Tag Archives: NWA impact investing

Knee Deep

There is no place I’d rather be, than knee-deep, with a stick. A pastime, needing not the roar of a crowd, I do it for myself. No need to wet a line or feel tension on the end of my cane, just as content, with pen and pad, whilst leaning, next to the river.

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Of contentment, I enjoy watching a good leaf travel downstream. Harvesting fish, with a blade creating Nigiri Sushi or fried crappie. Natural beauty, picturesque landscapes, pleasing aesthetics, the mind can rest, rejuvenate and be left only to wander.

Fishing the flats of the Ocean, chalk streams of foreign prairie lands and alpine snowmelt. These are my homes. A place where there is nowhere to go, because I’m already here.

Water, never judging, always accepting, the source of life. Covering seventy percent of Earth and Newborn Child, life and water are synonymous, like joy and fishing. This is where I belong.

God created water and Fish before man. Jesus and Hemingway fished and so does my tribe. There is no place I’d rather be, than standing knee-deep waving cane.

Images of me holding a tiny rod and a green 2.5 gallon bucket beside my grandfather and his old blue truck are my first memories. The only thing ever in the bucket was responsibility and I owned it. The bucket and I were pretty tight in those days and I continue to cherish responsibility.

I remember fishing with my father for the first time on a reservoir at the family farm in Southeast Arkansas. He, telling me stories about being my age, having to prime an old hand pump with water for it to work. He talked about the dead heat of summer, dripping sweat. He’d pour the water it in, pump and repeat until finally water started trickling out the spout. Then he’d do it again and again until it poured cold, fresh water to quench his thirst. What I learned that day is you get out of life what you put in.

I remember teaching my best friend to fly-fish in the Spring River. We’d ride backroads, and visit hours on end about life, listening to our favorite music, singing. Our third trip he started to get the hang of wading knee deep, waving cane in the swift, cold water. He’d load the tip of his fly-rod, patiently wait for the line to unravel and extend from a tight loop to a straight line, watching it behind him until he unloaded the tip and the fly changed direction across and up the stream. He stripped his line a few times straight towards his belly button and wham his first trout. He admired and respected the art. After releasing the fish, he retired to a shade tree with a Hemingway book, pad and dull pencil. We fished many times after this, never did he cast more than a few minutes before retiring to his shade tree, watching me, his book, his pad, nursing a smoke and iced wine. My friend died a few months after he landed his first and only fish, the most glorious rainbow, a scrawny little stocker fish, my favorite fish of all time. The rainbow taught me to appreciate the small things in life.

Six years ago was born my first daughter. When she was a week or two old we took a family trip to the lower Norfork tailwater in Northern Arkansas. She had become one with me. Often packing her on my front with a Baby Bjorn, cooking and such other fine chores I want her to learn at her spongy-brained age. This day, at three weeks old, we fished. Papa and his baby girl. Down the mountain to a floating dock, I dropped my fly into the cold, fast moving river and stripped line, watching my fly float naturally down the stream sliding beneath the fog gently lifted by the warmth of the early morning sun. Flicking my wrist, my fly finessed up and across the stream, I mended for a natural drift. We were shut out that morning, but I gained my favorite fishing partner on Earth. I learned unconditional love and what matters most to me. An hour I’ll never forget.

This past week I met my oldest sister after a long, hard week of work and personal strife for both of us, we met at The Rail in Rogers, AR. A beer, some shanks – skipping the small talk, we walked to the FLW event near the farmer’s market. No escaping the familiar aroma of fried crappie, a family favorite we’d shared together for over 41 years. We made our rounds to every vender, listened to blue grass, danced a bit and finally got around to the small talk. Checking out the massive rigs of boat, trailer and truck packages beaming the brand of their sponsors. At this moment, last week, I was reminded who loves me most and the fact much of this realization revolves around fishing. So, I vow today two things. Do more of what I love with whom I love most. It matters.

travel (ck backpack spain)

Charles Kochel is a fly fisherman currently exploring the natural streams of the Ozark Mountains.

