibrational energyyour computer and capture the ephemeral. I am in that state now. You could argue this makes no sense – couldn’t it wait until the morning? Technically it is morning, it’s 2AM as I start this. I was soundly, peacefully asleep after two nights of dousing rains, lightning and thunder; the unique acoustics of the Adriatic and the surrounding islands and mainland of this peninsula of Croatia where I am living terrorizing me and playing my vibrational energy like a drumbeat. Everything has a reason.

With the differences in time zones between where I am, and where I am from, there is a duality to my existence at present – frustrating though it might be at times. To date I realise that I am neither fully here emotionally and spiritually, nor am I physically there. Resolution, I think, of this conflict inexplicably came at 1:35 AM in ‘just for a moment’ turning on my phone to check messages and Facebook in the place I left behind. Two things stood out in my newsfeed. First my friend Amy’s quoting Wayne Dyer:

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”

I won’t even comment but leave you to consider how frequently our egos get in the way of truly understanding the full spectrum of information and interactions with other people we encounter each day.

The second was a blog posting, the blog being used by its author, Don Shapiro, to frame his forthcoming book entitled Life Is a Fork in The Road. There’s a lot to take away from this piece I ‘woke to’ and might have missed (had I not done as bidden) as I do not stalk my friends online presence. I highly encourage not only a thorough read but for you to bookmark the page and come back to it because what Shapiro writes of, unconditional love, is important to everyone.

“True unconditional love is not a choice.”

Shapiro’s story is one I have lived – the one “released” and the one releasing. My love remains unconditional for both men. I know the truth of this writing and the bitter-sweetness of knowing that these loves (and all our human life connections) are impermanent. Here’s something else I just realised in the middle of the night – both men have been ‘body guards’ to me. They have protected my physical being as well as my energetic one. Their connection to me, and mine to them, allows me (still) to ascend to my fullest potential. You MUST release attachments, you must grieve, but the truest path to our own heightened soul comes from embracing the gift of love as it touches us and as we gift it. Over, and over, and over again I am monsieur-ibrahimreminded of the charming French film starring Omar Sharif as Monsieur Ibrahim (from the French play Mr. Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran written by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt) and Pierre Boulanger; not the least is the life lesson Sharif’s character imparts to his protégé played by Boulanger about the value of loving being a gift you give yourself whether or not the other person accepts that love. Our vibrational energy must be higher than our ego, our being must at least attempt to attain awareness beyond our physical wants so that we elevate in the state of loving – in spite of pain, in spite of human desire – that is unconditional.

Convegno by Antonio Ambrogio Alciati, 1918

And when, by the mere chance that the universe conspires to provide a connection so powerful energetically between yourself and another that you would travel to the ends of the Earth to test the connection, the reality of it, physically then you must also do this. You must explore and define the ‘star crossed’ aspect of such energy, take and give to it liberally and with every fiber of your being and then gift it back. Treasure what remains.  As human beings it is all too easy to cling desperately to the idea that we can alter the predestination of certain elements of our lives. We (as I am most likely to express) “hold the bouquet of flowers too tightly” and it withers and dies as result. To ‘love’ in such an environment is not love, it is fear. Love cannot flourish in the space where fear reigns. Love, the highest form, the universal love from which we are created, which we will return to when our physical being is no longer capable of sustaining (or containing) our souls, needs room – lots of it. When you connect energetically to another human being their presence in the same room isn’t necessary – although it is preferable from a human desire perspective to be sure. Our energetic connections are something truly magical. They transcend our limited physical existence and allow us, if only briefly, to reconnect with something higher than either party involved. We can give and receive pleasure as if the person were in the same room with us, even before we ever experience meeting them. And when we release, or are released, that universal love is part of us, it never dies, it goes on and on without the physical connection. It can nourish and sustain us, as well as provide for the other when you remain attuned to them.

Be part of the stars. Love as one ever-expanding cosmic force and do so without hesitation, light withinwithout encumbrance or tether, oh, do love unconditionally.
Namaste.

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 then, please do share the blog 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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How Doctor Who made me see something, more

This post is for all those who wonder, doubt, and diminish the impact their lives have on the world (and I will own that is also me sometimes) but especially for those who are about to give up hope and who succumb to the pain that society thrusts upon the fragility of the creative.  In our world of ‘lowest common denominator’ it is truly time we stand firm and own our magnificence – no matter how uncomfortable it might be for ‘the others’.

