Should Fitness NOT Be Your Goal?

 

– The MOVEMENT Movement with Steven Sashen Episode 130 with Kyle Fincham

 

Kyle Fincham is the creator of Infinite Play, a movement workshop that explores playfulness by reconnecting us with our creative, adaptive, and cooperative potential. Infinite Play workshops are accessible to all misfits, wildlings, and nonconformists.  Kyle also hosts Behind the Movement, a weekly podcast where he speaks with movement makers of all types about their stories, thoughts, and philosophies. He also regularly writes articles expressing his ideas and wonderings for his blog. Kyle aims to share and explore this passion for playfulness through all areas of his life, teaching, and art.

 

Kyle grew up in Lake Tahoe and found his passion for teaching while working as a ski instructor.  He studied theater at UCLA, where he could be found regularly in Vaudeville class.  In 2005 he moved to New York to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.  After almost 10 years of chasing laughs, he realized his fascination with movement, and decided to leave the yucks behind to follow this new path.

 

Kyle is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is deeply influenced by both Tom Weksler and the Fighting Monkey Practice and was a student of Ido Portal from 2015-2020.  Kyle reads often and travels near and far to attend workshops and seminars, expanding his experience of different movement tools, approaches, and philosophies.

 

Listen to this episode of The MOVEMENT Movement with Kyle Fincham about how fitness shouldn’t be your goal during movement.

 

Here are some of the beneficial topics covered on this week’s show:

– Why treating things like they are a game to win limits the surprise in your life.

– How people shouldn’t resist being surprised, they should embrace it.

– How your practice in movement can reflect what you want to see in the world.

– How there is more than one way for you to enjoy movement.

– Why we think we are in more control in this world than we actually are.

Connect with Kyle:

Guest Contact Info

Instagram
@theinfiniteplayguy

 

Links Mentioned:
kylefincham.com

 

Connect with Steven:

Website

Xeroshoes.com

Jointhemovementmovement.com

Twitter
@XeroShoes

Instagram
@xeroshoes

Facebook
facebook.com/xeroshoes

Steven Sashen:

If you want to have a long happy life, you know what you need to do, you need to be in shape. You need to be fit. You need to do the things that make you fit and have fitness. Right? Well, what if that is not true? Crazy as that sounds, we’re going to look into that in today’s episode of The MOVEMENT Movement, the podcast for people who want to know the truth about what it takes to have a happy, healthy, strong body. Starting typically feet first, because those things are your foundation. And here we break down the propaganda, the mythology, sometimes the outright lies you’ve been told about what it takes to run or walk or play or hike, or in this case just live to the remainder of your life and to do that enjoyably and efficiently and effectively. And did I say enjoyably? Don’t answer. It’s a trick question.

 

Because I know I did. Because look, if you’re not having fun, do something different till you are. Because if it’s not fun, you’re not going to keep it up anyway, so why add more stress? We call this the MOVEMENT Movement because we’re creating a movement and that we part is something that you and I are involved in. Doesn’t take any effort, really. I’ll tell you more in a second. The other part, the MOVEMENT Movement, is that we’re creating this movement around natural movement, letting your body do what it’s made to do instead of getting in the way and making life more difficult. I’m Steven Sashen from xeroshoes.com, your host of this thing. And all you need to do is really simple. If you want to go to our website, www.jointhemovementmovement.com, you don’t need to do anything to join.

 

There’s no membership fee. There’s no membership really just like and share, find the previous episodes, subscribe, hit the thumbs up or the bell icon or whatever. Basically look, you know the drill. If you want to be part of the tribe, please subscribe. Or if you think there’s other people who should be part of the tribe, please subscribe there too. So like I said in the intro, maybe fitness is not the goal that you should be looking for. And Kyle, please do me a favor, tell human beings who you are and what you do and what you said that made me say that.

Kyle Fincham:

My name’s Kyle Fincham. I am currently traveling across the globe, teaching a workshop that I call Infinite Play, which is basically just exploring the mindset of playfulness through the vehicle of movement. I’m currently in Brooklyn, New York. And I’m flying out to Europe next week.

Steven Sashen:

Where in Brooklyn are you?

Kyle Fincham:

I am in Bushwick right now.

Steven Sashen:

I was in Brooklyn a little while ago. And I at every moment was afraid I was going to get a ticket for not having a man bun or some other hip thing that I do not do.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Maybe about 10 years ago, I was totally hip enough for any of the neighborhoods that I fell into. But now I walk out the door and I’m like, “I’ve passed that time.”

Steven Sashen:

One of the last times I was in Brooklyn, I was stunned to go by a guy who was selling artisanal pickles, $5 each.

Kyle Fincham:

Wow.

Steven Sashen:

For a pickle, five bucks, pickle.

Kyle Fincham:

Wow. You know what? I got back into eating bread when I was back in Europe last year.

Steven Sashen:

Good for you.

Kyle Fincham:

The baguettes are a buck 50 or two bucks or something and here a baguette is four or five bucks and it’s just from a grocery store or something.

Steven Sashen:

Oh no. Well, everything in and around New York has gotten expensive. Lena and I were there two weeks ago I think for a board meeting and I met a couple friends for breakfast and three eggs and toast. Guess how much?

Kyle Fincham:

12 bucks.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, you’re so cute. 18 to 20.

Kyle Fincham:

Oh.

Steven Sashen:

Two eggs and toast.

Kyle Fincham:

When you said that, it hit me in the chest.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, I got a down payment on a piece of pizza.

Kyle Fincham:

Wow.

Steven Sashen:

Pizza used to be a buck, buck, and a half, and now $3.75. Anyway, enough about the price of food in and around the great city of New York. So Infinite Play, say more about that and how that relates to what I tease this with about fitness and maybe it’s not the best goal to have or the thing that you need.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. I think that we’re led to believe that if we’re strong, if we’re flexible, if we’re mobile, if we have a whole bunch of moves and techniques that it’s synonymous with being able to move through life playfully. And I’ve just come to believe that’s not the case, that in some ways getting caught up in the systems or the boxes or the definitions can actually be this great limitation for us, because life is full of surprises. Life is random. Life is accidents. And to move through it playfully means to be welcoming of surprise and welcoming of the randomness and welcoming of the accidents. And maybe sometimes that means we’re strong in certain areas, we’re flexible in certain areas or we have some moves, but having the full collection of all is not the same as being able to move through life the way the rest of the animals and the rest of nature navigates life. And that’s what I like to explore in my workshop.

Steven Sashen:

Fascinating. Then we’re using the word move in maybe two different ways. One about the movements involved in fitness activities, for example. Being able to run, being able to lift, being able to climb, being able to whatever. But another, when you’re talking about moving through life, there’s more of a metaphorical component to that. So can you pick that apart a little for me? Maybe you can do that by explaining something more about what somebody would do if they were joining you for a workshop.

Kyle Fincham:

Totally. Well, ultimately at the end of the day movement is not just an activity that we do. Movement is our way of communicating with the world. We just have this privilege of have to not use our full library of communication skills because everything is convenient and sanitized at this point. But movement worked in relation with our senses and we would use that to move through life in terms of how we communicate with other people, how we communicate with the spaces that we move through. That’s why we have this amazing potential for movement. So in my workshop, I’m not so much caught up in distilling down all the different movements and break them into what we can do. I’m interested in presenting scenarios where we’re willing to get lost, and be okay with that rather than having to Google map everything.

