Life Simplified

The core of human existence revolves around 5 principles. This is what matters most to us, yet we seldom set daily intentions to nurture our joy of existence.

Spirituality – The theory of dirt. What happens when you die? Do you turn into organic matter and that’s it, or is there something more? The simple belief (faith) that there is something more gives purpose in life, from here the spider web of religions present chaos, bitterness, and the ugly finger pointing: “I’m right and you’re wrong.” The fact that we are all a product of our own environment should present, at the least, a state of mindfulness opening our hearts and minds to other’s existence and beliefs. The business of hyper-religious sects (radicals) polarizes our communication and our ability to listen and learn from others. My religion is very simple. My religion is compassion.

Relationships – Sharing life with others that we love and care about lies dead in the middle of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The roller coaster of joy and pain shouldn’t be shouldered alone. Without love and friendship – you only have spirituality and no one should have to go through life alone. Be cognizant of those that show up in the good times and the bad. Because if shit hasn’t hit the fan yet, it will – again and again. And those that matter most to you, more, those that you matter most to will help you through the bad times and celebrate with you the good, without motives. Life without ego is beautiful, live it.

Health – Your mind, body, and soul are your temple for living a quality life. What matters most to you cannot be fulfilled without health. The unfortunate part of life is that sometimes we can’t control our health. It is important to understand what you can control and take action and what we can not control and let go. This doesn’t have to mean carving out time on the mat for yoga or the gym; you don’t have to become vegetarian or vegan. Carving out time for simple tasks can be enough, like breathing, eating, hydration, and exercise. But what about nourishing our minds and our soul? How do we eliminate ‘monkey mind’ or slow the ‘ping-pong balls’ in our head? There are 3 things you can do for yourself that will make all the difference: Educate, Entertain, and Inspire. Another way to look at health is through the eyes of the 8 limbs of yoga.

Live Better by being mindful of all your actions

Time – It’s all we’ve got and the one thing we can’t get back. Time is defined as the indefinite continued process of existence. Even the definition blows my mind. We can’t control time, but we can control what we do with it. So, make the most of your time here on Earth. A simple structure for time can be prioritizing what matters most and do first. Organize your priorities and place them on a timeline. Simplify a doable and measurable process and plan to accomplish your goals. The question to ask your self is this, “Self, what matters most to me?” When you’re dead and gone, swinging your legs from the heavenly cloud placed just for you to sit, what do you want to see? What you see, starts now. Nurture the good, turn away (repent) of the bad and move on. Shrink your circles and give more to the people and things that matter most to you. Life is chaotic and time flies. Carpe’ Diem, Laissez les bons temps rouler, do more of what you love.

Freedom – Ouch, this seems to be our problem. Free from the daily stresses of life. Free from guilt. Free from overwhelming responsibilities. Total freedom is a state of mind and should be treated as such. No one can take away the freedom from your soul. If you prioritize Spirituality, Relationships, Health, and Time – Freedom will come naturally. Get out of the realm of more, more, more – bigger, and faster and appreciate what you have. Be content and live life. Some of the happiest people I know, don’t have much at all in the light of things, but the light they shine is brighter than the sun. These are my people. This is my tribe. Be Free and live the life created for you. Life is hard, but with a few simple adjustments, life can be enjoyed, appreciated, and lived like it should be. Enjoy the journey, it’s your life.

Charles Kochel can be found meandering the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, and sometime Missouri. I’m passionate to the point of fault about the things I care about most.

Fly fishing, writing, and spending time with my family and friends is all I really ask for. I don’t need too many ‘things’, but I’ve been with a lot and without a lot – and I must admit it’s better with than without.

Fact is, if a person has never been without, it’s difficult to appreciate ‘the with’. Life is short, live it and do your best. As long as I can look in the mirror and think, “Ata boy”, I’ll make it. It’s the times when I don’t like the person looking back at me from the mirror I know that change must take place. Good luck out there, stay safe, and do more of what you love.

Synergy of Healing Nations

exert from the Bible, written by St. Paul the Apostle

What if compassion reigns and the mantra of the polar divided becomes ‘Do No Harm?’ What if those without get help from those with and the Christian people listen to Muslim people and learn why they believe what they do and the Muslim people listen to the Christian people and learn why they believe what they do? Just like that, religion and spirituality will become one and the same. Respect for one another will rise up and bigotry will cease to exist.

“Life is dear to all beings. They have the right to live the same as we do.”


What if Corporate greed becomes philanthropy and inequality has mentors that truly care? What if all nations give peace a chance? What if all people give grace a chance? What if the healthy help the sick and the strong help the broken? What if we reset and try again?

When compassion rains down from the heavens above showering the suffering; pain will be washed away and we will begin to heal. Equality is not based on purchasing power, yet respect and honor – Namaste, ones inner soul respecting the others inner soul; together we will move mountains.

If people follow in the footprints of the good Saints, ego will be crushed like coconuts. When we concentrate on what we can control and let go of the rest, stress releases. When stress releases, pharmaceuticals are no longer needed for the everyday problems life presents. What if we give love a chance?

