Hello, and welcome to episode 100 of the @Sea podcast.
We launched this thing on April 30th, 2016. And 100 episodes later, here we are. I want to pause right here at Episode 100; you do a couple of things, two things very specifically. The first one is simply to say thank you, thank you for listening for paying attention, I do not take for granted at all, not for a moment, that you offer your attention your time to this podcast, anything that I do, but specifically today, this podcast, thank you for paying attention. If you are a patron, doubly Thank you, because not only your attention but your actual contributions make it possible for me to do this, to take care of equipment costs, and also to free up the time it takes me to invest in these conversations, to do the research, I am enriched by this work. And your support allows me to continue to enter into it. So thank you very, very, very much. Thank you also, and very specifically to Dan Portnoy, who is the producer of this episode, and really the vast majority of episodes of the @Sea podcast, the last 100 episodes, your skillset your attention, your availability, there’s just stuff along with this podcast, there’s just stuff that’s true about my life, and is that exists in my life that simply would not were you not the person you are with the skill set you have and the attention you pay. So thank you. Thank you for making all this possible. If you’re a listener, if you’re Dan, if you are a patron. That’s first. The first is Thanks. And thanks because this like I said, this is an enriching work. I love this work. I love this work because I’m growing as I do it, which leads me to the second thing that I want to do. I grew up watching David Letterman, which means that what I’m going to offer you as a David Letterman type thing, I’m going to offer you a top 10. The top 10 things I have learned as the host of the @Sea podcast after 100 episodes.
Number 10. I don’t have to know everything.
But seems like kind of a win. I say it out loud. But the reality is, is life is just better recognizing my limitations, that I don’t have to make a goal of assembling a bunch of knowledge and becoming a know at all. It’s actually a really good posture to be in to recognize that I’m limited in my knowledge. I’m actually sometimes limited in my ability to know.
That makes life more interesting and makes people more interesting. I don’t have to know everything doesn’t pretend.
Number nine, I don’t have to pretend like I know everything. My mom used to say, no one likes it. know it all. Maybe your mom said the same thing. 100 episodes into this podcast. I really believe it.
Folks really enjoy being asked questions. I enjoy being asked questions. I don’t have to pretend like I know everything. In fact, there’s just not a lot of respect to be gained. By pretending like I’ve got knowledge, there is a lot to be gained by knowing that I don’t know everything and acting like someone who is looking for what’s next in someone’s life was looking for truth, beauty, goodness, as opposed to thinking that they’ve got it.
Which leads me to number eight. Curiosity is a sign of respect.
To say to someone tell me about that. To say to someone, I don’t think I quite understand that. Can you break that down? For me? There is this maybe a fear of sorts that that like folks would be offended, to be asked questions about who they are. But the more I’ve done it, the more I’ve asked like really poignant questions of really sensitive matters and people’s lives the more I recognize how respected and honored people feel, when I ask questions, as opposed to make assumptions. Curiosity is a sign of respect.
Number seven, mystery is an invitation.
It is often used the word mystery maybe misused it is sometimes misused the word mystery as a way to excuse the work it takes to get to know someone to a way to excuse the work it takes or the responsibility of coming to know of asking good questions and waiting for answers or even waiting through answers that we don’t understand. “Oh it’s just mysterious.” No, real mystery true mystery is an invitation into relationship is an invitation into a deeper kind of knowledge. It’s the it begins with that sense of like I don’t really get this that leads to really good questions. Mystery is not a dead end when it comes to culture or religion or anything. It is an invitation “Hey, there’s more here, there’s more than you can see, there’s more than you can know, maybe there’s more than it’s possible for you to know maybe there’s actually more than this possible the edges of human knowledge.” mystery is an invitation and not a dead end.
Number six, knowledge isn’t power. Knowledge is a facet of relationship. This notion that this, you know, it’s a saying, I’ve heard it I’ve seen on posters, no, just power. No, you know that that’s true. If the goal in my life is to control, if the goal of my life is to control the world around me, then knowledge can be power. But if the goal in my life is relationship, then knowledge is simply a facet of that relationship. And it ends up being a commitment to a relationship, like a particular commitment to a relationship that I get to know you, I get to see you and experience you now as you are. And knowledge is power means that you have to stay there. Otherwise, we have a problem. Once I’ve come to know you, that’s who you are. And if you change, then we’ve got a problem.
