Tag Archives: lovers

Croatia, my love, if need be I will walk back to you.

– Last year at about this time I wrote the post entitled A Thousand Years, when love isn’t a smaltz-y commercial event it’s still valid (I invite you re-read it or read it if you haven’t already).  Last week National Public Radio (NPR) in the United States asked its listeners to nominate love songs in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. The resulting list is impressive, filled with happiness and a variety of the kinds of love that cross our lives. But Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” sounds like I feel right now.

croatia88 days in Croatia. Standing on the wet tarmac in Split, waiting to board the plane that would take me first to Munich and then back to my other reality in the United States, the skies were grey and the fierce overnight rain had diminished to what would be called dreich in Scotland. I love that word dreich, I felt it and the sound of it resonated into the marrow of my bones even though I only thought it.  My throat clenched, my eyes filled with tears – I have fallen in love with a country, again. I have fallen in love with people, rather a population whose collective kindness, hospitality, generosity and understanding of what is truly important felt more authentic and organic to me than in any country I have ever traveled and certainly more than where I was born and currently live.  I walked upon sidewalks of pure white stone smoothed to a fine polish from 2000 years of footfalls that ‘spoke’ to the soles of my bare feet as I walked with a man in the same rain the day before I left.  I laughed more frequently (at myself and life) in those days than at any time I can remember, I cried tears of gratitude and humility just as often. I listened (rather than heard) church bells echo across urban and rural landscapes.  I knelt in churches (which didn’t fall down) to pray for dead I never knew from a war whose scars can be seen everywhere. I spent nearly three months becoming more of who I am than I have ever been – a striking revelation on the eve of a birthday in numbers that in most previous eras would have been considered old age.  I met a wonderful dog, named Medo (honey bear), who helped to heal a part of my heart that I didn’t Medoknow was in need of mending and in the process earned his trust and protection simply by brushing him, sometimes multiple times in a single day, for three weeks. I wasn’t running from anything, and it turned out I wasn’t running toward someone.  I found a home in the truest sense, a piece of Earth where humans have lived for 12,000 (or more) years. I became part of the Dalmatian phenomenon of pomalo. For someone whose family drama was about learning self-reliance, out of necessity I found (in not speaking the language) that I needed to rely upon complete strangers for survival and, I grew.

I wrote a blog post at the end of December which suddenly this week, evidently because Jupiter the planet of luck and expansion was rising in my Aquarius birth sign and despite Mercury being in retrograde meant that communication was heightened, went viral earning more than 110,000 unique readers in two and a half days.  While friends said OWN THIS, I was (I remain) humbled, I am just the messenger for the Adriatic – it’s she that rightfully stands in the spotlight. Over the last three weeks, from a wide range of people, I have been called to leadership which I shun unless I can be ‘in service’. Sharing lunch with a man that read my blog post about the Croatian bikini I was told that I was “Mediterranean but didn’t realise it” – as fine a compliment as I have ever received. The men who variously waited on me in Split’s hot chocolateLuxor and Bajamonti cafes smiled in recognition, touched my arm in fondness as I would take my leave, and yes, told me lies about the weather in the United States in an attempt to keep me in Croatia. People gave me lettuce, flour and millet, and homemade wine. The old women in the marketplaces dressed in black, smiled, made small gifts of Clementines or lemons with my purchases of dark, fantastic Pršut and pale gold Linden honey and almost always hugged me hello and goodbye.  As a huggie person this surprised and delighted me given the three feet of personal space demanded in the United States.

Being away from my apartment for three months meant the cupboards and refrigerator had a lot in common with Old Mother Hubbard’s, so six days after returning I finally went to the grocery store, and wept over pears. Not because they were beautiful, they are, they are perfect – too perfect. I shed tears over these pears because I didn’t know who I was buying them from, the people behind the pears, I was disconnected from the person selling them to me as well as the person who grew them and it felt like I had been abandoned.  I have been back in the United States a week and the scene in my local Wegmans was not about the pears so much as the experience of any traveler. When we have thoroughly immersed ourselves in another culture we are never the same, we can’t go home again. Not really.

