Lucky 13: Fare Tredici

Lucky13-min

To do 13 and hit the Jackpot! In Italy the number 13 is considered lucky while others become fearful if the 13th day of the month, happens to land on a Friday. 

If only life were that simple, just stay away from unlucky numbers. What makes a number lucky or unlucky?

I keep seeing the number 13 everywhere. Haven’t decided yet, if it’s lucky or not.

Something has been haunting me for almost a year now… Have you ever made a wish and then your wish came true, but not in the way you expected?

October 13th is my birthday. Last year on that day, my grandfather died.

I had actually wished for it.

He was in a living hell, trapped in the final stages of alzheimer’s/dementia and I desperately wanted his suffering to end.

Not only did I wish for it, I prayed, asked for help from dead relatives and any other spiritual entity I thought might be listening.

The last thing I would do before leaving my grandfather’s side, was kiss his cheek and whisper in his ear that it was time for him to move on

I wanted his soul to know it was all right for this to be over, he didn’t need to hold on anymore. I was trying to release him, even though it wasn’t in my power to do so.

Almost one year later, I still feel lost. I haven’t figured out the significance of him dying on that day.

Everywhere I look there it is again, the number 13.

I’m not ready yet. In spite of that, the day approaches.

He found peace on the same day, he had felt great joy when his princess was born.

Lucky number 13.

It might be time, for another tattoo.

F.

Read more: Fallen Angel On the Run

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Blessings in Disguise

As the money left my hand it instantly made me feel better about the day. A little, old Indian man was feeding fresh fish to a group of alley cats and crows, I couldn’t resist making a contribution.

Maybe the fish wasn’t so fresh and maybe some of the cats scared me a bit… but at that moment it felt like I had never been touched by anything so deeply. I even found myself saying, “May God bless you” to the man.

He was unaffected by how dirty or sickly some of them looked. They were important to him, even in all this.

I had taken a break from “trying” to cross the street in Mumbai without getting killed, and being aggressively harassed to purchase scarves while running errands.

This man’s simple act of generosity amongst all the chaos marked me. A break from the ever-present hand of cruelty. Hungry people, hungry animals, and a government and upper class that doesn’t seem to care.

The ones we’ve forgotten about. Scavenging children and animals surviving only on what is being given up, or thrown away. Stealing food from another mouth in an attempt to survive. No rules, no fear. Nothing.

What scene would render you speechless?  There’s a naked man asleep on the sidewalk. Unable to process what you just saw? From the balcony of their high rise luxury homes they can see those that lie on the sidewalk in rows and rows… and rows…

Don’t you love it when the world restores your faith in humanity just when you need it the most?

A man from Rajasthan asked me if I could write a letter for him in English.

It was to, Celia the woman he was madly in love with. He wanted to express in a language he couldn’t write,

How he didn’t want to live without her, even for one minute.”

He signed it with one thousand kisses, and toothlessly kissed my cheek in thanks. 

Memory. These lessons I struggle not to forget.

F.

Read more: Fallen Angel On the Run

A Sense of Peace

Peace-min

Every single time a monk crosses my path, I can’t help but stare. The blast of colour from their saffron robe, awakens me. This striking, bright shade layered onto glistening brown skin, a cleanly shaved head and pearly white smile. One of the most captivating images I have ever laid my eyes on.

Simply being in their presence evokes the most powerful sense of peace. No matter what is on your mind, this sensation grabs hold of you like the strongest gust of wind and leaves you wanting more.

Stepping onto the grounds of a temple resembles entering a mysterious, enchanted forest. Even if the location of the temple is right in the city centre, all of the trees and greenery easily make you feel thousands of miles away from civilization.

What a magnificent place to live! The temples alone are a sight to see with their detailed artwork and when placed in this setting, I have a terribly hard time ever wanting to leave.

I had the opportunity to participate in a Vipassana Meditation session led by the monks at a Wat in Vientiane, Laos.

Anticipating the session, I was as excited as a child on Christmas morning. Walking onto the grounds trying to take in as much as I could, the excitement I felt grew and grew.

Wild dogs happily chased each other in the lush grass while a few monks quietly raked leaves nearby. Birds chirped a familiar song in the rustling trees surrounding the temple, as I chose my pillow and sat in lotus pose. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. They began to chant…

I opened my eyes and smiled. Oh, what a wonderful day!

I tried my best to shut everything else out, except the cleansing sound of their voices.

Completely in the moment, I inhaled light, love and serenity.

F.

“If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having.”

―Henry Miller

Read more: Fallen Angel On the Run

Torn to Pieces

The desert. Rajasthan, India.

