Fun With Existential Loneliness

March 14, 2019

This week’s Soul Forge Podcast deals with, you guessed it, existential loneliness. What is that? Good question! It is the fundamental basis of human life, or human existence. But, we are having fun with this deep, dark topic. We are not dwelling on the morose. This is a fun episode about something not so fun. Loneliness is something we all experience and can relate to. In this episode, we are going to cover the types of loneliness, and tell personal stories relating to each type.

Existentialism is the philosophical study that begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual.

Loneliness is a complex and usually unpleasant emotional response to isolation. Loneliness typically includes anxious feelings about a lack of connection or communication with other beings, both in the present and extending into the future. As such, loneliness can be felt even when surrounded by other people. The causes of loneliness are varied and include social, mental, emotional, and physical factors.

Existential Loneliness is a new concept in existential philosophy and psychology. This sense of emptiness and void is really a problem within each person, not a lack of meaningful relationships.
However, existential loneliness is deeper than either (1) the absence of a specific person we love or (2) the lack of any meaningful connections with others. Because existential loneliness is so easy to confuse with problems of love or problems of having no relationships, we might spend a few years of our lives struggling with existential loneliness using methods that are appropriate only for interpersonal loneliness.

To be happy, we need intimate bonds; we need to be able to confide, we need to feel like we belong, we need to be able to get and give support. In fact, strong relationships are key — perhaps the key — to a happy life.

Of course, being alone and being lonely aren’t the same. Loneliness feels draining, distracting, and upsetting; desired solitude feels peaceful, creative, restorative.

7 Types of Loneliness

1. New-situation loneliness
2. I’m-different loneliness
3. No-sweetheart loneliness
4. No-animal loneliness
5. No-time-for-me loneliness
6. Untrustworthy-friends loneliness
7. Quiet-presence loneliness

Read more at https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/the-happiness-project/201702/7-types-loneliness-and-why-it-matters#_=_

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Jealousy or Envy - 91

March 7, 2019

We look at the ideas of jealousy and envy. Recent comments and observations have prompted the hosts to discuss their feelings in regards to these emotions. Thus, we have the ideal topic for this week's podcast episode.

Jealousy generally refers to the thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, over relative lack of possessions. It can consist of one or more emotions such as anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness or disgust.

Envy (from Latin invidia) is an emotion which "occurs when a person lacks another's superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it"

After listening to several recent episodes of Soul Forge, co-host Tracy is feeling inadequate. Recent guests, Deidre and Stephanie were eloquent and intelligent and well-spoken. Tracy feels as though she lacks these qualities.

Heather (a guest on several episodes) sends us a text with her thoughts and feelings on this topic.

As we get deeper into the subject we ask ourselves if envy comes from our poor life choices. Do we see in others what we failed to achieve in our own lives? As such, Shawn discusses his ongoing envy of his friend's lives. Yet, we can only see so far into other people's situations. Are we, therefore, jealous or envious of perceptions?

It's possible to use envy and jealousy in a positive manner. We must look inside ourselves, recognize what we desire from others, and strive to create it for ourselves.

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The Best Guy She Knows - 90

February 28, 2019

Are you the best guy she knows? Shawn's best friend from university, Stephanie, comes for a visit and a chat about the old times. Steph tells Shawn why she thinks he is the best guy she knows.

Stephanie came for a weekend visit and guest hosted on Shawn's other show, The Rusted Robot Podcast. To hear her podcast debut, check out episode 235 of that show. Some of her opinions were in direct contrast to those of Shawn's co-host Josh. A good time was probably had by all involved.

Shawn and Steph begin this episode by talking about their past and how age has caught up with them since they were in their 20s. There is some chatter about the history of their friendship, and where they stand with each other now. They remember the good times and the bad times. And they remember the last times they saw each other. Stephanie talks about some of the reasons as to why she thinks Shawn is the best guy she knows.

What happens when you realize you're in love with your friend? You try to hide it. And you write some cheesy love poetry. You wait for cheap long distance phone calls on Tuesdays. And you write letters and wait for the reply. Before the internet and smart phones, communication was a lot more complicated.

Music was a big part of the bonding process for these friends. Some of their favourite performers included Britney Spears and the Spice Girls. Amanda Marshall and her nipples were also a big deal.

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What Do You Mean, We’re ALL Black? - 89

February 21, 2019

February is Black History Month, and for this episode the Soul Forge has a special guest sharing her experience as a black woman living in the north. Deidre is not an ambassador for her race. This is her story - one perspective out of many.