A dear girlfriend, Jennifer Sertl, posted a video for some artists that she knows in the expanse of the world – both in person directly and through her vast, interconnected social media sphere to thank them, to encourage them, to shout out their presence to a larger audience that ‘follows her’.  Her message, and the video itself, were not directed toward me, but as I viewed it the importance of the pebble thrown into the pond rippling outward – in wonder and impact demanding to be shared.

Please watch this two minute video excerpt from the BBC’s long running Doctor Who. 

Irises by Vincent Van Gogh OSA409

Les Iris, 1889, Vincent Van Gogh

I have been reminded quite a few times recently that I ‘make a difference’ and that my gifts are considerable, I tend to discount some more rigorously than others but I am learning that in devaluing any portion of myself I diminish the whole of my being, and most importantly my integrity and what impact I might have (tiny, imperceptible though it might be). We are a flower garden, a bed of iris sharing nourishment, dependent upon conditions seemingly out of our control in which we thrive – or die.

If you only could pull a Doctor Who after your death; to return to the living for a few finite, spectacular moments if only to understand the lasting impact of your words, kindnesses, deeds and creativity. NEVER, EVER, give up on the fulfillment of your passions – with, or without, recompense. Root yourself in the soil, turn your face toward the sun, drink in life in all its glory, pain, and beauty and give that nourishment back in the impermanence which is common to all things.  Live with grace at your elbow gently guiding you (and sometimes violently pulling you) to create a masterpiece that is uniquely yours to give. Reside in mindfulness and passion, read (and perhaps write) poetry, create moments of magic for yourself and others.

“He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray. To use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world…”

The words might be from the video clip as Vincent Van Gogh is being spoken of, but I believe it is the pain of our experiences which allow each of us to create beauty in our own very specific way. All too often we fail to see ourselves as others do. And so, when I watched this, twice, I cried tears of gratitude in exactly the same place in which Vincent is overwhelmed. I am so fortunate to be reminded on a regular basis that my presence in this world makes a difference to others.

Starry Night over the Rhone 1888

Starry Night over the Rhône, 1888, Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh didn’t cease to inspire, and not just those of us who have ever stood transfixed before one of his canvases.  In this homage, Don Mclean’s “Vincent” (Starry, Starry Night) – itself a masterpiece – is set against outtakes from the same episode of Doctor Who; the result is breathtaking.   So I am now telling you, each who might read this, you are important. You – yes, YOU – make a difference by your presence on Earth (and in the heavens) every single day.

I am conveying love and passing blessings over you for all that you do, for simply being, and encouraging you to go on despite your pain and the pain we witness around us to create ecstatic beauty. And I am thanking every single person who this week (and many other days and times throughout my life) who has made me see what you see about myself.
OX’s – Te.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me 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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There will be light! An utterly incongruent story of six lamps.

As my dear friend Ken Herron said when I told him the story, “You can’t make this stuff up!” and while the following may provide evidence to the contrary I am not (as he said) a “crazy lamp lady”.

I will admit, I live on the edge of outright financial disaster, but surrounded by beauty (which makes up for a lot) and always in a state of gratitude. I have very little in terms of expectation, and I am ridiculously happy for my version of normal which for anyone else would likely bring about bleeding ulcers, nocturnal teeth grinding and require serious pharmaceuticals to abate sitting in the corner of the room rocking back and forth and drooling on myself.  I trace this ‘cause and effect’ back to the willful folly of a 17 or 18 year old me desiring something denied by my father who said no more times than not to me while rarely denying my brother a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, and my intuitive sense of navigation to find a way around an ‘in trust for’ passbook bank account and to the desired financial assets. (Whereupon my father announced that he was “washing his hands of me” – c’est la vie.)  I recall years later my mother saying something sarcastic about the fact that I always buy myself what I want by way of explanation for not receiving anything for my birthday, yet again. Sigh. I learned self sufficiency (for need and want) in an environment of disproportion; I am unapologetic.

intentionThat expressed, nice things happen to me. Frequently. Specialness that you could only put at the threshold of a universe that demands equilibrium.  A universe where intention manifests, despite the totally illogical, circuitous path traveled and where I find myself with (undeserved?) abundance. This is a true story about such. About how I “shouldn’t have, but did” and how in the end it worked out better than any rational human being assigning risk management theories could predict or that common sense would dictate. This story is about the universe saying yes when it should have denied me, and didn’t. This is the utterly incongruous story of six lamps and the unexpected, but very happy ending on my path to reinvention and relocation.

