No, not the castanet musical instrument but an honest to goodness real throwing net. It was the simple act of casting a net into the ocean that made me better understand those who get addicted to certain activities like gambling or lottery playing or even email, social media, or internet browsing). I was there trying my hardest to discover just the right wave, just the right area, just the right throw in order to catch something. It was the unbounded hope that the next cast might bring in “the big one” but actually after a while it was the thought that I might catch anything that kept me gathering and tossing the net.
Similar to a life that waits for the next big break, the next big promotion, and the next big…well, you fill in the blank. That “someday” will be “today.” That “maybe” will be “definitely.” That the next throw of the dice or the next lottery ticket will bring in the easy life that has been always sought.
And what keeps us throwing the net out? It is not only the hope but the re-stoked flame of possibilities when anything is caught in our nets. “If that is out there then there must be something more” or so go our vain thoughts. The next cast surely will bring in something bigger, grander, more fulfilling….until we catch it and then again dream of something bigger, bolder …ad nausea.
But we do feel better when we catch something though it is a short-lived feeling — like all of our efforts have been rewarded. We find a handy “pat on the back” from an external source and then realize that what we’ve caught is not quite what we expected or hoped for nor is it the conclusion to our adventure.
On reflection, the best times are those when the simple act of coiling the rope, gathering the net, placing the ropes just right in the hands, reeling back and casting the net with full body and mind focused on the throw is good enough. A catch adds flavor and excitement to the cast but it’s that intangible, internal driver to simply be in the moment, to cast the net without regard to whatever might be caught, that makes the effort worth the while. The appreciation of the exercise, the wave breaking on our legs, and the wind adding unexpected motion to our nets is more fulfilling than what is brought in the net. It’s at these almost Zen-like moments that the water temperature, sea roughness, rain and wind force, and tangled lines are experienced but do not detract from the art of casting a net.
So what nets care you casting? Are you concerned that perhaps you are not throwing the net on the right side or in the right place or in the right way or have you allowed yourself to submerse in the simple process of casting the net?
Time to gather, take stock and toss one more time just for the sake of the motion.
Casting a net but remaining separate and distinct from the desires of making a catch. Casting for the sake of casting (though catching something once in a while is a nice perk).