© Thomas R. Cichanowski, 1986 – 2002

Crocheted by my sister, Mary Cichanowski. Not very long ago, a little boy named Tommy lived in a beautiful valley that was named Hiawatha by the Indians. The mighty Mississippi River ran through the valley, and this area had once been a popular place for Native Americans and fur traders to meet and exchange goodies.

The Mississippi River has many islands in it, and one of them is named We•no•nah. The island was named after a beautiful Indian princess, and this is where Tommy was born and grew up, and where our story takes place.

One summer day, Tommy was sitting by the river with his fishing pole hoping to catch a fish for supper. He was watching a flock of ducks flying high among the beautiful clouds when he noticed a large animal swimming in the river.

"What a large turtle!" Tommy said out loud. Much to his surprise the animal looked at him and said, "I'm not a turtle." Startled, Tommy said, "Obviously, turtles can't talk!" "All life can communicate. Maybe you don't listen," the animal said. "What are you then," Tommy asked, "you look like a turtle." "I am a Magic Tortoise," the animal replied.

"What's the difference — turtle, tortoise," asked Tommy? "You both have shells and weird wrinkly skin. And you both keep popping your head in and out of your shell. And besides, what makes you magical?"

The tortoise stretched his neck, turned his head, stared straight into Tommy's blue eyes, and said. "One becomes magical when one learns the laws of nature and can work with them to do wonderful things.

The difference between tortoises and turtles is that turtles spend most of their time in the water, while tortoises spend a lot of time on land. I really enjoy swimming and playing with all the water animals, but I like having adventures on land even more."

Tommy interrupted, "What kind of adventures do tortoises have that you find so interesting?"

The tortoise replied, "Meeting new creatures is always a fun adventure. Every living thing has something special to share with others. If you open your mind and are willing to learn, you can gain useful information, and have fun experiences, with each new friend you meet.

It was your heart that brought you to the river today," the tortoise continued. "You are looking for something." "Yes," Tommy interrupted, "I'm trying to catch a fish for supper."

The tortoise laughed, "Trying isn't good enough, you must do it, or you will go hungry!" "You should never try to do anything. If you only try, you will never do. Doing has it's own special rules, and you will never be able do anything by only trying! The word 'tried' belongs to the past. You can use it when you are talking about something you failed at, or didn't do. If you want something to be, you must think, feel and say, 'I Will Do It!' Only then will you collect and project enough energy to make your desire real."

"I will catch my fish for supper," Tommy exclaimed! Tommy sat quietly for several minutes staring at his fishing cork. "Ha, no fish," Tommy said, "your talk doesn't catch fish!"

Crocheted by my sister, Mary Cichanowski. "Words aren't enough," replied the tortoise. "You must put power in your words with your mind and body. You must put your whole self into the action. The secret for doing, is what you are thinking and feeling inside of you. The thought that you picture in your mind and the feeling that is rushing through your spirit is what gives your words their power." The tortoise looked away and then roared with laughter! "Besides, telling a fish that you want to catch it is no way to get it come to you. What would you have done, when I first saw you, if I said, "I want to catch you today?"

Tommy frowned and squirmed uncomfortably on his rock. "Aha, you would have run away, thought it necessary to avoid me. You would have done that, wouldn't you?" the tortoise squinted. Tommy nodded yes. The tortoise leaned back on the grassy river bank.

"You see then, how important your approach is. In a way, I did catch you today. Not by chasing you or by setting a trap for you, but by talking to you. My words caught your interest! And, it is my words that are holding you captive here now."

"I'm not your prisoner," protested Tommy, "I could leave right now!" "Without your fish for supper," the tortoise chuckled? "Maybe I don't want fish for supper, maybe I'll have something else," Tommy pouted.

"Ah, might we say then, that you really didn't have the Will to actually catch a fish today?" the tortoise said with a twinkle in his eye. "By saying, 'Maybe I'll have something else,' you tell me that you are uncertain about what you really want. Its really quite hard — impossible even — to do something if you don't have a strong desire to do it.

To become a successful doer, you must tune your Will, your Attitude and your Approach. You must keep tuning them until they harmoniously work together like the strings on a guitar. When properly tuned and working together, these special abilities that you have, will automatically bring into existence correct actions. Actions that will bring to you what your heart desires. In your case today, you are desiring a fish for your supper."

"You are sure big on talk. Show me how good your talk is for catching fish with a fishing pole!" Tommy demanded. "A show is never as good as a do, but today is a good day for fishing so, I'll do a show for you."

The tortoise took Tommy's pole and walked to the water's edge. "All things are connected through a living spirit — an interactive field of energy. When you feel something, that feeling radiates out from your body like radio waves sent from a transmitting antenna — like light from a light bulb. Your body generates a magnetic force that travels from your body and moves the great spirit. Your body's magnetism creates a type of sound wave that moves through the spirit much faster than the speed of light.