Deidre was born in Winnipeg and moved to Timmins about 10 years ago after a career in Paramedicine. Working as a flight medic allowed her to travel around Canada and the United States, while also exposing her to many different cultures and ways of life. This community involvement not only allowed her to experience other cultures, but also enabled her to see the similarities between these many different peoples.

In her working life, she has seen racism first hand. There is blatant racism, but there is also passive racism, or the kind that is harder to pinpoint, but is real nonetheless. Corporate policies and biases in the workplace and in the school system are still an ongoing concern. From subjective as opposed to objective reports on her work performance, and from schools singling out kids with differences, Deidre has seen her fair share of bigotry.

Other topics discussed in this episode include Jane Elliott's Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes experiment and how this relates to point of privilege. We also discuss various life lessons, what we have taken away from our grandparents, and the role models on television.

We end our discussion with a look at gender and how the black community has received a wake-up call from the LGBTQ community.

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Can’t Buy Me Love - 88

February 14, 2019

You can buy me flowers, but you can't buy me love. This week, the Soul Forge Podcast explores the commercialization of love in our 2019 Valentine's Day Special.

Let's talk about the kinds of expectations we have of ourselves and our partners on February 14th. Is there too much pressure from society on how we express our love and affection? Do we really need over-the-top displays of affection to prove our love? Why do we put ourselves through this each and every year?

Just who was this Valentine anyway? We will explore a brief history of his life.

We are pounded and pulverized by advertisements telling us how to show our love. It really is no wonder that we are all stressed out and feel inadequate when we compare ourselves to others.

A brief guide on how and what to buy as a gift for a man on Valentine's Day.

So you put a lot of thought and effort into your gift. That's great, except they don't like it. Now what do you do? In this part of the episode, we talk a bit about what to do and how to avoid feeling like garbage.

Remembering the school days practice of handing out Valentine's cards in class, and the trauma that caused us.

Does it matter when the gift was bought? If your lover picked up your present on the way home on the 14th, or has had it sitting in a drawer for a month...does that equate to the value of the love?

Fate! Is love written in the stars?

Should people get engaged on Valentine's Day? Is this a romantic gesture or a great way to get out of gift giving?

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Get Over Yourself - 87

February 7, 2019

Sometimes you just gotta get over yourself. What does that mean, and how does one accomplish such a lofty ideal? Glad you asked! That is the subject of this week's Soul Forge Podcast.

We start with a discussion about the nature of existence and who we are as people. Is everyone around us a simulation put there for us to interact with? Are we a simulation in an alien lab? Could our memories be newly implanted and each day we awake for the first time? We feel as if we are the centre of the universe, but this is not really the cast, unless we actually are the only true person in existence.

So, if we are not the centre of the cosmos, but merely one speck among many, it stands to reason that not everything that happens is about us. Everything is not our fault. We have no way of knowing what other people are going through.

With all that being said, Shawn tells the tale of a text from an old friend. They haven't spoken in years. However, the friend has now broken up with his girlfriend and is free to socialize again. Shawn, being Shawn, is having trouble accepting the idea of hanging out again. Tracy's advice - get over yourself Shawn. Not everything is about you. And that is the nature of this week's podcast conversation.

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The Crush List - 86

January 31, 2019

The Crush List is a return to form in the classic style of the Soul Forge Podcast. This week, Shawn talks about the many crushes he had during his school years. The depth of memory is an amazing thing!

We start by examining where the idea for this topic came from. Credit goes to Britney Spears, with a special shout-out to the Spice Girls. Did you have a favourite Spice Girl? After talking about attractive singers of the 1990s, we delve into early childhood crushes beginning with Kindergarten. We then move onto grades 6 through 8, and finally into high school crushes.

As a special treat, Shawn reads his first year university Crush List. What is a crush list? You must listen to the episode for all the details. Finishing off the story, listeners are treated to a reading of the poem, Encounter At The Terminal.

Feedback is always appreciated. Please email the show at soulforgepodcast@gmail.com

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Let’s Talk Mental Health - 85

January 24, 2019

Bell Let's Talk is a wide-reaching, multi-year program designed to break the silence around mental illness and support mental health all across Canada. The more we speak up and share what we're going through, the more it will help others talk about it too. Let's keep talking all year long. 

In any given year, 1 in 5 people in Canada experience a mental health issue. 8% of all adults will experience a major depression at some point in their lives. 49% of people do not seek help. One of the biggest hurdles for anyone suffering from mental illness is overcoming the stigma. 

For every text message sent by Bell Canada, Bell Aliant and Bell MTS customers, Bell will donate 5¢ towards mental health initiatives.

