Tag Archives: Stockholm

No, Your Hate Won’t Break Our Love

It is unexpressed emotions harboring latent demands for redress which cause violent disruption to society. The seemingly extremes of heinous actions and vitriolic words each casting blame, instead of assuming responsibility and moving positively forward, actually feed eachother to ever escalating destruction. It is in the never ending cycles of human history rife with the absence of hope which manifest anger and discontent and, in some, a call for ‘retribution’. A politician stands up and speaks ‘on behalf of a nation’ with words that only serve to inflame those who hate, and exacerbate the fear amongst the panicked flock who demand a response to their collective fear with demands of isolation, xenophobia, and more brutality.

As Eve Ensler, poet, so perfectly and simply wrote:

“Bullets are hardened tears”.

We must unharden. We must stop the tears and the subsequent bullets and bombs. We must find a way forward between the madness and genius and that fraction of capability to cope with inequities tipping the balance to terrorist actions.

Anger can be a gift that keeps us sane; anger will make us sit-in, go on strike (hunger, walk off our jobs), meditate, light candles, and engage in activism we never imagined embracing fostering beautiful life affirming change. And, just like hundreds of thousands of cherry blossom petals ‘we’, coming together, cast a pink glow over our hurting world.

In various locations in Stockholm statues of St. George figure prominately – in the 12th and 13th centuries his legend came to include the story of a battle with, and victory over, a voracious dragon. In its purest form St. George’s tale is one of good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, life vs. death. Stockholm, Homs, Paris, Zliten, Baghdad, Nice, Kabul, Brussels, Boston, London, New York, Orlando, and sadly many other cities share a pain created in the absence of love. Our responses in each of the tragedies we have borne has been resilience and community.

“Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.” ~ Roger de Rabutin de Bussy

I believe that within us we are both a cherry blossom petal and St. George and the dragon we must slay is hatred, ignorance and fear. We must be kinder, more compassionate, empower not condescend, find a way to ensure hope remains a constant and together build a great reserve of universal love which cannot be extinguished in the name of any God.

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 @TeresaFritschiPlease click here to order my book, thank you! 

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Sensual consummation in a virtual world

tangoI am, by my own admission, bound by a covenant with sensual pleasure. This is NOT steeped in erotica but the experiences of scent, listening, tasting, touching (even with the heart and our energy in the absence of physical proximity), and seeing (even if the brain disbelieves the beauty right in front of us); I am what I call a mindful sensualist.  And so, in this 2-dimensional context of meeting new people, sometimes what would be a joyful exchange jointly shared in person ‘can’ (if I let it) become banal. It’s important to be able to accept even virtual experiences with passion, delight and sincere pleasure.  A handful of experiences stand out over the last 9 months for their intention and thoughtfulness and how I received them – sensual consummation as it were.

Back in February Christer from Sweden took me on a drive through Stockholm with him. He placed his SmartPhone in the video mode in a holder on the dashboard so that I could see where he was driving as well what the sights were and played tour guide (eventually slipping his phone through the mailslot of his new home to welcome me to his life). It wasn’t quite as magical as the Chicago architectural walking date in which Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves characters take two years apart (in parallel universes) in The Lake House but I was charmed. Equally so when Christers’ OKCupid successor Francisco (a Latin man of French, Spanish and Italian heritage living both in Caracas and a small town in the Czech Republic) turned off all the lights in his hotel room in Bonaire (given that he was naked) and walked out onto the balcony of his hotel room to stream video to me of the stars (including a shooting one!) over the Caribbean night sky, the phosphorus against the sea and share sound of the surf.

Serhat, the youngest of any of my potential suitors at 24 from Turkey, knowing that I am a gardening-carrots-3_main_bannergardener sent me a picture of the carrots he had just dug up from his garden. My girlfriends made cheeky comments about the carrots but I KNOW, as only another gardener could, that this gesture was based in common understanding of nurturing and caretaking and reaping rewards from the stewardship of the Earth.

Marijan, from Croatia, has assumed the role of Kevin Costner in our unique version of The Bodyguard  – no easy task with 4500 miles soulsdistance between us physically. That he was absolutely successful because of his focused intention is a stunning revelation to me of the power of our personal energy to influence another, to transcend boundaries and physical dimensions. This is worth sharing, with anyone who might be reading this, in more detail as a lesson of spirituality, resonance and the power of pure white light (not remotely sexual) love.

