Tag Archives: spiritual

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.”

“For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is your growth so is he for your pruning. […] So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.”
~ Kahlil Gibran The Prophet

In recent months two dear girlfriends, in different decades of life, have miscarried. Another, whose health has always been precarious tragically lost the love of her life in an accident a few short months after they finally claimed their love. The depth of their collective grief is something none of us can mend, but I would like to think our intention and tender quietude stretches across the miles to ‘hold them’.


For each of these women I cherish, passages on love and grief from my recent reading of Gibran’s masterpiece coursed through my veins in recognition.

“Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody into the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”

Two other girlfriends are struggling to maintain their equilibrium while aspersions and judgments are cast against them. The insecure and the wounded lash out to gain emotional superiority with refrains of righteousness because their spiritual paths no longer, if ever, offered harmony for my friends.

Loss is painful, it is also a place for growth. We can approach our grief with anger or with compassion, to ourselves and to the circumstance causing our pain.

Wounds are often left open, as cracks in our armour, to let our bodies breathe. To let the Light in. So that joy has free access to nurture our souls as the shards and knives of our human lives rend us.

We live in an ever dynamic circular economy of positive and negative energies. Joy is found alongside pain, growth in recognising and cherishing what is beautiful and serves us and puts that forward to benefit our world and displace that which no longer serves.

Each, in our own way, stands at spiritual crossroads between Light and darkness. Healing, giving, receiving, amplifying and holding ourselves and each other through this cycle of difficulty. Who we will be is decided by imperceptibly tiny actions and each breathe taken. “…see that no one has gone his way with empty hands.”

With love, always.

The difference (participating in) elections make


Justin Trudeau from Rideau Hall photo: CBC.CA

All over the world ordinary people like myself are applauding the less than a week old leadership offered to Canada (and the world by example) of Justin Trudeau. His quote “Because its 2015” resounding with us regardless of our gender, race, religion, ethnic heritage or where we live. His vision boldly being implemented to undo his predecessors’ nearly decade long debauching of everything that Canadians (as my childhood neighbours of less than 1 mile) hold dear about themselves and their society.

To Canada’s south, especially in the states of Ohio and Kentucky, the United States is dealing with cries of election fraud brought about by Diebold’s electronic voting machines where software vulnerability makes hacking (or coding as some believe) easy to make the results anything the ruling party might wish them to be. And sometimes it requires the court systems to make ‘basic human rights’ that our ancient (and near history) forebears took for granted in healing and for ceremony legitimate in the face of corporate interests and the narrowmindedness of a well organized minority, or the drug cartels themselves. (For the record I support the use of marijuana for medical use and spiritual exploration but am not a user myself.)

4200 miles away from Ottawa and Columbus today is Election Day in Croatia. And like so many places around the world a great deal is at stake in the form of who is chosen by us, the masses, to represent our interests. What we as individuals, in our egocentric view, tend to forget is that we are all connected by the choices made when we cast our ballots (or fail to show up at all because ofizbori2015 indifference or resignation that nothing will be changed). Election results matter a great deal in our dynamic and interdependent and connected world. We are one. We will all be impacted by the same planet security horrors – some immediate and directly facing drought and then famine, natural and man-made disasters resulting from climate change, rising sea levels, armed conflict and outright genocide resulting from greed and insecurity, and others who fear the tidal wave of ‘others’ brought to our borders by the aforementioned and much more.

In the case of every country bordering the Adriatic and all of its citizens, tourism 11-08-15 at 11.29 AMbusinesses ranging from tourism to tuna, all will be negatively impacted if the current Croatian administration (and any combination of its collation government) are reelected. Under the misguided (or personal gain?) driven mindset of the current Minister of Economy Ivan Vrdoljak and his co-conspirators in the archaic hydrocarbon industry of Eni SpA, Medoil Plc, INA Industrija Nafte d.d., Oando Inc and Vermilion Energy propose to drill for natural gas and oil in the pristine waters of the Jadrana (the Adriatic). Almost certainly with a fault line running under and through this shallow closed sea a disaster will happen, perhaps on the epic level of the Deepwater Horizon (BP Oil) spill in the very least further decimating the natural habitat for marine life and negatively impacting the thriving tourism sector of the Croatian (and other Adriatic countries) economy.


