That Authentic Joy

I started this blog with the intent of keeping the sole purpose of its contents to be parallels of my daily life and how it relates to fly fishing. The evolution of this project started with a honeymoon season of writing at least a blog post a week, taking a year off, losing my writing muscle and now trying to get back into the gym of a keyboard. My writing has also gone astray from that original intent and that’s alright. The four years since I’ve started fly fishing I got married, moved 4 times, started new jobs each time and have become much of what I am and am not proud of. The ebb and flow of life as a wife, a late twenties something, and a career drifter has revealed so much of who I am and where I see value in life. These years have changed my life more than the rest combined.

Tonight I’m thinking about revisiting the parallel of my life and my journey with fly fishing. I hope it finds cohesiveness somewhere in the words. I don’t really have a plan yet for this one.

When I wake up and know that I’m gonna go fishing that day I still get that feeling I got on Christmas morning when I was a little girl. Today could be the day that something amazing happens. Fly fishing just has that part of my heart that gets filled only when I feel that tension on the end of the line when a fish is running.

No matter when I feel my inadequacies as a woman with my flawed figure, the fear of failure with a job, the conviction of when I handled that argument wrong with my spouse; it all gets put into the proper perspective when I find myself in the water. Fly fishing is the one of the rare things that doesn’t take into account the score card I keep in my head of how I don’t measure up. My point in sharing all of this is that in these four years where I’ve done many things right and a lot wrong that each time I find myself walking toward a river bank with my fly rod it’s always been right. That Christmas morning feeling isn’t because of anything tangible I’m going to get but rather how my soul is going to feel when a day of fishing is done.

I guess in revisiting this it makes me realize that we can’t lose sight of the ways our souls become restored by immersing ourselves into something. Maybe for you it’s on a dirt bike, with a brush and easel, holding a guitar in your hands or having wine while enjoying a sincere conversation. Each of us has a part of our hearts that doesn’t need a person or an object but rather the unique way you can find yourself immersed in something that gives you authentic joy.

There’s not much a bell ringer for this post except the simple encouragement that if you’re feeling downtrodden by the weight that life has placed on you lately to remember what it is that gives you that authentic joy. Go for a run, enjoy a lazy morning with your spouse, dust the cobwebs off that favorite book or maybe also grab your fly rod and get out now that the sun is shining.

With lots of love,

Sara

Next Time You Want to Post That. . .

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Raise your hand if you have seen an opinion shared in your news-feed in the last two hours.

All the hands raise.

How many of you had your lives changed by seeing that opinion?

No hands raise.

What makes you think your opinion is truly going to change the world from your social media platform?

This is when we all start yelling about social injustice, bigotry and how 50% of the country is alright with seeing children get slaughtered in schools.  It’s when you say that by taking away guns from good people that bad people will still have the guns and that will do nothing but leave good folks with no means for self defense.  Or it’s when you say that you’re the person aiming the barrel of a gun at a child for not wanting to revisit the 2nd amendment. It’s where we get passionate in fighting with strangers from behind our screens and get consumed with the fragile notion that somehow we’re truly making a difference with opinions.  It’s when we think the president can actually see how much we support or hate him by the unproductive argument we’re having with this acquaintance or stranger.

It’s when we demonize people that we don’t even know.  This argument is where you forget that the person on the other side of the screen is likely a person who has the same humanity, desire for happiness, children they adore and a hope for peace as you do.

I know that there isn’t a single good person out there (yes, we obviously got a few bad ones) who’s heart doesn’t bleed for the innocence murdered in the recent days within our country.  There isn’t a single parent who thinks “my opinion matters more than my baby’s life”.  Yet, we see anyone on the other side of our perspective as the evil doer incarnate because of who they voted or didn’t vote for.  We see the opposing arguer as a person who wants this evil to happen because they don’t see the sames means to a reckoning the way we do.  We see ourselves as perfect.

What if we paused for a second.  Before we think we are accomplishing justice by doing all we can to make another feel small that possibly we remember that there is a face to that opinion; maybe a face we wouldn’t say such visceral and demeaning words to if we were sitting across a table from them.