The DanceMy dear (never met in person) girlfriend Jocelyne has an uncanny sense of what will touch my soul posted a picture on my Facebook wall this morning. It is a painting by a Greek man named Antonis Kalantzis called La danza, Quint Buchholz. I see the woman I wish to be in the centre of this composition, held in the arms of her lover dancing the Argentine Tango in a snowdrift. A fleeting moment of human connection and restrained desire, something ordinary and extraordinary, a rendezvous realised by riding in on a white horse for one, and a yellow bicycle for the other. So close to Valentine’s Day it’s easy to think about romantic love, wanting it if we don’t have it, cherishing it if we do. I have no regrets about my requited love with Croatia, anytime we fall in love it is a gift we give ourselves. While mountains of snow pile up around myself and my fellow Americans from Minnesota to Maine the ‘things that matter’ that touched my being keep me warm now – at a distance of 4400 miles.

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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What lovers do

“White Lace” – Jeremy Mann, oil on panel

I have been lending a new girlfriend here in Croatia the collection of books about love, famous lovers, courtesans, geisha, and, of course, seducers I brought here as reference materials for my second book. She is engaged to marry a lovely Dalmatian man in his mid-fifties. Evidently the content, shared, is producing some much appreciated surprises, (for both of them), in the bedroom; exchanged words have always been powerful aphrodisiacs. I hope all my writing efforts have the same net effect on all its future readers.

I don’t think romance is necessarily about seduction, I believe romance is about bringing ourselves and our partner delight; a heightened state of anticipation of mutual pleasure.  Small things not grand expressions – just as it is the small things that build up unchecked will also destroy love. When? why? did we stop being ‘romantic’?

“It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”                                                        ― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

1770 Billet DouxI recently discovered Billet Doux because of Musetouch on Facebook and I do not mean the French lingerie company nor from the “1670s, “love letter,” French, literally “sweet note,” from billet “document, note” (14c., diminutive of bille; see bill (n.1)) + doux “sweet,”. Rather the small exquisite masterpieces of handwork used to transport the letters which lovers used to write to one another. I am charmed. At some point, the right man, will understand that his words tucked into one of these would make me swoon more effectively than any diamond worth a hundred times what the average price of these archaic treasures sell for.  Let us consider, for a moment, the circumstance of receiving such in an age before telephone, television, the Internet and all of the immediacy offered to lovers today… the anticipation of waiting for words, the promise of reuniting or escape to be carried by a courier (a stage coach or private hired rider) or, even left at a point of rendezvous frequented by lovers and unknown to others. A touch point of words, scrawled upon a small piece of paper with a fountain pen – or quill, perhaps scented, sanded, sealed and rolled into the carrying tube represented by the billet doux – private words, words that excite. Franz Liszt (1811-1886) sent Europe ablaze with his love letters – to a great many women – but, for example, I think none finer of precise use of language (as well as his music) to create longing and desire, to mark his lovers’ heart as his own (for however long or short).

Thursday morning 1834

My heart overflows with emotion and joy! I do not know what heavenly languor, what infinite pleasure permeates it and burns me up. It is as if I had never loved!!! Tell me whence these uncanny disturbances spring, these inexpressible foretastes  of delight, these divine, tremors of love. […]

This is to be — to be!
ink
Marie! Marie!

Oh let me repeat that name a hundred times, a thousand times over; for three days now it has lived within me, oppressed me, set me afire. I am not writing to you, no, I am close beside you. I see you, I hear you. Eternity in your arms… Heaven, Hell, everything, all is within you, redoubled… Oh! Leave me free to rave in my delirium. Drab, tame, constricting reality is no longer enough for me. We must live our lives to the full, loving and suffering to extremes!…

Franz

One does not ‘need’ a billet doux to make your lovers’ heart race – one needs to actively contemplate the path to ‘un-doing’. None of us could actually use language like this today and be taken seriously. But the intent, the intent is something anyone can put into action.

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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Unconditional love, be part of the stars

Sometimes writing feels like a moral imperative. It wakes you in the middle of the night. Beckons you from sleep, and your dreams, to rise, dress and pull a ‘blank sheet of paper’ from vibrational energyyour computer and capture the ephemeral. I am in that state now. You could argue this makes no sense – couldn’t it wait until the morning? Technically it is morning, it’s 2AM as I start this. I was soundly, peacefully asleep after two nights of dousing rains, lightning and thunder; the unique acoustics of the Adriatic and the surrounding islands and mainland of this peninsula of Croatia where I am living terrorizing me and playing my vibrational energy like a drumbeat. Everything has a reason.