In 1992 I bought a pair of antique Famille Verte Chinese covered urns with mud decorations and battle scenes with carved rosewood stands for $99 (inclusive) in a junk cum antique DSCN9916shop in Buffalo, NY’s Allentown district.  I then took them to renowned antique dealer Dana Tillou (I have also been a customer of his nephew Jeffrey) to ‘see what I had scored’ only to have Dana gently suggest that given their value (at the time about $1100) I not drill them and turn them into lamps; which of course is precisely why I bought them and what I did. Elmwood Lighting (now out of business) did the honors and with the custom ecru silk lampshades the bill came to $161 and change (I had the receipt until fairly recently) all in $260.

Fast forward to 2013.

When I decided to uproot my life (to at the time destination unknown) last year I decided that I would start selling off my possessions to make the move easier, and with a new life would come a complete redo of my living-room decoration.  So I listed them on eBay, they had a buyer, who turned out to be one of those eBayers that give the company a bad reputation with sellers, for the $260 I had ‘invested’ after enjoying them for 20 years.  Alas, she opened a case and claimed “not as represented” (and then as broken) and eBay in their wisdom offered her a complete refund because I had insurance on the two boxes even while she had not returned the lamps.  I filed a claim with USPS, asked her to make them available to an inspector, to return them and hoped for at least the $200. Months dragged on, but eventually USPS issued a check for the $200 and a couple weeks later the lamps came back – not a total loss but time and money would have to be spent to find a replacement carved rosewood base and have the repairs done.  Eventually these would happily sell a second time for the same $260; net gain was about $170. Another lamp uneventfully sold for $260 putting my cash flow in the $430 range.

Obviously if you are selling lamps there is still the need for lighting to see after dark.  And my longest, dearest held girlfriend Doris (an age peer of my parents) once had a pair of reticulated Blanc de Chine ginger jars that had been wired and sat on her mantle that I loved.  The man that ran her downsizing household sale was having an estate sale in my DSCN0001neighborhood and I managed to score a reticulated Blanc de Chine vase, the base already drilled, from him for $18 (picture at right). I found an antique hand carved Chinese wooden display stand that fit on eBay (actually, eventually, two) for $60 and had my lovely local lamp repair guy Brian handle the wiring for me – $79 (brass fittings and labor, tax).  I shipped the new lamp to NYC for a custom silk lampshade as no local business to my current home does such work at a cost of about $50. If you are doing the math along with me here that meant that I was still ‘up’ $233 after using my other lamps for roughly 20 years, not a bad ROI.

After massive grief and delays (three months) in having the custom turquoise blue silk pagoda lampshade made the lamp arrived back in one box and the lampshade in another – fully insured thank God – bill $640 (I know, I know, I am insane but I beg you not to look at me that way) for the lampshade and the shipping back. Technically speaking the whole gorgeous lamp with the shade came at an end cost $417.) BUT, the lamp base arrived back to me shattered! (argh), receipts forwarded to FedEx, more grief, partial refund requested, more dialogue, more emails, more receipts, waiver on claim, still broken lamp and an expensive lampshade and no lamp and then finally, nearly miraculously, a check arrives from FedEx – not a partial refund but a check that covered the shipping, the lampshade that wasn’t damaged, and the lamp – for $825 and some change!  Now the net cost of the new gorgeous lamp is actually nothing, and I have “made” $408 in the process.

Here’s where it gets even more interesting.  I was looking for a lamp finial for the Blanc de Chine vase lamp – so off to eBay and that’s where I found the dragon porcelain lamp (see the Pinterest story by clicking here, start at the bottom to see what it looked like on eBay) and finiala lamp finial ultimately paying $215 (including the shipping). Alas, it had a serious ugly lamp cap and an eBay source sold me a solid brass one that is PERFECT for $3. The accounting? Still ahead by $190!  The finial turned out to be really big (for either lamp) at 3” in diameter and a bunch of research turns out that it is actually an antique carved Mutton Fat (white) jade plaque from China (quite valuable) turned into a finial likely late 1800s so I listed it on eBay (more on this in a bit).

