Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When a "friend" is not really a friend

I have this friend, G. Well, G. is not really a friend, more like an acquaintance: a long-time, deeply-rooted-in-my-life pain in the ass to be quite honest.

Have you ever had one of those "friends" who, on the surface embraces you, supports you and makes you feel like they have your "best interest" at heart? They're comforting and reassure you consistently. In the balance, however, they're deceitful. They take from you. They take from you your pride and your sense of well-being. When they've finished laying their influence on you you're left wondering: "Just what kind of friend are you, anyway!?"

This is my friend G.

For years G. and I have had a close, very bonded relationship. In very recent weeks, however, I've come to fully understand G.'s influence and intentions. Events over the last 48 hours have convinced me that G. has to go. For far too long G. has had a negative influence on all of my friends and family - practically everyone I know.

There's part of me that will miss G., but I anticipate not for long. It's extremely difficult - near impossible, it seems - to bring myself to say goodbye.

I know what the reaction will be.

G. will be friendly and warm. G. will reassure me that there is no need to move on. G. is most certainly going to point out the benefits of remaining friends. I'll no doubt hear about how many times G. has "stepped up to the plate" for me.

I'm a bit fearful of the pending struggle. I'm about to break a bond with a friend. Although I have never experienced this directly, I expect it will be much like a divorce - only with no legal implications.

So, as I head into the final stretch - psyching myself up to do the deed, I'm feeling a whole mix of emotions, many of them conflicting. I'm the first guy to give anyone the benefit of the doubt, a second chance as it were.

Not here.

Not now.

Goodbye, G.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

MINDFULNESS Part One: Living the days we have, today!

Ever notice your life so full of “things to do”? Have you ever been in a space where it seems the days are a bit of a blur because what you’re so intently focused on is “what’s coming up”, “where do I have to be” or “what has to be done”? Have you filled your life so very full of deadlines and obligations that “today” is just jammed full of things “to do” to get you to “tomorrow”? Yet, it seems “today’s the day we live, tomorrow never comes” because “tomorrow” is just like “today” in that we're always looking forward to “tomorrow”!

I know, a dizzying intellect, I have!

I had every intention of sharing all the wonderful things I learned in a Mindfulness seminar I took part in over the last three Wednesdays. As I sat down to write this I noticed about me a sense of anxiety, a sense of urgency and a sense of “Oh my gosh, I have SO MUCH TO DO TODAY!” This is precisely the mode that Mindfulness is designed to make us aware of, but not get wrapped up in.

A few things to ponder before Part Two:

Imagine being able to OBSERVE what you’re doing, feeling and thinking without actually being swept up in it.

Think about focusing on your body. What’s your breathing like? What sensations are you feeling physically in the individual parts of your body?

What would you see if you took your focus away from living in the future or the past?

…stay tuned…

Monday, February 20, 2006

This Turtle has four left feet.

When I sat down to blog tonight I had a choice. It was a toss-up whether to comment on the 3-part seminar I've been attending on Mindfulness, or on the weekend's escapade at the Latin dance club.

I'm all for injecting some humour into the blog, so I choose... the latter.

Back in January Anvilcloud had some parallel experiences with Dancing. It seems we share a common, but not so uncommon affliction. We're men, and we're learning... to dance. Enough said? I think not.

Turtles have four feet. All of mine apparently are left. Left to their own devices, they do their own thing. Or nothing. The connection between body, mind and soul is one thing, but quite another is the connection between mind and feet! In my case, the LACK of connection is key. If I can get over the fact that my brain doesn't like talking to my feet, dancing - or the way that I do it - will be easier to accept.

I have to give the instructor credit where credit is due. He was light-hearted and jovial. Of course he's seen it all and KNOWS that men are far more self conscious than women when it comes to learning how to dance. (S. had some comforting words for me... she gets it: when you're learning, the minute you experience negative criticism you shut down. Hard as this may be to accept, gents, we're the most vulnerable - at least when it comes to dancing.)

"Latin Dancing" is not just a step. There are variations on the theme. Salsa, Meringue, Cha Cha and so on down the line. Each dance has its own step, rythm and beat count. Who would have ever thought of all the mechanics behind dancing.

I thought it would be easy... you know... dance from your soul.

