The Soul Forge Podcast The Soul Forge is a place of silent mystery, quiet contemplation, and outright mayhem! Shawn Vanderloo guides you through the adventures of living, but mostly talks about stupid things he has done because of girls. Topics include life and love, sex and dating, joy and heartache, memories and loss, and so much more! Don’t worry, it’s not nearly as pretentious as it sounds.

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Soul Forge Podcast Welcome to the Soul Forge, a place of silent mystery, quiet contemplation, and outright mayhem! Shawn Vanderloo guides you through the adventures of living! We all want to love and be loved. Am I normal? Are you normal? Is happiness possible? Let's find out together!

  • Unexpected Magic Is The Best Kind - 136
    by Shawn Vanderloo on January 23, 2020 at 7:00 am

    Sometimes the universe gives you exactly what you asked for. However, the universe also likes to play tricks to keep you on your toes. It will not always give you what you ask for in the ways in which you hoped it would. This episode tells the tale of last weekend and the events that occurred. As you will recall from the previous episode, my first love, Stephanie, was having a birthday celebration in Sudbury. There were a lot of unexpected and intense moments. And as the title reveals, unexpected magic is the best kind of magic there is. Do I reveal too much in this episode? Perhaps I do. Does it matter? I do not believe it does. When a person experiences magic, it needs to be shared. No one can ever feel what I felt, but they can know that magic is real. Do you believe? I sure as hell do! This week's podcast promo: Metal Geeks

  • Love, Heartbreak & Poetry - 135
    by Shawn Vanderloo on January 16, 2020 at 7:31 am

    Love and heartbreak both lead to poetry. This week, we take a little trip down memory lane. I'm going through my archives and sharing some of my poetry with you. We will be thinking about love, happiness, longing, anger, acceptance, and so many other emotions. First though, there is some feedback to share. And I have a self-help book to recommend, although I do not agree with the term 'self-help' Sit back and relax. It is time to be nostalgic about love and heartbreak through poetry. The 14 poems are as follows: Acceptance? Bitter Aftertaste Blank Page Cherry Encounter at the Terminal Everyday Idealization Love's Resurgence Still The Lone Essential Truth of Human Existence The Muse I'm So Happy! Truth to Tell The Site of our First Kiss This week's podcast promos: the Flopcast, ESO Patreon

  • A Father and Son Chat - 134
    by Shawn Vanderloo on January 9, 2020 at 8:33 am

    My son stops by for a quick father and son chat. What does Bishop want to do with his life? What are his thoughts about the future? We discuss what he has been learning in school. Is he actually learning anything? Well, it's hard to tell from what he says, but it does appear some things are getting through to him. We talk about my education, my dreams of opening a bar, and what it would be like if I could start my life over. Bishop gives a definition of what success means to him, and he tells us about the kind of power he would like to have. We round out our discussion by talking about movies and pop culture. I have been trying to round out his classic movie education, and for the most part, he has been enjoying my efforts. This week's podcast promo: Earth Station DCU

  • 2020 Vision - 133
    by Shawn Vanderloo on January 1, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    Radical honesty and the future of the Soul Forge Podcast. So we all have an idea of what our lives are supposed to be; a vision for what we want, what we need, and how we wish to be seen. This year, I've put a lot of thought into who I am, who I am becoming, and my 2020 vision for the podcast. The plan is to focus on success stories. Past episodes have focused on mental health. That is all well and good, but this year I want to take a look at people who are already where they want to be. Not all episodes will have this focus however. There will still be the usual kinds of shows. Sprinkling success stories every few episodes will be a nice change of pace where we can all see the good that is in the world. I am also embracing who I am. Radical honesty is a new concept for me. Previously, I have been concerned with not rocking the boat. Well, those days are limited. It is time for me to be who I really am. This may involve swearing more, showing my cynical side and who knows what else. We are all in this ride together. So get ready for a year of unexpected diversions into everything real! This is my 2020 vision. This week's podcast promo: Earth Station Who

  • Unapologetically Me - 132
    by Shawn Vanderloo on December 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

