“We’ve gotta take the power back!”  “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!” When I was in high school, hearing those lyrics connected me to being righteous and being powerful in my life and with my actions.  I would get fired up and feel the need to act. I don’t remember ever doing anything after hearing those songs but they generated an energy within me when I heard them. Now I think of those songs in odd moments.  I relate to them now when someone makes a change in life, specifically their jobs or relationships. I feel a sense of people trying to gain their power when they feel powerless in life or a situation.   

I had one of those moments recently.  I spoke to a co-worker who was leaving to take another job.  Those conversations are always a little interesting to me. I feel like they typically go one of two ways.  One is the “great opportunity” pep talk. The other is the “so sad to leave but I wasn’t appreciated or I was wronged” monologue.  I’ve been in the position to both look for that new opportunity and to hear lots of those stories. I’ve only had to tell someone to find a new opportunity twice.  They were each very painful. In all those moments I am reminded of two commonalities about the people involved. Perspectives of different people are entirely different.  And owning one’s personal intention and commitment is easy to rationalize away to make ourselves feel better. My mind goes to how people feel powerless or frustrated to try to change things in small ways, leading them to wait until the discomfort becomes so great that they assume the only remedy is to change their life in big ways, usually with limited options.  We can’t find the words, we can’t create the action until we reach a tipping point where we can’t take it any longer. I have been there myself, feeling like a victim to my life or feeling like someone doesn’t recognize or appreciate who I am. 

So how does this relate to fly fishing? Through my blog I try to connect to learning my life lessons through the actions, thought processes, and peacefulness of fly fishing.  When I am fishing, the decisions I make are influenced by the experiences of my life. That sounds dramatic, but it’s true. Should I change my position on the river, change my flies, or change the angles and locations of my casts?  Those decisions, in a bigger perspective, are tied to how I perceive myself and how I want others to perceive me. Am I a person of action? How patient can I be? How committed am I? How can I bring myself to this moment? Those questions and more are all present for me as I fish.  The YouTube videos of fly fishers walking upstream and catching fish in each run, the advice from friends on not leaving fish to catch fish, my past experiences fishing all are in my head when I fish. How do I make my decisions and own the results of those decisions?

Gunpowder River, Maryland

This leads me back to “take the power back”.  The decisions that I need to make when fishing need to have a basis for me to feel confident.  Listening to a guide or a friend gives some safety and way out of our decision conundrum. When I am by myself, I am trying to keep my mind present to each moment when I fish.  It’s very difficult to stay connected, but it’s where the power lies. Reading the water, observing movement of fish, making adjustments based on changing conditions, understanding my mindset and skills, and carefully moving all keep my mind focused.  If I move a fish or catch a fish I am instantly rewarded, but if the effort produces no fish on the line, do I get upset, disappointed, frustrated or have regrets? There is something learned in each moment and there are so many things to learn. Being present to fishing, something that I look forward to and enjoy tremendously reminds me that I choose my movements, I choose my decisions, and there is no one to blame for my conditions other than myself.  I have the power in each moment and don’t need to wait for a tipping point or a battle song. Although I have to admit that sometimes I am happy to have someone help my brain have a break from being self-responsible or to be lost in a moment with distraction. The lesson I am trying to learn is that I need to own my choices and see there is value in each moment regardless of the result matching my desired outcome. All the moments we experience are the most valuable things we have.             

2 Replies to “Take the Power Back”

  1. Hi Scott, interesting thought processes. I think similar in that, everything in life molds us constantly into who we are. When I’m on the stream, I love being one-on-one with the stream, the fish, with God, myself and nature in general. Patience is a great virtue, it doesn’t mean that while you’re being patient, that you’re always having a good time, sometimes some of the bad times are the most important times, when you learn the most. I love how in flyfishing I can have a dead 4 hours in the morning, then catch a bunch in the afternoon or evening. I also loved most other one-on-one situations. I was a big tennis player for years, hated playing doubles, but did very well in singles. Also throughout my youth and up to 20 years old I played baseball, I was a pitcher, love that battle between me and the batters. All these things really prepared me for a lot of personal challenges in life. Challenging yourself on a regular basis, for me, helps keep me sharp, focused, confident and hopeful. Being hopeful is also, or maybe even better than patient, as a virtue. All my hope though is directly related to my faith in God. Hope pushes me forward, day after day, thinking or expecting, that better things are on the horizon. Today may be good, but may be better. May sound a little like naive optimism, but it’s a choice to have that mindset. We all have the choice to wake up happy or not.
    Wow! This is the first time I’ve ever written down my thoughts like this, feels like I could go on and on. Thanks for the blog site and I look forward to sharing more in the future.

    1. Thanks Scott! I’ve learned so much from your YouTube Channel. The first fly I tied myself that I caught a fish on was your Isonychia! I appreciate you reading the blog and commenting! Comment as often as you would like, it is welcomed! Your knowledge and joyful exuberance in your videos is inspiring! Thanks so much

Leave a Reply

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