Out of the Past

Jim:  Ah, hello!  Welcome aboard.  Welcome aboard the Good Ship Butterfly.  And, for those of you who may not know what the butterfly is, perhaps you might want to check out some of our previous podcasts.  Perhaps you may want to check out our Full-Impact Mindfulness logo – the butterfly starting in the darkness and exploding into light.  Living a life out loud.  Living a life full of color and expecting the unexpected.  Speaking of expecting the unexpected, Mr. Mike – for those of the cool kids who’ve perhaps followed us on Twitter over the weekend, I had gone away.  As you and I often discuss, what I consider magic and sorcery, going through the air and ethernet as I call it, someone had contacted my son who has the same name as I do, however with a different type of suffix, and asked if they knew me.  And, my son said yes.  And, it turned out that these individuals were three of my fraternity brothers who I had been with on my first go-round in college back in, a while ago, before yesterday as we can say.  And, for those of you who may have listened to the origin stories, and for those of you who have not – they’re preserved forever and ever and ever, and you can go back through our podcasts and listen to them.  I believe there are four of them, are we correct, Mike?

Mike:    Sounds about right.

Jim:    Yes, yes.  So, these particular individuals I hadn’t – Mike, I hadn’t seen them in decades.  So, we decided that we were all going to get together.  We were going to go down to Pinehurst, North Carolina and get together and have a little bit of a reunion.  If you were going to meet somebody that you hadn’t seen in a long time, tell me what your expectations may be.

Mike:    Especially for that long a time, it’d be like okay, they’re at a different point than they were – especially in college or high school, right?  Hopefully more mature, maybe?  

Jim:    Well, perhaps we can perhaps assume that. And, Mike, do you know what the definition of assume is?  When somebody assumes something?

Mike:    Makes an ass out of you and me!

Jim:    Absolutely.  And, what is the premise of Fishing Without Bait, a lifetime without definitive expectations – to not walk into situations with assumptions.  So, if I had traveled all the way down to North Carolina with an assumption in my mind that this was going to be a horrible weekend, that I was going to be bored out of my mind, that this is something that may be the greatest experience of my life and I could be transcended and cross over and be happy with no regrets in that very moment – would any of those possibly have lived up to those expectations?

Mike:    No.  No.  Because you’d be kind of reaching and comparing that to that idea that was in your head.

Jim:    Indeed.  So, when I walk into any situation today, as we walk in with a beginner’s mind – and that’s something that we keep referring to in this podcast.  And, if you care to go back and learn how to develop this beginner’s mind, we’d be glad to show you how to do that if you refer to our previous podcasts.  So, I went down there with an open mind, and we used some of our skills that we develop here on Fishing Without Bait.  And, the first skill that we learned, Mike, in communication – 80% of communication is?

Mike:    Listening.

Jim:    Absolutely.  Listening.  Holding your ears open.  Paying attention to the other person and taking it in.  So, when I went down there, I went down there without any definitive expectations at all.  The only expectation that I had that I was going to pay attention on purpose and fully participate in the moment.

Mike:    Really just absorb these friends.

Jim:    Yes.  Take in everything by osmosis.  And, as I had warned them a little bit – as those of you who again may have read my origin transcripts and perhaps listened to the podcast, you may know that I’ve undergone several transformations in the past number of years.  So, I kind of warned them that I wasn’t that person that they knew back then.  So, when I got around to be able to tell my story, well they were – let’s say they were a bit surprised.  Because I wasn’t that person that they knew all those years ago.  Have you ever been in a situation like that, Mike?

Mike:    Absolutely.  You just have that conversation and realize, you know, exactly.  You have that conversation and you think about, you know, that person you knew in high school, college, however long ago.  And, realize they’ve changed.  They’re not the same person with the same goals or the same aspirations or the same thing they are interested in as back then.

Jim:    So, we always talk about norms.  And, we talk about norms are expected patterns of behavior.  So, these individuals – the only thing that they had to go by was those expected patterns of behavior that I had displayed all those years ago.

