Category Archives: personal growth

Disruption, Are You Rigid?

According to my dear friend Marilyn there are two kinds of people, those who prefer towers and the others which prefer caves, the former observers and the latter shelterers I would add that neither of these can hold off the ‘inconvenience’ of disruption.

The result of our cumulative experiences makes each of us shelter in uniquely different ways. Despite our protests we all have finely defined boxes, sometimes our boxes include massively built walls, which make us comfortable and ‘safe’. Entrenched in our comfort we grow ever less capable of being expansive. Our self-imposed exile of stability restricts our movement as surely as shackles might. Disruption is going to happen so I think it is prudent to recall Dr. Wayne Dyer’s words:

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When we close ourselves off from disruption can be as small as the cap left off the toothpaste, or the toilet seat left up by a new lover, a guest in our home slicing a lemon differently or being a fresh air fanatic living in our homes with the windows thrown open (my hand is raised high here). Disruption after all is unsettling, upsetting, annoying and it is an enormous opportunity for growth.  The irony is, that if asked, those who are the most thoroughly entrenched truly believe that they are functioning in a state of expansive love, generosity and kindness – the truth is only on their terms.

Rigidity is not my friend, or yours. In the two years I spent as a digital nomad I have had ample opportunity to serve as ‘the disruptive force’, and I do mean “serve” in the truest sense of that word.

Lots is made of ‘being agile’ whether an organisation or an individual, embracing change, rather than fighting it, allows the best possible outcome to manifest. And yes, I really do believe that on our spiritual path in attaining at-one-ment with The Universe, or God, having our comfort zone pushed and pulled out of its normal shape is very good for us, necessary even. Disruption forces us to confront what we fear and let it lead us forward, or we can beat a hasty retreat from it returning to what makes us comfortable.

Recently I made a choice to help someone spend more quality time with their elderly parents prior to their departure on a rather long trip, but I needed to establish boundaries around my offer. Those parameters would allow me to be generous with my time and culinary talents but ensure that I didn’t bear an undue financial burden. We are always free to choose, but we are not free from the consequences of our choices. The response to my words came with consequences, disruption to the stability of my life and a hefty financial cost for the individual. Here is where personal responsibility kicks in, but it could be something ‘more’. I fully accept the karma of my choice but I have to wonder if The Universe was really using me as an instrument, or somehow protecting me (yet again). What if my words were meant to as an opportunity to help move this person dramatically away from the entrenched rigidity of their life? (my perception). Their subsequent choice denies their pets my love and companionship and their home security, and they will subsequently incur a cost of €50 a day for eight months while I am denied a measure of stability to write and conduct business. Quel domage.

Rigidity or resilience, how do you deal with disruption?

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me 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! 

 

Bio-diversity, conservation, stewardship and Croatia’s future

I love a good cry; a cry that comes from being inspired, a cry that comes from witnessing selflessness. I especially love a cry that comes from doing the right thing for our planet and taking only as much as we truly ‘need’.  At present I am sitting in a sunbeam – literally, not figuratively – high up in a valley nestled within the Velebit Mountains and 1/2 million UNSECO protected acres of pristine wilderness at The Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch. I am sitting at big square table in a snug wooden chalet that has sheep’s wool for insulation and tongue and grove knotty pine paneling on half of the flat surfaces surrounding me. Incredibly, I am ‘conventionally’ using geo-stationary satellite WiFi despite being an easy 35 kilometers from the nearest good sized town.

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Medo in ‘fields of gold’

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Tetrao urogallus, Western Capercaillie, Wood Grouse

It’s mid-morning but I have been awake since 3:30AM because Medo (honey bear in Croatian) was warning off something he felt threatened his property – and by extension me. Ordinary, hyper-busy, overly caffeinated people might have taken exception to have their sleep disturbed with such empathic bellowing but I got up, threw a couple logs into the woodstove, turned the lights on the front stoop and the side porch and asked Medo what was wrong instead. The lights seemed to be enough to send whatever nature was stalking its rightful land away and Medo calmed down immediately.  Harmony for the two of us even at the expense of the nocturnal wanderings of the local fauna – bobcat, two kinds of deer, privacy seeking wolves and bear, higher up Big Horn sheep, Golden eagles, owls, and hundreds of kinds of birds including Capercaillie.  So you see my day started in harmony with nature – sort of.