My lamp guy charged me $30 to rewire (what turned out to be gilt ormolu mounted) the porcelain lamp, and I am still ahead by $160. My 2nd new lamp now needs a lampshade.  DSCN9991There is no way I can justify another custom silk shade so I try the blue one on this lamp and decide it looks perfect but the Blanc de Chine, now devoid of its custom pagoda shade, needs one. Back online to do research for something “in stock” and I settle upon a black silk shade with gilt lining DSCN9999but I am not spending $89 plus shipping. So back to eBay where, to my utter amazement, I find the perfect size, brand new, unused, oval, black silk with gilt paper lining shade originally sold in a town that I lived in out on Long Island’s North Shore – and I auction snipe it (bidding at the 30 second mark before the auction ended) and score it for $19 (including the shipping)! It looks amazing and despite all the energy expended my two new lamps have a total cost of nothing and I have made $141!!!

That is not the end of this story. Remember the carved jade plaque as a lamp finial? I sold it on eBay for $800. (Not factoring in eBay and PayPal fees) the universe has netted me two breathtaking lamps and I wound up making $940 – which, if I am truthful, should have been used to pay my rent in the first place instead of messing around buying lamps and that is where the money eventually went.

Both lamps have “cousins” on the 1stDibs website – the Blanc de Chine at $2250 and the gilt mounted porcelain 19th century French oil lamp that had been converted at $3000. A 60 watt bare bulb would ‘do’ for reading and no one actually needs a pair of lamps worth $5200 but I do love how the universe conspires to let me live with beauty – which is exactly what I ‘need’.

I still have this antique Paris porcelain one to sell with its custom silk shade – if you are interested. 😉

P.S. September 2014 – the Paris Porcelain one sold – $325 – bringing my grand total net gain $1265.

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!  AllThatINeedbizcardartfront

What Marilyn Monroe knew, Sleeping Naked

Daum_Sleeping_girl

Daum Freres and Amalric Walter, Pate de Verre Paperweight “Sleeping Nude” from 1stDibs.com

Last night – probably for the first time in 52 years – I slept in the nude. This was not post coital remnants, nor the result of a sunburn or the aftermath of a new lover exhausted from the exploration of one another, this was about my health. “What?” say you.  Yesterday afternoon I stumbled upon this offering from The Mind Unleashed.  I most appreciate that within the article were all kinds of scientific citations (all of which are worthy of clicking through and reading) backing up the five points outlined. And the truth is that my real motivation in trying this was the potential very positive impact on both my Cortisol levels and those anti-aging hormones.

I confess I have never felt completely at ease sleeping in the buff and this has always been less about “what if there is an emergency” than the habit of needing something on my shoulders – even spaghetti strapped nightgowns were, while making me feel gorgeous, insufficient against earning real sleep. Something shifted in my brain and body as a result of the science presented. What if I had it nearly all wrong? I had always preferred a cold room – so that wasn’t an issue – but I am a snuggler (burying myself under a down comforter as the AC is on and it’s 85 degrees outside). So with the idea that one night of experimentation in the privacy of my own home certainly wasn’t going to kill me and I could always get up in the middle of the night and put a t-shirt and panties on – I stripped down, had a bath, slathered Camellia oil on and off to bed I went (with my book, alone).

Maggie Siner Single Unmade Bed 2011

Maggie Siner, Single Unmade Bed, 2011 http://www.maggiesiner.com

You know what? I ‘got over it’. I slept gloriously. And I had to ask myself this morning what was the purpose of having spent all kinds of crazy money over the years on fine Italian woven Egyptian cotton sheets only to put pj’s between my body and them? I believe I am fully reformed as of last night. The other, obvious, long term benefit of this new comfort will be found in the last point of the article – soaring Oxytocin levels. Whether a lover shares my bed or not the heightened level of sensual awareness involved in this exercise was not lost on me.  (For the memories drawn upon in this I am grateful even as the lovers are no longer relevant to my daily life.)  So the question arises – is it that nakedness is a catalyst which prompts sensuality which, in turn, offers a release from desire or is it just sleeping naked that makes us sleep better?

Marilyn-1

Marilyn Monroe is famously quoted that she wore “just a few drops of Chanel No.5” to bed.  Maybe Marilyn knew more about the science of sleeping than we ever gave her credit for – because it’s said that the perfumer, Ernest Beaux, drew his inspiration for creation of this fragrance from one of his visits to the Arctic Circle and the smell of water at midnight. Evidently the unique smell of frozen lakes and rivers so fascinated him that he decided to replicate it in his creation using laboratory created aldehydes. So perhaps the smell of cold is equal to a cold room in our sensory processing? Here’s something more interesting, amongst the blend of flowers and plants in Chanel No. 5 can be found bergamot, lemon, neroli and ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley as well as iris, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and patchouli – neroli and vetiver oils (in aromatherapy) have been shown to lower blood pressure and anxiety (in other words stress which is what causes Cortisol to spike in our bloodstream) and relieve insomnia while amber oil has been shown to relax brain waves (alpha, beta and theta waves) through its psychoactive effect. In truth I have never liked the smell of Chanel No. 5, despite this my fragrances all share common ‘notes’ of amber, neroli, bergamot, patchouli, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and sandalwood maybe that’s really why I slept so well last night.

