Heard the one about looking at the arrow or the finger instead of what it’s pointing to? You know – it highlights the need to look beyond the pointer to the reality it indicates. Well, I recently heard a twist on this. Sometimes we not only fixate on the arrow instead of the target. Sometimes we grab the arrow and stick it in our foot! YOOOWWWOOUCH!
PAIN! When we do that, we not only have missed what the arrow pointed to, but we are now all tied up in the pain we have caused ourselves and jumping around and in need of medical assistance! What a lovely distraction from whatever our goal or direction was!
For whatever reason, we humans get entirely mussed up at times. We grow afraid of our own goals, hesitant to set off in the direction that every arrow points to, restless and so unable to focus or quiet, and generally uncooperative.
For those canine lovers among us, it is the equivalent of the dog chasing its tail. Or, better yet, a couple days back on America’s Funniest Videos there was a clip of a dog trying to chew a bone. But her back left foot would raise up and tense into a claw that slowly approached her face, as if to attack! And the dog would growl at the clawed foot as if it were an external and very real threat. Every time it settled to chew the bone, this errant paw would raise, approach, threaten. Comical? Absolutely! An interesting commentary on things human? Definitely.
I wonder what errant self sabotage you or I might identify in ourselves today. What is the internal enemy? A thought pattern? A fear or pattern of fearing? A habitual self-slap? An excuse so old we don’t know its origins? A voice from an authority figure from the past? A child’s voice convinced no change is possible?
Whatever stops us from taking peace-filled steps forward and paying attention to the arrows should be noticed. Perhaps it deserves some support and attention. Consider finding a companion or friend to chat this through with. Being willing to be visible to another in these areas, and to be accountable to steps taken differently – this can be invaluable.
Today, even if you and I can’t seem to follow the path ahead in a straight line for whatever reason, let’s try not to grab the arrow and hurt ourselves with it. The pain we experience may create more drama, but the journey doesn’t have to get complicated by our own self-inflicted distractions. Breathe. And start again. And bring curiosity about the arrows and the directions ahead.