What if we remember that the world truly doesn’t care about what you think, especially on social media where you’re among the fray.  The fray of fear, anger and opinion.  Your voice doesn’t change anyone’s hearts when the intent is to prove them wrong.  It just doesn’t.  When can you recall a time when your heart was changed by someone saying “You’re wrong! You’re wrong! You’re wrong!”?

Let’s not be deceived that your opinion has power.  What does have power is remembering that you don’t control others.  You don’t influence them from this side of the screen.  You have the power to understand them and to grow in your perspective.  If that power isn’t good enough do something about it.  Run for legislature.  Visit with your politicians (because standing on a sidewalk with a sign is about as effective as posting from your page).  Pause before running your mouth at your opponent and ask questions instead.  Raise your kids within your beliefs and be blessed by their life.  If you’re afraid of this world stop reading this and Google ways to be empowered above that fear.  Stop wasting your value on spouting your truly worthless opinion.

I will end with the irony that this is my opinion on worthless opinions.  Remember where real value and power exists.  It exists within your interactions with others you share your days with.  It exists within your character and how you value people.  In your soul there’s actions steps to making a difference and it stops with just scrolling for a fight.  It ends when you discontinue to weaponize your words.

Please pause next time and remember that your opinion is just that.  Your small opinion.

With lots of love,

Sara

The Landscape of the Soul

 

 

So a month ago my husband and I found ourselves in New Zealand.  To call it a beautiful place is putting it mildly for rather it’s massive, rugged and has an untamed value that’s reflective to that of our home, Montana.  It was more than our own back yard so it gave an awe inspiring jolt with just about every corner we turned.

Tonight I’m thinking of one particular day when we were on the South Island in the Mount Cook region where the mountains that rose around us were as massive as the sky.  You’d be standing in rain-forest  where the sand flies were attempting to eat you alive while hearing parcels of glacier fall off and tear thunder throughout the lonely high places.  It was a place that made you feel the wilder side of your soul within you.

No, we didn’t climb Mount Cook itself but rather we climbed a smaller neighbor not far from it where you could set your eye on that beasty hill as much as you desired when you paused to catch some breath.  I’ll admit my lack of character revealed itself when our idea of a “short hike” was indeed a short distance of trek being no more than two miles however, it was 4000 vertical feet of difference between the bottom and our goal.  I was a little late to that morsel of information until I could see that the ladder like trail wasn’t a mere tough section of the path but rather the majority of the story.  Being a creature of average shape I was well aware of how my lack of working out prior to our trip was ungracefully revealing itself during the climb as my legs burned and I gulped air like I was drowning.

It’s funny to see it now but the miserable fun is the best kind.  When you are struggling mightily and yet have a goal you gotta reach, that’s the time you have a good story to remember when it’s over.

There was a point when you could feel yourself high above most other things.  We came to a ledge where all around you there was mountainside, persistent glaciers, and Mount Cook.  As we stood there and rested our eyes, I felt like I discovered a region of my being I had never touched before.  I think we all have felt this feeling in our special ways, for in each of us there’s a soul that is no other than ours so please don’t feel like you have to count yourself out of this conversation if you haven’t looked upon Mount Cook yet (but I so hope you do someday).  There was something that was awakened by my eyes resting on new places that will never change though I might never see them again.  As we let ourselves find new landscapes in which we feel alive, maybe those very places are the reflections of the epic souls within us.

I know this is way out there but my prayer is that I never neglect my soul to remaining undiscovered.  I hope that even in my own backyard, that I find my ways to let my soul be stirred whether it’s looking upon the massive reality of the wilderness around me, or from letting myself be known in a conversation with those I love the most.  I hope you know that you have something within you that is deeper than your worries, your responsibilities, your discontent and the lonely echo of what you haven’t touched.  Know that you have a landscape that is waiting to be discovered that no counterfeit of entertainment can touch.

We have an compelling need to understand the depth of our own souls.  That might be a concept that’s way out in the weeds of our daily lives in which we have all the push and pull of the demands of careers, bills and often the mundane.  But I think we feel a need, a vague hunger for knowing creation, ourselves and looking into and connecting with the depth that runs deep within us all.  It’s the reason that our desire for love, adventure and connection is ever restless and maybe unsatisfied.

What if we let ourselves feel the discomfort of new things so that we can better follow the paths into the wilder sights of what is in all of us?

