We walk by this spot almost every day. It’s our neighborhood in Seattle, a place to enjoy nature in the midst of city life in 21st-century America.
Or is it?
© 2013 Robyn M Fritz
June 19, 2013
true stories exploring intuition, the human-animal bond, Fallon, the Citrine Lemurian Quartz, intuition, culture, and earth changes
We walk by this spot almost every day. It’s our neighborhood in Seattle, a place to enjoy nature in the midst of city life in 21st-century America.
Or is it?
© 2013 Robyn M Fritz
Sometimes I get lucky and can help out another business, and I get luckier when it helps me out. Such is the case with Intuit GoPayment. Check our out interview at the Intuit GoPayment blog. OR check it out below: I’ve pasted it below this entry.
You might know Intuit as the company behind Quicken, which provides a host of financial service products for harried people, especially those of us who run small businesses. Did you also know you can process credit cards through them, even as an entrepreneur without a retail storefront?
I am probably the only person in the world who bought a smartphone so I could take credit cards (or, if not, the only one who will admit it). I am out and about helping people clear their homes and businesses and conducting seminars and public events at retail establishments. It’s increasingly awkward in our technological age to get paid for these services easily and reliably. Many people no longer carry checkbooks, and with checks you have to go to the bank (unless you have a smartphone connection to your bank, which is still rare) and you always have to worry about whether the check will bounce. In fact, many business owners will no longer take checks!
Plus, I admit, my business is esoteric, and credibility is important. I am not a flake with a crystal ball. I am a respected businesswoman whose partner is a crystal ball. I love to get paid for my work, and people love to pay me with a credit card. What’s not to like?
Well, confusion for one. Which is why I love Intuit GoPayment. It was easy to set up, they have friendly support people who will help if you get confused (which is routine for me and technology), and it works. I get paid wherever I am, my clients get receipts, and I get regular statements from Intuit.
Yep, there’s a service charge. Cost of business. Worth it. Check out Intuit’s services. Reliable company, excellent products.
Thank you to writer Kristine Hansen and Intuit for the interview!
©2013 Robyn M Fritz
by Kristine Hansen on November 2, 2012
As a life, business, and creative consultant, Robyn Fritz of Seattle guides clients into alignment with their goals through her company Alchemy West. She frequently shares her pearls of wisdom during workshops, conferences, and one-on-one consultations.
As a creative coach for writers and entrepreneurs, Fritz walks the talk as an author of two books, Bridging Species: Thoughts and Tales about Our Lives with Dogs and My Dog Is Dying: The Real Life Crappy Choice Diary, with a third in progress. All three discuss the human-animal bond.
The GoPayment Blog recently caught up with Fritz, a University of Michigan MBA and crystal energy healer, to chat about how GoPayment is the best tool in her pocket when it comes to ensuring her business’s profitable future.
GoPayment: What inspired you to launch your consulting business?
Fritz: My business is unique. When you can laugh and say, “I’m an MBA with a crystal ball,” you have to be prepared to be an entrepreneur because you just don’t fit anywhere else. I love being an entrepreneur. It can be hard and time-consuming, but there’s nothing like knowing you have the freedom, and the responsibility, to be the best you can be in the community at whatever you do.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the diversity of clients and work. Some are writing a book, others are learning to use their intuition for personal or business development, and still others need their home or business space to be vibrationally (or energetically) healthy. Every day is an opportunity to grow and participate in the community by meeting and working with people who are digging deep to find their best selves and to live it in the world. Bonus: Because I literally talk with all walks of life, I get to meet fascinating [home and business owners who] have their own stories to tell, so my work is never dull.
How has GoPayment helped you to keep everything in line?
Today’s entrepreneurs need every edge they can get, from streamlined services to credibility. We need the best price on the tools that make our lives easier. GoPayment is a dream come true. As my business grew, it became clear that I needed to streamline the payment cycle and take credit cards at events and onsite at consultations. So, I bought a smartphone. I chose GoPayment because it came from a reputable company; I could understand and easily use it without a hassle; and it was convenient, flexible, and had live support people who cheerfully helped me set it up and followed through.
I need my business services to be reliable, professional, credible, and classy. My clients are thrilled to use a credit card, and I am thrilled with GoPayment. I’ve never had a problem or complaint, and my business has soared because people trust it and it works.
You talk a lot about intuition. Do most people have that but need help finding it? When did you discover that you have a gift for intuition?
My work is about demystifying intuition: I help people understand that we are all intuitive and can learn how to use intuition as a practical, creative, and inspiring skill to improve our lives.
