Getting through it on your own: The Deep Friar interview

The Deep Friar is one of the delights of the blogosphere. He and Brett Legree hijack blogs, filling the comment sections with bananas, inflatable gorillas and other delightful (but surprisingly relevant) silliness. Friar also draws, producing great cartoons for and Write from Home. I wanted to find out what else there is to the Friar and here’s what he told me.

Who: The Deep Friar
Friar is an Advanced Level III Procrastinator who uses his creativity and sense of humor to try to make life as happy and as much fun as possible for himself, and hopefully for his friends and family as well.

Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
Awww.  To be honest, I don’t really like the term “pity party”. It sounds so negative, like we’ve somehow screwed up and we’re wallowing in our own misery.   I prefer to re-phrase it as times in my life where I’ve felt sorrier for myself than usual.

One of those times was on a ski vacation out in BC, back in 2001 when I was visiting my parents.  I had a major wipe-out on the first day.  Ended up tearing the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in my knee.

Now…if any of you have ever torn your ACL before……you’ll know this really really SUCKS!

And the thing is…this was the third time I’d torn an ACL over a 12 year period.

So I knew exactly what I was in for.  A very long wait for surgery.  Painful recuperation.  Months of physio.  Limping for 18-24 months.   And not being able to ski for at least 2 years.   This wasn’t being negative…these were facts.

I remember thinking:  “COME ON…you have GOT to be shitting me!  I mean…NOBODY rips their ACL THREE times!”

As an added bonus…a few months later, I was laid off from work.   Which didn’t exactly help.

Even our worst behaviors fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw yourself that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
I knew feeling sorry for myself wouldn’t fix my knee or bump me up on the waiting list to see the specialist.  But I needed some time to feel bad and get it out of my system.

I think anytime we suffer a loss (whether it’s a fender-bender, not getting that job interview, or a death in the family) there’s a period of grieving involved.  We need to mourn our loss, and deal with it before we move on.   Depending on the loss, the mourning period might take minutes.   Or years.   That’s what I needed… a bit of time to grieve.

Tell us what you did to break up the pity part. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
Yeah, I know theoretically we’re “supposed to” not worry about things of which we have no control.  To count our blessings, there are people much worse off than we, are, yadda yadda yadda.

But I wasn’t Gandhi or Superman.  I needed some time to get used to the idea of once again having constant pain, dealing with surgery waiting lists, and that I wouldn’t be doing any active jumping/running sports for a long time.

Did someone help buoy my spirits?  Hah!   (Sorry, I have to laugh!).

Not exactly.  One family member got very angry at me.  Another family member told me a week later to “get over it” (as I was walking with a still-swollen knee, with burning pain in every step).  I remember thinking that was pretty harsh.   Pretty easy to judge someone, if you don’t know what they’re going through.

What’s ironic is if they hadn’t said ANYTHING, I would have probably felt better.   They actually made things worse.

As for friends, acquaintances… no, not really any help.   The reality is… most people are too involved with their own lives and don’t want to hear about it.   It’s nothing personal.  That’s just the way Life is.

Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
From that moment on, I decided to not talk about it.  This was more out of self-preservation. And it worked:  It made things easier, and nobody judged me or scolded me for feeling bad. .

And like I said… I just needed time to adjust my thought process.  I got back on my feet pretty quickly (literally).   Instead of looking at what I lost… I looked at what I COULD do.   Downhill skiing was out… so within two weeks, I was back doing cross-country (I just took the skis off and walked down the big hills).  During the summer, I did lots of hiking.  Sure the knee glitched all the time and bugged me.  But oh well, I just got used to it.

By the way I ended up having surgery a YEAR later (and yes, I DID find another job, obviously).  But that’s another story for another time….

Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
I guess my version of the Syndrome is that “I’ll Get Around to it Someday”.

What I want to do is publish a children’s book.   If I do just that one thing, I’ll be very happy for the next several years.

But my longer term goals are to eventually publish more and more books, to the point that I can quit my present (@#%) job and live off my royalties, only working if (or when) I feel like it.