With the differences in time zones between where I am, and where I am from, there is a duality to my existence at present – frustrating though it might be at times. To date I realise that I am neither fully here emotionally and spiritually, nor am I physically there. Resolution, I think, of this conflict inexplicably came at 1:35 AM in ‘just for a moment’ turning on my phone to check messages and Facebook in the place I left behind. Two things stood out in my newsfeed. First my friend Amy’s quoting Wayne Dyer:

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.”

I won’t even comment but leave you to consider how frequently our egos get in the way of truly understanding the full spectrum of information and interactions with other people we encounter each day.

The second was a blog posting, the blog being used by its author, Don Shapiro, to frame his forthcoming book entitled Life Is a Fork in The Road. There’s a lot to take away from this piece I ‘woke to’ and might have missed (had I not done as bidden) as I do not stalk my friends online presence. I highly encourage not only a thorough read but for you to bookmark the page and come back to it because what Shapiro writes of, unconditional love, is important to everyone.

“True unconditional love is not a choice.”

Shapiro’s story is one I have lived – the one “released” and the one releasing. My love remains unconditional for both men. I know the truth of this writing and the bitter-sweetness of knowing that these loves (and all our human life connections) are impermanent. Here’s something else I just realised in the middle of the night – both men have been ‘body guards’ to me. They have protected my physical being as well as my energetic one. Their connection to me, and mine to them, allows me (still) to ascend to my fullest potential. You MUST release attachments, you must grieve, but the truest path to our own heightened soul comes from embracing the gift of love as it touches us and as we gift it. Over, and over, and over again I am monsieur-ibrahimreminded of the charming French film starring Omar Sharif as Monsieur Ibrahim (from the French play Mr. Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Koran written by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt) and Pierre Boulanger; not the least is the life lesson Sharif’s character imparts to his protégé played by Boulanger about the value of loving being a gift you give yourself whether or not the other person accepts that love. Our vibrational energy must be higher than our ego, our being must at least attempt to attain awareness beyond our physical wants so that we elevate in the state of loving – in spite of pain, in spite of human desire – that is unconditional.

Convegno by Antonio Ambrogio Alciati, 1918

And when, by the mere chance that the universe conspires to provide a connection so powerful energetically between yourself and another that you would travel to the ends of the Earth to test the connection, the reality of it, physically then you must also do this. You must explore and define the ‘star crossed’ aspect of such energy, take and give to it liberally and with every fiber of your being and then gift it back. Treasure what remains.  As human beings it is all too easy to cling desperately to the idea that we can alter the predestination of certain elements of our lives. We (as I am most likely to express) “hold the bouquet of flowers too tightly” and it withers and dies as result. To ‘love’ in such an environment is not love, it is fear. Love cannot flourish in the space where fear reigns. Love, the highest form, the universal love from which we are created, which we will return to when our physical being is no longer capable of sustaining (or containing) our souls, needs room – lots of it. When you connect energetically to another human being their presence in the same room isn’t necessary – although it is preferable from a human desire perspective to be sure. Our energetic connections are something truly magical. They transcend our limited physical existence and allow us, if only briefly, to reconnect with something higher than either party involved. We can give and receive pleasure as if the person were in the same room with us, even before we ever experience meeting them. And when we release, or are released, that universal love is part of us, it never dies, it goes on and on without the physical connection. It can nourish and sustain us, as well as provide for the other when you remain attuned to them.

Be part of the stars. Love as one ever-expanding cosmic force and do so without hesitation, light withinwithout encumbrance or tether, oh, do love unconditionally.
Namaste.

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 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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Eh gads, I am a Feminist?