I'm in touch with my soul - or at least I BELIEVE I am. So what makes this so difficult for a beginner? I would love nothing more than to just dance around free-syle... you know, the kind of dancing everyone talks about when they say "dance like no one's watching"?

The problem with freestyle is that it's in direct conflict with the mechanics of structured dance.

Or is it?

I wonder if freestyle could relate to the "dance from your soul" part which is key. The structure and execution of the mechanics could quite simply be a mechanism put into place to keep everyone upright... and to spare the toes of unsuspecting ladies! Let's face it guys, ladies are much better dancers. Or at least as Anvilcloud pointed out - they pick it up quicker and with more retention!

I told S. going in that I was scared (stupid) <-- G rated comment for the blog. I discovered very quickly what makes her so naturally suited to teaching. Patience and compassion. She understands learning - not only the process, but the fear, anxiety and excitement. It made a potentially fearful experience a most pleasant one. I was new, I didn't care and I had such a good time!

Now... this all ties in with Mindfulness which will get a post of its own shortly, but here's the connection. The basis of the seminar I've been attending (part 3 tomorrow night) is to be aware and MINDFUL of the present. We spend so much time rushing from project to project - from here to there - that we forget to pay attention to the journey. What's happening NOW while we're concerned about how our past is going to affect our future? Dancing on Sunday was a perfect opportunity to pay attention to what my body, mind and soul were up to in the present. The temptation was there to think about what other people would think of me, but the exercise I put myself through was to NOTICE what I was experiencing in the moment. More on this later.

I've been sitting at my desk working my feet...

1 - 2 - 3 ... 4 - 5 - 6...

I even have a swivel chair, so perhaps I'll practice turning too!

Ooops... poor cat!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Water, water everywhere... except at my house!

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting at my desk working away at the computer. From the window I can see the front yard and the sidewalk leading up to the house. Around about 2:45 I noticed a fellow walking up the sidewalk toward my door. He was lighting a cigarette. I'm thinking to myself, "You're not coming to MY house with that!" I answered the door to a rather rough-around-the-edges man who had some important news. In fifteen minutes I was about to lose water service to the house.

You see, that one-day cold snap we had on... Thursday caused a water main break not far from the house. It was approaching 3:00, so it was obvious they weren't going to work on the problem until morning. I went about filling the bathtub with water along with various jugs, the boy's water dispenser, and most importantly the kettle! What's life without tea, I ask you!? Sadly, I had one remaining load of laundry which now has to wait until service is restored.

Early this morning the banging, digging, sawing and crashing commenced... however I, being the sound sleeper I am, didn't clue in until... well.. let's just say I slept well last night!

Something I noticed in not having water service was how much we "expect" water at the turn of a tap. The reality is, even with "no water service", I still had water and didn't have to haul it from miles away. Tonight I will heat water to do dishes and the usual bathroom rituals.

I wonder how many skills we lose, or never even cultivate because we live in a world of conveniences? When was the last time you HAD to chop firewood to keep warm, haul water to keep from going thirsty, learn to hunt if you wanted to eat meat, learn to garden or develop stamina enough to walk wherever you need to go? Would we get more sleep if we didn't have electric lights that allow us to stay up all night working on that "must do" whatever?

My cigarette-sporting buddy came to the door this afternoon, again around three, to bring me up to date on the situation. It seems they replaced a 4-foot piece of pipe, turned the water on and immediately... you guessed it, another leak, further up the line. They will return tomorrow. This too, pleases me. I have not as yet learned to repair water mains.


Just as an afterthought, and on a much lighter note:

I got a real chuckle out of ET's Blog today. Also, thanks to 'Traveler I was led to this page, also very laughable!

Friday, February 17, 2006

PSL: The " R. " Mafia

Continued from
Smitten Turtle

I thought it might be wise to address the apparent emergence of what I affectionately call the “R” Mafia. Since it’s been made known my relationship (association, among other things) with Lady Sarah, I have come to understand the existence of a small but influential group of pro-SE activists.

How timely was my introduction by one who could very well be the ring leader, however there is no direct evidence of a hierarchy of protectionists.
ZOUZOU wrote initially:
“I'm on the commando death-squad of the PLS (Protect Sarah League), in case there's any misbehavin' from the likes of youse”
Indicating, of course, that this may very well be an organization based in both official languages of the nation. Identified in brackets as the “Protect Sarah League”, it is also hinted that perhaps this organization may have roots en Francais as the “Ligue de Protection de Sarah”.