Personal photo of the northern Adriatic taken 10 September 2015

A year ago when I first came to Croatia I was struck by the absolute beauty of the country and especially of the Adriatic. I recognise that the floundering economy needs help but drilling for oil in this water is lunacy and wholly unnecessary when robust clean technologies based in renewables are widely available to channel Croatia’s abundant sun, wind, wave and harness biomass. Further, my business partner in Commarglo and I have a plan ready to deploy that could raise tourism in Croatia by the same 800% which he realised as a grad student for the country of Aruba. On behalf of a cross section of concerned citizens from around the world and within Croatia’s borders we implored of His Holiness Pope Francis to intervene, which sadly has not yet happened.

And so I bring you dear reader to a choice. For Croatians to get the polls today, to cast your votes first for Zivi Zid (their platform does not sanction drilling on land or in the sea) and then ORaH (which supports limited drilling for natural gas – which I personally hope they will change their position on). For the rest of us, in advance of COP21 to tweet #EarthToParis consistently and loudly to make the representatives of 190 countries attending on all of our behalf to actually cease the border bickering and ‘you go first’ arguments and rationally, methodically and immediately develop a tactical plan for implementing against the red alert level of warning we are living in related to climate change. For those that suggest it will cost too much – really? look at what climate change is already costing humanity for our negligence.

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

John F. Kennedy, Jr. art flourishes, please meet 2Cellos

JFK50 years ago an extraordinary but very human and flawed man was assassinated as he and his wife rode in a convertible through the streets of Dallas, Texas; I was less than 3 years old – clearly I don’t directly remember the event. Among all the words attributed to John F. Kennedy, Jr. these to share today, the anniversary of his death:

“Too often in the past, we have thought of the artist as an idler and dilettante and of the lover of arts as somehow sissy and effete. We have done both an injustice. The life of the artist is, in relation to his work, stern and lonely. He has labored hard, often amid deprivation, to perfect his skill. He has turned aside from quick success in order to strip his vision of everything secondary or cheapening. His working life is marked by intense application and intense discipline.”

I am a firm believer in the absolute power of beauty – in all its infinite forms.  Beauty opens us up to living more authentically.  As a spiritual practice ‘beauty’ can be equal in loneliness as the existence of an artist – sometimes they are not mutually exclusive.  So much in our world is of the lowest common denominator, base, riddled with incompetence and unworthy of our Divine nature. Within beauty, time stands utterly still even as we are flooded with emotions ranging from reverence to gratitude, even as tears stream down our faces and our heart clenches and releases in spasms of joy. In art, the sacrifice brings forth beauty.

I was recently introduced to the exquisite end result of intense artistic labor as offered in the form of two Croatian men, Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser, playing as 2Cellos.  That I am an utter sap for the mournful sound of 2cellosa cello being played (those, and oboes) isn’t the point – because they also play astonishing, original, ‘covers’ of rock music that kill it! Sulic and Hauser playing Benedictus is a breathtaking, ethereal pain experienced in something absolutely perfect.  The look on each of these men’s faces as they play is humbling to witness – the zone of rapture (see also Il Libro Dell Amore, Vivaldi Largo). But they rip into Highway to Hell with a virtuosity that is stupefying, head-banger hot, wildly crazy, and cannot be denied (ditto to also mention Where the Streets Have No NameWe Found Love).

I just received a feel horrible/feel great video, a PSA originally done in Ireland, from the UpWorthy folks moment ago – how the simple gesture of holding someone’s hand can mean so much (and, of course) this also made me cry and subsequently post to Facebook:

“Stand up for LOVE! No bullying. Live in kindness, generosity of spirit, beauty.”