I very clearly recall a conversation between my parents at the dinner table in the late 60s or very early 70s. My brother and I were in school all day at this point, and while my mother mandingohad an expansive vegetable garden to tend, and read novels like, oh gawd, Mandingo (I remember sneaking a page and being mortified of the vivid description of a rather endowed man’s anatomy), she also sewed, baked and cooked, but she wanted to get a little part time job at the local pharmacy as a cashier, to have her own money and get out of the house. My father told her in no uncertain terms that if she went to work “it will put us into a different tax bracket” and that was the end of the discussion.  (Lord knows she’s never expressed her opinions to his face in 54 years of marriage. )

It’s notable that my father’s favorite TV show of this time was All in the Family, the parody of a ultra-bigoted, racist and sexist man, a man all too literally sitting at my kitchen table each evening. It pains my heart that, as so archiemany of you reading this will attest, the telling line of the theme song “guys like us we had it made” reflecting a nostalgia for a different time when women stayed home (like my mother) is still with us and our collective humanity. And “angry old white guys” are making things difficult and ugly for so many because the world as they would like it to be doesn’t exist – exerting excessive control, spouting abhorrent rhetoric, always seems to escalate when this segment of society feels threatened. (My father peeled rubber down the driveway throwing gravel, stormed out of rooms with the toss of his chair, or gave you ‘the look’ whenever he was challenged or somehow something anyone else knew and expressed was contrary to his closely held view.)

Growing up in a childhood environment such as this, and with all the ills that remain for women to fight against even to this day, how is it that I have not actively and passionately embrace this moniker until recently?

I mean at 12 I was having a conversation about Roe v Wade with my priest and I have struggled against the barriers to equal pay throughout adulthood, the mere idea of human trafficking makes me quiver with angerHumanTraffickingMythbusterPOSTER, and yet it took a social media chat with a man of Latin heritage who can claim serious credibility in “enlightenment” to push me over the edge and realise, I AM A FEMINIST! (if you aren’t also you need to watch this video from the brilliant Lacy Green.)

This ‘title’ doesn’t feel authentic to me yet (there are women and men I know that truly fight the good fight every day, utterly committed, and they are damn loud about it) but (for clarity, just now) I called up Merriam-Webster online and according to their site feminism is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”, who wouldn’t want that? (Okay, other than the Republican Party in the United States and the ultra-Orthodox of any and all religions.) Feminism, in case you reading this were unaware, actually traces its roots back to the age of Enlightenment and the hero of said movement Jean-Jacques Rousseau

My claim to being a feminist came about because the aforementioned man posted an image on his Facebook wall entitled ‘Tennis Sweets’ (not a reference point to Sugarpova) which  featured a nubile young woman in (ridiculously) high heels, the shortest white pleated tennis skirt imaginable, lace panties, no shirt, no bra and a white sweater draped in such a way as to just cover her nipples. This was in such a stark contrast the Universalist mindset of love he had presented that I was compelled to call him out on it, and he responded that he took it down but not for me (okay, fine, whatever).

gender is not between your legsWhat’s odd is that in his posting the image he did me a huge favour, so I thanked him and expressed: “my reaction told me something I didn’t truly realise about myself – eh gads, I am a Feminist!”

And then he wrote: “That’s not healthy… Be human first… Your sex is not you…”

If you think about it, this is kind of funny because the image that prompted this personal discovery for me was about sex, a woman’s sex, and objectifying her rather than seeing her ‘in fullness of being’; and that has ALWAYS been an issue for me, the objectification. (How one woman balanced the ‘creepy man syndrome’ – do click thru, it’s brilliant!)

Equally so, I suppose, is the assumption that he made earlier (and men often make) that unless a woman has a partner, a lover, a man, there is something wrong (with her). Because despite the fact that he freely acknowledged my “great soul” and later in our text conversation wrote “enlightenment will disable all thoughts of need of equality between man and woman.. That’s my point… I believe your higher then you believe so…” he had pointedly asked: “How you survive the nights? in terms of sex? or companionship? You have a active lover?”

sadhuSigh. So even when we have reached a higher level of consciousness, our souls having a human experience, it ever comes down to ‘who are you spending your nights with’? And if you aren’t spending your nights with someone that somehow either makes you a freak, diminishes you in the eyes of humanity or evokes pity. Does anyone express such about monks, nuns and sadhus?