 

Election Thoughts: The Rumble, Jolt and Surprise

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We’re all shocked after the elections.  Some are truly happy, some are devastated and there are others that were lacking enthusiasm for however the results panned out either way.  But I think we all can agree that we are surprised by what’s happened.  What has been interesting isn’t the jolt that we’re going to have a presidency that will be dramatically different from what we’ve had maybe ever.  What’s surprising is the manner in which so many of us have handled the rumble.

I see statements that now America is putting behind a corrupt political system.  That if you voted democrat you are for corruption, murder and lies in the White House.  If you’re a democrat you’re okay with letting ISIS into our country via the southern border. Or if you voted republican that you are a misogynist, a racist, anti woman, homophobic and it’s likely you didn’t get a bachelors degree and you’re white. If you voted third party you’re sheeple, a self righteous purist, an idiot for throwing your vote away and it actually was a vote for the bad guy.

Congratulations, we all have been called things that are untrue.

I have some sincere questions and thoughts to share with you my dear reader for whom I have empathy and a deep respect for.  I get how exciting, joyful, apathetic and maddening it all is right now and I want nothing more than for you to feel heard. I know that your view matters greatly.  But I want you to consider how much your opinion matters.

Where do we consider drawing a line in the sand to rein in our opinions?  How much value is in the weight of your words and is it worth polarizing yourself from the other half of the country?

By your passion to let your voice be heard you’re enjoying the right we have to a voice as Americans and it’s at the cost of your respect for a significant portion of the people you share life with.  Here’s the hinge that this ramble is about.  Does your opinion cut you off from others?  If it does, is it seriously worth it?  If your opinion requires insults, belittlement and costing relationship with half of the country I’m sorry, but you are closed minded.  I find it genuinely confusing to see so many say that others need to have an open mind and yet after the election I see the very same people say that they will have nothing to do with anyone who voted for opponent of their favored candidate.

And finally, have you even considered how hard it is to hate someone and what their views are if you were looking them in the eye while trying to prove them wrong?

Don’t let this be the beginning of division.  Let this be an opportunity to stop commenting on every post that provides an opposing argument and instead suggest meeting that person across the table for coffee so you can find a window of understanding into how they formed that view.  Challenge yourself.  See if you can call someone a racist to their face after you take the time to really see them.  I’m thinking it would be tough to call someone an ISIS promoter if you found out why they feel the way they do.

Take the chance to see people.  Use this season as the means to become more loving, more empathetic and to not forget that the other half of the country that voted differently than you are authentic and good people for the most part.  They’re parents who want to see it better for their kids and grand kids.  They’re owners of that business you love in your community.  They’re your coworkers, employers and customers.  They’re your family.  Your children.  Each person despite of who they voted for is a chance to love and honor them for being as human as you are.

Handle the the surprise with grace.  Recognize the jolt and be humble.  See the goodness of so many people who are different than you.  Realize we’re all gonna grow from this.  See that as individuals we face the choice to make America be great not because it ever lost greatness but because we are what makes it such if we’re in it together.

 

With so much love,

Sara

Could I be the Hero?

DSC_1421.jpgThis morning I’m mulling over the idea of letting go of waiting on the heroic moments.  Letting go of waiting around for the character of a hero to suddenly appear within me.

I feel like I’m one to just hope that I’ll arrive to the character that I’m called to have and to just maintain that state of being effortlessly from there on.  Wouldn’t it be nice to arrive to such a state?  But what if we won’t?  That doesn’t dare mean to give up on becoming who we’re called to be.

Take for example the proclamation that you might have said to a partner, spouse or dear friend that goes “I would die for you”.  Those are some hearty words that have a lot of meat on the bones.  They bear weight.  They’re badass.  The thing is, for most of us it’s unlikely that our devotion would be put to the literal test of those words (and I pray that we never have to be so harshly tested).  Most will walk down life alongside others who we love without facing the challenge of taking a bullet for them.  No, we face the challenge of living for them.  When we say “I want to live for you” it doesn’t sound as epic as dying for them.  We even feel an inkling of dislike for that idea.  For me, my knee jerk response is to live for myself and if you’re kinda human like me, you’ll have the same adverse reaction to that as well.  The intimidating thing about choosing to live for others is that it’s not always certain they’ll reciprocate such a devotion. Sometimes sharing life is a bore if not a chore.  Wow, I didn’t mean to rhyme there but I’m keeping it!