Mike:    And, I think it’s also important to notice – at least in your case, well, you’re not on Facebook, right?  So, it’s not like you were catching up that way and seeing what people are up to, you know?  So, it was kind of a blank slate.  And, a lot of time in between.  

Jim:    It was a blank slate.  And, perhaps these individuals had some preconceived notions of what I may be.  Perhaps they walked into this situation with some expectations.  So, when I walked out in there, and went in there and fully impacted their lives – particularly when I walked in there with my tattoos on.  I am right here.  And, it is right now.  I had to explain those things.  Naturally, they were quizzical, to say the least.  And, when a grown man walks in with a multi-color, spreaded-winged butterfly on their forearm perhaps that’s something that they may not have seen every day.  And, may have been one of the last things that they expected me to have.  Have you ever walked into a situation like that?  And, people discover new things about you, Mike?

Mike:    Absolutely.  I mean, I feel like that’s something that happens every time I get together with the family, right?  It’s like so what have you been up to in the last six months or year that I’ve seen you, right?  Especially with the extended family and everything.

Jim:    So, one of our challenges, what we often put out on Fishing Without Bait is to walk into a familiar situation and pay attention on purpose and find out something – see something, observe something, witness something that you weren’t familiar with before.  Something that you hadn’t noticed before.  So, these individuals got to be with me.  And, also I got to be with them also.  I got to listen to them.  I got to find out about their lives.  I got to fully impact into their world, and perhaps participate in their lives – not only now, in the future.  And, as we often suggest, it’s action and effort in the present that make a future possible.  So, when we go down into a new situation, walk into a new room, walk into a new job, we walk into a new area – a new environment, where we Fish Without Bait,  where we learn to expect the unexpected – all types of wonderful things can occur.  It’s an opportunity for growth.  Every single moment of your life’s an opportunity for growth.  And, every single person out there – I’d like them to really embrace this.  There’s never a need to be bored again, Mike.  We often talk about that, don’t we?  How many people do you see in your life that, oh they’re bored?

Mike:    I often ponder, like I don’t remember the last time I’ve been bored, because I’m doing so much, having so much fun with the work I’m doing, and just kind of taking everything in and absorbing life.

Jim:    You’re doing something that you love.  You’re following your passion.  And, if we again remember back to our favorite philosophy, Thomas Merton, who says that we were created for joy and not for pleasure.  And, if you haven’t learned the difference between those, you have yet begun to live.  So, the idea is, Mike, quite often – and please don’t think I’m casting stones at technology as I am not.  I use it frequently myself.  However, I use it.  It does not use me.  And, when I see people that are bored, or they’re using technology as a babysitter – not only for their children but for themselves.  They can’t sit in a room and be comfortable with themselves.

Mike:    I’ve seen – as you know, I do some ride sharing on the side.  And, I see people get in my car, have a ten minute drive; and to another point, maybe there’s another discussion – don’t even care to have a discussion with the other human being in the car.  They put their headphones in, and they’re watching YouTube.  You know?  It’s crazy.  

Jim:    So, we talk about that need to feel constantly stimulated.  However, we seem to have lost the capacity to do that for ourselves.  We often, on this show, suggest to people that they are their own cruise director.  They’re responsible for their happiness.  They’re responsible for their wellness. No one else.  If you consider your life as a cruise – you’re cruising through life.  You’re impacting through life.  You’re floating.  You’re flying through life.  Do you need to hire a cruise director, Mike?  You are your own cruise director.  Remember, you’re not waiting for anyone else.  We’re not helping people find themselves.  We’re helping people create themselves.  We’re asking people to Fish Without Bait.  I’m asking people to reach out to someone – reach out to a person, place, thing, or situation that they haven’t connected with in quite some time.  Remember, the phone lines work both ways.  Technology works both ways.  Your voice is just as active as someone else’s.  Please don’t live your life in resentment or regret.  Be right here.  Be right now.  Impact your life.  Impact another.  Do a kindness for yourself.  Do a kindness for another.  Namaste.