Not long after initial contact, I was approached by one BAST
who claimed
“I am a card-carrying member of the PSL too! So ditto on the wise words of Zouzou.”

There seems to be some concern regarding my pending action with and/or influence on Lady Sarah.
To quote BAST:
“Does this mean our Matrix evening is off??? Please, gods, no!”

A few words from Lady Sarah herself put to rest the notion of a controlling force:
“You haven't seen me cancel plans with you in the past few months, have you? One blog post (i.e. the previous one) won't change that!”

It appears, too, that the PSL is not without compassion and good, kind words:

-Good stuff!
-Turtle, you seem to have hit the jackpot

So, in acknowledgement of the PSL, the “R.” Mafia, I hereby put in writing for all to witness:
I am here to compliment, not compromise.

…And for the record: Turtle, too has a Protection League, quite possibly outnumbering the PSL, only without a collective image. Perhaps it needs a name.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Monday, February 13, 2006



GIFT: n:
1. Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
2. The act, right, or power of giving.
3. A talent, endowment, aptitude, or inclination.

STEWARDSHIP: n : the position of steward

1. One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.
2. One who is in charge of the household affairs

It's been several days now since my last post on Stewardship. Thinking, reflecting and pondering -among other things - have consumed my thoughts and my time. I want to be particularly thoughtful, and mindful, with these posts because there's a lot of delicate material here in terms of what's close to my heart right now. I've struggled with being a good steward in spite of all the wonderful gifts I have in my life. I have all these amazing opportunities and all these gifts that have been freely given to me by warm, genuine and caring people. I struggle with whether I pay them the respect they so fully deserve.

My sister shared with me an experience she had with her oldest son who is 8. He was being destructive, as most boys his age are in the discovery process: “How much can I abuse this before it breaks?” When confronted with Mom’s disapproval, he said “But Mom, it’s mine. I can do this if I want.” My sister was on the ball. She said “It’s yours to take care of…” and that, I see as impressive, if not profound. I shared the exact experience with my Dad when I was about my nephew’s age. Sad, really, because I destroyed some wonderful records simply because I wasn’t taking care.

I keep the following poem on the wall in my bedroom because it touches me very deeply for so many reasons. What I read from it in terms of Stewardship is that gifts come in many forms and INCLUDE the gift of being, the gift of existence and should we not take as much care of our own being as we believe we should take care of the "things" in our lives?

Max Ehrmann - Desiderata
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Be yourself.

Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is perennial as the grass.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labours and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Meet a few of my friends!

I'd like to introduce you to a few of my friends.

Firstly, I would like you to meet DJ-T! You know me as Turtle Guy, but here is a more accurate representation! Many thanks to Chrystal who wrote to me:

I was talking with Chris about Avatars and said it would be cool to see one for you with a turtle jamming on a turn table....well....here it is....thought I'd share.

So I thought it might be a good idea to introduce you my friends Chrystal and Chris. Chris I know only by name, now face, a few email chats and of course by reputation. (All good words from Chrystal, I assure you!) And yes, it did strike me a wee bit strange... Chrystal... Chris... but that's a mystery of the universe to debate later. Their wedding is slated for March 25 and I'm sure the anticipation at home is mounting!

There you have it - a few people who help to make my life as wonderful as it is. Come back and visit often, leave a comment or just lurk - you're welcome here any time!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Where's Waldo?

It seems our good friend and Seattlite observer of everything interesting, Elliot has disappeared! A number of days ago now I realized his page was missing and the link on my sidebar took me to a virtual nowhere... a "We've swallowed Elliot whole, but thanks for coming out!" page. Elliot's pulled a Waldo on us - you know, the skinny kid with the glasses and striped shirt who hides out in a throng of people - hoping to be searched out by an inquisitive mind and a sharp eye. Only, in this vast expanse of webspace it should be easy to find Elliot - he's so unlike everyone else!

It's rather disappointing to click in anticipation of juicy bits and well chosen words only to be presented with a virtual brick wall. Brick is great for all things cozy... fireplaces, Italian houses, the third pig's real estate investment... but not for something as insulting as a barricade to one of the most insightful web logs in the 'sphere!

