the lesson of the arrow

25 Apr 2015 spirit + soul

if i am honest with you, then lately i feel as if i have been completely unfocused. and, by lately, i mean about a year and a half. yes, i have been doing things that i have loved and living from my soul: writing, photography, blogging. and i have been doing it all with the hopes of making it my full-time way of making money. though, i haven’t been successful in that, nor have i known exactly how to make that happen.

the bottom line is, i have been doing things i love, but it feels like it has been without a clear focus.

what i have been lacking is a sense of purpose. that underlying, foundational thing that connects and gives meaning to everything i do. something that ties it all together. i haven’t felt that with me in a while… because everything i have been doing, i have been doing and enjoying and exploring and discovering, and yet, there has been a certain sense of emptiness under it all. i want my life to be a connected journey. not just flipping from one fun thing to the next without purpose.

i am not sure if i am explaining myself well, or if this makes any sense to you, but it is exactly how i have felt since moving to the states in the summer of 2013. it’s like being a little lost and unattached. like experiencing and trying so much, that i am going in a thousand different (fun) directions.

what i need is a theme.

you know, like on a blog, or in a paper that you have to write. what is that one thread, that universal thing that runs through everything that you write in that paper? or what is the image or focus that you want to have on your blog that determines your layout, design, colors, and content? i need something like that.

so, i’ve been bee-bopping around in life, exploring the things that i love, and now that i am in sweden it has become clear to me that i have been missing my thread, that somewhere i forgot my truth, even if i have been living it.

now, the thing is, i haven’t actually lost my thread or my theme or my truth. i just have ignored or forgotten it. it’s been there all along. and, as i perused through my journal recently and looked back over the past year and half, i began to see my truth, that red thread, weaving itself in and out of everything that i do and am.

and you know how i found my way back to my truth? my purpose? my “thing”? through updating my resume/cv, of all things. 

yep, in that most mundane and boring chore, i translated my resume from swedish to english, and thought about the fact that i seem to make myself fit into every job that i am applying for, instead of letting me be the center. and i realized that i need to shift my focus. to say “this is who i am and what i have to offer” instead of ” you have this to offer and i am going to prove to you that i can do this.” it’s really hard to explain. but, it returns the power to myself, as the one who will seek out something that matches who i am, instead of letting all of the employers out there have all of the power and i’m just little old me trying to squeeze myself into their place.

anyway, as i worked on my resume, i spontaneously decided to add a little introduction to the top of it. only 3-4 sentences. just an opening, stating my mission basically. i had no idea what i was going to say, but just clicked away on the computer keys and out popped my very own purpose statement – complete with a red thread that has run all through my life. and it felt suddenly like everything was connected. that even the past year and half made sense to me, and i saw clearly, once again, the thread that has been running through my life from the beginning. i just had to be reminded of it all.

it’s my destiny. my calling. my personal legend.

so, what this all means to me is that i feel calm inside. way calmer than i have in a long time. especially since moving. this process of rediscovering my truth has given me focus and clarity. it’s made me feel like i haven’t lost touch with who i am, and who i have been, but i have only evolved.

and now it’s time to spring forward. but, with a very grounded, clear sense of purpose.

and that purpose affects everything that i do. including this website. as i get a clearer sense of how i might be of use in the world at this point in my life, i have this deep feeling that i want to lay down belovelive. that i want to move forward from it. what that means or how that looks, i have no idea. but, i will just sit with those feelings and see what comes of it. just like i will see what comes of my active job search. trusting that everything will be grounded in my sense of purpose… my desire to inspire + educate.

arrows

like a arrow , pulled taught, and ready to be thrust forward, i, too, am aimed + focused + ready to be let loose.

you know, many nature-loving spiritual traditions see the drawing and releasing of an arrow is a spiritual, ritualistic practice. the bow, from which the arrow is released is the place where dreams, thoughts, and creativity gathers. it is where we harness our potential by filling our quiver with all of our talent, knowledge and passion. and, you can guess, what the releasing of the arrow indicates: the perfectly aimed, focused release of all of those goals, dreams, creativity, and purpose towards its target. it is the archer’s will being released.

some people went a step further and marked their arrowheads with their intentions. the ancient celts of ireland wrote spells, and the sioux indians painted symbolic geometric designs on theirs.

