Slippage: The Elusive Arrow

An ARROW? What arrow? Time to give your imagination a rest!

Slippage:  an instance of not reaching a norm, target, etc.

The Collins English Dictionary definition doesn’t adequately express my observations.  I’ll give it a try:  Slippage: an instance where one person communicates on the frequency of AM while the other receives and transmits on FM.

The logo for FedEx, a company that provides “delivery to more than 220 countries and territories worldwide”, portrays slippage.

Can you see the arrow?  Apparently 20% of you will.  If this is familiar to you, did you have to be told how to see it?  Told how to see an arrow?  Blame slippage.

Slippage happens because most of us feel our lives are most significant – anything else holds a lower priority.  What we haven’t experienced we believe others can easily resolve in their own lives.  If it doesn’t affect us or our lives, it’s minor.


Did you find the arrow in that logo?  If you haven’t yet, don’t feel you’ve lost it.  I’ll give you the clue…

I wish my sister could show me her arrow.

She’s struggling with a life-long condition that blind-sides and ravages her ability to maintain a healthy chemical balance.  Her safety zone is the hospital – a love/hate relationship.  I hear, see and sense her fear, but I cannot feel it.  I have not lived the hell she experiences.  Nor have any of our other siblings.  We can have compassion, but empathy is beyond our in-experiential grasp.

A physical pain shoots through my chest when I try to imagine the fear she must experience.  I shudder at the thought of threatened loss of control at a time when control seems all that is left.  She does not articulate that fear, but maybe she cannot.

Imagine having one’s peace ride on a pill that eventually becomes ineffectual.  Hell hurls misery until a new brand, a new dosage, a new adjustment period successfully kicks in.   It may be weeks.

FedEx logo…my sister is like the FedEx logo.  She harbours an arrow most cannot see.  It’s so much a part of her being that she may not even realize we can’t see it.  Imagine the frustration when it’s so obvious to her?  How insensitive, unseeing and blind we must appear.

Slippage – AM versus FM – two separate tracks of information, both delivered from the same type of transmitter, yet neither is able to hear or feel the other.

My fabulous niece, my sister’s daughter, tells me that her mom will be given a day pass.  They plan to don their Easter bonnets and attend Easter Sunday Service where my sister will find solace and peace in the familiarity of her spiritual path.  Easter –  the height of Christian celebration.  Maybe it’s time for another miracle.  Maybe my sister’s arrow will blink sacredly at us, pointing our love in the direction, beyond compassion, to a state called empathy.

In Excelsis Deo


The arrow?

In both logos,

it’s between the “E” and the “X”.

Both are a call to action.


52 thoughts on “Slippage: The Elusive Arrow

  1. “In Excelsis Deo“ – one of the things I miss about Sunday services…chords can bring one to their knees.
    This is a beautiful analogy of your sister and the FedEx arrow. I hope she feels peace during the service.
    Happy Easter to you and yours.

    • Interesting, Victoria. Wonder what motivated the art world to call it “negative”…it’s the space that is there naturally. Hmmm – that gives me even more to chew on. Your presence feels like family. Hope you are enjoying a more managed pace…I suspect you are enjoying those links.

  2. You’re such a beautiful person Amy. This is such a thoughtful tribute of love to your sister. I hope she finds her arrow in the service tomorrow so she can move forward with dignity and grace.

    [I didn’t see the arrow.]

  3. Good Morning My friend.
    I found the arrow.
    After a while.
    do I get a prize?

    It must be ghastly for your sister.
    Like you I just can’t imagine being that dependant on a drug to make me feel.
    Or NOT feel.

    • Yeay Granny! Boy, if I was in Cape Town, we’d celebrate with a great lunch. I’d even commandeer a few friends to head over to Granny’s to help with a little packing. Or throwing out. We’d probably be a total nuisance. We’d second guess every decision to turf something!

      My sister is a determined soul. She’ll land the right side up – I’m certain of that – but I’m so sorry she has to go through this. I’ve got her wrapped in a Golden Blanket – along with my oldest sister who’s also having a helluva time with Alzheimer’s. Oi, Granny, life is built for the healthy. Yah…get out on your walks. I will, too!

      • I can’t walk today.
        A howling gale and pouring with rain.
        Jasmine is not a happy girl.
        I am meeting some of the bloggers for lunch the weekend before I leave…or is it next weekend…must check my phone….I think it IS next weekend.
        I have been lucky.
        Mex has been packing like crazy.
        Even my books…which didn’t impress me until I found one in a drawer that I hadn’t read!

        • The time has come… I confess I kept wanting to hear your plans changed due to some factor that played well in everyone’s hand. Your steady and stalwart gait has not faltered in spite of challenging events like Wendy, your health and your grandson’s first step into the madding crowd. You simply wrapped the extra matters into your stride and kept going. My heart goes out to your grandson, Granny. Oh we all know it’s essential that he take flight, but who likes the idea of a young lad fearing the loss of one person who was there whenever he needed to be close? Thank God for email, blogs and…well…Reality TV. Granny, get a producer! 😀

  4. You care so deeply to always be pointing us (who don’t see) every opportunity to move forward. I am glad your sister can enjoy the Easter service with her daughter among family, friends and things familiar. A lifetime of Easter Sundays does make things familiar.
    I do love your spirited description of your niece…”fabulous”.
    Yes, I finally saw the arrow. Thank you for pointing it out to us.

