Category Archives: violence

Grief and Bravery

I have been reflecting on the convergence of grief and bravery a lot lately.

About how death can meet us in 6 minutes and 20 seconds. The power which the silence of a small (almost) woman can have in conveying grief, honouring friends and challenging the political status quo. I cried for the length of her speech and well beyond.

At nearly the same time that the MarchForOurLives protests were taking place around the world I was in Inistioge, County Kilkenny, Ireland – quite honestly a place I never expected to be.

inistogue 027

To understand where I am going ‘with this’ I need to take you, dear reader, back to 1978 and the publication of my favourite book of all time – The Far Pavilions.  It is a brilliantly researched and written piece of historical (romantic) fiction that if read by warmongers in any number of countries Afghanistan might have been left alone following the First Anglo-Afghani War disaster (with an additional 12,000 civilian casualties) in the Hindu Kush in 1842. But The British didn’t learn their lesson, egos got in the way and as part of The Great Game, they tried again, and again, and then America took up where they left off in an attempt to keep Russia ‘contained’. As the story unfolds the Russians have opted for cyber-warfare to claim global supremacy throwing technology at the United Kingdom and the United States (and other countries like Ukraine, France and Germany) where canons and missiles used to be deployed.

Each time I have read The Far Pavilions I have wept at the heroic passing of a most beloved character in defending the British Mission in Kabul (1879), a character who I always assumed was fictional, and at the waste and stupidity of ‘governments’. On 24 March on the banks of the River Nore, near Inistioge and his actual birthplace his great (many times over) grandniece Ann Hamilton seemingly randomly mentioned The Far Pavilions, and then Wally etchingshe told me that Lt. Walter Hamilton, VC actually lived, was loved, and was her relative. I am grateful beyond measure for the extraordinary gift Ann has given me by bringing “Wally Hamilton” from MM Kaye’s pages to life for me through her family tree. But by making her uncle ‘real’ I was also swamped with unexpected grief for the man – or a combination of grief – that has left me openly weeping three times in two days. So we are clear it’s not ‘just’ his death one-hundred-and-thirty-nine years ago evoking my tears.

Like so many others, and because I read history, I am frayed and raw by the betrayals of both contemporary and historically broken politicians, diplomats and warmongers whose greed and egos deliver words and the subsequent actions which destroy.  The invasions of foreign lands to pillage (or civilize ‘the heathens’) as we are about to witness in Iran over oil and expanding Afghanistan for their rare earth minerals. It is colonialism, entitlement, imperialism and, of course, exploitation using military means. It angers me enormously for the loss of lives of the people of the regions and the loss of their resources which would benefit their populations as well as when an American dies to fulfill ‘orders given’ just as Walter Hamilton died.

Returning to the #NeverAgain movement, the deaths of the 17 Parkland, Florida (and the 7,000 others in mass shootings in the United States since Sandy Hook) all less than their majority came not because of a choice to enlist in the military and defend a diplomatic mission in Kabul but by the negligence of those elected to the United States Senate and Congress wearing the Republican Party lapel pin. The National Rifle Association (NRA), assuaging the greed that often accompanies career politicians, the has poured tens of millions of dollars into obscene distortions to the Second Amendment  without conscience congress 2substituting the musket ball, pan-fired rifles of the 18th century into contemporary military grade weapons. So I took particular pleasure in today’s news that Remington Guns has filed for bankruptcy.  The NRA’s agenda is profit and nothing will stand in the way of ensuring that every ill-prepared, irresponsible, mentally unstable (mostly angry white men) individual has their right to bear arms maintained no matter the cost to a civil society. That mainstream media and American politicians refuse to name these as the domestic terrorists they are because somehow white privilege precludes doing so.

Since the slaughter at Parkland another 73 teenagers have been shot and only four states have changed their laws making it harder to obtain a firearm; which brings me to the bravery referenced in my title.

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”

~ Mary Tyler Moore

I think there is a duality of appropriateness around this quote which we are witnessing.  First, of course, is the loss which the Marjory Stoneham Douglas students and their families have endured and second, the inspiring life of the woman for which their school is named Marjory Stoneham Douglas (MSD)  (from being a Suffragette and civil rights crusader to squarely beating the agricultural and business interests looking to destroy the Florida Everglades as an octogenarian).  Her legacy of fostering change seems in very capable hands.