So let me be clear, Madison Kimrey is the kind of chutzpah packing feminist I wish I was and she’s not yet 13 years old (I sincerely hope no one is asking her who she is spending her nights with)! I absolutely love that she has taken on uber-conservative Phyllis Schlafly  in the common ground of a bra to eloquently express that equality really means having choices. My choice, as a woman and as a feminist, and more accurately as an evolved soul having a human experience, is not to share my bed simply for the sake of doing so.  The energy in the sacred sanctuary of our sleep needs to be nurturing, protective, harmonious, inclusive and yes equal – and I am unapologetic about abstinence and exclusion until I find that singular person unquestionably worthy of aligning all of my chakras as I take responsibility for the care of his.  

liv_boeree_whip

There will be consequences for your stupidity! 😉

In the meantime there’s something to be said for being a feminist, a humanist, a mindful sensualist and for not suffering fools. (Yes, I unfriended the Latin man. )

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Whores, courtesans and the rest of womankind

First, let me be clear, every woman has a brain. She has overt or subtle sexuality and her own unique way of expressing her sensuality. She can be celibate, a seductress AND a mom madonna-whoresimultaneously (so please throw the Madonna/whore perception out with the bath water). And, despite the current assault of radical Christians and fundamentalist Muslims alike, we do not need to have our bodies regulated by legal framework, shaming (and stoning or beheading) or in the courts.  A woman should be able to walk around topless, as men are often seen, should she so desire without fear of molestation. She should certainly never have to worry about being raped as many as 40 times a day (please sign the petition to right a still festering very old wrong) – simply because she is a woman!

I am spurred on by watching the most recent season of the American reality TV show The Bachelor where I was struck by the fact that two women (Renee and Cassandra who are single moms) were consistently referred to as “my special ones” by the bachelor Juan Pablo Galavis, other women, Andi and Sharleen, were clearly respected for their brains while others fell into the hot, hot, hot category and frankly seemed to be taken merely for their sexuality.  I am not buying into the damage control storyline that Juan Pablo was linguistically challenged (to explain his repeated faux pas) in English but I do believe that he both loves women and can also be a horrible misogynist at times.  Every woman comes across a guy exactly like Juan Pablo at least once in her dating career – eye candy but lacking in so many ways – but the contrast between him and sean-lowe-catherine-giudici-desiree-hartsock(super respectful)  Chris Siegfried and Sean Lowe of previous seasons was so astonishing that Disney-owned ABC’s producers must be more than a little embarrassed for getting their choice so wrong.

So I am writing about my gender, unified by our having vaginas, differentiated by how men have perceived and treated us over thousands of years, (the rise in female genital mutilation #FGM is a whole different post to be written), and the distinction between whores, courtesans and the rest of womankind that has sex (however frequently or infrequently).

For the sake of argument let’s assume that the hypothetical whore in this conversation has chosen her own path, that she was not abducted, sold via the global human trafficking networks, nor was she a child runaway with a pimp that keeps her on drugs and beats her on a regular basis – a woman such as Heidi Fleiss (or Pretty Woman prostitute as portrayed by Julia Roberts) I think ‘the idea’ that a woman, any woman, could sell her body by HER Mary-MagdCHOICE (despite the very real dangers involved) is what has scared men senseless since Biblical times (perhaps earlier).   A whore exists strictly to accommodate the demand for sex, in all its various permutations, another commodity in the world’s economic systems (umm, wrong) but she can be morally redeemed.  The tie of our feminine wisdom, ability to bring forth life that we know is our own child (never any doubt of who the mother is) as well as healing capacity dating back tens of thousands of years combined with the fact that women have twice as many nerve endings in our genitalia as men has caused us no end of difficulties with males.  That we still find men attempting legislate when and with whom a woman has sex only serves to underscore this fear of the ‘first original sin’ somehow (these) men would punish us for not loving them for all their inconsistencies and foibles or for our being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

And then,

“I am like a guy, sexually,” I’d told a therapist I’d seen a couple times the year before – […] “What’s a guy like?” he’d asked. “Detached,” I said. “Or many of them are, anyway. I’m like that too.  Capable of being detached when it comes to sex.”