I’m not speaking as if I know, but rather this blog is a bit personal processing for me here. So don’t assume you’ll read to the end and be able to enjoy the impeccable revelation of what it means to live for others perfectly.

I know we all will face those moments of where we must be the hero.  This could be the moment of forgiveness against a bitter wrong made against you.  It really could be taking a bullet.  Or maybe it’s starting the difficult but necessary conversation you’ve had on your heart for awhile.  If we are living with our necks our there even slightly we will have to face moments that require epic character.  But here’s something to consider.  What if we are waiting for our character to grow just as we are waiting to be heroes?  What if we are missing on pondering our character in the mundane and cultivating it there?  Maybe the big moments aren’t where the character is developed but merely proven.  What if we’re just living to prove ourselves?  I think we could be missing out if we aren’t careful.

We might want to consider the scary thought of having to be intentional in the daily to becoming a person of true character.  I don’t want to reach the end of my life realizing that I have mostly the character of a person I don’t admire because I didn’t put in the effort in the moments that counted but looked boring so I passed them by.

I feel that we have to let go of hoping to be a person of integrity in a moment of grandeur but instead take it seriously when we are at the office when the boss is away that week.  I feel that we might only have a handful of moments between now and our last breath where we could see that we were an epic hero and maybe even less than that.  My point is that your character matters now.  It matters today when you walk into work this morning.  It matters when you pick up the kids from school this afternoon. When you say ask for forgiveness from your spouse.  It’s in all of the mundane and unacknowledged moments.

My hope is to encourage you to know that who you are is only who you see in the mirror today.  We might never be a hero as we picture heroes but we can have a choice to build and grow heroic hearts every day. We always have the choice of character.

So with whatever you are living for, live it well my friend.

With so much love,

Sara

Be The First.

DSC_2154.jpgI’m laying awake tonight thinking of all the things that are bothering me.  As I toss and turn and try to understand what makes me restless I am beginning to see a little theme.  Lately I have noticed the value of being the first at things.  Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to be the first at anything.  I think we humans don’t like being the first at a lot of stuff actually.  It would be preferable for someone else to do it.

This might make me sound like somewhat of a lonely person and lots of the time I am, but it also helps me understand the value of being the person of initiative be it in relationship, friendship, and the daily interactions we have with peers, coworkers or even strangers. I also know the blessing of being on the receiving end of when others have gone first in my life.  Each day provides thousands of little opportunities to let someone know that you see them and value them in whatever capacity you know them, even if it’s just for a few brief moments after which you will never see them again.

So here’s some things I would like to encourage you to always be the first at.  Don’t be the one to wait for these things.

Be the first to call your best friend.

The first to say “hello”.

The first to ask “how are you?”.  And when asked by someone else first, don’t just say “fine”.  Reply with a question for them.

Be the first with any question.  And the first to be quiet and to listen.  Really listen.

The first to send a text to let that person know that you’re thinking of them.  Has it ever ruined your day when someone sent you something to let you know that they were thinking of you?  Don’t be that stalker though. . .

The first to say “love you”.  Say it a lot.  Especially strive to be the first in this.

The first to hold their hand.  To kiss them.

The first to ask “is everything alright?”.

The first to call your parents.  Trust me, it makes their day.

The first to compliment. Tell him he’s handsome.  Tell her she’s beautiful.  Trust me, she needs to hear it many times. She doesn’t just “know”.  This could be your spouse, a parent or a stranger.

The first to be vulnerable.  To admit the hurt, the insecurity, and the pain.

The first to acknowledge and to affirm.  Let them know you see how hard they’re working and they’re trying.  Really this is powerful whether you practice this with the waitress serving your table or your husband putting in 60 hours this week.

The first to invite someone over for dinner.  Or out for a beer.  Don’t forget how it feels to be invited and give that feeling to someone else.  Being invited is wonderful.

The first to start the conversation.  Do it without the angle of talking about yourself.

The first to be quiet when the speaker stands upon the stage or the musician begins to play.

The first to step aside and let them go first.  Along that note, always take the opportunity to hold the door for someone else.

