Down the Rabbit Hole

Jim:    Welcome!  And, if you’re hearing my voice – either by accident, on purpose, or merely bad luck, consider it serendipity.  If you’re expecting a traditional talk on mindfulness perhaps you might want to exit now.  Although this is a mindfulness-based podcast, we use terms such as blunt-force therapy, high-impact mindfulness, decluttering, and removing the shackles that hold you back.  Entering a fourth dimension of existence.  Opening your eyes and developing sight.  Raising the anchor in your life.  I’m looking for people to challenge.  And, if you’re one of those people stick around for the ride.  I’m looking for people who, like Alice, go after the White Rabbit to find out where it goes – to turn certainties into possibilities.  To regain your curiosity.  To have an open, non-judgmental mind.  And, perhaps you could also walk the life of Fishing Without Bait, a life without definitive expectations.  Welcome, my friends.  My name is Jim Ellermeyer and I’m a mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapist.  And, as always, I’m joined by my good friend and co-producer and co-host, Mr. Mike.  Welcome, Mr. Mike.

Mike:    I’m here with you on this fantastic voyage, Sir.

Jim:    Strap yourself in.  Buckle your seatbelts.  Mike, let’s talk about the proliferation of podcasts that talk about mindfulness, self-help books.  What I’d like to know – how did people lose their ability to be curious?  How did people lose their ability to question?  How did people lose their sense of adventure?  Why do most people want to follow rather than lead?  Why do we want to be told what to do, Mike?

Mike:    I think a lot of people are just looking for the answer.  And, unfortunately, looking for the easy answer.  Everybody’s looking for that magic pill that will make something happen, which leads to the other issues when we talk about psychiatry and everything.

Jim:    Have we lost our capability of free will?  Have we lost hour honesty?  We’ve lost our open-mindedness.  Have we lost our willingness to try?

Mike:    It seems like we’ve – many have just kind of abandoned that – looking for that easy answer.

Jim:    Indeed.  So, Mike, you’re familiar with Alice in Wonderland.

Mike:    I just saw the trailer for the next one yesterday.  

Jim:    When you hear the term going down the rabbit hole or the rabbit hole, what does it mean to you?

Mike:    To me that means getting lost in YouTube for several hours clicking on the next video, and the next video, and going deeper and deeper and realizing, oh man, I actually had something I was supposed to do that was important.

Jim:    Uh-huh.  And, how do you think others interpret it when they say oh man, I went down the rabbit hole.

Mike:    Just in discussion, going off topic.  Just in letting your mind wander away down into a certain path.

Jim:    Of course, and Grace Slick from the Jefferson Airplane and Starship had a different idea when she talked about feeding your head.  However, we’re going to be feeding your head, and we’re going to be feeding it good stuff.  I’m reminded, Mike, of what Alice said to the Mad Hatter upon arriving in Wonderland and saying, “This is impossible.”  And, the Mad Hatter answered, “Only if you believe it is.”  Of course, when someone hears the line down the rabbit hole which was phrased by Lewis Carroll in his tour de force Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  Full of metaphors and simile, a truly magnificent effort that some say was a literary adventure into nonsense.  Would you like to take an adventure into nonsense, Mike?

Mike:    Every day.  Every day.

Jim:    However, here in this podcast – here in our world, the message we’re attempting to give is a message of hope to people who’ve placed themselves outside the rabbit hole.  That are trapped in their comfort zone.  I’m reminded of a quote by Henry David Thoreau that I find has a great deal of meaning.  And, he said “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”  Everyone has a song.  You have a song inside you, Mike.

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    And, it needs to be sung.  And, it needs to be heard.  However, most people are full of sounds of joy – and live lives of quiet desperation.  And, that song is never heard.  So, again, I’m going to challenge everybody out there.  I’m going to challenge everyone listening – what’s the song in your life?  If there was a song in your life, what would you sing?  If you had to sing a song – if someone came to see you and they asked you to sing, what’s your song?  What would you say?  What would be in your heart?  Could you speak from your heart?  Could you sing from your heart?  Could you put a name to it?  Every single day is a day that we have choices.  Choices to be honest.  Choices to be open. And, choices to be willing to try.  I’m challenging everyone out there to give themselves permission to laugh, and to love, and to live.  Who are you waiting for to tell you that it’s okay?  Who do you need to give you permission?  Who do you need to tell you that it’s okay to look for rabbits and to follow them?  When you surround yourself with people who scoff at the idea of finding the rabbit, you’re denying your own creativity.  I’m going to explore following the rabbit directly.  Mr. Mike, could the rabbit represent the unexplained?  The new?  The unknown?  And, to quote Captain Kirk “boldly go where no man had gone before.”  Where no man had gone before.  That’s what I call following the rabbit hole – turning certainties into possibilities.  Looking at life non-judgmentally and following it.  Fishing without bait.  This is a philosophy of fishing without bait – following the rabbit.  How many of us open our eyes, Mike?  How many of us can see when I talked in the beginning of this podcast about having sight and being willing to see?  Opening yourself up to that rabbit and being willing to follow it.  So, I’m sure that you’ve probably heard the quote question everything.  From everyone from the Buddha to Einstein, to most philosophers – question everything.  As in the beginning of the podcast when I asked why are we looking for others to tell us what to do?  Why are we looking for the self-help?  Why do we want to follow so desperately?  Give me some insight, Mike.

