Time as Currency

Greetings and welcome to Fishing Without Bait which is a channel devoted to mindfulness and helping individuals to live life without expectations.  Quite often what I give a free prescription for is fruits, nuts and vegetables.  Unplug your television, and take up fishing.  For a truly mindful experience, try fishing without bait – which is again living life without unreasonable expectations.  And it is unreasonable expectations that often set us up for disappointment.  And, today, as always, I’m joined by my co-host and producer, my friend, Mike Sorg, owner of Sorgatron Media.  And, after the first two (2) podcasts, Mike and I were discussing how these things translate out into the real world.

Jim:    Could you share a little bit about that with us, Mike.

Mike:    Yeah.  As, I put a little bit of a testimonial of my reactions to the first couple of episodes hear on our Facebook – you guys can join us over there, Fishing Without Bait on Facebook.  A search will bring that right up.  And, I was going to say, ever since, a lot of those phrases got stuck in my head.  The general concept of choosing, and you know, I talked about how busy I am.  And, we even talked about something I felt I was stuck doing today, and how that kind of went, and it was just something where I kind of sat back and said, “I don’t really need to do that.”  And, especially for me, I kind of take requests as they come, and that becomes my task list.  And, now I’m reassessing those.  “Okay, is that a thing I have to do today?  Can that push to tomorrow?  Is that something I really need to do in general?”  And, really kind of reassessing things, which was really a phase I was already in.  So, you really kind of instigated that a little bit.  But, one thing with some of those phrases we talked about was comments like, “How did you get so big?  And, how did the year go?  And, what have you been up to?  The same old stuff.”  Especially when we talked about time and living in the present and everything.  And, I started seeing, not more than just hearing those phrases, and they talk to me now that I’m visiting family, and their friends are coming over, and everybody’s like, “Oh, what are you up to?”  And, it’s like “Same old stuff.”  And, now that sticks in the back of my head now.  And, it was kind of just a curious observation since those last episodes.

Jim:    So what we try to do, Mike, is help people understand and explore that each moment can be unique.  And through a mindfulness-type of adventure through life we attempt to find the uniqueness of each moment.  Whether that is significant or insignificant, good, bad or indifferent, we are going to try not to put labels on it.  Each moment is significant.  And, when we find the uniqueness of each moment, I don’t believe we’ll ever be bored again.  Quite often we find people that are bored.  Quite often we find people that need to be constantly stimulated by some type of stimulus – sights, sounds, lights, flashing bells, particularly the electronic media that we all seem to be emerged in.  And, when we do go on this mindful experience and find the uniqueness of each particular moment, and live in that moment.  We spoke about being accurately able to label and describe the things that are going on around you and finding the uniqueness of each particular moment.  And, today we’re going to explore just a little bit more in this podcast about the observer behind the thinker.  And, the observer behind the thinker means stepping back and looking at that observer, observing it like we’re in a movie theater.  We’re in the front row at a movie theater, and what’s going on in our lives that is playing up on the screen.  However, it’s not us.  And, being the observer and writing a particular review of what we’re seeing on the screen.  And, when we’re looking at this thinker, we’re thinking about thoughts.  Have you ever thought about how many thoughts you have?

Mike:    Isn’t that an interesting trap?  You’re already thinking these thoughts.  And, now you’re thinking about it.  And, you’re thinking too many thoughts.  And now you’re thinking about thinking about too many thoughts.  You start falling into this hole.  There was a song that talks about some mental issues that I’m fond of.  And, it says “I fell through the hole in the floor, then I fell through the hole some more.”  And, I feel like that’s something you can get into in your own head for sure.

Jim:    Absolutely.  When we talk about rumination, that’s exactly what that is.  It’s like all these thoughts coming in, and if we can imagine these thoughts as eggs.  And, your head is a refrigerator.  Okay, your brain is a refrigerator.  So, we start to get all these eggs in the refrigerator.  However, we never open the door to let any of them out.  And, pretty soon, these eggs get old, and they get moldy, and they crack.  And, pretty soon we have a refrigerator full of stinky, smelly eggs – stinky, smelly thoughts.  And, when we decide to open that door, what do we have but a refrigerator full of stinky, smelly eggs, and the smell is revolting and it can make us sick.  So, some of the kind of thoughts that we do see in ourselves, some of them can be inspectors.  And, these are thoughts that, they just find flaws everywhere.  These thoughts, we always think “What’s wrong with this?”  Rather than, “It’s a beautiful day.”  We think, “When’s it going to rain?”  Or, we look at a beautiful lawn, and we think, “My gosh, they must spend hours to fix, hours to repair.  That’s a lot of maintenance.”

Mike:    That’s very glass half empty to really boil it down.

Jim:    Absolutely.  For sure.  Then we have grabbers, and they just grab at thoughts.  They grab at different items, different trivia things that go out through our head.  And we have twisters, the thoughts that go round and round in our head, and they tie themselves into knots, and they can’t seem to let them go.  Or listers.  Listers is probably one of the things that most of our listeners can relate to.  How many lists are there?  You talked about all the things you have to do.  How many times do you go over your list in your head a day?