    • I’m an essayist at heart, Georgette. When fellow students used to groan over an essay assignment, I’d be happily sorting through the ideas bubbling frantically from within. My enthusiasm sometimes looks like a soapbox! Maybe it IS one on occasion – yike!

      My niece is an incredible daughter and human being. Hopefully I can be one of her surest and most reliable supporters. I see some familiar traits in her so watch that she doesn’t fall into the trap of thinking she has to fix it all. Or that she’s expected to.

      Georgette, I know you have the talent for seeing the arrows in others…

    • Good plan, Nancy. I’ve always been better at following direction rather than orders! A person needs wiggle room! I sense you are back in “Nancy mode” today. I glad – no one else can fill that gap! Or can I say that arrow?! 🙂

    • Much better. Thanks! I hope your sister will “rebound” quickly ~ sounds like her daughter/your niece is good company for her.

      And watching ducks never hurt. {{quack}}

      • Yes, I hope she does, too. She has a date with the surgeon on the 18th to remove some cancer from her breasts. It’s not the aggressive kind, says the Doc, which is a consolation, but not as much as when she can hear that it’s been cleared from her life!

  5. Sending hugs and healthy vibes to you and your sister! Wow. Hearing of another’s suffering is frustrating for everyone of course, but being into alternatives and holistics as a practitioner myself, it is a whole different level. I don’t want to assume she has tried anything other than conventional medicine – it may be worth it a go if she hasn’t.

  6. Duckies building nests in flowerpots…..what a wonderful thing to be able to share with your sister.

    I seem to have an abundance of golden blankets–you, the niece and your sister are all wrapped up in the love and healing. 🙂 Certainly played an important part for my sister, I hope you get a sense of the power therein. (pretty sure you do!)

    Tough times for her.
    Another dis-ease, just as debilitating and horribly misunderstood…..I feel for all of you. NO shame in the circumstances–she didn’t ask for this any more than the sister asked for cancer. Both SUCK. Both take tolls on the individual and the family……. *sigh* It just sucks. And I’m sad that she’s struggling so much right now–it means you all get to struggle right along with her….Sucks……

    But there’s hope.
    There’s always hope.
    And that duckie in the flowerpot brings me a sense of hope and light for her…….and for you.
    I’m glad the two of you were able to share the moment today.
    Extremely so.
    I know what it meant to connect with the sister today as she missed her Easter mass. Laughter happened and great joy was had–scattered with moments of “it SUCKS”… was much needed and I cherished that she wanted to, given the circumstances. Garbled speech, frustration at not being understood–but much laughter….you just cannot take it too seriously. I can’t. I have her in my life today and THAT’S what well and truly matters, yaknow?

    ((((((((((( Amy ))))))))))))

    Duckies nesting in flowerpots…… I WANT ONE! 😉

    • Well, Golden Blankets can just keep flying around, Mel. I’m so sorry your sister wasn’t able to attend Mass. It’s important to her so thank goodness you also shared laughter with a sister. I’m amazed at her even wanting to attempt speech over the phone. Guess she must have some of your same genes~ . Bundles of Love to both of you and your husbands. It really is a family affair, isn’t it?

  7. Oh my… really missed the arrow and it took me about five minutes to find it even with your tip.
    Thank you.

    Peace be upon you and your sister.

    • Thank you for the peace blessing. Gratefully received.

      Yah, the arrow. Usually I can spot this sort of thing when I’m alerted to something else existing. However, I couldn’t see this one until I was given the hint. Palestine Rose – I really, really like your site. I hope you will join the Occupy on a Thursday and share a message you want to give the world.

  8. Having my own “hidden arrow,” I don’t know who it’s worse for: me or the people around me who love me but feel helpless to do anything about it. I can find ways to manage through my “bad days.” They have to watch. I guess that’s their “hidden arrow,” isn’t it?

    • I remember, Lorna, you alluding to your “arrow” in one of your earlier posts. I’m not sure whether you were open about it or if I picked it up intuitively – either way, I caught a glimpse. I hope that you have long stretches of good feelings and thoughts – many more than tough times. I’ve sensed that blogging has been a welcome part of your life. Above all, Lorna – along with Love and peace, may you be blessed with balance. It can be such a lonely struggle so thank goodness you have loved ones who can watch and be there with steadfast presence.

  9. Your words always touches my heart. I just wish lots of happiness & peace for your sister. Thanks for making the invisible arrow visible for me.
    Me and my elder brother stay in to different countries. Although he is in USA, still I share every thing with him. It may be the brand of shirts I buy or the place I go with my friends or the hotel I go for dinner. I am having a feeling that, you have same kind of bonding with your siblings.
    Happy Easter Amy aunty. 🙂

    • Thank goodness for the Internet so we can share so many things easily and conveniently. My sister is an artist who has painted many minimalistic watercolours. I love how people can portray a whole scene with just a few strokes. She often paints my cards for different celebration. I love that gesture! She also writes poetry – has even been published. One of my favourite poems is one about our father’s hands. He worked with his hands his whole life. They were big, strong and incredibly gentle. Watching him hold animals or babies would take my breath away. His hugeness could soothe the most fragile…

      Thank you for your Easter greeting, Arindam.