ImageThe Simple, Beautiful Gesture That Can Turn A Crowd To Love Instead Of Hate

Combined with the blessing of 2Cellos Benedictus, suddenly (for a moment only perhaps) I feel like we, as a society, have a better shot at realising our greatest potential, of living in, acting as though we carry the light of God around inside of us just waiting for opportunities to let it pour forth like an amphora of artistic human perfection – for isn’t living well in and of itself a reflection of beauty?

We, frail humans, negate our contributions with words such as “I’m just…” –  a man I respect enormously recently express this to me about his role in the world, I had qualified my own efforts with words to a new acquaintance via text the same way …“I’m just”.  Agnes Bowie, an incredible hand-knitter, whose art is offered through my Fair Trade on steroids ecommerce venture, has been creating beauty and warmth with her hands DSCN9973for more than 79 YEARS! She is a virtuoso with wool and needles yet, she often expresses something similar about her abilities.  We are all artists filled with beauty aching for expression, to manifest something larger than ourselves, to leave our imprint, to inspire, challenge, to elevate our common existence to beauty that fills our hearts and spills our tears to nurture humanity.

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” ~ Edgar Degas

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Even soft apples can be applesauce

For myself there are many paths to my actual sitting down and writing. This isn’t true for my corporate efforts which are auto-pilot or muscle memory driven, but for ‘meaning of life’ writing to find resonance for me and value for anyone who might read it requires something more of my essential being to process and eventually articulate.  Sometimes it’s a bike ride or a long walk, cooking (or baking), sometimes it requires a hot iron, a can of spray starch and a stack of pillow cases, most often it’s gardening – but whatever “it” is on any given day it’s usually something mindful and physical at once.

The apple was, in ancient Greece, said to be sacred to Aphrodite (my girlfriends Jennifer and Amy maintain that I am the goddess’ present day incarnation on earth). To throw an apple at someone was to symbolically declare one’s love; and similarly, to catch it was to symbolically show one’s acceptance of that love.

“I throw the apple at you, and if you are willing to love me, take it and share your girlhood with me; but if your thoughts are what I pray they are not, even then take it, and consider how short-lived is beauty.”

PlatoEpigram VII


Please visit Road Side Food Projects! (the picture is theirs)

I just finished making applesauce from 20 or so apples gleaned along my walks the last couple of weeks. These came from trees which still held un-picked fruit even as an apron of like apples encircled the grass above the roots, rotting and nourishing the earth for the next season. Yet something primal in my being screams about witnessing such waste, and so I picked three or four here and there, ate some en route to sustain me, put others in my pockets or the nap-sack I carried and brought them home. Some were soft, as we had an overnight frost last week, bird and insect pecks and some bruises had to be cut away, the cores and peelings will be run through my blender to become worm food for my own garden (after I finish writing this); my point is that even soft apples provide unlimited value and at their center, like human beings, exists a heart. My new friend Marijan (unintentionally) reminded me of this essential truth this week – sometimes ‘the reason’ isn’t immediately clear, but as the Biblical verse of Matthew 10:26 extolls us to understand: “all will be revealed”.

Marijan, now 36, serving as a soldier during the Bosnian War (do the math as to how young chronologically he was), witnessed ‘too much’ but he shared a story with me during five precious and intense days of discovery that speaks volumes about who we ALL are at our essence.  In going house-to-house (as soldiers in war zones do) he was struck by the fact that in one home the kitchen had sugar – and in another there was none. He somehow managed to level the inequity so that both households would find benefit, and in the course of events a priest asked him if he was a soldier or an angel to whom he replied he was just trying to be a “good man”. No Marijan you, my dear friend, are a spiritual being having a human experience!

