On French Braids, Golf Swings and Life

beautiful healthy hair“I braid your hair almost every morning.  How come today I can’t remember how to do this?  It’s like my fingers checked out and they aren’t listening to my brain.”

I started over from the top.  This time I quit thinking about it.  I let my fingers do the work and thought about something else.  I watched as my hands worked together –  pulling in new strands and overlapping them.

“Hand me a ponytail holder.  It’s done.”

Jenny laughed and asked, “How did you remember what to do?”

“I quit thinking about what to do and let my fingers do what they do every morning.  I got my brain out of the way.  I’ve been telling Will that he ought to do the same thing with his golf swing.  He needs to quit thinking about it and just swing.”

The front door opened.  “Mom, I hit that one 275 or 280 yards!  One of these days I’ll clear the park!”

“What’d you do differently?”

“Well, I walked up to the ball and I didn’t do any practice swings.  I quit thinking about it and I hit the ball.  Mom, it worked!  I’m gonna put all those golf magazines in the garage.  I think I need to take a break from listening to what all the experts are saying and practice my own swing.”




There are times when deliberation and careful thought are necessary.

There are times when we need to map out the correct route.

Some times we must do our homework and weigh the options.


And then there are times when we are traveling a route we’ve been down before.  We know the terrain.  We can anticipate the obstacles.  We’ve practiced and rehearsed.

We know we are heading in the right direction.

That’s when it’s time to get our brain out of the way, trust that we know the path and let our bodies take over.


Trust in our abilities comes when we’ve practiced enough.

Trust comes when we stop listening to other voices that tell us we must do it their way.

Trust comes from setting our own standards and repeatedly performing to those standards.


Trust in our own abilities brings about confidence.


Trust, confidence and practice lead to mastery – whether we’re talking french braids, golf swings or life.


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  1. This used to happen to my mom when she braided my hair when I was little! So much to be said about muscle memory. There have been times when my hands begin simply knitting the pattern of something I left off several months ago. My brain would have taken some time to figure the stitches, if I had let myself think.

  2. Pink,

    It’s mysterious how it all works. Just like we know more – in our minds – than we think we do – so do our bodies.

  3. It is a lot about trusting yourself and letting go too. Trying to control it took you no where so you loosen the reigns trusting that you do know what to do and the answer unfolds. xx

  4. Z,

    Kinda like the beauty and ease of following your own path. It may start out bumpy, and before long the road is nicely paved.

  5. Exactly. Mine is still a little like a roller coaster though…up, down, sideways, upside down, while holding your breath until the car screeches to a halt. lol. But, I can say that it gets easier when the turns are predictable and I trust that I will survive and exit the car for good some day.

  6. Z,

    Our car is on that long stretch, coasting to a stop. I’m anticipating being able to unfasten the seatbelt and step out one of these days.

    Of course, having said that….

  7. That gives me hope. I am behind you about 3 years and can only wish to be coasting by then. But shhhh….

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