The MSD students are channeling their grief in taking on the corruption of American politics, the gun lobby and the wing-nuts clinging to the Second Amendment and in doing washingtonso they are seemingly fearless in facing the enormous opposition and accompanying death threats and limitless financial resources. In spite of these obstacles, in the space of five weeks, ‘these kids’ managed to rally hundreds of thousands (est. 800K) to Washington, DC. with protests staged in major cities and small towns everywhere beyond the Beltway.

They have already faced the greatest possible fear that anyone could – dying as bullets rip through their young bodies, and watching their friends die.  Walter Hamilton faced that same death by choice, the NRA and American politicians stripped nearly 7100 teenagers of any choice since 14 December 2012. #NeverAgain, #EnoughIsEnough.

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




No, Your Hate Won’t Break Our Love

It is unexpressed emotions harboring latent demands for redress which cause violent disruption to society. The seeming extremes of heinous actions and vitriolic words each casting blame, instead of assuming responsibility and moving positively forward, actually feed each other 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.

vigilAnger 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 prominently – 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. 20170314_134553darkness, 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 to each of the tragedies we have witnessed must be 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 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! 


In the midst of Eid, Armageddon

As my readers know I am what many religious would call a heathen, I am also an infidel, and, to some Christians I would be a heretic, there is (I am sure) a long list of other names which would also apply to me.  I acknowledge the historic men and women of various religions and respect the stories of their piety and charity and how their teachings have made many contributions to humanity in God’s (and gods’) name(s) but I don’t worship the Divine through them.  My relationship with God is direct, all-encompassing and loving, there is no damnation, there is no sin to atone for; there is only love and healing in my relationship with God.  A personal ethos to leave the room lighter than it was when I came into it and yes, I view the entire world as the room I just mentioned.  No, sacred places do not fall down when I enter them, and my being fills with a pure white light around my heart when I do (which I call ‘getting the passions’) and I, generally speaking, cry tears of gratitude for being so connected to the elemental.  I am very much like the saint for whom I was named in my connection to God – just without being a Bride of Christ. Oh, and as some of what follows is ‘controversial’ least anyone accuse me of being anti-Semitic my father’s sister converted to marry so all of my first cousins are Jewish.

eidToday is the last day of Ramadan, and the three day festival of Eid al-Fitr begins. For all my Muslim friends – regardless of where you live:

May today be one of delight, and lightness.  May each moment be filled with a special joy which you and your whole family can share and always treasure. May the year ahead be fruitful for you and your family and may your home always be blessed.

After 30 days of prayers and fasting (nothing to drink or eat from dawn until sunset – period) today should mark the beginning of a celebration of joy and of renewal, and in some parts of the world it still will be.  This post is not about those places. Sorry.  This is about Gaza, and increasingly the West Bank.  This is about what greed, hatred and holding a faith contrary to your neighbours does to your normal religious celebrations – it turns them to mourning and funerals.

And yet.

From the Qu’ran, [7:199], “Hold to forgiveness, command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant.”


Photo of Gaza by Lazar Simeonov, printed in

Here’s my truth, as an outside observer to so much that is ugly in the Middle East right now, as a compassionate being, as a humanist and pantheist; forgiveness is what keeps us from killing the Divine’s beauty within each of us.  And ignorance (and my readers will also know this, I have a very low threshold for stupid) is frankly unacceptable in our globally connected world.  Don’t be rigid in your views based upon the tenets of your faith, your education (or lacking) or the pressure of your peers – use a search engine and find 10 vastly different responses to the point being made, read them – and then, make an informed decision. Do not hold a lack Palestinian womanof knowledge as an excuse for spewing hatred and committing violence.  And so, why should I quote the Qu’ran?; because the death toll of Israel’s excuse for its attacks on Gaza now stands at over 840 with over 5400 injured and frankly I am humbled at the level of forgiveness which the average Palestinian is able to offer their oppressors in the face of this siege of terror and destruction.  Because Hamas is as guilty as Israel, and if Hezbollah gets involved as it is indicating it will then Nostradamus’ prophesies about World War III are about to be all too real and played out in real time on social media.

“The recompense for an injury is an injury equal thereto: but if a person forgets and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah.” Qu’ran [62:40]

So forgiveness, and prayers for reconciliation are both necessary, and we, those in the West, need to get off our backsides and create a two state solution out of this dispute that should have been palestine mapforeseen in 1946 as the planning for the establishment of Israel was being hashed out. One only need look at a map of Palestinian lands lost to Israel and the location of Gaza to understand the ‘why’ behind the Apartheid, and what this is all really about – that last bit of prime ocean front real estate. Throughout history it has always been about land and who possesses it. And that’s why when I read a piece written by Stephen Pizzo on Alternet I thought – he has absolutely gotten to the heart of the matter!

