Tag Archives: life

We must go down to the sea.

In what seems like a very long time ago now, I ‘ran away to the sea’.

Clark Little The Inside of a Breaking Wave

Clark Little ~ The Inside of a Breaking Wave

It wasn’t something I had always dreamed of. I didn’t grow up in New England nor did we vacation there in my childhood, the lure wasn’t generated by something in my DNA or family history. Running toward the sea and all she held so enticing and healing happened in one of those odd confluences of events that start when people decide to divorce; a place where things are empty and vast and terrifying.

I didn’t find a therapist (even if I had the financial resources my attitude toward this remains ‘physician heal thyself’). I didn’t turn to the reckless consumption of alcohol or men or shopping – all of which seem a potentially dangerous cocktail when feeling overwhelmed and vulnerable. No, I learned to sail and it not only saved my sanity, but taught me skills and refined others I didn’t know I possessed. It expanded my fearlessness, maybe, sailing even saved my life. Running away to the sea came about for me because my ex-husband expressed wanting “someone ordinary” (his words) and for me that meant I somehow needed to prove that being “extraordinary” (at least to myself) would be ‘more than enough’. The path to this was illogical to everyone around me, and a point of contentious arguments with my parents with whom I happened to be living at the time. It was quite literally the biggest of long shots odds-wise on the planet (perhaps the whole galaxy) and I was going for it regardless of what anyone thought, suggested or declaimed as being ‘beyond my grasp’. Here’s the truth, those closest to us, and even those in our immediate sphere of influence, wish to keep us small because it makes them feel better about their lives. Do not listen. Your life is not about accommodating others, it is about filling your journey up so that at the end of it there is nothing left undone. No regrets. Ever.

me sailing

Me. Sailing on Lake Erie.

Learning to sail gave me enormous, focused calm. It gave me ink black skies devoid of light pollution but filled with shooting stars and the Milky Way as I navigated in darkness on Lake Erie. I pointed up the 33 foot (roughly 10 metres) Catalina I was being taught on – not with a compass, not with the tell tails but in closing my eyes and feeling the wind and adjusting accordingly. I scrubbed boat scum and reefed the main. I took the helm and winched until my arms ached. I was rail weight and hauled sheets. I stood in the bowsprit sighting race markers as we heeled at 15 degrees clinging to shrouds in breathless exhilaration and joy. I tacked and jibed my way through May, June, July and August, at least three times a week and in the process something magical happened – I found an exit strategy to the life everyone around me wanted me to live but that I had either outgrown or was wrongly born into.

Californian

The Californian

20150609_111701-5

The 1990/1991 crew and staff of the HMS Bounty, Captain John Rumsey holding the life ring, me, at right of it.

‘Randomly’ I met a captain. John Rumsey was certified to sail everything (and as is evident by this article he still does), all the way up to Super Tankers, and he told me that if I could sail on Lake Erie I could sail on any body of water – anywhere.  After five months of stomach lurching nerves each time the phone rang I became the Operations Manager for the HMS Bounty (not crew, but still having a dotted line reporting to John) then owned by Turner Broadcasting Systems in Atlanta, Georgia. The remarkable thing about having a job like this is the sailing world automatically assumes you are a world class yachtsman and you get invited to helm (or crew) boats like America’s Cup 12 metre yachts the Heart of America and Stars & Stripes, and 130 LOA, 130 gross tonnage replica of an 1847 revenue cutter owned by San Diego Maritime Museum called The Californian.

If you sail, if you love the sea, you understand its pull. And so, two things I must ask of you dear reader – rather I implore you to help.

Every two years something called the Transat650 is raced by a fleet of a mere 80 sailboats. These are 6.5 metres in length and sailed solo, without any technology save for a VHF radio for sb racingapproximately 30 days crossing the Atlantic leaving Douarnenez, France and finishing in Point-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. I have a Croatian friend (he’s the one closest to you in the picture at right) who aspires to do this in September of 2017. He, unlike I, has sailed his whole life. He is more than sufficiently competent to accomplish this, and as an extreme sportsman is physically fit and mentally acute enough to take on such a challenge. He has an @IndieGoGo campaign and has realised 48% of his funding goal with 22 days remaining is his campaign. I would like to ask you to donate $5 (of course you can give more, even line up a corporate Darksponsor for him! if you would like). Just because.

