The Dart Whisperer: Tales from the Texas Women’s Conference

The Dart Whisperer
Here is my account of how the Texas Women’s Conference impacted me in an unexpected way!

 

I didn’t start off my day as the Dart Whisperer, yet that is what I had become by the end of the Texas Women’s Conference.

The original mission was simple – help run the NextTribe booth, meet some fun women, give away some good-looking T-shirts, listen to Sheryl Sandberg speak – a normal day at a conference.

 

It was all that and then some. When the doors opened at 7am, they rushed in, thousands of Texas women filling up the convention center. I’ll confess I felt a wee bit like I was living through an episode of The Walking Dead with the zombie apocalypse, as our booth was swarmed.

In the morning we were so busy, 3 dart throws and you were done. Gift bags filled with swag jostled, as we explained how NextTribe is an online magazine and In Real Life network for women 40-something and up. “Sign up here, throw your darts there, collect your prize here”…we ran the booth like professional carnies, and then collapsed when the lunch keynotes began.

The afternoon was different. We saw a steady stream of women – young women, 40-somethings, and sassy 70-year olds. We slowed down. We talked and we listened.

As each woman stepped up to the line to take her turn at the darts, I coached her. “Drop your bags, shake it out, feel your body.” The simple act of putting down the heavy bags and purses drew them into the moment and into their physical selves. “You want to throw with intention and purpose,” I explained.

 

Over the course of that one day, I saw 500+ women step up and throw darts, and I saw a process evolve.

I saw women who started as doubtful and apologetic (the vast majority had never thrown a dart before) turn purposeful and proud. I watched them realize that the more energy and intent they put into their throw, the more mindful they were about the position of their arm and hand, the better they became.

The routine evolved into a set of three rounds of three darts each. The first round was the Beginner round – just throw it, see that you can hit the target, feel how a wimpy throw ends up on the ground.

Second round – Apprentice. Now your body feels it, now you’re getting into it. I would give notes on aim and energy, telling them to feel their tiger spirit, to be a powerful warrior saving her tribe from the saber tooth tiger racing down the plains at us…

The third round was Master. The pieces all came together and invariably, women would have at least one throw that felt wicked good, that slammed into the target close to the center, women throwing with zazz and power. Occasionally, a woman would need more than three rounds but I had gotten addicted to the reaction – the Aha moment of I’ve got this! – and so we’d go until each had at least one throw that felt good. And they all did.

They did it – each of them.

 

These women of Texas tried something new and scary, they brought energy and intention, and they felt themselves as the powerful women that they all are.

 

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