Listening to my ‘gut sense,’ or intuition, saved my life several times years ago; even then, I knew that I wasn’t just lucky, I was responding to an innate skill. I started to work with intuition professionally in 2001 [after] I realized that we limit ourselves by thinking of intuition as a spiritual tool when it’s something we’re all born with and can learn to tap to enrich our personal and professional lives.
You offer a “how to find your story” workshop. What could be an important first step for someone who might want to write about his or her life but does not know how to get started?
Putting a structure on a writing idea is the only sure way of actually getting anything written. Otherwise it is too daunting, because a book, or even an article, can cover a lot of ground.
I teach people how to break every story idea into five parts. Decide what you’re going to write first: an article, a memoir, or a novel. Figure out how long it will be, say, 50,000 words (that’s a short book, really). Pick five major events in that story and space them evenly throughout that 50,000-word length: a beginning, a rising action, a midpoint, a falling action, and the end. Five story points becomes the story structure. Then you get to write it!
A Wisconsin-based freelance writer, Kristine Hansen contributes business stories to many food and drink trade journals, as well as CNN.com, and blogs about mindful travel at Psychology Today. She also dishes out advice for writers at The Writer Magazine about running a successful writing business.
An interesting thing happened yesterday when I was out running errands: I ran into culture. Then I made a conscious choice to choose my culture. Again.
It’s impossible to escape the current debates in our country over gun control. Frankly, I don’t think controlling guns will control violence, not as long as people think civil discourse is hate speech and we glorify football, the military, and gory ‘entertainment.’ Because it’s not that our culture is violent: it’s that we love that it is and choose it.
Worse, it’s become the first thing we think about when we’re just out there trying to live our quiet, loving lives.
I’ve lived in the same Seattle beach community for nearly 25 years. We’ve had our share of incidents here, but we’re as American as apple pie—whatever that means.
What should it mean? That, really, is the question.
So, I was running errands when I noticed a woman rush into the street to flag me down. In a quick glance I saw: she was worried, dressed for business, and obviously needed something. Bad enough to risk flagging down a complete stranger.
While all this registered I noticed something else: I wondered, briefly, if she was trying to scam me, if I’d pull over and get shot or carjacked.
“Really?” I said to myself. “What is your problem, Robyn?”
My problem is culture.
But I kept the doors locked and rolled the window down far enough to talk with her. “Do you need help?” I asked her.
She had an important appointment, had missed her bus, and needed a ride to the bus stop. My gut sense saw nothing wrong, so I offered her a ride. I changed the order of my errands and took her straight to the bus stop.
As we chatted on the short drive, she said how much she believed in god (interesting, since I don’t, and I’d had that conversation a lot lately). For proof she pointed to a few recent incidents in which she’d been provided for at the last minute, just like she had with me. She had two possible appointments that morning (I never asked for what) and trusted in god to get her to one of them. She’d overslept and missed the first one, and had just missed the bus that would take her to the second. Everyone she’d tried to flag down (all men, by the way) had completely ignored her. Then I’d pulled over.
I said, “Well, maybe god should buy you an alarm clock, so you don’t miss the bus.”
“But,” she said, undaunted. “You came along.”
Indeed. And we made it to the bus stop just in time, and off she went to her appointment.
Now is this a lesson in intuition? Well, I work as an intuitive, but no, it wasn’t, any more than I’ve learned to trust my intuition and I had no sense she was anything more than a ditz (who was TOO trusting). But even intuition can be wrong—my first reaction on seeing her in the street was to ignore her. Was that intuition at work?
No, it was fear. A choice of culture.
I chose my culture, again, in an instant yesterday when a hard choice was in front of me. It was the kind of decision we face every day: how do we choose to live?
The choices as I saw them: ignore her, call the police, stop and help. In that order. As I saw them, they saddened me. When did the right choice become the last one? When did we, as citizens of the planet, as Americans, abandon love?
This is what we need to discuss in our country: what is culture, what is choice, how do we choose, what do we want?
I think in the last few weeks we’ve made our choice, as citizens, as Americans. While the politicians and the media traded barbs over violence, the ordinary average people like us simply reached out and hugged grieving strangers, wrapped community and love around a town that had just lost children to violence, and spread that love as far and wide as we could.
Because love is our only choice.
Will it stick? Will we finally say ‘enough,’ and choose love? Will we insist on a culture that lives love, however hard that is at times?
I hope so, but I don’t know. I do know that love is spreading. I was already the naïve person who would stop and help a stranger, and people are always chiding me for that. Well, truth is, I’m proud of me, proud that despite all the crap out there, I still choose the simple things that love prompts me to do.