    2019 taught me a lot about myself. In fact, this has probably been the most progress I have made in a year since 2015. So this episode will detail some of the realizations I have come to. Also, this episode is filled with all kinds of media clips. I have tried to even out the sound levels and think I have mostly succeeded. My apologies if it is not perfect. However, none of us are. Some topics included in this episode are fear, love, relationships, being an introvert and my new found knowledge that I am, and have always been, an empath. Using various clips from music and pop culture, I try to highlight these topics in an amusing, yet poignant way. Alternate titles for this episode could have been: Laws, Lessons and Revelations This Is Who I Am 47 Minutes of Bullshit This week's podcast promo: Earth Station One

  • Robin's Rambling Rant
    by Shawn Vanderloo on December 12, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Brother Robin opens up about his struggle with mental health. He lights up a fancy cigarette and unloads many years worth of thoughts. This is Robin's rambling rant! Robin moved in with his eldest brother about 6 months ago. This was an attempt to get his life back on track. More and more, he has been focusing on his mental well-being. As a cab driver, he often speaks with his clients and tells them about his life and his reasons for moving to Timmins. This is not a proper therapy session, but does allow him to release some of his pent up feelings. A big part of our conversation deals with his depression and suicidal thoughts. Robin tells us just how close to came to ending everything. He details a horrible childhood, and talks about trying to overcome his limitations. Robin also talks about how he used alcohol as a coping mechanism. There is also some talk about marijuana. Other topics include losing family members, seasonal depression and his feelings of failure. A main throughline in this rambling rant, is his superhero persona. Brother Robin would often emulate Spider-Man in order to cope with life. While not perfect, sometimes his spider sense saved him from trouble. This week's podcast promo: Double Edged Double Bill

  • Mister Rogers & Children's Television - 130
    by Shawn Vanderloo on December 5, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Mister Rogers is played by Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. Where are the television shows for kids these days that are similar? They simply do not exist. Having gone to the theatre to see the movie, it got me thinking about my own childhood and the shows I grew up on. In this episode, I give a quick review of the movie, and then go through the list of similar shows that I was brought up on.  Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was originally misterrogers in Canada. Therefore, Fred Rogers played a version of himself from 1962 until 2001. Mr. Dressup was played by Ernie Coombs. The series ran from 1967 until 1996. The show was similar to Mr Rogers in that the host spoke directly to the child watching. Both shows included songs and stories, arts and crafts and imagination games. Captain Kangaroo ran from 1955 - 1984. The Friendly Giant which aired from 1958 to 1985 included puppets and had a go slow, gentle nature. Fred Penner's Place succeeded The Friendly Giant and ran from 1985 to 1997. This was a musical show that educated kids in various subjects. Sesame Street debuted in 1969 and is still going. Polka Dot Door 1971 - 1993 Today's Special 1981 - 1987 Under The Umbrella Tree 1986 - 1993 There are likely many other regional shows that never came to national attention. One thing that the most popular shows had in common was that they treated children as individuals with value. Sure, most were hosted by middle-age white men, but that is a product of television history. This week's podcast promo: Cigar Nerds Podcast

  • Masturbation: A Handy Guide - 129
    by Shawn Vanderloo on November 28, 2019 at 9:00 am

    An open discussion between 2 men and 2 women on the nature of masturbation. It's normal, it's natural and it's been around since the beginning of time. Not always an easy discussion, yet most people do it. Masturbation has been depicted in art since prehistoric times, and is both mentioned and discussed in very early writings. On this episode, your 4 co-hosts cover a wide range of topics having to do with masturbation. This episode is probably not safe for work, and you may not want to listen with your kids. At least not until after you have had a chance to listen first. Men and women have vastly different experiences when in comes to masturbation. Boys generally talk or joke about it from an early age. Most women do not discuss it until much later. Also, the age when pleasuring oneself is discovered can vary as well. Guilt and shame are often experienced by both genders. A lot of this may have to do with religious prohibition on such matters. Getting caught is also a consideration. We also discuss frequency of masturbation, techniques, dangerous situations, games, toys, and places in which to do it. What's the deal with porn and imagination? All this and more on episode 29 of the Soul Forge Podcast. Stay tuned to the end for a fun scene lifted from the movie I Love You, Man. This week's podcast promo: CasterQuest