Steven Sashen:

Interesting. I’m going to ask you this question, but I have to tell you a story before you answer it. The question is given that, and given that this is The MOVEMENT Movement podcast, I’m going to ask you to share something so people can have an experience of what you’re saying, rather than just hearing it. Maybe … I’m doing this thing lately where I go, “Hm.” And I my head a little, like 45 degrees, because my wife and I for the first time in our lives are now dog owners. So we have a dog that just does that like, “What?” But here’s the story I’m going to tell you that maybe it sounds like there may be an analog and I want you to tell me if it’s true. When I was in my twenties at the advice of a crazy girlfriend, I found myself in a group therapy group. Not suggesting the group therapy means you’re …

 

It’s a fine thing, but I went because she told me to, and ultimately did not get a whole lot out of it. But there was this one great moment where I realized that everybody was sitting in the same seat or more accurately there’s one person in particular who always sat in the same seat. And I happened to show up at the group one time earlier than anybody else. So I sat in quote her seat and she came in and told me to move. And I said, “Why?” She goes, “That’s my seat.” I said, “It’s a seat.” And she went crazy. And when all the group was there, there’s a big kerfuffle about who was sitting where, and I remember at one point she said, “I thought this was a safe space.” I said, “It’s safe enough to discover that you can sit anywhere and be okay.” Am I way off base with that story?

Kyle Fincham:

No. A story that I like to tell is one that a friend of mine shared with me about his time in college. And he and I are about the same age, late thirties, so it was before there were Google Maps, which I referred to before. He talked about how he and his friends would take road trips often during the spring breaks and summer vacations and things like that. And he says, when he looks back on that time and those adventures they went on, the things that he remembers most and the things that are most special to him are the times that they got lost. We have done this really great job of making everything fast and efficient, right? But at the same time, we’ve limited getting lost. And the magic I think might be in the getting lost.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a variation of that. I remember having to drive when I was living in New York city, this is 30 years ago. I had to drive to somewhere outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania. It was a camp that I went to as a kid, they were having a 50th anniversary party and I had to go. And I remember looking at a map, if people remember what those are, an actual map in a big Atlas-y kind of book thing. What was really fun is the maps had roadside attractions that were clearly marked and in the middle of Pennsylvania, there was a wild animal preserve or a reptile and some other strange animal sanctuary or something. There was all these wacky things. And I built a trip around everything that was off the main roads to just go from one of these things to another, to another, to another. And it was totally ridiculous and delightful. And you just can’t do that anymore. Not looking at Google maps.

Kyle Fincham:

Right. And I think that the larger repercussions of this way is that it makes us think that we can control and be certain of everything and we can limit our lost and we can prevent surprise. So that ultimately when those things do happen, we panic. We’re not really prepared to be with surprise. We’re not really prepared to be with lost, when it’s totally inevitable. It’s going to happen, we’re going a trip.

Steven Sashen:

I’m going to get back to the give something to people to share or share something with people. You’re suggesting, it sounds, that the things that we are currently doing for fitness are antithetical to that idea of just being open to what’s happening and able to respond accordingly, whether it’s let’s call a mental or physical movement.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. I think that the things that we’re doing now are fine if we also do the other thing.

Steven Sashen:

Okay.

Kyle Fincham:

There’s a lot of precision and not a lot of romance. And I think that we need more.

Steven Sashen:

There’s a great book, I think it’s just called Muscle, about a guy who moved to New York when he graduated college or maybe grad school and got a job in publishing and felt insecure in New York and felt at the whim and mercy of New York and so he got into body building. It’s a really interesting book about that goes back and forth chapter by chapter between what it was like to train to become a bodybuilder and what was going on in his mind about this and how he was able to, or not able to roll with the punches as it were. It was a fascinating, fascinating book, because it’s really describing exactly what you’re talking about.

Kyle Fincham:

Well, I was part of the CrossFit world in a certain degree for a short period of time. And the irony is we sit around telling people we want them to be able to think outside the box, but the gym is actually called a box.

Steven Sashen:

My first time that I was in a CrossFit box, and someone had me go through one of the workouts, they’re yelling at me like, “Go, go, go.” And I literally turned at one point and said, “Your yelling does not give me any motivation.” I’m self-motivated. I’m curious to see how I can do the next time, but there’s no prize money at the end of this. It’s not a real competition. I just don’t care that much. If it’s fun, I’ll do it. If it’s not fun, I’m not going to do it.

Kyle Fincham:

Well, and competition is just so of this part of the world at this day and age, and I think we celebrate it and make everything into the … We think that it’s the way, but I think that we’ve made it really far by also being quite cooperative. And I think that things like play are our places to explore potential for cooperation. And it’s a powerful tool, but I think that in our world in the way we exist now, maybe it’s a bit of a privilege to get to exist in a very competitive settings all the time. But I’m not so sold on it.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I can tell you from my experience, there’s two things. One as a competitive sprinter, I love the competition because it … For a couple reasons. One, I have a naturally competitive streak in me. So it gives me a place to indulge in that in a way that’s entertaining. It also gives me a reason to get out on the track, because I’m imagining these things that I want to accomplish because I enjoy doing them. And so it gives me a bit of a focus. When I was doing physical things, where there was no end result, some of the things I was doing, it’s like, “Oh, this is more pain than gain. So I’m not going to do it.” But I like that the flip side is I will say that the more I’ve come to understand what big shoe companies have been doing for 50 years and how it’s been hurting people and how we are hearing from people daily saying, “Oh my God, this natural movement thing changed my life,” it’s brought out a competitive streak in me in on the business side that I didn’t really know that I had.

 

It’s engaging in a certain way, but I can’t say it’s enjoyable. And the cooperation thing is intriguing because I’m friends with most of my competitors because we are all trying to do the same thing. We need to play together in some way. So it’s a really interesting kind of balance between … It’s like when I’m at the track, some guy will usually say really intense like, “Good luck in the race. Have a good race.” And I’ll say, “Hey, hey dude, there’s no prize money. There’s no sponsorship. Have fun. Hopefully you won’t get injured. Oh. And by the way, I totally want to kick your ass.” And I say it that casually, because it really is that casual. I will, or I won’t, who cares. It doesn’t really matter in the long run. Rumor has it my wife won’t leave me if I’m second in a hundred meters. I don’t know. All right. I’ve mentioned this five times or so, so now I’m going to put you on the spot. Give people something that they can experience from what we’ve been talking about, which again, can be a little out in the-

Kyle Fincham:

I’ll give two things. And one of them I already mentioned, but I’ll give two.

Steven Sashen:

Okay.

Kyle Fincham:

The first one is very much a movement task.

Steven Sashen:

Okay.

