The Wisdom of the Fishermen

puerto lopez fish market

It’s difficult to write today. I’m overwhelmed.

I’m overwhelmed by the news of what is happening in the USA and its effects on the world.  I am not sure I can log into Facebook any longer when each morning I am greeted by one word - “Trump” - instead of finding a welcoming word or being greeted by news of friends and family.

Today I feel like running away, hiding, closing the laptop and shutting out the noise.

Do you feel like that too? I imagine many of you do as well.

But there is no running away or hiding. And there are no easy answers.

So I did what I do when I feel disoriented, when I can find no grounding in the normal places of my life.  I find refuge by the ocean as if the ocean might provide me with an answer to the breakdowns I am witnessing from a distance.

Fishing boats at sunset in Puerto Lopez

Fishing boats at sunset in Puerto Lopez

From the shore I see the fishermen going out to get their catch.  The fishermen stay out for days and weeks encountering all kinds of weather and adversity. Most of the time they return filled with a bounty of seafood. But there are other times when the sea punishes them for the audacity to venture out beyond the horizon.

There is something noble and courageous about these fishermen. They don’t complain to the sea when their catch is small.

They never demand that the ocean change to make them more comfortable or to make their lives easier.

They don’t decide to stop being fishermen because of the seasons of scarcity or even the loss of one of them.

No, they keep fishing generation after generation. They confront what is present and they adapt.  They respect the vastness of the unknown while working tirelessly to engage the life giving resources of the ocean.

They learn to accept what is in front of them and they never give in or give up.

They learn to navigate within the storms. They know that in the middle of the ocean where the horizon seems endless and infinite, where there is no land in sight, the only safe harbor to be found is the one within them.

I sat a long time on the beach watching the fishermen and listening to the ocean.  Like them, I have my own work, the one that demands I engage my life fully regardless of those days when I am not feeling all that courageous or wise.

And so I return to write this post to share with you the wisdom of the fishermen.

Life is what it is and there is wisdom to it that we cannot understand because it exists on a time continuum much longer than our human lives. This ocean may be here long after I am gone – and it may not. I cannot change that because it belongs to the unknown like the unknown beyond the horizon the fisherman watches from his boat. I know there is something beyond but I don’t know what that is.

But I’m here now.  And here in this present moment I can find my grounding by connecting to what is true for me.

From that truth I can take action understanding that my results may be fruitful or meager but what counts is that I maintain my purpose and not give in or give up.

For those of you feeling weary, tired, frightened or confused, pause and breathe into your truth and know that here within the soul of your humanity you will find your ground no matter what is happening around you. And then you will know what you have to do.