I have a stalker (even as he doesn’t seem to think that 22 years of ignoring my requests to leave me in peace does not make him such); three days ago a letter arrived at my home from him – he had managed to once again find me. (See my open letter to understand the back story and how our actions are not received as we perceive them to be.)  After two fitful nights of erratic sleep where I felt I was being chased and running non-stop to escape I was ready to drop yesterday morning. Enter Marijan. He saw I was online and asked to Skype, I was stumbling from exhaustion and still in my pajamas’ so I begged for the absence of video to accompany our conversation.  I had just taken a Benadryl to make me sleepy in hopes of getting at least an hour ‘nap’ thus allowing me to function the rest of the day and ten minutes into our conversation I asked him if he would mind if I took the laptop to my bed and tucked myself in to chat as I was sure that when the drug hit my system I would want to already be settled.

Whether in person or virtually, regardless of the circumstances (carnal lust, comfort, illness, companionship) there really is a vulnerability present when a woman invites a man to share my bedher bed; as such the intimacy ‘should be’ respected, cherished and understood that the energy a man brings to her space will linger long after he departs… Marijan understood this, and spoke of it in both reassurances as well as lightening the mood with humor. (Another former OKCupid suitor Dominique spoke in French and provided the English translation saying that if a man could make a woman laugh he had her halfway to bed.) What happened next is everything and nothing – oh, STOP IT, not that!  Intention is really 99% of everything we do, I explained that the left side of the bed was mine, that I would share the covers (as he asked for a metaphorical blanket) and explained how my bed was dressed and then allowed our conversation on other subjects to take its course, and then I felt very calm, lulled by all the shared words, the softly accented English of Marijan’s voice as well as the Benadryl. We hung up our Skype call, and I rolled over to face where the energy of his physical presence existed and my last cognitive thought before sleep washed over me was sensing his arms sheltering me, and his breath in my hair.  I felt so safe (no boogie man or stalker was going to get through Marijan’s protective energy) I slept for more than four hours and when we discussed it later in the day he confirmed precisely how he had visualized holding me.

Those of you who doubt that online dating has merit, that you can’t really come to know another person without meeting them in person, that you can’t come to trust and have deep sensually explicit experiences have limited your personal growth.  My girlfriend Karin summed it up over breakfast this morning when I shared this experience with her in suggesting that it is the depth of my awareness and communications skills that allow me to experience such.  I am truly blessed for such intimacy, the sheltering energy that has been given so freely when I was reduced to tears of terror and exhaustion.

Of all the gifts we can offer friends and lovers and loved ones in the ‘material world’ how beautiful to be able to exist in a state of love in a dimension where so few ever develop cognitive awareness.  Our sensuality is limited only by the filters of our experience and inhibitions.

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Personal engagement

A brilliant young(er) man I once had the pleasure of working with (he did an internship for my ecommerce venture Thistle & Broom while finishing his studies at Yale School of Management) has reachout-1created something called KangoGift.  While used primarily to support companies’ employee recognition programmes it came to him based upon the absolute ease of buying friends small gifts (a cup of coffee, lunch, et al) via a mobile app while he was working for Google in Korea.  On Facebook not so subtle reminders pop-up to send someone a gift in conjunction with the birthday announcements now embedded in the platform.  Crowd-funding platforms provide for immediately supporting innovation, new music and art, good deeds and to fix various social malaises.  With all this ease of ability to ‘reach out and touch someone’ (amidst the economic meltdown just about every country is experiencing) I wonder, how often people actually are using these tools?

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Click image for video how-to’s!

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Click image for lush flower market images to inspire you ‘locally’.

We text with rapidity, we pride ourselves on achieving speed in everything from our athletic endeavours to preparing a meal in under 20 minutes, and these software platforms mentioned above allow for us to engage and feel righteous without much personal ‘investment’.  The status quo is easy, human beings are essentially – lazy – and even as we free up all kinds of time, what exactly are we doing with it as we have found it?  Taking time, s-l-o-w-l-y, writing a letter, whipping cream in a copper bowl, actually selecting flowers one-stem-at-a-time – by hand is a lost ‘art’. These are sublime pleasures, not only for ourselves as we go through the act of doing, but most assuredly for the recipient.

A woman in Sweden, who is not a business associate, who I have never met, never even spoken to, did something very nice for me; the Internet allowed me to review the work of a dozen florists around her corporate offices in Stockholm and email Jemima, the owner of Norr Mälarstrand Blommor, and send the most exquisite bouquet of flowers to thank this woman. (I know they were exquisite because not only did Jemima send me a photo via her phone but the response to the flowers within the recipients’ office filtered out the door and across the ocean to both my inbox and to my ears directly.)  Two things came of this gesture – Jemima may have earned her business a new corporate client, and I was able to make someone’s day as they had made mine; reciprocity in absolute perfect balance.

I am heading out to my garden shortly to finish planting spring bulbs and continue the efforts of putting it ‘to bed’ for the winter. It’ll be a long, physical day filled with mindful intention. The irony is that I hope not to be ‘here’ to see the net results of these efforts next growing season – and yet, still, I am compelled to ‘do’ because energetically I know as I put my energy out in the universe, in this case in conjunction with making the centre courtyard of my apartment building more beautiful for everyone who lives here to enjoy, in my heart-of-hearts I know that this extended love will somehow, someday, when I least expect it to come back to me.