Kyle Fincham:

And it’s one that I use often, but grab a ball, any kind like a tennis ball or a lacrosse ball, whatever you got. Lay it on the ground, get onto the floor on your hands and your feet or your hands and your knees. I don’t really care. And maybe move just in that position, around on the floor and just keep the ball moving, keep the ball moving only using your hands and your feet. And then if your hands and your feet have felt like you’ve become competent, maybe use other parts of your body to keep the ball moving like your shoulder or your elbow or your wrist or your chin back of your head. Right? And just keep the ball moving.

Steven Sashen:

Ooh, that’s a good question if someone’s doing that to wonder every now and then what part of my body haven’t, I used?

Kyle Fincham:

It’s also a good opportunity to drag in your friend or your roommate or your spouse and ask them to tell you what part of your body to touch the ball with.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, that’s a good one too. This reminds me, I’ve been known to do things at workshops where they say, “Find a safe space to do something,” I’ve been known to walk out the door. Because I’m just thinking what’s the most outrageous way I could do this thing that they’re asking? What would be the one thing that no one thought to do and then just leave.

Kyle Fincham:

I love that. Love that. Nice risk. I like that.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I’m curious to see what’ll happen. That’s a good one. Was the first one just go somewhere and get lost?

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Walk out your front door.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

And get on your bike or drive in your car or ideally take a walk in zero shoes or barefoot, but don’t turn on Google maps and start heading in a direction you know, and then when you get to an intersection when you normally would’ve turned right, turn left and just see what happens. Go get lost because, both of these things are being playful. Both of these things are the willingness to be surprised and bask in the surprise and getting places efficiently and always trying to treat things as if they’re a game to win is when we start limiting surprise. Right? Because as you know, as a competitor, when you’re in competition mode, you want as few surprises as possible, right? You don’t want to trip on a stone. You don’t want to feel something that’s … As much as you can control, you want to control for that moment in time. But when we start doing life that way, when we try to limit surprise and try to only do things that we’re competent at, right?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

When the things happen that we’re not competent at, or when surprise unfolds or when the randomness happens, we’re just not prepared. Right. And we get rigid and the way that we respond to surprise when we’re not welcoming of surprise is to try to defeat, destroy, control, submit whatever that thing is.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

As opposed to dance with it.

Steven Sashen:

Well, you know what’s funny about the structured competition and surprise, my favorite part of the race is the moment between set and the gun going off because the whole technique is to be ready to be surprised. You can’t be ready to go. You get set and you’re ready to go. And then you just have to be surprised. It’s actually my favorite thing when someone literally does surprise me, they come up behind me and I don’t hear them. Because it’s the most unadulterated, and I never thought of it this way, unadulterated experience of just jumping in the air and being shocked. I just totally, totally enjoy it.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. I use this quote often. So the reason I call my workshop Infinite Play is because I read this book, Finite And Infinite Games by James Carse. And there’s a famous quote that he has in there. And it’s something like to be prepared against surprise is to be trained, to be prepared for surprise is to be educated.

Steven Sashen:

I like it. When you’re doing the workshops, what kind of people show up? What are they expecting and what surprises them when they go through it?

Kyle Fincham:

When I first started teaching, there was a lot of people who came from movement, the big M movement that seems to exist in the world now, because that’s where I was found.

Steven Sashen:

Like?

Kyle Fincham:

Movement culture, movement. I’d been studying with Ido Portal for a really long time. So, a lot of people who have movement facilities have hosted me and had me. And they’re amazing. And then a lot more recently, I think it’s starting to transcend a little bit the gaps are getting a little wider. The demographic is changing. It’s a lot of different people. It’s not necessarily people who come from movement, but who are maybe interested in movement philosophically. But in the end, I think people are quite moved. And I don’t mean physically moved, but some people, there have been a couple people who have been moved to tears.

 

There are taken by the experience because ultimately, we’re really practicing communicating. We’re practicing being with people, right? We’re practicing that potential we have for deep listening. But that means to deep listen with a group of people is also to feel listened to. And I think sometimes people are taken by what it feels to be listened to because maybe in this world there’s not a lot of being listened to happening.

 

Yeah. It can be enriching and maybe so far as to healing for some people. Yeah. It’s a special experience. And I think it’s far from what anybody imagines. So often when people ask, “What should I expect?” I’ll be like, “Well, whatever you imagine, it’s not that. And then when you imagine it again, it’s not that either.”

Steven Sashen:

Well, speaking of things you’ve mentioned, you’ve mentioned movement as communication a couple times. Can you dive into that a little bit? Because I’m not quite clear how that works or what you mean when you say that.

Kyle Fincham:

Right. So before we could speak with words we had sounds and we moved our body to try to communicate. So even just in a human to human interaction, we were moving our bodies to help navigate communication. But also human to human, without even trying to communicate, our nervous systems are having a dialogue. Right? So that’s what co-regulating is right? I’m noticing your posture, your breath, your eyes. And I’m not thinking about it. It’s not cognitive. This is something that’s happening just in my own nervous system. And these are all different movements and things that are happening in our body. Right? But then on a more thinking about how we move through the world, on an individual level, I need a body that’s deeply communicative. Right? I want joints that communicate with one another from the ground up.

 

Right? So that they move like a symphony, right? So that they’re creative, adaptable and cooperative with one another, instead of rigid and isolated, same thing goes with people. I want to be able to be creative, adaptable, and cooperative, which means to communicate with another person so that when we walk into a scenario and you and I have never done anything before, whether it’s dancing together, fighting together, playing together or talking with one another, I have the tools to move with that. And then same thing goes for the spaces that we move through. Right? I need to those same qualities to walk into new and novel spaces and scenarios and situations so that I can have my dance or my play or my dialogue with whatever that is offering me.

Steven Sashen:

The image that I got when you were saying that is of someone or most of us not thinking of … Well, it’s going to sound weird. I’m hacking it out in real time. Not thinking about how our very subtle moves, just the way we stand, the way we sit down, the way we stand back up, the way we take that first step. People don’t think about that as a form of communication typically. Although the flip side in my thinking is I’m flashing back to when I was in second or third grade. And I remember, or at least I have seemingly a memory of walking down the hall of my elementary school, practicing different ways of walking because I wanted to look like something I saw in a comic book or whatever it was. But we’re not typically thinking about … We get these patterns, we get locked into them we don’t think about how they may be impacting the way people see us, because what we’re telling them without knowing what we’re saying.

Kyle Fincham:

And in relation to walking, multiple kind of dialogues are happening, right? We’re having a conversation with the surface of the earth or the ground, right. We’re dancing on it. Right? But if we dance with it, we’re always going to be more efficient, right? Again, our joints are having this interaction, as people are moving around us, we’re having these nonverbal communicative interactions as we navigate around the spaces with the people. And that involves everything that involves things that we can think about. And so much that we can’t think about. That’s why it’s, like I say, the way we actually move our body and our full sensory experience and everything that’s happening in our nervous system, it’s an all at once this emergence that’s happening.