Will someone stick a gun in my face someday because of that? I don’t know. But if that stops me, and stops you, then we’re all lost already, and it won’t matter.
The world has more good people in it than bad people. It’s just not fashionable to feature us. I think we should change that.
How? By choosing our culture.
So far, we’ve let fear rule public discourse, enough that our natural instincts to help are nearly undone by it—as I almost ignored a stranger yesterday who needed a simple act of kindness.
I choose love. It’s hard, it’s scary sometimes, it’s no longer the norm. But it can be. We’ve all seen how love can lead the way.
What is as American as apple pie? The culture of peace, community, love.
Be trusting. Be wise. Love. It will make a difference. It has to.
© 2012 Robyn M Fritz
Sure, we know play is a necessary part of our lives: it relieves stress, adds balance, and inspires creativity. But we’re usually so busy with ‘life’ that we simply ignore it.
Three things lately reminded me about the importance of play: an orca superpod off Alki Point in October, the Rainbow Boys’ guide team, and my deceased dog, Murphy, showing up to sing with Beethoven (yes, THAT Beethoven).
Orcas know how to play, like the breaching orca photographed by our neighbor, Gary Jones (thanks for sharing, Gary!). My dog, Alki, and I joined the throngs of people enjoying the superpod: everybody was relaxed, happy, cheerfully sharing binoculars and observations. Party atmosphere ruled.
Watching people watching orcas made me wonder: does it really take something extraordinary like that for us to relax and play? We don’t need to get permission to play, do we?
Of course the orcas were hunting. They were clear across the Sound from us, but I knew they were also enjoying themselves when I asked them if they would swim over to my side, so I could get a better look, and they laughed. The fishing was better where they were, they said. Hard to fault that logic, since orcas don’t go to grocery stores.
So I said, “Well, can you come to visit tomorrow, same time, only over here?”
“Sure!” one yelled, following that with a huge “Yay!” as it leaped clear out of the water in a breach that made all the gawkers, including me, laugh.
It was several days later, though, before they showed up again. When I teased them about forgetting our ‘date,’ they said: “Orca time or human time?” They told me how much they love being orcas: the water, the food, being together, their curiosity about us, their amusement at how much we love seeing them.
Yes, orcas love being orcas. To them, the hunt is as fun as it is necessary to life. Work is fun, and life-giving.
I am reminded of this daily in my Mindset Alchemy sessions with clients. Lately a client’s guides have shown up in sessions with other people. I’ve started calling these guides the Rainbow Boys: they are young athletes, vibrant, dressed in rainbow-swirled long-sleeved outfits that end below the knee. They’re carrying basketballs, soccer balls, balloons, whatever they need to play with while they check out what’s going on. They are perfect guides for my client, who has leaped into his dream of becoming a professional athlete (because it’s work he enjoys—fun!). But I didn’t know why these guides were showing up with other people.
“Sacred play,” the Rainbow Boys said.
“You guys just like playing with Fallon,” I teased.
“Yes,” they said, crowding in to play with Fallon, who, apparently, is a sports nut. “But it’s time for sacred play.”
They then taught me a body technique I’ve started calling “Marshmallow Spine.” In it, we first get the client grounded and balanced, and then we draw air in from the front of the body and let it float into the back. The air, like the air inside all the balls the Rainbow Boys play with, expands to cushion and relax the body. Instead of a stiff, hard spine, clients experiment with a soft spine that can still support the body but move more freely and expansively. Marshmallow Spine: support that nourishes. Flexibility. It takes a flat ball and allows it to bounce. It’s the exuberance in an orca breach. The play in our busy lives.
As I’ve experimented with the Marshmallow Spine technique I’ve noticed that it is the same feeling I got the day I was watching the orcas play: it was relaxing into joy. It’s the breath of play expanding into tense bodies. It fills empty spaces we didn’t know were empty until joy flowed in.
I was reminded of this as I was preparing dinner for friends last weekend. I turned on my stereo, surprised that it was full of classical music, which I hadn’t listened to in years. Then I remembered that I had chosen these CDs for my beloved Murphy’s funeral in March, as I consciously chose music that matched her vibrant nature.
Now as Beethoven’s Fifth filled the house, Murphy showed up, smiling, with her trademark cheerful, teasing attitude. I asked her why that music. She said it was music “angels sang to.”
“Angels singing to Beethoven?” I asked.
Murphy nodded and started harmonizing with Beethoven. Other voices sang along.
“It’s play,” Murphy said. “Sacred play.”