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View from the side door of Dancing Moon Chalet, Linden Tree Retreat & Ranch

The mountaintops got a confectioners’ sugar dusting of snow last night because it was just cold enough – and I gather an asteroid was passing very close to the Earth, and thus, a contributing factor to the cold. The eaves are melting of their tiny icicles in the sunlight, sending sparkling droplets onto the gravel surrounding the chalet. The moment is as far away from stress and damaging our planet as can be imagined and yet, what ‘message’ I got this morning was about reinforcing the efforts of conservation and supporting a dynamic and thriving eco-system. As every effort is local – let me start here at Linden Tree. I think Bozidar Bruce Yerkovich (PhD) had a vision of containment – not his word – of creating something sublime, sustainable and self-sufficient (to the extent possible).  He took three years to find this 50 acre parcel of undulating meadows, crystal clear spring fed streams, mountains covered with hard and soft woods and over the next two years he reclaimed or rebuilt on hundred year old foundations – the Buffalo Lodge (the main building) evidently had a good sized walnut tree growing up through the space that once was a bedroom and its roof in what is now the dining room (yes re-roofed). There is more bio-diversity here (three separate micro-climates) than what can be found across all of the geo-political boundaries of Belgium. While Linden Tree has horses to ride I am content to feed them treats on occasion and have picked up their combs and brushes and lent a hand to their grooming, subsequently being rewarded with soft nuzzles and horse breath on my shoulders. I write here more than anything else but I am cooking and baking too. I am, again as I concluded my first book, in the place which William Henry Channing wrote of:

“To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, to all bravely await occasions, hurry never. In a word, to let the spiritual unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.”

It is with great respect that I am here, nestled in this sanctuary of natural beauty in the wilds of Croatia while avarice and willful destruction tears asunder our planet.

Croatia has always had extraordinary minds (perhaps even dis-proportionately so against its teslatotal population) influencing the world at large, the most readily identifiable is the original “open source” proponent Nikola Tesla (born 20 kilometers from where I sit).  Like everywhere else in the world right now (and perhaps it has always been so) there are those who tend and those who destroy. But I prefer to resonate at a higher frequency of possibilities – based upon mutual benefit and respect, and those ideas of such lofty aspirations generated by individuals who, like Tesla, continue to believe in the value of sharing, and of altruism.

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Gyps fulvus, Griffon vulture, in flight.

Incredibly there are those threatened by bio-diversity, by conservation, by those, who in giving so freely of themselves set an example to emulate.  The extraordinary breadth of nature to be found here should serve as a model for the rest of the world but those others wish to destroy – short sighted financial gains at the peril of this beautiful country.  I recently was introduced to the nearly singular, internationally acclaimed efforts of Dr. Goran Sušić to protect the last known population of Griffon vultures in Croatia (on the Adriatic sea-side of the Velebits). And I would like to I invite you to read (and share) this fabulous piece written by Marija Tegovska for Green Fudge on the native wolf population.  Both could use financial support, and volunteers so I am providing links to both should be so inclined.

