In his most recent book, The Archer, Paulo Coelho defines the archer’s target as “the objective to be reached.” He reminds the archer: “You were the one who chose the target and you are responsible for it.” (p.43)
Coelho further instructs:
“If you view the target as the enemy, you might well hit the target, but you will not improve anything inside yourself.” (p.44)
Reading these words gave me pause and made me question how many times in my life I made my target the enemy. How many times I made my objective another item to cross off my to-do list opposed to honoring the intention of my choosing.
When I make my target the enemy, I am more likely to complain and to succumb to frustration. I also am more likely to blame another or a set of circumstances if things do not go well – completely ignoring the fact that I chose the target. My reaction is one way to respond to adversity.
This reaction also is unconscious and perpetuates incompetency. In other words, when I do not accept responsibility for my choices, when I get stuck in my victimhood, then I do not give myself an opportunity to change. Can anyone else relate?
If so, I offer the following little guide, something I use myself, to help me change my perspective about my target. Let me know if this guide resonates with you or if you have some additional suggestions.
Reacquainting yourself with your target: A guide to getting unstuck
- Bringing consciousness to your reactions is the first step to getting unstuck. As Coelho shares in The Archer, “Use your bad moments to discover what makes you tremble.” (p.85) You may not always know right away, at least I don’t, why you are reacting in a particular way. Give yourself time to notice what is happening. Observe your bodily sensations. Pay attention to the internal messages you are saying to yourself. Notice what feelings are present.
- Be with your observations and ask yourself: “What are these observations here to show me?” Quite often my anger and resentment mask my underlying fears, worries, and hurts. When I make my target the enemy, I often do so as a way to avoid what is really upsetting me. I pretend someone else is responsible for my choice instead of owning the fear, worry, or hurt motivating my choice. As Coelho writes: “the gesture of shooting something over a distance provokes – paradoxically enough – a return to and an encounter with oneself.” (p.91) When you take responsibility for the target, then you gain a deeper understanding of who you are.
- Trust your inner knowing. Once you have brought consciousness to your behavior, you are now free to choose what you really want. With clarity comes the ability to act on your truth. When you redefine your target, you can choose peace. As Coelho states: “Once the arrow has been shot, there is nothing more the archer can do, expect follow its path to the target. From that moment on, the tension required to shoot the arrow has no further reason to exist.” (p.109) Knowing you made the best choice and accepting responsibility for your target means you no longer have to hold the tension perpetuated by your fear.
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.