Shawn, Tracy, Heather and Tanya sit down for a conversation all about mental health. We explore our personal stories, and talk about ways of helping others in need. Topics include: the trap of guilt (good guilt vs bad/learned guilit), the 5 minute rule of motivation, negative core beliefs, and how to see signs of mental illness in others. It can be difficult to notice the changes in people that are an indication of a mental illness as these changes are often gradual and those experiences them often do not recognize the differences in themselves until it is too late.

Oftentimes, you must force yourself to get to a better place, even if just for 5 minutes. Use the 5 minute motivation rule to make yourself do something you used to enjoy. Read a book or magazine. Try journaling or colouring. Meditation, yoga or another exercise can help. Do something for yourself.

We have a list of reading material that can help. This list is by no means exhaustive.

You’re a Badass -Jen Sincro
Positivity - Barbara Fredrickson
Daring Greatly - Brené Brown
Pantsdrunk - Miska Rantanen
The Fifth Agreement - Don Miguel Ruiz
Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle 
Five Minute Journal
Buddhist Bootcamp - Timber Hawkeye
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck - Mark Manson
The Gifts of Imperfection - Brené Brown
Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It - Kamal Ravikant
 
Authors to check out:
 
don Miguel Ruiz, Mitch Albom, Paulo Coelho, Louise Hay, Humble the Poet, Eckhart Tolle, Brené Brown and so many others.
 
You can contact us at any time via soulforgepodcast@gmail.com  Tracy can be reached specifically at tracyhannah78@gmail.com
 
Bell Let’s Talk promotes mental health awareness, acceptance and action built on 4 key pillars: Fighting stigma, improving access to care, supporting world-class research and leading by example in workplace mental health. Information on this podcast is not to be used for diagnosis, treatment or referral services. Individuals should contact their personal physician, and/or their local addiction or mental health agency for further information. If you are in crisis, please go to your local hospital or call 911 immediately
 
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Tall Girl Problems - 84

January 17, 2019

Christina is 6' 5" and she's got tall girl problems!

Having a height advantage can be a wonderful thing, but too much height can cause unique problems. On this episode of The Soul Forge Podcast, Christina shares some personal experiences regarding being a woman of a certain stature.

As far back as she can recall, Christina had to adapt to her surroundings. She has always had to endure comments and 'witty' observations. She had to balance out the composition of school pictures.

Many people of height slouch and become wall flowers. Tall people have many common personality traits that they develop to get along in a world that was not designed for them. Perhaps this is why they created the International Tall Club.

Christina talks about the way in which many men relate to her. She shares wonderful stories about how people have reacted to her. There is a wonderful Klingon story, and a terrific story about working as security in a bar.

It turns out that extreme height can be seen as a disability of sorts. Her height has allowed Christina to be much more empathetic towards people who are often viewed as disadvantaged whether it be due to skin colour, sexual preferance, etc.

Common tall problems include broken toes and broken sunglasses. It's nearly impossible to pay attention to both head and feet when you reach a certain height.

Stay tuned to the podcast for news about Chistina's upcoming book in which she details her experiences as a woman over 6 feet tall. You can follow Christina on social media by searching for Christina Geddes Group.

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Cape Fear - 83

January 10, 2019

Cape Fear! Not the movie, nor the remake, but a state of mind. Cape fear is what occurs when you are not comfortable in a particular style of clothing or fashion.

The Sunday Morning Coffee Club is a rather new experiment in socialization. The club was founded by your ever-present host, Shawn. Through the club, new friends are made, and interesting conversations are had. Coffee club has lead to several ideas for Soul Forge topics. Cape fear is just such a particular topic.

Fashion confidence is a big deal. You may think you can wear anything, but clothing will put you in a certain state of mind. Not everyone can feel free to wear every item of clothing. We are sure there are items in your closet that you never wear.

Shawn wants to bring back the cape as a fashion item, but he has a fear that people will laugh and make fun of him. He does not have the confidence to go out in public wearing a cape. Except, of course, for Halloween or costume balls. Looking back at the trench coat incident, his reluctance is understandable.

Wish.com is a website where you can find all kinds of ridiculous products. Shawn recently ordered a cloak to help alleviate his fear of wearing capes in public. At this point in the podcast, we talk about the difference between capes and cloaks. Capes are starting to make a return to the public eye. At the recent Golden Globe Awards, a celebrity was photographed wearing a rather flamboyant cape. Perhaps this signals their return to the fashion world.

We wrap up the show by talking about posting certain pictures on Instagram and Facebook. There are generational differences regarding what certain age groups feel comfortable posting and wearing.

Types of fear include fear of change, fear of changing jobs, moving on from a relationship, and a fear of people not liking you.

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