I got it. Beethoven wasn’t just a genius as a musician: he loved his work, it was fun for him. He tapped into the creativity that comes from hard work combined with inspiration and the pure joy of doing it. He played. He connected to others with his play, and he’s still doing it.
All these were my reminders that play matters. Not just for relieving stress in our busy lives: for keeping us open to joy and creativity. For helping us integrate joy into our lives. For connecting to other in our necessarily solitary journey through life.
We’ve had a hard year at our house. We lost Murphy in March. In October, we dealt with serious illnesses at our house, life-threatening conditions that are all resolved now. At the end of a grueling month we played: with each other, with orcas, with the Rainbow Boys and some adventurous clients, and with our beloved Murphy as she sang with the angels to Beethoven’s Fifth.
We discovered again the joy of sacred play. Orcas delight us in part because we recognize play at work. Full deep breathing relaxes us. Beethoven’s music endures because he took joy in his work. When we allow joy in our lives, we do the same thing. We connect: to other beings doing their work, to ourselves. To life in harmony with our beloved planet.
Play matters. Now just go do it: play. And let me know what your Marshmallow Spine discovers.
© 2012 Robyn M Fritz
“What am I supposed to do?” is a question I hear a lot in my intuitive practice.
A more challenging question is: “How do I become my best self?” This melds the search for identity and meaning with the practical, emotional, mystical, and, yes, fun aspects of our personal and professional lives.
The best thing? Both questions have the same answer: Get out of your way and get love.
Okay, fine, you say, but how do you do that?
You connect — with yourself, others and the community of all life. Yes, it’s hard work, but it will forever change how you look at the world and your role in it.
Ready? Here are five tips to get you started.
1. Change your mindset. As humans we’re trapped in a mindset we created: it says that we are at the “top of the food chain,” and so in charge. The problem is, the human paradigm of the world is wrong. From my intuitive practice of speaking and working with all life, whether animals, homes, businesses or nature, I know that everything is alive, has a soul, consciousness, responsibility and free choice. Most important: we are equals with all beings. This is the earth paradigm, and it is absolutely the way the planet really works — the only ones who don’t seem to know it are humans.
Meeting all life as equals is liberating: freed from the burden and ego-lock of being in charge, we can discover how the world really works, and how we can work with it. Everything changes — science, technology, medicine, art, politics, religion, culture, our daily lives. How do you live in a world where everything, from our chairs to animals to a volcano, has a job to do — and an attitude?
We can better find our way in the world when we understand the path that other beings take, and how the patterns weave together. It’s easy enough to do: sit down and talk to other beings. For example, ask your home how you can make it more comfortable in its work. When we expand into wonder, awe, respect and collaboration, we learn how our unique talents and abilities mesh with those of all beings, and how we each contribute to the welfare of our living, conscious planet. If we’re open to experience life as it really exists, we’re open to the mystery of the universe itself. Fun happens. Great choices (and conversations) abound.
2. Tap your intuition. Tapping our intuition is no more (or less) a spiritual practice than tapping our other senses. We are incomplete without our intuition. Dig deep to discover your strongest intuitive skill: knowing, seeing, feeling or hearing. Practice with simple things, like choosing dessert or buying a new shirt. As you intuitively learn to make better daily choices, you will enhance your ability to make life-changing ones, from where to live to what work to do. Intuition is our birthright: learning to use it means you’re taking the blinkers off being fully human, enriching your life and all others.
3. Claim your power. Never give your power away. The power sappers can be subtle: “synchronicity” and “what’s meant to be” can be two of them. It’s inspiring to get signs that offer both insight and connection, but sometimes things just happen. Learn from them, but never surrender deeply informed personal choice. Be resourceful, thoughtful, inventive. When you seek outside human opinions, accept only what resonates with your deeper, intuitive self. What is your truth? You, and only you, are the leader of yourself.
4. Get practical. Keep your day job. Taking care of the basics will help you get firmly grounded and balanced in the everyday world. Practicality informs inspiration.
5. Get creative — take time off. Taking a break is not only okay, it’s necessary. Taking time to laugh, play, and explore the world around you refreshes and enlightens you. Honest.
These five tips will help you become your own best self. Of course, they all come down to one: get connected.
While we all want and need to find meaning in our lives, our deepest yearning is for connection to the mystery of life itself. We find it in a healthy, balanced, collaborative relationship with the community of all life. We find it in love.
We start by creating our best selves. By changing our mindset to recognize the equality of all life, fine-tuning our intuition, and becoming strong and practical and creative, we shake off the “should” and free ourselves to love. Love connects us to our essential worthiness: we need to love and be loved, we are worthy of love, and we achieve that by loving ourselves first.