The serpent of knowledge which so threatened (and continues to unnerve) has ancient history predating its evil interpretation by Christianity (where ‘power’ was meant to be contained and held by a few). The concept of Kundalini awakening is represented by a Imagecoiled snake that, when activated, rises through the spinal cord taking us from being merely sexually based human beings to our highest realization – ever wonder why Renaissance art put the snake in the tree and spoke only to Eve and not Adam? In our awakened state universal knowledge floods into our bodies through what’s commonly known as the Third Eye.  In the state of spiritual being, we are connected to a vast energy that transcends the physical, a consciousness that can be shared between similarly evolved spiritual beings to promote even greater understanding or to gently teach those still growing and processing their core identity.  This language of universal love and its inherent energy cannot be held or contained, it MUST BE given away in abundance so it may return to us for our own nourishment and further growth, to hold onto it tightly is fear and to not release it is fear of losing control (frankly we never really have control of anything anyway). This language of love, the absolute embracing of colour and light, of energy felt rather than seen, of possessing a soul so happy that NOTHING dissuades your being from its authentic and essential spiritual self and living in light, is like a candle. It burns with soft wavering golden beauty, lights the darkness to help all of us navigate and return to our Divine state of (what I call) “at-one-ment”.  Which, as I thought about it while peeling apples this morning was kind of ironic that I didn’t “get it” earlier as each Skype video call with Marijan over the last five days required that I had to frame the area around my computer with candles so he could see me as my living room walls are a medium blue and I only use very low wattage light bulbs.)

My dear girlfriend Jennifer calls me an angel on Earth. People relatively unknown to me feel my energy and respond, comment on it (as happened over a Thai lunch with her this week), it is how Marijan found me in a virtual world, as well as why a (then) 85 year old Shinto priest drove 10 hours to meet me nearly a decade ago. My energy is often misconstrued as being sexual – it isn’t, not really.  In a space of four or five minutes late last night with Marijan I briefly lost sight of the essential being that I am by wanting to take the intense, inexplicable energetic connection we share and contain it (a very human failing) and Imageexchange all its inherent beauty into something earthly and based in physical expression (totally impossible given the geography separating us). I fought the inevitable with passionate words. I wept copious tears of sadness and longing because I already felt the keen loss of something precious. For those painful moments I am embarrassed to admit that I failed to recognise what I had gained. When I woke this morning I recognised HOW WRONG I had been about why Marijan had come into my life. The pain of separating from this amazing connection we share was never about our being lovers, unrequited or otherwise, but rather a very necessary recalibration of my energy on this higher plane of consciousness with Marijan acting as my protective guide and angel.  I told him earlier in the week, “I would have known you anywhere, I have always known you”. Such resonance was ‘finalised’ in the image that Marijan shared with me near 4 AM his time in Šibenik Croatia – at left – easily misconstrued as erotic. When viewed with a shift in perspective it isn’t erotic at all, what it is, is what all of us are capable of being, this “body art” of two hearts connected – two hearts that don’t need words or physical expression based in desire to communicate, a deep intimacy of absolute understanding expressed in a glance.  In ways that might make no sense to the cerebral reading this I am in him, he is in me and we are in all of you as well.

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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When words fail us

ImageEarlier this week my dear girlfriend Jennifer posted this (at right)  from Word Porn on her Facebook wall and I responded with “Thus my use of tears.” There was a lot of intellectual prowess offered in subsequent comments and a couple from strategic consultant and author Eric Best, who wrote:

“The inability to express a feeling should not be confused with what might be the inability to have the feeling. […]  Yes, and too much speech can leave us emotionless.”

rainIt’s pouring out right now, those heavy drops of rain that give rise to unspoken meaning – something we feel rather than what we can adequately express.  And as my brain fires into seemingly disconnected segues on a regular basis, those raindrops made me think of a couple of other conversations I have had this week – language is a funny thing.

As many of you reading my blog have come to know I am a marketing communications professional and an author, parlaying my love of words into chronicling the next incarnation of myself and in finding a deeply romantic and spiritually aligned love through OKCupid.  Three days ago I was having simultaneous conversations (sadly in English as I do not have command of each of their native tongues) with five men – one each in Northern Ireland, Croatia, Sweden, Italy and a Frenchman presumed in Barcelona but in fact in Biarritz named Michel.