Israel-Gaza-map-for-web-001I have long maintained that in the absence of hope man will do anything to survive – including kill (others and themselves) – desperation drives this madness because all religions value life.  We, the West, culpable for the bloodshed for reasons ranging from military aid to oil speculation, for standing by while an Apartheid state exists for Palestinians, for not being willing to say NO! to a population of people who once were oppressed and are now the oppressors, for CIA meddling, for profiteering of our businesses, we who are responsible for every single death stand by, safe in our homes, largely ignorant of the scope of the circumstances because our lives are good. They aren’t and, believe this – they won’t be. I read a fascinating piece this morning and have been mulling it over all day – if we think that there won’t be repercussions for ‘all of our sins’ we are sadly mistaken. 

He is the One GOD; the Creator, the Initiator, the Designer. To Him belong the most beautiful names. Glorifying Him is everything in the heavens and the earth. He is the Almighty, Most Wise. Qu’ran [59:24]

It doesn’t matter what Prophet you might follow, the words about God above resonate with each one of us, creation formed of physics an element of the Divine is found in everything. At a time when (all) Muslims should be celebrating their holiest days, honouring the same exact God all monotheistic faiths believe in, mayhem instead of joy because some is not enough for Israel, or for Hamas. I pray that the wisdom of the Almighty can prevail before it is our end of days.

As a postscript, this dramatic shift in US foreign policy – this gives me hope.

As another postscript – Jon Snow of Britain’s Channel 4 has just returned from Gaza with this video editorial. Please watch and share, demand your government (wherever you live) have the United Nations intervene.

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! 


Your good deeds – before man and God – Syria

ClementinesIt is Christmas Eve, Bach Cantata’s currently fill the air around me in my living room with the soundtrack from Love Actually queued right behind.  I just ate a couple of juicy, gloriously tasting-of-sunshine and warmth Clementines (which would have been the height of luxury a hundred years ago in a Christmas stocking) and the snow that is coming down is non-threatening and insignificant tiny wisps coming from the North (as it should be).


My Christmas tree 2012

Some years I go all out with rather Norse and Celtic pagan and Druidic greenery overload (mantles, lintels, door swags) adding sleigh bells to my door knocker and then taking all the living room lamps out and living with candlelight and a Christmas tree lights for three weeks – which is fantastically romantic, but totally impractical – this year didn’t feel right about any of that. The truth is I have ceased to really celebrate holidays – not because I don’t believe in their merit, and not because I am Scrooge and holding onto a heart hardened and mean.  No, it’s largely because when you exist in a state of perpetual gratitude (as I do) there seems a falseness about the stress levels and overachieving and over purchasing attached to days that are supposed to be sacred and times for rejoicing and reflection; people fighting more instead of being bathed in pure white light – this hurts my heart so I purposefully avoid the pain.


Henry Avignon, 2013, For Dylan Hockley

A little more than a year ago a man with a history of mental illness destroyed the lives of 26 families and that of their surrounding community and shook America (again) to its core.  And an artist friend of mine listened to the words of his son and created a memorial collection of art that is filled with light and love gifting the families with the images he created for each victim.  Shy of the year anniversary a song was published and recorded by a band called Alternate Routes – the song is called Nothing More (and you should listen to it) at the end of the YouTube video a not-for-profit that works in the memory of but one of those children is featured but the words, oh – the words:

To be humble, to be kind. It is the giving of the peace in your mind. To a stranger, To a friend To give in such a way that has no end. We are Love We are One We are how we treat each other when the day is done. We are Peace We are War We are how we treat each other and Nothing More To be bold, to be brave. It is the thinking that the heart can still be saved And the darkness can come quick The Dangers in the Anger and the hanging on to it. Tell me what it is that you see A world that’s filled with endless possibilities? Heroes don’t look they used to, they look like you do.