And where I’d love to spend a big chunk of my retirement is skiing out in BC.  (Right back where I wrecked my knee years ago!).  Hahah.  Talk about the Circle of Life. (*insert Lion King music here*)

Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
I find the resolving it isn’t something you necessarily come up with at all at once.   Especially if it’s a grey area.

For example, I’ve been listless and unhappy with my present career for the past 2 years. I’m not miserable, but I haven’t reached that Zen-like state of self-actualization either.

But in the mean time I’ve been earning a pretty decent paycheck, so I can afford to coast in neutral.   It’s only within the last 8-12 months that I’ve finally figured out what I really want to do and how I’m going to get there.

But once I latched onto my kids’ book plan, I’ve done LOTS of work.  I’ve started a blog for one thing, which has helped me hone my writing skills. I’ve tested my storybook idea on my readers.  Not to mention I’ve generated countless OTHER stories and ideas which can go in other books.  Plus I’m networking with lots of professional writers and consultants.

Plus I’ve been sketching, practicing my drawings, testing different papers and pens, playing with Photoshop, researching kids’ books…there’s always something going on.    So even though my present career is still boring and unsatisfying, whenever I work on my book project, even for an hour, it’s always step in the right direction.  And that’s what sustains me.

Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
Whenever you’re in a “Pity Party”, just show yourself some compassion.  Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t bounce back instantly.  Just remember that “This too, shall pass”.

And I know it sounds corny, but whenever Life deals you with crap, there’s a positive side to it… it makes you stronger.

Now, if someone had told me that 5 years ago, I’d laugh and say “Yeahhh…right!”  But it’s true.

Take my knee injury.  It was a major set-back, it was wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened.   That came a few years later when my Dad suddenly passed away.  But by then, I had already gained some experience in dealing with Life’s curve balls.   So in a way, I think my knee injury indirectly helped me deal a little better with Dad’s death.

And now that I’ve dealt with my Dad’s death…well, now I know there’s NOTHING I can’t handle! (Come on, Life!….Bring it onnnnn)

If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for?
Hopefully if I read enough inspirational blogs, I’m sure to find the right advice or quotation to follow, that will fix everything and make it ALLLLL better!


But more seriously. I find it one thing that helps if I’m accountable to a third-party, who has an objective point of view.   If I’m in a slump, to maybe have someone to knock ideas around with, and help me get motivated again.

And actually, I’m doing that right now, in two different ways.

First, I have a friend who’s training for a Life Coach.  She practices her techniques on me…in exchange, I get free coaching.  It’s a great symbiotic relationship.   We’re in touch on a regular basis and she’s been wonderful.  She doesn’t tell me WHAT to do…she just presents ideas and options to me…which I might not have thought of on my own.    I’ve made huge progress with her, compared to where I was a year ago.

Second, I hang out with my buddy Brett, who (ahem!) some of you may know.   Every Thursday, we meet and have our Beer Therapy Support Session.  (Cheaper than going to a psychiatrist, I tell you!)  We bitch about work for a while to get it out of our system.  After that, we have our think-fest and brainstorm about ideas for books and blog projects.   We have a few ideas up our sleeve we’re working on.  It’s great synergy.   You’ll just have to wait and see what we come up with.

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30 thoughts on “Getting through it on your own: The Deep Friar interview

  1. Great interview!

    Joely Black (@TheCharmQuark on Twitter)´s last blog post..Processing out loud: Guilt anonymous

  2. Karen Swim says:

    Friar, reading this made me realize all over again why I like you! There are so many things that you said that really resonated with me but thank you for speaking directly to your career situation. I counsel so many of my own clients in this area and advise many to do exactly what you’re doing, don’t change jobs just to escape when the next job is not really your goal either. Instead use what the job gives you (income) to fuel your true passion and then when you do resign you’re resigning to something you want. Great insights and pictures!