We are perilously close to the point of no return. According to the Center for Biological Diversity 99 percent of all species threatened in this sixth cycle of mass extinctions will be as a result of human activities.  In this tiny corner of the world for the span of time against all of history equal being equal to a single grain of sand in an hourglass falling I am awed by the commitment offered by Bruce, his wife Megi and all the volunteers and staff who give so much of themselves to help the rest of us appreciate what is truly important.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me 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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I have a lot in common with Goethe

“Nothing is worth more than this day.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

20150123_122044I truly believe there are only two kinds of people – those whose reality check precludes seeing what those whose ‘romanticism’ of the world makes things ‘more’. They are not exactly in conflict but a glaring dose of frustration with one another is easy enough. I fall into the latter category of people. I am a person to whom life’s most basic and wonderful magic happens frequently, unexpectedly and with which I also feel like I am functioning in a state of heightened grace. I am not unrealistic (I don’t think) but it frankly doesn’t occur to me to dwell on the less attractive aspects of our life here on Earth except to try and change things for the better where possible.  This is not about change. This is about small pleasures that people (everywhere, regardless of culture or country) miss.

“A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust: First Part

This afternoon I was in the town of Gospić, Croatia. I will be honest, painfully so, realistically so – 20150123_123402it is a down on the heels small urban area with not much in terms of attractiveness to draw one to it (I can write this being from the Rust Belt). You will have to pass through it to reach Nikola Tesla’s birthplace in nearby Smiljan or to the breathtaking mountains of Velebit with its 1/2 million acres of pristine UNESCO protected wilderness and home of Linden Tree Retreat and Ranch (from where I write this post, the wood fire gently crackling, tea mug beside me holding steaming ginger root tea).  It is not Zadar, or Split, Trogir or Šibenik in terms of ancient decaying prettiness offered by sun-bleached stone from Brac (or is it Hvar?) and crystalline blue, aquamarine and emerald waters of the Adriatic.  Nevertheless I found beauty – just as I often do – because through the lens in which I view the world it is infinitely more pleasant to live in fullness of being, in a state of joy in discovery, of delight over the mundane (to others).

My friends know that I am a freak about open air farmers’ markets (okay and those actually housed with arcades). Today was market day in Gospić; ordinary people selling or buying carrots, beets and sausages, lettuce and eggs, Brussel sprouts and oh, thick naturally coloured wool, hand-knit socks.  I had a short list in mind but not written down – in such an environment shopping is about what looks good, whose smile meets yours, what in taking a long view inspires you to cook as a result of what is offered for sale. Sometimes purchases result from a semi-conscious decision to stretch completely and utterly outside of your comfort zone – that happened to me today. A lovely man wearing perfectly coordinating shades of Loden and olive 20150123_110641green had a roll of made-at-home luncheon meat, the renderings from pig fat, homemade bread and pressed at home apple juice (not cider). I said Dobar dan and he reciprocated and smiled.  He took his knife and sliced off a piece of his bacon fat and offered it to me to try; in Croatia this is the way most people eat this – it is considered a delicacy. Now it would be incredibly rude of me not to accept this despite it being beyond comprehension to consume in the States where I am from.  I do not have a Poker Face – and he burst out laughing, which of course made me laugh at myself and I said “I think it is an acquired taste” which made him laugh harder. He spoke no English but he seemed to understand every word I said. At this point the luncheon roll, which seemed to be some variation on Head Cheese, was being sliced and offered to me. My stomach is having a conversation with my head along the lines of “oh, dear!” but my head is telling my stomach to shut up and just go with the flow despite the lingering taste of bacon fat on my tongue. I confess I enjoy Haggis (am actually lamenting the fact that I am not anywhere near Scottish soil to celebrate Burns Night this year) but it’s only 20150123_110807because I prefer to pretend that I don’t actually know what haggis is made of because on my first tasting I didn’t know and I enjoyed it enormously; when in doubt fall back on such an experience. The truth is that this is likely a one-off; it wasn’t so much about how tasty (or not) it was, or whether the sum of the parts was more appealing than the individual contributions of the various parts of the pig that went into it, for me it was the experience of sharing what this man had made, and his clear desire to be in this moment with me. So for 20 kuna ($2.92 USD / 2.60 Euro) I bought a piece about ½” thick and he gave me the end of the loaf of bread he was offering for sampling, and something my erstwhile, globe-trotting, Scottish chalet mate Calum thought disgusting when he tasted it, a handful of what remains when pig fat is rendered. I will have this for lunch tomorrow. I will enjoy it “for the experience of it” and I will be happy with the memory shared with this lovely man.

