Day 011 – The Madame Karitska exercise

The exercise described in yesterday’s post–taking what could count as an ordinary trip or task and making it exotic, exciting, and enriching simply by seeing it with fresh eyes–as done by Dorothy Gilman’s character, Madame Karitska:

“Madame Karitska was going shopping this morning at Banmaker’s, a delight very new to her, and although she intended to buy only a few yards of silk she had arranged her adventure as if it were a trip to Europe. She agreed with Gurdjieff, whom she had known at one point in her life, that one of the most important foods, second only to plant foods, was the ingestion of new impressions to stimulate and nourish the spirit. She chose to walk to the store by a route that was colorful to the eye, and upon arriving at Banmaker’s she stood transfixed at the entrance, absorbing the marvels before her: broad aisles, brilliant light and colors; books in bright jackets with letters fairly catapulting from the page to catch the eye; purses of leather and velvet and tapestry heaped in piles; a ribbon counter dazzling with stripes of fuchsia, melon, scarlet, pink, orange, blues.” From The Clairvoyant Countess by Dorothy Gilman (Random House Publishing Group, 1975).



Madame Karitska, the clairvoyant countess, is a fictional character Dorothy Gilman created in the 1970s and then revisited in her book Kaleidoscope about 25 years on. She was a Russian aristocrat whose family had to escape from Russia and fell into poverty at the time of the Revolution. She is portrayed as a child who was born with the sixth sense, who in later life developed her innate capacity for psychometry (divining past, present, and sometimes future by holding and “reading” an object) through spiritual practices and mindful living.

The Gurdjieff referred to in the passage is almost certainly George Gurdjieff, who, Wikipedia tells us, “was an influential early 20th century mystic, philosopher, spiritual teacher, and composer.” (

3 thoughts on “Day 011 – The Madame Karitska exercise

  1. Pingback: Day 061 – Checking in on my hypothesis | A Year of Living Curiously

  2. Pingback: Day 082 – Shopping (again) | A Year of Living Curiously

  3. Pingback: Day 251 – Exercises mentioned, now with links | A Year of Living Curiously

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