Mirrors and Windows

Jim:    Greetings and welcome fellow travelers of space and time.  For whatever reason, bad luck, karma, serendipity – you’ve landed in my…our universe, the universe of Fishing Without Bait.  A lifetime without definitive expectations where we continuously look for and chase that white rabbit all the way down the rabbit hole.  My name is Jim Ellermeyer and I’m a behavioral help therapist.  And, as always I’m joined by my good friend, producer, and co-host Mr. Mike. 

Mike:    Good to see you again, Jim.  Hear you as the people in the audience are – and you always, the misfortune angle that you’re going at the beginning there.  It’s always good to hear a different voice and hear, one this show I hope so – you guys subscribing out there.  And, Jim, I want you to project positivity more in that intro.  But, no.  It’s good to be with you.  It’s a lot of fun – intro and all, all great here for Fishing Without Bait.

Jim:    Great.  So, Mr. Mike, how are you this week?

Mike:    I’m good.  Excellent.  You have landed yourself in the middle of a podcast day with us so I’m energized talking with some good friends. 

Jim:    Somebody asked me today hey how are you doing? And I said well, I’m not keeping score anymore.  What does not keeping score mean to you, Mike?

Mike:    That means just being there to play the game.

Jim:    Right.  And, not judging yourself against some standard. 

Mike:    Exactly.

Jim:    Beautiful.  Before we start into this week’s topic I’d like to discuss the recent blog post Through The Eyes of a Child.  And, if you haven’t seen the blog post, I’d really like you to take a look at it.  When you look under “read” under FishingWithoutBait.com.  It’s full of imagination and has a form of creativity and a view of living that’s really and truly beyond wonder.  And, Mike, this gives feeling a whole new purpose.  This is the real focus of Fishing Without Bait – the joy and wonder of being alive.  No agendas.  No ulterior motives.  Merely experiencing joy in the moment.  And, again Mike, we’re talking about full-impact mindfulness.  Again I’m going to ask you have you become so inured with your life that you are unable to simply see the joy and wonder and glow as a child does in their own life?  If your answer is any way yes, you can take the steps do something about it.  And, again that’s high-impact mindfulness – full-impact mindfulness.  It’s about being aware and alive.  It’s about being in every moment and living in every moment.  And, that’s my challenge out there – to find the sheer joy and wonder of being alive and find the exquisiteness of each moment and never be bored again.  So, please – please go back to that previous blog post and read about it.  I’d love to hear your comments.  Mr. Mike, for tonight’s topic, once again we go back to our dear friend Lewis Carroll and the sequel to Alice in Wonderland which was called Through the Looking Glass.  When you think about looking glasses, what do you think about, Mike?

Mike:    I think about – funny word for mirror as I was raised to call it.  Because that was always – whenever, there was a TV version of that book that came on when I was a child and that always seemed like a curious name for it.  Like what’s a looking glass?  And, of course you’d learn that it is a mirror.

Jim:    Which leads us into the topic – the title of tonight’s podcast which is Windows and Mirrors.  So, tell me about mirrors, Mike.  Tell me what do they tell you?  Why do people look at them?

Mike:    They remind me what I look like.  Very much so.  Because, for me, if I can get deep for a moment – I don’t know.  I often forget what my self-image is. It’s not what I see in the mirror.  I’m like oh, hey, who is that guy?  And, I need that reminder every once in a while of exactly what everybody else sees here.

Jim:    So a mirror is a reflection, right?

Mike:    Yeah.  It’s a reflection of reality?

Jim:    It can be a reflection of reality.  And, most of the time it’s a reflection of your perceived reality.  So, Mike, have you ever been to a carnival or a circus – and been in a fun house?

Mike:    Oh yeah.  I loved the fun house back in the day at the old great county fair.  

Jim:    Have you ever been through the fun house mirrors?  What do those mirrors look like?  What do those mirrors do?

Mike:    They’re all wavy and they distort what’s looking at them.  

Jim:    Indeed.  They provide a distorted view of yourself and a distorted view of reality.  How often do we look in those mirrors and find a distorted reality?  Also, Mike, you can use a mirror for self-evaluation purposes, correct?  To do a personal inventory of our strengths and weaknesses, which quite so often when we look through a lens at other people offering critiques and judgments of those around us.  However, how often do we look in that mirror and notice ourselves?  Mike, does a mirror take sides?

Mike:    No.  It’s an impartial party.  

Jim:    Is a mirror judgmental?

Mike:    Nope.  

Jim:    Or, is a mirror neutral – reflecting exactly what’s right in front of it?  However, we can certainly get off track and lose who we really are and using a focused approach to paying attention on purpose, Mike, which of course is mindfulness – paying attention on purpose.  We can get a realistic view of ourselves and find out who we truly are.  My hope is that everyone out there is evolving and changing.  I certainly hope that you’re not the same person you were this morning.  And, truly, how could you tell?  How could you tell if you were the same person as you were this morning, Mike?