Steven Sashen:

Have you experienced that people in different cultures have a different relationship to this? What I’m thinking of when I say that is like, when I was just in New York or when I’m walking down the street and people are walking towards me and there’s only so much room, I’m always interested to see how people respond to that. They’re looking right at me and they don’t get out of the way, for example. I find that utterly fascinating. Versus I remember when Lena and I were in India for friends’ wedding 15 years ago or so, tons and tons of people, less difficult interactions during the course of a day, walking through tons of people in India than you have in five minutes in Whole Foods where people park their cart in the middle of an aisle and just randomly go off into space. And it’s like a whole different way of thinking about the way our bodies interact with that space in those people, in that place. And I was wondering if you’ve seen similar things.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. I haven’t spent it much time in more collectivist cultures, but I read about them quite a bit. And I think in some ways, what you’re describing is people who have emerged out of a culture that’s a little bit more individualists, right? It’s the me, myself and I attitude. So it’s like, “I’m not getting out of the way,” or, “I’m going to win this walk this way,” or, “Who cares what everybody else is doing? I’m parking my cart right here.” Whereas in some of these other parts of the world, there’s a little bit more we us and them. Not to say that’s a better way to live either I’m not proposing better or worse. What I’m thinking more is that there’s again, this dance that can exist between the individual’s mindset and the collectivist mindset. So that we see a little bit more of we in me.

Steven Sashen:

Right.

Kyle Fincham:

I think that there’s something there. But speaking to what you’re talking about, I think that it’s really a cultural emergence or a societal emergence in these very individualist places. And it’s not a single person being like, “I’m going to be this way.” It’s just what’s come out of it.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You came out of the fitness world and I think came out of is an interesting phrase, both from an evolution and an escaping from perspective. What was the thing that triggered that and how did you then develop what you’re doing with infinite play?

Kyle Fincham:

I was really practicing a lot. I was practicing six hours a day, this movement practice where things were in containers and things were really tight and rigid. I progressed and could do amazing gymnastics things and I could do amazing strength things. And I had these moves and some techniques and things, but I realized that I couldn’t just show up and play in any scenario. I needed everything to be in place. Right? And then there was this really funny moment where I realized, “Oh man, I can stand really well on my hands. I can almost do a one arm handstand, but subjectively I moved poorly on my feet.” That was the catalyst for what’s going on here? Then I started thinking more philosophically about the things that I believe in and the things that I care about and the things that I value and playfulness became this word that just really captured a lot of the things that I care about.

 

And I was talking to my friend, Marlo Fisken, who’s a really, well-known pole movement teacher, performer, artist. She’s a genius. And I just asked her one day, I said, “Hey, what do you feel like isn’t talked about enough in movement? And she said, “How our practice and our teaching can reflect the changes that we want to see in the world.” And it was just this aha moment where I thought to myself, “Wow, I really care about what the world might look like if people were willing to welcome surprise rather than defeat surprise. Can I facilitate that in what I present? Can movement be my vehicle for that?” And that was the jumping off point.

Steven Sashen:

And so, from there, it sounds like that was a aha, but not clearly fully formed something. It at some point had to take on a bit more of a, I don’t want to use the word structure incorrectly, but it had to become a bit more tangible at the very least. And I like that idea. What happened in terms of developing it?

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Well, I was fortunate enough that I lived in Boulder for a few months and there was a group that would meet me out there in North Boulder Park twice a week. And they were just I don’t want to say Guinea pigs because we were really working on things together and creating together, but I was facilitating and trying and experimenting. And every day I would just walk in with a couple little nuggets of ideas. But what I really thought to myself was the teachers that I’ve been the most moved by in my entire life are not people who showed up with amazing content, even though the content ended up being amazing, but they showed up with a message and then anything that they presented just went through the filter of that message.

Steven Sashen:

Interesting.

Kyle Fincham:

Every day I’d be like walking to the park and I would just be thinking to myself, “Okay. My message is playfulness. Playfulness means to welcome surprise and uncertainty. The tools for welcoming surprise and uncertainty are to be creative, adaptable, and cooperative.” And I would just say these things over and over, and I’d walk in with my little ideas and just throw them out there. But then it also meant that I’d almost set it a mantra to a point where I was like, “I also need to welcome surprise.” So whatever everybody else throws back at me, that’s part of what we start cooking with together.

 

I might show up with an idea, but then part of play is letting it unfold. When it’s too rigid and you’re trying to hold it in place, well, that’s not surprising anymore. So then I might propose this tennis ball game for instance, but then they would start adding to it and creating their own scenarios. My friend who was a break dancer, added his little pieces to it. And then this friend of mine, who’s a contemporary dancer, added these other pieces to it. And I’m like, “Oh, well, that’s what happens when you let everybody add their spice to the soup rather than saying, ‘I’ve got the recipe, no one else put anything else in.’ ”

Steven Sashen:

It’s interesting because if you’re trying to establish yourself as a teacher of a thing, you need a thing. And so this happened in the barefoot running movement back in 2009, 2010, where there was just maybe a dozen people who each were trying to carve out a thing. It was definitely very rigid. It was like, “You have to do it this way.” It’s like, “No, no. You don’t really have to. There’s other ways of doing that.”

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Well, before we spoke a little bit about competition and cooperation. There’s this book by this guy named Alfie Kohn called No Contest. And in there he starts talking about the cooperative learning movement. And I think that maybe took hold in the eighties or nineties, the idea of cooperative learning, trying to push it in schools. But immediately when it became popularized, people jumped in, were like, “We need to create a system, a methodology,” and people wanted to sell the system and it inevitably didn’t work. And what he points out is he was like, “It’s not a system, it’s actually a value.” So what you need is teachers and facilitators who embody the value. And then they walk into each novel scenario with that value and then present it to that unique group and the way that it’s meant to be done at that period in time.

Steven Sashen:

It strikes me that is so anti evolutionary in some way. And what I mean is that there seems to be an evolutionary pull towards having something systematized, having some clear understanding of what something is, even if that understanding is not accurate we still go for it. I’m actually flashing back. If you haven’t watched the special about George Carlin recently.

Kyle Fincham:

Just watched it.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, so great. They had something that was one of my favorite things that he said he was on Charlie Rose, “You see, no, I love individuals. I just don’t like groups. And sometimes a group is as small as two people.” And because then it becomes a solidified thing. And so I think that there’s got to be a reason that we do that and I would argue it’s an evolutionary reason. And so being cooperative in that open is I’m just having fun with the phrase anti evolutionary, just because it’s so not the way we typically go about anything. And ironically, it’s funny, we’ve built this company, there’s now 67 of us and I am really, really happy that there’s no politics going on. There’s nobody competing for the next position. Because there isn’t a hierarchy like that.

 

There’s just everyone trying to do the right thing. And some people do it well, some people do it less well. Some people really get that’s what we’re doing. Some people don’t know, but that’s what they’re doing anyway. There was a guy who worked for us for a while who always called me boss and I kept slapping him. Not literally, but it’s like, “No, that doesn’t work here. That’s not the game we’re playing.” And when we’re developing products, everybody is involved. There’s lots of opinions and it ends up you heading in the right direction. But even that, we think of that as anti-corporate, which is anti-evolutionary in the same way.

