Karen Lum: Fly-Fishing and the Pursuit of Self

“[Fly-fishing] is what I go to when I am looking to get re-centered and re-grounded… and in a way to re-wire myself back to the most authentic parts of who I am.”

- Karen Lum

What do you do to get connected to yourself and be present in the moment? 

Some of us may practice yoga, or meditate, or swing dance, or paint, or run marathons - whatever it is, the activity gets us back to the essence of who we are, and gives us a break from the complexity out there in our daily lives. Today, I’d like to introduce my friend, Daring Darling, boss babe business consultant and trainer, mama, and fly-fishing extraordinaire, Karen Lum

As a self-described “Business Co-Pilot” based in Bozeman, Montana. Karen works with individuals and teams across the country through coaching sessions, facilitated workshops, custom training development and more. She was first introduced to fly-fishing through her college boyfriend, and post-breakup, found it was something she really missed.  So she rallied a group of girlfriends to go camping (she figured that might be more convincing than a fishing trip) and did some serious fishing once there. This turned into an annual road trip for her and her friends to Montana from the Pacific Northwest each summer  to camp and fish, all through the mid-90’s. Fly-fishing became Karen’s proverbial “happy place.”

The pull of the great outdoors proved so strong, in fact, that in 2000, she moved from Seattle to small-town Montana, working remotely from her job in corporate America and became completely immersed in the culture of fly-fishing. Summer found this woman living in a little rented forest service cabin in Yellowstone, while she worked in a fly shop on sabbatical from her day job. How’s that for daring, ya’all?!

“We have to come back to the reasons we work so hard and to the activities that fill our soul in the most complete way…”  

- Karen Lum

For Karen, fly-fishing is a place to do the often-difficult work of freeing her mind and sinking into her true self. As someone who admittedly struggles with yoga and meditation, the river is a place where she can access calmness and inner quiet. As she explains, creativity and inspiration are often found when we seek more space, relax into life and laugh more - and fishing is her access point to all of this. 

Why? Because it’s difficult. 

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It’s not an inherently graceful practice and amidst the tangle of fishing line knee-deep in a rushing river, one can find themselves pretty darn frustrated. But this is where the magic lies. The weather is never the same, the river is never predictable, your body doesn’t always respond the way you want it to. And yet, casting a line, settling into the moment and learning to be is the challenge...

What I love most about Karen’s approach to fly-fishing is that it’s not actually about the fish (even though she LOVES catching fish). It’s about the pursuit of something  - whether it be stillness, relaxation, connection, or just space itself - whatever it is you find that you need out on the river. This analogy is a wonderful way to think about any self-care practice, right? I mean, yoga class isn’t always about getting into a perfect crow pose; it’s about the pursuit of connection with your body, with your breath, with the way your body moves and the practice of making it all happen.

 Karen’s fly-fishing workshop this September will help reconnect us to the natural world, have us laughing at ourselves and with each other, allow us to sink into the moment and sit quietly with who we truly are. This is what it’s all about, my Daring Darlings! Below are the specifics that will be covered.

  • My love for fly fishing & how it serves me

  • An invitation to practice and discover

  • Introduction to your tools (tackle)

  • How to string up your rod (and why it matters that you can do it yourself!)

  • Casting 101

  • Reading the water

  • Watching your backcast (analogy for life!!!)

  • Matching the hatch

  • Tying on your own fly on (not to be confused with “tying one on”)

  • On-water time - in the pursuit of contentment (and fish)

  • Small group discussion

  • Resources & Recommendations to learn more

I hope you’ll join us with Karen on the river at September’s upcoming retreat to pursue being in the moment, leave judgement behind and play. Get more information here, or sign up!

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