  10. What an insightful, moving and wise post. So beautifully written too, and with great sensitivity. I love your observation,

    ” She harbours an arrow most cannot see. It’s so much a part of her being that she may not even realize we can’t see it.”

    It made me wonder if I have been overlooking possible arrows in those around me or perhaps in people I do not know so well and with whom I struggle to find an affinity. As you say, such arrows may offer an explanation that accounts for the amount of ‘slippage’ in our interactions with each other. Perhaps one way to avoid unnecessary hurt and angst is to try to remember that these arrows exist. Especially if communication is not smooth, it may be better to assume that one is there rather than take offense at anything the other person says or does.

    Thank you for this thought-provoking piece. Love and energising light to you both, with the sincere wish that your sister somehow finds a way to remove whatever it is that causes her to suffer so terribly.

    • Jinkspots, you so beautifully and so succinctly summarized the message! What attention you have given to a matter that we continuously “slip over”. Many thanks for your blessings to my sister and me. In fact, you are a blessing.

  11. Hi Amy, I am so sorry to hear about your sisters, but will put them both and you in my prayers. I will pray for God to give them what they need, be it healing, strength, peace. It is hard to get older, our lives definitely change due to outside circumstances. We must only handle one day at a time, for we do not know what tomorrow will bring. I am glad you have them wrapped in “golden blankets” Something is wrong with me because I still cannot see the arrow.

    • Thanks, Dee for your blessings. Try squinting as you look at the space between the e and the x of FedEx logo. It’s looking at the usual differently. I love challenges like this!

  12. She harbours an arrow most cannot see…I cannot help think that we all harbour such arrows Amy…it is at times like these when the need to see their direction is so vital that the inability to readily see and emphasize is so deeply felt…however it seems that you, your niece and the family are a huge source of support and love for both your sisters…may it always be so…and may it always be with this wonderful sense of love, care and laughter that is so apparent for what you write…

    Blessings to all of you…

    • I agree, Shama, we do harbour those arrows, too. It’s so important that we learn to speak up about them – loved ones may not ever see them.

      It’s very easy to assume they are as obvious to others as they are to us…speaking up takes skill and courage, but also practice. 😀

  13. Beautifully shared and thought provoking, thank you Amy. The arrow eluded me completely, so I’m grateful for the hint! Belated but special Easter blessings to you & yours, especially your sister, XO

    • My sister is still struggling, but she has all of us beside her. Some conditions are unrelenting and cruel. Thanks for your blessing, Naomi. Hope all is well with you and your family – 4-legged ones included.

  14. Amy, I do believe that you empathize with her. You are so acutely aware of her pain. And, just from what I know of you I suspect that you have felt her pain and therefore empathize. I would never have seen the arrow had yogi not mentioned that it was there. You are a wonderful presence for anyone to have within there lives. I surely am glad that we are connected. (((Hugs))).

    • It’s a balance, Raven, to be empathic without taking on the pain. As one of my teachers said, “What good is it to have two people suffering?”

      My sister, still in the hospital, phoned me this morning. She’s going for a walk with her son which will keep her in good stead today. She told me she is not worrying about her surgery scheduled for Wednesday which is good news. I was able to confirm that she does not have the aggressive form of cancer. (Aggressive or not…go away!) But she dreads the radiation that follows.

      But she enjoyed hearing about my grabbing a friend yesterday, who I caught still in her pyjamas at noon, and going to an organic food market called “Earth Candy”. Then I described our long walk – knowing my sister had one pending. Otherwise, it would have been cruel to mention!

      So, my brother and I will be there following her surgery. She’ll know we’ll show up like bad pennies! 😀

  15. So many of the world’s problems are caused by the AM-FM dilemma. And maybe the real problem is that we all think we’re the ones on the right channel. Your sister was born with a condition that she didn’t choose, and over which she has no control. Nevertheless, she sounds like a strong person, and she obviously has the support of her family. That makes her both lucky and unlucky. And in some ways, I suppose, that description fits all of us. If we could all just remember that, maybe communication wouldn’t be so difficult. Thanks for a beautiful post, Amy.

    • I love communication. I’ve had my eye and ear on it for years. I almost studied Communications at SFU, but after acceptance as an adult student, the strategies/affordability of living on my island and in Vancouver didn’t come together. No regrets. I like my own assignments…even though the pay is rotten.

      I have friends who tell stories involving various people. They throw out pronouns like birdseed and get frustrated when I interject with “Who’s she?” “Was HE Bob or Dan?” Every painful misunderstanding they experience is what I call “lack of preventative maintenance”. They won’t speak up or take the time to confirm they have been clear.

      I laughed when I read about a study done at UBC. They’ve found that trust levels are diminishing with texting. DUH!!

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