Tag Archives: authenticity

‘Know Thyself’ – Applied To Your Brand

Like any worthy communications geek I am a firm believer in the value which authenticity creates for a business and subsequently in establishing a brand’s reputation. The creative process is vast and nuanced. The ‘thing’ that drives a creative person forward is their passionate commitment to manifest their vision. Perseverance, certainly a measure of luck, but mostly (I believe) it is infusing authenticity into every detail which makes the rest of us take notice, purchase, and eventually become brand ambassadors. Creative people don’t (necessarily) set out to win accolades, while those are very nice and certainly add to financial success, innovators simply mean to honour their passion and provide those like-minded with their solution. “If you build it…”

I’ve recently encountered two Scandinavian businesses creating global buzz within their respective niches. So completely have Sweden’s ASKET and Norway’s Maaemo gotten it right I want to share them with you as a sort of litmus test for building your own brand efforts. The online identity for both companies is austere Scandinavian – clean, contemporary, timeless, and compelling.

One company offers a permanent (non-trendy, wearable) collection of things men want to wear (and women will likely ‘borrow’) in 15 different sizes, the other gently guides your perspective about sustainability, localisation and cultural heritage through gourmet (nearly private dining) experiences. What these three men, August Bard Bringéus, Jakob Nilsson Dworsky and Esben Holmboe Bang, have in common is their openness about their philosophies, they take us on their journey and they put their names ‘on it’.

ASKET tOf course there is an element of personal branding to this but less than might be found outside of the Nordics. Resonance drives our desire. We want their end products (or experience) for ourselves because authenticity and transparency (even so far as breaking down precise costs) are so integral to their brands.

I had multiple windows open on my laptop when the Maaemo movie began playing. Thus, my initial exposure to Maaemo’s story was through the thoughtfully selected ‘sound’. I knew (without looking) I was about to experience something reverent, primal and ancient, something which would awaken my intellect and senses and move the needle on my perception of Nordic gastronomy. Something the storied Michelin guide recognises in Maaemo having awarded Esben and his small team its third Michelin star.

“To me, the smell of Norway is fire, smoke, salt and drama. There is a useful pain and nerve in the history of the Norwegian people that affects the food in a good way.”                                                                                                                                  ~ Esben Holmboe Bang

asket pileEqually so the perfection offered by August Bard Bringéus. He wanted a white t-shirt.

What both August and Esben have in common is that they view themselves as ‘outsiders’ (either to the culture or the industry vertical) and their efforts are their personal interpretations which they offer for our consideration.

So much about ensuring we even have a planet to call home is about making conscious purchasing choices, buying less but of great, lasting quality – equally valued whether experiential or material, and aesthetically exciting. We don’t get to that purchasing decision without the creative efforts of others. Without their peeling away the layers of their journey we are stuck with simply buying a sweater or eating a meal. As the specter of mediocrity runs rampant perhaps in 2018 examples such as Maaemo and Asket can serve to remind us, might ignite our collective consciousness, to elevate our consumption. Regardless, the way they have aligned their brands with their respective ethos sets standards worth emulating.

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 @TeresaFritschi. To order my book, please click on the cover art of my book below, thank you! 




Alberghi diffusi, the truest luxury is authenticity

The Travel & Leisure article entitled Reviving the Italian Village takes a note of vanity efforts afforded by the enormously wealthy. That might seem a judgmental statement, it isn’t. I am grateful for anyone, for whatever reason, choosing to take on the arduous process of heritage preservation.

albergo-casa-oliva-marche globetellers

When Dr. Giancarlo Dall’Ara originated the concept of alberghi diffusi thirty years ago, long before futurists started speaking of circular economies, I believe he aspired to create a noble legacy which would positively impact rural Italian economies by driving tourism, ensuring the preservation of cultural heritage and providing a path to the continuation of a more connected way of living. As urban life has become more complicated and messy, much like the value proposition offered by Product of Designated Origin (PDO) assignation, the alberghi diffusi now has the potential to fulfill a demand for an authenticity remarkably devoid from most contemporary life. I don’t see alberghi diffusi as a Utopian fantasy but a model of socio-cultural, economic and environmental sustainability, scalable and practical in perfect harmony, and logical extension of what I set out to create with Thistle & Broom back in 2003.

