Last weekend I earned the title “Maid Marion”, I earned it from being the first of a group of four to shoot an apple with an arrow. It wasn’t my first time shooting but neither am I an experienced archer.
We were having some fun in our back garden when we decided to use an apple as a target. I started off well and not long into it redeemed my prize and chosen title. I could have chosen Robin Hood but decided to leave that title for one of the guys.
After winning the gold, my shooting deteriorated to the point where I was missing the target board completely. I blamed it on the heavy bow which belongs to my husband. My muscles were beginning to tense up. I realized quickly that blaming external factors was an excuse when the most experienced archer among us noticed my posture. My body was tense, my posture had changed, I needed to breathe. This observation reminded me of what I had said to my seven year old before we started to shoot.
I told him: “Archery is very like life, there must be intention, action and detachment” and then I explained.
You must identify what you want from life, you must desire it for your personal reasons and not because someone else wants you to have something or wants you to be a certain way. Take the example of learning to skateboard, if you decide you want to be a Master Skateboarded, that is your intention, then the next step involves the action.
There must be action, goals without action are pointless. When you know what you want to achieve you must them do everything that is within your power to achieve what you want. If you want to be a Olympic swimmer, sitting at home dreaming about it is not going to get you a medal. Training, learning and competing is what is necessary and without this action you will achieve nothing
Detachment is the letting go, letting go from the outcome. You have identified your goal, you have worked hard and done your best to achieve it, but then you must let go and accept the outcome. Obsessing about it or worrying will not achieve anything other than increase your stress levels.
My experience with archery reminded me again of this lesson. I shot the target early on and therefore felt pressure to repeat my prize winning shot. My attachment to the outcome of hitting the apple again caused my technique to deteriorate and my accuracy to suffer.
When I identified the tension in my body I was able to breathe, relax and let go, and in that release, that detachment from any outcomes my body relaxed and my accuracy increased. I began to shoot better. I didn’t manage to hit the target a second time but that didn’t matter, I had learnt a valuable lesson and got closer to understanding archery and life.
Take some time to look at your own life. Are you attaching yourself too much to a goal. Are you perhaps wishing for something to happen in life but not doing anything about it? Your dreams won’t come true if you don’t’ make them happen but equally as important is not to make this your sole focus in life. Set the goal, do the work and then separate yourself from the result.
As the age old saying goes: “Whatever will be will be”
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