I didn’t put up a Christmas tree this year – instead I donated the money I would have spent to the special appeal for Syrian children through UNICEF primarily because my girlfriend Farrah (a dual citizen, American-born Lebanese) cried out for help on her Facebook page because ‘that handsday’ nine Syrian children had died of complications from the cold in their refugee camps.  And as the universe has this uncanny way of making sure that such things maintain equilibrium I have a bottle of Islay Scotch from my ex-husband to offset the ache in my heart of such senseless loss.

And so, when I saw a story in the Wall Street Journal about how DIYers were using their forearms to knit, huge chunky blankets and scarves my first reaction was to share it on Facebook and ‘hope aloud’ that somehow this skillset could find its way to these refugee camps so that parents stripped of their dignity through no fault of their own could be empowered with a hand up rather than a hand out, and create with their love necessary warmth to protect their children.

Which lead to the trail of posts and comments you can find here, which ultimately lead to this Tweet, TY4 FT  @ahsan_jehangir –…/tab_pr_2011_0504.htm … this is the beautiful yarn for @hands4Syr #PeaceAndLove and a happy ending to my story – where my amazing Welsh accountant and his wife will deliver kilos and kilos of this energetically pure, certified organic wool from the Isle of Mull and spun at the UNESCO World Heritage arm knittingSite of New Lanark Mill to the drop site in Edinburgh this Friday morning and onward to Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey or wherever Hand-in-Hand For Syria takes it.

The Bible is conflicted on ‘how’ we do good deeds – Matthew 5:14 says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Whereas Matthew 6:2 says: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

As someone who believes in a Divine presence but is less certain about which monotheistic (if any?) faith S/HE is particularly aligned with, let me just express if there was a way to get all of refugeeswinteryou to ‘just do’ something amazing and kind and charitable by willing it to be so with my energy I wouldn’t be telling you this story tonight, the presumed holiest of holy evenings of the Christian faith – but I understand the limitations of my presence here on Earth.  I am not seeking ‘points’ with God, or with you dear reader.  Whether you embrace either chapter and verse of Matthew I tell you this story of suffering and action to challenge you, my readers in 201 countries to ‘do’ something. We are Love, We are One.

If you enjoy my blog please consider “buying me a cup of tea” in your currency via 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, thank you! 

The Ill Wind of Human Dysfunction

Learning to ‘go with’ the wind gets you out of harms way a bit faster!

Teresa Fritschi, Commarglo Managing Director

ImageWe learn to embrace the wind at the tenderest of ages, where a single piece of 8 ½ by 11 white paper magically folded seven times, once cast with the flick of a wrist, will imprint our brains with the rudimentary theories of aerodynamics and physics, give us metaphorical wings to fly, and make us ponder ‘what’s up there, and who’s out there’.  And, when our paper airplane comes back down to Earth from cutting a graceful arc through the cerulean, have us come to recognise the impermanence of all experiences and the rationale behind neurons feeding our brains electro-chemical impulses which force us (in the best and worst possible way) to capture memory.  It should, also, impart resilience.

Those trees which survive the gale force of thunderstorm, tornado, tropical depression or hurricane are not sturdy oaks or mighty chestnuts but saplings, bamboo and willow, their inherent nature is of…

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An open letter to my stalker!

Dear Stalker, aka Jerry G –

Your letter arrived at my home yesterday; it remains unopened.  I am not amused.

That you have found me is unsettling to say the least – but you would already know this, counted in fact on the disruption of my life by your action. So, clearly you have spent more money on hiring another private detective as all of my social media and marketing efforts purposefully do not disclose where I am – BECAUSE OF YOU!

What’s next – a flight to my city? Sitting in a car in front of my building waiting for me? Trying to figure out which windows are mine and peering in? Accosting me as I walk to the local grocery store to get milk or my post office to mail a letter?

Congratulations! You have been successful in making me feel just like an animal being tracked – it’s a hateful, uncomfortable, horrible place to be and equally, (from my perspective), a thoroughly evil and reprehensible thing to do to anyone.  What if someone was doing this to one of your daughters? or grandchildren? Does my expressing this help to shift how you see your actions toward me? You have put me in a place that is in total contrast to the energy that I normally put out in the universe – sometimes disruptive energy is a positive thing, this “thing” you have dumped on me is not.

There, you wanted my attention, acknowledgment of your existence – you have it! Loudly and publicly.

What is in the letter? Would your wife be okay with its’ content? The Deer Park, NY or my local police? Which of these should receive it, unopened and in a carrier envelope so that fingerprints can be taken from it and you can be prosecuted?