  • Home Again! Home Again? - 128
    by Shawn Vanderloo on November 21, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Can we go home again? This week we explore the idea of returning to our roots. The idea of going home again can be very powerful and intoxicating. We must realize, of course, that we are not the people we once were. As time moves on people change. Our homes, even if our family is still living there, are not the same. The structure may be identical, but everyone involved has grown, matured, or changed in some way. So yes, you can go home again, but you need to be aware that everything is different. Your experiences will not be the ones you had before. The episode is a flow of consciousness type of experiment. Shawn looks back at his life to see how far he has come. There is speculation on what life would be like if Shawn were to return to his home town. Many factors come into play when deciding to make a major life change. Some of these include career path, leaving friends and family, as well as where to live, and the logistics of moving hours away from your base of operations. Home again! Home again? There are no right answers, however, Shawn has realized he cannot let fear control his decision making any longer. This week's podcast promos: 42 Cast, ESO Patreon

  • Marc Maron's Cats - 127
    by Shawn Vanderloo on November 14, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Random updates, general thoughts, and feedback. This week Shawn is here to provide you with some much needed updates. He figured it was time to just check it on the situation and fill you in. General chit-chat is never a bad idea! We start the episode with a mini tribute to Shawn's uncle Frank who recently passed away at the age of 84. You will get a brief background on Frank and the Vanderloo clan. Shawn will then talk a bit about work. How is he coping with the recent changes? Does he enjoy his new route? All this and more! Feedback! The feedback section is the largest part of this week's episode. You will find out about Marc Maron and his cats. Listeners were really affected by the clip we played of Marc talking about his cats on WTF episode 993. The Ghosting episode also inspired a lot of people. We received feedback from Karen, Jarman and Richard. Shawn reads those comments and responds to them. And these comments lead to a discussion about podcasts in general, Jarman's podcast A Play On Nerds, and Shawn's former podcast, Sci-Fi Waffle. This week's podcast promo: ESDCU

  • Jokes, Comedians, Laughter - 126
    by Shawn Vanderloo on November 7, 2019 at 10:00 am

    Laughter really is the best medicine. Jokes, comedians and laughter are on the agenda for this week's Soul Forge Podcast. Shawn and Tracy are telling jokes, and trying to make each other laugh. They are discussing some of their favourite comedians. Movies that they find funny are also mentioned. Shawn's brother Robin has dreams of becoming a stand-up comedian. Or at the very least, going up on stage and giving it a try. If this actually happens, you can be sure we will have a recording on an upcoming episode! On the topic of comedians and comedy, we talk a bit about comedy specials on Netflix. Some of the comedians we mention in this episode include: Trevor Noah, Jeff Dunham, Marc Maron, Amy Schumer, Arsenio Hall and Ricky Gervais. But there are more discussed. Tell us about your favourite jokes or stand-up comedians. You can always email the show via Jokes, comedians and laughter! Shawn's favourite comedian made him cry. This week's podcast promo: Nerdlanta

  • Online Dating, Sex & Ghosting - 125
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 31, 2019 at 10:01 am

    Ghosting! The Non-Hallowe'en Special! Everyone is in love, falling out of love, or looking for love. Or maybe it's really just about the sex. Whatever you are looking for, perhaps you've tried your hand at online dating. There are many apps to help you do just that. Sex, love, marriage and heartache can be yours with a few quick swipes. Our episode begins with a look at the world of online dating. Plenty of Fish is one of the most common sites. It is free and easy to use. Some people use Tinder, Bumble, Grindr, Elite Singles, but there are many others. We have a brief discussion about our own experiences. Ghosting is not just for Hallowe'en anymore. You can ghost and be ghosted at any time. Most often, ghosting occurs as a result of online dating. It is much easier to dismiss and block someone if you don't know them in real life. As part of our look into ghosting, we talk about conversation and rapport. We talk about the need for honesty and how this can be difficult for many people. Reading profiles of potential partners is an important part of getting to know someone's intentions. It is tough to meet people in real life. This week's podcast promo: Earth Station One

  • In The Meme Time - 124
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 24, 2019 at 10:00 am

    We love memes. Memes are how we communicate, and how we express what we are feeling. They often say things that we think but cannot put into words of our own. So, here we have In The Meme Time. It's kind of a play on words. And it's a freaking hilarious episode. I will be telling you what I think each meme means. Also, I will be using my own personal experience to make many of these memes relatable. Be aware that while this episode is amazing and hilarious, there are some bad words in it. Also, near the end, I left in a blooper that I thought was super amusing. So, put your feet up and relax. In the meme time! This week's podcast promos: Terminus Doctor Who, ESO Patreon

  • The Happiness Equation - 123
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 17, 2019 at 10:00 am

