The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

 – William Stafford

 

Everywhere I go these days, it seems that people are looking for a deeper connection. For some, it’s a deeper connection with themselves. Others are seeking how to connect who they know themselves to be with the world around them. I love this short poem by William Stafford because it calls us back home to ourselves. He calls us back to the “thread” of who we truly are at our essence, at our core, in our soul. And he reminds us to hold onto that thread no matter what is going on around us. As long as that connection is strong, we will always find our way.

Yet there’s the challenge – to hold onto that thread no matter who we’re with or what our circumstance might be. It can be a great and valuable skill to be able to be flexible with life and flow with whatever is needed at the time. That is, as long as we are still holding onto our thread. Yet when we become flexible and accommodate others at the expense of our own values and who we truly are, we lose ourselves. Over time, as that practice becomes habit, we risk reaching a point where we can’t find our “thread” anymore.

The “thread” that William Stafford writes about is our soul mission or life purpose. It’s with us all the time, even if we aren’t aware of it. We’re born with it. When we know what our soul mission is, it becomes our “north star,” even when everything in the landscape of our lives is changing. People come and go, we move from job to job and maybe even from career to career, family structures change, yet who we are and why we’re here doesn’t change. Our understanding of it, the words we use to describe it, and how we choose to live out our purpose may shift over time, yet the essence of who we are fundamentally remains the same. It’s the thread that weaves all of the pieces of our lives together. It’s the thread that Stafford reminds us to hold onto.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.

Others won’t always understand us. They won’t understand why we need to do what we need to do. They won’t understand the callings of our soul. It’s OK. We won’t always understand them either. They have a thread to hold onto just like we do.

What if part of our commitment to our fellow life pilgrims is to encourage and support one another to hold onto our unique personal threads? To encourage and support one another to remain true to who we are and why we’re here, regardless of our circumstances?

That takes courage and trust, especially with the people who are the most important to us.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

By nature, life is an unfolding, constantly evolving process. In the best of all possible worlds, life is like an enormous and never-ending theater piece in which we all play supporting roles in one another’s lives. And at the same time, we’re playing the leading role in our own.

Find your thread. And then don’t ever let go of it. Hold on tightly enough to keep your connection, yet loosely enough to let your thread also continue to evolve. Then, you and your thread will keep growing together. In staying connected, you will not only find your way; you will also make a difference in the lives of others.

 

P.S. If you need help finding your thread, visit the Soul Mission section of our website under the Professional and Personal Development tab. There you will find my book, Soul Mission * Life Vision, as well as an audio workshop, intensive retreat, and coaching support. Soul Mission * Life Vision is also available in digital format.

 

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