Just because you know that you would love to do this as a sailor and life has gotten in the way of doing so, or long ago you recognised your limitations and while still in love with the water and harnessing it a Dark & Stormy is the most tempest you wish to face. You will find Slobodan Velikic’s campaign here. His success is directly tied to my next ‘ask’ (but you will have to wait to find out what I mean by that late this summer). So, thank you for participating in this inspiring man’s timeless quest to test himself, to be in harmony with, and against, the vastness offered by the Atlantic.

My second favour costs you absolutely nothing but a couple moments of your time, and requires the same Internet connection you are already reading this blog post on. Some months ago I wrote a blog entitled “The only oil that goes with a Croatian bikini is olive” and as a result I now serve as the volunteer Chief Strategy Officer for the Clean Adriatic Sea Alliance, CASA. The lovely folks at Avaaz.org have made CASA part of a Survey Monkey campaign to secure a grant for $10,000 USD. All you have to do is vote for us (go here). We plan to dedicate the use of 11147571_10206454971563652_7846321981465329504_othe grant for our lobbying efforts to stop the proposed oil/gas drilling in the Adriatic Sea! Hopefully enough of you will do so and we will be able to expand our efforts to ensure that for future generations of Croatians (Italians, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Bosnians and Albanians) and vacationing tourists alike the Adriatic remains free of gas and oil platforms, tankers and pipelines and all of the horrific toxins and environmental hazards which accompany such. Thank you, in advance.

We never know exactly where we will be called to service as a result of something as random as going through a divorce. For myself, and my own journey to Ithaca, it took a couple of years (back in the 1990s) to move through the pain and to actually feel gratitude that my ex wanted someone ordinary. As I sit here today, writing this, I have the presence of mind to know I am exactly where I was always meant to be.

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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No expectations. Realising two, for less than one

The life philosophy that is so perfectly captured in an ancient Scots expression of “what’s meant for you will not pass you by” is how I have always chosen to live. Everything either is, or, it is not. NothingThere might be a desire but there is not expectation – expectations carry the potential for disappointment. No one likes disappointment. No, I would rather live in a place of delight when something wonderful happens than be disappointed by people, events or life itself. In such a mindset the glass always is at least 1/2 full, if it isn’t overflowing! Within this is also the deeply rooted principle that there is nothing that I have to have. Absolutely, NOTHING.

As a six year old child my beloved, adopted, Aunt Dorothy had a price tag on every single thing in her home (and in the log cabin behind it) – she had an antiques business. I recall being allowed to pick up luminescent carved jade Buddhas only to discover a (shocking amount) tag on the base. Such embeds in a child’s mindset that all possessions are transient and that we are only their temporary guardians – this carries you through life with a certain ease of not holding the bouquet of life too tightly about anything.  Of not trying to control or worrying, of rarely angering and not certainly screaming when I do, of living in each precious moment, of being able to let go of things (and sometimes people, and definitely jobs) rather than have resentment consume me. Doing this ensures that nothing becomes a burden, or impedes my personal journey toward enlightenment. In life there are many things that will ‘no longer serve’ and in releasing, while painful, is (eventually) liberating. That is not meant to read as being heartless but I truly (also) believe in the profound words of Ecclesiastes 3:1 as found in the 1967 song by The Byrds – to everything there is a season.