~ Cheryl Strayed, describing herself, page 131, Wild

A woman who can (seemingly) treat sex as casually as (some) men do I think is generally being driven to such behavior by one of two scenarios – to feel something, anything (to be validated if only briefly) or to numb some kind of pain perpetrated in childhood.  In other words, she makes risky life choices rather than to become whole by doing the hard work necessary to overcome something quite horrible in her past.  I have witnessed ‘the hunger’ for having a lover and the pursuit of sexual attention most of my adult life (I have ever been the girlfriend you take along to get you out, keep you company and make sure you get home if you don’t “get lucky”) and it is painful.

venice

Modern Courtesans by http://tynesphoto.zenfolio.com/

I have two very dear girlfriends both highly intelligent and attractive women in the 40s at the cusp of their individual professional successes who give off palpable hunter energy (the goddess Diana, without the virginal aspect). One of these two women expresses (if only figuratively speaking) that in a past lifetime she was Veronica Franco.  (I am also writing a book about love that includes historical examples of these extraordinary women) – let’s be clear, a courtesan, and likewise the Geisha, was amply compensated for the delightful company which her brain offered, her ample hostessing skills, her ability to play a musical instrument or recite poetry and the salon which she maintained. She didn’t necessarily have sex (she decided who she wished to take as a lover, not her male guests, and sex was an option financially negotiated for exclusivity often with a lifetime annuity at termination).

In an way, these women, such as  La Païva (Esther Pauline Thérèse Lachmann, Mme Villoing, Mme la Marquise de Païva, Countess Henckel von Donnersmarck), whose circumstances might have forced them to become demimondaine were also the ultimate feminists of their day – always the height of elegance in speech and manner, erudite, well read, pamela harrimanmultilingual, well dressed (including jewels), very, very wealthy, acutely aware of international politics and intrigues, and often times orchestrating world events Pamela Harriman might be the most well-known example of such a woman in recent history (her life boggles my imagination! Read the biography).

A woman can love men without taking them as her lovers or of thinking of particular ones if she masturbating (and her ability to be on intimate and satisfying terms with her own body surely makes some percentage of the male population uncomfortable).  But, should she leverage her knowledge of a man for her pleasure it is hers alone.  As a male friend once expressed the fantasy of making love can be as fabulous as our imaginations, and reality is often a very different thing.

So my point is that without any commercial aspect (and in this regard whores and courtesans fall into the same category) involving men and women alike we really must cease distinguishing women by categories. A woman, because she has been placed upon an illusionary marble plinth, in exercising her passions, for having normal sexual desires, should never experience a fall from grace – that is someone else’s problem, not hers.

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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cover art by Iain Clark, Glasgow Scotland

Love, as a journey – guest blog for Last Minute Travel Club

Kiss 1940sCo-published, as guest blog for Last Minute Travel’s Blog.

I recently received an email from my friend Ken at Last Minute Travel and LMT Club – “Would you like to be our #TravelTweetChat guest for this week, the topic is travel and romance…” to which I replied, “Yes, I’d love to!”

11 months of meeting (all kinds of) men through OKCupid, years of thinking (and writing) about ‘happy endings’ as well as the promise of new beginnings, passion, intimacy, tenderness, romance, words to convey longing, reuniting, and love, exploring the world (largely alone) – maybe he wasn’t so far off with his subsequent words of “We need an expert on love and travel, that’s you!”

So to help you plan your Valentine’s Day travels, it’s time to roll up my sleeves!

Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu, made in France, c.1475. This is an example of a cordiform (heart-shaped) manuscript. It contains 44 love songs by composers such as Dufay, Ockeghem, Binchois, and Busnois.

The romantic love (rather than relationships for political expedience or strategic alliance) as most of Western society understands it can be directly traced to the courtly love of 12th century France. The troubadours and their lyrical love poetry sung to the accompaniment of a lyre or lute, in nearly every instance this courtly love was directed toward a presumed married, virtuous and unattainable woman (an aristocrat surely and written of as a goddess on earth). The words were always of her being pined for by a younger man.  If he was sufficiently eloquent (and physically compelling) she might deign to take him as her lover – a grand passion, erotic love, in French called fin’amour (discreetly conducted even if everyone knew) and, you should know, it was always HER CHOICE to call him to court or to her bedroom. 

