Jim: For those of you who have been checking in during the last episodes, perhaps you’ve understood that I’ve been explaining how it was, what happened, and what it’s like now. And, really, the progression of my life toward full-impact mindfulness and Fishing Without Bait. Keeping in mind that life is a progression of events, and what we talk about as in previous podcasts, connecting the dots I thought that I would connect the dots of my own life to everyone out there listening to get a little bit better understanding and a foundation and the chemistry set that I grew up in and the chemicals that were added. Keeping in mind that life, again, is a series of progressions – everything that we do in life becomes progressive. Whether that is for benefit or in a negative sense. So, in this case, the negative sense was over as of acceptance and being beaten into a sense of reasonableness – not necessarily a physical beating. If you recall back to that night that I had absolutely – that I was done, and there was no more, and I was ready. I was vessel ready to be filled. I had begun to enter that beginner’s mind. I had emptied that cup and I was ready to be filled. I had the honesty and open-mindedness and willingness to try. The idea is how did I arrive at this point in my life now? Well, that’s through a series of events and through a series of transformations. Just like when I developed full-impact mindfulness – emerging from that chrysalis into a world of color, technicolor. Spreading your wings and able to fly. Not flying against the wind anymore, but tacking against it and using its power in order to propel you on your way. And, understanding that I could have my own choices in life that in my previous existence I had given my choices away to people, places, things, circumstances, and events. And, I had allowed others’ perceptions – the reflection that I was getting form them, to determine my own self-esteem and my own self-concepts. So, part of the method of 12-step recovery of course, and keep in mind that 12-step recovery does not claim to have monopoly on any type of recovery or transformation. However, what it involves is being able to take that individual, find out the character defects, find out what is not sellable goods and being able to jettison them. Much like when we talked about having the passengers on the bus. Once again, I took command. I took the steering wheel of my life and was able to put it in a purposeful direction. What happened after a number of years, of getting myself back together, going through the fire – I thought to myself I’ve been given such a gift. I’ve been given a new second life. I’ve been able to share with others and how, and what can I do? What’s the purpose? The purpose is to be of maximum benefit to other people and to carry the message. And, although I was filled with ego in the past, I really had no message to carry to others, other than I know everything and that I was the greatest, although like most people, I was an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. And, it wasn’t until I recognized that and gained the insight and awareness that I began to have that message – that humbleness that I was able to carry to others. And, I want to refer back to that particular time, actually when my recovery began, and my ego was taken away from me. And, I learned how to view the world through humbleness that was, after six months in recovery, I was clean and sober. And, remember, when we talked about that mantra – I’m clean and sober all the time. My thoughts are strong and clear. And, I’m confident in the decisions I make. I was clean and sober all the time, however I wasn’t participating in recovery. I wasn’t participating in my life. The ego had still been with me. I was still filled with ego. I was still making choices, based on ego, of what others’ perceptions were of me, and I was trying to wear that mask to prove to others that I was okay with myself and that I liked myself. I distinctly remember being at this meeting that I used to go to on Tuesday afternoons. Have you ever met someone who had enough knowledge to be dangerous? Well, that’s the way I was. So, I arrived at this meeting and I sat down thinking that how fortunate these people were to have me in their midst. I thought I was a Rockstar in recovery. So, in comes this individual, come walking in off the street. And, it really looked like they had drug the river for him – kind of dirty and disheveled clothes. So, I thought to myself, huh, I bet he just came in to get out of the cold. I bet he just came in to have a cup of coffee. I’ll bet he came in to have a donut. And, I sat there smugly. And, a little while later I thought to myself, I bet he doesn’t have a dollar to put in the basket like I do. So, the topic came around. And, it was how to connect with a higher power. How to connect with the divine. How to remove those bonds and barriers that separate you from a connection with the all. And, remember, if you think that you are the all, if we think that we are the ultimate in evolution, if we think that we’re the top of creation – how arrogant? How egocentric can that possibly be? The topic came around, and I thought to myself how fortunate these people are to be here, because I’m going to be able to elucidate and illuminate their lives. And, really, they’ll be able to go out forth from today with a whole new concept on life. Well, when it came around to me, I thought I had shared something that – again, like I said before, would make Shakespeare weep with shame. However, what it was that I really knew later when I looked