    Karen Swim´s last blog post..Resource Friday

  3. Friar,
    When you say that you and Brett have some ideas, I am not sure whether to beef up security or pop popcorn and watch the show. LOL. Either way it will be fun and likely to contain 10% MORE nuts than any “cereal” out there.

    Love this darlin’. Hope the skiing is good.

    Janice Cartier´s last blog post..Jason Wu and The Spotlight

  4. Alex Fayle says:

    Thanks! It was exactly and wasn’t at all like what I expected from Friar, which made it extra special.

    I agree with you and Friar on this one – don’t jump ship just to end up somewhere just as bad. Use the stability you have to create what your really want. (Of course, sometimes that’s hard to do when the job is sucking away at your soul).

    I hear you! Scary and exciting! And definitely with more nuts.

  5. I’m really enjoying these interviews, Alex–everyone’s pov has been delightful. Of course, each interview means a new blog in my feedreader… which means a wee bit more procrastination in my life, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

    Friar, I really appreciated what you had to say about processing the grief before moving on–I think so often the people in our lives just want us to “get back in the game” and aren’t as gentle as they could be… It’s so much easier to be optimistic *after* processing what’s awful (or even just crappy) about a situation.

    Jessica @ThriveYourTribe´s last blog post..Are you surprised I’m such a tease?

  6. Friar,

    Wow, this is about as serious as I have ever heard you sound. Very nice interview and I like how you are using your time to get where you need to go, even though you are still working at the *factory* You aren’t letting that stop you.

    Impressive. It just goes to show that we can do it when we start to want it bad enough.

    Wendi Kelly- Life’s little Inspirations´s last blog post..Field Trip

  7. Brett Legree says:

    Holy crap, Gorilla Man, Level III Procrastinator 🙂 you are the master, and I am the student!

    Yes, Thursday nights – I’ll be missing that until you get back, for sure. I suppose I’ll just get drunk alone in the basement *sniff, sniff* or maybe sketch out some ideas for our world domination plans…


    Good piece of writing here guys – very interesting.

    Brett Legree´s last blog fridays – turn the spell.

  8. Kelly says:


    Even knowing a lot of the story, it was so moving to see it put together here. I love this side of your personality, and I love how you got yourself through. Powerful story.

    I totally agree, not beating yourself up is just about the best advice ever. Hard to achieve, but so important to try for.

    P.S. —”My present (@#%) job” Thanks for sparing us the swearing, lol.


    I’m so glad you invited one of my favorite people here to inspire us! Thanks!



    Kelly´s last blog post..Inspiration Points: Reality Is Not on a TV Show

  9. Amy says:

    Ok, so I know this had nothing to do with anything… BUT… that skiing illustration? THAT’S why I don’t ski. (That skull down there? That would be mine.)

    So, um, anyway.

    *slaps the dust out of my ear*

    It was nice to learn a little more about you here, Friar. I like the plans you have for yourself. They sound like the best kind of plans… ones that’ll make you happy.

    Kelly, thanks for pulling me out of my work-cave of isolation doom for a minute so I could come read this before I was majorly late to yet another party.

    P.S. The phrase “pity party” is not my favorite phrase either. I think sometimes we need to feel sorry for ourselves in order to motivate ourselves into action. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. 😉

  10. Amy- yeah…I’m not getting on skiis anytime soon either. ( shutters)

    My mom is fond of that saying *people don’t change until they are hurting bad enough* I remember thinking, “Heck, I must be one hell of a masochist”…

    I guess I believe we just need to get to the right point when everything finally intersects. It’s different for everyone. One day…it’s just time.

    Wendi Kelly- Life’s little Inspirations´s last blog post..Field Trip

  11. Kelly says:


    Delighted. You might have to check with Alex, though: saying “work-cave of isolation doom” may be against SS regulations.