I love estate sales. I am sure the idea of poking through the possessions of the dead will creep some out, but for me (and quite of few like me) it is a source of unlimited potential of discovered (often inexpensive) material happiness. Last week my girlfriend Kanikaa and I went to two estate sales. Having over the course of the last year sold off ALL of my various chairs I wanted but one thing at the first one – the armchair frame in the French Louis XVI style (to cover – at least the front of it – in this totally DSCN9828wild 1940s vintage Chinese silk brocade that was once a long, full skirt).  Assuming I was lucky enough to get it, I had set a budget of $65 for it.  The chair frame was anomaly – the rest of the house was decidedly Mid-Century Modern. Even arriving by 7:30 AM for a sale that started at 9, Kanikaa and I wound up with temporary numbers 14 and 15. I believe in ‘putting it out there’ if there is something I would like to manifest. Thankfully I will talk to anyone. At 8:30 I approached the vehicle with the two women who had given out the temporary numbers with Kanikaa. It turns out that Arielle and Amanda have a shop, they had arrived at 5 AM to be the first two in the door, and they were only interested in Mid-Century Modern. Also thankfully they were more than happy to put a sold tag on the chair frame ‘for me’. You can imagine my delight, Chairswhen we were let in in the second group, to discover that it wasn’t simply one chair, but a matching pair! And, AND, each chair was priced at a mere TWENTY-DOLLARS! So, while I might have been delighted with one, to get a pair for less than what I had budgeted for one? WooHoo! would be putting it mildly. But here’s where it gets even better – ultimately the frames became FREE. How Etegereyou say? Within hours of arriving home I discovered that an étagère that I had listed on eBay would definitely sell – recovering of what I had spent on it in the first place after five years of enjoyment and a modest profit which completely covered the $43.20 expended on the chairs. 😀 These are not fine French antiques, rather they are vintage hardwood frames from a now defunct furniture company in Grand Rapids, Michigan – the original paper labels are on them – I don’t believe they have ever actually been upholstered.

My girlfriend Doris, who also spent many years with a bona fide antiques business, offered her congratulations and expressed “Sometimes I wonder about you and how everything always works out.” (For other examples of these minor victories over material things please see the posts Pursuit and An utterly incongruent story of six lamps.)

Kanikaa asked as we returned home – me flying higher than a kite with happiness – how I would have gotten to the sale if she hadn’t driven, and I said I wouldn’t. But, she said, but you wanted the chair. Yes, I replied, but there is absolutely nothing I have to have, and there will always be another chair. Still, I am thrilled with the gift of the universe saying yes – once again – and everything working out for me – without expectations. The bonus is the ridiculously happy memory shared with my girlfriend.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and do share it with your friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter – I am @TeresaFritschiTo order my book, please click on the cover art of my book ‘all that I need, or live life like a dog with its head stuck out the car window’ below, thank you! 

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Olive oil, living wills and Martini’s

Yesterday I was been blessed with truly one of the most extraordinary days of sublime perfection a human being has a right to experience.

The journey of our lives is interactive,  there are segments of time in which we need to exist in a state of letting things unfold and others when the journey demands a willingness to ‘set things seget vranjicain motion’ and to embrace the consequences. Well, three days ago I finally booked my plane ticket to Croatia.  I will spend three months from November to February working (and hopefully writing in completion) the first draft of my second book in Seget Vranjica. I am ridiculously happy, but, I admit, I am scared senseless at the “OMG, WHAT HAVE I DONE?”, and honestly, as a writer, ‘just where is the money going to come from to support this folly?’ aspect of this. (As I write this my heart is pounding so loudly I am sure that it can be heard in my neighbors’ apartment above me.)

My neighbor Andrea lives (as many 20-somethings do) in a minimally furnished apartment whereas I have stuff; admittedly less stuff than in nearly 15 years as I have been culling my possessions for over a year now but still.  We have worked out (between us, not with our landlord as yet) that she’ll continue to pay her rent but give up her studio and migrate upstairs while I am out of the country and live with my things and I will pick up the difference, plus electricity.  She gets a “home” and saves a tiny bit of money, I have peace of mind – everyone wins.