A woman stumbles onto the scene. She hastily moves around in circles, desperate to find her way. She stops and addresses the audience.

The sound of brutally vicious growls, snarls, and barks entangle me. Survival. How am I going to make it out of this one alive? Thinking I was a threat, they are threatening me in return. Overwhelming thought of the moment, “WHERE AM I!?”

Her eyes already laced with the first tinge of a lack of confidence, peak out from behind a colourful, embroidered headscarf.

Sunscreen isn’t quite enough to tame this ferocious side of the blazing hot sun. I took a wrong turn and now I’m lost and alone, on some all too quiet dirt road. All too quiet…I hate anyone who has ever shared a gruesome story about rape or murder. Why are my nerves so rattled? I’ve been lost and found my way many times before, I can do it again! Their sounds rapidly erase my renewed confidence.

Boom. Boom. Boom. My heart pounds in my throat, manifesting itself into a lump of terror that keeps growing and growing. I can’t swallow or breathe properly, I have lost total control. My body paralyzed by fear has a mind of its own, weak and shaken I fight to keep moving, with my surroundings spinning an unsettling tornado all around.

“Legs please don’t fail me now!” This empty, dusty dirt road, how quickly can my feet get me away from it? How many of them are there and what will they do to me?

I close my eyes. Sweat droplets and tears mingle and dance all over my face. I see their sharp, pointy teeth and feel their angry breath biting and tearing. Torn. I’m torn to pieces and there’s nothing left. My fear filling their veins like a drug, enticing them, drawing them in, riling them up and making them angrier and more deadly. With each inconspicuous step I try to take, in a feeble attempt to escape them, they inch closer and closer. Their barks signal others to join their pack of hate and my time is running out. If only I could cover myself completely with this headscarf and just disappear.

The woman desperately tries to hide behind the headscarf.

Bang. Bang. Bang. In a flash it’s all over, as a beat up truck pulls up right in the nick of time. Instantly aware of my dilemma the driver had begun to hit his car door in an attempt to frighten the dogs. Without blinking an eye, I jump in the front seat next to him and begin to sob. I can still hear the dogs barking in the distance…as we drive off. Far, far away from this dusty, dirt road.

F.

Read more: Torn

Dogs-compressor

Money for Food

She hobbles her way up and down the hill every night, one wobbly step at a time.  Always to the same spot at the same corner, she’s had the most luck while she was standing right there.

It’s the busiest intersection in the neighbourhood, more cars always amounts to better chances and every bit of extra change counts.  The bus shelter is an added bonus, a much needed refuge on the bitter cold nights. Fearlessly weaving her way through the cluster of stopped cars, she knows exactly how long the red light lasts and how quickly she needs to do her job.

There have been quite a few close calls where she almost got hit, even those scary moments haven’t been enough to make her afraid. In a city this size if you spend that much time standing in the middle of the street, you’re bound to get hit at some point. Or at least, come really close.

While trying to forget some of the other days, this day provides her with a much needed gift, one or two relaxed sighs of relief. It’s warm out which means at least for tonight, she has a few less things to worry about. Her chapped hands will start to heal and the wind chill won’t bring those little tears that start to form in the corners of her eyes. Since she can’t walk so well anymore that black ice can be a hidden danger she doesn’t need. Not tonight. Tonight she’ll walk taller with a bit more spring in her step, breathing easier.

The warm weather often brings better moods, smiling faces and more generosity.  Fingers crossed, this usually works in her favour. One too many angry or annoyed looks can stay with her for days. Reduced productivity ruins her chances of possibly being able to take a night off, maybe.

Each vehicle a stage for its own silent performance, rapid cut out hints of relationships and day to day life piled one on top of each other.  Still, quiet faces turned in opposite directions, eternally searching and endlessly caught in a long pause with absolutely nothing to say.

She holds her sign here and there hoping for it to be noticed. She raises it up as high as she can when you pass, wanting you to take just one moment to give it a read. That little square of cardboard has almost started to feel like a part of her but she does not miss it when it isn’t there.

It took her forever to decide what to write on it. Money for Food.  A simple enough request, just stop and read the sign. Water, food, shelter and pleading. Please, I have nothing, give something, give a little every bit counts. I need, haven’t made much today.

Stare into her eyes.  It isn’t as easy as you might think, handing it all over. Her actions are a reflection of hopelessness, empty mountains of woulda, coulda, shoulda been. Life is so much simpler now. Water, food, shelter. With help, help you, help me, help her.

Stop what you’re doing and please take a moment just to read her beat up cardboard sign.

F.