    Until later,


    Kelly´s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Pump Down the Volume…

  12. Patricia says:

    Very nice interview, I enjoyed reading it while I am procrastinating writing a blog post for tomorrow.
    Dec. 12th I tore a ligament or muscle off my sternum – I can’t tell you the pain, because you story already illustrates that…it’s the lack of sleep that is driving me a bit crazy and I so want it to go away and to heal.. I am tired of even the Dr.s saying this is taking too long…the good news at least it was not a heart attack or stroke which I thought it was at first and got me into the ER

    I am really thinking about the grieving part too, my family is obviously sick of me being sick…but I am grieving what I had planned and no one wants me to take the time to do that…

    I have scheduled my money issues as my meditation for LENT…I am working on compassion and conflict resolution during Epiphany on my blog and it is working…it is a preparation like getting the right kinds of pens.
    I am afraid to stop working on stuff – I believe I need a to do list to stay alive.

    I can not ski because I have no depth perception….

    I so enjoyed Friar, your drawings for your book and your humor on comments on other blogs.
    Thank you Alex for this interview…

    …good procrastination stop!

    Patricia´s last blog post..Increase Your Emotional IQ

  13. Friar says:

    Sorry to show up late to this party. I’m in BC (on Pacific Time), so I’m three hours behind what my normal schedule is.

    And (as luck would have it), I’m on vacation at the EXACT same ski hill where I tore my knee 8 years ago. Funny how things work out, eh? 🙂

    Thanks. Alex sure knows how to ask the right kind of questions to get people to open up.

    Awwh..shucks. I like you too! 🙂 Yeah…there are so many blogs out there that almost lecture you to change your job NOW and go out there and find the perfect career right NOW. I chose to wait…until I find out what it is I really want to do. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    Ohhh….I believe that whatever Brett and I come up with, it will surely be entertaining. Bring the popcorn, and come out and watch! 😉

    Exactly…people need time to deal with things and work them out. Whether it’s a ski injury or something much worse, I think there’s an appropriate time for grieving, and it depends on the situation and the person.

    Friar´s last blog post..Another Canadian Moment

  14. Friar says:


    Well, I was SORTA serious. (Yes, my answers were sincere…but I had to throw in a few wise-cracks here and there…to do otherwise would go against my values and beliefs!) 🙂

    And you’re right. The Factory is a stepping stone. I’ll stay there long enough, collect my salary, till it’s time to leave and go onto greener pastures.

    Yeah, I had to work HARD to get that Level III. They don’t just hand those out to anyone.

    You and I can’t work TOO hard on our plans, though. (Because that will mean moving ahead, and I might lose my Level III status). 😉

    Thanks! See? The Friar CAN be deep, once in a while. 😉

    But I dont’ really consider this a powerful story. Stuff happened to me. No more or less than what happens to anyone else. I just wrote what happened.

    Skiing is like driving a car. It’s perfectly safe if you obey all traffic laws and obey the speed limits..

    Just that (like driving a car), it’s FUN to push the limits and go as fast as you’ll allow yourself to get away with.

    When I busted my knee, I was going too fast down a trail I didn’t know too well. In hindsight, it was a perfectly avoidable accident. Oh well.

    Well, admittledly, the worst ski injury in our family was my Mom’s (with a compound fracture of her arm). But that wasn’t downhill skiing. It was cross-country !

    Sorry to hear about your chest pains. It’s hard for other people to understand what it’s like (unless they’ve gone through chronic pain themselves).

    But like I said, this too shall pass. I promise there will be a day when you’ll look back on this time, and you’ll shake your head, and say “Boy…I’m glad THAt’s over”. Just like I’m writing now, about my old ski accident.

    Friar´s last blog post..Another Canadian Moment

  15. Kelly says:


    The Friar CAN be deep, once in a while.

    Mm, I know. Then you have to hand out the tissues at your blog, and you get all “aw, shucks,” and that’s it—you go on a rip of fifteen of the most sarcastic rants ever, to wash away the memory.

    There’s good in Dr. Jeckyll and in Mr. Hyde. 🙂

    What’s powerful to me, is how you went through it all and emerged stronger on the other side. Didn’t let stupid stuff throw you. That’s where I was nodding, saying “yeah. I want to be more like that.”



