No. 89

Mind-Body Balance


This was my weekend in Louisville. It can be summed in a single photo, even though the weekend was a collection of much more intimate moments, conversations with loved ones, discoveries of places and tastes.

My entire life I have been successful because I have developed a sophisticated, strong mind. It puzzle solves, it calculates, it over-analyzes.

But in archery, it fails.

While part of archery is about knowing what you’re doing, archery must be felt. There are days where my intuition kicks in and I find myself in this place of flow. I become the shot, from start to finish. It is like smoothly brushing paint across a canvas.

On other days, my mind takes over. It panics, it frets — and as a result, what I shoot is not reflective of the archer I know I truly am.

People tell me to get out of my mind, but no one tells me how to do it. There’s no mathematical formula to follow or proven method of success, nothing for my mind to latch onto and follow. So this is the challenge I’m faced with: to discover what full embodiment is, to learn how to find serenity and be in it.

It’s strange — I never expected to find the keys I needed to unlock my whole potential in archery. But now that I’m here, it makes sense.

And balancing the mind and body? It’s the lesson I need most right now. In so many ways.

About brandi

Brandi is a digital strategist, website developer, and founder of Alchemy+Aim, a company that helps entrepreneurs and business owners elevate their online presence and enhance their digital experience. Her academic background in theatre, philosophy and physics was the perfect foundation for launching her business, where she’s worked with Brené Brown, Laverne Cox, Judy Smith, and other notable thought leaders since 2013. She is an advocate for using technology in ways that humanize, connect and serve people as well as for asking deeper philosophical questions and teaching others to think more broadly about impact when they create, particularly in STEAM fields.

7 thoughts on “Mind-Body Balance

  1. You’ve put this so well – archery really is one of those activities that defies the pattern of daily smarts and intuition. And you’ve inspired me to go for a lesson this weekend, which I haven’t done since I was a teenager.

    Also, nice to have your writing back after a little hiatus.

  2. Ah, I love it. For as much yoga as I practice my mind never stills like it does when I’m rock climbing. (And when it’s not really focusing on grabbing that next hold and is thinking about stuff like work or what my butt looks like I don’t do so well).

    But speaking of fine ass! Looking good there, Miss. B!

  3. This is oddly exactly what I needed to hear and I’m going to get out of my head right now! How do I do it? Well, I do not do it enough, but yoga,walk-running, and gardening. I’ve just finished up a week of intense thought. I rested yesterday but woke this morning disappointed to find I’m not fixed! I thought, “maybe I need to get into the body.” So here I go! Thanks, Brandi!

  4. this is exquisite. that picture reminds me of some diana hunter goddess.
    i’m inspired.
    then again, you always inspire me.

  5. Hi Brandi,

    Beautiful photo.

    I think your mind didn’t fail you — your mind gave you a lesson the first day, and then the first half of the second day you took the lesson and derived flow from it. You were glowing — remember that feeling when you get discouraged. I love archery for the same reasons you do — it engages all of my mind, spirit, body, and my bow teaches me about everything. One thing I have learned is that archery absolutely punishes you when you are hard on yourself. You did very well in your first national tournament (and you have done absolutely awesome in your first year of shooting) — and even though I was disappointed in my own performance (and so was my coach, even though he tried to hide it), I know I did well in my first national tournament, and I got to take some lessons home. Someone gave me some cool advice before I left for Louisville. She said, “Every tournament is just practice for the next tournament. And beyond that, every arrow is practice for the next arrow.” It hit home on day 2, when my shot deserted me on a day when I expected to be relaxed and to perform well, and I thought, OK, I’ve lost 3rd place, now it really is just practice for next year — and I started scoring a lot better. And then Liz started to fall apart a bit… When people ask how I did, I say “I came in 3rd out of 5 — but it was a strong field all the way down to 5th place.” And one other thing I think of a lot is one of the first things my coach said to me, and that’s when I knew he was the right coach for me: He said, “It’s a long path.” And he laughed. Brandi, it was a pleasure meeting you and shooting with you, and I hope you come out to the Northwest. And also I was touched that you bought me a bourbon beer! It was one of the best beers I have had. all the best, Laurie

  6. Hey Brandi,

    Sounds like you need to get in touch with and learn to control and give direction to you ‘self-talk’. This inner dialogue during moments of stress or performances needs to be positive and productive. It takes practice, but it can be achieved. Word triggers can give direction to your thoughts too. Mental approach to sport is actually more important the better you get and when technical, tactical, physical skills have less and less room for improvement. Good luck!

    Cheers, Mark.

  7. I think that’s the holy grail of success and self awareness, isn’t it? How to tap intuition, on demand. Like when people tell me to “feel the music” but all I do is think, think, think where my feet need to go next, and stumble and lose the rhythm. It’s easy to say “Let go and let it be.” It’s a lot harder to unfurl the fists of the mind. If only, if only there was a formula, and you could discover it through archery, and then share it with me!

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