Mike:    Some people aren’t great leaders. And in that case, they’re not even great leaders of themselves.  We talk about entrepreneurship and everything, and a lot of people can make their own jobs.  If I can look at it from this perspective – a lot of people can make their own jobs but they would rather be able to just have a place where somebody tells them where to go and what to do for the day and they receive the reward of the paycheck at the end of the day and just don’t have to worry about it outside of those means – versus being independent enough to work for yourself or create your own job or go a non-traditional route, and I think that translates a little bit into how we treat ourselves.  We want somebody to tell us because this life is big and scary – and we get to the point where we want people to tell us how to take care of this big and scary life that we live.

Jim:    Indeed.

Mike:    And, they are looking for a leader to tell them that, but then they lose that power to be able to again – like we talked about, how in past episodes why do we listen to what other people have to say about us?  Their opinion about us – when our own opinion about ourselves should be more important.

Jim:    And, that’s a topic that we brought up in the last podcast and intend to explore – and, that’s emotional sobriety.  Being stable enough with yourself.  Being able to label and identify – being aware of your own thoughts and feelings without having them influenced or have a template set for you by others.  Mike, have you done anything recently – or anytime, simply for the sheer excitement and adventure?  

Mike:    Yeah.  I like to just go a different route, maybe on my travels as I’m all over the city doing whatever work.  I’m like hey let’s go check out, let’s go through this neighborhood, let’s go through this route.  Something like that.  Or checking out something new in the city, certainly.

Jim:    I know you, well, and I know that you are curious enough to follow through on a new idea.  Or, an opportunity.  Or a concept.  What holds people back from that, Mike?  

Mike:    Fear.  Always fear.

Jim:    Absolutely.  Always fear.  Fear is one of the threads that go through our life and go through this podcast.

Mike:    And, I want to also – kind of how we’ve had to clarify the decision idea in previous episodes.  Fear doesn’t always mean I’m cowering in fear under a blanket in my bed at night.  Fear takes on different forms, and in the end the base element there is fear somewhere in the back of your head.

Jim:    Indeed.  So, when we talk about people who tell us what to do – the cult leaders, the advertisers, the media manipulators – I’m reminded of a quote by Alexandra Trenfor who said “the best teachers are those who show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see.”   The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.  I think that’s very telling.  My suggestion is to detach yourselves from people, places, things, circumstances, and events that tell you how to think.  That have an unshakable, inflexible doctrine that stifles your creativity.  That stifles your imagination and stifles your curiosity.  Refer to our newest blog post with a picture of a young child in awe and wonder – really contemplating and viewing what is a simple thing.  I’m asking this – not only to you, Mike, to everyone listening to this podcast.  Would you like to recapture those moments of pure joy and wonder in your life?  Mike, we’ve spoken much about mindfulness in previous podcasts.  And, we’re going to continue in that vein.  However, in our world we term it full-impact mindfulness – living out loud, being in the moment, and having our sensors on full.  I’m asking our readers and our listeners to challenge themselves as the last few podcasts have been challenge podcasts.  Allow yourself permission to see – to follow the white rabbit.  See where your curiosity goes without attaching yourself – or sitting in judgment, or predicting a particular outcome, which is truly the essence of Fishing Without Bait.  My hope is that you have a wonderful life.  I do.  My hope is that everyone out there listening to this podcast will also.  My challenge is to be good to yourself, to show kindness to another, and remember until all are free, none are free.  Namaste.  

Please check out our website at where you can listen to the show, comment on our discussions and find out where you can subscribe to our podcast.  Fishing Without Bait is a production of Namaste Holistic Counseling, P.C.