Kyle Fincham:

No, but you’re hitting an interesting point. Because we are really pattern machines and we have this magical way of seeing patterns around us and probably played a pretty integral role in us making it as far as we have on an evolutionary perspective. I think that more recently though, it’s almost as if that ability to see patterns and create organization is almost become all that we do. And maybe it’s part of this illusion of control that now is seeping into how we want to move through the world. Because the blessing of consciousness and our unique consciousness is all these things that we can do, have this conversation the way we’re doing it here today.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

But also, then at the end of the day, part of that awareness is that we’re fully clear about our mortality and what’s coming and that’s scary. And I think that some of these things help give that illusion that we’re in more control of this uncontrollable world.

Steven Sashen:

We love the idea. I have this fantasy. I’ve said if at some point Lena and I ever sell this company and we have a whole bunch of money, I’m going to go around to bookstores and buy all of the books on how to create a successful business and then take them into the parking lot and burn them. Because we love this idea that someone can tell you, “Here’s how to get to this thing that you think will make you happy. And I have a plan to get there.” And then we just buy that crap. Despite the fact that there’s just nothing behind that’s remotely true.

 

It’s all hindsight bias and survivorship bias. And people use Apple as an example of an amazing company. They forget in the nineties, Apple was an example of a company that’s about to tank and crash. Or Enron was a great example of a company for a long time. And Theranos was a great … But we do, we love this illusion of control because we know if somebody questions us about whether we do have that kind of control or not push comes to shove, we’re going to go, “Maybe not as much as I think,” and some people will be ballsy enough to go, ‘Yeah, no, I don’t.”

Kyle Fincham:

Well also I think control is maybe closely aligned with what people think happiness is.

Steven Sashen:

Oh, absolutely.

Kyle Fincham:

Right.

Steven Sashen:

Absolutely.

Kyle Fincham:

And happiness, I think is what people think of when they think of meaning and purpose. And I don’t know what meaning or purpose is, but I know there are times when I feel meaningful and purposeful and it has more to do with what I was describing, really communicating with life and the world and that full body listening that I’m describing.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

Those are the times where I’m like, “This feels meaningful.” Being with people, whether it’s doing jujitsu or tossing a ball with them in the park or moving through the natural world in ways that asks all my senses to come alive and participate. There’s some sort of feeling of meaningfulness in that. And I think that there are just a lot of forces at play that want to make us think that it’s something bigger crazier and probably more expensive.

Steven Sashen:

Well, again, control, like you said, that connection between control and happiness I think you’re really onto it because we do think that if we can control fill in the blank, then we’ll be happy even though no one has ever been able to control that. It’s my favorite thing to talk about with regard to diet. It seems that the way people approach diet, it’s the one thing they know they can control to a certain extent on a daily basis, which gives them the idea that it will allow them to have the body that they want. It will allow them to fill in the blank. But most of the time it’s, again, a complete farce that that diet is going to be the thing that does fill. It seems to be, how do I put this, the last … There’s a phrase that I’m looking for.

 

It’s the last something of desperate men. Whenever there’s something going on in your life that’s out of control, especially happening with your body, people turn to diet. It’s like, “Oh, I’ve definitely got to change this.” It’s like, “Where did you get that idea?” There’s a woman named Denise Minger who wrote a wonderful book called Death by Food Pyramid. And she’s written a bunch of great blogs that are really, really long essays about health or nutrition. And I’m not going to get into those per se. But the most interesting thing is of in the last couple years, she’s been saying that she’s not going to write about nutrition any longer. And knowing her previous writing where she would, she became the belle of the paleo ball, because she was a diehard, raw food vegan. And it really was affecting her health badly.

 

So, then she went the exact other way and became like, “I’m just going to eat nothing but animals that I kill with my own bare hands,” which I’m exaggerating for the fun of it. And then she decided to investigate the counterfactuals, like going outside the room when someone says find a safe space. So she looked because the paleo movement was all carbs are bad, sugar is bad. She found places where people eat lots of carbs and lots of refined sugar, totally, totally healthy. She found that there was a thing called the rice diet that they did at Duke, which was taking a morbidly obese people and having them eat nothing but, as much as they wanted, white sugar, white rice and fruit juice, almost impossible to stay on the diet, except that it literally made them go down to a normal weight and reverse their diabetes permanently. So she was looking for these contrary things anyway, knowing that kind of thinking when she said she’s no longer going to write about nutrition, all I could extrapolate from that is she determined that there’s no relationship between what you eat and longevity.

 

But that’s what we aim for. It’s like, oh, “I’ve got to eat this, otherwise fill in the blank.” And I joke with people that I’m on the, “I don’t know when I’m going to get hit by a bus,” diet. If it’s enjoyable, I’m going to have some. I don’t binge. That’s not my thing. I’m making a cake right now. My birthday’s coming up and I’m testing a cake. There’s more sugar in this cake than I eat in a year. Can’t wait to try it.

Kyle Fincham:

I think it’s a hard topic to get into because I know where many people can be coming from. But again, I bring it back to almost my message. I don’t know. If we were more playful and again, playful as in joyful. Right? It’s that place of just not trying to defeat everything. And if we were like that with the world around us, sometimes I think that some of these things would work themselves out.

Steven Sashen:

Like what?

Kyle Fincham:

I think that we have this … There’s an abundance of food.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

Right? And I think that abundance is maybe a part of the emergence of the attempt to control and defeat things. I want to make sure we always have enough, but it means that a lot is being defeated for our abundance, like what we do to land.

Steven Sashen:

Right.

Kyle Fincham:

What we do to animals. All these things. But if we were a little more playful with our relationship to the world in that way, maybe there wouldn’t be so much of this abundance? And I would also say that now, if I were to go a little bigger, if we were talking about food companies and things like that, not being so competitive and playing this finite game of trying to defeat one another and have the most customers and make the most money, maybe products wouldn’t be out there that were so deeply call it unhealthy for people in mass abundance and also super cheap.

Steven Sashen:

Well, dude, we know people at pretty much every footwear brand that we’ve ever spoken with who say, “Oh no, we totally get this natural movement thing. We just can’t do it because it would be admitting that everything we’ve ever said is a lie.”

Kyle Fincham:

Right.

Steven Sashen:

The need or the goal to make money with the idea that somehow that’ll eventually make you and, or your shareholders or whomever else is at play happy drives a lot of behavior that is detrimental. But I would also argue though, that human beings in general were really bad at predicting what the consequences of our actions are. I literally drive around the street sometimes or drive around the town sometimes looking at all the things that we did that we thought would be good ideas that prove not to be. Here’s a really simple one. Everyone thinks the solution to traffic is make highways wider. But the evidence is really clear. The more lanes you add, the more traffic there is. But who knew the first time? It seemed obvious, we need to have more road for the car. That didn’t work. And there’s things like that over and over and over, everywhere.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think we’re all just tinkering and stumbling and everything. I think we also just expect-

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. But we don’t admit that’s what we’re doing.

Kyle Fincham:

Exactly. And we expect people to hit the nail on the head every time. Which means we’ve stigmatized failure and there’s a mixed judgment on things. But everybody’s just making their best guesses and stumbling forward.

