It’s 1850 on a sunny day on the coast of Italy. Diana was excited for the coming fishing season, so she was up early. She had prepared a large amount of line and she had already weaved one large, fine net and had started on another.
Tony came down much later. He had a late night. He’d been out with friends, getting drunk on bad feelings and booze, as everyone sat around commiserating over their woes.
When Tony got to the beach he grabbed whatever line happened to be nearby and he rushed his way through weaving a net that was pretty sparse and pretty flimsy. Tony’s net featured very large squares. Large enough that a pretty big fish could just slip through.
As we listen to him grumble about how bad his previous season was, we start to understand why. How many fish could he hope to get with such an ineffective net? His net had too few opportunities to hold fish –he was strictly focusing on a really big, life-changing catch.
Meanwhile, Diana had put a lot of love and effort into even the little things. Her net was open enough to let the smaller fish through so they could grow. But it was far finer than Tony’s, and so she was bound to catch more fish.
Weeks later, they were standing on the pier weighing their catch. A very happy Diana had broken her personal record, and she planned to celebrate that evening with loved ones.
Meanwhile, Tony was going to the bar disappointed. He would spend the evening drunk with other lazy fishermen. Over time his view of the sea grew darker and darker.
Now, let’s leave Diana to her joy, and Tony to his tragedy, and let’s leap forward to today.
If were to now switch this story to being about gratitude and appreciation instead of fish, then the lines on the nets represent how much attention we place on capturing gratitude and appreciation from the world (the sea) around us.
Diana had combed the seas with lots of her attention and it resulted in her capturing the bounty of gratitude that she later invested in a joyful evening with loved ones.
Tony barely had any attention focused on capturing what he claimed he wanted, so he naturally ends up disappointed, which only further fuels his negative thoughts.
Diana is leaving from the same pier. Unless Tony starts to see that the issue is not the sea, but his attitude, his fortunes are doomed. No amount of fish can solve Tony’s problem.
Of course, even Diana could fail. We do not control the ocean and we do not control the fish. But we do control how fine our net is.
If we wish to be grateful, we only need to pay closer attention. By adding more lines to our net, we can easily discover that the world is an abundant place.
The question for everyone is; how fine was your net when you started reading this? And how fine will your net be for the remainder of today and this week?
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.