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Goodbye Letter to Papa

papa-min

The day I was born was one of the happiest days of my grandfather’s life. Every year his voice singing, “Happy Birthday” opera style, was a cherished part of my celebrating. After 92 years of singing, on that day, we could no longer hear his voice.

Dear Guido,

Let us hear you sing one more time,
come laugh with us.

Your smile is surely what we will miss most…

Promise to smile for us soon, if only this time as an angel in our dreams.

We shall not cry, no.
We won’t shed a tear.

We are among the fortunate ones who got to share our life with someone as special as you are.

Instead we will learn from your example; and dance, sing, laugh and love…
Throughout the good, and we will do it even more during the hardest times.

We will tear up the dance floor when we are almost 90 and remain active.
You understood how sitting for too long was bad and moving was what kept you young.

Forever young
Cracking jokes and smiling,
Till you took your last breath.

A smile which did in fact have the power to light up a room.

We will pick roses in the garden for our wives and stay light hearted about life,
befriending everyone.
Take our grandchildren on our laps, letting them know they are forever loved.

We promise not to cry Guido,
Instead we will raise a glass
In honor of this prince who shared our life with us who will be so dearly missed.

We will celebrate every moment,
Even the ones when our hearts are breaking.

We celebrate you Guido,
We toast to you!

Forever in our hearts and never forgotten.
Sing for the angels now, Papa!

How lucky they are to have you…

Love,

your granddaughter

F.

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My Favorite Things

Coconut

It’s time for something positive! I’ve been practising singing a song for a special little girl in my life. I think I’m doing a reasonable job so far, the cat approaches me when I’m singing and doesn’t quickly run out of the room. He could also just be coming closer because he’s trying to claw my eyes out, I guess we’ll see…

The song is, “My Favorite Things”.

When the dog bites, when the bee stings

When I’m feeling sad

I simply remember my favorite things

And then I don’t feel so bad

No matter who you are or whatever planet you’re from, everyone has a list of favorite things.

There is a key to every heart, we all have memories, moments, tastes, smells and loved ones that immediately can make us happy.

What if part of getting over a really bad day was about taking a moment to remember or focus on some of our favorite things?

I had the recent opportunity to see Tony Robbins live and participate in a guided heart meditation, where he asks you to remember three things you are truly grateful for.

How amazing does it feel, to outwardly send a thank you to the universe with your whole heart for the blessings you just couldn’t live without! Why don’t I just sit in gratitude more often?

Also, why do I want to have sex with this man so bad! Tony Robbins is to motivational coaching what Leonard Cohen is to music! Tony really speaks to me and I’m not just talking about my crotch area…Not in a weird cultish kind of way, but in an honest everything he says seems to make a lot of sense way.

I was PMSing when I attended his seminar so the experience was a bit of an emotional roller coaster.

I laughed, I cried, hugged some strangers, checked if I looked fat in the bathroom mirror and had a shit load of carbs as soon as it was all over!

Without further delay here are some of my favorite things in no particular order:

Watching the sunset with my toes in the water,

Killing my workout,

Cat paws

Sipping a coconut with a straw and dancing with Papa.

Stepping off a plane in a new place to explore…

The first smell of spring lilacs,

Endless kisses

Spending the day writing under a tree

& being an auntie.

Take a minute to think about some of your favorite things! 🙂

F.

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Trash to Treasure

Garbage-min

Garbage. One simple, nasty word that can be applied to so many things these days. The inescapable epidemic of violence, American politics, the web of lies that both the pharmaceutical and advertising industries weave, or the nutrient lacking mountain of chemicals we refer to as our food supply. All garbage.

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.” Mahatma Gandhi

One of the views from my Toronto high rise displays the lack of balance in our world. Day after day those that have nothing search through the garbage of those that have too much. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, literally. Poverty or suffering without one’s basic human needs being met is a timeless, universal problem. One that we have obviously no interest in solving.

Where is the balance?

Maybe it’s trapped at the bottom of that stuffed to capacity garbage bin. Under the old stuff I got rid of because I bought some new stuff, or the extra stuff I had for a while that I wasn’t using and the stuff I bought on sale even though I already had the same stuff at home…Balance.

Most of us can’t even wrap our heads around any reality that is too far removed from our perfect, disconnected, selfish lives. Isn’t posting something on social media proactive? Screw social media and the little cocoons we build around ourselves while we stare at the flickering blue screens on our cell phones.

I dare you just for a moment, to truthfully imagine this:

Once upon a time,

You own and have absolutely nothing. Everything you eat is either a hand out, or comes from what you can find in someone else’s trashYou have nowhere to sleep tonight and every other night…The End

F.

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