The haemorrhaging of rural communities and the diaspora of countries alike is not new. Natural disasters and economic hardships have driven great migrations of people to cities nearer, and very far away from agrarian lifestyles for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Infografica Alberghi Diffusi 2013 (1)

The currently running ‘Anno dei borghi’, organised by Italy’s MIBACT (Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Activities, and Tourism) is designed to entice visitors to explore 18 regions and help manage the impact of the tourism sector growth on Italy’s urban areas – as well as spread the economic impact around.

Creating an alberghi diffusi from a near-ruined village without services takes time. Italy’s unemployment hovers around 11%, and is more than three times higher among those under the age of 25. Housing, following the 2016 earthquake, remains at a premium. At the end of a rather long and dark tunnel, two emerging trends of isolation as luxury and experiential travel provide a much welcome light. Mind you this isolation is not a minimalistic, silence-only spiritual retreat but one replete with simple but exquisite accommodations, agro-tourism/slow food/gourmet dining, extraordinary privacy and ultra-high speed internet connections – all of which create jobs, and provide economic stability.


It is here that a sweet spot of sustainable development exists, a convergence of yet-to-be alberghi diffusi with a tremendous opportunity to prove systems destined for adoption in Smart Cities. I am not referencing autonomous cars but rather reinvigorating, and making contemporary circular economies which have always existed in communities bound by the ‘butcher, baker and candlestick maker’. The alberghi diffusi model is a solution to any number of pressing contemporary issues worthy of both investment monies and public policies support.

Clean-tech incubated in alberghi diffusi would pull villages off the easily hacked central grid while providing self-sufficiency. What’s more, this model allows those individuals not lured to the bright city lights to continue practicing (or develop) arts, crafts and traditional hand-skills of a region with the market (quite literally) coming to the mountain. Imagine bathing with organic botanical goats’ milk soap and sleeping on crisp linen sheets hand-woven from blue-flowered flax grown in the meadows surrounding these villages which a year before was wafting in the breeze and growing tall in the sunlight. That the village is masterfully IoT connected and a set (or two) of those linens can be ordered and paid for with a voice command based upon block-chain technology generates real efficiencies and quality of life for all parties.

The truest luxury is dictated not by fashion, but finely crafted authenticity and the improved efficiencies offered by technology.

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! 

“It is my intention to astonish you all.” (And myself.)

I had a ‘chick night’ with my bestie last night, an Italian orange soda and Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd (this is not a movie review). While I have read some of Hardy’s other works, The Return of the Native and Tess of the D’Urbervilles, somehow this one has escaped me. I must have a lovely copy to linger over because I found something extraordinary and personal in the movie.

The opening lines spoken as a voice over by Carrie Mulligan knocked me to my knees. She is introducing herself, she says her name, Bathsheba Everdene and then says “I have grown accustomed to being on my own. Some would say too accustomed. Too independent.” The air theatrerushing from my lungs in the darkened theatre was nearly audible, accompanied by a feeling as though I had unexpectedly fallen hard on the ground, the ‘wind’ knocked from me. How often in the last 24 years have I expressed exactly the same first sentence? I have also heard others say I am too independent. The span of the movie (and later, I am sure, when I acquire a copy of the book) would subsequently tear away so many protective layers I would sit crying in Jennifer’s car afterwards acknowledging a different kind of fragility I have thought I had well under control – of not needing people, a well-honed self-defense mechanism resulting from repeated disappointments bestowed by those we let take a piece of our heart and who have ultimately betrayed it. This awareness that has been washing over me a great deal of late, it stuns me, it catches me off-guard, it swamps me because here is the truth; even when kindnessa habit is formed over many years, one that serves to keep us from faltering in life, tiny kindnesses crack open our hearts and those fissures let a different kind of light in, of letting people touch our souls and feel our raw essence in an amplified version of what the world is allowed to see, and in the process, we hope that we don’t scare them off, but rather that they take care of the tender vulnerability we are at our core.

On the surface Bathsheba’s story appears to be one of three men courting her, but I think it’s something more. I think hers is the timeless journey of coming to understand the most important things in our lives are often standing squarely in front of us, that these must almost slip from our grasp because of pride and then, as heroes or heroines of our own lives, we step into the fullness of our being to own our destiny to reach for what will give our lives their greatest meaning.  I have given give-receivemuch love away, yet I have been a (very) poor recipient of it which, upon reflection, this is unseemly in the extreme. I am learning to truly receive, and it is stretching me into a version of myself I am sure I was always meant to be but sometimes it makes me reel with faintness, I do not recognise myself against the familiar filter in which I have defined myself. This is good.