    Kelly´s last blog post..Tip of the Week: Pump Down the Volume…

  16. Alex Fayle says:

    I’m not sure I’m comfortable helping you procrastinate… at least you’re reading good blogs 😉

    When I asked Friar for an interview, I had a pretty good idea that there was a serious man hiding under the banana peels and gorilla suits.

    I think it’s probably a good thing for the world that you and Friar *can’t* get together *every* week.

    I’m so bad at beating myself up. I often choose not to do things because if I can’t do them perfectly I don’t want to do them. Ridiculous I know and I’m working on it. 😉

    That would also be me at the bottom of the hill all bone-like and dead. As for “pity party” I use it to shake people up. Gentler words I’ve found don’t get the same reaction. Even if people need to go through the pity (like Friar here and many others in past interviews), the words “pity party” toss people into the moment in their life where they felt the most sorry for themselves. And we end up with awesome responses.

    Unfortunately your mom is right – we’re motivated by pain and pleasure and too often to get out of a bad situation we need to get pushed by the pain rather than drawn out by the pleasure. (Humans are rather stubborn/silly that way).

    Yes, I saw that, but then noticed it was from Amy and let it go. She and I have already agreed that she lives a four-hour-life week and that works for her.

    OW! I’m so sorry to hear that, but I like the attitude about at least it’s not… My mother had the same reaction to her pneumonia. The doctors told her that she’s had some permanent scarring at the bottom of her lungs. She said to me “I can live with diminished lung capacity, because I can live.” (yes, the pneumonia was pretty serious)

    I hope you’re enjoying your ski trip and that age has brought wisdom and precautions!

  17. Hi Friar – This has been a great interview. I’m so happy you shared your answers with Alex.

    When you said after your Dad’s death you feel you can handle anything that comes your way reminds me of when I lost my mother. Losing a parent is a pain that’s deep, indescribable and does make us stronger.

    With your drive and determination, I’ve no doubt you’ll be authoring countless books. When that happens, will you and Brett continue to hijack blog comment sections? I hope so. You’re a joy to watch in action.

    Barbara Swafford´s last blog post..SEO – Are We Getting It All Wrong

  18. Friar says:

    Yes, I CAN be Deep when I want to.

    But if I wrote too many tear-jerking blog posts, I’d be just like all the other tear-jerking blog out there. And no one would read me and I wouldn’be be interviewed by cool bloggers like Alex. 😉

    PS. “I want to be more like that”. Ummm…are you sure? (The last thing the planet needs is to have the Friar as a source of inspiration! 😉

    Thanks. We all lose parents sooner or later. Just when it happens sooner than expected, it’s more painful.

    But these hardships make us stronger. I think it teaches compassion and empathy, more so than if nothing bad had ever happened in our lives.

    PS. Note to self: Talk to Brett about hijacking Barbara’s blog!

    Friar´s last blog post..Another Canadian Moment

  19. Brett Legree says:

    20-foot tall Gorillas? Check.
    Inflatable bananas? Check.
    Url for Barbara’s blog? Check.


    Let the hijacking begin… heh heh

    Brett Legree´s last blog fridays – turn the spell.

  20. […] Getting through it on your own: The Deep Friar interview at Someday Syndrome […]

  21. Alex Fayle says:

    The Urban Panther and I had a scare of that sort this past month with our mother in the hospital for pneumonia. She’s getting better, but it was an experience that although I know I’ll have to face eventually, I want to hold it off as long as possible…

    BTW, are you *sure* you want Friar and Brett hijacking BWAB?

  22. Great interview, Alex!

    Friar, thanks for opening up about your “pity party”; it was very insightful. I have a friend going through a really tough time right now, and I’m struggling with how to suppport her when she has no good news in sight. I’m trying my hardest to not let my life get in the way of me being there for her.