Yesterday morning I awoke to messages from three men from OKCupid – two Croatians, ages 24 and 34 (the latter also charmingly “tucked me in” with wishes for a restful sleep), and one Italian age 44. The first two gentlemen sharing that my soul spoke to them through my pictures and words (at least one has gone on to read some of my blog posts) and the Italian is willing to travel more than 6 ½ hours by car simply to share dinner, dessert and conversation in English with me. I don’t care how young or old you are but as a woman who will turn 54 in February can I just say there is NO FINER WAY to start your day!

POutine

@lepetitpoutine

Andrea and I went to the Farmer’s Market about 10 AM. I had hoped to introduce her to my terribly smart, physically gorgeous, ridiculously tall, green eyed goat cheese maker and shepherd friend Max (sadly we got his engaged to be married brother instead) but I bought eggs, apples, the last of the seasons’ tomatoes, some shallots, oh yes, and Cotton Candy (spun sugar, candy floss) made out of Maple Syrup sugar. In the midst of this I quite literally picked up an apple from under a tree on the grounds of the high school and ate it on the spot – the taste of cold tart sunshine spilling forth made me so happy my eyes filled with tears of gratitude to BE “THIS” ALIVE.  In this pocket of sublime perfection of beautiful, organic food, happy children, dogs out with their owners, blue skies, cold air,  sparkling light, and Andrea’s “life altering” experience of eating Lizzie’s Le Petit Poutine for the first time the suggestion spilled forth from me (before 11 AM) to go to my favorite local restaurant The Revelry and have a Martini (not “normal” behavior). The bartenders hug and kiss me, the co-owners’ sister the same. I am NOT in the league of Dorothy Parker or Hemingway yet they all know I write and celebrate this. Zach (leading man of the dominion of exquisite libation) Hemingwaycommented this afternoon that Hemingway wound up drinking in Cuba because it was cheaper than doing so in the United States; he also paid me a supreme compliment that a year ago I might not have received as such – seemingly I am a “bad ass bitch” because he views me as being smart and wise and confident.  Zach also immediately noticed and commented on my “lightness” – I suppose such is the result of having booked the plane ticket to an uncharted, yet what will surely be an epic adventure. As we all know magic happens in “the void”. The status quo destroys everything worthy in life except the surety that tomorrow will be as today whereas magic happens in the place where we are most uncertain, where anything can happen, where we are stretched beyond our comfort zone.

“Let life carry you. There is nothing to understand, life just happens. Allow thoughts and feelings to pass through you – not be a part of you. Life is unfolding perfectly.”

The last four weeks of opportunities and utter failures in my judgment (including receipt of a marriage proposal for a Green Card and cash) have taught me one thing – most people have ulterior motives and their transference can wreck even the most perfectly idealized ambitions to leave the world a better place. I won’t belabor the two points that clearly fostered ‘the leap’ as I treat them as catalysts to get to my more authentic place and not regret for what might be lost as a result of my intolerance for varying degrees of stupid.

I made Andrea cry over the first Martini (there wound up being two each). Tears of (I think) being flattered to be asked to be a witness to my need to have a living will (on the off chance Olive oilthat I needed to be repatriated for medical reasons) and then of laughter as my segue was of trying to scheme a bottle of this seasons’ freshly pressed olive oil from the harvest my friend Marijan will have helped to bring in before he leaves for two months in Germany.  Aren’t Martini’s truly amazing things?

I know that ‘the magic’ is happening because risk is proportional to reward. Remember and embrace this – there are no such things as coincidences, but you MUST decide that everything becomes as it should be when we trust ourselves and our capabilities and leap into the void.

Go. Live. Fully.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via PayPal via 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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Journeying to your own Ithaca

There is nothing greater, more humbling, than to be truly seen and to have someone bestow the blessings of a long journey upon you ‘to Ithaca’. (And yes, I cried tears of gratitude as I was gifted with the video embedded below.)