back on that day was blithering nonsense. I’m surprised people didn’t laugh at me. However, when it came to that individual’s turn to share, what he shared was something so beautiful and so profound. To this day I still can’t think of the exact words. However, I do remember the impact that it had on me. I rose from that table when the rest of the room was sharing. And, I went into the restroom – to the bathroom. And, I wept with shame. And, that’s the day my ego left me. Actually, my soul was so dry that I needed those tears. I needed to water my soul. I needed to water my spirit because it had been arid for so many years. And, I came back out, and after the meeting was over, I went up to this individual. And, I told him - I expressed to him exactly what I had thought of him when he came in. What was going through my mind. And, what had occurred to me. And, he looked at me and he smiled. And, I looked at him, and I said I have nothing. You have everything. And, that man looked at me and put his hand on my shoulder. And, again, he smiled. And, he said I have a wonderful life. I hope you will, too. The man didn’t have a belt on. He didn’t have socks on, and I never saw him again. And, that was many, many years ago. However, it’s profound, and I hope everyone out there is able to have some type of moment of clarity – some epiphany in their lives that – remember, if we’re present and aware, if we’re paying attention on purpose, this is when there’ll be people, places, things, circumstances, events in your life that you’ll be able to have some meaning attached to them. Much like when I referred to seeing the video of the moonwalking bears that everybody seems to miss because we’re so focused on other things. Paying attention on purpose. This is really where I formed the concept of Fishing Without Bait. When we walk through life aimed at a specific purpose, looking for one specific thing – we miss out on the beauty. We miss out on the whole creation. We look about the whole picture of what’s going on. Taking a panoramic view of life, rather than a single focus – much like the thoroughbred horses with the blinders on that can only see in one direction. Well, from there, having my ego gone, I was no longer interested in material goods. Much like I’ve said in previous podcasts, I had no intentions or desire to be the richest man in the cemetery. I had no desire to have those honors and accolades. I had no real desire to have people prop me up and tell me how great I was when I was interested in sharing the gifts – the talents, gifts, and abilities that had been given to me with others. So, my thoughts are that when we cross over – or whatever happens in our life, whatever you certainly believe – if you were asked the question I gave you gifts, talents, and abilities, what did you do with them? What would you say? What would your answer be? How would you defend your life? If you were on trial for your life, and those were the three things that you had to present – I gave you gifts, talents and abilities, what did you do with them? What would your line of reasoning be? What would your logical argument be? How would you present yourself? How would you present your case? When you cross over, are you going to be able to say I have no regrets. I gave it everything I had. I shared what I had with other people. And, remember, if you believe in karma, what goes around comes around. And, it comes back to being – again, would you rather be right? Or would you rather be happy? Let’s go back to that foundation of your life. Are we interested in the window dressing? Or are we interested in a strong foundation on which to stand? So, what I did – I went back to school after a certain period of time – when I was emotionally and spiritually fit enough to be able to participate in life again enough, and my mind had become clear enough that I was able to have coherent thoughts – thoughts be strong and clear, being confident in the decisions I make. I finished my undergraduate degree, and then I asked for a direction. I asked for some guidance and hope. And, it came to me – what would be better? Since I’d been participating in this recovery business for years, and I’d sponsored a number of people – carrying the message to them. And, help me understand if there’s anything better than seeing the light come on in somebody’s eyes. I have no experience comparable. I have nothing to compare it to. My hope is that some day that you’ll have a message to carry, and you’ll see the light come on in somebody else’s eyes. Keeping that in mind, I got into clinical mental health counseling. And, after a number of years in clinical mental health counseling, I wanted – much like in 12-step recovery how they spread the message was to write a book – rather than write a book using the media of the day, the way to reach people, the communication – I turned to my good friend, and co-host, and co-producer – Mr. Mike. We started to develop this concept of podcasting to be able to get this message out to people. Not that we wanted to become famous. Not that we wanted to say look at me. We wanted to be able to share with others the ability to participate in life. Not just to tell people to do it – to show them how to do it. I’d be grateful if everyone out there would be – or someone would be able to share comments, questions, suggestions, criticisms about this origin story. I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you. Until then, do a kindness to yourself. Do a kindness to another. Forgive yourself. Forgive another. Namaste.
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