Tag Archives: God

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:

karma jpegBrainyQuotes image.

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! 

 

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Without intention, here in Jerusalem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Where we’ve been, where we’re going

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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What light will be found?

better humanIt’s been a horrible three weeks for humanity starting with the Médecins Sans Frontières bombing in Kunduz, followed by the terrors unleashed in Beirut, Paris, and Baghdad. Senseless death. Lives destroyed. Borders closed. Hearts closed.

My business partner took the scope of ‘this’ and thoughtfully addressed being sensitive on social media in the face of tragedy on his weekly radio show this last week. I invite you to listen to the podcast for some very practical advice on being a better human being in our ever connected world. Starting at the 5:00 time-stamp mark and proceeding through the 20:00 mark Ken offers a list of seven to-do’s 1) pull the plug on automated posting 2) go silent 3) briefly acknowledge what has happened with compassion 4) share links to most credible relief organisations 5) gradual re-engagement 6) avoid perception of opportunism and finally 7) do not hijack a tragedy based hashtag for commercial gain.

My words will take a different focus, the same focus offered by Antoine Leiris, the same focus of four best friends from around the world whose #LoveOverFear efforts in the Montreal Metro made me weep. I sit here writing while listening to 50 of the most beautiful Adagios ever composed. I haven’t written since 7 November, a shockingly long being humantime for my fingers to be idle of creative energy. While talking heads have cast aspersions and spewed hateful rhetoric, the respect I have for all who have been lost demanded my silence. I took time to offer ‘light’ in the minute tasks of daily life. I recognize that I didn’t bleed. I still live. While my heart shatters in ever smaller pieces I am reminded:

French-boy“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen

As is often the case, God has been used as an excuse. You know what? God isn’t on the side of evil. “God” would never have us kill in His/Her name. God is Unitarian. God is Agnostic. God doesn’t have a denomination of preference. God is neither yours exclusively, nor mine. Whatever you believe God does not condone your taking a life – any life.

I am simultaneously embarrassed and disgusted by fear-mongering politicians (I am not alone) who are systematically destroying any chance to provide child-sleeping-on-rocknormalcy for terrified children and their families who have lost everything that they know and understand – right down to the pillows under their small heads. We are segmented by artificial differences and it makes me sick.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Candles. Flowers. Vigils. Borders opened. Hearts flung open.

Eiffel tower“When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life.” – Eckhart Tolle

Unless of course you are viewed with contempt for the simple reason that the colour of skin is less white, whose God – though the same – has a different Prophet than those making decisions. Those whose own paranoid fears incite hateful behaviours in others are the grand manipulators of our society and those suffering from mental illness are perfectly sane in contrast.

Exactly 700 years ago, England’s King John, younger brother of Richard the Lionhearted, exacted a wholesale slaughter of the citizens of his realm. (It should sound strikingly familiar against what is happening in Syria.) Innocents caught in the machinations of massive debt, madness and ineptitude, which paved the way for the occupation of England in what was nearly a second Norman Conquest. Eventually light was let into this darkness in the creation of the Magna Carta.  Why have we learned absolutely nothing from history? Or perhaps the question now is what ‘light’ will come from the daily terrors our world is experiencing now?

Nostradamus certainly prophesied the chaos we are now living 500 years ago. Every single thought, every action each of us takes us closer to either catastrophic global destruction or realignment in the light.

“When one takes action for others, one’s own suffering is transformed into the energy that can keep one moving forward; a light of hope illuminating a new tomorrow for oneself and others is kindled.” ~ Daisaku Ikeda

Under normal circumstances I would close with a suggestion that if you liked my post that you send me the value of a cup of tea via PayPal – don’t do that. If this post found resonance for you please send the cost of a cup of tea to the Malala Fund. 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.”

gaza

Photo of Gaza by Lazar Simeonov, printed in http://www.palestinemonitor.org/

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! 

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From darkness to light – lessons in living well

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

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

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

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

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

liberty

@albapro/Instagram

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

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

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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:

religion

“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! 

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