If this your first time stopping by to check out our Work-Life Balance series please allow me to bring you up to speed. The goal of this series is to address the issue of teacher burnout by offering up suggestions on how to live a more balanced life through hobbies.
I know this is a big issue and a subjective approach to solving the problem. After all, what defines a balanced life for me might not be the same for you. All I can do is offer suggestions, which hopefully lead you to a more fulfilling, healthy, interesting, happy, and yes a more balanced life if you choose to explore them. So far we have looked at the ancient art of Tenkara Fly-fishing and the Gentle Way of Judo. In this installment we turn our attention to yet another ancient art, bow making.
By bow making I don’t mean the bows you affix to birthday presents or the bows you use to play the violin or cello with. I am talking about the bow you would use to hunt deer with, practice archery, or to defend yourself if you wound up in the Hunger Games. I know some of you just lost interest because you are against hunting or tools that can inflict harm, but don’t stop reading yet. Yes, we will eventually talk about hunting as well as the economics of harvesting your own food, but we will also cover much more.
For instance, would you believe me if I said bow making could teach you about history, dendrology, measurement, physics, mediation, and probably some other things? It’s true and we’ll cover that a bit later. How about if I told you bow making could improve your social life? Well, that’s also true as there are traditional archery clubs and bow making gatherings all around the country, as well as numerous chat groups online. You see bow making can be much more than a hobby. It can also become a way of life and a path towards finding that elusive work life balance. Are you still skeptical? Maybe you are uncertain if a hobby is the right solution for finding balance in your life or if bow making is the right hobby for you.
I was really happy to come across a fantastic post the other day titled, 7 benefits of having a hobby written by Dani DiPirrio, the creator of positivelypresent.com. The post helped assure me I was on the right track promoting the virtues of hobbies, but what about bow making? While reading each benefit Dani listed I ran a mental checklist to see if bow making could yield these outcomes. I included my commentary and a check mark next to each benefit if bow making qualified.
- Hobbies encourage taking a break (right now I am thinking about the bow project in my garage and what part I will work on later today) ✔
- Hobbies promote eustress (Wikipedia defines eustress as beneficial or “good stress” and Dani refers to eustress as stress that gets you excited to be doing what you’re doing. Each scrape or cut into the wood is a bit stressful, but it is really exciting as well because you are watching something take form before your eyes. ✔
- Hobbies offer a new challenge (after making 2 bows that have exploded, I heartedly agree) ✔
- Hobbies unite you with others (as mentioned above, there are bow making festivals, clubs, and meet ups all over the country as well as online chat groups) ✔
- Hobbies provide an outlet for stress (the physicality of shaping a bow and watching it take shape does indeed make me feel less stressful) ✔
- Hobbies promote staying present (very true for bow making, if you get distracted with sharp tools you can ruin your project and even hurt yourself) ✔
- Hobbies have physical health benefits (I have not tested this my doctor, but I feel great when working on a bow and that good feeling carries on long afterwards) ✔
Looks like bow making works pretty well as a hobby! I mentioned above that I am new to bow making and that so far the only two bows I made snapped into pieces, but I press on. Why? Each failed bow has taught me something more about the craft and about myself. Hopefully with each new attempt I will get better at bow making and become a better person as well. I also mentioned above that there are bow making gatherings and chat groups online for people to ask questions, offer tips, and share successful projects. There are also an abundance of instructional YouTube videos and websites to help both the beginner and advanced bow maker with their projects. One of the best websites I have found devoted to traditional archery, hunting, and outdoor living skills, is Twisted Stave Media.
Spend some time watching all the videos and I am certain you will get the itch to not only make your own bow, but to get out into the wilderness and experience nature more deeply. I was so impressed with the bow making instructional videos that I decided to follow them step by step on my next project. In part two of this blog I will share with you the videos and my progress with the craft of bow making. We will also take a deeper look into some of the benefits of bow making mentioned above as well as some others we haven’t discussed yet, such as the economic benefits of hunting and gathering your own food.
Thank you for stopping by. Please share any thoughts or comments below.