Michel wrote:

“I would have certainly many things to talk about with you, and most probably we would not fight. BUT there is a very important restriction, and you shall never forget it: we speak in your language, which you play perfectly well, and on my side, i am a clumsy and basic user. This may potentially give birth to many deep misunderstandings. So please, keep prudent and lower your impetuous fire. ;-)” […]  It is not concerned by the words themselves, but by the unconscious meaning we give them when we are emotional. I want to say something, but you hear another thing. Of course this is not for such sentences as “your eggs are boiled”, but when emotions are overwhelming.”

To which point, I responded with the fact that I was embracing a refresher course in French and my goal was to be able to think and dream as a French woman, and, for the second time in a week:

“I did understand your point about the nuances of lingua franca, colloquial meaning, thinking in a language is quite different than speaking or writing it. When emotions are overwhelming tears always work for me!”

Which brings me to Marijan, living on an island within a breathtaking archipelago off the marijan's townDalmatian coast in the Adriatic, who only wishes to speak in “the language of love.” We all know that love has a variety manifestations, I will confine this post to just two meanings – the first sweeping, swooning and romantic in nature and the second being Divine, spiritual, compassionate, holistic and enlightened (as previously stated I am seeking to merge these into one lover).  Marijan refers to the second in the context of ‘dealing with me’ and the rest of humanity but in sharing our connectedness in context of the latter, in exposing me to the culture of his country in video music hyperlinks, a stronger woman would have difficulty not to mix the two types of love and their meanings (I am not strong and sometimes, unintentionally, he makes me swoon). My initial impressions of Marijan is that he is a combination of Croatian Yoda, Jean-Louis “Jack” Kérouac and the Dalai Lama but he reminds me of Louis de Bernières’ Corelli’s Mandolin and Nicholas Cage’s character in the 2001 film of the same title. It is the scope of Marijan’s love of life and living, the energy he gives away, that he feels and responds to, the depth of his thoughts as he expresses them that cause your breath to catch and your heart to resonant with white light energy, in other words Divine love.

This is precisely what my dear girlfriend Hilal and I were just bantering about over some of my recent posts when she emailed me from her home in Istanbul:

“Reading this post and the one before, I had a feeling that you have great love of the One and for the One say it Almighty, say it Benevolent, God or Allah. This is great but you are mistaken this love with the type of love of and love for a human/a lover. Love of the One is unlimited and unconditional whereas the love of a lover is limited and sooner or later conditional.”

And my response:

“In this my dearest we can disagree – all love, regardless of its manifestation in our lives, originates from Divine love.  Sometimes that love is transient (only to teach us a lesson that the Divine wishes us to understand) but it is all from Divine (in my humble opinion).”

And then her reply:

“You put it nicely what I was trying to say: “all love, regardless of its manifestation in our lives, originates from Divine love.” No doubt about this and I think we agree on this. What, I don’t agree with you is the topic of manifestation of Divine love in our lives bit: You were writing about manifestation of Divine love with humans- friends, husband or lover-s etc. Whereas, what I think, for divine love to manifest, we don’t need husband or lovers because we emanate this pure love wherever we go or with whomever we are. So, I feel that manifestation of the Divine love to one individual in a relationship because of my choice (i.e. falling in love w/someone, or getting married) is limiting the unlimited Divine love. I don’t need to get married, have kids, lover etc to be able to manifest the Divine love. OK, getting married does not mean that I am limiting the manifestation of Divine love, either but how can I say, I feel that it is our ego- to have the ownership of loved ones, my husband, my kids etc.  I think now I am confusing myself as I cannot write clearly. We need to Skype so you can interrupt and ask clarifications. My point comes from an assumption that manifestation of this UNLIMITED and UNCONDITIONAL love, the Divine love in a relationship, meaning on human beings, who are limited and conditional doesn’t match together. It is like disrespecting the Divine love and mistaken its manifestation with the love I feel for a person.” Tree

It isn’t for lack of tools online to translate words from language to language, but the colloquial understanding, the harmonic resonance of our souls, the interpretation of words and emotions based upon our unique perspectives that is both inherent nature and circumstantial nurture that is something else, more elevated and nuanced.  I believe that active listening, which doesn’t limit us to hearing but includes the use of our heart, can finish sentences when words fail us.