How we carry that into creating fulfilling lives is the mystery we’re here to explore. Have fun with it!
© 2012 Robyn M Fritz
My mom wore Tweety socks. She thought they were hilarious. She’d sit in her chair and raise her feet in the air, wiggling them at the world. Giggling.
Made me laugh, too.
Annoyed my brother. In fact, he was offended and objected to her wearing Tweety socks. They weren’t age appropriate.
Really? What is age appropriate? Braids? Beards? Hats in church? Cleavage? Shorts?
I asked my brother why he was so irate about the socks. Mom was a grandmother, too old for Tweety socks.
My mom was 68.
She had a collection of strange socks. She also had red hair (acquired when she was six months pregnant with me and bored) and expensive tastes, running to Ferragamo shoes, fast cars, and … Tweety socks.
When she died, at 68, I wanted certain things to remember her by, that had sentimental value, that made me smile. I took her socks. Even though I’ve since cleaned out many of the things I got from her, I kept her Tweety socks.
I found them in my drawer last week. They made me smile.
Truth is, my mom and I didn’t always get along. It wasn’t just the normal mother-daughter thing.
It was cultural.
My mom was adamant that women were inferior to men. She’d shake her finger in my face and yell it at me. Her insistence that neither of us were as good as a man because we were women still shocks me.
It wasn’t intellect. Or job. Or honesty or responsibility or respectability. It was being female. God and society told her so. That made it true.
I rebelled against that from Day 1. They slapped me in uniforms in Catholic school, and I stuck gaudy jewelry on them and hiked the skirts up. They insisted on hats in church and I wore a used handkerchief. I was a brat when I wasn’t giving in. I rebelled.
And I’m still rebelling. But that’s a topic for another day, the one that goes on about things like young women who claim they’re not feminists and take their husbands’ name when they get married. Excuse me: call yourselves whatever you want, except by your husbands’ name: culturally, intellectually, emotionally, that means you accept that you are inferior. So do men, other women, and society. Our children.
Until that changes, nothing changes, and society, and culture, remain stifled. If you act inferior, you will be. Just like my mother said.
But back to the Tweety socks.
One day years ago I was walking through Nordstrom’s when I spotted a sweatshirt sequined with a winning poker hand. Not only was my mom a poker player (a regular winner at the local tavern), but she loved those sequined sweatshirts. I always thought they were gaudy, but she liked them, and that’s still how I remember her, wearing those gaudy sweatshirts. That day at Nordstrom’s I bought the sequined horror. The excited clerk giftwrapped it and prepared it for shipping while I tucked in a note that said, “I love you, mom.”
Mom was shocked when she got it. I guess she thought I was prepping her for something horrible, like a disease or a new husband. I’m not one for giving spontaneous presents, and especially not expensive ones. But every once in awhile you get to tell your mom that you love her as weirdly as you can. That was all.
I saw her wear it once. For me. She was clearly uncomfortable. I had to chuckle at that: I never liked the clothes she bought me, either. She’d buy things that were way not me and pink: the only pink in my house is a laundry accident (well, okay, I have two cross-dressing flamingos).
My mom was smart enough to buy things just to annoy me, but only one thing ever did (for long): her hatred of equality.
I don’t live in an unequal world, because inequality isn’t the way it really is. I know. I talk with things: with animals, with our businesses and homes, with land and weather systems. I talk with them as equals, and they talk back as equals. There are masculine and feminine presences, and none of them are worth more than the others.
Think about that. A world where everything is alive and we are all equal. Think of what we could create! Think of what our children could be.
Last week when I found mom’s Tweety socks again, I thought about her, how the socks outraged my brother, and made me and our mom laugh.
I thought about her beliefs.
And her attitude.
My mother was a product of her times. She did what they told her, believed what they insisted, never achieved what she could have, not just in a career but in her life. She was always sad.
She also sold the house out from under my dad one day when he was working.
She played poker at night at a local tavern.
And she wore whatever she wanted. Right down to her Tweety socks.
Honestly, my mom was a rebel, in her own way. Not brave enough to stand up for the big things, but aware of the differences. I like to think her ugly duckling daughter’s rebellious spirit rubbed off on her.
Or I inherited hers, and am just running with it.
I wonder if rebelling is what mom was doing with the Tweety socks. Why she refused to get rid of them. I wonder if that’s part of the reason why I kept them.
Protest with humor.
Nevertheless, no one ever saw her Tweety socks except the family. They were covered up in public.
Her socks were in the closet.
No one, and nothing, should be. Not even our Tweety socks.
That’s why I kept them. That’s why I care.
