Harriett Fels 1947-2009 / I Love You Harriett!

Harriet Fels - Gilles - Sharon in their California home

Harriett Fels - Gilles - Sharon (Amari) in their California home circa 1996


My friend Harriett passed away few weeks ago. I am still in a state of shock. Harriett was the one who was supposed to live longer than any of us. She believed it and we all believed it. But Life decided otherwise and now she’s gone.

I have written the following text to be read at her Memorial tonight in California (If you knew Harriet please leave a comment below):

I met Harriett in the early 80s. We were both doing EST Seminars and I quickly noticed this beautiful and vivacious young woman who kept asking questions about the essence of Life and the nature of Truth. She would challenge the leaders and would want to go deeper into any topics whether it was Love, Freedom, Intention, Relationships, everything… She was a Seeker, always looking for the most profound answers.

Then I learned she was living and eating the Macrobiotic Way – just like I did at that time.  So when Algae came into my life in 1988 I naturally presented this opportunity to Harriet. It seemed like a perfect match for her. She flatly said she would never ever be interested in anything like this and refused to hear about blue-green algae. I did not give up that easily.  I had seen in Seminars how Harriet was never stuck in her perspective and was always willing to modify her conclusions when presented with new information. Although she almost never talked about it she was a member of MENSA – the high IQ Society. But I knew it. So when I invited Daryl Kollman to give a talk for the North American  MENSA convention in Montreal I asked Harriet to interview him for her newspaper. She agreed and came out of the meeting with 2 bottles of algae and a distributor agreement form in her hands.

Few years later as a massively successful Cell Tech Leader with a network of more than 35,000 members she wrote the following in a letter: “vibrating the message – you’re great, of course you can do it, you ARE doing it – literally allowed me to become the dynamic, confident, miraculous, stupendous, ecstatic Cell Tech distributor that I am today (and modest!)”.

We all know Harriet loved Nature. Not just as a concept, she also loved Being in Nature. The first time I came for a visit to her California home she treated Guylaine and I to a long walk along the Yuba river with wonderful scents of wild laurel I believe. This is something else we shared – our love for Mother Earth. When she lived in Quebec in the year 2000 she would come to my home every Monday and we would climb up the mountain where I live. We would taste the wild ginger and horseradish and other plants. We would also track the deer or the fox just for the pleasure of discovering their way of life. One rainy Monday we saw fresh tracks of a lynx, something very rare in my location. We followed the tracks with great excitement and we completely got lost. We had been gone for the whole day and the light was going down fast. It was late fall and the night would be chilly. To come back home rapidly we had to come down the hill on the cliff side and it was both steep and muddy. At one point we had to just slide on our back in the mud straight down for about 20 feet without knowing where we would be landing. It was scary and of course Harriett used this event metaphorically to “let go and trust the Universe”.  We eventually made it to the path behind my house. We were sitting on a wet rock – exhausted, tired, dirty. Harriet had mud on her hair and on the right side of her face. I felt very guilty and was about to apologize for a poorly prepared trip when she looked at me with her glorious smile and said “Wow! That was great! Let’s do it again next week”. That spectacular smile in the middle of her lovely muddy face is how I will remember Harriet for the rest of my life.

I love you Harriett

Gilles Arbour
May 17th 2009

Our friend John David Mann also wrote a text for Harriett’s Memorial:

Dear Harriett,

I’ve known you for well more than 20 years, nearly half my life. In that time you’ve always been one of the most serious, earnest people I know. Yet you continually catch me by surprise when, in the very midst of an intensely focused conversation—and this happens every time we talk—you will suddenly burst out with a smile that lights up the room, like the sun breaking through a scrim of clouds.
Just thinking about it now makes me smile—in earnest.
When I think of you, two words come to mind. The first is champion.
As long as we’ve known each other, you’ve always been a champion of causes large and small, global and personal. Of people and places, of plants and elements, principles and possibilities. There’s something inexpressibly gentle about the way you love the earth and the underdog—and something the opposite of gentle about your fierceness in defending that love. If St. Francis and Joan of Arc got mixed up in some sort of time-space barrel, the person who emerged might have turned out to be very much like you.
Not to say that you’re a saint; just a very real, very human champion.
The second word is passion. Passion for justice, for nature, for integrity, for fairness. Passion for seeing the world around you as it is and throwing yourself headlong into the uncompromising pursuit of how it ought to be.
I haven’t seen you in nearly a decade. The last time we talked you were earnestly detailing the dastardly machinations behind the silent proliferation of airborn chemtrails. And then someone said something—and you broke out with one of those smiles, the ones that linger one for months and years.
I’m not sure exactly where you are right now, but I know you’re there, because I can feel the sun warmth from here.

