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Tales and Targets

Finding Solace in Stories and Skills

By Xine SegalasPublished 6 months ago 3 min read
Tales and Targets
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

This year started out rough for me, with my father’s death on January 2nd. I had to drive down to Connecticut to join my siblings for the service, so I knew I would be in the car for about 8 to 9 hours. When I know I have to drive a long way, I usually look to one of the books in my audiobook library to entertain on those so long miles.

Kaikeyi is a saga that, over 17 hours, I started to listen to a few days before driving down, on the drive there and back, and finished a few days after my return home. It was helpful to have a story to help me flow through the time. A place to escape to when I couldn't escape from reality. This story became my lifeline, a narrative thread I clung to like a zipline, guiding me from the familiarity of my home, through the solemnity of my father's funeral, and back to the comfort of my familiar surroundings.

By deagreez - Adobe Stock

Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Kaikeyi retells one of the ancient epics in world literature — The Ramayana — although with a feminist twist and dash of mysticism and magic. Vaishnavi Patel’s novel focuses on Kaikeyi, the stepmother of Rama, who, in The Ramayana, is forced into a 14-yr exile. However, Patel’s Kaikeyi narrates her story, so it’s not necessary to know the original fable — which is something I looked up only after enjoying this imaginative tale. Narrated by Soneela Nankani at a length of 17 hrs and 22 mins.

By Denis Vakhrushev - Adobe Stock

This year, I wanted to try to learn a new skill, and archery had always interested me. I guess it is the Sagitarrius Archer in me. I was given a bow, arrows, and a big target for Christmas last year to start me on my journey. A good friend who bow hunts strung my bow beautifully and gave me a quick lesson.

I realized immediately the next day the muscles that are required for archery were the same muscles that like to throw my back into spasms if I'm not careful. Let's just say I can only practice once a week so I don't hurt myself. As I started on my journey into archery, I turned to a book I had on my TBR list, Zen and The Art of Archery to help set me in the right mindset.

Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One by Eugen Herrigel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel is a short book I plan to read over and over. Even though it’s a short book that could be read in a day, I took my time reading a little bit at a time. Anyone working on trying to master a skill, from physical skills like archery, martial arts, and yoga to non-physical crafts such as flower arranging, painting, and photography — it doesn’t matter — would benefit from reading it.

By Bill Fairs on Unsplash

I thought about this book a lot during my lesson and again when I went out by myself to practice. It helped me to remember to focus on the process and not the outcome, which is a good thing since an arrow richoceted on a rock and sprang back at me. Scared me out of my wits!

I have since moved the target and stand further back now. The story reminds you to be mindful and present. You become incredibly mindful and present when a mishap like that happens -- and I learned from my mistake.

Learning archery will test my patience - something that I will have to be since progress will be slower than I want it to be. That is something that I must accept in order to learn. Finally, Herrigel talks about the concept of 'No-Mind' where you try to reach a stage where you are not conscious of your actions - you have muscle memory. Things flow naturally as your mind, body, and spirit are integrated as one.

“The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.”

Mark Twain


About the Creator

Xine Segalas

Exploring life through writing, art, and photography, drawing inspiration from the natural world and beloved tales. Author of "Xine's Pack of Strays & Others," about life with my dogs, I review books, hoping to encourage others to read.

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  • P. K. Gani6 months ago

    You've shared some insightful reviews, I'll be taking a look at these books for sure.

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