Friday, February 19, 2010

Turtle Wisdom—a series about being human

In my last post I shared Al Turtle’s Map of Relationships. His ideas have sparked lots of introspection for me, and I find much wisdom in his approach to understanding human behavior.

I’ve decided to explore myself using Al’s map as a guide and to invite you along! I'll be posting each step of my adventure. Along the way, perhaps you will relate to my thoughts. Perhaps you’ll discover a new perspective because I’m so different from you. Perhaps I’ll even inspire you to embark on your own quest. At the very least, I hope my travels will be entertaining. :)

So here’s the plan. The map says that to get to vintage love you need to do three things:

1. Learn the following Biological Dream skills (and stop using the traditional skills learned in childhood):
a. Safety
b. Reliable membership
c. Diversity
d. Autonomy
e. Purpose
2. Heal wounds

3. Share everything

So my first challenge is to learn about safety. What is Al talking about and what do I need to do?

Have you ever felt fear or pain about something that isn’t real or isn’t actually happening? Sometimes the cause of the fear is easy to find. For example, we can understand why someone would experience a fear reaction every time they smell smoke, if we know that they escaped a house fire in childhood. But why would someone feel unsafe when they smell bleach? Or experience a freezing reaction (mind goes blank, unable to think) whenever their loving, non-abusive partner uses a particular tone of voice? The human fear response can be triggered in situations where there is no actual threat to safety. In fact, some people live in this state of fear 24/7-- we call it chronic stress.

Al Turtle blames these feelings on “the lizard." Do you have a lizard in your brain? Tune in next post to find out. Let’s explore the skill of safety.

On to part 1.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

So Scientific!

Quote from NOAA's (National Weather Center's) forecast discussion for Tuesday night (Feb. 9th):


Just sayin'...

(photo credit: Dan Urbanski at

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Map of Relationships

(photo shamelessly stolen from the internet, photographer unknown)

Hello, everyone! I am very sorry that I’ve seemed to disappear from the blog world. All is well. It’s just been a case of that pesky Newton’s first law: inertia.

And yes, that body at rest (me not blogging) would have remained at rest without an outside force. :P

Although I’ve been at rest in the blogosphere, I’ve been very active in my head. With my explorations into the meaning of life. Probably another case of inertia… :)

So what is the outside force that nudged me back to blogging? A new podcast series from one of the wisest counselors I’ve ever read. I am so excited about Al Turtle’s relationship wisdom that I just had to share this with all of you.

Anyone who wants to have the “perfect” relationship (romantic or otherwise) has got to listen to Al talk about his “Map of Relationships.”

One of the things that has bothered me for years is the lack of a role model for what makes a healthy relationship. Couples in books, TV shows, and movies all seem to be struggling with their relationships. It makes for good drama, of course. And everyone can relate to the humor, angst, and pain that results. But what does a healthy relationship look like? A healthy, happy couple is rarely depicted. So rare that I don’t have a model in my head of how it would work in reality. I think most of us can describe characteristics that are not part of a healthy relationship. It’s easy to see that it would not involve a power struggle or arguing. And, many of us can quickly and easily point out couples who are not healthy. But what does a healthy couple do? How does it work? It seems that most of us can describe what a perfect relationship would feel like, but I haven’t found anyone who can explain exactly how to achieve it.

Until now.

Al Turtle is an Imago trained couples counselor. He started using the ideas of Imago theory in his practice and in his own marriage years ago. And he found problems. But unlike many counselors who just plod away using the theory without questioning it, Al started taking notes on the problems. And the notes became essays that he filed on his website. And, lucky for us, Al has a unique background and skill set that I would bet is uncommon for therapists. Before he became a counselor, he was trained as an electrical technician in the Navy during the Vietnam war. He likes to fix things. He knows how to analyze and fix problems in a very concrete and practical way. He is also very skilled at drawing charts and maps. So, he was able to bring all of these skills together and create this Map of Relationships.

And now, for the next 6 weeks, he is doing an interview series (podcast) with Laura Lavigne, blog talk show host, to talk about his Relationship Wisdom. The first episode was yesterday.

So, if you have any interest in learning how to achieve “Vintage Love” or even how to improve your parenting skills (yes, really!), listen in— I highly recommend it!