We must find occasionally in our practice to put the brakes on near full stop. We need to slow down long enough to recognize that life is a fascinating journey. It is filled with ups and downs, lessons, and challenges. In this new year to my life, I continue my practice of tenkara as a tool for living my life the best I can with the years I have left. I have given much thought to the ways that tenkara fortifies my mind, body, and spirit. In many ways, the pursuit of happiness and fulfillment can be compared to the practice of fishing on a tranquil stream. Both involve embracing the present moment, adapting to change, and finding beauty in simplicity. Here are some of parallels between life's journey and the art of tenkara fly fishing I have discovered. There is a wisdom that happens when we look at our lives and tenkara together. It is important to recognize with gratitude that we are on a journey.
Embracing Simplicity Means Choosing Honestly
Life tends to become complicated as we grow older. We accumulate responsibilities, possessions, and expectations that can weigh us down. While western fly fishing techniques often involve complex gear, intricate fly patterns, and technical approaches, tenkara emphasizes simplicity; stripping away unnecessary complexities. In life, as in tenkara, simplifying our choices and focusing on what truly matters can lead to a more fulfilling experience. It is perhaps easier to simplify one aspect of our lives such as our gear and way of approaching angling. Simplifying our lives in the big picture though is much more challenging. We have to really be honest and decide to take a stand for removing the things that don't add to our lives so we can live it in the best way we can.
Develop the Art of Patience
As we age, with any luck, we learn the value of patience. In our fast-paced world, waiting is often seen as a burden, or even a torture as we hold back the impulses for gratification. However, tenkara teaches us the art of patience. Standing by a stream, observing the water, and waiting for the perfect moment to cast our fly is a practice that mirrors the patience required to navigate life's challenges. Both endeavors remind us that sometimes, the most rewarding experiences come to those who are willing to wait and trust the process.
Adversity Is Our Friend
Life is a constant series of changes. We grow, we evolve, and we face unexpected obstacles. The unexpected arises when we dwell too long and grasp at certain things in life while not allowing things to move. Sometimes they move without us and we grasp to maintain control. Similarly, on a stream, the conditions can shift rapidly, requiring us to adapt our techniques accordingly. In tenkara, the angler must read the water, assess the current, and adjust their approach to match the ever-changing environment. This teaches us the importance of being flexible, open to new possibilities, and embracing change as an opportunity for growth. With gentle practice we can move from one rock to another crossing the stream and from one moment to the next in the same way. When we slow down and are present we can recognize our oportunity to make the best cast by looking at our place and situation from a different perspectives. We can find that better place to cast and drop our fly.
We Find Ourselves as Part of Nature and Not Separate from it.
In our fast-paced modern lives, we often lose touch with the natural world. Our tenkara experiences provide a bridge back to nature. Standing knee-deep in a stream, feeling the cool water against our legs, and observing the subtle movements of fish and insects brings us closer to the natural rhythms of life. It reminds us to slow down, appreciate the beauty around us, and find harmony within ourselves and the world we inhabit. In short time we lose the idea of separateness from nature and we see ourselves as part of the whole world. In this way we can nurture within ourselves the energy to change our big world lives and outlook. We can begin to make changes in how we are living and can see the ways that we can simplify.
As I Age, Cherishing Every Moment Has More Value
Getting older often prompts us to reflect on the passage of time and the fragility of life. Tenkara, with its focus on being present in the moment, encourages us to savor every cast, every drift, every gentle tug on the line, and every fish we bring to hand. Life, like a stream, flows inexorably forward, and every moment is a precious opportunity. We must be present in order to take correct actions in those moments. By embracing the present and cherishing each experience, we can find joy in the journey, regardless of our age or stage in life.
TENKARA AS PRACTICE
In this space I will continue to share my own musings, experiences and insights to tenkara as a practice that can help us live our best lives. Topics will range from minimalism, meditation and finding peace and lessons through tenkara.