In this video found on YouTube Mulligan describes a passage from Hardy’s book in describing Bathsheba as being, “passionate, wild and honest as the day” – again, if for no one other than myself, I recognised the essential ‘me’. Earlier in the day my girlfriend Kirstie replied to a question I had posed with “we need the mirror provided by others to see all of our sides” and in some way, because I have a Pisces Moon in my Aquarius sign, this description by Hardy of Bathsheba resonates – I am childlike in my innocence, honest, and passionate and like Hardy’s character often in saying what is on my mind that makes others wince. Passion and honesty guided me toward (or pulled me?) what is clearly my life’s work and a new life. There are days when I am overwhelmed by my free will choice to move into something very foreign, and yet familiar.  The path toward this life includes an alarming set of variables to consider or work through, but each day I find an answer, an opening, a shelter to take cover beneath or refuge in metaphorical arms. I am stunned by the outpouring of support and love from the physically near and those thousands of miles away. At the same time everything I have ever read, experienced, or come to believe provides tools from which to draw upon Arbroathto make the scope of this ‘work’. I wrote a letter this weekend, potentially a very important letter, but the inspiration which allowed me to create it came from a document written in Scotland in the 14th century – widely regarded as the most important piece of diplomatic language ever penned (no, not the Magna Carta). Very early yesterday morning I found myself pulled into a Facebook string related to a seasoned public relations practitioner (whose choice of client I happen to be fighting over the environment) and as thoughtful as I was about choosing my words and citing external resources to document my points emotions are running high, the topic is polarizing, the people involved are lightning rods, so much so that people involved feel assaulted and insulted despite my efforts to be respectful of the skill if not how it was being used it against humanity (my opinion).

You can practice authenticity but you can’t create it, authenticity is an intention, like waking with gratitude. And everyone’s version of authenticity will be nuanced, singular. I would like to think we are all capable of living with such intention, such authenticity, but I have come to realise that so many cummingsof my fellow humans are just trying to survive each day, get through the living of life, there is not a spare ounce of energy for more. I can’t. Perhaps that is why I have been so comfortable in being on my own for so long. But I feel the shift happening. Bathsheba addresses the tenant farmers and hired hands of the estate she has inherited from her uncle; she says “It is my intention to astonish you all.” So too is it mine (as well as myself in the process).

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! 


Fear. Less. Giving a F*ck, and not. Shift. Your. Thinking.

I have written lightly about ‘living exponentially’ in my blog post about Walter Mitty – but this post is planningsomething different. Despite there being plenty of perfectly rational things in my life to be concerned about, however naïve or ridiculous of me it might be, I am not a worrier. I really don’t possess fears. I have this un-erring belief that everything will be ‘just fine’. I have friends that I drive absolutely bonkers over this attitude of mine. Why aren’t you worried? What’s your plan? Plan. Plan. Plan. You aren’t REALLY going to write that, are you?? You aren’t really go to send that email are you? Let go of it. I most certainly am, primarily because I care. There are far worse things.

And, like my girlfriend Mary who has experienced much of the same, there are always going to be people who want to ‘fix me’ ‘help me’ or somehow ‘rescue me’ and I am having none of it (neither, thankfully, is she). I dedicate this blog post to Mary, and her journey of self, because we can’t walk in anyone else’s shoes and everything we carry with us is about reconciling our pasts so that our souls can accomplish their objectives for living in this lifetime. I only ask that Light and Love surround her and keep her safe.fear 2

I dislike high places. I have an inner ear ‘thing’ from damage caused by repeated ear infections as a child that gives me a wicked case of vertigo but I am not necessarily afraid of heights. So much of the lens in which we are viewed by the world around us, by our colleagues and our friends, and very often how we view ourselves, is a powerful catalyst for our continued behaviours – whatever they might be. A refrain of my life was repeated (yet again) fairly recently. It’s a huge compliment to be told that someone perceives you as being fearless, and that because of their perception of you they are pushing away the boundaries of their fears, to fear ‘less’; three people expressed the same in a matter of two days. Respect for danger, preparation to face it squarely, has absolutely nothing to do with fear or worry. Fear is a choice. Worry is a choice.

We all have things that we have cognition of but that we (largely) keep hidden; fear of offending, fear Harrellof failure, fear of others thinking us foolish, fear of dangerous situations. These fears are not necessarily bad things but they can be debilitating things. Fear is always having a monkey on your back. Fear keeps us from fully living.