How fragile our hold on living and life that we often neglect the supreme beauty of self found along the twists and turns of roads unknown and in navigating seas that awash decks with spray and waves which threaten to swamp us; these travels that make us more of who we are at our most essential until we arrive home. Buddha’s words resound throughout Homer’s The Odyssey and certainly are found in the ‘modern’ Greek poet Konstantinos Kavafis (1863-1933) both “What we Odysseus-Sirensthink, we become” and “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” As my girlfriend Deborah so clearly understands my character, I dwell in the sensual and I fail to consider that there might be a Cyclops intent upon destroying me on my journey (so none appear).

And so, where you stand today, allow me to ‘pay it forward’ and share Kavafis’ (aka C.P. Cavafy’s) Ithaca words so eloquently read by Sir Sean Connery. That is all.

P.S. I received a message from a lovely (unknown) man from OKCupid who lives in Thessaloníki, Greece this morning. He graciously sent Ithaca, Ithaki, as read by a well regarded (and I believe deceased) actress which in the interest of authenticity I feel compelled to offer. I don’t know his name just his avatar but, thank you NnTt22.

Ithaca
When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.

Kastelli Hill

Kastelli Hill, Atheras Bay, Cephalonia, Greece

The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

odysseus

Map of The Odyssey

Ιθάκη
Σα βγεις στον πηγαιμό για την Ιθάκη,
να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος,
γεμάτος περιπέτειες, γεμάτος γνώσεις.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον θυμωμένο Ποσειδώνα μη φοβάσαι,
τέτοια στον δρόμο σου ποτέ σου δεν θα βρείς,
αν μέν’ η σκέψις σου υψηλή, αν εκλεκτή
συγκίνησις το πνεύμα και το σώμα σου αγγίζει.
Τους Λαιστρυγόνας και τους Κύκλωπας,
τον άγριο Ποσειδώνα δεν θα συναντήσεις,
αν δεν τους κουβανείς μες στην ψυχή σου,
αν η ψυχή σου δεν τους στήνει εμπρός σου.

Να εύχεσαι νάναι μακρύς ο δρόμος.
Πολλά τα καλοκαιρινά πρωϊά να είναι
που με τι ευχαρίστησι, με τι χαρά
θα μπαίνεις σε λιμένας πρωτοειδωμένους·
να σταματήσεις σ’ εμπορεία Φοινικικά,
και τες καλές πραγμάτειες ν’ αποκτήσεις,
σεντέφια και κοράλλια, κεχριμπάρια κ’ έβενους,
και ηδονικά μυρωδικά κάθε λογής,
όσο μπορείς πιο άφθονα ηδονικά μυρωδικά·
σε πόλεις Αιγυπτιακές πολλές να πας,
να μάθεις και να μάθεις απ’ τους σπουδασμένους.

Πάντα στον νου σου νάχεις την Ιθάκη.
Το φθάσιμον εκεί είν’ ο προορισμός σου.
Αλλά μη βιάζεις το ταξίδι διόλου.
Καλλίτερα χρόνια πολλά να διαρκέσει·
και γέρος πια ν’ αράξεις στο νησί,
πλούσιος με όσα κέρδισες στον δρόμο,
μη προσδοκώντας πλούτη να σε δώσει η Ιθάκη.

Η Ιθάκη σ’ έδωσε το ωραίο ταξίδι.
Χωρίς αυτήν δεν θάβγαινες στον δρόμο.
Αλλο δεν έχει να σε δώσει πια.

Κι αν πτωχική την βρεις, η Ιθάκη δεν σε γέλασε.
Ετσι σοφός που έγινες, με τόση πείρα,
ήδη θα το κατάλαβες η Ιθάκες τι σημαίνουν.