I also bought some sausages that my chalet mate Calum had requested I pick up – a kilo 20150123_110159requiring a couple of extra links added to the scale, mirth and another couple of photos.  But by far the purchase that will stay with me the longest, serving to remind me of this most pleasant hour and a half of my life, is a new pair of ridiculously soft, thick, hand-knit, wool socks. I forgot to take 20150123_161600a picture of the woman that sold them to me (she also knit them) so I went back – to both of our delight, and hugs and Croatian kisses goodbye.

Who is richer? The realist or the romantic? Goethe wrote a lot of truly wonderful things – but I end with these words:

“If you’ve never eaten while crying you don’t know what life tastes like.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you enjoy my blog please consider sending me the value 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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It’s a long way to Croatia (3 bags weighing 150+ pounds later)

As an American I recognise that we ‘take up too much space’.  We are also a largely enthusiastic society – we really believe all things are possible. Not that I would change anything about my Ugly Americanmixed European (German, Polish, French, Scottish, Irish, English) American heritage but sometimes our enthusiasm can be taken for being ‘too loud’. My cognition of these attributes and my self awareness makes me try a little harder to bridle my enthusiasm and blend in when abroad but that’s not always possible (because life should be lived abundantly and passionately). Still we have a reputation for being – ugly.

I arrived in Split, Croatia five days ago. It feels like a Mediterranean version of Scotland – which, frankly, is why I am here. I almost didn’t make it. Despite 12 months of thinking about it, being an awfully good at spatial relationships, arriving at the airport two and half hours before the first leg of my flight and being one of the (normally) least-stressed-out-about-traveling people you could ever meet (I am the person calming the woman about to throw up or pass out from fear about taking off or landing. I am the person walking your child up and down the aisle because you just can’t cope anymore. I am the person who rallies 400 people in playing word games whilst stuck on the tarmac in Aberdeen, Scotland for more than three hours.) BUT… gauging weight of luggage is not such a strong suit of mine. I figure if I can still lift it IT MUST BE in compliance with the airline allowances.

20141107_061951This is my luggage (and pillows, yes two – one tucked inside the pillow protector of the other and then both inside a single case) once I arrived in Croatia. For the record one of the least civilised things about travelling by air in the United States is the absence of these wonderful little trolley carts that Europeans and Brits understand are so sensible! What is also annoying as all get out is a complete lack of porters – where they would do the most good. And if you are traveling alone without one or the other, in the midst of a driving rainstorm, trying to get said luggage that does not possess wheels and weighs more than 150 pounds in total and contains three months of all kinds of weather and occasion clothing and provisions,  as well as a down comforter and duvet cover and spare pillowcases, and is not-water-repellent but handwoven Belgian tapestry with hardwood frames and solid brass locking mechanisms and suede trim that means a porter stand near the parking lot. Getting this into the airport to check in – reasonably dry – and to leave the car for your best friend in “the pre-designated spot” on your own is not possible. Rather it is TRULY impossible. Mine is the stuff of porters and tips. It is the stuff of a bygone era steeped in some measure of elegance. While utterly gorgeous, it is the least practical thing I own (of all the impractical things I own) and it weighs a freaking ton empty. So you can imagine with weight restrictions on luggage how this might be a problem waiting to happen – it was.

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Ziploc bags show a small portion of my tea haul.

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Tea bags, Kind, Odwalla and Abound bars that were also in the duffle bag.