These are merely a few.  When it’s all said and done I feel like less people would feel alone if we each treated each other with the idea that we can be the first to give goodness instead of waiting around for others to be good to us.  Don’t be the one not giving what you could because you’re craving it yourself.

Always be the first to do good and to do it without the intent of showing how good you are or with the idea that it will be reciprocated.  Do it because we live in a world where we can make a difference in the most subtle and smallest ways in the lives of those we love the most and of those we might not know at all. We are all somewhat standing around waiting for the obvious heroic moments in which we will be the hero but really, we are standing in small and seemingly insignificant intersections with which we can make or break people by being the person of initiative or by doing nothing at all wishing they would go first.

Be the one to make another feel significant, to make them feel like they matter and trust me, you are doing the good work by doing anything at all. By doing it first.

Can you imagine if we all did it first?

With so much love,

Sara

 

Stop Pursuing Passion.

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“Pursue your passion.”

“Find your bliss.”

“Reach for the stars.”

We’ve heard them all before.  We even give credit to those little nuggets as words to be guided by.

Is this why we might be in a state of discontent?

Lately I’ve been drawn to unpopular thought patterns in which I question all these little sayings and wonder why I feel an aversion to them.  Shouldn’t  I want to do something I’m totally passionate about?  Don’t I want to be blissful?  Okay, reach for the stars. . . that one has never made much sense to me; not even when I was little.  Maybe I’m too literal but that looks weird if you try.  It only looks cute when you’re two.

I feel like we might give all our credit to only the underdogs of our culture.  Take for example the untalented kid who decides to join the team and when he gets a home run the crowd stands to their feet cheering.  I like those scenes of the underdog winning, but why is it that we feel gross when we see the other kid who has the talent keep succeeding by literally hitting the ball out of the park every time?  Don’t we resent that kid and call him lucky?  Why are we not inspired by him and want to share his picture all over Facebook with sayings like “if he can do it so can you”?  The other kid who didn’t seem to have what it took but did totally is cuter to talk about.

I feel like we have this idea that you need to be passionate in all you do all the time so therefor only pursue what gives you that feeling.  I also feel like this idea is why most people feel guilty for what they do that doesn’t involve much passion on a daily basis.  We feel that we’re the ones missing out if our jobs aren’t what people want to see on Instagram.  I think we have been cultured to feel like the moments in our life that we don’t want to post about are not worthy of praise and for that reason we are on the wrong path in life.  If we have a talent that isn’t from a source of passion but rather from hours of discipline and work we have a tendency to look at it as lesser grade of gifting?

Have we misplaced value with passion?  Where has the word dedication gone in our daily vocabulary?

I don’t think we should be in loveless, soul sucking work.  If you really don’t feel like you’re in the right place than trust your discontent because it’s your gut telling you that you have settled for something safe and that could lead to an unfulfilled life. You know when you are in the wrong place and if you are in something that has caused you to lose sight of real goals than get away.  But consider what influences you in your understanding of being in a job that is right or not.  Do you think public servants are in public service because service equals consistent passion, or is it that they have a dedication to serve others despite of the dispassionate moments?  Do you think case workers in child protective services go to work everyday saying that they’re passionate?  Or maybe do you think it’s because they’re committed despite the good and the bad feelings that arise daily?

Maybe we could trade out passion for value.  What if we pursued value?  I sincerely feel that if we can find ourselves in something that is pouring out into the world what we are called to give than what will be returned to us is passion and joy.  Maybe we’re putting the horse in front of the cart by saying “pursue your passion”.  By handing in the passion card you aren’t giving up on anything but rather you are realizing that life is about so much more than what we are feeling.  Life is about choices in which we can garner feelings as a direct result of what we give.  Passion comes from hours of work that is motivated by the value we add to others and to our own lives.

So don’t give up on yourself by comparing to others on social media.  Don’t look down on who you are because you’re not the perpetual passion energizer bunny.  Instead maybe adjust your lenses a bit to see that you have what it takes to be exactly where you need to be by realizing what value you add.  If you feel like you’re in a spot where your talents aren’t being utilized than go somewhere else.  If you feel like you can add so much more value than what you are than put in the two weeks notice.

Before you can feel passion, maybe you need to first give, recognize and add your value to the world around you.

With so much love,

Sara