Tag Archives: intention

Largesse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Moon

Super Blood Blue Moon over US Capitol photo: NASA

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

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

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

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

Go. Be. In largesse.

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

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“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! 

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There will be light! An utterly incongruent story of six lamps.

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

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

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

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

Fast forward to 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Dear Gabrijel from Mošćenice

Dear Gabriel –

Adults can be very selfish and stupid.  A friend in Croatia shared the latest in media over your saga, another Croatian friend shared Imageyour mother’s side of things, but I want you to know that my concern isn’t about the issues they have with each other, my heart is just sending you protective white light energy and love.  Right now I just want to step in and be Mary Poppins for you Gabriel and, I can’t, I am so sorry for that!

In 15 years I am sure you will be a wonderful young man.  I hope that the scars of this period of your life are long healed because everything is impermanence and you possess a resilience you can’t even imagine in this moment. All of this ‘will pass’ – I promise! I hope that you remember just enough to ensure that when you make love to a woman you understand there is always the possibility of a child – be very certain you love her with your whole head and heart and are able to provide the stability you are being denied because for history to repeat itself would be an even greater tragedy.

In the meantime, while your parents are dealing with their own demons, I wrote to enlist some help for you.  Please let my small effort be a guiding principle in your life, that even when so much is wrong about our world that it swamps us, leaves us numb and emasculated, one tiny action on our part can foster change for the better for someone – even the intention of ‘good’ can cleanse the negative!

Dear European Fathers and Udruga Dijete Razvod:

I am not personally invested in the ongoing tragedy captured in the story above, but I am pained to the point of outrage and thus, am writing to beg your organisations to intervene.

I don’t profess to know the back-story for Gabriel (age 3) and his dad. What I can see is that Gabriel clearly loves his father beyond reason, and the grandparents and brother appear to be providing an extraordinary stable environment for this boy. From what I am able to cobble together (from a bad online translation) the mother continues to punish her son for any reference to the father and, as a result, her resentment is only exacerbating an already horrible circumstance – my heart bleeds for this child caught in his parents’ divorce and ‘adult’ pettiness.  There are good (and great) and bad parents in both genders, but to be angry and vindictive over a broken relationship and hold a child as the tool for revenge is unconscionable!

As to the traditional assignment of mothers’ gaining custody – how can one woman, operating from a place of anger, provide a better environment then the nest of love created by Gabriel’s dad, his parents, and brother? I appreciate that Croatia’s society is heavily influenced in being predominately Roman Catholic and there is likely to be this (erroneous) assumption that a mother is a better parent. It strikes me that psychiatric evaluation should be done on both parents, preferably by professionals outside of the agency currently screwing this circumstance up so badly, and all those coming in contact with Gabriel, and a comprehensive environmental survey conducted to ensure that this boy has the stability and love that every child deserves to know.

In the name of God and all that is right and good, please, help!

Kindest regards,

Image

A representative of Udruga Dijete Razvod wrote back to me this morning –

Dear Ms Fritschi, 

We are all appalled by what is happening to that little boy and have talked to the father several times, in order to be Imagethere for him in the face of so much animosity from the system. Thank you very much for seeing the problem, for being compassionate and for sharing it in your e-mail. As you can see, I am also forwarding your e-mail to our Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, to our Ministry of Justice and to our Ministry of Internal Affairs hoping that something can be done to stop the whole terror over the young boy. Sorry to say, the Court in Karlovac does not have an e-mail address available. I also hope that at least somebody will feel some shame because people from far away places feel for our children what, it seems, we do not.

The boy has the stability and love he deserves, he is in no way endangered by living where he does, nobody really understands why bureaucracy insists despite the child’s will, which was not taken seriously into consideration in the process, despite the fact that Croatia is a member state to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention of the Execution of Children’s Rights.

I cannot tell you how sorry we all in the Association are for what is happening. 

Thank you for your support

Best regards

Asenka Kramer, prof.

and forwarded my communication above to the Ministry of Social Policy and Youth, the Ministry of Justice and to the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Croatia –

Poštovani,

Molimo da učinite sve što je u vašoj moći kako se ne bismo sramotili pred svijetom na način da primjenjujemo silu prema tri godine starom djetetu, iz bilo kojih razloga osim ako bi dijete bilo ugroženo, a svima je jasno da nije. Prosljeđujem Vam dopis iz daleke Škotske u kojem užasnuta gospođa Fritschi moli da se nešto učini. Mene je sram kad dobijem ovakve mailove.

S poštovanjem

Asenka Kramer, prof.

You can’t know this yet but bureaucrats are unlikely (in any culture) to do anything except protect their jobs, but I have hope.  I want you to know that my effort isn’t about shaming anyone, casting blame, or countering the public relations efforts of either of your parents.  This isn’t about which of your parents is right or wrong, who did what to whom, or why, this only about YOU.  I have hope that someone brave and wise and in a position of power will sit down with you in a nice smelling, non-threatening room and calmly ask you gentle questions to establish what you want and then, without prejudice, will make recommendations on your behalf – because that is what should have already happened and I don’t believe it is too late for things to be made right for you.