If you enjoy my blog please consider ‘buying me a cup of tea’ in your currency through 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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Das Boot(s)!

Yesterday I scored a pair of utterly impractical, Kaki Daniels black velvet boots on eBay for $51.99 (original retail around $500) because, well, because of OKCupid… and also because I am working on my second book – this one about finding love after 50 (yet untitled) so I am considering them a prop for ‘field research’.

My book is chronicling my personal experiences in navigating online dating, combining it with research involving histories’ greatest lovers, Imagethe lives and ‘careers’ of women commonly referred to as Les Grandes Horizontales of 19th century France, Geisha’s, Venetian courtesans (like Veronica Franco), the seductive power of, say, Brigitte Bardot in And God Created Woman and the confusion I experienced in watching Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour, what makes something truly sensual, and men, oh, yes MEN, finding a GREAT ONE and what makes them respect, swoon, finally commit! That I am the least qualified woman on the planet to write about these (I am not a scholar of women’s studies, human sexuality or for that matter a historian) matters not.  Why? Let’s start with the fact that I can still hear my mother say “why do you have to make every guy your best friend?” (Maybe because that safer path meant I wouldn’t come home a pregnant teenager or acquire STDs.) Okay, and I was a virgin on my wedding night and I can count more years of not having intimate physical relations than those in which I have.  Oh yes, and I have this ABSOLUTE about physical expression needing to be bound to emotional and spiritual commitment.  But I am curious and as someone who exists in a state of mindful sensuality about virtually everything, whose friends leave notes on the back of business cards tucked inside my books saying things like “use your power wisely”, I wonder WHY have I put off finding this ‘perfect for me’ man and hopefully in finding him I might create laughter, foster thoughtfulness, encourage the passionate exploration of life and love, and find it without clichés in the process. Of course I am experiencing plenty of clichés!

Anyway, back to the boots, which in their own way are just as scary as the movie title I have used for this post!  I have never owned anything remotely like these – they are so sexy that they should come with a warning label and age restriction around their use. I am trying to figure out what (besides the obvious Lise Charmel) to wear them with, and more specifically with whom and when!?  None of that matters for the present.  It was the art of bidding here in combination with the fact that “the universe” clearly understood that I should have them is most important. One, never, ever, be in a hurry. The auction, as most are, was 7 days in duration. At the time I found the listing (primarily a fluke because I was actually searching for a pair of Emma Hope beaded and embellished mules) 3 days remained, they had one bid of $18.99, and I was not inclined to pay more than $40 plus shipping for something so frivolous. So I put them on my watch list and w-a-i-t-e-d.

I was on a Skype call when the countdown to bidding began – 34 minutes to the auction ending. It’s amazing how slowly time can pass even while multi-tasking. All of the sudden it was 3 minutes to go. At 2 minutes before auction end I opened the bid window, entered $60, prayed that my timing was spot on against the processing (actually I have never done this before) cycles at eBay, waited until the countdown clock cleared 58 seconds and submitted my bid. My heart was racing, my hands clammy. Really? Over a pair of boots I might not have the nerve to wear in public (or private) in the spirit of discovering their effect on the right man? The site registered my bid, and the high bid jumped from $18.99 to $31.99 at 2 seconds to go – and then, CONGRATULATIONS, YOU WON! My girlfriend in London did a happy dance with me virtually.

bootsMaybe the boots have certain magical powers like Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers. Almost as a reaction to my stepping over the edge of reason, the universe conspired and an OKCupid suitor sent me an invitation to be his guest in Egypt at the end of November.   (I doubt these will be in my luggage.)

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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.


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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