This is letter twelve.
I’ve fully half-written this letter to you three times.
The first time it started with:
This letter is about liberation and experimentation, in that order. (That sounds a lot sexier that it will turn out to be. I totally understand if you want a refund.)
The second time it began:
If my nuclear family had a crest, on it would be a photo of an archipelago shot by a drone from miles in the air and the motto would read: Little Lonely Islands of Self-Sufficiency.
My third endeavor isn’t even worth mentioning.
Following through with each attempt would certainly have taken us down a scenic path, but none of them felt like what I wanted to almost-leave-you-with after all of these weeks.
Several days and one “shareable size” bag of peanut M&Ms later (unshared, of course, because everyone knows that “suggested servings” vary by mood), I realized that what I wanted to offer was an encapsulation of my whole approach to life, which can be summed up in two words: energy conservation.
But rather than sum it up with two words, I’m going illustrate it with 287 words.
So cuddle up while I tell you a tiny tale. (Regretfully, way back when, I didn’t make note of the name of the writer of this story, so I can’t give attribution.)
Once, in a far off land, there was a hunter – acclaimed for her skills with a bow and arrow.
Having studied with all of the teachers and having won all of the contests that her homeland had to offer, she set off on her steed in search of a master archer to help her refine her talent at an even higher level.
She searched for days and weeks and months without luck, until one afternoon, as she was riding through yet another forest, she noticed a particular tree. This tree caught her eye because painted on it was a circular target and directly in the center of the bullseye of that target was an arrow. A few trees later, she saw the same thing.
As she rode deeper into the woods, she encountered tree after tree with similar evidence of an archer with a gift of seemingly unerring accuracy. Surely whoever was responsible for this was the skilled and seasoned mentor she was looking for.
Finally, she came upon a little house. Leaving her horse to rest, she knocked on the door. Her knock was answered by an aging woman.
“Are you the archer who put those arrows into these trees,” the hunter asked.
“Yes,” replied the woman.
Elated, the hunter asked, “Dear madam, will you please teach me your technique for precision which you have obviously perfected.”
The woman stared at her for a long moment before shrugging her shoulders and picking up her bow and quiver full of arrows that were sitting by the door.
She walked outside, shot an arrow into a tree, put down her gear, picked up a bucket of paint and a brush, and carefully painted a target around the arrow.
I adore this story – and I think it’s entirely fitting that my Approach To Life includes a punchline.
Also, just to clarify: I’m the aging woman, not the hunter.
I’m the one shaping my life around my natural wiring and then hollering “Bullseye!”
I’m the one leaning in – hard – to the short list of what I’m good at and not worrying about whatever’s on the far longer list titled, Things I Suck At.
I’m the one always asking: How can I expend the least amount of effort for maximum results? (Sometimes the “least” amount of effort is still a LOT of effort. I don’t mind effort, but more-effort-than-is-truly-necessary is truly exasperating.)
I’m the one helping my clients recalibrate and renegotiate and experiment within their life to make it feel better and fit better. Helping them plug their mental, physical, and emotional energy leaks so that they will have more energy in their reserves… more energy for the activities and people they love… more energy to direct toward their dreams.
I’m kind of a Personal Energy Conservationist.
Less energy wasted. That’s the change I want to be – and to see – in this world.
In one form, energy conservation will help to save our planet, and, in another form, (I believe) it will help to save our souls.
Endings are almost always also beginnings, and our final letter will be no exception.
All of our previous letters are here.