Whatever you wear to bed (or not), I wish you sweet dreams.

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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Journeying to your own Ithaca

There is nothing greater, more humbling, than to be truly seen and to have someone bestow the blessings of a long journey upon you ‘to Ithaca’. (And yes, I cried tears of gratitude as I was gifted with the video embedded below.)

How fragile our hold on living and life that we often neglect the supreme beauty of self found along the twists and turns of roads unknown and in navigating seas that awash decks with spray and waves which threaten to swamp us; these travels that make us more of who we are at our most essential until we arrive home. Buddha’s words resound throughout Homer’s The Odyssey and certainly are found in the ‘modern’ Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933) both “What we Odysseus-Sirensthink, we become” and “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” As my girlfriend Deborah so clearly understands my character, I dwell in the sensual and I fail to consider that there might be a Cyclops intent upon destroying me on my journey (so none appear).

And so, where you stand today, allow me to ‘pay it forward’ and share Kavafis’ (aka C.P. Cavafy’s) Ithaca words so eloquently read by Sir Sean Connery. That is all.

P.S. I received a message from a lovely (unknown) man from OKCupid who lives in Thessaloníki, Greece this morning. He graciously sent Ithaca, Ithaki, as read by a well regarded (and I believe deceased) actress which in the interest of authenticity I feel compelled to offer. I don’t know his name just his avatar but, thank you NnTt22.

Ithaca
When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.

Kastelli Hill

Kastelli Hill, Atheras Bay, Cephalonia, Greece

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

odysseus

Map of The Odyssey

Ιθάκη
Σα βγεις στον πηγαιμό για την Ιθάκη,
να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος,
γεμάτος περιπέτειες, γεμάτος γνώσεις.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον θυμωμένο Ποσειδώνα μη φοβάσαι,
τέτοια στον δρόμο σου ποτέ σου δεν θα βρείς,
αν μέν’ η σκέψις σου υψηλή, αν εκλεκτή
συγκίνησις το πνεύμα και το σώμα σου αγγίζει.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον άγριο Ποσειδώνα δεν θα συναντήσεις,
αν δεν τους κουβανείς μες στην ψυχή σου,
αν η ψυχή σου δεν τους στήνει εμπρός σου.

Να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος.
Πολλά τα καλοκαιρινά πρωϊά να είναι
που με τι ευχαρίστησι, με τι χαρά
θα μπαίνεις σε λιμένας πρωτοειδωμένους·
να σταματήσεις σ’ εμπορεία Φοινικικά,
και τες καλές πραγμάτειες ν’ αποκτήσεις,
σεντέφια και κοράλλια, κεχριμπάρια κ’ έβενους,
και ηδονικά μυρωδικά κάθε λογής,
όσο μπορείς πιο άφθονα ηδονικά μυρωδικά·
σε πόλεις Αιγυπτιακές πολλές να πας,
να μάθεις και να μάθεις απ’ τους σπουδασμένους.

Πάντα στον νου σου νάχεις την Ιθάκη.
Το φθάσιμον εκεί είν’ ο προορισμός σου.
Αλλά μη βιάζεις το ταξίδι διόλου.
Καλλίτερα χρόνια πολλά να διαρκέσει·
και γέρος πια ν’ αράξεις στο νησί,
πλούσιος με όσα κέρδισες στον δρόμο,
μη προσδοκώντας πλούτη να σε δώσει η Ιθάκη.

Η Ιθάκη σ’ έδωσε το ωραίο ταξίδι.
Χωρίς αυτήν δεν θάβγαινες στον δρόμο.
Αλλο δεν έχει να σε δώσει πια.

Κι αν πτωχική την βρεις, η Ιθάκη δεν σε γέλασε.
Ετσι σοφός που έγινες, με τόση πείρα,
ήδη θα το κατάλαβες η Ιθάκες τι σημαίνουν.

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης (1911)

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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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