Mike:    My looking back in the mirror.

Jim:    By looking in that mirror. And, as Alice says in Through the Looking Glass.  She says I knew who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.  What does that mean to you, Mike?  Do you want to be static?  Do you want to remain stable?  Or do you want to change?  Or do you want to be trapped?

Mike:    You’ve changed.  You’ve experienced adventures that have affected you. 

Jim:    So, there’s also mirrors – and there’s also windows.  Both are glass, correct?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    So, what’s the difference between a window and a mirror, Mike?

Mike:    Well, a window just lets the light pass through.  

Jim:    Windows you can see through – and mirrors reflect back.  So, remember our dear friend Rumi a few podcasts ago?  When he suggested that the moon’s kiss cannot come through a closed window.  And, what we’re always talking about was turning certainties into possibilities.  So, let’s talk about the days before air conditioning.  And, when your house got stuffy and things got hot inside, what was the only thing you could do?

Mike:    Open a window.  Go outside.

Jim:    You could open a window.

Mike:    Let the outside in.

Jim:    Yes.  Open a window and let the outside in.  Wouldn’t that be experiencing reality?  How often do we have our windows closed?  So, sometimes our environment gets real stuffy, real uncomfortable.  Our lives inside of us, our surroundings – though our thoughts and feelings get very uncomfortable, do they not?  So, how often do we don’t understand that we do have a window that we can open.  We can open it into the outside world.  And, does not your body, do not your thoughts, and not your emotions need to regulate it also?  When we keep them inside of us, and we don’t open that window and air things out – let in new ideas, have that beginner’s mind, that opening of a child, that joy and wonder.  That’s how we get refreshed.  That’s how that air blows through us.  And, again, I refer back to that beautiful child looking at that wonderful sight of hers – the joy and wonder.  Do you think her windows were open or closed, Mike?

Mike:    Wide open.  

Jim:    Wide open.

Mike:    Wide open – just like those eyes you see in the picture.

Jim:    So, when we walk through life wide open – full-impact mindfulness, wide opening.  Opening that mirror.  When the windows are shut and the curtains are drawn, what’s it like inside that house, Mike?

Mike:    It’s dark.

Jim:    It’s dark.  Are you experiencing some darkness in your life?  And, when it’s dark, can you even see in a mirror, Mike?

Mike:    Nope.

Jim:    Is there any reflection?

Mike:    No.  Because it needs the light to be able to do a reflection.

Jim:    Well said.  It takes light to make a reflection.  And, we can’t have light unless our windows are clean, and our windows are open.  Again, how we can do that – we have to be able to recognize when our house gets stuffy.  When our thoughts and feelings get stale.  Have you ever been stale in your life, Mike?

Mike:    I think certainly.  I think when people look at their life and they realize they’re kind of in the rat race, and looking at their job and looking at their life and what they’re doing.  Sometimes they just need a change.  

Jim:    Absolutely.  Let’s again refer to our 12-step recovery world.  And, let’s say you’re having difficulties in your life.  Some type of trouble, some type of distress.  We ask ourselves, what are you seeing in that mirror that you think is important?  Or, do you avoid looking in that mirror?  Tell me, Mike, when you were having times of trouble in your life, and things perhaps were not going well and you were in distress, did you really want to look in that mirror?

Mike:    No.  Because, you see all those issues kind of reflected back at you and it’s a reminder.  

Jim:    Absolutely.  So what we do, Mike, is we have a choice.  And we’re always talking about conscious choices.  This is a subject in an area in which we’re going to continue to explore and stress.  And, do we not have a choice as whether to look in a mirror or look out a window?  Do we have a choice?  Absolutely.  So, when we choose to see our existence through the world and the universe through a window we believe there’s an opportunity beyond it.  Quite often, when we’re looking in that mirror there is no opportunity beyond that mirror.  However, there is an opportunity through that window, is there not?  What we’re going to be talking about is learning how to open it.  So, when we’re looking through that window and opening that window, we’re talking about possibilities and not certainties. And, isn’t it much like chasing that metaphorical white rabbit, Mike?

Mike:    Right.

Jim:    Isn’t it like chasing that white rabbit?  So, we’re getting back to the point where we’re talking about that fun house mirror.  Because, sometimes when we look at that mirror and get the reflection, we can often get an inaccurate, fuzzy, contorted view of the world, can we not?  So when we’re looking through that mirror we can also become self-absorbed.  A window allows a possibility.  It’s a beginning to focus on potentials.  So, my suggestion is that you have the tools – I’m going to give you some tools and we’re going to continue to talk about this in a future podcast.  You have a tool.  I’m going to show you how to use mirrors and how to choose windows.  And, the choice on which one to use in your life in any particular circumstance.  So, I thank you so much for joining us tonight.  And, please do a kindness for another.  And, until all are free, none are free.  Thank you so much again.  Namaste.  

Please check out our website at FishingWithoutBait.com 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.