the intro


Welcome to Catlander.

This is the story of the Little Bike Company that’s trying to change the world (visit www.catlander.com for info that’s somewhat less philosophical in nature).

What started with just an invention and a lost boot has spiralled out into an amazing friendship, business partnership, and the shared belief that we, individually and together, are capable of (and responsible for) revolutionizing the way we do business in encounter the world.
We’ve invested hundreds, maybe thousands of hours exploring our personal philosophies, read a few books and websites, watched a few videos (links to come), and, in fact, made the Catlander Philosophy our lifestyle.

The Catlander Fundamentals are the 10 (or so) tenets that just keep coming to the top, shouting their importance (and transferability to other areas of life) at us. And, since we’ve realized the importance of things that come up more than once (the Louder and Slower Messages from the Universe), we’ve started listening to our hearts and trying to apply these lessons across the board.

And you know what? It’s been amazing, life-changing in a hundred tiny ways. And we want to share our journeys with you.

My name is Joy. In 2011, I came back home to Ottawa, turtle-style, with only the things I could carry on the Greyhound, cross-country, from Alberta. I met Eric in November, when I lost one of my boots. He had a spare pair of shoes in his backpack, and he loaned them to me. I was supposed to contact him the following week to arrange their return, but they were in such rough shape that I thought he couldn’t possibly be serious – so I threw them out.  
A week later, Eric contacted me to arrange a meeting. I spent a few minutes considering my options before replying:       
a) pretend I didn’t get the text
            b) tell him I somehow lost the shoes through no fault of my own
            c) tell the truth
I told the truth, and offered to buy him a jug of beer by way of apology, so we met up and spent a few hours exchanging stories.

We were both at particularly low points in our lives.

[I thought, when I started writing this, that I’d try to maintain some degree of privacy or anonymity or whatever. But then I started actually putting this last year into words, and I realized two things:
            1. The roads that Eric and I have been travelling will be a lot easier to explain if I share the details that have triggered our thinking.
            2. I can’t go talking about Absolute Trust, Best Possible, Being You, and Doing What You Love To Do With As Much Intensity As You Possibly Can, and then withhold vital details about myself.
So. This blog, for me, personally, is a journey in learning to Speak the Truth - with Love. And Being Me. With Intensity.
End tangent]

We were both at particularly low points in our lives.

I’d just left my marriage, and moved back to my home town after being gone for more than a decade. I was 34, suddenly single, rootless, jobless, and effectively homeless.
Eric was working as a bike mechanic at a local sports shop, but even though he was employed in his field, he wasn’t satisfied. The business practices of the company he worked for didn’t line up with his personal ethics, and he was coming to resent the idea of having to work for Vizzini to pay the bills*. He was also suddenly single, newly in possession of an unwanted pet Albino California King Snake (Snakeroo), and the week before I met him, his 17-year-old cat, Phi, decided this life wasn’t for her anymore.

Rough shape, both of us.

But, it turns out, we’re both philosophers. So we had a lot to talk about.

One of the things that came up almost immediately is the concept of looking for the Best Possible interpretation of events in life. Early in our friendship, naturally, our conversation centered on our personal current events, and I’ll tell you, there were a LOT of sorrows drowned. But right from the get-go, we agreed to approach our friendship with Absolute Truth and Absolute Trust. We made a decision to always try to see each other’s Best Possible aim, intent, and potential.
This freed us up to communicate openly, and to be transparent with each other. [Transparency, I’ve recently learned, is one of the foundations of Non-Violent Communication, something that I’ve only just started reading about. I think there will be more discussion about NVC to come.]
With this freedom, trust, and honesty, we were able to help each other see the good in our lives, and try to focus on that, rather than getting caught up in inward spirals of  failed marriage/shitty job/no house/dead cat.

So for all that we were both in some pretty dark places, well, the blind leading the blind isn’t always a recipe for disaster.

I have an incredible, supportive network of friends around this city (and this country, for that matter), and Eric has an invention.
These were the things that we each decided to focus on, and try to work with to Improve our Good. And that’s how Catlander was born. (To be fair, Eric already had a business name registered and all that jazz, but I think of Catlander as a philosophy more than just a bike company.)
Eric’s invention inspired him to dream about starting his own bike company. He registered his business name, applied for patents in Canada and the US, and started aiming toward building his bike. He quickly realized he was going to need some motivational and organizational support, and that’s when I got the title of Office Manager. So that’s the short story of Why Eric and Joy Talk So Much Business over Pints.

Eric and I have spent a lot of time together this last year, discussing our experiences and our reactions to them, examining our motivations, figuring out what our dreams are, and learning to pursue them fearlessly.
We don’t have any special qualifications or training, but we think a lot, and we talk a lot, and we are insatiably curious about what goes on in p8eople’s heads.
Currently, Eric has the incredible opportunity to focus solely on building his business for the next year or so, and I’m paying my bills by washing dishes for minimum wage (there will be more discussions surrounding the nature of minimum-wage employment showing up here).
What this means, practically, is that we’ve both been perfectly set up to chase our dreams.

And that’s why I’m writing this – to organize and share the things I’ve been learning, and to (hopefully) round up some like-minded folk who might jump into our discussions and give us perspectives we might not have thought of otherwise.

Welcome to Catlander. If you’re still reading, drop a note in the comments. What do you want to talk about?

*in this blog, you’re likely to find a ton of references to The Princess Bride, Real Genius, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, etc. Hero cookies for anyone who spots them!            


  1. I'm here. I'll check up.
    Funny story. Good writing style and I love your spelling and syntax... i.e. their correctness.