Here’s to mom. And equality.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz
Unfortunately, I think what most women have in common is an obscene phone caller. We’ve either had it happen to us or to someone we know.
But I have a new way of dealing with it. Won’t you help?
My most recent experience with an obscene phone caller was shocking and unsettling in a way I never anticipated. Comcast had just installed wireless internet for me, and activated telephone functions I had never bothered with: one was Caller ID.
The call came one evening. I answered, and the man on the other end literally went off on me. Gross.
I hung up on him.
He called back several times over the next few days. I know because I learned what Caller ID was all about. One time, he left a beyond pornographic grunting message that was so appalling I had to cover my ears (not being smart enough to simply turn off the answering machine). Worse, I felt exposed and vulnerable.
My friends insisted I call the police.
Well, years ago I’d had a similar, less pornographic experience. The police came out and sympathized while not commenting on how people should protect themselves if the caller showed up in person. The phone company advised me to shout, “I’ve got your number and I’ll see you in court.” I tried that: it worked.
This time, years of technology intervened.
I called the phone company. They taught me how to find phone messages (no wonder people had been complaining about unreturned phone calls) and to how to block a caller. They also urged me to call the police.
So I did. From the nonemergency number I was directed to 911. The 911 dispatcher asked if I’d saved the message left on my recorder.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked. “I was not going to bed with that message on my machine. But I do have his phone number.” (At last, technology works for me!)
The dispatcher wanted to know what I wanted to do. He wanted to send a police officer to file an official complaint.
What did I want to do about this man? Honest, I thought about it. The answer came quickly, unexpectedly, and was totally right.
“I want you to call his mother,” I said.
“Ma’am, we can’t do that,” the dispatcher responded.
“You asked me what I wanted, and I want you to call his mother. I bet a lot of this stuff would stop if these creeps’ mothers knew what they were doing.”
“We can’t do that.”
“Well, you should,” I said reasonably and calmly. I was so right. “Besides, I’ve got his number, you should trace that back to him and find his mother.”
“Ma’am, I’m sending an officer to talk with you.”
And he did. Less than ten minutes later one of the tallest men I’d ever seen showed up at my door, in full uniform, including a gun. Honestly, he was so big I was intimidated. And his gun—what if it accidentally fired and hit one of my kids?
We talked. I gave him the obscene phone caller’s number.
He stared at it, shaking his head. “These guys are idiots.”
“No kidding,” I said. “But tell me, since everybody but me knows about Caller ID, did he do it on purpose, so I could find him, or is he just an idiot?”
“Hmm,” the officer said. “How do you think he found you?”
“The phone book?” I said. “How do I know? I do have websites, it could be the Internet.”
And here came the second shocker. The officer’s face twitched knowingly and a brief smirk flitted across it. “Oh, you’re on the Internet,” he said.
Granted, I’m an intuitive and hear things I shouldn’t, but you didn’t need to be a psychic to know what he was thinking. I don’t jump to conclusions, but his were written all over his face.
I was furious, but went deadly quiet. “I am a respectable businesswoman. I do not run a pornographic site.”
He had the grace to flinch and flush. But he didn’t apologize.
He filed a police report. Gave me a case number. Said the police in Oklahoma, where the phone was registered, would check it out. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
Technology has such a large reach now that they can police anything. Find anyone. Anywhere. Sobering. But not real comforting. It isn’t solving our problems, like obscene phone callers. And it wasn’t what I wanted.
“What do you want us to do?” the officer asked. Again.
“I want you to call his mother. I want her to know what a creep she raised. I want her to stop him.”
He assured me that the police couldn’t do that.
Too too bad.
Really, wouldn’t respectability solve a lot of things? At least good manners?
Would wars end because women stood up and refused to send their children to fight?
Would thieves and bad bankers and bad mortgage lenders and bad businesses think twice about whatever crap they were pulling?
Would obscene phone callers be forever silenced if their mothers knew what they were doing?
Sure, some mothers don’t care. Some mothers aren’t really mothers, or citizens of the planet. But a lot of them are.
And more women are like me: sisters, aunts, cousins, friends.
So here you go. All you women out there, talk to your kids, to all the kids you know, about manners. Weirdness. Obsessions.
Granted, our kids don’t always grow up to be good guys. But every woman out there has to try to teach them what it means to be good citizens and neighbors. Set an example of community, compassion, integrity, and simple politeness.
It isn’t that hard. Won’t you help?
Call their mothers. Embarrass all of them.
Stand up for your planet. Your country. Your neighbors.
Do right by your kids.
Make the rest of us proud.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz
He didn’t mean to make me smile.