I function best from the realms of authenticity and love. That expressed, I vividly recall my father saying “I don’t care if you like me, as long as you respect me” (generally directed as dinner table conversation about people not in the room). Close friends can attest that as a result of my having been bullied from the 3rd grade onward by boys with the names of Joe and Victor (amongst others) I have honed my fathers’ attitude to I don’t much care if you like me or respect me, please just leave me alone and, if you can’t for some inexplicable reason respect polite boundaries, I assure you that you will simply ‘cease to exist’ (I have found that indifference is the greatest survival skill ever learned). Which is why in reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck yesterday I was like, well “Hell Yes!”

Now, most of you who know me in real life know that while I might “think it” and “act it” and “truly don’t” I also VERY RARELY actually use the word. Which is what made my Croatian-American friend Bruce’s “Croatians using Jokerthe word…” tutorial back in late January very funny to me. Evidently if a Croatian says IN CROATIAN F*ck You (or was it ‘off’?) it is actually 100x more offensive than the English use of noun, verb, adjective, expletive F*ck You. Who knew???!! So, TO EVERY ONE I LOVE, and the things I passionately care about (and you witness by not just my words but by my actions) it’s true, it’s true, it’s true – I do not give a F*ck if some unknown dweeb is challenged by my attitude to let it all fall where it should, and TO HELP IT GET THERE faster if need be. Because quite frankly my choosing to care, my giving a F*ck is one of the things I am most proud of about me. So when something is totally F*cked up expect me to do glovesomething and say something and take no prisoners in the process (though it might be a iron fist in a lovely velvet glove making it nearly impossible to distinguish what is actually happening). If that makes you uncomfortable then it is patently clear you will never be worthy of my respect or my giving a F*ck about you or your indifferent little life. I challenge you to CARE about stuff, about life, passionately. No regrets. No ‘what’s in for me’. Don’t try to control everything, or anything – it’s impossible to do so – but show up for life. Truly. Caring about what the wrong people think, SMH. And for someone that is deeply rooted in creating branding and identities this might seem contrary but it seems more reckless to me to be fearful of opinions and perceptions of the great unwashed masses rather than functioning from a position of authenticity and integrity.

Mr. Manson is spot on. Don’t “give your F*cks away” to the wrong people and situations. Don’t worry about the inconsequential – will whatever it is matter tomorrow or the next day? Fear is an extension of giving a F*ck about the wrong things. Shift. Your. Thinking.

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! 


Lunch in Dalmatia “triumph of simplicity”

Let me just say I was not being a tenant, I was being a neighbour. I had made ratatouille (mitigating my normal level of spices our of respect for my landlords tastebuds) and brought down a quart for them. I was invited for lunch an hour later.

Lunch in Dalmatia is a vastly different thing than it is in, say, New York City. First everyone enjoys the same leisurely pace as “the 1%” but the cost for an extraordinary meal with good wine and great conversation is different, it is democratic in its accessibility.  No matter how fresh what is on your plate in Manhattan might be the lettuces weren’t picked an hour before a simple dressing of vinegar and the sublime extra virgin olive oil is applied, and it would be safe bet that it wasn’t swimming in the clear grilled fishaquamarine waters of the Adriatic literally less than two hours previous.

And contrary to the Dalmatian concept of pòmalo, at Ivanka’s table lunch is served when she says it is going to be.  Let’s talk about the fish. Slightly larger than a rainbow trout but based upon the taste I would say sea bass. Cleaned and gutted, drenched in a lemon juice and Extra Virgin Olive (EVO) oil and then grilled, whole, outside over olive wood cuttings. I took an extra measure of a 1/2 of a lemon to drizzle over my fish (each of us with one gorgeous specimen on our plate).  Then like a child I was patiently guided on how to use my fingers to remove the dorsal fin and bones, to suck gently on the head to remove the yumminess (I drew the line at eating the eyeballs staring back at me). The last time I ate with my fingers with such dedicated passion was over a plate of awaze tibsbeef Awaze Tibs in 1999 in a ground level Ethiopian restaurant in a section of Boston’s Massachusetts Avenue that fell, like so much, to gentrification.  Bit by delicious bit I left the cleanest plate I have ever left for any meal, ANYWHERE. I paced myself because each mouthful was heaven. I was thoroughly committed to making it like Tantric sex, only eating. The crispy skin, the oil and lemon infused deep within the DSCN9895moist flesh of the grilled fish itself.  In New York this would have had a $60 tab plus taxes and tip. Here the fish was 8 kuna per kilo (yes, $1.30). While I have always been a ‘foodie’ you will want to cry (I did mist up) over the absolute perfection of it should be so lucky to have someone prepare such for you. Anthony Bourdain missed something amazing on his trip to Croatia because (having watched the episode twice) I KNOW that this particular bounty did not pass his lips.  Truly Dalmatian cuisine is, as you will hopefully hear in watching this episode, a “triumph of simplicity”.