Κωνσταντίνος Π. Καβάφης (1911)

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! 
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Living in Holocene – Days Like These

“The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”                                                 ~ Psalms 90:10 King James Bible, Cambridge Edition

Hennaed hands, a mass of humanity – utterly naked adorned but in red dye as a piece of performance art by Spencer Tunick, mudder races, the exhilaration of the Hindu festival of Holi (Festival of Colours) – even when things appear the same, they are so very different; hennaalmost imperceptible subtleties, we are all united in the common human experience. Our joys and happiness have depth and shallowness, clarity, lingering as memories, captured in images, put in frames, or as a ‘picture memory’ indelible to ravages of time; the passage of each day a special gift to appreciate, or squander, life happens, even if you choose to be observant you are magically, exquisitely, ‘in it’.

I walked to meet a girlfriend and her fiancé this afternoon, shared a Magic Hat beer called Séance – the darkest carbonated alcoholic beverage I have ever consumed (it was delicious) – watched the tiniest bit of the (American) football game, the pretext to get together so I could hear her wedding plans, see “the ring” and then walked the mile plus back home. On my return there were nine, nearly identical, small radio operated model yacht raced a course around five buoys in the pond of the park, the breeze lifted as I sat at the picnic table wet with remnants of the mornings’ heavy rain, darkening grey moved quickly across the sky and I thought of Tunick’s installation art as it had been shared via Facebook earlier in the day. I had, in turn, shared and responded:

“I think this is less about holieach person finding their niche as it is THE PERFECT representation of how we are all joined by our common existence, made of precisely the same “stuff” with minor outward physical difference (in this performance art by Spencer Tunick – he has negated even those differences to the extent possible – exquisitely leveling us in our humanity)! BREATHTAKING, thank you for sharing – I feel inspired to play with more words as result. ox, Te”

I thought of Tunick’s vision again as I was just about to clear the park, we’ve had snow (albeit a very small amount) in the city in which I live and, yet, here was an apple tree still holding all of its fruit – small green apples (yes, I filled my purse to nearly overflowing with them) – tunickagain, common in their experience and nearly identical in appearance. How many people had even noticed the tree? You can be certain that plenty of people driving their cars took notice of a woman in a skirt picking these apples! The Holocene, in geological terms, commenced with the gradual warming of the earth, within it is all the written history of the human species and places (“urban”) that have been continuously inhabited for nearly 12,000 years. We don’t think of our four score and ten in our youth, perhaps not even as our middling years encroach on our passions, but the underlying messages of the songs embedded in this post (thank you Bon Iver and Die Toten Hosen) which I have united to form the title of this post, for me, amplify and echo our lives  – spent in community and in solitude.

Necessary to our health, we must celebrate, make time for now so we have a long view of miles and miles and miles to recognise with contented sighs at the end of our days…

Marijan, thank you for ‘starting some of my sentences’ for me!

If you enjoy my blog please consider “buying me a cup of tea” in your currency to me via PayPal to livelikeadog@gmail.com and please 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! 

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Dearly Beloved We Are Gathered Here Today – a love letter to Boston

mateDearly Beloved,

The vows we make to love, honour and cherish are often thought of as the point of commitment following a courtship, sometimes – without realizing how or why – we make a commitment long before we even meet the love of our life.  This love embraces us, carries our burdens when we are weak, makes us stronger, gives and receives, become intrinsic to our psyche, this love becomes ‘home’ in every sense.

Me, age 17, September 1978, senior year picture

Me, age 17, September 1978, senior year picture

At the beginning of our senior years in high school (at least in the United States) we are asked to not only synopsize four years (including a school year not yet ‘lived’) but also to frame our dreams and life goals and it’s not lost on me that my personal summary read:

DSCN9825

First, please note, I had never traveled to Boston as a child, I didn’t have relatives that lived there, no personal reference point to have expressed this life goal. In fact my first sighting of the Boston skyline was via the Mass Pike as a 23 year-old newlywed bride when we stayed with a friend in Newton en route to Portsmouth, New Hampshire where my husband had a job interview. In 1998, divorced with my former husband’s words echoing in my ears “I am keeping you from being everything you are capable of becoming”, my new tech employer gave me the option of working out of the headquarters at 55 Broad Street in New York City or the ‘geek center’ off of Alewife Brook Parkway in Cambridge; the location was a no brainer as I actually loathe how NYC drains me energetically, and because I have long been a proud member of Red Sox Nation – this was my rebellion against my hockey-loving father who “would rather watch paint dry” than baseball – I was Boston bound!