He had been loitering by my shopping cart.
We were both stocking up on office supplies. I was, as usual, simply exhausted by the choices. Wouldn’t life be easier if we didn’t have so much to choose from?
Think about it. I do. A lot. Even choosing a donut is fraught with anxiety: should it be raspberry filled, triple chocolate peanut butter, lemon glazed, or pistachio cream cheese?
With so many options, is it a really a donut, or a lifestyle choice?
Okay, maybe donuts are a lifestyle choice, but, really, isn’t it less stressful, less complicated, and equally satisfying to order coffee and a cruller than a caramel macchiato and a blueberry coconut cake donut? While we’re standing there, weighing our choice as if it really mattered, have we done one thing to connect with the people around us, made one step towards building community?
Yesterday in the office supply store the choices weren’t nearly as delectable as donuts. From the store’s towering shelves to the competing bins of goods it was confusing, tiring, and boring. I needed supplies to keep my business running and I’d had a traumatic few weeks. Which is to say I had a lot on my mind and it wasn’t just donuts and office supplies.
I was headed back to my chock full shopping cart when I saw him.
Mid-thirties, clean cut, he stepped away from my cart as he caught my eye and shyly waved at my cart. “I was leaving you something.”
He shrugged sheepishly, then walked back to my cart, picked something up off my stack, and handed it to me. “I thought you could use this.”
It was a coupon for $30 off a $150 purchase.
I laughed and thanked him. We smiled at each other and he left.
Just like that, the day got a whole lot better.
This is the thing I like about the new economy. Yes, it seems like people are a whole lot meaner and greedier. Fear seems to have stripped many of us down to some desperate level where we run right over anyone, or anything, we even suspect might be in our way.
But even more people are paying attention and reaching out to connect, even as simply as handing a shy smile and a $30 coupon to a frazzled stranger.
Those are the things that keep me going. I’m still overwhelmed by the choices in things we can buy. Fewer choices would be simpler, but it might not be better. Don’t know.
What I do know is that sometimes the choices are simple. As easy as handing a stranger a coupon and getting a smile back.
These are the choices I’m liking in the new economy: how we’re finding simpler ways to connect.
What are you choosing?
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz
My mom loved Southwest art. My dad loved my mom. I loved them. When the eagle kachina dropped into our lives, I was greedily snatching as much time with them as I could, building memories.
One day my dad called and said he’d found an art piece for mom. “Not like yours,” he said wryly.
“Oh, bummer,” I said.
We both giggled, remembering the day years before when I’d announced that I’d bought my first art piece. “Does it have horses?” he’d asked. Of course it did.
“So what is it, Indian stuff?” I asked now, referring to mom’s penchant for all things Southwest, right down to their interior décor.
“Of course,” he said. “But it’s big, so when you come down for Christmas will you take me to get it?”
“Absolutely.” I was touched, my parents never asked for much.
A Family’s Last Holiday
So at Christmas that year, I drove dad downtown to pick up his gift for mom. We got it safely home and unwrapped it together, while Dad told me the story of how they found it. Dad was crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, so it fell to me to giftwrap it, ironic, since he had taught me the art of giftwrapping when I worked for him in his business.
We didn’t quite know what to make of this art piece: about two feet wide and tall, it was a copper sculpture, partly painted turquoise, with a curious mixture of human and really big bird. We knew it was the artist’s representation of native American art and spirituality, but that was it: we were appreciative, but ignorant, barbarians.
Eagle Kachina, the tag said. Expensive and hard to wrap, I thought, and not my taste.
But it was clearly my mom’s. Christmas Eve she ripped off my lumpy wrapping and spent the next week dragging Mr. Eagle Guy, as we called it, around the house, trying to decide where to hang it.
I reveled in that Christmas. I got to help my dad give a gift to my mom. I got to listen to my mom babble about it. And I got to share a small family moment with my parents, a moment where we celebrated and had fun together, glorying in the family bond. In community.
As it turned out, it was also the last Christmas I shared with my parents. My dad died in June, and my mom 10 months later.
The Eagle Kachina Comes Home … Sort Of
When we closed up their home, my brother and I sorted out who got what. I insisted on taking Mr. Eagle Man, not because I really liked it, but because it was a concrete reminder of a wonderful last holiday with my parents, at a time when illness and disability dulled all three of us.
No question the piece came home to live with me.
Years went by. Years when I moved the piece around the house. It was beautiful, yes, but not my taste.
It also didn’t belong in my home.
Things like this happen. However they end up with us, the objects in our life don’t always fit. Sometimes we change, or they do, and it’s time for them to move on. The trick is to recognize that and to figure out what happens next.
