Humor, Life
Comments 6

Removing the self.

ArcheryJan2014_cropLike I keep telling the WideEyedSpouse, the trick to fixing a series of bad shots is to take the self out of the equation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert on shooting a bow and I never will be one. The best I can hope for is less embarrassing scores in the coming months and years.


I can claim expert status on trying really hard and failing. Then trying again. In an annoyingly recursive cycle of going after the same goal in slightly different ways. The emotional, intellectual, and temporal investments for most of my goals are catastrophically high. The failure part is gruesome. Picking myself back up, reorganizing, icing down the lumps – these are my unfortunate areas of expertise. I sure wish crowing over victories and throwing celebratory champagne parties were my practiced skills.


Failing to hit a bullseye in archery is such a miniscule failure, a wee moment of disappointment in myself and my abilities. And it is repeated with rapidfire frequency. Twang. Miss. Twang. Miss. Twang. Miss. Multiple failures in under a minute. I feel my eyes bulging and the top of my head wanting to blast off. Inappropriate language hovers around my tongue, wanting to be said. And then, I get used to it.

Then I can remove myself from the moment. I remove myself from the preparation and the consequences. I shut off the bits of myself that fret, that count results before the action is taken. For about 15 seconds I live entirely in Now. Twang. Bullseye.

When it works, there’s a little surge of adrenaline. A chemical victory party. I stand for a few seconds and let that fade. Subtract the self. Twang. Bullseye. Please, I hope this works for the big goals too.


  1. Karen Matsinger says

    This is my favorite blog. Would you mind if I gave this to a few of my clients?

  2. Is that you shooting in the picture? If yes, you have not properly removed yourself, but I think I get what you’re saying. It’s very zen and quite excellent advice.

  3. Dyrewulf says

    I understand – my best tournament, ever, was shot while miserably ill. Turns out, since I shot on autopilot that day instead of overthinking everything, I did well, coming in with a 274 (this was a 28 target 3D shoot in NE Ohio, around 1993) That’s one of the reasons behind practicing for hours and hours, to develop the muscle memory to go on autopilot. 🙂

    • Thanks for commenting dyreulf. Maybe that’s what is happening here, muscle memory is starting to work. I’ve only been at this for 8 months…I just really like the sense of not worrying and just bowing.

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