Jim: Will you please grow up? Oh, come on. Be serious. It’s time to grow up. It’s time to act right. Will you please act your age? How many times have you heard these phrases in your life? When you were trying to perhaps have some fun. When you were not interfering with anyone’s life or happiness. When you’re encountering perhaps someone who had a heavy going of life. Well, if you’re that Peter Pan type of person, if you want to be with the Lost Boys in Never Never Land, then come along with us. Welcome to the world of full-impact mindfulness. Welcome to the world of Fishing Without Bait. Walking through life without definitive expectations. Fully impacting your life. Exploding into the world of technicolor. Being in and participating in every moment and living your life out loud. Welcome aboard. If you’d rather be a pirate, then join the navy. Cast off with us and sail upon our seas. My name’s Jim Ellermeyer. I’m a behavioral health therapist. And, today I’m joined by my good friend, co-host, and producer of this program. Mr. Mike, have you encountered people in your daily life that perhaps are heavy does-it people?
Mike: Yeah. Like everything that they do is so much more weighted over what you may be into.
Jim: Yes. How is it to deal with people like that on a consistent basis?
Mike: It’s stressful. It adds – it takes your energy in order to deal with it.
Jim: So, Mike, you’ve heard the phrase walking on eggshells – being afraid to say something that somebody else might misinterpret. Being afraid to make somebody angry. Being afraid that you’re not approaching the situation with the same amount of focus and thoughtfulness that they are. When really and truly you’re taking a 90 response maybe to a 20-level situation. Okay? So, what we’re talking about is, we’re talking about approaching your life with some playfulness. We’re talking about playfulness that is internally generated. And, we’re talking about choices. We’re talking about how you can control your energy or your playfulness. And, when we’re talking about playfulness, Mike, are we not talking about having that beginner’s mind?
Mike: Absolutely. Just allowing things to be new and amazing to yourself.
Jim: Indeed. So, when we talk about playfulness, Mike, sometimes we talk about four different types of playfulness. We’re talking about other-directed. Now, that’s when you’re being light-hearted around other people. When you’re out for an evening, and perhaps you choose not to engage in a serious conversation about perhaps topics that need not be so serious. Whether your baseball team is going to win the pennant. Perhaps it’s not a matter that needs dissected at that very moment. Or light-hearted. Which is a bit of the direction of Fishing Without Bait. That’s making life a game – an adventure. Mike, we’ve often talked about walking through life like you’ve applied for a loan that you don’t need.
Mike: We did. We did. And, how liberating something like that can be.
Jim: When you walk through life without definitive expectations. It’s not walking through life aimlessly. It has some purpose. And, it has some direction. And, its purpose and direction is suitable toward your own happiness and perhaps generating happiness and productivity and wellness in the lives of others that you care to. And, it also – there’s an intellectual type of playfulness. It’s where we turn the mundane into something interesting. Can you think of somewhere where you’ve sat for maybe a longer period of time? And, rather than becoming bored you’ve chosen to make that particular time interesting?
Mike: Yes. When I was in the waiting room waiting for you for this very podcast, actually. So, of course this episode – if it sounds a little bit different, we’re doing on location in what I like to call Namaste East here on 733 North Highland Avenue. And, I was waiting for Jim to finish with a client so I could come up and we could do this work. I could just sit there and stare at the wall and be bored, and sigh to myself. But, I found things to do. You do have some wonderful games down there, for instance. You know, checking on my equipment. Checking in with my wife. You know, is very important. So, I make the most of every moment as much as I can.
Jim: So, what we’re doing is we’re turning the mundane – the boring – the perhaps boring, into something interesting.
Mike: You know, I don’t know if it’s a mindset thing that I’ve done the last couple of years, or maybe it’s just that I keep myself so busy. Or, just that I have so many opportunities to occupy myself. But, I often say how I can’t remember the last time I’ve been bored.
Jim: Wow. Isn’t that interesting. Say more about that.
Mike: I am, you know – and I don’t know if this is a – you know, we talk about the digital kind of connection and everything like that, and how we’re connected all the time. But, for me, since I fill my time with things I enjoy – which a lot of times are work, but a lot of times are play. My work is play. My play is work. So, I go head-long into it and want to occupy my time with it.
Jim: So, when we talk about intellectual playfulness, what we’re talking about is using your intellect to not only amuse yourself, but to help others. And, perhaps to expand your mind. When we talk about exploding in life, when we talk about full-impact mindfulness, when we talk about Fishing Without Bait, we’ve often discussed you’ll never be bored again. When we pay attention on purpose, when we pay attention with kindness to ourselves, we’ll never be bored again. Even when we’re driving in a car – I remember when I was young, Mike – and some people may find this silly. But, I would time the wipers. Or, I would try to watch the wipers when they would hit against – through the windshield, on the guard rails, where they would land.
Mike: I remember taking the bus to school every day. And, I would just find things along the side of the road, and I would follow the power lines and imagine myself like skating along the powerlines or something like that.