It’s in all of us to put more love out ‘in the universe’ – even if we need the Internet to do it – but putting in place a pebble in the pond which ripples with goodness really does take less time than preparing dinner.

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Exploring relationship compatibility

I believe that the structure of any relationship, of establishing trust, of migrating toward rather than pulling away from another is based upon tiny imperceptible nuances of behavior as well as ‘acceptable’ standards. Some people just ‘fit’ together with ease, others find a way of working through to meet someplace in the middle, some compromise better than others. Still, there is the level of self-esteem we cultivate within us which tends to set the bar a bit higher (hopefully) for people entering our lives. I do not believe that culture or religion or geography or age have so much to do with this as the individuals involved – a natural harmony that is easy to feel as well as to recognise in its absence.

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Gustavian-style five arm chandelier – click to reach my Pinterest.

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Click to reach my Pinterest

It’s no secret that I aspire to make a move to Sweden.  As a quasi-realist I recognise the total impracticality of shipping 30 years of my worldly possessions via slow boat and then being hit with any related import duties on my fantastic collection of 18th and 19th century antiques.  No, I am selling most of this before leaving the States.  Given the wonders of the Internet I am able to poke around Stockholm online to source ‘replacements’.  I am currently nominally sick to my stomach over my inability to have negotiated the purchase of two such pieces – one, a slightly damaged (could always be restored) Gustavian-style five arm (non-electrified) chandelier and the other, a very practical, early 19th century bracket foot English mahogany butler’s writing bureau with the original brasses and key!  As anyone could see from the photos, even without knowledge of my specific decorating aesthetic, these two pieces would have been amazing in the same room, my living room ‘to be’ in Stockholm.  In the United States, specifically Boston or NYC, these two pieces combined would have a retail cost someplace considerably north of $10,000 (as I discovered a nearly identical chandelier is priced at $28,500! at Belevdere Antiques they also have a similar writing bureau in stock though it is Swedish); yet their final combed price with 22% auction commission and a ‘whatever fee’ of $60 USD each would have brought their grand total to $364.50 USD.  Yes, you read quite correctly, THREE HUNDRED, SIXTY-FOUR DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. Now, some of you antique freaks are likely screaming at your computer monitor “WTF! WHY DIDN’T YOU BID??” let me explain. For starters to bid it was requisite to have a Swedish social security number, which I wouldn’t have been able to secure in time for the ending time this afternoon and their offices were closed when I discovered the auction late yesterday and so would have been impossible to come up with a Plan B; the second half of the reason has more to do with my opening paragraph.

You see I DID actually reach out to a man in Sweden that I had met through OKCupid some months ago and with whom there has been a very nice dialogue. He has done some remarkably thoughtful things (such as sharing advertisements for jobs) so I asked him if he would do this favour for me, and in exchange, as he is recently divorced, he could use the bureau until such time as I got myself to Stockholm. It was a practical, logical solution in which everyone would win – and he could have been a hero to me.  To be fair, I proposed the structure of this be such that gave him the amounts I could spare for each item and even strategically framed the “how to” to improve my chances of success. I figured out what I could afford, plus the fees, and gave him the amount and told him that I would transfer the funds to him via PayPal IMMEDIATELY at the close of the auction.

My rationale in purchasing these being that I was going to need a place to write, to store some of my clothes and, for romantic evenings cooking and cuddling with my potential lover that a chandelier with candles was going to be incredibly ‘practical’.  But, despite that I am so transparent, and that this lovely man seemed very interested in exploring some kind of a relationship with me, something was off in his willingness to do ‘my bidding’ as it were. I don’t think it is being American or being Swedish, and I would like to believe that it wasn’t even about the time involved or the technical logistics of my transferring the money, but I am sure it is about trust.  Trust cuts both ways. From my perspective to prove I trusted him enough to assist with my migration, I was willing to hand over the money “in good faith” in advance of actually having physical possession so that he would assume zero financial exposure. I figured in the event that he absconded with the chandelier and the bureau, it would be relatively inexpensive in contrast with something potentially much more costly later on.  But the Skype dialogue made it quickly clear that this wasn’t within his comfort zone. He wasn’t inclined to bid on the pieces without my arranging the money to be sent to him in advance, (as if I had a crystal ball to determine what the end bid would be and the amount I would owe him) and, as he doesn’t have a PayPal account, I couldn’t even (easily) transfer the funds to him post auction; a logistics nightmare.