Special kudos to the lovely couple nice enough to have lingered to kiss on the staircase as I tried the parking garage instead of leaving the car outside who helped me haul it into the terminal. And thanks also to the AMAZING United Airlines agent who patiently and politely let me stay at his counter with one bag on one scale and one on the other for more than fifty minutes moving items around the three bags to be in compliance with the fifty pound per checked bag weight limit. Note that the clock is ticking, fifty minutes has passed and I still have not cleared security. What remained was the tapestry duffle bag on the top of the pile, within  which could be found two boxes of Odwalla Super Food bars, bags of sea salted pumpkin seeds and garbanzo beans, golden flax seed, dark chia seeds, hemp hearts, and tea bags – lots and lots and lots of tea bags. (When I finally got to Munich the ever efficient and polite Lufthansa gate agent expressed astonishment that Rochester let me on the plane with it – they didn’t (actually couldn’t).)

You see because of the groceries I had packed in the carry-on I was subjected to both re-scans and wand-ing. And then unpacking and more scans, repeatedly. By the time I cleared TSA I had misplaced my passport and boarding ticket and all I recalled was my seat assignment but mistook that for my gate – meaning I went to the wrong terminal for boarding. Which in turn meant that I was paged – that has NEVER EVER happened before – not once but twice. And think about it, in this age of mobile phones when was the last time you saw a courtesy phone attached to the wall in an airport? I did find one. A maintenance guy rescued me and carried my bag to the opposite end of the other terminal. The United Airlines staff found me and walkie-talkied to the gate. They held the plane (or would have had to unload all the luggage so it was probably more expedient to do so). In finally getting onto the plane I HAD TO apologise to the whole plane – seething, ugly stares ‘greeted me’. Oh, and my tapestry duffle bag with the tea and Odwalla? Gate checked. Which was really very nice because it would have cost me $300 to check all three bags initially. Instead I just have bruises all over my arms and legs from wrestling it all the way to Germany and I didn’t pack the Arnica gel!

A final shout out to Chris, who was behind me in security and ultimately turned out to be my travel mate on the Rochester to Washington leg – he admitted he wanted to kill me in the security line (I was ‘taking up so much space’). He actually gave me a kiss goodbye at Washington Dulles.

Yes, I am here. Where I didn’t think it would be, the tether binding me to Rochester was really hard to break – cosmic interference that my girlfriend Nancy Lyn Cotter had forewarned me of, and felt (confirmed by phone earlier today – before I told her this story). Sometimes you have to REALLY work hard to make something happen.

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 ‘all that I need, or live life like a dog with its head stuck out the car window’ below, thank you! 

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Tethering our lives to love

It might seem hard to process the concept of being grateful for starting your day in tears. To feel something, anything, so keenly that the only possible response is a clench of your throat, Staples-Mill-Pond-Dam-Break-2-bigfollowed by the flooding of your eyes where salted droplets spill as over a millpond dam. I am not particular in how this happens – only that it does. To feel this alive in sadness, in humility, in joy, in reverence, in gratitude, my truth is that I write best when I am so filled with emotion that the only outlet, after the tears have dried, is my keyboard.

I have been bouncing the concept of tethering around for a couple of days but suddenly it was the bonds of an impossible-to-hold-in-your-hand love that proved to be the greatest measure of tethering.  Tether is an Old Norse word. Traditionally, tether meant a rope, chain, or similar which binds an animal to a fixed object so as to limit its range of movement but it can also mean the utmost extent or limit of one’s ability, endurance or resources. It’s been commandeered by the tech community to refer to connecting one mobile device to another (such as phone to a laptop) to share the Internet connection of one with the other so as to sync mobile tethercontent and actions between the devices either by a wireless LAN (local area network) such as a Wi-Fi or by physical means such as a cable through USB ports. This post about tethering is not about technology… nor is it about animal husbandry, but it is about connection –establishing it, maintaining it and pushing the boundaries of our conceived endurance to be something more.

