I'm at an interesting point in my life. From every perspective I look, my life is coming together. Somehow this site is a reflection of that. I'm very obviously going through into a new arena: more exposure… maybe some fame (whatever that means)… more money… and I don't give a fuck.
Six months ago I had what I now believe to be a near death experience. Opinions vary on exactly what happened. There were three other people who were with me at the time. One believes that I relived my life, pre-birth onwards. Another believes that I was reborn. The third thinks that they weren't close to losing me, only that my subconscious completely took over and for about 4 hours.
It should be said that there was both a very large amount of chemicals involved and a realisation that my life was about to go off the rails due to external circumstances beyond my control. And I lost it. Completely.
For me it doesn't matter what happened precisely; in some ways I think they are all right.
There is one very important detail that stands out amongst all the confusion. I passed through a (or the) point of no return. Following separate waves of total ecstacy, soul-crushing hurt, intense and violent anger, and finally a fear of unfathomable intensity (throughout which I was floored and in the foetal position), I was completely convinced that I was about to die and I fought this with all my will.
I consciously realised at that point, that no matter how much I had been trying to get to a point of belief within me, I hadn't reach it and my mind believed that I was about to become extinct. Try to image being literally scared to death and you'll be spot on.
I didn't want to pass that line; I simply had no choice.
What this means exactly in spiritual terms I can't say for sure, but I do know that I was meant to go through this; I saw it coming, not in some morbid way, but in a "here comes the steamroller and I'm curious to know what happens when it hits and I wonder how I'll handle it when it does". I didn't handle it very well. I got to the point of death (in my mind, at least) and it completely broke me until finally I said, quite literally, "fuck it" and released.
This has had a profound psychological impact upon me. How can I possibly have let go? But let me tell you this: it has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I spent my entire life up until this point, living for some distant point in the future, telling myself I'll be happy when this or that happens, worrying about things that never mattered and all for what? For absolutely nothing.
And this is why I really don't give a fuck about superficial life anymore: there is nothing you can lose because you can never really have anything anyway. I've never been interested in money, or property and have no desire to work for either. Everything I need to make me happy is within me. I'm not interested in an ego; that would never make me happy, and come on let's face it, I cast flies. Big deal.
No, I'm not here to make a mark; I'm just happy to be here and to try, if possible, to put something good out. And it's so easy! Just by mentally dropping everything and walking around a garden or a park or something a bit wilder, I can feel great. I don't think that I ever fully appreciated life before. Colour, sound, touch, scent; a sense of being: I'm opening up and feeling life. It really is amazing, sometimes I am so filled with wonder that I feel and act like I'm six again (which can be a bit of a problem at times;-)). I have never experienced Spring like this before… and I never want to lose this feeling I have right now. It's a feeling of actually being really alive and both here and now.
This is why I flyfish and possibly why I always flyfished, only I never fully appreciated nor understood it. Flyfishing takes me to the most amazing places and (sometimes) that purer state of mind. Not only this, but as a flyfisher I am not merely an observer, but also a participant. Flyfishing grounds me, keeps my feet in the soil, but somehow lifts my head above the trees.
However I am having ethical problems with the process. Since my "experience" I have gone from being a fish-eating vegetarian (for health reasons) to an ethical vegetarian. I cannot kill anything anymore, I feel the same life force within me as I see and feel within all other creatures and I cannot kill them. Not only this but I now genuinely cannot understand how anyone else can do these things. In order to kill something you have to disconnect from your feelings; your soul.
I guess that most people are disconnected pretty much most of the time and living in an illusion that I once did (and still can sometimes) and that's ok, but there is something else and I now believe that this is why we are here. Anyway I know the arguments; I'm just following my inner self.
I have now stopped using both farmed and shot animals in my flydressing materials and now only using those materials which I find or are man-made.
Still, right now at least, I know within me that I am meant to do this flyfishing thing. If I ever feel (not think) that flyfishing is wrong for me, then I shall immediately stop doing it. So far every time I have put this out there I have been directed back into it. I am completely open about this, as in everything else I do, but flyfishing in particular does seem to be what I do.
I released my attachment to the Sexyloops website in January of last year. At that time I went through a personal financial crisis and I felt that the worry of it was too draining on me and that I should do something else (that something else was to take lots of drugs and get involved in -what transpired to be- two very bad relationships, both of which have been enormous lessons for me).
Since I let go of it, the site has established itself and become what it is now, in other words it has worked out (a lot like the rest of my life actually) and I do not believe that this is mere coincidence but rather that this has happened because I let go. It's not "mine" it's what I (and Steve) do, that is all.