the symbol of the arrow is something powerful for me right now. it gets at the heart how i feel. intent, determined, focused. but, there is more to it than just releasing and hitting the target.

there is work to be done with the drawing of the arrow too. it’s the focus that is in pulling the arrow back. this must be a calm act. a place where we quietly, intentionally draw all of our creative +intellectual inspiration together. it requires patience, cunning wit, intuition, openness, and a completely relaxed, yet steady,  state of being.

and then, we breathe deeply + release our arrow. and our spirit takes flight towards its goal.

happy weekend, lovely people! draw your arrow back and gather all of your thoughts and dreams and desires, and then let your soul soar straight to it’s goal!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

the arrows in my photo are two cherokee indian arrows that my love and i bought in the great smoky mountains national park in north carolina. they’re the real shit! 

8 comments

    • Liz says:

      Thank you! The power that I am feeling right now is so strong. And I am certain that chatting with you helped to spark it!

  1. Beautifully put and I can relate so much to this. You will find your way back and I will find mine.

    • Liz says:

      So glad that you found something to relate to in all of this. 🙂 Yes, you will find yours. We will all discover and explore new things in life, evolving and growing every day that we live. Wishing you peace and light.

  2. Great analogies and very thought provoking Liz. I must admit that I’m not surprised about the Eureka moment when you did you resume. Years ago I walked away from the job that I’d been seeking my entire career. I was working in London, had the corner office, a big staff, and should have been happy as a clam, but I wasn’t. There’s a book that’s been around for years and years called “What Color is Your Parachute” which according to the NY Times says: is about job-hunting and career-changing, but it’s also about figuring out who you are as a person and what you want out of life.” This book did wonders for me when I decided what I wanted to do next. This isn’t necessarily a recommendation for you, but if you follow the recommended process in this book, it forces you to do exactly what you discuss in this post. Good luck – Onwards and Upwards! ~James

    • Liz says:

      Thank you so much for sharing, James. Wow, I know that it must have been such a freeing to follow your soul. The time that was the changing point in my life was about 7 years ago when I left my safe, secure, job that I was really good at. I sold everything, moved to Denmark with no job, and just started over. Seems that as each year that passes, I learn to put down a little bit more of the expectations that I put on myself. But I suppose that is all a part of living life, of letting go of the layers, and becoming more and more who we are meant to be.

      I have never heard of that book… so I am definitely going to look it up. Sounds right up my alley. Wishing you a beautiful last week of April! And, thanks, again!

  3. carissalick says:

    Great post. I can’t say I 100% relate at the moment, but I definitely understand what you mean. I was at a bishop’s retreat last week for those being commissioned/ordained this year, and one thing he had us do was try to write our own personal mission statement for how we see our ministry. I had never tried to do that before, at least in the context of a short sound byte style, but what I came up with at the moment was “to share the love of God with the stranger and to make the stranger a friend.” I don’t know if that’s exactly what I’ve settled on, but I do like it. The bishop suggested trying to get a mission statement down to something short enough that you could do it as a breath prayer, which sounded like a good idea since it’s a way of constantly reminding yourself of your purpose every time you breathe.

    I haven’t read it, but I’ve heard of that parachute book before. I think the Annual Conference was promoting it several years ago when I was younger, and both of my parents really liked it.

    Anyway, I just wanted to wish you well as you continue finding your purpose/arrow/etc. 🙂 Like someone else said, I can definitely see how working on a resume/CV would be a good way to think about and rediscover your central purpose. If you don’t mind sharing it, I’d be curious to read the few sentence statement you came up with. 🙂

  4. Meg Evans says:

    YES. Modern society has conditioned us to look at work in terms of competition, scrambling for any jobs where we can possibly get hired because they’re so scarce. But the zero-sum mentality is a large part of the reason why jobs are scarce. If more of us thought in terms of expansion and creating what we want to see in the world, rather than believing we have no options except to fight over a dwindling plate of crumbs, then we’d see a lot more possibilities opening up.

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liz

liz

slow living. photography. craft beer. spirituality. moon + stars. bare feet. road trips. mexican food. blankets. the ocean. journals. coffee. airplanes. forests. meditation. eating out. cacti. playlists. family time. zola the cat. lina, my love.

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