    I LOVE the drawing of you and the pup in the canoe. Beautiful! And I’d be remiss if I didn’t tease you in the slightest bit about conferring with a “life coach” hee hee …

    Rebecca Smith´s last blog post..The scoundrels’ dictionary revisited

  23. Friar says:


    Oh, tease away, if you must! 🙂

    Well, she’s a good friend of mine. I was not getting much progress getting my storybook done, and getting my life in order. And she was training for her Life Coaching, and needed someone to practice on. So we;ve been helping each other out. It’s been a great arrangement.


    Glad to hear your Mom’s doing better. I had a big scare with my Mom too,a few years ago with cancer. But she’s okay now. I’ve learned to just take the good times when you can get ’em.

    Friar´s last blog post..4 Minutes and 22 Seconds of Down-Time.

  24. Alex Fayle says:

    It’s really hard just to “be there” for friends without trying to fix things or say “get over it” isn’t it? We want to either make things better or make them go away, but sometimes we just have to accept and let them do what they need to…

    Yes, the good times are to be celebrated in the moment, aren’t they?

  25. Kelly says:


    “Get over it” is my least favorite phrase. Tied with my mother’s special version of it: “Toughen up, kid.” Loathe them both. We are all too darned tough, and too accustomed to getting over things we shouldn’t have to, as is. Breathe, accept, allow, then we can move past when it’s time. But don’t toughen up or get over. Bugger that.




    Kelly´s last blog post..Inspiration Points: Please, Please Me

  26. Friar says:


    Once, when I was recovering from another major surgery, lumbering around on crutches, lots of people’s comments were really stupid.

    Telling me it wasn’t so bad, to look on the bright side. You’re lucky, Friar, my brother in law had it worse, etc. etc..

    Almost as if I was being scolded for bein in pain. Which of course did NOTHING to make me feel better.

    Then my best buddy came by, took a look at me, and said “You’re screwed”.

    No malice. No joke. Just an honest acknowledgment about my situation.

    And I thought “YESS! Thank you!…..SOMEONE gets it!”. It was such a relief!

    And that’s basically what we need sometimes. Just an acknowledgement.

    Friar´s last blog post..4 Minutes and 22 Seconds of Down-Time.

  27. Kelly says:


    LOL at “my brother in law had it worse.” Oh, yes, I know that one. Everyone knows someone who’s had a twitch in their back, and any twitch counts as “you should do what he did” if I so much as breathed the words “back pain.”

    On the other hand, I’ve discovered that I do say stuff to other people with back pain now… but I say it as “this may not apply at all, but here’s what happened with me.” Not “that’s nothing, at least you don’t have what my third cousin’s great-uncle had.” Ick.



    Kelly´s last blog post..Inspiration Points: Please, Please Me

  28. Alex Fayle says:

    I lived for 9 years with what the doctors thought was fibromyalgia – constant pain and fatigue. But the specialists were crap, saying things to me like “well, you’re not in half as bad shape as another patient of mine who can barely walk” or “you’re so young, maybe if you just exercised more you’d get better.” And some friends couldn’t deal with it and kept talking about how boring I’d become.

    Great thanks all! Good support!

    Fortunately at least my family supported me even if they didn’t understand fully how one day I could work for hours doing physical labour and a week later not get out of bed.

  29. Kelly says:


    Wait! I can’t remember if I should know the end of the story… have you told it before? (It sounds familiar. Need caffeine.)

    So what’s the result? Have you gotten all fixed up or do you still deal with dumb doctors?

    I hate cliff hangers. 🙂

    Thank goodness for that family support. When it’s there it’s a real blessing.



    Kelly´s last blog post..What’s Underutilized, Under Your Nose, and Costing You a Bundle?

  30. Alex Fayle says:

    After about six months I said f*ck you to the specialists, lived in pain for 9 years then at the encouragement of a really good family doctor, I started doing a lot more online research and realized that it wasn’t fibromyalgia but candida overload. I cut out anything that could feed the yeast for a year and ended up pain-free and full of energy again. Of course if I eat too much wheat/sugar/dairy/fat, I start to feel the pain and stop sleeping well.

    And yes, I’m so living in the wrong country, so I currently live with low-level pain and occasional brain-fogginess.

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