ImageI am sending you a Teddy Bear for Christmas.  I have asked Asenka Kramer to gift wrap it and get it to you so whenever you are scared, overwhelmed and need a friend to talk to he will be there for you.  Maybe you will name him for my friend, Marijan, who shared your story on Facebook (that social media platform ‘may not’ even exist when you are old enough to read this letter on your own) which prompted me to “get involved” – it doesn’t matter what you call him as long as you know your bear comes with unconditional love.  I hope you don’t mind, I am heading to church this afternoon to light a candle and to pray for you – rich blessings and God’s intervention to protect you and keep you safe dearest.

Yours, hugs and kisses –

Miss Teresa

The lexicon of tears

Without apology, I have as rich a lexicon for tears as the Inuit have for snow.

I mention this for three reasons – first, a man I am acquainted with posted this on one of his Facebook pages over the weekend. Secondly, my neighbor Kanika passed her road test yesterday and now has her drivers’ license for the first time (she is in her early 30s) – I was so proud of her (especially because she overcame a sleepless night of nerves, and has only been driving just over 2 weeks) that I welled up with tears over her success. With the knowledge that she leaves tomorrow to return to India for a visit of 4 months, and afterward (the plan is) for her to join her husband in California and their new life, her gift of a last session of Reiki to me brought a flood of tears at its conclusion. Impermanence is omnipotent and we rarely (humankind) truly honor and cherish what is good for as long as it graces our lives.  

020620-N-1110A-505Finally, a man I am growing to know made me cry tears based in an entirely new (or perhaps long forgotten) realm for me – being emotionally swamped by his transparency, beautiful intention and tenderness, and expressed desire to be present to wipe them away.  24 hours later I am still reeling and trying to process the scope of his words but, for now, I think I will focus on tears in general.

For tears, in all their many forms, have physiological benefit for our bodies, lubricating our eyes and provide psychological release from life’s uncertainty and suffering by ridding us of accumulated toxins in our bodies, drawing a loved one closer for comfort.

ImageIt would be a perfectly lovely, and loving, world if the types of tears which come as a result of stress, anger, sorrow, frustration, disappointment, betrayal, loss and grief, physical pain, anguish, and ridicule did not exist.  Until such a day, we can only do what we can to mitigate and expunge their causes in the micro of our lives and for those around us so that in the macro of our world comes closer to realizing the promise of Nirvana.

At the other end of the spectrum are tears acknowledging a blessing of some kind – an epiphany, knowledge, reverence, awe, a connection to the Divine, joy, tenderness, bearing witness to love, being in love, kindness, beauty, laughter, wonder, appreciation, a gift of incomprehensible emotional value, friendship, success, and something we forget all too often as we are wrapped up in our own daily dramas, either being the recipient of, or providing, acknowledgment.  real tears of joy

The tears I express most often are based in gratitude, and those that are generated from a white light ‘spinning’ in my solar plexus which I refer to as “getting the passions” are the heightened version of gratitude.  If you are witness to my tears (or anyone’s I suppose) understand that oftentimes these are manifestations of such powerful emotions that I simply cannot find words to convey what is in my head and heart exists in perfect balance – tears, then, are my language of love.

As Kanika leaves my physical presence without a doubt I know that I am better for our connection – for surely it is based in some previous lifetime as it has been so powerful for me.  And if they are blessed with children and I am so blessed with a future which holds promise of a deeper, romantic love than I can imagine possible I hope we will bear witness to the others’ joy in person.  Until then, tears of deep gratitude and those related to having to say goodbye to someone I have come to love. There will always be a place in my heart that is uniquely yours Kanika.

This final note – an addendum – offered this morning by the man who wishes to brush my tears (seemingly in all their various forms) away:  “All the tears finish one day in the sea.”

 

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Knowing love

ImageHistory’s greatest lovers have been ill-fated. Had they overcome circumstance, scheming relatives, scorned lovers, political intrigue, if the Moirae, the three furies, had shown greater favour would we even know the names of Tristan and Isolde, Abelard and Heloise, Mark Anthony and Cleopatra, Paris and Helen today?

Remember the Sandra Bullock/John Cusack movie Serendipity or Ms Bullock opposite Keanu Reeves in The Lake House with its lovely reference to Jane Austen’s Persuasion?  The ever perfect happy ending presented as Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Barrett overcome all in Ms Austen’s Pride and Prejudice? Even if some measure of palpable pain is on the menu, the promise of consummation outweighs the potential of immolation.

How do you know that it’s love? It doesn’t need to scream at you, or shouldn’t. It should ‘feel’ like a thick oversized cashmere sweater – soft, warm, comforting, and most of all, reliable.

Listen to your inner voice, that intuition that can almost guarantee that you are not about to make a stupid choice. Have the conviction to follow through as Ewan McGregor’s’ character Christian in Moulin Rouge sings Come What May. Live your life with intention, come-what-maypowerfully. It isn’t so different from simply getting through each day – it just has the exquisite possibilities of living without regret.  The principles applied to unleashing your 4 year-old self to the joy of splashing through a 5” deep rain puddle is the same for falling in love with someone – it’s about letting go.  Find the ability to feel the exquisiteness of a single moment and believe me you will know what is possible when it comes to loving.