I have to recognise that when it comes to extending ourselves for other people, or levels of trust, that not everyone is easy with entangling their lives with others to the same degree I am.  There will be other auctions, and other chandeliers and desks and chests of drawers and carpets and art to decorate my new home and I just have to let go of the ones that got away.  (Though my frustration at not ‘getting the look’ for a pittance borders on apoplectic.) I also came to realise two other things from this experience – that although damn inconvenient to live minimally again once I arrive in Sweden, as with most of my life, I need to do these things myself and, this man is so clearly not the right man for me.

Dear Sweden, Hej Sverige:

Dear Sweden/ Hej Sverige:

“I want to go home!” I hear it daily – the whine, the pleading, I feel the insistence that issues forth from my garage and burrows into my psyche that he, born of jets, misses Imagethe land of his birth.

What I have felt at a cellular level, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) has confirmed; that in terms of ‘happiness’ my co-habitation with you would be one of synergy.  There are, perhaps, a thousand reasons why it makes perfect sense for us to passionately embrace the other but to earn your reciprocity and an invitation Sverige I will confine myself to a handful.

First, how many people wishing to make Sweden their home actually enjoy cold weather more than hot? I mean R-E-A-L-L-Y  P-R-E-F-E-R spending six to eight months out of the year in a wool sweater drinking hot chocolate instead of donning a bathing suit and sipping drinks with parasols and fruit sticking out of the top of their glass?

Second, especially important to our relationship working at every level, I am just as nice and happy as your 9.5 million citizens. HONEST! I have even written a book about happiness and mindfulness that has some lovely reviews (considering how few people take the time to say thank you, let alone write a personal note of gratitude these days that’s saying something!).

Let’s be practical here. In a country where quality of life ranks so high there are nearly 100,000 more single men than available women.  OKCupid’s metrics indicate that Sweden is one of my five ‘hot countries for finding love’ – that I could become the source of further happiness for one man seems of considerable benefit not only to ‘us’ but Swedish society on the whole. I already love the ideology grounded in Swedish culture, your history of innovation and your antiques, practice your example of hot baths and cold plunge, and, swoon at the sheer scope of your physical beauty, why not a tall Viking man to cap it off?

Third, mutual emphasis on integrity (see honest!! above, you might want to my read book). Now this is important – why would I want to live anywhere that had corruption tied to it? When I make a promise I keep my promise – my word is my troth. Life is just too short to be looking over your shoulder and wondering who is going to fleece your pockets (okay, well you do seem to have a little problem with rent gouging and so forth in the ‘staden inom tullarna’ areas of Stockholm but it’s almost excusable given how very pretty your very old city is). On the whole Swedes aren’t just happy they are ethical, integrity is something we can all do more with – don’t you think?

Fourth, as a woman ‘of a certain age’ I am not going to have children so your generous policy of maternity leave is not going to be needed. Maybe someone else can use my allocation? (See? I told you I was nice!)

ImageWhilst seemingly unrelated, my 1989 Saab 900T convertible “Duncan” is kind of like a colicky baby and can be a little demanding and seriously high maintenance – but, you knew that already (see opening sentence).  Overall he is an 11 (that’s him in the picture) so you can see that he’d only further enhance how handsome your country is, the land of his birth, it’ll sure be easier for me, his mommy, to get spare parts for him there then it currently is. He thinks it would totally rock to take a long boat ride ‘home’!! I don’t think seasickness is going to be an issue for him as he’s handled multiple ferry boat crossings on Long Island Sound with ease; how can I deny him such a grand adventure?

Fifth, as an award-winning marketing communications professional (largely in emerging technologies but also, more recently, as a social entrepreneur) I am capable of adding to your economy – not placing a drain on it. MarComm people are behind the scenes folks, most of us loathe being in the spotlight. Since I am accustomed to making other people look good this (hopefully) negates the inherent American tendency of ‘taking up a little more space’ than anyone else (least of all a Swede) and be assured I take up far less than the average American. I give more than I take, am VERY GOOD at playing nice in the sandbox, sharing my (most of) toys, not screaming “look at me, look at me!” or having a tantrum when I don’t get my own way (unlike the sulking that Duncan periodically exhibits).

I understand that your population is largely multilingual but I believe in assimilation so I PROMISE to learn Swedish. Acquaintances in Stockholm have indicated it’ll be a lot easier if I am there and are confident that immersion will make me fluent within 3 months.

And, if someone will let me, I am a ferocious gardener of some talent – give me a go at some related volunteer project and we’ll both be very pleased.

ImageAs refugee status generally isn’t accorded to Americans, I need to find a turnkey solution (a job, contractor role with working papers) that would allow me to PROVE my worthiness of becoming a Swede over the next three years. With all this in mind, Poolia just re-posted their search for an experienced head of communications (erfaren kommunikationschef) for the Nobelmuseet for which I had previously applied – as your most highly regarded musical export, ABBA, perfectly expressed – “take a chance on me”!

With much affection and a hopeful heart,

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