Nurturing Resilience: Insights from the Learning Project with Lincoln Stoller

The Importance of Self-Discovery and Emotional Intelligence in Personal Growth


In today’s fast-paced, organically unfolding narrative of life, our ability to navigate through self-discovery and manage our emotional world plays a crucial role in personal growth. Humankind has continuously wrestled with understanding the human mind, and that premise could not be emphasized more when we stand at the intersection of mental health, therapeutic practices, and personal evolution.

The Complexity of the Human Mind

When delving into the intricacies of the human psyche, we often encounter a reflection of our personal struggles, dreams, anxieties, and a series of other seemingly complex emotions. Renowned psychotherapist, Lincoln Stoller, firmly believes in the notion that the key to untangling this web of emotions lies in personal exploration and self-discovery.

Stoller posits that when we willingly embark on a journey within ourselves, we become more adept at identifying and addressing our internal dilemmas. This, in turn, fortifies our emotional intelligence and resilience.

The Connection Between Mental and Physical Health

Drawing upon his own experiences with clients suffering from physical illnesses tied to their mental health, Stoller underscores the interconnectivity of both realms. Symptoms of conditions such as fibromyalgia tend to amplify under heightened stress levels. This relationship between physical wellness and mental health illustrates how crucial it is for individuals to learn stress management techniques, remain positive, stay oriented, and put adequate boundaries on their limitations for the sake of overall well-being.

Emotional intelligence, as Stoller elaborates, is not just about managing feelings. It also includes navigating relationships in a way that is understanding, compassionate, and emotionally aware. In other words, when we understand our own internal mechanics, we can facilitate more insightful and empathetic interactions with others.

Navigating Therapy: From Mental Illness to Personal Evolution

Stoller touches upon an instrumental issue when discussing mental health services that currently exist. He questions the ethics of the societal approach towards treating mental illness, suggesting that the process should be viewed more as a personal evolution. According to him, the treatment should focus on inducing the individual to move towards becoming an ‘entrepreneur’ of one’s own self rather than being labeled as being ‘ill.’

Stoller believes that everyone needs to become ‘therapists’ for each other. He suggests fostering deeper friendships and relationships focused on mutual personal growth rather than merely being sources of entertainment. In essence, Stoller emphasizes strengthening community ties and realizing that it is not always only about ‘me’ or ‘you’ but everyone collectively.

Summing Up

In acknowledging the ongoing process of personal growth, life, as Lincoln Stoller articulates, is a perpetual process of learning and discovery. Being open to continual learning and evolving is paramount, and once we identify and implement this process, it refashions our lives in miraculous ways. Stoller’s insightful dialogue enlightens us about the power and essence of self-discovery, emotional intelligence, mental health, and personal evolution, ultimately painting a more profound landscape of human resilience and understanding.


Nurturing Resilience: Insights from the Learning Project with Lincoln Stoller


In a deep discussion, Lincoln Stoller explores the intersection of mental, emotional, and physical health, sharing insights gained from his project centered around the process of learning and personal growth. Stoller details his experience with therapy and hypnotherapy, and his belief in the importance of exploring our vulnerabilities and weaknesses to develop a more rounded individual. The conversation delves into societal issues impacting mental health, the role of relationships in mental and emotional development, and the importance of avoiding dogma in favor of personal exploration. Stoller also describes his book 'The Learning Project', available freely online, which contains interviews conducted across different age groups and interests, providing a broad perspective on personal evolution. Finally, the discussion touches on finding passion in life, dealing with stress, and the idea of embracing change as an essential part of individual and societal evolution.


00:00 Introduction and Personal Reflections

01:13 The Importance of Self-Education

02:03 Guest Introduction: Dr. Lincoln Stoller

02:26 Dr. Stoller's Personal Journey and Philosophy

05:30 The Learning Project: A Deep Dive

07:19 The Process of Writing and Interviewing for The Learning Project

14:46 The Learning Project: Insights and Reflections

18:05 Understanding Life Stages and Personal Growth

34:50 Exploring the Psychology of Life Choices

44:47 The Role of Passion and Necessity in Success

45:48 Understanding Passion and Depression

47:49 The Role of Emotion in Therapy

48:37 Exploring Trauma, Memory, and Experience

50:03 The Role of Therapy in Transformation

51:28 The Power of Relationships in Therapy

51:35 Physical Illness and Mental Health

53:17 The Struggle with Accepting Responsibility

53:48 The Complexity of Mental Health and Society

55:30 The Importance of Connection and Understanding

01:00:07 The Challenge of Mental Health Stigma

01:07:20 The Power of Community and Connection

01:12:50 The Struggle with Chronic Pain and Stress

01:14:00 The Impact of Religion and Spirituality

01:17:29 The Importance of Continuous Learning

01:18:11 The Role of Evolution in Personal Growth

01:20:19 Closing Thoughts and Call to Action

Lincoln Stoller

[00:00:00] Lincoln Stoller: So for example, you know, you asked me when we started, I don't know if it was recorded, how do I feel today? And I said, I felt sad. And part of the reason I was feeling sad was, I was thinking about, childhood stuff, and where I am, and where I'm not achieved. I was thinking about what I learned about you and your story and, um, this, uh, Learning Project story.

[00:00:21] And it was kind of making me sad and that's okay. You know, you, you have to feel it's okay to enter into weakness. Um, you know, it's like, if you want to build strength in a muscle, uh, you have to work on it. Uh, you know, if you've got poor lower body strength and great upper body strength, if you only worked on upper body strength, then you'd never get lower body strength. So that's the way I think of it, to be a rounded individual means working on all kinds of strengths. And a lot of them are, I don't know, it's not a simple answer. Some things just don't taste good, but if you don't

[00:01:03] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:01:03] Lincoln Stoller: try them, you may never learn to like them.

[00:01:13] Ed Watters: To overcome, you must educate. Educate not only yourself, but educate anyone seeking to learn. We are all Dead America, we can all learn something. To learn, we must challenge what we already understand. The way we do that is through conversation. Sometimes we have conversations with others, however, some of the best conversations happen with ourself. Reach out and challenge yourself; let's dive in and learn something right now.

[00:02:03] Today we're gonna speak with Dr. Lincoln Stoller. He's an author, a physicist, a psychotherapist, a hypnotherapist, an EEG biofeedback therapist, and the list goes on, folks. Lincoln, could you please introduce yourself, let people know just a little bit about you, please?

[00:02:25] Lincoln Stoller: Um, thanks. I'm, I'm really glad to talk to you and, uh, I can't tell you too much about myself beyond what you said, except that maybe I never get along with any group I'm in. I guess I'm a really slow learner, you know, I'm sixty-six or something, and, uh, I, I, uh, I've been involved in all these, uh, projects, uh, degrees and, uh, areas of, uh, social interaction.

[00:02:55] And my basic approach is, uh, to go back to sort of innocence, and we'll talk about this project when we get there. But I've always felt that a childhood view, a child's like view of the world is more rich than what we call an adult view. I was thinking about this, this morning, I think that's because I think children are more emotionally exposed, they expose themselves emotionally.

[00:03:29] They interact emotionally and they're sensitive emotionally. And as adults, we get really calloused and I think we lose, maybe just because we need to protect ourselves. But, uh, I think that attitude, it always does me well in terms of my understanding. But in terms of groups, you know, most people don't, don't appreciate it.

[00:03:56] Most people think, they, they, uh, think lesser of kids, and childhood innocence, and stuff. So, uh, as a scientist, I'm always asking the uncomfortable questions, you know, the obvious questions like, What the hell does this all mean? And everybody thinks, Well, you should know that

[00:04:17] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:04:17] Lincoln Stoller: now, right? And, uh, so I tend to get thrown out of these groups. Almost every group I'm in, I, uh, feel I'm not getting the, the, the most childhood answer, if you will. Anyhow, so I got into therapy after many years in physics and computers and business. And I find it one of the more rewarding places because now I do get to answer. And, well, I don't answer, but I certainly get to ask, uh, the questions about childhood and what does it mean? And people work at that answer with me. You know, you don't get that in business, you know, where everything's goal directed and material

[00:05:01] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:05:01] Lincoln Stoller: or science either really. So that's kind of where I am working at, you know, Picasso had a great code. He said it like, It took me a lifetime to learn to paint. And Ed, he said, It took me years to learn to paint and a lifetime to learn to become a child again. And so,

[00:05:19] Ed Watters: Ahh, Yeah.

[00:05:20] Lincoln Stoller: you know, I, you know, we talked about The Learning Project, but that's my introduction.

[00:05:27] Ed Watters: Yeah. Well, Lincoln, it's, it's fascinating. The Learning Project, it's a book that carries you through, uh, stages of life and it explores life through the lenses of individuals and different people. You've got individuals like Oliver that was a dropout and he aspires to be a film producer. And then you've got, on the other end of the spectrum, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and everybody should recognize who that is. That's a good scope, it's a good range. And you've got in the elderly class, some fascinating individuals that have life lessons that they have learned. It's interesting when we speak with people and learn what they've experienced.

[00:06:29] A lot of us close ourselves off to other people's experiences, which I feel is so, so harming to ourself. Because really life, I find, is to be about connection, understanding others, and diving into those hard topics and finding the truth of a child. That is really the key. When you find truth and no matter where it takes you, own up to it. That is really the spark of life. That is when you find your worth, your value, and so much more. Take us through what the experience was writing the book, but much more so, interviewing the individuals and getting to know what the individuals truly were like.

[00:07:37] Lincoln Stoller: So the project was, uh, something I started when I was, uh, ooh, forty, maybe. And I never felt I'd answered the question of what learning was about. I mean, it's a kind of nondescript question. And I wanted to, uh, I reflected that I'd met a bunch of interesting people. Some were mentors and some are assholes really, but even so, um, you know, they leave a, they leave footprints in my mind.

[00:08:06] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:08:07] Lincoln Stoller: So I wanted to go back, well, not the assholes, but I did want to go back to the people I felt really knew something that I might have missed. And ask them questions I never asked them like, you know, What's life about? Because I've been in their, you know, realm in some particular goal as a physicist, or student, or something or other. And so I went, I kind of made a list of the people that were mentored to me, mentored me. And I said, I'm going to go back to these people and ask them these bigger questions, these deeper, more personal questions.

[00:08:45] And I basically reduce the question to, What did you learn? Why did you learn it? And what did it do for you? You know, what's the process of your growing up? And you know, you ask this to a person that is ninety-five, you're going to get a very different answer than if you ask it to a person who's fifteen. And so I was, you know, I have a, a good recollection of my childhood.

[00:09:07] Well, you know, not like, you know, photographic or anything, but I haven't connected to it. You know, get into the family reasons for that. So I, I, I have a certain respect for childhood and, you know, my insights as a child or the questions that still are in my mind. So this project, I conceived of this project is, of asking this question. Not just to my mentors,

[00:09:35] that's what people usually do, they go to the famous people, or the rich people, or the successful people, but I wanted to go to kids, and, um, especially kids who I really thought were really bright or, I don't mean like, you know, successful in school, I mean, just, you know, bright kids, you know, like Tom Sawyer kind of kids, or, uh, Huckleberry Finn type kids and [00:10:00] ask them this question. And ask older people this question, and ask middle aged people, you know, the kind of real go getter, you know, ascending star type people.

[00:10:11] Um, and then I thought, and this is the scientist in me, I thought, Well, maybe it differs according to what their interests are. So I'm going to ask a dozen different interests and, uh, you know, that means scientists, filmmakers, biologists, writers, actors. Uh, I, I thought I'd interview musicians too, and it turns out musicians don't talk that well.

[00:10:36] Um, it's not, it's not their mode, you know? So it's kind of, I just didn't find a lot, although I knew a few, but I didn't, couldn't sort of get, get those gears going. So I did artists instead. And so I wrote this book at thirty-three or thirty-five interviews in eleven different subjects with roughly three different people in each subject, an old person, a young person and a middle aged person.

[00:11:03] And I found these people, uh, you know, the old people were the ones I knew, mostly, found a few new ones. And, uh, the young ones, I had to look around for, my kids classmates, and, uh, friends children. And the middle aged people, I kind of reached out for in subjects that I thought, you know, because we, we know some of these characters. Um, one of the people I interviewed is Esther Dyson, who's really well known in the computer industry as a journalist. And I didn't know her at all before that.

[00:11:36] Um, and I found it really interesting, both, because I was able to go back to people I knew and ask questions that I suspected were important and to meet people I didn't know and, uh, have no idea how they'd respond. Well, I mean, sometimes I had some bad interviews, not bad, but, you know, not really fertile and those interviews didn't make it into the book. But most of the time,

[00:12:02] uh, I was pretty blown away and, and, and people were too, you know? People said, Nobody ever asked me these questions before. I mean, who sits down and asks you, you know, How has your soul grown? I mean, you'd sort of laugh at that or you'd think it was private or the young people said, uh, you know, Their friends didn't talk like this and some of the old people said, Well, you know, I've, I've answered this question before

[00:12:28] so I'll tell, I'll read from my biography. And you know, that's all, that's okay. Um, so that's what the book is, it's these interviews asking this basically one question to a whole bunch of people. And, uh, I think it's important to say that not, well, they're not all normal. Um, some of them are, uh, struggling or have struggled, uh, either economically, or with mental illness,

[00:12:57] or, um, physical disabilities. And, uh, culturally, they're kind of all over the spectrum. Um, gender wise, it's interesting, a bunch of gay people. Um, indigenous, Asian, um, black, white, uh, from all over the U. S. mostly. Uh, and, uh, as you said, I divided it in ways, well, so it is a book that you can buy and you get it printed format, but it's also online for free where you can rearrange the interviews by age or topic.

[00:13:38] Or, um, mostly age or topic or just at random. And, uh, as I mentioned to you before we started recording, I didn't want to put my imprint on this whole thing, to make it my vision, I didn't want these people to endorse what I said. So I didn't distill them, I didn't summarize, and I didn't do much editing except to, uh, you know, make it clear and direct.

[00:14:12] And, uh, most people who look at it will find it like a forest with not any clear path through it to answer that question of, What's important in your life and what did you get from pursuing it? Um, I mean, it's a kind of biblical question or religious almost, and I didn't want to be a, you know, an apostle. I felt these were my apostles, these people, and I was just here to record them.

[00:14:46] So, uh, in the end, uh, you know, I feel it's worth mentioning, in the end, um, the thing that most came out was, uh, the need to love yourself. And, uh, when I got that message, which was most clearly given to me by a gay black academic woman, I went back and I could, I could hear it in everybody. Not everybody said it, as matter of fact, I'm not sure anybody really said it except she. Um, but you could see that when they confronted obstacles, that it was their faith in themselves that, uh, that carried them through rough water. And some of the water was, uh, horrendously rough. I mean, there was one woman had, uh, a mother who had what's called Munchausen syndrome by proxy, which is when your mother tries to poison you to death, uh, repeatedly.

[00:15:55] And you can just imagine what that does to you. I mean, that's like worse than being made into a child soldier. I think it's because you're vulnerable and you're constantly under attack by the people that you depend on. And, um, and it's hard to understand their story sometimes, but there's a great deal of clarity too, because they've climbed out of something that you hope never to fall into. So that's the, that's the scope of the book. Uh, you know, it's not a book with the usual plot of, you know, building characters and tension and the plot and the epiphany and resolution. So people either ignore the book or they're blown away by it. And, um,

[00:16:45] Ed Watters: Yeah. It's more of a discovery process then?

[00:16:48] Lincoln Stoller: It is. And, you know, we'll talk, we'll, we'll mention it again because I think readers, like I say, it's free online. Um, and, uh, I enjoyed making that online hypertext version with its navigational fluidity, you know?

[00:17:04] Ed Watters: Yeah. Yeah, it's awesome. And, and you get into it and start reading it, it's like, wow, it seems like you've been there before. So, it's really interesting. And the life stage portion of it, you know, advancing through the life and discovering how different, but yet have, have the same focal point. We think different, but we have the same focal points basically through our lifespan. And you mentioned it earlier that, you know, as we grow older, there's like a decay in our emotions, our vulnerabilities, our ability to accept what is. We have to kind of skirt it with all of this dirt and whatever else garbage we can throw on top of it.

[00:18:05] So I, I'm interested in finding out more about that, did you see a pattern of decay in the attitude of individuals over time based on what actually happened in their life? You know, I know I came from a pretty bad background where I had things happen where most people, I don't know how they would have handled it, but I find it as a learning process and I came out of it.

[00:18:44] And I understand I wasn't in control of what my life was and I, I couldn't put the boundaries that I needed to on that portion of my life, where in middle age, I'm able to do that. And I can structure my life more in a meaningful way that I see right. Where my influence that I was raised with had no clear objective.

[00:19:17] All they wanted was booze, party and, you know, had no clear focus of what life truly is. It didn't really hit me until maybe my mid thirties, early forties and then I started really, Wow, I'm wasting my life away. Did you see that discovery process through these interviews that you did through the different people?

[00:19:48] Lincoln Stoller: I think that was one of the most interesting things, I didn't really know what I'd get. Uh, you know, you, you, you try to plot your path before you go there and you think about [00:20:00] your own, your own history and where it's leading you. And then you jump into a project like this, where you're going to ask other people. And you have some expectation, even if you're hesitant to, uh, to override their vision,

[00:20:15] but I was really interested to see what emerged. I mean, clearly I'm picking people, this isn't, these aren't average people. They're people who either have done something interesting, or seem like they'll be interesting, or were important in my life in the past. Um, and I, I did want to split the interviews into these three age groups, which I did.

[00:20:41] And you can do that fairly easily, even in the printed book. It's everybody, everything's labeled. Um, and the older people, I mean, this is my summary, the older people sort of had a biography written, um, their interaction with the world and the choices they made defined who they were and how they presented themselves.

[00:21:05] Um, they were more or less well put together, but I would say also that the most creative of them were the least rigid. Uh, they were open minded, they were chaotic, anarchistic almost, uh, self deprecating, uh, because they didn't have anything to prove, uh, at this point. They were, you know, notable and successful in their own ways.

[00:21:35] Um, it's interesting that you bring up Neil, because Neil is one of the more organized people. I mean, that's why he's good as a journalist and as a spokesperson. Um, he's not the kind of, uh, creative artist that, uh, turns people off. That's, a lot of creative artists, almost every creative artist I can think of has gone through a period where people don't know what the hell they're doing.

[00:22:05] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:22:05] Lincoln Stoller: Um,

[00:22:05] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:22:06] Lincoln Stoller: they've kind of dropped their whole fan base. Um, But Neil has always been very directed toward building a character as a spokesperson, and that is what he is now. He's the sort of the, the spokesperson for science. And so you can appreciate that, that's good and bad, depending on what the topic and your goal is. Um, and so in this case, where I asked him a direct question, he gave me direct answers. But he's, he's also still in touch with his enthusiasm, his childhood and his inspiration. And I think that's really, very important part of his presentation. Um, but he's what I would consider a middle aged person. So the older people are different and they're very, I love reading and interviewing older people. You know, we're talking about, you know, really old people, sort of near end of life. The ones that really don't give a shit anymore. Um,

[00:23:07] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:23:08] Lincoln Stoller: I thought, they don't even say that because it's not even, they don't even care about not giving a shit anymore. It's just like, they've got a half a foot or they've got a foot in some other world already. And

[00:23:20] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:23:20] Lincoln Stoller: a lot of these people did pass on not long after I interviewed them. Um, they were already stepping out of their, you know, social personality into, uh, you know, the infinity of time. And then the, so, so they give some great stories. Uh, and they connect, uh, like this one guy who was, uh, Clarence C., who, I just sort of, I didn't know he was so interesting. He was just a, an aircraft mechanic. But he went back to the Civil War and he said, you know, my character was built from my grandfather who was a, uh, a barn builder in the Civil War. And here I am talking to somebody who's telling me what it's like to grow up in 1850. And

[00:24:16] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:24:16] Lincoln Stoller: we think it's just a historical question, but it's, it's a totally different culture. You know, the way that people lived on horses and the way there was no machines. And

[00:24:25] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:24:25] Lincoln Stoller: it's like, that's beautiful to, uh, to have that brought into the current day and what it does to a person's development. And then the middle aged people were kind of more what you'd expect, you know, they're culturally engaged with our culture and our needs and they're working their way up whatever ladder they're on, um, professionally. Um,

[00:24:52] they tend to sound almost gladiatorial, gladiatorial, uh, you know, like they're, they're fighters or they're, uh, go getters. And there's kind of, there can be less emotion in their stories because they're much more material and practical and pragmatic. Um, and, uh, but not always, sometimes there's some incredible subtlety.

[00:25:19] Um, I really love my friend, Tom Kellogg, who was, uh, who is an excavator. But he's got some physical disability, it's not clear what it is, some sort of nerve thing. And, uh, he likes to work alone and he's very enthusiastic and he's totally positive. I mean, you could call him, he could be a disabled person, but he'd be the last person to bother with, with that. You know, he just like, it's just like,

[00:25:45] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:25:46] Lincoln Stoller: whatever, you know, as he's, he's an inspiring person and he's totally positive. Um, he's like more positive than you can, he's got like positive stuff in reserve that, you know, if you start poking at his personality, he'll just start laughing and he'll get you laughing.

[00:26:04] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:26:05] Lincoln Stoller: Yeah.

[00:26:05] Ed Watters: That's, that's cool.

[00:26:07] Lincoln Stoller: Kind of enlightened. And then the young people, were beautiful too. Again, I picked interesting young people. But not entirely what you'd call, oh, I did pick a few of them who were like successful, academic, I went to a school for gifted kids in Georgia and interviewed a bunch. Um, but you know, even so they've got real lives with real problems that real adolescents encounter. And, uh, their gift might often be just that they speak well and, uh, they think clearly. It's not necessarily they're gifted in, um, you know, easy lives. And, uh, another one of my favorite, oh, well, yeah, so in the art area, of course you get the most chaotic people. Uh, and, um, the, the first person in the book, the young person who I put in the category of art, was a, basically a juvenile delinquent. And, uh,

[00:27:13] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:27:14] Lincoln Stoller: I didn't expect to interview him. I was, I was, uh, visiting his father for some other reason, who's a sort of leading medical doctor in Los Angeles. And, um, I met this kid at the pool and started asking about his story. And it was just so, I don't know, I mean, you can imagine somebody who's, who's a vandal, and a, a dropout, and a drug addict and, you know, as a teenager, also doesn't really give a shit about protocol. They'll tell you what's on their

[00:27:50] Ed Watters: Yes.

[00:27:50] Lincoln Stoller: mind and, um,

[00:27:52] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:27:52] Lincoln Stoller: his stories kind of blew me away. And the thing that was great about his stories is that he came back to ground. And he said, You know, I've, I've found my feet again. And I put him in the art category just because everything he did in his life was, I guess you'd call it artistic, but it was still not clear what he was going to do with himself. But it did seem like he was finished with hurting people and, um, and, uh, putting himself at great risk. Um, so that compared to like the privileged kids in the advanced school and, um, some other kids with, uh, what you might call burdens, or disabilities, or obstacles, in spite of that, the way that people spoke really did seem to break down into youth, middle age, and elderhood. And I don't know if it, it, it may be cultural. I mean, I guess it probably is. We're all sort of living in the same soup. Um,

[00:29:07] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:29:07] Lincoln Stoller: but, um, the young people were, you know, open minded and, and emotionally vulnerable, just sort of building their membrane, protective membrane. Um, as I said, one, one woman who was abused as a kid, um, was getting over that, but she was in her middle age already. Um, and the, you know, and other people lived really, really tough lives, you know, lives of poverty. Uh, I'm just thinking of one in particular, um, a Hispanic kid who grew up constantly going through foster homes and, you know, single mother family with no relatives and very little income. [00:30:00] And, uh, his story was great because he, the profession he took up was graffiti artist, which is like the most ridiculous profession. I mean, you can imagine a teenager doing it, but now he was a, sort of a professional graffiti artist. And he has all these stories of, he's the only person I've ever known who met those people we've heard of who live in, in the subway, in the dark tunnels of New York subways.

[00:30:26] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:30:27] Lincoln Stoller: So he actually found

[00:30:28] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:30:28] Lincoln Stoller: them when he was fleeing from the police. Um, and, uh, well, I'd like to know, you know, about their lives. Anyway, so, so that's the story. And, and, uh, as I said, the one woman who was, uh, the gay black woman said, You know, I wish I learned to love myself sooner. And that's sort of been

[00:30:51] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:30:51] Lincoln Stoller: resonating in my head for, you know, the last decade.

[00:30:54] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:30:54] Lincoln Stoller: It's a

[00:30:55] Ed Watters: Interesting.

[00:30:55] Lincoln Stoller: big question, uh, what does that actually mean?

[00:31:00] Ed Watters: There's definitely an arc there. You know, there's, there's the, I don't give a shit and then you build into this more mature mindset and then you drop back into the, I don't give a shit.

[00:31:13] Lincoln Stoller: Yeah.

[00:31:14] Ed Watters: It's , it's funny how the lifespan really works. You know, when I, when I started talking with people and trying to discover what this is all about, you know, it's a discovery process. I went to the homeless people and I started there and I really wanted to understand, why are you here? You know, I've been homeless myself and I know it takes a lot of strength to get yourself back out of that, or you're going to fall into it, stay there and become nothing and just be what that tells you you are.

[00:31:56] There is that mindset where I, I just want to be here, it's, it's easy. There's no checks and balances to it, I really don't have to answer to anything. But when we really get to the bottom of it, there's a lot you answer to in a lot worse ways when you put yourself under those conditions. And the only way we can discover that is through these conversations, and a lot of people don't take that conversation to the homeless population.

[00:32:33] They're, they, it's taboo, you know, you're there for a reason. And I really understand because I've dealt with it all my life seeing people go through this disparity where you really don't have to be there. Why are you there? And it's, it's one of those things that fascinate me. You are an intelligent, my brother, for instance, very intelligent, but

[00:33:06] he has this wild streak about him where he's got to chase that thrill. And, you know, he's, he's older than me, he's almost in his seventies now, and he's still on that mentality. I, I, I often wonder what it takes to break that cycle, that cycle of thinking. So I, I see that he understands there's a way out and he has watched me go through this stage of you've got to strip that out of your life and try to place yourself where you want to be.

[00:33:55] Don't place yourself where people or your mind tells you, you have to be. There's a big difference. But what is that breakaway point? And I still haven't discovered that myself, even going through the process. I know it's about setting healthy boundaries and having a sense of pride about yourself. How do we put that into people that are down and out, you know, in that homeless category or that rebellious category? In the earlier stage of life usually, but not always, I've witnessed it where it can happen to their death. What's the psychology behind that?

[00:34:50] Lincoln Stoller: Uh, I love the question, because there is no one psychology behind that. I have my psychology, which I'm still working on, and it breaks down into, uh, intellectual pride, emotional pride, and um, I don't know, spiritual pride. When I say pride, I mean, self confidence or, or, or vision. And then, uh, you know, there's this social world that we, we feel ourselves being funneled into, uh, first in our adolescence and then, you know, in our young adulthood. And I think, I have to say, I think the social world is really the most fucked up.

[00:35:41] It manifests the most conflict. And, uh, I mean, I was really disturbed with this war in the Ukraine. I thought, kind of, war was behind us, you know? That, you know, we'd, we'd look at the, the past wars of, of, uh, hand to hand combat and the future wars of, of total annihilation and we'd get our shit together and, and, um,

[00:36:03] not do that anymore. And here it is flaring up again in a big way. And we can see the, you know, it's kind of like blowing on the embers. Now we're talking about war with China. People don't really want to talk about it, but it's not far from possibility. And then the world has been full of these little proxy wars, which are really violent and really awful.

[00:36:25] And, um, you know, if this is what society shows us, teaches us and asks us to accept, it's not very healthy. And then finally, there's, uh, I have to really say it's been healthy for me to become a therapist because now I get to talk to other people and say, you know, What the hell? Well, I don't actually, I'm not supposed to ask them to answer my questions.

[00:36:51] I'm supposed to be there to help them answer their questions. But in the process, I get to see what they think. And, uh, the whole thing doesn't work unless everybody's fairly honest. I say fairly because this is like an onion, you know, there's those layers of honesty and truth and reality that you peel back.

[00:37:11] And the more you peel them back, the more honest they seem to get, but also the less clear they get. You sort of get back to your childhood emotional upbringing and it's very raw and very strong, but now you're back to where you didn't know what was going on and trying to figure it out again. And, uh, then you get to the issue of, you know, how are you going to figure this stuff out?

[00:37:35] Uh, do you need to go back to the, uh, trauma when you were injured or, uh, otherwise threatened? Or do you need to let it go and say, you know, that was, it's like if you had abusive parents, do you need to return to the abuse? Or do you need to understand the parents? Or do you just need to realize that they went off on a dead end and you want to, don't want to go down there.

[00:38:04] You know, that's like, it's their funeral, and you don't want to make it your funeral. And that's often what I find myself doing in therapy is telling people, It's not your problem. You know, it was somebody else's problem, ancestral, cultural, um, you know, bad, a bad hand of cards that somebody was dealt or, uh, otherwise misfortune. And, uh, as you were saying, I think, or at least as I was hearing, um, you have to envision where you want to go and what you want to be outside of what other people are telling you and what you think you've been forced into becoming. And

[00:38:49] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:38:50] Lincoln Stoller: until you do that, you're not really free. And even when you do that,

[00:38:54] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:38:55] Lincoln Stoller: it's not clear. Now you're like, Okay, now the, now I can do anything, maybe, so how do I decide? Um, and I, as I said to you, I love being lost. I mean, this is the thing I think is important.

[00:39:09] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:39:10] Lincoln Stoller: If you learn to love yourself enough, you can be lost. Because you feel you'll

[00:39:14] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:39:14] Lincoln Stoller: always have your, um, positive feeling of yourself, no matter where you are. And if not, you can really follow the currents, and your emotion, your intuition, your instinct, and get away from what you've been taught and told, and how you've been graded and rewarded, or punished. And that's what I, that's the thing I try to do with people. So I, uh, this is interesting, it takes a slightly different direction, but not really.

[00:39:50] I find to do that, to get into what's important and intuitive and instinctive, you have to get out of your intellectual mind. I mean, [00:40:00] it's not that you discard it and throw it away, it's just that you realize it's just one tool. But maybe not the right one, doesn't fit all screws and nuts. Um, so I'm, I am, and I've always been interested in trance, states of trance, alternate states of perception and reality, appreciation being, uh, extreme. And I think you can appreciate that with your story about your brother, being extreme emotional states. The key is being able to navigate these states and not to get lost

[00:40:36] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:40:36] Lincoln Stoller: in any tributary, but to be able to explore them because they're not irrelevant, even if they're dark and sad. If they're important to you, they probably got something valuable in them. But if you can't navigate them, you get stuck. So, I'm, I use hypnosis to get people into states of memory, emotion, because hypnosis is reversible. You can go in and you can come out. And as a hypnotherapist, that's what my role is, to help people, hold their hand or, uh, keep track of how they got in and remind them. Because your memory gets all kind of messed up.

[00:41:22] Memory of the past, the present, um, you forget things, you lose track of time, and I'm there to, um, take notes. And then you can read the notes afterwards. And then I've been involved, uh, you know, we didn't mention it, but I was involved in mountaineering as a youth that really got me out of what I considered the unpleasant affluent childhood. Um, and you can imagine, you know, having money doesn't, my family was well off, but it doesn't solve your childhood questions about being loved and accepted. Um,

[00:42:03] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:42:04] Lincoln Stoller: uh, so I got into mountain climbing because that involved me with people who are really authentic because you're holding the lifeline literally to other people. And you got to know that they're going to be there when, um, the line gets taut, that they're going to hold you. It's kind of metaphorical, but it's also real. So I appreciated that. And then there's a lot of suffering in that because of the, the extreme physical, um, exertion you have to put in and the places you find yourself. Um, I would say that I've been thinking about that recently. There was a movie recently called, Free Solo, which is about Alex Honnold's ascent of the 3, 000 foot cliff El Capitan without any rope or protection.

[00:42:53] And it's a scary kind of movie. And I remember that I did something like that. Uh, my cliff was 1200 feet instead of 3500 feet, but I didn't have a rope. And I was alone and it was roughly vertical. Anyway, it's hard to recall those things. I'm happy to say I only did it once. And, uh,

[00:43:17] Ed Watters: Right.

[00:43:17] Lincoln Stoller: It wasn't foolish in the sense that I was prepared, but I wouldn't do it again. Uh, not only because I have a family, which I do, but because, uh, you know, when you're doing something really risky, you can't focus on all the things that might go wrong. You can't look down, you know, that's almost metaphorical. You know, you can't, you shouldn't look down. I mean, you may be pursued by the demons of hell, but don't look down. You know, you look forward,

[00:43:47] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:43:47] Lincoln Stoller: you look across and you build your, your, your structure. And, um, anyway, it's not a healthy thing to do to climb huge cliffs without a rope by yourself. Anyway, I did it once and it was very interesting because you get so much focus. You have to focus, it's an unreal state of mind. Um, so now when I deal with people in therapy, I have to kind of remind them that everything we do is a somewhat unreal state of mind. We're sort of fabricating what we choose to believe in and we're either looking down, which maybe we shouldn't, or maybe we're looking too high at things that other people tell us we should be going toward. But, uh, yeah, that was another thing in my book. A lot of people said, you know, Don't focus on what you're told is your, should be your goal. Cause even if you're successful and you get there, it's not gonna have any meaning. If it ever had any meaning.

[00:44:45] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:44:46] Lincoln Stoller: Um,

[00:44:47] Ed Watters: Yeah. But how, how much, how much passion did you discover in that process? You know, because I find that most successful people have a passion about what they're doing and that really helps you maintain that focus and that direction.

[00:45:08] Lincoln Stoller: I wouldn't necessarily call it passion as much as necessity. Um, if you feel you have to do something, it's good to be passionate about it. And if you feel you have to do something and you don't like it, well, then you're in a struggle. So, you know, we hear about, you know, struggling artists, they're not doing it because they're being rewarded. They're doing it because they have to do it. Or, you know, I project, uh, you know, your brother, why does he continue to do what he's doing? Probably because he feels he has to. Um, is he passionate? Well, he's certainly involved. Again, I'm projecting.

[00:45:47] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:45:48] Lincoln Stoller: But you know,

[00:45:48] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:45:49] Lincoln Stoller: um, and I think passion is what you get when you feel like you can't do anything but go forward. And you could either be depressed about it, and, you know, some people are, like I said, as therapy, you deal with people who feel that they can't, um, do anything about what's happening to them and they're not happy with it.

[00:46:08] And that makes them depressed. And you have to realize sadness is different from depression, depression is like feeling like shit. Sadness is just regretting that you're in this position, it doesn't mean like you feel terrible in your soul. That's another step and, uh, I talk to people about that. You know, Are you, What are you creating here and how much of it is your creation? Um,

[00:46:32] What could you do about it? There's a kind of other side to passion, which is sort of inevitability or necessity. So people can feel compelled, even if they're not passionate. They can be resentful, or regretful, or angry about a situation they feel they have to pursue, or they can feel passionate about it.

[00:46:57] I do find that most people who would call themselves successful are passionate. They are not, they don't resent, they don't regret. Um, And that's not necessarily true with therapy, often you get people who are struggling and they're not happy. They're not passionate about their situation. Well, they may be passionate about not, their desire not to be in their situation.

[00:47:26] I mean, the obvious thing is relationships. Relationships are really ambiguous and, um, you have a lot of passion, but you wish it was working to your advantage and it's not, or something like that. Um. Sometimes you feel like you have the ability to make choices with your romantic partners and other times with your family you don't have choices.

[00:47:48] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:47:49] Lincoln Stoller: I think passion is really being connected to your emotion. And, um, I don't tell people as a therapist that they should be passionate, but I do tell them that they should be connected to their emotion. Well, should, I try not to tell them that they should be anything. But, uh, I try to find out where they're going that's rewarding or will reward them. And it's a combination of being more involved and less involved. More involved with what you want, less involved with what you don't. So, I guess, I mean, the question of passionate, it kind of dissolves into the question of necessity and opportunity. And, uh, the third part is, uh, trauma, memory and experience.

[00:48:46] I think a lot of people need, and I'm not being God about this, but they seem to need to process their past. It would be valuable, and they seem to be driven toward it, and there seems to be some solution that will come out of it. So how do you help them with that? Or even, can you? And my answer is that you try to be there, not just in the present, but in their world and say, you know, if I were your brother or if I were the angel sitting on your shoulder, what would I tell you? What could I tell you? Um, and really the interesting thing is that the goal of that approach is for them to find the angel sitting on their shoulder, uh, who isn't really

[00:49:36] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:49:36] Lincoln Stoller: you. And, uh, if they find that, I mean, you can imagine if you can get in contact with your spiritual muse or your spiritual guide, you don't need anyone else. No one would be as good as that energy. And,

[00:49:53] Ed Watters: That's right.

[00:49:54] Lincoln Stoller: and, and, and, you know, a lot of us don't have that energy, I'm not sure any of us have that energy, uh, you know, all the [00:50:00] time. Uh,

[00:50:01] Ed Watters: Right.

[00:50:03] Lincoln Stoller: I think that's what therapy is. And I mean, like calling it therapy, cause that makes it sound like you're sick and you're not sick, you're almost transforming. I mean, would you call a snake that was molting an animal that needed therapy? No.

[00:50:18] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah. You know, Lincoln, that's, that's very interesting because there's a whole subset of the population, uh, especially in the homeless area, where they, they don't have the sense of worth or value. And understanding how to find that is a lost art. Nobody teaches you that, especially when you come from a family set that's destructive by, by nature. So how, how do we convince people to connect and understand getting that off of your chest and divulging your inner thoughts can actually help? You know, I found it through podcasting, but understanding releasing that can actually make you say, Hey, I'm free from it. I understand it's just a thing. How do we get those people connected to therapy that works?

[00:51:28] Lincoln Stoller: I think my answer is kind of like your answer, and that answer is through relationship. Um, I've found, uh, so here are two, two examples, I think if, if you can't get, if you can't make progress, if you can't find answers, if you can't get relief, you often develop physical illness. I'm not exactly sure why, but it seems to be, something telling you, you've got to break out or you're going to suffer real damage. And maybe that gets people to realize something that they wouldn't, wouldn't otherwise, if it was just a concept. Um, so I deal, and I'm always interested to deal with people who have physical problems, physical illness, because all physical illness has some mental aspect to it.

[00:52:28] Even if it's just a broken bone, you know, why did you break the bone in the first place? And what are you doing to heal it? And what could you do to foster its better healing? And these are mental questions, even though the bone might be a kind of a very practical mechanical question. But for most people, chronic illness is not even mechanical at all.

[00:52:48] In fact, it's often not even clear if, or what the mechanical problem is with things like, um, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. You know, um, and it's, so it's, it's really interesting to work with those people because they have a clear, most of them, have a clear point at which they don't want to go. They don't want to, and I'm not generalizing to everybody, but generalizing to my client base.

[00:53:17] They don't really want to hear that they're responsible for their situation. And I understand that because that's, it feels disempowering. It's like, it's your fault. Now you feel guilty, maybe you felt guilty before and now you feel more guilty. But the point is that until you do accept some power, you don't have any power to change.

[00:53:35] You're, you're, you're a victim. And we always hear about how bad it is to be a victim. It's not always so bad, sometimes it gets you out of being a victim. You have to get into it to get out of it. Um,

[00:53:47] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:53:48] Lincoln Stoller: so that's one state of mind. And the other is people who I consider psychotic or psychopathic who just won't see anything wrong with the way they feel and act. And they don't want to talk to you and they don't want to share and they're just out for, uh, personal gain. And you know, that could, we could reward that if it's money and politics and power. Or maybe it's, uh, antisocial and, uh, emotionally violent or exploitative and then we don't value it. So the whole notion of what's, you know, psychopathic and what's laudable is, is very slippery,

[00:54:32] Ed Watters: Interesting.

[00:54:32] Lincoln Stoller: makes me very, kind of upset socially. But, uh, as a therapist, you kind of, uh, tread the in between. Uh, and the question is, well, do you want to redirect somebody so that instead of torturing their employees, they focus on making everybody profitable? Or do you want to focus on, like, getting past that need to always gain at someone else's expense and, you know, find love in your family. And you ask, How do you do this? Whatever you're doing, I think the answer is always you can't really do it. You can only invite, or entice, or, uh, convince, cajole, um, sweeten the idea. But the other people, it's like leading a horse, except you have no tether.

[00:55:22] It's like, how would you lead a horse if you didn't have a string or a rope? You'd like have to convince it to follow you. And now you get to the question, well, do people understand each other? Are you communicating? Do they trust you? And so therapy is mostly about trying to communicate and understand and get trust.

[00:55:42] And then you feel alliance and you build collegial relationship. And you, then you can start suggesting or, um, you know, creating, visioning, and, uh, supporting. And as I mentioned, I try to bring people into a trance state where they can appreciate their different parts, the parts of them that they don't listen to, or that they're ashamed of, um, or that they feel in combat or, um, antagonistic to, to let those parts come out.

[00:56:29] We have this one personality that kind of, we are told to maintain and advance and it often deprecates and disrespects parts of us. Certainly certain memories and experiences we've had. Um, I think we could all bring up childhood memories where we felt really put down and disrespected and we, you know, we don't go back there, don't want to go back there. Um, and, uh, you know, that's a question. Is there a benefit to going back there? Maybe, maybe not. Depends on your approach. Um, I like doing dream work with people because dreams are great because they're just so chaotic. You can do all you want to make sense of things. But when it comes to a dream, it's just like a core dump of emotions and memories. And trying to figure it out or figure something useful out of it is a great exercise. Um,

[00:57:35] So for example, you know, you asked me when we started, I don't know if it was recorded, How do I feel today? And I said, I felt sad. And part of the reason I was feeling sad was I was thinking about childhood stuff and where I am and where I'm not achieved. I was thinking about what I learned about you and your story and, um, this, uh, learning project story.

[00:57:56] And it was kind of making me sad and that's okay. You know, you, you have to feel it's okay to enter into weakness. Um, you know, it's like if you want to build strength in a muscle, uh, you have to work on it. Uh, you know, if you've got poor lower body strength and great upper body strength, if you only worked on upper body strength, then you'd never get lower body strength. So that's the way I think of it, to be a rounded individual means working on all kinds of strengths. And a lot of them are, I don't know, it's not a simple answer. Some things just don't taste good, but if you don't

[00:58:38] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[00:58:38] Lincoln Stoller: try them you may never learn to like them.

[00:58:43] Ed Watters: Yeah. You know, I, I really think, uh, there needs to be a lot more individuals that just muster up the strength to go into the homeless areas or areas where these people form. And I think just a good conversation, letting them know it's okay to live, you know? Uh, I, I find that once you connect with people, they, they will open up. And it's strange, but they won't open up until you connect with them. So there's something about that connection, the human needs a connection. And once it's sparked, it's fascinating what comes out. You know, they, they will tell you some of the things that you would never have thought

[00:59:47] an individual would open up about. Honesty, getting that childlike honesty is hard, especially when you've been broken per se in, in [01:00:00] the world. So mental health is very important. It's got a stigma to it. And I find it sometimes very difficult and hard to reach out and ask for a mental health help. Because you're going to get that tagged on the record someplace or something like that. We need that gone. We need that sort of thing out of our life where we feel that way. How, how can we make that happen? Where people can actually feel like they're not being recorded for some, some trauma later, because that's what it feels like.

[01:00:51] Lincoln Stoller: Let me give you some answers that have crossed my mind. I can't give you solid answers, a big question. One

[01:00:57] Ed Watters: Right.

[01:00:57] Lincoln Stoller: of the problems, I feel, is that we've divided the whole process of growth into illness, um, feedback, and entrepreneurship. So you're either one or the other. And if you're an illness, you need a therapist. And if you're a, need feedback, you get a consult.

[01:01:18] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:01:19] Lincoln Stoller: You're a business person, you get an entrepreneur. But the truth is that everybody's all of those things. And you certainly want to move. So you'd like the person who thinks they're ill to think that they're an entrepreneur, you know, and, and move their focus toward accomplishment and, uh, reward for themselves, at least. But you'd also like the, the people who are entrepreneurs, these sociopathic politicians, what we seem to catapult into the world,

[01:01:47] we'd like them to go back and get their shit together because they're resonating with a lot of sort of anti social attitudes that, uh, they profit from stirring up. And, uh, we'd like them to be more like, um, you know, more saintly and less satanic. And, and,

[01:02:08] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:02:08] Lincoln Stoller: and so this division is a problem. And it's not just a problem at the way we're thinking, but it's the way people are trained and certified. And unfortunately, there's money. So, you're not going to get anybody to spend time with you unless somebody pays them because it costs money to live. And so the lower income bracket, which would be homeless and, you know, whatever, or maybe even average, like, you say, one of the reasons that you're reluctant and most people are reluctant, um, to engage with counseling is that it costs. You have to overcome, you know, what's it worth to me? You know, it's $100 a week, you know, do I really need this? Um, but if you're going to, if you have no money at all, then you're reliant on, you know, basically state services. And those services, I have to say, are not entirely built for you to excel. They're kind of there to contain you, to, uh, make you not so much of a problem for other people. I mean, this is the whole thing about mental health, you know, give them a pill. Um,

[01:03:19] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:03:19] Lincoln Stoller: people accept that kind of stuff. Uh, and I've just been reading this morning that, uh, in both depression and schizophrenia, over a period of a few years, people do much better if they don't get on pharmaceuticals than if they do. Um, for the process of working your, your, your issues out, you know, eighty percent of the time gets you out of your depression. And surprisingly to me, um, returns you to being function if you were schizophrenic. But taking the anti- psychotics and anti-depressants largely lock you into it. And that's, that's more, that's more than just depressing, it's, it's kind of frightening. Um, and I can only think that over time there will be a change, but I'm not sure which

[01:04:10] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:04:10] Lincoln Stoller: change it'll be. So the question is like, how do, you know, how does a homeless person or anybody who doesn't have the funds get into the system of getting help? And then how do you navigate that system? Because do you want a shrink? Do you want to be told that you have a disease or that you're ill? I don't buy

[01:04:30] Ed Watters: Yeah, good point.

[01:04:30] Lincoln Stoller: into that. You know, and if that's all you're going to get, because that's all the, you know, the social service therapist offers, you got a different problem on your hands. And I think that's, that's kind of the answer to your question. There's no answer in the

[01:04:46] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:04:46] Lincoln Stoller: society we live in. There's something systemic about these problems. Um, you know, they say that three percent unemployment is natural or, or acceptable. And I have a suspicion that a certain percent of mental illness is also natural and acceptable.

[01:05:06] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:05:08] Lincoln Stoller: And, you know, these are just the people who fall along the wayside in, uh, in the war to, uh, greater gross natural, national product.

[01:05:20] Ed Watters: Yeah. It's, it's an interesting life we're living. And Lincoln, it seems like it gets worse instead of better when we talk about these social services. And it's really up to people to shine light on it. And that's, that's kind of, go ahead.

[01:05:41] Lincoln Stoller: This is what I'd like to do. I'd like to build our own army of counselors, of regular people who help each other. They don't have to be, you know, if we could make friendship a process of personal growth rather than, um, you know, just gaining entertainment. I mean, this is sort of what happened in the COVID experience. A lot of people said they sort of winnowed through their friendship list and said, These people are not my friends because they don't really support me in my struggle.

[01:06:15] They have an attitude that's contrary to mine. And we kind of got, you know, the pro versus the anti government story, camps. And I know a lot of people whose, whose social circles were fractured down along that line. And I'd like to say that, um, in terms of therapy, mental health counseling and coaching, um, we have to build our own territory rather than try to fix it. I'm just not a fix it person, I'm a do it kind of person. So

[01:06:47] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:06:47] Lincoln Stoller: I tell my clients, We all need to become therapists for each other and, uh, so that we're not charging each other. I mean, I, I charge because that's my thing, but I'd rather not, you know, I'd rather,

[01:07:02] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:07:02] Lincoln Stoller: not charge anybody.

[01:07:06] Ed Watters: Yeah, I understand that thought. You know, I often wrap my brain around that, How can we get these services where they're free, you know, just, just a mentorship or a friendship. That, that is a big turning point in our society, bringing back the connection. The, the focal point should be on community, you

[01:07:32] Lincoln Stoller: Yeah.

[01:07:32] Ed Watters: know, because it's not about me, it's not about you, it's about everybody. And what's right for me is not necessarily right for you. And we have that fight, push, pull, tug of war going on and it's easier than that. But it all boils down to the buck and that, that's what we all need to keep going. But when that's truly our only focus, I think it's detrimental in many ways. So

[01:08:10] Lincoln Stoller: Yeah.

[01:08:11] Ed Watters: finding that freedom and ability to help, it is key to success.

[01:08:18] Lincoln Stoller: Just to complicate it a little more, there are, a lot to learn from indigenous cultures. Which I've always been in. And what you can learn from indigenous cultures is that the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. So, I, I spent a week with a group of people on the Queen Charlotte islands called the Haida, and they're one of the older and more warlike Pacific Northwest groups. And, uh, I spent the week with a chief, I don't know how many chiefs there are, probably more than one, and, uh, he said, You know in, in our culture, everybody is in everybody else's business. And, and this is kind of where we're going when we say, you know, friends should be deeper and friends should be more therapeutically supportive.

[01:09:08] And you get into these cultures where everybody's in everybody's business and he says it's, it's hell because nobody leaves you alone. Everybody's got their attitude and they're all telling you what they need and they're all telling you what they want. And to be a chief in his tribe, you have to put a tremendous amount of money into paying everybody else off because you're only voted chief in proportion to how well you support everyone else. And, you know, you got to buy them boats, and couches, and houses, and land. So that the chiefs

[01:09:41] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:09:41] Lincoln Stoller: have to be rich because they can't afford, you know? And so it's funny that, uh, it's not just this indigenous group, but others as well, where everybody supports everybody else until somebody gets ahead. And then everybody's on their back trying to, you know, [01:10:00] trying to piggyback on their success.

[01:10:03] Ed Watters: It's the tall poppy syndrome.

[01:10:06] Lincoln Stoller: So it's very funny, you know, so we decry our culture where we, you know, extol success and prosperity. And then you look at these cultures where nobody can get ahead because everybody expects you to help everybody else. And, um, in those cultures, there is no poverty, there is no homelessness, there are no orphans, everybody's taken care of, and everybody's bitchy. Um, and, uh, you know, I remember I spent years in the Caribbean and, uh, I would hang out with the locals. And this one guy had a, had a baseball cap that said, uh, Another Shitty Day in Paradise. And, um, and I thought, you know, Exactly.

[01:10:55] Ed Watters: That's, that's the summary.

[01:10:58] Lincoln Stoller: I'm left with the feeling that this is our work, you know, we're not going to get the fountain of youth, you know, the thousand virgins and, you know, angels playing on harps and clouds. This is our work. And,

[01:11:14] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:11:14] Lincoln Stoller: um, if our culture is fucked up, well, part of our work is to work with our culture. And if we're fucked up,

[01:11:20] Ed Watters: That's right.

[01:11:21] Lincoln Stoller: well, part of our work is to elevate ourselves. As you say,

[01:11:25] Ed Watters: That's right.

[01:11:26] Lincoln Stoller: enthusiasm and passion. Well, are you passionate for your success? Are you passionate for your process? And I have to say, I think you have to be passionate for the process. Because the more enlightened you

[01:11:39] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:11:40] Lincoln Stoller: become, the more other people's troubles you find yourself, um, considering. And

[01:11:47] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:11:47] Lincoln Stoller: that has to be a reward, you know? You have to

[01:11:50] Ed Watters: That's right.

[01:11:51] Lincoln Stoller: sort of become saintly, which we think is ridiculous, right? We think, you know, Mother Teresa is just a weirdo. We would never want to be that person, work with lepers and, you know, people so down and out. But I think that's your future. If you want to really enlighten yourself, you're going to find yourself working with people who need your help. And that has to be, become a calling.

[01:12:18] Ed Watters: Yeah. I think that's the most important thing we've said all this whole interview, you know, that is true wisdom right there. And when we find that calling and that process, once we determine the process, understand the process and implement the process, it starts working miracles, as we call them, in our life. You know,

[01:12:46] Lincoln Stoller: I'm still struggling myself. I think we all do, right?

[01:12:50] Ed Watters: I was, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and, you know, I, I deal with that chronic pain syndrome in my muscles all the time. And the more I grow with that and understanding more about it, they say it's a basket case disease and all of that, but truly what I've identified is when I am super stressed, worrying, and got so much chronic nonsense on my mind, that's when I get flare ups of these muscle things. And it's interesting, you've stated that our psychological effects our physical. It's so true. I witness it every day and I understand that. So keeping positive and keeping oriented without the stress is truly key. And that's discovering who you truly are, and knowing your limits, and putting boundary on those limits.

[01:14:00] Lincoln Stoller: Well, another duality I struggle with is religion. I'm very anti religious. But then what I mean by that is I'm anti dogmatic because I have to appreciate that some of the most enlightened people are religious. But then they don't mean it in the sense of being pro dogmatic, they mean it in the sense of, uh, being guided by

[01:14:23] Ed Watters: Spiritual.

[01:14:23] Lincoln Stoller: something. Um, so,

[01:14:26] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:14:27] Lincoln Stoller: you know, the last thing I'll ever do is pray. Yet at the same time, every time I wake up in the morning, I go through a list of all the people I love and that's a kind of a prayer. I just won't, I refuse to call it religion.

[01:14:42] Ed Watters: Yeah, yeah.

[01:14:44] Lincoln Stoller: But there's something about intentionally focusing on what's out of your grasp and what you think

[01:14:51] Ed Watters: Yes.

[01:14:51] Lincoln Stoller: is sort of the highest moral ground, which is necessary. Um, I tell my clients sometimes that, uh, their work is not just benefiting them and the reason they have that work is not just for their own benefit, but that all the people who've, uh, struggled in their lives, or oppressed them, or continue to be dysfunctional, uh, stand to gain from their progress. Even if they're not in contact with those people anymore, even if those people aren't alive anymore. I, I, I don't even know how that works, but you know, these connections we have. Uh, you know, like my mother was, I don't know what was wrong with my mother, but she didn't have an ability to be emotionally supportive to me.

[01:15:43] And so she's been dead ten years. And, uh, she was never supportive of anyone I knew, really. And, but I mean, I was a kid, I didn't really know what was going on. So I'm still working on that, obviously, looking for support. And, you know, that's my problem, I get involved with the relationships and I'd ask too much of them. Well, I don't think so, but I guess I do. Or at least I get it. See, this is the problem. I get involved with people like my mother who can't provide for me and then I ask them to provide for me, which makes complete sense. That is absolutely a terrible,

[01:16:16] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:16:16] Lincoln Stoller: you know, strategy. And, and, um, and I feel that in overcoming that, I will benefit my mother or whatever is left of her in the family lineage. Or maybe in the society, because I'll be able to see it and support it. And appreciate it and advance it, that problem that she had, which I don't understand. You know, it could have been trauma or it could have been, I don't know what it could have been. Again, it could have been something she inherited because she came from Eastern Europe and there's all kinds of, you know, shit going on in the past of,

[01:16:56] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:16:56] Lincoln Stoller: you know, Jews, and Middle East, and God knows what.

[01:17:00] Ed Watters: Oh, yeah.

[01:17:01] Lincoln Stoller: That's tough, definitely. Um, so this is what I say to people, uh, Your work is not just your own. Uh, so we talked about

[01:17:10] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:17:10] Lincoln Stoller: how to lift yourself up and be more available to other people. You could also say that working with other people doesn't just, doesn't just advance them, it advances you. Um,

[01:17:23] Ed Watters: That's right.

[01:17:24] Lincoln Stoller: That's pretty easy to grasp.

[01:17:28] Ed Watters: Yep. Yeah, I get that every day. And you know, that's why I like to discuss things with people that actually put mindset to the topic. They actually get into it. They are truly curious and want to discover, is there an answer to all this? And maybe there isn't, you know, who knows? Uh, the point is, discovery. Life is a never ending process of learning and discovery. And if you grasp that, acknowledge it, it can help quite a bit.

[01:18:11] Lincoln Stoller: Also, the concept of evolution, people think it means progress. Evolution doesn't mean progress. It just means change and reconfiguration toward greater, something. Not even balanced, right? Because ecologies are not.

[01:18:28] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:18:28] Lincoln Stoller: They're sort of balanced, but they're very dynamic. So, I think in personalities, and in cultures, and in, uh, families, you have to accept that there's a certain evolution that you're a part of. And when you say, I don't know if there's an answer, I can, I can assure you there's no answer. You know, is there an answer to evolution? I, who knows? I mean, if everything stops, then eventually it dies. That's the answer,

[01:18:53] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:18:54] Lincoln Stoller: you know?

[01:18:54] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:18:55] Lincoln Stoller: But aside from that, it's just turbulent, somewhat unpredictable, um, opportunistic, and full of dead ends. Um,

[01:19:06] Ed Watters: Yeah.

[01:19:06] Lincoln Stoller: And, and, you know, it's like, you know, where's a tree's branch supposed to grow? No one place, that's why they grow out in all directions. Um, so I think I want to mention this book so that people can get back to it. My website is and if you go to the learning page, I hope you'll find the book. It takes one more click to get there. Um,

[01:19:34] Ed Watters: Yep.

[01:19:35] Lincoln Stoller: uh, and the book is free online or you can get it. No, I didn't make it as an audio book. You can get it as a digital book and a printed book and so forth, but it's free online. And I like the online navigation of it. So, uh,

[01:19:50] Ed Watters: Yes.

[01:19:51] Lincoln Stoller: is where you can find it, okay?

[01:19:56] Ed Watters: Well, Lincoln, it's, it's fascinating [01:20:00] that we've had this opportunity to talk and discover new things. I really get, I can go on for hours about the human mind and, you know, discovery. It's a never ending process. Do you have a call to action for our listeners today?

[01:20:19] Lincoln Stoller: I have a free blog that I put out once a month. If you go to the website, one of those pop ups will appear shortly and ask you to put in your email. And if you do that, you'll have a connection to my work, and my thoughts, and my books, uh, uh, my games, my therapy, my, you know, all this stuff. And it's a rich website I've been writing for years. And I have a bunch of books on sleep and dreams, book on COVID, three books on learning, one of which we've talked about.

[01:20:50] I should mention that after I wrote this book called The Learning Project, which I mentioned was so non-complete, incomplete, so, general and broad, I felt people would benefit from a few nuggets of wisdom that I'd gotten from these interviews. So I wrote two more books, which were just points, bulletin points, almost of what learning and progress consists of.

[01:21:17] And I thought it would be one book, it turned out to be two, but you can find those there under the books tab. Um, if you want answers, that's full of answers. Which, which you'd find interesting, too, because we've just talked about how there are no answers, so that's not satisfying, often. There are answers, they're just not

[01:21:36] Ed Watters: I love it.

[01:21:37] Lincoln Stoller: final answers, you know?

[01:21:39] Ed Watters: That's right. You know, you, you must seek to learn. And, and understanding what you learn, that's a process all of its own. So I love it, what you're doing and you've got a fascinating website. I've ordered the print book and now you've enticed me to actually go and order the other two. So I will be doing that also. Thank you so much for sharing with us today. I will share all your links with our folks in the show notes. Have a good day and continue enlightening people about change and life's mysteries.

[01:22:28] Lincoln Stoller: Thanks, Ed. I really appreciate your help. Anybody who subscribes will be helping, too.

[01:22:36] Ed Watters: Thank you for joining us today. If you found this podcast enlightening, entertaining, educational in any way, please share, like, subscribe, and join us right back here next week for another great episode of Dead America Podcast. I'm Ed Watters, your host, enjoy your afternoon wherever you may be.