Just like a radio, living creatures can tune in and listen to the feelings that are being felt by you. Fish can tune in on your feelings, so it is important to have the correct feelings if you desire to catch fish. The fish has to feel safe when coming close to you. Fish can see you standing by the water and they keep an eye on you. They are wondering whether or not you might be a threat to them. If you are acting or feeling in a way they consider threatening, they will stay far away from you.

If you have loving feelings inside of you, the fish will come to you. They will even eat out of your hand if you take the time to become friends with them. If you need a fish for supper, you must invite the fish's spirit to join yours in order to accomplish a higher purpose. You are asking the fish to share your life spirit, to continue his life by becoming part of yours. In this way you are not really killing the fish, but giving the fish's life spirit a new possibility for gaining experiences, through you and with you. By respecting life in all its forms in ways like this, you will find what you need to grow, and you will be able to share in all the wonderful adventures that are possible for you."

The tortoise turned toward the river and flipped the fishing hook in the water, without putting anything on it. A few seconds later, he pulled back hard on the fishing pole. Tommy thought for sure the pole was going to break, but to his surprise a huge fish came "flying" out of the water, fell off the hook, and landed right next to him. It was the largest fish Tommy had ever seen up close, more than three feet long! "Oh my gosh!," Tommy said as the fish started to flop back towards the river. Tommy jumped and grabbed the fish with both hands, but the fish was slippery and it slid out of his hands and flopped back into the river.

The tortoise roared with laughter. "I guess that was a bit more fish than you can handle," he said, with a twinkle in his eye. Tommy got up and brushed off his clothes. Tommy felt very foolish that he had let such a beautiful fish get away. What a prize that fish would have been for him to take home. "Can you catch it again?" Tommy asked.

"It's your turn to do," the tortoise replied. "The best way for you to learn is to do things yourself. Even if you fail at first, or make mistakes, you can always learn something that will help you in the future. The only people who don't make mistakes are those who never attempt to do anything. People who have learned to do something well didn't become good at doing without making some mistakes while learning. What really counts is that you are able to learn from your mistakes, and you are now able to avoid making the same mistakes again."

The tortoise handed Tommy the fishing pole and motioned for him to begin fishing. Tommy thought that since he was new at this "doing" business he should put a worm on his hook. So, he reached into his worm can and pulled out a big, juicy worm. The worm wasn't very interested in becoming fish food, so Tommy had a hard time putting the worm on the hook. Finally, he was ready to begin fishing and he swung his hook into the water.

Tommy sat quietly intently watching the cork. Five minutes passed and nothing happened.

Tommy was starting to get restless. "This is crazy," Tommy thought. "I feel like I'm in school taking a test that I didn't study for."

"Are you remembering your heart's desire," the tortoise asked?

Tommy realized that it was getting near suppertime and that he was very hungry. "I sure need to catch a fish," he thought. Just then, Tommy's stomach growled very loudly.

"All living things need their daily nourishment to grow and to replace worn out cells in their body," explained the tortoise quietly. "Your need for food is a power that you can focus to obtain what you want," he continued. "Let yourself feel how nice it will be to take home your heart's desire today. Feel your body being nourished by the good food you will be taking home."

Tommy felt a warm feeling growing inside his body. "I would like to share this feeling," he thought. "I would like to share this feeling with my parents and brothers. I would like to share this feeling with my fish too." Just then, Tommy felt a tug on his fishing pole. Instinctively, he pulled back hard on his fishing pole and out of the water came a big fish. "I'm not going to let this one get away!" he shouted. Tommy quickly pulled the fish a long way from the river. "I'm not going to let you wiggle back into the river," Tommy told the fish!

Tommy had brought a fishing net along and he now decided that it would be a good idea to put the fish into the net before he took it off the hook. He picked up the net and struggled to get the fish into the net.

"I'll meet you here tomorrow," said the tortoise, and he walked away leaving Tommy struggling with his supper. Tommy finally got the fish into the net and took his fishing hook out of the fish's mouth. "Didn't I catch a wonderful fish?" Tommy said looking around. But the tortoise was nowhere to be seen. "Tomorrow, tomorrow," echoed back faintly over the water. "I'll meet you here tomorrow."

"O my gosh!" exclaimed Tommy. "Just when I start to get good at doing he leaves, and he didn't even tell me his name!" Tommy swung the net over his shoulder and started walking home. "I wonder, if the tortoise will really be here tomorrow," he thought. "I bet he can really teach me a lot of neat stuff."

Photo by 
Rene Josephson

Soon, Tommy arrived home with his prize fish. His mother was just getting home from the grocery store, and she was very pleased and surprised to see the wonderful fish Tommy had caught.

"Let's have my fish for supper," Tommy said. "That would be nice," his mother said. "I was planning to have liver tonight, but I can put the liver in the freezer for another day."