To whomever (question for S: is this correct, or should it be "whoever"?) absconded with Elliot, we want him back!

Elliot, wherever you may be, we prey for your safe return. If you've moved, we need your new address!

Come back soon, we miss you!

Friday, February 03, 2006


GIFT: n:
1. Something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation.
2. The act, right, or power of giving.
3. A talent, endowment, aptitude, or inclination.

STEWARDSHIP: n : the position of steward

1. One who manages another's property, finances, or other affairs.
2. One who is in charge of the household affairs

When I think back to when I first heard the word “stewardship”, it was in the context of Church finances. Being 10 or 12 – whatever I was at the time – I didn’t really get it. I equated “stewardship” with money. Only money. I figured when we were talking about stewardship, being a steward, we were talking money.

From day one money never really meant all that much to me. Sure, I loved to get it as a gift, but what that usually meant was: I could go SPEND IT on something that would make me feel – however temporarily – good, satisfied.

Growing up, it never occurred to me that I would never have any money – I just never felt the need for it in abundance because somehow it was always around. As long as I had what I needed to “get by”, it was all good. When I needed some, I would go out and find it – work for it, borrow it or quite often it would be gifted to me. Christmas and birthday cards often came “avec de l'argent”.

Making the connection between “Stewardship” and “taking care of money” didn’t occur for some time. It was the “taking care” part that didn’t click. I never actually looked it up!

Over the course of my life I’ve done relatively well where good fortune is concerned. I’ve always had a place to live, food to eat, resources to call upon when in need, a good family full of support and love, strong friendship bonds and because of all this – a sense of security. The world is a good place – despite the endless list of negativity we often hear.

I have been blessed.

to be continued…

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Relieving Headache

I woke up with a headache today. 5:00 AM. It's caused me to take the day to relax, putter, rest, putter, rest. The really odd thing about it is I know where it came from, and I'm relieved to have it.

...and you're saying to yourself: "What's this Turtle Guy talking about??? Relieved to HAVE a headache???"

True, most of us, most of the time are working hard to alleviate headaches of all kinds. We fuss, we shut down, we pump ourselves full of drugs to kill the pain. For me, today, the pain is a welcome sign. All my life I've been the kind of person to "go-go-go". Straight out of high school I had 5 jobs. I worked 7 days a week, day and night. My mom thought I was insane. Maybe I was - maybe just 18-year-old-tough.

That arrangement lasted about 5 months, after which I crashed. Hard.

At the end of this 5-month marathon, my body finally said, "I'm taking over. You're now going to have the biggest, meanest headache you've ever had, and I'm going to shut us down! You, me, us... we're shutting down."

This struck me as really odd, because at 18 I had never experienced this. I went super hard, sometimes stressed out, sometimes not, but my emotions were definitely involved. I was working SO hard and at the end of the day I was a wreck. AFTER I slowed down, relaxed and started setting a "reasonable" pace, my body THEN decides to present me with its headache plan. Not WHILE I was unwinding, but AFTER all the stress was diminished. I didn't get it.

How does this relate to today's headache? For several weeks I've been pushing myself - not with 5 jobs or an overwhelming number of commitments. I've been soul searching. Not in the light, airy-fairy way people talk about soul searching as a "feel-good" emotion thing: "Yah, really done some soul searching today..." (meaning "Yup. I laboured over a decision. We're going to paint the bathroom pink. This will satisfy my soul each and every time I go potty. Boy, will I feel great!")

More to the point, I have spent the last number of weeks seriously analyzing myself, my behaviours, my beliefs and my relationships. To the point of physical pain. Dull, aching, physical pain. I don't know how else to describe it. My soul and body are definitely connected. When I provoke my soul, my body hurts. When I decide to face what's "painful" to face, acknowledge and deal with it - it hurts!

Where did today's headache come from, and why am I so happy to feel it? I made a connection yesterday that brought to an end an immense amount of anxiety, wonder and fear. I discovered today that I was carrying all this around with me - some of it I was unaware of. Today it came. My body said "We're shutting down. You've dealt with it, we're going to rest. Here's a little pain to remind you to rest."

Thank you, mind, body, soul and spirit.

About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.