Well, I’m back to real life. Still in speaker shock – which I learned from Andrew Hyde is actually a thing – but getting back into the groove.
I flew back to Bozeman from Denver on sunday. I spoke at TEDxBoulder on Saturday, after a month of crazy writing and prepping and memorizing. I fished some this month, not as much as I’d have (usually) liked given the high pressure situation that is speaking in front of 2000 people, but I got in some days on the river.
I wrote a story too. I even submitted it to a few magazines (a first). I made it to a big conservation summit. My grandmother’s health was seriously in question. My sister announced that she is pregnant. It was a hell of a month, but I showed up. I made it to work. I was there for the people who needed me (mostly).
And I did the things that I’d set out to do. This was a big period of productivity, and as it comes to a close – I want to acknowledge those things. Speaking at TEDx was a huge goal that I set for myself back in 2011. I had no idea when or where or how it would happen, but I knew that when the time was right, I’d be there and it would be awesome. It certainly was that, and while there are things I would do differently if I had it to do over, I did the best I could with the tools I had at the time, and that’s really all I can ask of myself.
There were parts of my talk that I had to cut, and they are all saved in a drafts folder on my Google Drive, but one that I really wanted to include was about finding movement in stillness, and stillness in movement.
It takes work – to be still and just notice the things that are happening, to avoid reacting to them, to give them a chance to play out and respond appropriately – and that’s a big part of what I hope to get out of anything that I commit my time and energy to. It takes work to learn something well enough to get past the frustrations of figuring it out and have the action committed to memory in a way that allows the process to become meditation. I did it with yoga. I’ve done it with skiing. I’m doing it with fishing.
Whenever we get to a point of proficiency with something that we love doing, it transcends being something that we do and becomes part of who we are in a way that allows us to enjoy it and other parts of our lives on a deeper level. I don’t have to think about how I am on the river. I can get there with everything I need and not be distracted by gear or navigation. I can focus on the movement of casting, stalking, setting, fighting. And in those movements, my mind is still. It’s a beautiful experience – to interact with another living thing and to find a sense of internal calm through movement. It’s something that I hope to apply to my relationships with humans too.
There was more – the part about moving so many times and being afraid to stop, with a great slide from Googlemaps showing my route over the last ten years and further highlighting my life as a commitment phobe. There was the part about the river giving me that sense of movement that I crave, even when I’m standing still. But eventually, I had to call it good and hope that I’d done enough to get my message across. And now, I have to let what I did be enough. And rest.
For all of you who’ve supported me (especially my man), I certainly hope that I came through. I hope I came through for me too – since speaking in front of an audience that big is a damn trip and I don’t really remember anything that happened up there except that I made you laugh (and that part when I spaced my line), and that’s enough for me.
So cheers to September. To crushing goals and kicking ass and pushing the limits of what I think I can do. I have seen the possibilities of putting myself beyond my comfort zone and I couldn’t be more excited for all the things that lie ahead.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. For the support, for the feedback, for the inspiration. These are the moments that make everything worth it.