John David Mann
May 13th 2009

Harriett Fels at 16 . (photo from her cousin Brian) Lightly retouched by Photoshop expert Art Robbins

Harriett Fels at 16 (from her cousin Brian) Lightly retouched by Photoshop expert Art Robbins

Update September 13th 2009 – see a Tribute to Harriett presented at the Simplexity August Celebration (the first 2 minutes of the video is about her) http://www.simplexityhealth.com/shplayer169.jsp?flv=/ac09/15_Harriett_Linda_Memorial_30%20fps.flv

One year memorial reunion video:

14 responses to “Harriett Fels 1947-2009 / I Love You Harriett!

  1. I have known Harriet for over a decade..but I knew OF Harriet from the first moment I joined Cell Tech, the company we both made our life’s career.
    She is all that you hear others say…serious, passionate, joyful and a champion to all things that cannot speak for themselves. She was a leader and embraced it; just as she embraced withdrawing her presence when it then came time for her to contemplate.

    For me, above all else, however, Harriet was authentic. She could not–refused to–step outside of her determination of what was right or fair. If this meant that she came to visit–and then spent the next 2 days locked away in her guest room, only emerging late at night when no one would bother her–so be it (this is actually what happened the last time she visited me).

    And you know what? There was no way to take offense. She was doing what she had to do to be right in the world…and that gave all of us who knew her the reminder that indeed, we all need to make sure we are “right in the world” as we walk our path.

  2. i really only knew Harriet peripherally, but whenever i saw her at CT events i knew i wanted to learn more from her. from those early cards she wrote about coaching, she was a person whose ways touched me and from whom i could learn in the way that made sense to me. Authentic, yes, and COMMITTED in an enormous way to the hugeness of possibility and a more vibrant future. i know wherever she is she will be casting strong and powerful energies for good; i miss not being in the presence more directly. like so many leaders in this company, she embodied hope.
    Linda dewing

  3. Cynthia Carlisi

    Harriet Fels, now on the Angel side with other friends and family, is still leading us with inspiration and her smile. We’ll cherish her and bring forth that smile into our conversations as we carry the torch of right livliehood further along to generations that await its light. May receptivity arise as we come, inspired by those who’ve gone ahead, to lead- not leave us behind. Harriet’s hand was and is always there to give a lift to us with her creative ideas and her brilliance. May we follow with joy and inspiration, the trail blazed before us, sitting still at times to feel our Angle leaders. Grant us a patience then, to receive the love and guidance always shared. With gratitude to Harriet, I will smile and walk today, and offer at least one person the opportunity to join our team.
    All the sharing of those who knew her well is appreciated.
    Cynthia Carlisi

  4. Stephen Block

    I knew Harriet from very early childhood. Her family had a cottage across the lake from ours. We went to school together too, then I met up with her again after university. She truly was a good soul, never taking easy paths, one of a very few who left the comforts of her background to discover the world as it was. I saw her last in Montreal and she told me she was moving to CA. I was really happy for her and her re-incarnation with successful enterprising. I was pleasantly surpirsed but not amazed as she often diaplayed tenacity many talents and ultimately it was her humanity that got her to where she ended up, which itself is rare. I was suprised and very unhappy to see that she died so young. I too could visualize her living a very long time. But her life was not always an easy one. Please feel free to write and let me know a bit more about the end of her life. S Block, Montreal

  5. Today is September 2nd, 2009. A friend of mine, who knew Harriet for a very long time just called me to invite me to an isreali movie at the Montreal International film festival.. I couldn’t make it because of other obligations and while we were talking I asked him if he had any news of Harriet. We hadn’t spoken for a long time. And when we did speak I always asked him about Harriet. She is simply unforgettable. He then informed me that she had passed away. I couldn’t believe his words. I knew Harriet in the 1980’s and onwards. I met her while working in a vegetarian store and cafe. She was so full of life. And that’s putting it lightly! The sparkle in her eyes was so lovely and never-ending. Her energy was so tied to the earth and its’ well-being. It took a little while to get to know her while living in the same neighbourhood. I would see her almost every day on the our street and she smiled and we always connected about something to do with the beauty of life, including both the bright and dark sides of living. Each time we spoke, even briefly, I was left with something to contemplate, something to research and Harriet always made me reflect on the many aspects of life. I knew her when she wrote for the Health Section of the Montreal Gazette newspaper. At her place she would show me her articles and I was so proud of her and her articles were a gem to read.. She was changing the world. And she changed the world. Harriet went against the flow..But that’s the way the river flows.. Some of us go upstream against the current..then we connected with music. I am a composer of piano music and Harriet came to one of my cd launching parties. She approached me after and told me what she felt deeply about my music and said, “you are made to do this.” I’ll never forget that..Harriet gave me the belief in myself which was not there. Her words to me were felt in a deep place inside me. Thank you Harriet for that moment!!!Then when Harriet was in town being Montreal from California or from India she would call me and we went for walks into the mountain park in Montreal. Long walks. Long beautiful walks together, Being and breathing in the nature surrounding us. She would tell me all about her India trips, her house in California, her feelings about relationships, love, ageing, exercises she did every day.a blend of yoga and other holistic practises..she firmly believed in these workouts to live a long and healthy life. She taught me so much in such a short time. I love her intensity which was expressed in gentle waves. I too could open up to her and share with her my feelings and struggles in life. We shared many vegetarian meals together and her company broke the barriers of time. Being with Harriet was all about simply being, not necessarily doing. In the moment, now, with the breath of life as our master of ceremony. I am going to really miss Harriet. The sparkle of her spirit will be around forever. Yes, once again she changed the world by constantly changing herself, to make the people and the world we live in a much better place. I send you my love Harriet and I will write some music for you. It is the easiest thing in the world to do. And I know you will hear it when it’s finished. I don’t know how to finish this message knowing you aren’t on the earth as I write. All I know is that you live so profoundly in so many of us and in that bright light like you Harriet you are still with us, laughing, singing, dancing, smiling, sharing, whispering, teaching and on we go…I am performing today for 12 people who are over a hundred years of age and more. Come and join us and teach us more about life and it’s endless dance…love always, Mark

