When the student is ready the teacher appears. As clichéd as that is, archery, my own personal yoga for type-A people practice, constantly creates a life lesson classroom for me.
This weekend was a lesson in trust. I have spent the last four months completing an almost Zen exercise in shooting three thousand arrows at a blank piece of cardboard while focusing my ability to pull through the shot, to let it happen. This was an extended lesson in teaching my physical body its abilities and my mental body that it was okay to surrender control to the automatic. Today, I needed to call upon trust to execute the work I had spent many hours working on.
Needless to say the first time you try out a new skill can dicey at best. While challenging any new skill, you may run into some speed bumps and hurdles to your success. This is where trust comes into play. Whether we want to finally nail that headstand in yoga class or bring our golf swing from the driving range to the eighth hole, we need to be patient and trust that our practice will show up if we give it enough time. So today, I learned that I still needed to dig deeper and trust myself and the hard work I have put into my shooting practice.
It can be a real downer when your results don't meet up with your expectations. You want to get to where you are going. You want the ball to sail down the green. You want that headstand in yoga without the embarrassing thud on the floor. However, frustration often ensues on these new paths. In my case, archery once again pointed to a much larger life lesson. While this comes as no surprise, it does not mean I always welcome a new lesson.
At lunch after the tournament, I announced to my friends, "I don't trust anything." And my wise friends immediately corrected me -- revising the story I was telling myself. The one began with, "You trust walking. You don't think about that when you do it. Start there." The other followed, "You trust writing. You have instincts there." And as they encouraged me, reframing my limiting beliefs into positive pathways, I thought about how I want to teach people exactly this -- how to revise negative self-talk with the same skills writers use to revise stories.
Applying this Story Principle, the art of revision one's experiences and beliefs, to my current archery challenge enables me to document the chapters of my life where my beliefs about trust have been formed. Yes, I have had many moments where I couldn't or didn't or refused to trust things -- and perhaps rightly so! But as my friends pointed out, I do have aspects of trust in my everyday life that I could call upon just as easily. The trick to the Story Principle is remembering that you are the author and the editor of the story. You can choose what stories to include in the anthology of your life. This moment with my friends also highlights why it is sometimes important to have the perspective of someone else to help you in this life-editing process.
So as I work out more on this aspect of trust and applying the Story Principle to my daily life, I will remember to be grateful for the life lessons as they appear and equally grateful for the supportive friends that help me learn even more.