    The happiness equation was born out of a feeling of being doomed to unhappiness. As if the universe would not allow joy to exist. The technical name is cherophobia or fear of happiness. It is an attitude towards happiness in which individuals may deliberately avoid experiences that invoke positive emotions or happiness. There is the belief that when one becomes happy, a negative event will soon occur that will taint that happiness; as if punishing that individual for satisfaction. There are 4 reasons for this feeling. (1) a belief that happiness will cause bad things to happen; (2) that happiness will cause you to become a bad person; (3) that expressing happiness is somehow bad for you and others; and (4) that pursuing happiness is bad for you and others. We’re designed to suffer in a sense. Natural selection also designed gratification to evaporate and designed us to keep pursuing it desperately after it evaporates. And to try to cling to it, even though that’s impossible. Our reactions and emotions make us worry. Happiness is the consequence of taming the wild horse that is our mind. The journey to happiness requires looking into the face of reality. Buddhism focuses on taming the mind and its various delusions, misunderstandings, and cravings. To attain equanimity — a deep sense of well-being and happiness — requires daily learning and practice. Happiness is not just a dreamy state of mind. It creates measurable outcomes, as demonstrated by various studies: Happy people have stronger immune systems and tend to live longer. Happy people are more creative. Happy people are more collaborative at work. Happy people are more successful in their personal and professional lives. Happy people do better in social relationships. Happy people effectively bounce back from adversity. Happy people are more accepting of themselves and others. This week's podcast promo: PWR Spot Show

  • That Made My Day - 122
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 10, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Talking about those things that make your day. The small, seemingly insignificant moments that add up to so much. Those things that make you say, "that really made my day!" On this week's episode, Shawn is joined by Deidre. They laugh and carry on and discuss all the things that help us get through our days. Deidre has an amazing practice she calls Priming. She wakes up early, but stays in bed. She spends the time reliving moments of joy in her life. And she finds 3 moments of gratefulness. Picking goals and envisioning them as already done, and feeling the healing light and sending it out into the world are also parts of Priming. The episode is made possible in part by the assistance of Rene and Heather. They have both been on episodes of Soul Forge before. Their moments 'that made my day' are included in the show. We finish up by learning about the Hawaiian prayer Ho'oponopono which can help anyone let go of resentment. This week's podcast promo: NerdBliss

  • Climate Change Crusader Girls - 121
    by Shawn Vanderloo on October 3, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Who are the climate crusader girls? They are not a superhero group, but they are super in their own ways. These are young girls who are doing everything in their power to try to save the world. Whether it be fighting for water rights, or preventing climate change, they all have strong voices. This episode is going to tell you a little bit about several of these climate crusader girls. For more information you will need to hop on Google and YouTube. There is a lot of information out there. After a brief preamble about the latest happenings in my life, I talk a bit about my own thoughts on climate change and saving the world. I also read a Facebook Note that I wrote 11 years ago regarding my worries about oil and gas and the end of civlization. The episode continues on with a bit about some of the climate crusader girls and their lives and what they are passionate about. The episode concludes with the speech Greta Thunberg gave at the recent UN Climate Action Summit. The Climate Crusader Girls: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist, has become one of the most visible faces of the climate activism movement. She’s had a particular gift for articulating the seriousness of the climate crisis. She's getting older generations to understand that young people will pay the price for their irresponsible decisions. Autumn Peltier, a 13-year-old Anishinaabe girl from Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Canada, has been a vocal advocate for protecting water. Mari Copeny, an 11-year-old from Flint, Michigan. She has been advocating tirelessly for the government to pay attention to the water crisis in her town since she was 8. Artemisa Xakriabá, a 19-year-old from the Brazilian Amazon, spoke at the climate strike in New York City about the increasing destruction of the land in her part of the world, pointing out that the indigenous people are overwhelmingly affected by climate change. There’s also Ridhima Pandey. She's an 11-year-old from India, who is among the group of 16 young people around the world (along with Thunberg) who filed a United Nations complaint against five of the world’s largest polluters. This week's podcast promo: CasterQuest