Truth is, the eagle kachina never fit in my home. These days I work as a professional intuitive, which means I talk with things, from animals to businesses, homes, nature, and, yes, objects, including this piece. Back then I only knew that the piece was sentimental but just plain felt odd to me. It didn’t belong with me. Finally acknowledging that, I thanked it for its service to my family, and asked it to start looking for a new home, while also promising that I would not simply discard it. It was beautiful, full of family memories, and also represented an artist’s vision of a sacred object. It needed to call, and be called, home. Wherever home was.
It stayed with me for a long time, because no matter what I did, I couldn’t find out anything about the piece or the artist, or how to properly, well, rehome it. Not surprising, I guess, because it had been years, and the artist might have moved on, literally and artistically.
The Search for Home
Years went by.
One day, my new friend Tara came by. I was showing her my small condo, and she took one look at the eagle kachina and said, “When you’re ready to sell that, let me know.”
She told me that she collects Southwest art, and she thought my piece would fit well with a large metal sculpture that she’d purchased several years before. She’s a real estate agent and a Reiki master with an easy strong intuition, so when she said she wanted the piece, I just smiled.
She suggested that the store she’d bought her large piece from would know how to value it. So I emailed Hogan Trading Company with a picture and a question.
They promptly emailed back: not only could they put a value on it, they represented the artist, Dale J. Anderson. I spent a few minutes exploring his art at their website. Intriguing. After years wondering, all it took to find the artist was a new, visiting friend.
Strange small world. Awesome universe.
More time went by, because truth is, even when special pieces have to go, a part of you still clings to them. The kachina had to go. Talking with the piece, I knew that it belonged with Tara. The kachina and I both needed time to separate from each other: it was as if we’d both been waiting for its new home to show up before we could really say goodbye to each other. There had to be a new community before the old one could end.
Finally, I told Tara to come get it. Even though she’d only seen it once, briefly, months before, she promptly agreed.
I carefully wrapped it and Tara took it home.
Not long after, she called. The eagle kachina fit perfectly in her home: its beauty and its energy felt great. She was thrilled because it went so well with the treasured, large sculpture she’d invested so much in.
The odd extra touch: when she unwrapped it, she discovered the two pieces were by the same artist.
The eagle kachina really was home.
Treasures of Community
Truth is, I could have kept the piece in the family, or put it up for auction, or done any number of things with it. But the only thing I felt right about was honoring my parents’ love and family bond by finding another family that would fit this piece. It needed a community, and I couldn’t let it go without that.
Its home now is with Tara. For me, the circle is complete. I’ve been lucky enough to meet new people in a new community, and the eagle kachina has bridged both of them. It’s home now. And so am I.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz
I had the flu in February. Big time. Haven’t been that sick in years. Bad cough. High fever. So sick I needed help.
I’m the only human in my multi-species family, so getting help was hard. Yes, I have friends to call, and no, I didn’t want to. The ‘flu’ (an epidemiologist told me they couldn’t identify this ‘flu,’ but I’m sure it was as close to a plague as we could ever fear to see). So many people were so sick with it that I worried about accidentally contaminating them by even having them deliver groceries or walk the dogs.
Taking care of myself was hard. Stunning, blinding, debilitating hard. I needed help. So did my animal family.
It’s taken me all year to get well. Two months to recover from the flu, four to recover from the side effects, still counting on rebuilding my energy.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about what would have happened to my animal family if I’d died.
That’s when I realized that I hadn’t updated my will in 9 years. My two dogs, Murphy and Alki, were provided for, but Grace the Cat would, technically, end up homeless. Although I’d had the guardianship conversation recently with any number of people, I hadn’t followed up for my own kids. I’d essentially ignored an essential element of the human-animal bond: I hadn’t made sure they would always be cared for.
So here’s what you do for your animal family: before you die.
Financial and Legal Provisions
So, have I updated care instructions for my kids? Um, well. Yes, guardians are notified, monies are set aside, preferences and needs are identified.
Here’s what I learned this year.
Being sick reminds us that we’re mortal, which reminds us that things end. I want to make sure that if I can’t be there, someone else will be: someone who will try, as hard as I do, to create a healthy happy multi-species family.
In the meantime, I’m going to remind myself every day that I’m alive, my kids are alive, and we have the world’s best family. I make sure to tell them that every day.
My kids know it, and believe it.
How about yours? Tell them you love them, every day. Before it’s too late. Enjoy your animal family. And don’t forget: if you’re not there, someone almost as good as you should be. Make sure of it.
© 2011 Robyn M Fritz