Personal stories

The Creative Archer.

As a life-long creative my biggest daily challenge had always been trusting in myself that new ideas were going to come each day.

It was exhausting.

 

When creativity flows, it’s an amazing feeling, sometimes overwhelming. Ideas keep popping into your mind and you struggle to keep up. 

  • But why does it happen? 
  • What are the triggers? 
  • How do you turn creativity on? 

It was when I moved back home around 5 years ago that something quite revelatory happened that changed my life in that regard.

I was walking my dog in the woods & exploring new areas when I walked along a path into an open field. The field was filled with people practicing Archery. One member asked me to wait until they had finished shooting before it was safe to cross the field, but feel free to stay and watch for a while……so I did. 

An hour later I was still talking, it felt right, so I joined the club there and then!

I didn’t realise at the time, but archery was exactly what I needed in my life, not looking at a screen, being outside with nature and away from the noise of London. 

After shooting for a few years now, the surprising benefits of archery have become apparent. Archery has become a grounding ritual for me. It frees my mind. When you are in a state of mindfulness and shooting arrow after arrow, focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, you achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. This is why I love archery.

After shooting for a few years now, surprising benefits of archery have become apparent. Archery has become a grounding ritual for me. This is my ritual. When you are in a state of mindfulness and shooting arrow after arrow, focusing the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity – to train attention and awareness, you achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

This is why I love archery.

So how does this relate to creativity?

When my mind is busy with a lot of noise, creativity is elusive. 

When I am in a similar state of mind from shooting, with a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state the ideas flow. I Still can’t just turn creativity on and off but I can put myself in the best state of mind to allow it to happen.

Mindfulness for me has now transcended many aspects of my life, beneficial for so much more than creativity and archery. You don’t have to take up archery (although I would recommend it), take time for yourself when you can, focus on the present, rather than on past or future anxieties.

If you’re completely new to mindfulness, the exercise most beginners try is the ‘mindful walk’. This involves walking a familiar or unfamiliar route and trying to maintain awareness of everything that happens along the way: the crunch of your feet on gravel, the feel of the air on your skin, the sound of the birds in the trees, and so on. Ideally, you will experience the sensations without judgement and give the mind a break from the constant rattle of thoughts about the past and future.

For me, archery and creativity go hand in hand now – I use one to aid the other.

 

The early morning air is crisp about you as you take in a deep breath, letting it out slowly as you quiet your mind. You raise your bow towards the target, fingers gently resting on the string and focus your eyes on the far away circle of gold. Another deep breath and you pull back the string, hitting the familiar anchor points on your face while your eyes never waver from the target. You wait for the moment where everything feels right … and then you release. The arrow speeds towards your intent, ending with a satisfying thud as it reaches your goal. You lower your bow and draw another arrow from your quiver.

 

The early morning air is crisp about you as you take in another deep breath …

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