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Finding Yeshe’

Alone, writing in my journal, my server met me with gentle eyes, speaking with a servant’s heart.  Connecting immediately and having moments of deep conversation.

Leaving, he follows me outside and asks, “What are you doing in town?” We talk about mutual friends, the nearby, self sustaining, Circle Yoga Shala, where I was staying the night, and then, he invites me to the next days sweat lodge. As I start to leave, he said, “They’ll know me as Yeshe’.” and that was it.

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The next day, I find a Monk in maroon and yellow wraps, chopping wood. Beads of sweat rolling down the sides of his face, focussing entirely on the task at hand. This is Yeshe’. Whether washing windows, dishes, chopping wood or in deep conversation,Yeshe’ is always in the present moment.

After a long, hot sweat lodge, a joyful potluck with friends and a few tears shed from the opening of chakras (or just plain sweating out every thing I am), we sat atop the back porch of Circle Yoga Shala’s barn studio watching the sun set beneath Mt. Shiloh. Respecting one another’s presence, Yeshe’, a Buddhist Monk, and me, a corporate impact advisor, helping one another manifest a dream of what matters most to us.

I ask him about his understanding of wealth. He says, “Wealth is more than just how much money you have. Money is purchasing power. Wealth comes from your own definition of inner values. The sum of your talents, creativity, dreams and fears. It is all the qualities that are uniquely yours and make you happy – therefore, determining quality of life.”

As with all my clients, I ask, “What matters most to you?” He took a deep breath, in through his nostrils and exhaled our his mouth. “Understanding who I am, what I want and what I need. Until I know this, I’m just spinning wheels of life.”

Yeshe’, knowing how to “just be”, was still and deep in thought. He listens carefully to me and everything making up his being – inside and out – taking it all in. His breaths rhythmic and slow, choosing his words with care, he says, “To be wealthy and free, I need scarcity.”

Despite my 15 years having conversations about wealth and impact, there are some stratospheres I just can’t fathom. Unlike most Americans and people around the world, Yeshe’s definition of wealth is like nothing I’d ever heard. Instead of building assets to become financially free, and making a positive impact on others and the world, he wanted to give away all his worldly possessions and retreat to the mountain top of his Buddhist Monastery, in silence, for three years. His own definition of wealth and freedom.

cowboy and monk

We talk for hours, me, learning more about Yeshe’ and he about me – and how we’ve become a product of the environment we created – our past, education, trials, tribulations, fears and dreams. We embrace and part ways with a clear understanding. A respect of where each individual is now, and where we want to be in the future and set a time and medium to follow-up on the next steps of how to create a “road map” of sorts, to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’.

The goal is to Minimize chaos, focus on what matters most and do more of what you love. The process is to prioritize what matters most. organize your resources and align them with what matters most. Most of all, simplify, an easily understood and doable process and plan to enjoy life.

Throughout the next year, Yeshe’ and I would communicate, update one another on where we are in our plan, ask questions, voice concerns and basically leverage one another as a sounding board and creative think tank.

Exactly one year later, February 2015, we met again, at Circle Yoga Shala. After the sweat lodge and potluck with friends, we sat inside the barn studio and filmed a conversation about manifesting our dreams. It was beautiful. Yeshe’ is beautiful.

Planning for Yeshe

The next day my family, wife and two daughters, met him at his Monastery. He showed us the sacred grounds, nestled deep in the Ozark Mountains near the Little Buffalo River. We prayed, feasted, and thanked God for the opportunity for Yeshe’ to spend three years in prayer for others.

Thank you,Yeshe,’ for reminding me of my true wealth, which is independent of how much money I have. Thank you for helping me realize the suffering on monotony and the beauty of diversity. Thank you, Yeshe’ for helping me realize who I am and what makes me happy.

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CHARLES KOCHEL lives in the Arkansas Ozarks. He serves a non-profit, helping people through therapy, education and support reach their full potential.

Charles owns Yield Wealth Management, the first Benefit Corporation, Motif Advisor and pure impact advisor in Arkansas. Learn more at http://www.yieldwealth.com or contact Charles at charles@yieldwealth.com.