I know that this creates problems out there. I live this path because I feel it within me; I enjoy it and some part of me really wants to put this love and knowledge of flyfishing "out there". Flyfishing really is such a wonderful teacher of life. It takes me into another world, one that is more real and more vibrant than any other I have entered. In this world I can really exist.
You guys out there who are competing with me, really don't stand a hope in hell's chance because I'm not competing with you; I'm just doing my own thing. My input into this website is merely me trying to discover stuff about life and myself. And if you want any help or advice then just let me know. I'm always happy to help if I can (I really do mean this BTW).
It's not easy, this letting go; it's the ultimate in controlling the mind and not allowing it to control me but I now know that the real me is inside of me and not within my head. I am the guy who feels. The guy who thinks was the old Paul. That was the illusion, life-on-the-surface Paul.
Last week I visited an ex-girlfriend in Germany. It ended up being pretty wild actually and at one point I was hiding in a flat pretending no-one was home: Chris (FFF instructor and man who knows women far better than I) thought she might have a gun. Anyway I thought that this was ridiculous and decided to find out; she didn't, but the point is this: she didn't recognise me (personality-wise) and I saw an old video of me and I couldn't recognise the "me" on there.
Do you know the movie where some dude enters the body of a chap who has died, after being taken away from his own life too early and then forgets that it happened? This could be me; I have changed so much. I don't believe this BTW, I merely point it out by way of illustration. Maybe this is how it all works and you forget your last life… would you want to remember your current one? I'd rather not, even as I live it; it happens, I accept it, it passes. Every moment is, or can be, a fresh start.
The thing is, that there are times when I really believe that I did die and am now living in heaven – so beautiful is this place. I can't seem to shake that belief and neither do I want to. This is the world in which I wish to belong.
Btw in case you are wondering I stopped abusing chemicals and subsequently found life to be far more interesting. I have no regrets however; it was an exciting path and now it's just getting wilder :-)
Now that I have put this out there I can let go of it.
To other things…
I don't own a flyrod.
Right now I don't even have a flyrod and borrow them. This is of course slightly over the top and has nothing to do with unburdening myself of possessions :-) Technically speaking I am probably one of the best casters in Europe and I have been looking for a sponsorship/advertising deal.
If it ever comes along you'll be the first to know; I wouldn't want you thinking my tackle advice is bias. Right now my rod of choice happens to be whatever 9ft AFTM 6 is knocking around and I'm now on the lookout for a cheap Taiwanese rod. Might even promote it on National Radio :-)
This has been going on pretty much since the Chatsworth fair last year when I turned up for the demonstration without a rod and borrowed one of Gary Coxon's. Chris Rownes was improving my hand casting technique in Berlin last week and I may very well end up rewriting the flycasting section taking out all references to flyrods... after all you don't really need one.
Talking about the Chatsworth I will not be attending this year. I wasn't invited and the rumour is that this is because of the way I dress.
When I told this to Steve he suggested that I (a) wear a penguin suit but no socks and shoes and (b) send them one of my socks.
But I'm actually thinking of becoming a transvestite... little black dress, high heels, perhaps a splash of red lipstick. Now we're talking classy :-)
The resurrection of the AAPGAI World Tour
Jim Curry (Apgai dude) has emailed me to say that he'd like to "put the band back together" and Sean (who is not AAPGAI, but one day would like to be) is not doing very much with his life right now and Steve Marshall (who is AAPGAI) thinks that it is a very good idea indeed if we were to descend "en masse" upon Ireland during the first week of May.
Sounds perfect to me. Next week Sean and I head up to see Jim so we can drink red wine, eat chillies and talk about it. There may be some fishing involved. Afterwards I shall be continuing on up to Scotland where there are fish to be caught and new tackle to be discussed (BigPaul will have to lend me a rod of course).
It's a mission.
Denmark too late
Last week I received the poignent observation in an email from my friend Toni in Australia: 2 fish in 2 days...you really are excelling
To which I quickly corrected her: 2 fish in 4 days actually... :-)
Toni: ...big effort...and how much does all this expertise cost?
Me (professional hat on): £40 per hour. Cheap at twice the price...
Toni: No wonder you don't catch any fish...just checked out the pic of the
day... and I don't think you'll find any fish there!!
But that's how they fish in Denmark, I was there visiting a professional flyfishing Viking-dude (Lars) and I was simply following his lead…
This week we are getting around to hitting the glossary section. If you would like to get involved let me know :-) And remember you saw it here on Sexyloops first (back in early December) ;-)
Thank you Carl for putting me up (up with me?) in Berlin, driving very quickly all the way to Denmark and even quicker all the way back down again and (of course) for giving me one of your jumpers :-)