Wind, cast, reel. Repeat. Ahhhh. And relax. Think of the best place you know to fish and what’s usually conjured to mind right alongside the excitement of the catch is the peace and quiet and beauty of your favorite fishing spot.
Fishing is a great way to get away from the day-to-day pressures of work and life, and to simply escape responsibility. Ironically, perhaps, it’s also a great time to problem-solve.
Even competitive anglers often find many moments of respite out on the lake or knee-deep in the stream. (Think of TV’s Babe Winkelman and you’ll know what I mean.) Many outdoor-types often cite the opportunity to slow down and match the natural rhythms of life for this almost automatic peace of mind. If you love to fish, you already know what I’m talking about.
Whether you’re fishing alone or casting with friends, take a moment the next time you’re on the water to enjoy the silence and simply let your head and heart—and gut—speak to you at will. Follow these steps to get the most out of your fishing meditation:
1. Let your mind go. Concentrate only on the one task at hand—spooling your fishing line or baiting the hook, for example. Thinking of each moment as it is without projecting into the future helps you to naturally relax and “go with the flow,” both as you fish and as you think. Even untangling a line can serve this purpose if you think of nothing else while you do it.
2. Feel your body relax. You have your own unique rhythm of casting and reeling and catching. Whether or not that style yields a lot of fish is not important in the beginning of your fishing meditation. Simply pay attention to the calm feeling you have and notice it spread throughout your body. Once your mind and your body are both in harmony with what is happening around you, you’ll find a decreased desire to control the situation and its outcome. Soon you will be naturally drawn to notice where the fish are biting. You’ll just as easily come to hear the answers in your head to problems you’ve been having, at some point throughout the expedition.
3. Smile. Don’t forget to smile when these answers come to you: Gratitude creates a feedback loop, or a chain of reciprocity, between you and the deepest, wisest parts of your brain. How, you ask? The happier you are, the more clearly you can see solutions and outcomes. Just as stress creates negative symptoms—like fatigue, headaches, worry, etc.—positive thinking makes it easier to view the lighter side of life.
And if you don’t believe me, you should watch out: Pessimism, according to clinical studies, can throw you into a depressive outlook and even reduce your life span.
The good news is that countering this is easy. All it takes is a little thankfulness to get the happy thoughts turned on again. Start small and test the waters: State something like, “Thanks for the fish!” as you release them either back in the river or into your bucket, and see how your day seems to ‘shift.’
A wise (and anonymous) person once said, “Gratitude and negativity cannot exist at the same time.” This is so true. Showing respect for your fishing meditation process is just as important as showing respect for Mother Nature by cleaning up your litter or properly putting out your campfire at your long-term fishing site.
Show respect for yourself this month by picking up your pole and sitting down to problem-solve in a fishing meditation.
Kealah (KEE-la) Parkinson is a Communications Coach based near Chicago who specializes in The Challenged Brain, or moments when the brain is stressed by emotion, learning disorders and other issues that compromise brain chemistry to give off thinking miscues. Her electronic workbook Speak Your Truth: How to Say What You Mean to Get What You Want can be found online at http://www.KiKiProductionsinc.com