Marko’s family, like so many Dalmatians, have been here since  before the Ottoman Turks occupied in 1540. His legacy, the connection to the land, also includes skills at wine making that would be enviable (and medal winning) at wine competitions. I must also offer than given the addition of sulfates to most commercial red wines (offered in the United States) I can no longer drink them because I will wake in the middle of the night with painful leg cramps – Marko’s wine poses no such issue and is astonishing in its body and on the palette.

We don’t share language per se. Some German, some English and on my part some Croatian and yummy noises. In the two weeks I have been here there is usually someone who speaks English to help convey my thoughts and emotions – we went without that benefit over this meal. And what happened was magical. BECAUSE WE WANT TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER. Because we are trying to discuss food, and life, and wine and what is authentic. Because over a shared meal, regardless of where we are from we are all the same.

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! 


Forgive them; for they know not what they do

I am sitting at my computer spilling tears. Normally that is a good thing, often it’s even a great thing, because I feel deeply and am unembarrassed to express the depth of my emotions as I connect to the ephemeral, the sublime, the ethereal and the exquisite and take incredible joy in my observations – these tears, are not those tears.

Last week a gun rights person, with whom I have no acquaintance, in an attempt to insult me called me Ms. Kumbaya. As a child of the ’60s (born in 1961) the Summer of Love and all the resulting 1969activism that sprung forth from it (from which a great many of have benefited) could be traced to Khumbaya My Lord (try this version from the Soweto Gospel Choir), as well as Peter, Paul and Mary singing Blowing in the Wind, Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence – and countless others – quite frankly she couldn’t have directed a higher compliment toward me.  Over the course of the last couple of weeks, across the globe, some truly heinous things have been committed and most of them done in the name of God – and, so this woman’s comments were surreal against the scope of my tears this week.  With every betrayal of common sense, logic, and of humanity witnessed I have experienced the five stages of grief as defined by the Kübler-Ross model. (And yes, it would have been so much easier had there been a solid life force of a partner to physically lean on but my garden, once again, came through with a respite from these pains and offered all its green solace to heal my breaking heart.)

In addition to all those tears, as a result of epic disbelief and the resulting anger, I have expressed un-imagined words on Twitter and Facebook this week That’s really saying something, as close friends will confirm that my authenticity can be painful if you harbor the least bit of personal doubt or any insecurity because – and I will own this fully – if I have one fatal flaw it is seeing the world and people I love “in fullness” of their greatest potential rather than quietly living in the status quo. So while it’s not just ‘one thing’ but many that are bothering me, let me start with this meme, and the words that accompanied it on Facebook:


“While every American has a right to free exercise, I believe two initiatives of the U.S. government…have perpetuated a very asymmetrical view of religious freedom. This view too often privileges the right of missionaries to proselytize at the expense of everyone else’s right to practice their religion without intrusion, or in the case of many Ugandans, simply live and love whomever they choose, regardless of gender. This too is America’s right hand.”

-Co-founder of the Hindu American Foundation

The problem is that most people view the world through the lens that is most comfortable to them, taking a very literal view, measuring it against “their truth” and pronouncing failure upon anyone else who disagrees and deny others the right to express themselves.  How many times in human history have we heard “Kill the Infidels” “Kill the Saracens” “Kill the Non-Believers” or “Beware of false Prophets…”? Do we even recognise the irony of all this against the actual scriptures from Bible and Qu’ran alike? Our societies are becoming ever more segmented along individual truths and polarizing rhetoric drives us further apart at a time in human history when we really need to come together to solve our greatest problems.  We are pushing each other into corners of hate, suspicion and fear because we are terribly afraid; we should be hugging not judging.  There is no question in my mind that we are witnessing bullying on a massive scale! As emotionally appealing as “an eye for an eye” might be, the accompanying truth as so eloquently phrased by Mahatma Gandhi “…will only make the whole world blind.” keeps me from embracing the model put forth by The Rude Pundit.  The hypocrisy of found at the base of the United States Supreme ABORTIONCourt ruling in favour of Hobby Lobby was a huge contributor to my round of tears (of anger and frustration) this week, especially as it came on denying women the same barrier of safety which the Supreme Court judges and the employees of their court enjoy.  When a woman cannot freely manage her own health privately and without running a gauntlet of abuse from those whose religious convictions would allow them to humiliate another in Christ’s name there is something very wrong with the version of Christ’s teaching you adhere to (please do not contort his messages of compassion for this). mary magdalene

We prostitute ourselves and the truth for the illusion of “security” and we are dead as a result.  If you want to hold up a banner in God’s name then it should read:

Micah 7:18-19
“Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Each of us arrive at the culmination of our lives (if we don’t question this each day) answering to our conscious and to God (should we so believe). I prefer to believe that Christ’s last words had real meaning for all of those doing horrible things in His name “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”  

For myself, I walk outside of religion but keep a deep binding faith that the tears I shed for humanity are not in vain.