Then Tommy remembered why he had gone fishing today. He had overheard his mother telling his dad that they were going to have liver for supper today. Tommy hated liver, and when he heard that, he decided that he was going to go fishing and bring a fish home for his supper.

Tommy remembered how big the fish was that had flopped back into the river. The fish he had caught wasn't nearly as big, but there was more than enough fish for Tommy's whole family. The cat even got some fish for supper too.

Tommy's dad helped him clean the fish, and his mother baked it in the oven, along with some squash. Mother put together a delicious salad from the garden, and Tommy's whole family had a wonderful dinner. Tommy's dad even said, "Your fish is much tastier than the liver would have been." Tommy's dad winked at him, because he knew that Tommy didn't like liver.

Tommy decided that it would be best if he didn't tell anybody about his encounter with the tortoise, not just yet anyway. A Magic Tortoise who didn't even tell Tommy his name, who would believe him anyway? Besides, what if the tortoise wasn't there tomorrow and somebody wanted to come along? "I sure would look foolish!" he thought.

That night Tommy had a hard time falling asleep. He kept thinking about all the exciting things that had happened to him that day.

Tommy finally went to sleep, dreaming dreams about catching fish, and all the new adventures that he might have the next day. That is, if the Magic Tortoise was as good at keeping his word as he was at teaching a boy how to fish.

Tor and family -- crocheted by my sister, Mary Cichanowski.

The Second Meeting
"Tommy Meets The Magic Tortoise"

The next morning Tommy was awake with the sun. At first he thought that he might have dreamed the previous day's adventures, but when he saw the fish bones, the proof was overwhelming and his excitement grew.

Tommy poured himself a bowl of cereal and sat down to eat. "I wonder if the Tortoise gets up this early? I wonder if he is there waiting," he thought to himself? Tommy finished his breakfast, went outside, grabbed his fishing pole and headed off to the river bank.

It was turning into a beautiful day. The morning dew was sparkling in the red morning light and the birds were singing their morning wake up song. It was a bit chilly but Tommy didn't mind as he walked along the path almost at a run. "Will he really be there?" he thought again.

Tommy could see the river ahead and before he could think another thought, a voice called out to him. "Good morning Tommy. Thought I was just a dream, did you?" Startled Tommy looked around. Then out of the shadows appeared his friend the Tortoise.

"You must admit that it is a bit unusual to have a talking Tortoise for a friend," replied Tommy. "Who would ever believe me if I told them about you anyway?" he pouted. "It's what you believe that counts," the tortoise replied. "Remember, your beliefs give your thoughts power and it is the power of your thoughts that make up your personal reality. Yesterday, you believed that you could catch a fish. If you would have believed that it wasn't possible for you to catch a fish, you wouldn't have allowed yourself to do it. Believing and doing are closely connected. If you don't believe in your abilities, you won't use your abilities to do!"

"But it takes more than believing to do anything," scolded Tommy, "it takes a lot more!" "A lot of practice," replied the Tortoise. "Believe – Practice, Believe – Practice and soon you will be able to do what ever you can imagine." "If I don't believe I can, I won't practice," interrupted Tommy. "Right!

"You're catching on," continued the Tortoise, "But it is important that you practice in the right way. When you do something again and again, you form Habits. You can develop useful efficient habits or you can form disruptive and destructive habits. Your habits can either assist you in doing or they can slow you down and even prevent you from achieving what you want." "But how will I know if I'm practicing correctly?" questioned Tommy. "One way is to closely watch someone who is good at doing something you care to learn about," the Tortoise went on, "or you can find a good coach like me."

A Tortoise for a teacher! Tommy sat down on a fallen tree, looking confused. "I really could learn a lot from this Tortoise," he thought.

Tommy had mixed feelings about having a Tortoise for a teacher. Who could he tell about it? No one would ever believe him. A Tortoise for a teacher! The idea started to excite him.  "After all," Tommy thought, "this Tortoise was good at doing."

Tommy knew this deep inside and besides, this Tortoise had a very different and interesting way of looking at things. And for sure, he was good at catching fish. Tommy understood too, the need for believing and practicing, but learning to practice correctly. This idea left Tommy with a feeling of emptiness inside. He knew that he still had very much to learn about the world and what makes it work!

"Is it possible for you to be my teacher?" asked Tommy. "I Thought you would never ask," replied the Tortoise. "I can't be your teacher unless you ask me to be, unless you really want me to be, Only then will you be able to focus on the lessons you need to learn." The Tortoise paused to let what he had said sink in a little. "I really can't teach you anything. However, I can show you how to do, guide you in your practicing. But I really can't teach you anything. Think of me as your coach. Someone who can help you learn. It's your desire to learn that is all important! For it will be your desire that will keep you going when things get rough."

We all have in us the innate ability to do anything we can Imagine and have desire for.

So, the secret for successful DOING is to first Imagine Yourself Doing the Process Successfully.

To be continued ...

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