What if instead, knowledge is a way for it’s a facet of like, I get to see you now. And then as you change, I’m committed to relearning you over the course of time. That’s true into relationally as true interpersonally. It’s also true societally, that suit institutionally, culturally, things are as they are now. And I can come to a certain understanding and a grasp, here’s that control piece, a grasp of the way things are now. But real knowledge then is like this is going to change. And when it changes, when you change, I’m going to ask the next set of questions in order to re-enter into this relationship as it exists. Tomorrow, knowledge, isn’t power, knowledge is a facet of relationship.
I’m hesitant to even say this out loud, I shouldn’t because I mean, this.
Not everything has to be important to me.
To say, there are things that have been important to my guests over the over 100 episodes that like; they’re just not as important to me. And some of that has to do with place in life, some of that has to do with the position of power that I can’t do much about some of the things that some of my guests care deeply about and have committed their lives to.
So it can’t be important to me in the same way. There are things that are important to me that aren’t important to other folks who don’t have the kind of access or don’t have the same kind of doorways. It’s important for me to recognize like, these are the things that I get to know that these are the things I get to do something about these are things that are that are actually important to me so that I can play my part and respect you for playing your part that doesn’t have to be important to me in the same way that it is you I can just think that you’re a hero in your specific lane and let you drive in it and do it really well. And then I can stay in my lane and do my part well, and trust the whole process, the fabric of the world societally becomes far more interesting. And I get to be more responsible for my part of it. If I recognize that not everything has to be important to me, I just want to be really responsible to the stuff that is.
Number four, listening is the key.
The key, not just a key listening is the key to good relationship, and great art. To have a good idea and even to have a skill set is wonderful. It’s necessary if this podcast was a good idea, and I have a certain skill set that allows me to do this, and I think do this decently well. But it’s my capacity to and my growing capacity to pay attention and to listen, that actually makes this work. That’s true on a bunch of different levels. It’s also true in the rest of my art that I have, I can have a great idea. But if I’m not paying attention to the world around me, I don’t know where that idea goes. And I just kind of place things out of context or in the wrong time or among the wrong tribe of people. Listening is the key to good relationship the key to good relationship, and it is also the key to great art.
Number three, listening is actually hard.
Because what it requires me to do is it requires me to put my agendas to the side. It requires me to relegate my ideas to maybe even better ideas. Listening requires me to slow down and to cease my desire for control to cease my desire for a certain kind of knowledge. Listening is hard because it requires me to find my place in the stay in it and not try to be the center of every conversation, to not be the center of every culture. Again, as a, you know, as a straight, white, male listening has become maybe the most essential practice of my life has come to recognize, like my necessary place, and my better place in my neighborhood, my world online.
And it’s been hard, because it is more so than anything else, listening, is a relinquishing of power, or the desire for power.
Listening is hard.
Number two, not all stories are good stories.
The emphasis on story you know, the folks over at Pixar like to say the story is king and I absolutely believe that story is King story is the framework. Story is a framework for really all kinds of knowledge, relational, institutional, otherwise, story really is king. But not every story is a good story. There are actually bad stories in the world and discerning that. Having that discernment, recognizing when I’m paying attention to a bad story, or recognizing when I’m contributing to a bad story begins with the recognition in the confession, that not every story is a good story. There are some stories that are simply bad ones, and should be replaced. Not necessarily silenced, but should be seized, yes, remembered so that we would know I hate that’s a bad story. We don’t want to do that again. But some stories should come to an end. Not all stories are good.
And lastly, the number one thing that I’ve learned and relearned over the course of 100 episodes:
I like people.
I really like people.
The more knowledge there is in the world of how bad things are, how bad things can be, how badly we can mess things up. How complicated and mean people can be. It could be really easy to become jaded, not just to culture, not just the certain cultures, not just to religion and not just to politics. They become jaded, in a deeper sense. I’m so glad that after all these years of paying attention and listening and being in conversation, I continue to fall in love with people. I continue to love and like who people are, I really do like people.
Which takes me back to the number one thing I was doing with this podcast. Thanks for making this possible. Thanks for joining me for this episode.
Thanks for joining me for this episode of the @Sea podcast. We will return to our regularly scheduled program and the next few weeks. Thanks for 100 episodes. Let’s do 100 more.
Check it out.
Links For Justin:
NEW Music – The Dood and The Bird
Order the new book – It Is What You Make it