In just sixteen days I leave the (rather dull) surety of my life of the last six years for something unknown. To be honest the last six years have been the longest I have lived in any single place since marrying out of my childhood home 30 years ago. I am more gypsy than anything and Gypsybeing so planted has caused me to chafe just as any animal would tethered to a fence or a building.  It is a test of my endurance, my abilities and certainly my ability to perform superhuman (all legal) financial machinations, to do this. There is ABSOLUTELY no safety net (though I have listed my apartment on AirBnB and am selling some of my possessions on eBay in hopes of offsetting my collective expenses).  While I have leapt into the void in response to being pulled toward Croatia, I know that whatever awaits me is going to be trans-formative. That’s a good thing, to keep expanding and not to contract into some ever smaller portion of myself where fear rules and which can happen far too easily as we get older. But this action of mine is accompanied by a confluence of apprehension and exhilaration – the Swedes (bless them) have a word for this – Resfeber. With resfeber comes a totally illogical and travel anticipationunexpected need for ‘tethering’ myself with the familiarity of my pantry found in the packing of a duffle bag filled with teabags, Aztec Elixir Vosges drinking chocolate, dark Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, golden flax seeds, Odwalla Superfood Bars and a long discontinued, exquisitely scented candle (I admit to hording three of these from when they were reasonably priced) from the defunct Henry Slatkin & Co. It’s utterly insane as intellectually I know that foodstuffs are only too easily available to purchase, Split being one of Croatia’s major urban areas as well as having immediate access to the harvest that can be found from the sea literally 50 metres from the apartment I am renting. It is because I currently can’t read more than a half dozen words in Croatian and none of them relates to food that I have taken this action – a safety net of sustenance until I can purchase honey, olive oil, yogurt, butter, flour, sugar and fresh vegetables. Some part of me feels weak to need this tether  yet every nomad has carried provisions with them against uncertainty for tens of thousands of years.  I am managing resfeber with my tether of comfort – uniting the woman that I am in this moment and who I will become beginning the afternoon of the 6th of November – much as a child clings to its softie or binkie.

Earlier this morning the source of my tears was a video posted by a friend on her Facebook wall for two of her friends. Facebook (despite all the less than ethical machinations of the company) has developed something truly beautiful, likely on the success realised by Upworthy, called Facebook Stories. In this video (originally posted on Vimeo) a woman in São Paulo befriends a man who had been homeless for 35 years; a man, who but for the grace of God, who could be any of us. A man who bent by life still had the discipline to write his poetry every single day; this, kindness (2)perhaps more than the happy ending this woman brought about by her acts of compassion and kindness is what made me cry.  Our greatest selves are realised only in the extension of, being a vessel for, the amplification of the universal energy commonly known as love. His words expressed, her energies to empower those words. The connection to one another possible through social media that fostered a real community of support and an endless cascade of tears thousands of miles away; the pebble in the pond manifest, tethering ourselves to another (or a vast unknown collection of others) energetically.  We do as we have been done for – the coding of our DNA and the memories housed within the epigenetics of who we all are, our expectations, our will to survive or to create or to provide comfort it’s all “there” within each of us waiting to be connected, tethered to the rest of humanity. We can be envious, resentful and mean or we can take pleasure from the fact that what we give, who we are, is part of an endless ripple of love.

Friends have suggested that I am leaving them while also cheering my ‘bravery’ for doing this Croatian rentalwithout a plan, this action of mine isn’t either – it simply ‘is’. Life is shortened by each passing day – it is our duty to live it fully whilst we have power to do so, to embrace impermanence with passion and commitment. The recent death of the younger brother of my friend Deborah and  the discovery that both of my parents have been diagnosed with cancer served as the catalyst for booking my ticket. The 2″ square box of my parent’s entire lifetimes chafes at me even though we have not had contact in more than a decade of years. Facing such I recognised that I need to live more fully again. I also need to write again. Not sporadically but wholly committed to six to eight hours a day, every day for 88 days. My second book has no definition as yet but I know I will find it in salty tears at the edge of the Adriatic and the unexpected (but most welcome) kindnesses of people met as a result of social media who have become integral to my journey in this lifetime.

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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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’.

My dearest girlfriend in the world, 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. 

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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.

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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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What Marilyn Monroe knew, Sleeping Naked

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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.

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