Instead of shooting arrows at someone else’s target, which I’ve never been very good at, I make my own target around wherever my arrow happens to have landed. You shoot your arrow and then you paint your bulls-eye around it, and therefore you have hit the target dead centre.
The days grow short. Nights are cold and mornings misty and moist. It’s the time to withdraw into the household, cook to keep the house warm, read for pleasure, and sleep long nights. And think about this place, and the people in it, and the people who aren’t in it yet but who will be… who knows… maybe in 2011?
Some kind of shift in energy seems to be underway. The old storylines keep their hold, but they start to feel worn thin in places. At time you can see the light of something else showing through, or so you think.
We aim our arrows at other people’s targets, but the payoff grows less each time. We can make our own targets and aim at them; but surely, after some time has passed, we won’t remember why we put them there in the first place.
It might be time to call the arrow’s stopping-place the target, and see what it means to have scored the bulls-eye by landing there. Looking around, you can see that many have been doing this all along. For one thing, you always win. For another, you get to ask yourself each time why this was a winning shot — why even just to shoot was already a victory.
This way, no one has a reason to stand aside and only watch. The game is about taking the next shot, not counting the score.
I’ve started viewing both optimism and pessimism as spectator sports, as forms of disengagement masquerading as involvement. Both optimism and pessimism trick me into judging life and betting on the odds, rather than diving into life with my whole self, with my full co-creative energy. I think the emerging crises call us to transcend such false end-games like optimism and pessimism. I think they call us to act like a spiritually healthy person who has just learned they have heart disease: We can use each dire prognosis as a stimulant for reaching more deeply into life and co-creating positive change.
Sometimes, in the evening, now that the evenings darken early, I walk around the neighbourhood and see the uncanny flicker of television light from the insides of the warm quiet houses. Every show is optimism. Every show is pessimism. Every show is stay inside, keep watching, engage, disengage, close the curtains. It’s cold and wet outside.
We’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that the outcomes are the most important thing; hitting the bulls-eye on someone else’s target. No wonder so many drop out for fear of falling short. For fear of making a fool of themselves. For fear of being the nail that sticks up and gets hammered the hardest.
This may be changing.