So let our journey of love begin in France – but fast forward to Paris in the 20th Century Richard Burton. Elizabeth Taylor - 1969 (42nd)and the scandalous affair that would be publicly condemned by the Vatican, result in two marriages but also two divorces of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

I have loved every experience I have have ever had in Paris – every single drop of the joie de vivre, the taste of Bellini’s and (multiple bottles of) Veuve Clicquot in Harry’s (American) Bar as well as the the Bar at the Hôtel Lancaster, where Liz and Dick would take over two of the eight floors of the hotel when they were in town, the exquisitely appreciative men whose words tried to seduce me into their arms whilst I simply climbed the stairs of Sacré-Cœur, the forgiving effect which my décolletage ensconced in a black lace bra made by Lise-Charmel peeking out from a Chanel jacket had while breathlessly repeating “Je me regrette, Je M’excuse, Je vous prie de bien vouloir m’excuser” in arriving to Palais Garnier et de l’Opéra bastille , alors!, late.  I have never stayed at the exquisite Shangri-La Paris  mais oui, j’ai eu le coup a foudre!

The journey of love doesn’t require grandiosity – I know, I know, it’s lovely but romance can mean just as much when traveling in a late model van.  Skating on the Fond Pond in Boston Common? Followed by a dinner of lobster fra diavolo at The Daily Catch in the North End and cannoli at Caffe Paradiso is perfect in a settled-into-our-relationship-let’s-just-be-kind-of-way. And if you aren’t “in love” or not in a romantic relationship is fenwaythere a better city in America for sharing with a best friend of either sex? I  think not! I mean, Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann sitting in Fenway Park? Are you really going to tell me that their ‘bro-mance’ didn’t make you want to plan your own road trip to Kenmore Square to find your own Field of Dreams?

blue cave

The Blue Cave (Modra špilja) is located at the Balun Cove on the eastern side of the island Biševo

I am falling utterly, ridiculously, in love with the people and country of Croatia. Like two of the other countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire I have visited (Austria and Hungary) this horseshoe shaped country is a compelling mix of people who truly appreciate living, who are, as the French would say, bien dans sa peau (comfortable in one’s own skin), an epicurean and oenophile dreamscape made real – found in Istria (adjoins Italy’s Province of Trieste) where Roman emperors regarded the wines amongst the best their empire had to offer, running south and east along the clear beautiful waters of the Adriatic with its 1000 plus islands of the Dalmatian Coast and onto the music festivals and lifestyles of the rich and famous of Dubrovnik in high season and back to Zagreb – the land and the descendants of Bronze Age inhabitants are proving worthy of my heart.  If you can handle the F-bombs of Anthony Bourdain, see his reaction to the food, the wine and his experience from a year ago which aired in March 2013 and I hope you will take up my challenge to see world class musicians Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser as 2Cellos (oh gawd, you have to hear them play!) – just a sampling, to whet your wanderlust.

Helene Berman straw hat

Helene Berman straw hat

There is, of course, a short, definitive list of romantic things that should accompany you as journey toward love (even if you decide to stay-cation)  – Neuhaus chocolates, J & E Atkinson I Coloniali hand cream, (as previously mentioned) Veuve Clicquot, a gorgeous straw hat (protection from peering eyes and the sun, a little mysterious and a bit of serious attitude to carry off), a white dress – not a wedding gown – that manages to convey ‘woman’ at the same time it is visually soft, massages, manicures and pedicures for two to make hand holding, kissing, spooning and love-making more tactically voluptuous (and yes, guys you can do peonies_5this without getting all metro-sexual), a bouquet of unusual flowers (oh, plueze not roses) such as mixed bunch featuring white peonies and stock; if you are reading this in NYC try my girlfriend Hannah Ling’s Gardenia Organic  or if in Stockholm try Jemima Nylund’s Norr Mälarstrand Blommor  (order REALLY early).

In closing, whether your version of love is Muse or Il DivoNi vous sans moi, ni moi sans vous, (Neither you without me, neither I without you) – Happy Valentine’s Day wishes no matter where you travel with your sweetheart!

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Seeking, and finding, the elusive soulmate

Image

The Red Balloon, 1956 Oscar winning film by French filmmaker Albert Lamorisse, found its soul mate! Click image to watch.