Steven Sashen:

I’m taking this out of context. This is something that I’ve been railing against slightly. I’ve discovered in the financial world, what I now refer to as the venture industrial complex, that there’s this whole industry about investing in companies that is based on the fact that no one is willing to admit the one obvious thing, which is what you just said, which is, I’m paraphrasing, no one knows nothing. They just don’t. They can’t predict what’s going to work, what’s not going to work. And so they build this whole ecosystem to try to control it that ironically kills most of the companies that could be the successful ones. Because to protect themselves, the bankers, the investors, cetera, they put the source of their livelihood at risk all because no one’s willing to go, “Yeah. I don’t know. I’m taking a guess. Stab in the dark.”

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Well, it makes me think of this author, Nassim Taleb, who writes about the financial industry quite a bit. Yeah. And what you’re describing is when you’re limiting the exposure, when you’re limiting the surprise, you’re not embracing a complex system’s potential to be anti-fragile, which I think is his word.

Steven Sashen:

Well, in Fooled by Randomness, which is the book that most people don’t know, they know the Black Swan, the subtitle, the Hidden Role of Chance in Markets in Life. And the biggest thing if you really read that book, you come out of it realizing to a certain extent, no one knows nothing. And more, if you think you are someone who knows something, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Kyle Fincham:

Right. Because you’ve decided that you have answers rather than questions.

Steven Sashen:

And you’re pulling the past with you into the present in ways where it doesn’t apply.

Kyle Fincham:

Right. The answers are basically trying to maintain the status quo whereas the questions, the what-ifs that you can propose, is when you are willing to expose yourself to uncertainty. And as he said, that’s what makes the complex system robust is it needs that exposure. It’s like an immune system. You know what I mean? It needs to keep getting the exposure to fill in those little gaps for the things that are going to happen, what he calls the black swans.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Well, the uncertainty is there every day. Lena early on was upset one day. And she said, “I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.” I said, “No one knows what we’re doing. No one’s ever done what we’re doing before. In many, many ways, our job is to hopefully be smart enough to figure out what we need to learn to then address pretty much the fire that started overnight, despite the fact that nothing changed since yesterday.” And she goes, “Oh, I can do that.” I said, “Yeah, I know. You’re super smart.” And I say this on a sadly daily basis where my disappointment or upset is not because of whatever just happened or the thing that someone told me it’s because that crashed head first into the expectation I had about the future.

 

Not even the control that I was hoping, but just what I was expecting, what I was imagining was going to happen and what was necessary, what would be useful, et cetera. And I go, “It’s going to take me somewhere between a minute and day to get over it.” And then, then we’ll have some creative idea of what to do next, but I’m going to be not happy for some finite period of time. And that one’s important to me because it’s helpful for me to acknowledge to other people, here’s exactly what’s going on, but more, I also know that it’s going to take a little while to unwind and it’s nothing personal. It’s just, that’s what minds and bodies do.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Well, we have stigmatized patience, right? We’ve stigmatized boredom, we’ve stigmatized rest. That’s when a lot of these things would work themselves out. It makes it feel like we’re not allowed to admit to those things in some ways.

Steven Sashen:

Well, it occurs to me. I agree. And it’s a variation of … Lena and I, one of the reasons I think we have a great relationship is we’ve never said something like, “I need you to hear what I’m feeling.” So if we’re upset, we both seem to have the same natural tendency to walk away and wait till things settle down and then have a conversation rather than trying to deal with it when you’re in the middle of what I refer to as you can’t be smart when you’re stupid. When your brain is not working well, there’s nothing you can do about it. You have to wait till it settles down. You can’t control your ability to get creative again. It’s going to happen when it happens, no matter what you’re trying to do. And there’s a whole industry and the whole meditative world is promoting this idea that you can achieve some supernatural calmness that pervades through every possible scenario in your life. It’s the ultimate kind of control is that sales pitch. And we’ve never met anyone who’s actually lived that way.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. I meditate a lot and frequently, and I would never claim any amount of calmness, but what I do believe is that … From my understanding in Zen meditation, they do this thing called the koan, right. And the koan is like a riddle. And from my understanding, it’s there to basically distract your thinking mind, your conscious mind to a point that there are these little cracks where your unconscious mind can seep through a little bit. And that is that integration of the conscious and the unconscious mind. And I think to myself, that to me, meditation is creating the opportunity to see more options, right? Because underneath the conscious mind, which is where our ego is built and our ego is the story of who we think we are, right. Our options are limited to that. But as you go lower towards the unconscious that pure consciousness, it’s a sea of options that are below who we think we are and creating opportunities for those cracks to come through, I think is a pretty valuable little tool.

Steven Sashen:

I think I’m going to reframe koan practice for you in a way that I hope is useful. I think it’s actually a form of play. I think, because what it’s pointing out is which part of your body isn’t touching the tennis ball, what it’s pointing out is what’s that way that you’re standing, that’s communicated something that no one had told you and the koan gives you a chance to eventually see it because there’s nowhere else to go. It’s like show me your face before you were born, you can’t do that logically. There’s no right answer. And the only way, the way you quote solve the koan, is by doing something that breaks out of the box of only rolling the ball with your right hand to come up with an answer.

Kyle Fincham:

Exactly.

Steven Sashen:

I don’t know from conscious unconscious, but koans, because I’ve gone through a bunch, they really … I’ll tell you this one. A friend of mine was doing a long time Zen session, meditating for 20 hours a day. And he was just really aggressively trying to make sure he wasn’t having any thoughts. And he was just doing the practice and the teacher pulls him aside at four in the morning and says, “This is about being kind to yourself and having fun.” He’s like, “what?” And people, but people approach that practice often trying as another thing to try-

Kyle Fincham:

To win.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. I literally think of koan practices as they’re really clever jokes and if you don’t get the joke, then you’re going to be frustrated by it. And once you get the joke, then the response is really … That’s the natural response, whatever that means.

Kyle Fincham:

You said it there, you said it’s like a form of play. But when you’re playing, you’re creating the opportunity for the same thing to happen, right?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

For the opportunity to see the more options.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Well, and that’s the other thing about whether it’s Zen practice or whether it’s koan practice or any other form of meditation. You’re putting yourself in a situation where you’ve limited your options to begin with. You’re sitting in a place in a way, trying not to move. I like to think of certain meditations where it’s shoving you into a corner so deeply that your only response, because you can’t get out of the corner, is to do something completely unconditioned because there’s no other option. You’re just backed up as far as you can go and you got to break out of that and you can’t do it in any way that’s ever been done before. So the options are limitless and you get there by being crazily limited.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Yeah. It’s like with any sort of play or improvisation, it’s the constraints that create the opportunities.

Steven Sashen:

I used to do something. I had a word for what I did, but I can’t remember what it was. When I was doing comedy for a living, I’d go see friends who did improv. And my favorite thing to do was whenever they asked for a suggestion was think of the most outrageous thing they’ve ever heard. You would just then watch them go, “Oh crap, I’m going to really have to do something totally different here. Because I have no idea where to go with that one.” Name something people are obsessed with. Bulgar wheat. Then you watch people’s heads explode for a few minutes. Or my favorite one, I don’t think this was mine. I think this was the one that gave me the idea. Someone said, “Give me a popular phrase.” And this is at a university with a bunch of science people. And the phrase that someone yelled at was, “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny,” and a bunch of really good improv actors go, “Ah.” They redid it syllable by syllable. That was the only way.