  6. A few hours ago I read a memorial to Harriet on another website, but there was no mention of how she passed. Please tell me!

    Praying for her brought a sense of joy that tells me all is well for her on the other side. But still, earth is a little less bright without our dear Harriet.

    I remember watching her park her brand new Lexus across the street from the Nevada City, CA, Post Office. She danced over to me with the biggest smile on her face, announcing: I’ve just paid cash for it! (a tribute to her success in Cell Tech. I was a few levels down from her in the company, but we had a strong connection.)

    She was direct and honest, intuitive and generous. Her smile lit the room. She was REAL, and I respected her for it.

    My friend, I’m so sorry you’re not here with us any more. God guide you to new heights of learning, peace, and wisdom.


  7. I met Harriett while traveling in Europe in the summer of 1966.
    We met up in different cities; she traveling with a girl friend and I meeting up
    with friends along the way.
    Our relationship did not extend beyond that romantic summer.
    I have thought fondly of her and the attributes you mentioned, at times and
    figured that one day we would meet and introduce each other to our spouses and kids. My wife and I have been living part time in San Francisco for the last
    7 years (from Cleveland). Today i decided to “Google” Harriett and was flabergasted to learn that she passed away a year ago, but was living in California at the same time as we were. Was she married? Are their children? Thanks for the beautiful photos. Gerry

    • Thank you Gerry for your comments and life story about Harriett.

      No she never married or had kids but she left many friends behind her and she touched everyone’s heart.

      She was living just few miles up North from San Francisco in Nevada City.

  8. I knew Harriett in Montreal in the 1980s through l’Herberie, the local health food store on St. Viateur St. where I lived. She was vibrant, determined, alive: a force with which to be reckoned. Each encounter (for we knew each other well, but sporadically) was intense and richly memorable. When she left–which I think I knew, tho’ I didn’t pay close attention, as I was then living across town and a single mother of three boys–I was saddened for us in Montreal, but excited for the potential of this new life in California. Thinking of her in sunshine seemed right, somehow…when Facebook came out, I began to search for her–too late, as I now know. I couldn’t believe that someone so vital could be so invisible…Rest in peace, Harriett–you were always in motion in life, so here’s your chance for it. We all miss you.

  9. Pingback: Carnicom Institute Summer Newsletter « PN

  10. I was very surprised to see this announcement of the death of Harriet Fels. I was clearing out an old phone book and entered her name on Facebook expecting to see Harriet at the center of a life she loved so much in Nevada city. We shared a beautiful time in Montreal working at a Health food store together for one year, a time I shall always remember. Bless you Harriet.

  11. I knew Harriet because I lived with my boyfriend Chard Chenier around the corner from her health food store, she was so warm and friendly and always positive to others, I was looking on the Internet for more about Ariel Harper as I knew her better, and just sadly came across this, and even Mark Pincus whom I also knew…

    I had to leave Montreal due to economic problems and ended up in China and Hong Kong for the past 15 years, but wish I could have grown old in Montreal, and like to read what happened there….our wonderful city….

    I am sure she is an angel in heaven….sympathies to her family, she left the world too soon….

  12. Harriett was a wonderful person, teacher, and friend. Was just thinking about her this evening, and can still hear her bright, cheerful voice.

  13. I am so sorry. I just found out that Harriett died. She had been a neighbor. She was a lovely person, and a beautiful, caring, sweet, sensitive, soul.
    Tina May (Issenman)

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