Our condition as living beings demands connection, and to some degree or another we are all seeking the elusive resonance with another person that is generally referred to as finding our soulmate. Some, I am not one of them, can ‘settle’ just to be able to feel, to have a partner in life’s activities, to have a bedmate for sex, or someone to bitch at – how can this be ‘enough’?

An acquaintance made through OKCupid has written two drafts of a paper for publication that he enthusiastically has shared with me – I am very flattered – for myself there is a single sentence that stands out from amongst the current 3,000+ words:

A soul mate is not an object, it is a state of being.

~ R.S.

This, I love. A soul mate is a state of being.

This isn’t “The Secret” but, THE SECRET!  The fullness of being necessary for ourselves and without which we cannot be in a state of preparedness of our being to resonate or recognise its ‘other’ (or as RS points out the potential of many others over the course of our lifetimes).

Love is the only just and holy war. Two friends pledge loyal opposition to one another. I vow I will defend the integrity of my separate being and respect the integrity of your being. We will meet only as equals; I will present myself in fullness of being and will expect the same of you. I will not cower, apologize or condescend. Our covenant will be to love one another justly and powerfully; to establish inviolable boundaries; to respect our separate sanctuaries. We will remain joined in the sweet agony of dialogue, the contest of conversation, the dialectic of love until we arrive at synthesis.

—Fire in the Belly: On Being A Man© Sam Keen, 1992

There are few and rare people who find in one another (despite distractions) the perfection of their being and love with their partner.  I am just finishing reading Marilyn Yalom’s fantastic How the French Invented Love, Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance which has lead me to further explore the 50 year relationship of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir.  But first, as Ms. Yalom quotes at the beginning of chapter fourteen:

My love, you and I are one, and I feel that I am you as much as you are me.

Image~ Simone de Beauvoir to Jean-Paul Sartre, October 8, 1939

 Never have I felt so forcefully that our lives have no meaning outside of our love.

Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvoir, November 15, 1939

They were far from perfect, after a decade it seems that their intense sexual energy for each other abated, they each took lovers, transparently shared every detail with the other, there was (as the expression goes) “collateral damage” from their threesomes, and pain for Simone especially when Jean-Paul ‘got too close’ in prolonged affairs that encroached on what was theirs, yet, as Colette Audry, a teaching colleague of Beauvoir’s in the 1930s, wrote of them: “Theirs was a new kind of relationship, and I had never seen anything like it. I cannot describe what it was like to be present when those two were together. It was so intense that sometimes it made others who saw it sad not to have it.” They were committed without the formal legal framework of marriage for fifty years and yet wound up sharing a single grave in Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.

For a tiny bit more on Sartre and de Beauvoir I suggest you start here and then if interested you can expand your reading and also watch this documentary.

My point is that sometimes ‘it just happens’ as it did to Sartre and de Beauvoir when they were 21 and 23, it, as the French express – coup de foudre, happens when Imagesomeone ‘sees’ you for who you really are.   I don’t think this can happen until you are really ready to be seen and doesn’t (necessarily) require a physical connection to express the truest intimacy that you can imagine existing.  Our transparency isn’t verbal or emotional, it is energetic – the tuning fork which finds us inexplicably drawn to other people that make us more as a result of being ‘with’ them.

Aristotle wrote:

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Then what makes us stay up at night, or rise early, to simply witness a lover sleep, denying sleep and work, commitments, and other friends to spend ten more minutes (or ten more hours) talking to them because the cup truly runneth over in the place that is uniquely ‘yours’ and to cease the sharing of thoughts, music, books and life means to stop living altogether (or so it seems) is all part of the equation.  

Over and over during the course of the last 10 months I have woken in the middle of the night, and it has always been because a man in a different time zone on the other side of the planet has just sent some kind of digital message to me. I am not responding to the input of their message but the energy of their thoughts toward me that prompted them to reach out to me in the first place.  I respond because the connection between us has become hardwired on my circuitry – the intensity of these ‘awakenings’ seem to be happening ever more frequently so I have to believe I am ‘getting closer’ to the convergence of metaphysical and physical.  I hope you are also so blessed.

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 print or ebook from Amazon, please click on the cover art of my book, ebook also available through Barnes & Noble and Lulu, thank you!