Map copyright and more info at: www.emeraldnecklace.org

Map copyright and more info at: http://www.emeraldnecklace.org

Boston. And surrounds. Separate but entwined, each better because of the unique characteristics of the other, a rich tapestry, a complex piece of music, a gorgeous piece of art, red brick and puddingstone, slate sidewalks and iron fences, arcing spans to walk across in the ‘Emerald Necklace’ or on “The” Charles – oh, my ‘self’ and my love. charles

For a decade I lived with you, was defined, made whole and existed as the best person I have ever been intellectually.  I (inadvertently) found sanctuary in Emmanuel Episcopal with its exquisite music and thoughtful, inclusive and very progressive community, every week you offered up lectures about things I didn’t know I needed to know at the Boston Public Library, Harvard, MIT, the Theosophical Society and Swedenborg Chapel and chamber concerts with BEMF and Boston Philharmonic, at Sanders Theatre, Jordan Hall, and the acoustically perfect Medieval courtyard of the Fogg.  I was left breathless and renewed swimming in Cape Ann’s icy coastal waters as well as inspired by the collections at the MFA, Peabody Essex, the Sackler, Fogg (which with the Busch-Reisinger will reopen this fall as one museum as designed by Renzo Piano) and the Isabella Stewart Gardner  Boston, my beloved, you gave me life as if I had crossed the driest desert to find an palm oasis with a single cup hanging from an ancient hand-wrought chain affixed to a stone surround protecting an artesian spring of pure water from which to drink without abatement. Sustenance. Oh Boston, thank you.

Photo by Raymond Britt

Photo by Raymond Britt

I have been back and forth since 2002 when life forced me away from you and all you give. And when, last year this time, two young men who you also embraced betrayed you and then set out to destroy all of your beauty and turn you and your surrounds into a war zone my heart twisted in wretched agony and I cried copious and unrelenting tears. Oh, my love, oh, my dear Boston.

A serendipitous gift brought me back to you this weekend, and what I carried now as part of my being was renewed in your energy in places as familiar to me as the shape of my own lips which I used to metaphorically kiss you with tender spoken memories created together and to express endearments held tightly in my heart but always shed in tears of gratitude to be back with you if only fleetingly.

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Boston Public Garden

As I walked with my best girlfriend (whose wanderlust made this re-connection possible) through my former ‘front yard’ of Boston Public Gardens (explaining what she was seeing and my history laid against the backdrop) the memories of a decade of pink confetti falling from your 100 plus year old cherry trees fell through my mind as if I were inside a snow globe, in this moment of transcendence the scar tissue ruptured.  Not a helicopter heading for Mass General but most clearly a surveillance one broke the rapture, and then another helicopter two minutes later – I was undone.  Our hearts are resilient, our psyche’s mend, but still scar tissue reminds us that to love sometimes means that we will also be hurt, and that when our beloved is hurt it scars us as well.

I came home to you dear Boston for the purpose of sharing you with someone who needs your love as I once did and in incremental steps from Brookline to the Back Bay, to Longwood and the Fenway to Cape Ann and back to Cambridge to Beacon Hill – you did exactly what I hoped you would, you embraced, and nurtured and sustained with the deep refreshment of your very existence. Thank you my beloved, but you had one more gift – for me, thank you. You reminded me that home is not where you live, or where you were born, it’s not the objects which surround you no, truly, ‘home’ is where the heart is.  We carry ‘home’ around with us and breathe it in like an asana and Boston you have been my home longer than you know.  On this trip, at every intersection of my old life with my current one, you seemed to anoint me with blessings. Against your refined beauty you also brought me (utterly incongruent) Croatian messages, making it clear that my new lover whose spine curves along the Adriatic languidly awaits, ready to embrace me.