Mike:    Oh.  A lot actually.  A lot.  A lot.  And, that’s something that I’m trying to process via getting things done – the David Allen approach.  And, I adapt that as much as I can.  And, I’ve really fallen in a trap again, and it’s a thing you constantly have to be on.  Get that out of your head and on a list that you don’t have to worry about it disappearing from your head.  Because that weighs in your brain, and once you’ve written it down, and that’s a place you know you’re going to go back.  You don’t have to worry about going back tomorrow and that’s not there in your head, and you forget about it.

Jim:    How many additions and deletions do you make during a day to that list in your head?

Mike:    Are the deletions on purpose?  Because I feel like stuff just slips.

Jim:    And, when you’re creating these lists in your head and going over them, how many things on this list are you actually getting done?

Mike:    I know.

Jim:    Zero.  

Mike:    Exactly.  And, it bogs you down.  And, then you feel like, you know we talked about these thoughts feeling like quicksand, and I think when you’re – especially when you’re doing something you want to do, and something you want to complete, and feel passionate about, that list of “Oh, I really want to do this thing, but I need to get through this, and this first,” does feel like quicksand as you discussed before.

Jim:    And, quite often, what happens is it takes much, much energy to deal with these thoughts all day long.

Mike:    You feel exhausted.  You’re like, “I can’t think anymore.”  And, then we sit down in front of the TV for the evening.

Jim:    So there’s two (2) types of tired, Mike.  There’s a tired where we physically work hard all day.  And, we come home and sit down, and go, “Ahhh.”  And, Mike, that’s a good tired.  Then there’s the tired where we haven’t perhaps physically exerted ourselves all day long. However, we’ve done the thought process all day long.  Our thinker has been on steroids.  So, then, into the evening, we’re absolutely exhausted by using all that mental energy all day long.  And, that’s the type of exhaustion, Mike, where you can’t get to sleep.  So many people that I deal with on a daily basis, and in my life, have disturbed sleep patterns.  And one of the main items that people talk about because they can’t go to sleep is the ruminating thoughts.  It’s the racing thoughts in their heads.  It’s the list making, the things that they have to do.

Mike:    I get myself in this trap.  Because, I’ll think of something I need to do in the morning as I’m going to bed.  And, I don’t write it down.  And, then it’s like, “Put a note in the mirror when you get up,” or something, right?  But, no.  Then, you’re worrying, “Am I going to remember to do that in the morning?”  Because, I don’t trust myself.  

Jim:    So one of the things that I often suggest to people is to get those thoughts out of the filing cabinet in their head, and take it and put it out, and put it on concrete.  And, sometimes when people say, I’ll do it on my word processor, I’ll suggest to them, “Let’s make this real personal, and put a pen or a pencil in your hand, and let’s do this the old fashioned way – and actually write it down on paper.”  Write it down on paper.  Then you have an actual connection with that.  That’s your handwriting.  This isn’t a font, or a type that you’ve selected from a computer.  This is your handwriting.  This is personal.  So, when we go over these lists again, and you’re asking people how many times do they wake up in a night, how many things on this list have you actually gotten done at 2:30 in the morning, Mike?

Mike:    You don’t want me to answer that.  Let me just put it that way.  You don’t know.  There have been times when something caught in my head, and I’m like “That needs done.  Oh no.  I need to do that right now.”  And, it has been 2:30 in the morning and I go across the hall to the office, and start a render, hit post on a thing, do something real quick – and half an hour goes by, and I go back to bed – hopefully.  

Jim:    And, perhaps this might have been an urgent item that needed actually taken care of hours and hours ago.  However, it has been crowded out and overshadowed by all the thoughts and other things on your list that we keep going over. And, sometimes, perhaps the number one (1) thought that goes around in people’s head is round-and-rounders.  These are thoughts that go round and round in your head.  Sometimes, for years.  Sometimes for days.  Sometimes for weeks.  Sometimes for months.  Sometimes for years these thoughts go around in your head.

Mike:    Sometimes I feel like there’s – I don’t know if I’m misplacing this sample, but I find myself when I have a trip coming up, when I have event coming up, I’m thinking about that and everything I need to do for it leading up to the event.  Whether it be I’m actually leaving on a short vacation in a few weeks and thinking about everything that has to go into that.  Or, I have a big event that I’m working for a client, and I’m thinking about that.  Or, leading up to this podcast recording, “Do I have everything in place?  Did we do all the things?  Did we tweet all the things?  Did we talk to the people?”  Is that kind of along that kind of line?  