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! 


Sherlock and UBUNTU – I wish you a very good year!

In anticipation of season three, I have been watching the previous seasons of Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss’ brilliant (ridiculously brainy) adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock for the BBC (shown on Masterpiece Theatre in the United States). Midday yesterday I wrapped up by watching The Reichenbach Fall in ‘the death’ that has the Internet buzzing and in conjunction with the years’ endImage where I take time to evaluate of my failings and successes and lay them down like stocks of a good wine in a temperate cellar, I was struck by the connection to others that makes a life rich beyond compare.  In the new seasons’ teaser #SherlockLives but in his ‘death’ Gatiss and Moffat’s Sherlock has been humbled.  It is clear that he has learned the perils of standing at the center of the stage taking up too much space and making others look foolish and inept;  the hard lesson of humility has been learnt at the hand of his archenemy Professor James Moriarty and, in doing so, Sherlock became the perfect friend.  As Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the inspiration for his protagonist Sherlock Holmes were both Scottish, and this being New Year’s Day and all, the truest song (two versions by one incredible Scotsman) of friendship and remembrance sung the world over – click here darlings!

My thoughts have a natural segue which might be less than immediately obvious – !

Twice this week (yes, and it is ONLY Wednesday!) I have been sent some variation on the observations of Bronnie Ware, as a result I am sure that I am supposed to ‘offer this up’ as as both a Happy New Year greeting and smack-down.  First received was Sasha Daygame’s video on YouTube with Croatian subtitles (coming through a Facebook message on the heels of my heart being rent in pieces from an unexpected source which only someone connected to me energetically could ‘know’ I needed at that precise moment) and then this morning via Upworthy – Jane McGonigal’s Edinburgh TED talk (“my” Croatian and Scottish messages duly noted).

Bonnie, a former Hospice nurse who in helping people at the end of their lives, came to capture these five universal regrets all prefaced with “I wish” ~

  • I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I hadn’t worked so hard. Image
  • I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • That I had let myself be happier.

Please notice that each point here is about living in authenticity.

Incessant blether of all kinds can be heard (or read) about about collaborative communities, about negotiating and empowerment and agile networks but the truth is that NONE OF THAT WORKS if all of those sitting at the table are not coming at the problem to be solved (or their lives) from a place of personal authenticity.  Compromise for the sake of harmony isn’t authentic – it’s destructive.  The real danger of living without personal authenticity at a cellular level is the percolation of resentment and weariness (or cite life as ‘boring’ as Sherlock parrots throughout the series) and then every aspect of growth in our lives, our dreams and aspirations for creating good for the planet are undermined.

There’s a story floating around Facebook and the Internet in general about the philosophy of UBUNTU (here Nelson Mandela explains) it is perfect for conveying the connection endemic to our human condition – even as so many of ‘us’ fail to feel it at the cellular level.

ImageAn anthropologist proposed a game to the kids of an African tribe. He put a basket full of sweet fruit near a distant tree and told the kids that whoever got there first would win the fruit. When he told them to run they all took each other’s hands and ran, then sat down together to enjoy their treats. When asked why they had run as one when one of them could have had all the fruits for him or herself they said, ”UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

UBUNTU means: “I am because we are.”

Auld Lang Syne has been sung since Robert Burns’ 18th century Scotland, we all live and die (at some point) with many or with few regrets – with vast numbers of friends but very likely less than five will ever be those that you can (or should Imagebelieve you can) truly ask for help as Benedict Cumberbatch in playing Sherlock does toward the end of his character’s ‘life’ of Molly.  In our global village, where we are all connected in “I am because we are” your highest level of personal authenticity is necessary far beyond self, your integrity has huge rippling effects on the energy of everyone and everything and it is incumbent upon you to ‘be’ in fullness of being.

Please, go make 2014 the best not only for yourself but for the rest of us as well.

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