I will always love you, my darling Boston, I will miss you but you will always be my hearts’ home.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency via livelikeadog@gmail.com through PayPal, 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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Hack ~ innovation to global happiness

To hack used to be something I did ‘to be useful’ out in the “back forty” with one of these – you swing it back and forth thus ‘hacking’ the weeds down to something more manageable for a mower unit on a tractor to cover, or to till the earth without having all the seed heads getting into Imagethe dirt and creating even more work in the long run.

Hacking hasn’t been that for me for a very long time, primarily because in the early 1990s I landed a MarComm Manager role at a tech company spun out of the IBM, MCI and Merit called, then, ANS CORE Systems, Inc., shortly thereafter, changed to ANS Communications.  At that point, amidst towers, air conditioned closets, vast pyramids of empty cans of Mountain Dew and Coca-Cola, my awareness of hacking shifted dramatically; hacking became something our team of programmers protected our Fortune 500 client base from happening to their information systems with firewall and VPDN solutions.  Each and every one of my colleagues possessed the technical skills capable of breaking into, rather than protecting, IT systems but each had the moral compass to ‘do no harm’.  They were (and continue to be) innovators – way ahead of the technology curve that most of us deal with on a daily basis and obsessed with achieving perfection in code – my job was to shine a spotlight on the product suite they developed and have it gain adoption with our core audiences.

The general public is a bit more aware of hacking today – security breaches abound from crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, to Forbes and Neiman Marcus – it’s generally a rather nefarious association to hack something.  But thankfully hacking is emerging from doing “a hack job” to something about fostering positive disruption of a less-than-ideal status quo by applying the creativity inherent to each and every one of us.

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To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

 — Albert Einstein

Several months ago I sat enraptured watching Logan LaPlante’s TEDx presentation on hacking his education – I am not a mom, but had I been such I would so want to create an environment for learning and living life for my kids as his parents clearly have.  At the end of the day it is Logan doing the heavy lifting on his life with a maturity that far too many of us (insert any nationality) do not possess. Self awareness, discipline, creativity and curiosity drive him (as much as his love of skiing on fresh powder).  The seminal article by Dr Roger Walsh referenced by Logan encompasses eight building blocks of a happy and healthy life and are referred to as Therapeutic Lifestyles Changes (TLCs) and I can’t help but wonder why (like Logan) this path to living has not become more mainstream – well, in fact I do know why, as do most of us.

The paradigm of happiness is treated like a Holy Grail instead of something common to our experience and when our reality fails to ‘live up to’ the perception drilled into our psyche by the media we chose ‘medication’ (pills, alcohol or on the psychiatrists’ sofa) rather than stepping into the void. The core outcome of hacking is innovation ~ seeing the possibility of doing something easier, with greater style or more efficiently, fostering positive impact for ourselves and the world around us all of which exist at the core of social responsibility.

ImageThere are hundreds of thousands of ‘hackers’ whose efforts have produced totally cool end results, but I want to share two extremes of creative thinking with you that I believe have real possibilities of fostering paradigm shifts in many of our lives.  Though I don’t personally know any of these people the term lifehack comes immediately to mind when I think of Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin of the Swedish firm Hövding who have created a cyclists dream come true – a bike helmet that is essentially a personal airbag, and the disruptive microfinance and financial inclusion technology model created by the Croatian firm Oradian‘s co-founders Antonio Separovic, Andrew Mainhart, Julian Oehrlein and Onyeka Adibeli.  I think it is a reasonable assumption to write that their quality of life is enhanced because each recognised in themselves creativity begging for outlet and then, as a fundamental principle of their businesses, they engaged in work that both stimulates them and which also incorporates ‘service to others’.  

Yes, I realise that my perception of any of these, and thousands of others, individuals might be skewed toward something larger than reality but in believing such perhaps the resonance of innovationpositive carries forward to inspire more creativity, catalysing innovation and fostering change.

As the Buddha is credited with saying, “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become.”

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

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