Kyle Fincham:

Wow. Wow. Speaking of improv, since you said it’s one of my favorite things to mention, because there’s always these talks that come up right around the movement space of who great movers are, who are these amazing characters? And oftentimes Bruce Lee will come up or Charlie Chaplin. These are the ideal movers and Charlie Chaplin’s amazing. But people often say Bruce Lee and I, and I say like, “I don’t know a ton about Bruce Lee. I know that he created an art form and he’s amazing and all this, but I really don’t know enough about him to know that’s my north star for movement.”

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

Because I don’t know enough to know whether he was playful, but there is somebody who I do know is quite playful and that’s my north star. And I always say that it’s Bill Murray. He show up and sees options in any scenario with any person and can move playfully through life. And to me, I’m like, “That’s the thing.”

Steven Sashen:

I think about that one a lot, because I wonder if Bill Murray could be Bill Murray, if he wasn’t Bill Murray. If he didn’t know who he was, if he wasn’t rich, if he didn’t have this thing walking in the door where people already are okay with that. If you just did that as a normal human being, there’s a … I think about this, some of the things he’s done, he could get away with if he was just a normal dude. Others, not a chance.

Kyle Fincham:

Right.

Steven Sashen:

And that’s the part that I’m intrigued by.

Kyle Fincham:

He does seem to have a strong awareness of his role and how to be him. And I think that he’s able to play with that. It makes me think that if he wasn’t famous Bill Murray and still had that awareness, he would be able to play with the different options minus the fame.

Steven Sashen:

I’m willing to bet that he did some of those things before he became Bill Murray, mostly around friends and mostly in situations that either made them fall on the floor laughing or embarrassed them to no end. Then when he became Bill Murray, it became open season. It’s like, “I can live my whole life like this and just go from one to the other.” Now, granted, he’s having some issues right now, ostensibly, but independent of that. To know that you can be a catalyst for fun at a level that maybe no one else on the planet can pull off. I just keep thinking, “That must be the best.”

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

Now I don’t know. It would be really interesting to find him and find out what his perception of that is. It may be that he thinks there’s a whole lot of pressure there too, but that’s a really interesting one. As we’re having this talk about him, all I can think about is him showing up at a frat party. Do you know that story?

Kyle Fincham:

No. I think that one was in the movie. I watched this movie.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah, it was. It was.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. I’ve talked about this before, but my friend who, I haven’t talked to many years, but he told me once he had a Bill Murray story from the village here. He and his buddy were walking down the street, smoking a joint. And Bill Murray came up to him and asked if he could have a hit. So Bill Murray’s holding this joint now and he is smoking weed with them and they’re chatting. And these guys are like, “This is the best night ever.” And he said to them, “You guys want to have a really great story to tell?” And I think they were both like, “Man, the story’s already amazing, but sure. Let’s make it better.” So bill Murray shoves both of them and then takes off running down the street with the joint in his hand. And he gets like a block away. And he screams at him, “Now you can tell everyone that Bill Murray stole weed from you.”

Steven Sashen:

Oh my God. The first of just walking up and saying, “Can I get a hit off that,” that one is totally doable pre-bill Murray. And I say that because I’ve done things at that level. I don’t smoke weed, but six of us were at a restaurant and there was another table next to us that was six people who looked just like us. And they got up and left before we did. And they left a bunch of leftovers on their plate. And I turned to the people at my table. I said, “If those were our friends, if they were sitting at this table with us, we would just eat their leftovers,” and everyone laughed. And then I went and grabbed their plates and brought their leftovers over and ate them. And so I was telling this story later to somebody while sitting in a restaurant, I was there with my wife and a friend, and I was telling this story and there was a guy sitting next to us who then just handed me his leftovers.

Kyle Fincham:

Really?

Steven Sashen:

And then we became good friends. So there’s a certain level of Bill Murray-ness that you definitely can pull off whoever you are, but then there’s a whole Bill Murray level.

Kyle Fincham:

Right. But I think he has that ability to listen in the deep way.

Steven Sashen:

Yes, yes.

Kyle Fincham:

Really listen, it’s with his whole body. And I think that, I don’t know, the more we feed that and the more options we see for these moments, like you just had, the listening can happen in all the ways that help manifest those moments.

Steven Sashen:

It sometimes takes a while to get to where we want to go in a conversation or where we didn’t know we were going to go, but we get somewhere that’s fun. This is things that we’ve been saying for the last hour, but I want to highlight it. Everything we’re talking about is really the opportunity to find options that we didn’t know existed. Whether we create them or they just land in our lap or hit us in the face or in the back of the head, it’s just, how can we create options? And I think the idea of turning Bill Murray into a verb might be a good place to land with that. How can we Bill Murray this?

Kyle Fincham:

Exactly. Oh, I love that. I love that. If things don’t work out for Infinite Play, I’m just going to start calling it Bill Murray.

Steven Sashen:

Bill Murray. And so now I’m hoping that someone knows Bill Murray and they have him call me up and we can talk about this because there’s no question in my mind that to a certain extent, we have done a little positive projection and are thinking that his life is better than maybe it is. And there’s also a part where we don’t know the half of it. And we may have not have heard the best stories yet.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. Yeah. Well, yeah, if you can get them on the podcast, just let me know so I can at least come on and throw a few questions at him.

Steven Sashen:

I’m just going to try and get them on the phone and get some shoes on his feet, are you nuts? Now that we’ve taken this wacky circuitous route, which is of course appropriate for the conversation, because we had no idea where we were going to go and there it went, as we bring this in for not even a landing, but for the transition from what we’ve been doing to something next where we’re not on a podcast, what would you like to leave people with in addition to how can they get in touch with you? Is there anything else that you want to bring this to the next whatever with?

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. I think that one thing that I often like to remind people of is that we often exist in places where we’re led to feel like we’re not enough and it can be in friendships or in workshops or in our societies or our jobs where we’re made to feel like what we are right now is not enough. And we need to do more to become the thing that we’re supposed to be, which also leaves us wishing that yesterday and a year ago we had done the thing so that in this moment we would be the thing that we think we’ll be in five years or whatever.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. And really what I want to emphasize is that when we play, it’s this beautiful gateway to seeing that right now we’re enough. And right now we have all the things that we need to be and enjoy and be happy. And all it just needs to do is just be dusted off a little bit. Because the enoughness exists right now. And I wish for more spaces where we celebrate you are enough idea as opposed to always getting everybody caught up in the time traveling if you’re not enough, here’s the reasons you’re not enough someday you’ll be enough.

Steven Sashen:

I say just for a moment drop the idea that you’re a self-improvement project.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah, yeah. And that right now you’re perfect. If you walk out the door and think, “Oh, I have all the tools, I’m enough, I’ve got it. Whatever I am today is exactly what I’m supposed to be,” I think that the play will be really enjoyable.

Steven Sashen:

I want to add a caveat to that. Tell me what you think of this. I know that when you say something like that, some people that think, “Yeah, but I don’t like fill in the blank.” Something about myself, the way I’m thinking, the way my body is, whatever. Let’s just use thinking, I have negative thoughts. Yeah, that’s okay. That’s just what’s arising now. And we have the idea. If someone says, “Hey, you’re fine as you are, you’re enough.” They project and imagine that what that means is they’re going to have that same experience in perpetuity. They’ll have some unpleasant thing in perpetuity.