Remember those Pepto-Bismol pink desk sets with the blue metal legs found in elementary schools during the sixties? I was in the 2nd grade and a boy named Paul put pink rose buds in the holes of my overturned chair for two weeks until Mrs Gumm put a stop to ‘the nonsense’.

The whirl of activity surrounding senior year of high school, yet, my ‘adopted’ twin nieces (the daughters of one of my dearest friends) Kate and Julia still make time to visit their grandfather at his extended-care facility.  Joe sometimes plays Bingo or Scrabble, often watches a Yankees game, and frequently falls asleep. But they go, willingly, to visit a couple of times each week.

There’s the kind of love a parent has for a child… dragging hoses out of the basement at 11 PM to flood the frozen woods glazing the ice to near mirror perfection, providing recipes to hotel chefs far away from home to ensure a grown daughter has her special birthday cake as she turns 29, sitting in the pouring rain for athletic activities and driving hundreds of miles to look at college campuses.

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I wonder how long they have been sitting on this bench. Sibenik, Croatia

Walk in Boston’s Public Gardens, Manhattan’s Central Park, along the narrow sidewalks of San Francisco’s Chinatown and you’ll see them still holding hands or her arm threaded through his as they walk, often with canes, still glowing, chattering away like tiny birds or not at all, enviable in companionable silence, these lovers in their eighties and nineties both a sort of shade of griege touched with sea foam reflecting a translucent pink unique to age. “Hold onto him darling, a good man is hard to find!” They smile, announce they’ve been married for some astonishing number of decades and he says, clearly still smitten as a school boy, “she the only girl I have ever loved.”

The knowledge of love is cellular isn’t it? We look in his/her eyes and the world spins, our heart clenches and unfolds in wonder and willingness to explore all life has to offer.  If we’re really lucky we mate, as swans do, for life and it’s long and deliriously happy – even when it’s as boring as watching paint dry.  My great uncle Eddie and his bride Wanda were like that. Married in 1928, together for nearly 75 years – he passing at 96, she within six months at 93. They exuded kindness and ease, provided a framework of unconditional love for one another, their daughters and their families, and all who knew them.  I can still hear her say, “Now Eddie”, taste her cheesecake, smell his greenish tinted cigars, feel the presence of their love though they have been dead since 2002.

Love cannot grow, flourish, sustain, nurture, set an example or comfort anyone else unless it exists within each of us as individuals. Self-esteem, the greatest form of human love, is the guarantor of the capacity to love others. We can rise from ashes like mythical phoenix with the presence of love. When we give it away, quietly and without need for adoration or acclaim, love multiples exponentially like spring bulbs, like cascading waters down the face of a mountain, like the visual confection presented as a flock of pink flamingos takes off in flight. It is beauty in every form imaginable. For most of us love will never be sweeping poetry delirious with adjectives – it’s much more likely to be formed with crayons, colored pencils and water soluble paint on a horizontal piece of 8 1/2 x 11” paper attached to the refrigerator.

There’s the physical love shared with longing and passion, tenderness and innate understanding which can result in perfectly synchronised, simultaneous climax. Once experienced makes you willing to go without – if even reluctantly – forever.

ImageLove isn’t either chocolate or vanilla – unless it’s homemade tapioca pudding, Crème brûlée, warm chocolate chip cookies with a glass of cold milk as you get home from school or molten chocolate cake oozing Belgian decadence across your tongue.  I know for certain that love is strawberry flavoured in the form of my Aunt Jeanne’s Jell-O salad with crushed pecans, pineapple, strawberries, bananas and a thick layer of sour cream.

The colour of love isn’t the deep throbbing of Valentine red but rather like the spectrum of light in reverse, pure white with the slightest tint of blue-y lavender. The full range of colour, of life, brought together in one perfect calming shade.

Dig a hole, work compost and topsoil together, plant a tree on the day you fall in love with the sound and smell of your baby’s first breath and a second one 12 feet apart on their first birthday. Twenty years later watch from the kitchen window as they lay in a hammock strung between the two trees which have marked their life, their arms around their first lover reading to them, the world slipping away on a Sunday afternoon.

I believe in 15 seconds. A kiss that includes kissing air – that electrically charged space between lovers before physical contact is made which is not dissimilar in effect on our sensibilities as the smell of ozone before rain.  People who settle for less than this level of a kiss are surely willing to settle for less in all the little and big things which make up the totality of our lives. Don’t settle. Ever.

Trudge over a hundred miles one way for weeks, and then months, on end to secure treatment for a cancer that is slowly destroying your husband and watch him slip from you in spite of all medicine and you can do for him to know the full extent of love.

ImageSit in a sacred sanctuary, regardless of your beliefs or who your Prophet might be, and recognise that love defines what it means when in stone is incised “to the glory of God”. If the love you feel is as much spiritual as visceral be truly grateful that any one of these types of love have graced your life.

If you love enough, they never leave you.

AllThatINeedbizcardartfront(Excerpted from my book, ‘all that i need, or live like a dog with its head stuck out the car window’ and the chapter of the same name. Follow the link to order.)

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