If you’d have told me when I was a kid that I’d have a love of archery I’d have said no way. Outside of riding bikes and swimming in the summer, I’d never aspired to athletics. When I met my husband, I married into an outdoorsmen’s world and we joined the Oakland County Sportsmen’s Club. It was there that I learned my love of archery. As I watch my grandchildren learn and love this sport, I’m grateful for the experience because archery has reinforced some key life lessons for me, as I hope it does them.
Be Present. To focus on shooting a flying object with a sharp tip at a circle the size of a silver dollar 60+ yards away, you have to let go of whatever else is going on at that moment. When you pull back on that bow, breathing, calm focus allows you to have the best chance of hitting your target. I loved that showing up for my archery league allowed me to both spend time with friends, and let go of whatever the day brought to focus on improving something that was fun – my aim and abilities. When you’re in a rush to move to the next thing on your list, where is that moment asking you to be present?
Set Your Intention. I can come in and compete with everyone else to get the best score, but that defeats the purpose of being present. Instead I come with a clear intention for my practice. To focus, learn from each shot, do my best, and have fun!
This is not much different than setting an intention in our day. At the beginning of the day try setting an intention for the blessings you will receive throughout the day. A smooth commute to work, acing the test in school, checking off all of the errands you need to run with ease. By setting the intention you’re telling your brain what to expect, and we typically see what we expect.
Let Down. Let me be fully transparent – I am still learning to do this. Letting down means that you’ve knocked your arrow, pulled back and are aiming when you realize something’s not quite right. At this point you can let your bow down. I’m always a bit afraid to do it because I’ve lost my arrow to the floor before and it feels like I’m going to lose control of my bow. It takes control, strength and in my case courage to do it. Ever feel like that in life?
How does it feel to let down on a goal? When might it be necessary to let down vs. push through? It’s important to understand that letting down doesn’t mean giving up. It simply means taking the time to stop, breath, realign and begin again. Maybe a project at work needs a reset to get back on track, or you’re not feeling the best about a school assignment and need to take a moment to adjust. It’s fine to adjust. It only means we’re applying what we’re learning.
If you’re interested in how you can better align goals to your purpose and intent watch for my upcoming workshops. In the meantime, here’s to letting down in order to aim for your goals with intent and purpose!