Jim:    Of course.  And, what you’re talking about is some anxiety builders.  And, that’s what these list makers are.  They’re all anxiety builders.  And really, Mike, underlying most anxiety is fear.  Okay.  It’s fear – fear of not getting things done; fear of the future; fear of whatever.  Really, we’re going to do a Psychiatry 101 here.  We’re just going to say most things can be classified as love, love relationships, or anxiety and fear in life.  Basically, that’s what it boils down to.  Most of the people that we deal with in our world have a basic fear, and in the twelve (12) step world, which we’re going to talk about some day, it talks about that fear being the corroding thread that goes throughout our lives.  So, the idea here is that again, to be the observer behind these thoughts.  Be able to accurately label and describe them.  So one of the things that we deal with definitely about these list making things is that one of the things is we talk about we don’t have enough time.  We don’t have enough time to get all these things done.  However is thinking about them getting anything done?  And, quite often when you discuss – earlier on when we talked about it, one of the concepts of mindfulness is “Where does summer go?”  “How big did you get?”  “Is it going to be Thanksgiving already?”  We discussed that.  So one of the things about time is that most people don’t value their time, and most people don’t value their time as currency.  So, if we look at our time as currency – and everyone out there listening can certainly answer this for themselves.  Mike, right now, in this moment, what would be your favorite color?

Mike:    Purple.  The answer’s always purple.

Jim:    Purple.  Okay.  Also, what we’re going to ask you, Mike, in this moment, what would be a shape that would have some type of significance for you in the moment?  Circle? Diamond? Triangle? Flag? Cross? Baseball?

Mike:    Circle.  I’m going with a circle.

Jim:    Okay, great.  So what we have here is a purple circle.  And, these purple circles are not Crayola crayon purple circles.  They are magnificent.  They are shimmering, and flexible and flowing.  And, they’re just glowing.  They’re the most magnificent objects in the universe.  So, when you’re born, Mike, what are you given besides time?  We have no idea how much, but you’re given time.  So, if we view that time as currency, and if you consider walking through your life with a bag on your hip, filled with these magnificent, irreplaceable, shimmering, glowing purple circles, and when we’re performing some type of a thought, some type of an action, a behavior, do we stop and be mindful that we’re reaching into that bag and pulling out one of these exquisite objects and spending it like currency.  And, there are no refunds.  It’s not Wal-Mart.  Even if you have a receipt, there are not refunds.  It’s not Wal-Mart.  They won’t give you a giftcard.  And, most people don’t realize, which is why I hear somebody saying, “Same stuff, different day,” or one of the things that really sends the electricity through me is when somebody says, “What are you doing?” Have you ever heard anybody say, “I’m killing time.”  So, if you had a pocketful of $5.00 bills, would you be walking down a street throwing those $5.00 bills onto the sidewalk?

Mike:    If I was a millionaire.  But, I’m not.  And, as far as time goes – none of us are.

Jim:    No one’s a millionaire as far as time goes. No one has an irreplaceable supply.  So when you consider it, a truly mindful person will consider how they’re spending that valuable currency.  Are they spending it on anger?  Are they spending it on frustration?  Are they spending it on drinking alcohol?  Are they spending it on using drugs?  Are they spending it on bitterness or resentment?  And, is that a wise investment?  Maybe perhaps for some people it may be, and they may believe it may be.

Mike:    Everybody has to make that choice, don’t they?  I mean, people live for different things in this world, and whether it be other people, or for themselves, or for money, or for experiences.  And, that time factor depends on what they value in that.

Jim:    And again, throughout this program, we often repeat repeating themes, which is what we’re trying to establish is new thought patters and behaviors with people developing new neurological pathways which can only be done by repetition.  So again, what you were talking about, Mike, is the concept of choice and choosing.  We are asking people to take some choices back in their life on how they are spending time and being truly mindful about the choices that they are making in their life and realizing that no matter how confined you believe that your life is, you have choices.  You do have choices.  And, again, I’d like everybody to reconsider, and perhaps go back and review some of the concepts that we’ve talked about in this particular podcast.  And, I realize we’re just beginning to scratch the mindfulness surface and what fishing without bait can truly mean in your life.  So, what we’ve talked about so far is the idea of being the observer behind the thinker.  Again, we’re going to continue to explore that.  We again reviewed the concept of choice and choosing.  We introduced the concept of time as currency, and being able to mindfully choose how you spend your time and spend your currency, which I’m hoping will begin to permeate throughout some individuals’ lives and certainly help others.  And my hope is, Mike, that you begin to, in your daily adventure out in the Earth world, that you begin to experience some of these things that we discussed.

Mike:    I feel like I’m going to be bringing back stories here and there as I’m getting more involved in this.

Jim:    Sure.  Absolutely.  And, again, I paint myself with the same broad brush.  I am not the guru sitting on a mountain.  I do not have the mental stability of a zen master.  And, even zen masters get angry.  Zen masters get anxious.  Zen masters get impatient.  Zen masters get upset.  Zen masters kill some time, absolutely. It’s just that perhaps they do it in a mindful way.  I’m uncertain.  So, if you have any thoughts or any questions concerning this podcast, I would like you to refer to my good friend, and my producer, and my co-host, Mike.  And, he’s going to show you how, and tell you how you can reach this podcast with any questions and/or criticism.  All are helpful.  

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.