If we quit fighting long enough to break bread with one another and have conversations about what matters most to the other individual an education of humanity will rise up. Until we listen, and understand to the best of our ability the priorities of others that may not think or be the same as us we will continue to shriek the evil screams of the ugly thinking that the loudest person wins. When we quit prioritizing politics and put people first quality of life will skyrocket.

“Run” by George Straight

The fiery volcanos of hate and indifference will slowly converge into the compassionate waters until it cools, stops cold, and turns into immoveable rock and we will name it ‘Hate, the mid-ocean ridge’. When technology can be put aside and we focus, and listen, and learn, and speak with care – empathy will reign over sympathy and we can quit feeling sorry for people, instead we help them. When the cowboy hats and boots embrace the fairy wings and bright colors of the rainbow flag hypocrisies will cease to exist. When the radicals turn one hundred and eighty degrees and repent from walking outward, and move inward we will be closer together and together we’re stronger than the individual parts – this is the definition of synergy. Together as one we are not lost nations, but healing people.

Charles Kochel lives in the Ozark mountains of Arkansas. He fishes with a fly rod in the chalk streams without much care of catching. He writes what’s on his mind – sometimes it needs to be said, other times, it don’t. So be it.

Dandy and Flirt

Dandy & Flirt

There is a big trout named Dandy living just above the old Cotter bridge. A string of islands running north to south is covered and uncovered by the dramatic fluctuations of water flow. Dandy doesn’t care, this is her home, and she has all she needs, right were she is.

Dandy has an admirer, or stalker of sorts. He’s an old man that goes by the name ‘Flirt’. Flirt has been fly fishing for Dandy nearly a decade. He often sees her laid up near the bank, in the shallow water of the sun. More often he spots her wide back and dorsal fin in the seams of the broken water. Other times, she’s chasing bait fish, sipping bugs on top of the water, or cruising giant figure eight patters throughout the island waterways.

Flirt has an old green John boat, with a 9.9 Evinrude outboard motor pushing it slowly upstream. Up river and under the old bridge, he stops at the bottom of the string of islands where he fishes the big eddie and slack water. The islands tail off and the water becomes deep and stained a dark green. He throws out an anchor and the john boat floats down river a bit until it stops.

He picks up his fly rod, an old, beat up Loomis he inherited from a friend that passed away years ago, and threads a night crawler down, around, and up the shaft of the gold hook. He leaves a bit of the worm dangling from the point of his hook, as to mimic the worm was free and drops the worm in the cold, clear water letting out line slowly by pulling his fly line straight out. The worm drops towards the bottom of the deep hole and continues moving down stream about twenty-five yards until it rests on the gravel bottom.

He picks up a Walmart plastic bag, filled with a bit of ice and pulls out a cold Coors and cracks it open. Leaning back in his ‘captains chair’ he takes a long pull from his beer. Nothing much to look at really, just an old beat up, worn, cushioned chair in the rear, just in front of the motor, and an old man sipping beer, fishing. Other boats move by, some starring a bit at his rig and unconventional fly fishing ways. Mostly nice, expensive boats and skiffs, with big motors or long oars manned by long-time guides and new ones alike. Some slow down, as to respect and not make wake for the old man fishing. Others blow by at high speed, skimming the river’s surface in inches of water with their jet motors roaring and interrupting nature’s way.

He finishes his first beer, seemingly without a care in the world and reels in his fly line. He unthreads his waterlogged worm and drops it in the water thinking, ‘I bet he gets ate before he makes the bridge.” He threads a new, lively night crawler on his hook, sets it gently in the water and lets out line watching it sink downstream about 20 yards in front of the boat. He cracks another Coors and lays back in his chair.

He continues this ritual, like he has nearly every day for the past 10 years. 4 Coors, 4 worms, 4 different spots, fishing a bit closer to the boat with each drop of the worm in the deep hole. He catches a few fish here and there until the sun starts to set and then he floats down stream, under the bridge and starts his motor to load the boat. Most days, he gets off the water around dark, drives home, just a few miles away and rarely takes the time to unhook the trailer.

One Sunday afternoon in a light mist, with fog coming off the water, Flirt, on his third worm and third Coors dozed off in his captains chair. He woke to his Loomis fly rod banging the aluminum welds of his john boat and just like that, his fly rod took off dropped in the cold river and sank to the bottom. He knew, for sure it was Dandy and yearned to hold her just one time. Not today, Flirt. Not today.

“Not today, Flirt. Not today.

Charles Kochel can be found fly fishing the Ozark mountains of Arkansas and Missouri. He enjoys the outdoors, writing, and the culinary backyard arts of smoking.

He’s getting older every day, like the rest of us and time seems to be more important than it once was.

If you want to find him, look in towards the chalk streams for a man wading knee deep, waving cane.

Respect and honor our streams. Water and fish were created by God before man and woman.