I have never given you any encouragement, hope or belief that our acquaintance would ever be romantic or extend beyond our last meeting in 1991.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? What is that you want? Is my hurt, anger and loathing really what you were trying to accomplish?

Are you aware that in the United States an estimated 3.4 million persons identified themselves as victims of stalking – and these statistics are nearly eight years old! And you have been following me 22 years putting me in the category found in the second paragraph of the above hyperlink – thanks, so, much!

“Nearly 75 percent of victims knew their stalker in some capacity, and about one-tenth of all victims were stalked by a stranger. Stalking victims most often identified the stalker as a former intimate (22 percent) or a friend, roommate, or neighbor (16 percent).

Depending upon the severity of the stalking, victims suffered a range of emotions as they experienced stalking. The most common fears cited by victims were not knowing what would happen next (46 percent) and being afraid the behavior would never stop (29 percent). Nine percent of stalking victims reported that their worst fear was death.”

ENOUGH, this stops NOW! You have 48 hours to respond to this blog post via the comment section (which will remain private unless you do not agree to cease and desist thereafter, otherwise this post and the others referencing you and the letter will head to the police – choose your words carefully).


Related articles

The Ill Wind of Human Dysfunction

ImageWe learn to embrace the wind at the tenderest of ages, where a single piece of 8 ½ by 11 white paper magically folded seven times, once cast with the flick of a wrist, will imprint our brains with the rudimentary theories of aerodynamics and physics, give us metaphorical wings to fly, and make us ponder ‘what’s up there, and who’s out there’.  And, when our paper airplane comes back down to Earth from cutting a graceful arc through the cerulean, have us come to recognise the impermanence of all experiences and the rationale behind neurons feeding our brains electro-chemical impulses which force us (in the best and worst possible way) to capture memory.  It should, also, impart resilience.

Those trees which survive the gale force of thunderstorm, tornado, tropical depression or hurricane are not sturdy oaks or mighty chestnuts but saplings, bamboo and willow, their inherent nature is of flexibility to bend with the wind instead of standing rigidly against it.  For thousands of years the martial arts have taught this – flowing through the obstacle instead of ‘fighting it’; harnessing Chi (or Qi) much the way the folds of the paper airplane allow it to ride the air currents.  Physicists and various scientific disciplines are peeling away the layers of the ‘weight’ of positive versus negative thought with more refined versions of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs). If you have yet to hear/read, negative thoughts have considerably MORE weight from the perspective of physics and thus, the reason a growing number of us, why the state of our planet ‘feels’ like the dissonance which can be found in a piece of Shostakovich.

I recently experienced for the second time in my life (and a decade passing between) an atom bomb of human emotion directed at me complete with threats of physical violence, repeated use expletives and shouting (and yes, shrapnel spitting landing on my face) over my verbally ‘protecting’ an earthworm from incineration by this man’s son on the hot BBQ a group of us had just finished using. (All of which turns out to be multiple misdemeanor offenses of harassment.) My initial reaction was to block the energy and stand rigid, but that stance and the shift in my accompanying energy building within me felt inauthentic to my nature.  I then tried to walk away, and I was physically blocked.  I lowered my voice to a whisper (which was right for me but still failed to stem the anger being directed at me) and took deep breaths – none of it worked. The witnesses to the three episodes involved ‘didn’t want to be in the middle of it’. This is precisely how abuse and terrors of all kinds take place right next door, in front of us, and on the other side of the world. Ultimately I chose not to file a police report, I take my chances on future episodes but my life lesson now includes CALL THE POLICE!  On the way to that decision, I consumed several dry gin martinis – somehow it’s okay to want a drink but not need a drink; I am not proud of embracing this crutch.  What proved more successful was ‘re-tuning’ my being to the Gregorian chant of Hildegard von Bingen; within can be found both resonance and dissonance – necessary to create harmony – the Ying and Yang, darkness and light, of music.

I ache over the loss of five years of friendship, am thoroughly confused over ‘my child can do no wrong’ mindset, of people who praise God with one breath and dishonor their respective Prophet with the next, and whose anger management skills are non-existent.  As our connected energy (“one being with the Father” as well as atomic-ly speaking) bears down on us I am acutely aware that only mindfulness will foster a shift, and that resilience is built into our ever dynamic a path.  I will return to my version of normal sooner as a result.

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! 

AllThatINeedbizcardartfrontAvailable in print or e-book at Amazon, e-book at Barnes & Noble.