 

And that argues with the idea of being enough or being whatever, or certainly perfect and forget that in a moment that may change. And in fact, in the moment that they’re arguing in their head with this idea, it’s already changed. Again, there’s that thing of just seeing the landscape differently. And what you just said is a provocative way of doing it because it will come right up into people’s face and saying, “No, my fill in the blank is not fill in the blank.” They’re doing Madlibs with their own self to argue with that idea. The joke being that A, it will change. And the second joke being it just did because you’re having that argument.

Kyle Fincham:

Right. And also the idea then that people might feel like the negative part of their experience is something that’s wrong.

Steven Sashen:

Right.

Kyle Fincham:

With anxiety that’s part of being enough.

Steven Sashen:

Correct.

Kyle Fincham:

Is the sorrow and the joy and the happiness is that fills up the enough? Yeah, go ahead.

Steven Sashen:

Do you know that you’re doing an elaboration of another Zen line? So there’s a Zen line before Zen mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. During Zen mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers. After Zen, mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers. And people like to think that means that once you become quote unquote enlightened that everything is magical and special and the Zen line is saying, “No, no, no. During that time when you were practicing or improving or doing whatever, that’s when everything was not what it is. You weren’t letting it be what it is.

 

And then what you come to realize is, no, no, it’s totally fine exactly as it is. Nothing extra, nothing special. And it’s not just mountains of rivers. It’s every thought you have every experience you have, every everything mountains are mountains and rivers or rivers. And another way of saying that, there’s another line, which is that everyone has Buddha nature. And all that means is that yes, if you became this thing called awakened, you’d be having the exact same experience you’re having now. Exactly the same people. No, no, the Buddha was, and they fill in the blank with some story that they’ve made up. So what you just said is just synopsizing 2000 years of Buddhism.

Kyle Fincham:

Oh wow. Well, I always think about it in this way, because I’m a big Alan Watts fan. And at one point he was talking about this idea of the seed and the tree. I don’t know if you’ve heard this one, this lecture.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

But it was the idea that nobody looks at that time between when the seed is in the ground and when the tree is fully grown and criticizes it for any of the points along the way that it’s not a seed or a tree.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

You look at all the points between one and the other and it’s like, “Well, that’s exactly where it’s supposed to be.”

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

And applying that to us and applying that to human beings and our existence and our lives and our relationships right now is the thing is what it’s supposed to be.

Steven Sashen:

But here’s the difference in the problem with that, is that then people think, “Yeah, I want to become a tree. What do I need to do?” Because the difference is that there’s an end goal in mind and this is where we all get hung up is that once we have that end goal in mind, that’s when we start having to add more to those states in between. It’s like, “Am I getting there? Am I getting the right way? Am I going to be that tall as a tree? Am I going to be this tall as a tree? Is there going to be other trees that are sucking up some of my light?” I’m going to suggest for the fun of it just because, from what you said, given your desire for options in play, the problem with that Alan Watts metaphor is we know the end result already.

Kyle Fincham:

To some degree, but we don’t know the shape, the size, the direction, the, this, the that.

Steven Sashen:

True.

Kyle Fincham:

I think in our life, the way it is what we compare ourselves to and judgment, all these things, we imagine that we’re going to be the Redwood that’s perfectly straight, perfectly symmetrical in all these things.

Steven Sashen:

Perfect. Yes. What’s the word I’m looking for. I take that point that I made and throw it away. I object your honor. Sustained. Yes. I’m objecting to myself and sustaining myself.

Kyle Fincham:

I want to propose one more film just because we’ve talked about one of my favorites that I bring up recently, but the other one is the one that I talk about constantly. And I think it’s the one that’s always worth watching and it’s the movie Soul, the Pixar film.

Steven Sashen:

Oh. And I haven’t seen it and I’ve wanted to.

Kyle Fincham:

Oh, well then, we might have to do a part two.

Steven Sashen:

Okay.

Kyle Fincham:

But you should watch soul.

Steven Sashen:

Okay.

Kyle Fincham:

And there’s just this beautiful, beautiful scene where this soul that’s never been to earth before is on earth for the first time in an adult body that it has arrived in and is moving through these moments and witnessing the leaf fall from a tree and tasting pizza for the first time and having this amazing conversation with a barber and then feeling the wind blow up from the great underneath them from the subway and just being taken by all of it.

Steven Sashen:

Yeah. Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

The idea that it’s not the seed and the tree, these peak moments, right?

Steven Sashen:

Yeah.

Kyle Fincham:

That we’re always looking for these peaks, but all that space in between is also the space where those same feelings and experiences can happen if we’re listening.

Steven Sashen:

I’m now taking your and Allen Watts’s tree metaphor to the next phase, where the tree has done as much as it can. And for whatever reason falls down decomposes and starts all over again. And I like that one. And by the way, with Soul, I think some of that was taken from Starman, which is with Jeff Bridges where it’s my favorite bit, where he discovers apple pie. So he comes into a human body. And then there’s a scene where they’re at a diner and they bring the pie and the food, he starts eating the pie first. And I wish I could remember the name of the actress who plays opposite him, “No, no, you eat that last.” It’s like, “Yeah. Okay.” And then just eats the pie and it’s like, “No, no, this is the way to do it.”

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah.

Steven Sashen:

All right, well that was the most non-landing landing we’ve ever taken at. That was really delightful. Kyle, if somebody wants to get in touch with you and have more fun, how do they do that?

Kyle Fincham:

My website is kylefincham.com and I’ve got my blog on there. I’ve got the podcast and your episode will be up in the next couple weeks.

Steven Sashen:

Okay smokes.

Kyle Fincham:

I also have my schedule for my upcoming events. So I’ll be headed to Europe next week and I’ll be there all the way through August doing a workshop every single weekend. And then my Instagram is just @theinfiniteplayguy.

Steven Sashen:

The infinite play guy. I like it.

Kyle Fincham:

Right on.

Steven Sashen:

Beautiful. Kyle total, total treat. Really looking forward to what’s next. Thank you so much for being here, even though you’re not here. You’re just a disembodied face on my computer screen.

Kyle Fincham:

Yeah. And in real life too.

Steven Sashen:

I have no evidence that you have a body at this point. For all I know you’re just head and a torso.

Kyle Fincham:

The feeling is mutual.

Steven Sashen:

Well, I am just a head the torso. So there you go. For everybody else who may also be heads in torsos at some time in your life. Thank you for being here, go to www.jointhemovementmovement.com, find previous episodes. Other ways you can find the podcast, how you can find us on social media, which is YouTube and Facebook and Instagram, and you know what social media is. What am I saying? And again, like and share and thumbs up and hit the bell on YouTube. Again, if you want to be part of the tribe, just subscribe. And if you have any requests or feedback or people, things that you think I should know, or someone who should be on the show or whatever you can think of, you can drop me an email, just [email protected] And until the next one as always just go out and have fun and live life feet first.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *