Mike Ellerkamp is a husband, father, grandfather, and cancer survivor, and in the 1970’s he served both in the US Air Force and in the US Army as an Airborne Ranger with the First Battalion, Seventy-Fifth Infantry.
His greatest hope with The Simple Little Rule is to reintroduce the power and passion of the wisdom of ancient philosophers and teachers expressing God’s mission statement—to love thy neighbor as thyself!
Mike and his wife, Mollie, live today in Houston, Texas, with their two dogs, Corky and Coco Man, and they enjoy traveling and skiing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? What/who inspired you to publish your first book?
· I started writing (keeping journals) at a very young age. I have notebooks going back to the 1970s. Writing for a journal and to get a book published are very different.
· I had been working on my passion topic, the Golden Rule, since the mid-eighties and a couple of years ago reached a place in my life where I could dedicate the time and effort to publish The Simple Little Rule.
· My wife played a huge roll in the inspiration part by buying me a Hay House seminar package for my birthday in 2015. This writing seminar took place in Hawaii with Dr Wayne Dyer, a person I greatly admired. This event got me off dead center and I began putting the material together that became The Simple Little Rule.
Authors tend to be passionate about what they write about. What is your passion, and why?
· I am highly interested in a set of social life standards that everywhere seem to point to the Golden Rule Principle. I discovered this after leaving church and trying to find a path to that Truth that made sense to me. The full story is told in my book The Simple Little Rule; what happen, why I left and how I found myself still curious about spiritual issues. The Golden Rule Principle appears, to me, to be a foundational principle recorded everywhere by 500 B.C.E. When I discovered the ubiquitous nature of the Golden Rule, I saw that as broadcast message from God that we have definite place and purpose in this universe.
· This has led me to see that the rules set in place by our Designer requires that we see and understand this purpose and that can only be done by philosophical (spiritual) teachings, and that becomes a major theme of my book. I’m very motivated to bring this understanding back into our current discussions. Unfortunately, there are “dark” forces, of all sorts (topics I speak about), that prey on the uninformed leading to division and discontent. This message countering (or corrupting) the Golden Rule Principle causes great disharmony in our communities. It’s time to turn that around.
Would you mind sharing a little about and of your current work-in-progress?
· The Simple Little Rule was from the beginning seen a much too large to be a single book. Volume Onewas subtitled: The Golden Rule Rediscovered. It was my personal story about falling out of church but continuing to search for life’s truths, and then rediscovering the importance of the Golden Rule Principle and how I put that principle to use in my life. So, Volume One was Golden Rule at the individual’s level.
· Volume Two: Developing a Culture of Harmony is currently in the works. It takes the first book to next level of small group: family; church groups; business; teams of all sorts. As we move up through different sized groups the Rule adapts and I show how this works, why it is important and how we can bring it back to our current work and play life situations.
· The important concepts of reciprocal systems working in society is fascinating to me. Understanding these concepts taught in all religious and philosophical literature is being pressed out of service. Having these systems brings harmony. This is our purpose.
Please tell us something a little about yourself, perhaps something that people generally may not know?
· I served in two branches of the military: The Air Force and the Army.
· I tell lots of stories about my experiences as Airborne Ranger with the Army in my book.
· In 2016 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had a robot assisted prostatectomy and have been three years cancer free.
· I volunteer as Chapter Leader for the Nonfiction Authors Association’s Houston Chapter. For those interested, check out the www.NonfictionAuthorsAssociation.com for information about this author community. There are lots of free resources online for the aspiring author.
· I love teaching – especially about God’s purpose for our (humankind) harmony and prosperity.
Who was your favorite author growing up? Do you recall some of your favorite books?
· I loved Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach growing up. I read it several times.
· The Prophet, by Kahill Gibran. A fabulous book that I found at about 15 (about the time I accepted Christ) and read many, many times.
· Post church: I found mythology and during the mid 80s I read every book I could find written by Joseph Campbell – my most favorite: The Hero with a Thousand Faces.
· During the post church period when hunting for the truths about the Divine, I read Karen Armstrong, a person with a similar story to mine. She fell out of church, continued to search, came back around and is now one of the foremost commentators on religious affairs. Two of her books stand out for me A History of God: The 4000 – Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam; and The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions. This book (The Great Transformation) made a strong connection to Golden Rule rising simultaneously through all the early religions.
· In my search to understand how to communicate Intelligent Design, necessary for my explaining my Golden Rule is such an important “conscious” tool for humans a book titled The Signature in the Cell, by Steven Meyer. I’ve also read his Darwin’s Doubt, and I’m on the preorder for his new, soon to be released, The Return of the GOD Hypothesis.
· There are so many more: the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, Chinese philosophers Confucius and Lao Tzu – the I Ching. The Upanishads, Vedas and Bhagavad Gita, most notably a translation done by Jack Hawley titled: The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners; a book I return to frequently. Our early founders (and their predecessors Lock, Smith, and Mills) Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton, Franklin, Madison – the Federalist Papers and so on. I love history.
Do you have some favorite verses or quotes you find inspiring? What are they, and why?
· “The only way to reach this immortal state is through love, through unswerving devotion to Me (the Divine) alone. As the individual wave does not have any existence independent of the sea, the separate soul does not have any real existence apart from Me, the Universal Soul.” The Bhagavad Gita: A Walkthrough for Westerners, Jack Hawley
o This quote sums up where I sit today. A quote very similar to this one can be found in all philosophical literature in the era known as the Axial Age about 500B.C.E. We have lost (or are rapidly losing) this sense of devotion. That’s my story – I want to bring it back.
· “Do unto others as you would have done to you.” The Golden Rule!
· “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find harmful.” Buddhism
· “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” Socrates
· “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Lao Tzu
· “What one does not wish for oneself, one ought not to do to anyone else; what one recognizes as desirable for oneself, one ought to be willing to grant to others.” Confucius
o Some of the Golden Rule phrases found in early literature. There are thousands of these. They are ubiquitous in the literature wherever you find writing as a tool at or before 500 B.C.E., every language, culture and religion.
· “The truths contained in religious doctrines are after all so distorted and systematically disguised that the mass of humanity cannot recognize them as truth.” Sigmund Freud
o I found this quote in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. It is the first sentence in the introduction: it summed up the state of my frustration with the church in the mid 1980s, and helped realize that I had more to learn outside of a church.
· “We can’t have full knowledge all at once. We must start by believing; then afterwards we may be led on to master the evidence for ourselves.” Thomas Aquinas
o One of the greatest religious thinkers of all time. He spent a significant portion of his life writing answers to the many questions about religion and spiritual matters, which have been compiled into five volumes. The texts are amazing I reference Aquinas often. The quote is such truth: “We must start by believing…” In all things this is where we begin, it is what we do with that belief that matters.
· “In the world there are many different roads but the destination is the same. There are a hundred deliberations but the result is one.” I Ching
· “All men suppose that what is called Wisdom deals with the first causes and the principles of things.” Aristotle
· “Justice is doing for others what we would want done for ourselves.” Gary Haugen
· “The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.” Aristotle
Are you a planner or a pantser? (Do you write via an outline, or do you just write as the spirit leads?)
· This may seem like an odd answer: I find that I loosely plan where I’m trying to get (it’s a big project), but the spirit definitely moves me to get what finds its way into the published work. I am definitely being led by the spirit on this project.
8) Is there anything you learned from your publishing experience that you would change? Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
· I spent way too much money!
· As part of my volunteer experience I try to help aspiring authors to avoid the pitfalls of the publishing world. There are lots of companies and individuals “selling success” in the publishing world. Authors must be aware that there are less than ethical companies ready to take your money for little in return.
· Becoming a successful author is very difficult. It takes skill, common sense, awareness and some luck too. We need to tell our stories but find support groups that will guide not take.
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
· There are many verses in scriptures of all cultures that read something like: “stay in truth”, “follow the Word”, “be true to your purpose” and so on. These express the responsibility we have as individuals to maintain a certain level of virtue and integrity in our daily dealings. When we lose a sense of these responsibilities, we lose our way, hand our freedoms off to persons with interests quite often counter to our own. Be aware of the clever covers used by individuals who abuse the powers that are meant to protect the citizens of their country. We have a very fragile thing in our democracy. Abraham Lincoln once said that we would not be conquered from without, but that we would destroy ourselves from within. If we lose our connection with divine, we throw ourselves to the wolves…
All over the world and within all cultures and religions, a profound tenet exists that supports a common connection among all peoples. In one phrasing or another, the spiritual principle known as the Golden Rule has been taught for centuries: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” In The Simple Little Rule: The Golden Rule Rediscovered, author Mike Ellerkamp shares his spiritual, philosophical, and historical journey as he brings to life once again this simple yet profound rule.
In today’s world climate, it is more important now than ever for us to rediscover this simple little rule. And because embracing the Golden Rule can change our present perceptions and motivate us to work to change our own futures, it makes the Golden Rule a simple little rule so powerful it could even change the world.