I enjoy learning new skills.
When I split wood, which is something I have been slowly learning how to do over several years, I’ve noticed some things.
One moment it’s like magic. A clean split. Neat. Destiny.
Another moment it’s like a person awkwardly riding a horse. Thudding, jolting, jarring. An out of rhythm ricochet.
I watch what I’m doing and try to and work it out.
I can blame the wood, its shape and texture and temperature and age and…
It’s not the wood.
And there’s nothing wrong with my wood splitter.
As I go about this little experiment, I uncover small clues.
Today I found two things of interest.
When I swing the log splitter behind my back and then go to pull it forwards up and over my head I have been trying to use my left hand too much to get the axe moving. It caused my left wrist to get sore (which is why I was noticing it)…so I tried getting the forward swing going with my right hand. The extra force and strength I felt was incredible. Whole body powerful.
If the magic happens, that extra force is incredible…if not then the ricochet is almost comical. I often look around to see if the birds are laughing at me.
The other thing I noticed is that I find it very hard to hit the wood exactly where I intend to hit the wood. Sometimes I am close, sometimes I am ridiculously nowhere near my intended aim.
My theory is that you hit where you are looking, that when the visual relationship with the impact point is clear that the body does all this amazing calculation to make connection with that point. If this is correct I don’t have to try harder to hit the spot, I just have to more clearly pay attention to my target.
What I noticed is that I am paying very careful attention to this spot when I get ready and swing the axe. And that it feels like I am watching this spot for as long as I possibly can…but then, as I repeated and repeated the action, I began to notice that as the log splitter hit the wood (or was about to) I let my attention (not just my vision, my intention) drift away from that spot I had chosen.
I tried holding my attention to that spot (even if I couldn’t see it) until the axe had finished moving.
Incredible. Like a laser. Not always exactly on the spot. So much closer and the hit was so much cleaner.
I find all this fascinating.
I don’t know why.
I just do.
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