Jim: Or looking at the people and seeing who has red boots, where would this person be coming from, do you think this person would smile or not smile. Perhaps you would get up. Perhaps you would wave and do some experimentation with the human experience. Or, the whimsical type of playfulness. When you become the observer – you become the observer of life. We’ve often talked about seeing the absurdity in life and stepping back and taking a different perspective. It can be something as simple as seeing the shapes in the clouds as they go by. Seeing different types of shapes and describing them. Perhaps that’s a lion. Perhaps that’s a hoop. Perhaps that’s a giraffe.
Mike: You make your play out of something.
Jim: You make your play. And, keep in mind, Mike, that it’s not indifference. And, it’s not wasting time. There is no wasting time here. We often talk about spending our time as currency. So, as we are placed in a particular situation, perhaps waiting in an airport. Perhaps waiting in a traffic jam. What we would like to do is use that opportunity to use our intellect – to use the skills that we have learned in Fishing Without Bait, and say what can I make out of this situation? What can I bring to this situation rather than take out of it?
Mike: Absolutely. It’s not accepting what’s around you. And, it’s reforming what’s around you.
Jim: Have you ever met people where you walk into a room that they’re dominant personalities and they fill the room? They don’t weigh 800 pounds however, they fill the room.
Mike: Oh, absolutely. They’re not necessarily loud or boisterous, but they become the center of attention when they enter.
Jim: And, when you see someone with a sparkle in their eye. Or someone comes up to you and they have that sparkle, they have that little bit of a tingle. We’ve talked about feeling the tingle of life. Have you ever been with people that you feel that tingle that they have?
Mike: Oh, absolutely. Just people enjoying what they’re doing.
Jim: Indeed. So, what we talk about in Fishing Without Bait – to just name two; there’s a couple types of things. There’s convergent thinking, Mike, which can be measured. Like on an IQ test where there’s a definitive answer and you use logic to arrive at that. There’s also however, in our world what would be called divergent thinking, which is looking at things from many different perspectives. So, we happen to be sitting in the City of Pittsburgh, are we not?
Jim: If we were a hundred miles away from the City of Pittsburgh, is there one way to Pittsburgh, or are there many?
Mike: Oh, many. I often take a choice of which way I want to drive home when I’m visiting the parents.
Jim: So, when we’re using divergent thinking, and having that beginner’s mind, we’re exploring alternatives. We’re turning certainties into possibilities. And, one of the ways that we help people to expand and explode into their life is to offer ways to turn certainties into possibilities. To look at things from another perspective. To step back and become that observer behind this thinker. Mike, you’re involved in technology. You’re involved in media. You’re involved in a lot of creative and imagination things.
Mike: Right. And, that’s something – you know, you talk about the expert versus the beginner’s mind. You know, how many people, especially in business creative means see there’s only one way. And, I struggle with this too. And, I say this is the way that we produce this thing. And, it’s so liberating to – that’s why I have meet-ups. That’s why we have these coffee meetings and open events and everything. So I can hear how other people are doing things and hopefully learn a bit from them.
Jim: And, those type of sessions are called? Brainstorming, are they not?
Mike: Absolutely. I’ve learned so much. Things that I’ve done for five, six, seven years – and hearing how other people have done it. How many times I’ve changed the trajectory of my creative offerings because of those kinds of conversations.
Jim: And, that means that you have the willingness to try. That means that you have the willingness to listen. That means that you’ve developed the ability to be willing rather than willful.
Jim: I’m certain that you’ve been in perhaps committee meetings, or perhaps you’ve been in situations where one particular organization, or view, or person becomes dominant – and that’s the focus. And, that’s the way that it’s going to be.
Mike: Absolutely. From church groups to community groups to project meetings. That’s definitely serviced in a lot of ways.
Jim: So, it’s important that not only you hear other people, but you learn how to deal with yourself. You learn how to brainstorm. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful idea? For us all to learn how to step back, sit inside and talk to ourselves and brainstorm with ourselves.
Jim: Is there anything wrong with talking to ourselves, Mike?
Mike: Well, really in the long run, don’t we talk to ourselves all the time in our heads?
Jim: Indeed. That’s what everyone does. However, on Fishing Without Bait, with full-impact mindfulness, what we help people to do is to step back and talk to themselves like they would talk to a friend – to question themselves. Questioning yourself is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. That’s how we learn. Children ask many questions, do they not? They’re learning machines. Could you make yourself a learning machine? Could you become your own teacher and student?
Mike: And, the point is to return to that space, right? That we were when we were younger. When we were just a sponge. And, it’s so hard. You know, we talk about creativity, and we talk about education. You know, learning. Expanding ourselves. And, that’s something that it feels like we for some reason shut off when we leave school. And, we really shouldn’t.
Jim: So, our challenge for everyone out there today as we leave them, Mike, is to take off the blinders. Become that child again. Have that imprintable mind. Be willing rather than willful. Learn to brainstorm inside your own head. Our challenge for today is to become your own student and become your own teacher. Until then, do a kindness for yourself. Do a kindness for another. Show compassion to others and compassion to yourself. Namaste.