  • This Version of Reality - 120
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 26, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Are we living in the best possible version of reality? Did the decisions that we made when we were younger result in the older version of us being the most content? How can we ever know if we made the correct choices? Can we imagine what life we could be living right now if only we had made a different decision? Obvioulsy there is no way to peer behind the curtain of reality. We cannot ever hope to know what the alternate reality version of us is doing right this minute. No way to know if that other us is living the life we wish we had. All we can do is speculate and wonder. On this episode Shawn and Trish talk about the decisions that were made that resulted in the lives they are living now. 16 years ago, Shawn was faced with 3 choices: stay in Timmins, go back to North Bay, or head home to Sault Ste. Marie. Ultimately, he stayed in Timmins and fell in love with Trish and had a family for 9 years until he left. But what if he had moved back to the Soo, or if he had never left Trish. It's speculation time. Are we living in the best possible version of reality? This episode covers life lessons and the decision to leave Trish. The inability to talk about and process emotions. Also, wanting to take charge of your destiny and be the hero of your own story. We also discuss matching your words to your actions and how this is not always easy to do. And we end the podcast by ruminating on the meaning of love. Are we living in the best possible version of reality? This week's podcast promo: ThunderTalk

  • At The Crossroads - 119
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 19, 2019 at 10:13 am

    My ex-fiance gives me some insight and advice while I stand here at the crossroads. Trish and I were together for 9 years. She has seen me go through quite the transformation over the years. There is probably no one who knows me better. On this week's episode, she tells me like it is. Trish has never been one to hold back on anything. One of my issues is that I've always felt as if everyone else is better off than I am. This has lead to a certain amount of envy. And also a good amount of self-pity for poor life choices. Trish gives me a fresh perspective on this line of thinking. We also talk about the feelings of misery and doubt that come when you are at the crossroads in life. We talk about me wanting to update my resume. If I do that, what is the next step? Where will I find a job that gives me the same benefits and advantages that I currently enjoy? I tend to abandon ship and just do anything I can to escape when I feel like I'm at the crossroads of life. I need to consider all my options instead of just closing my eyes and leaping. And finally, Trish quotes my grandfather's words of wisdom. My Bumpa always said "Make plans, but don't plan the outcome." When you're at the crossroads, these words are important to remember. This week's podcast promo: Double Edged Double Bill

  • Time For A Change - 118
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 12, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Yup, it's time for a change. When things become stale, old or boring, we must look for a fresh perspective. We cannot continue to live by our old patterns. Like a snake that sheds its skin, we too must start over, begin again. This episode of the Soul Forge will take on the topic of change. Your host Shawn is joined by his brother Robin, and together they discuss and examine the changes in their lives. Robin has recently changed everything about his life. He had a job, a car, and a house in Sault Ste. Marie. Due to certain circumstances he lost all of those things. He needed to make a change. He could have remained in his hometown, or he could start fresh. Start fresh is what he did. Moving in with his brother Shawn helped Robin financially and emotionally. Shawn recently turned 43. The seasons are changing. The postal routes are also changing next week and Shawn is forced to change his shift. It is time for a change. Everything needs to change. Shawn would like to leave Timmins. He wants a new job, a new car, a new house. Winning the lottery is not an option, and yet something drastic needs to change in Shawn's life. Perhaps this is a continuation of his recent existential crisis. What changes will Shawn make? Will he stay stuck in familiar patterns? Only time will tell. This week's podcast promo: The Nerdy Laser

  • DragonCon 2019 - 117
    by Shawn Vanderloo on September 5, 2019 at 10:08 am

    DragonCon 2019 is over, but it was an amazing experience. On this episode, Shawn talks about all the adventures experienced, incredible people met, the panels attended, and so much more. DragonCon is held in Atlanta, Georgia over the Labor Day weekend. This was the 33rd event. To get to Atlanta, Shawn drove his little black car from Timmins, Ontario. He crossed the province of Ontario, and then drove through 5 states. Each way, there and back again, took approximately 22 hours over 2 days. Would he do it again? He certainly would! 4500 kilometres is a long way to go to get your geek on, but totally worth it. On this episode, you will hear about the celebrity panels Shawn and friends attended. The number of people Shawn met is beyond counting. One of the highlights was meeting Kine Corder from episode 41 of the Soul Forge Podcast. Other highlights include Jarman Day, Mike and Judy Faber, Robert J. Sawyer, Mike Gordon and the rest of the ESO Network crew. Sweet Tea is amazing.Don't stay at the Motel 6 in Findlay, Ohio.Check out Shawn's Facebook page for the DragonCon photo album: This week's podcast promos: ESO Patreon and Earth Station Who