So many skills we have as adults are mere muscle memory. As I sit at my computer and type this — the words flow seamlessly from my mind to my fingers to my screen. No thought was given to the ‘how’ of my typing.
During this visit with my family, I have been teaching The Magical Creatures how to knit. The youngest has taken to it like a duck to water — I envision her previous life as a master weaver in the Middle Ages. Her hands remember what to do seemingly with very little instruction. She is five.
Today the two youngest Magical Creatures got new yo-yos. I can’t even tell you the last time I put a yo-yo on my finger and played with it. But today found myself breaking the process down into bite-sized pieces for my granddaughters to absorb. And just like with the knitting — the muscle memory was activated. In me and for them.
These events led me to ponder muscle memory. All. The. Things. our bodies know to do without conscious input from our brains.
From riding a bicycle to driving my motorcycle — once the muscles understand what to do — balance and reflex take over. Roller skating, skiing — also same/same. By repetition, trial and error — we programmed our muscles to ‘think’ on their own.
The Human Body is truly a miraculous thing!
But what about our emotional reflexes? What are we using this “muscle memory” for when it comes to our day-to-day situations? Are the lessons on repeat? Are there obstacles that continually challenge us? Are we caught in a web of trauma responses which no longer serve us?
Are our brains and our emotions as programmed to unconsciously react as our bodies are?
Making a change in one’s life is hard. Letting go of what needs to go, forming a new healthy habit, keeping one’s peace when chaos rules, not taking the bait — All. The. Things. Things we know in our hearts are not ever going to bring us peace or joy.
The good news is we can learn new skills. We can reprogram our minds and our hearts as well as we program our bodies.
Just like the Magical Creatures are learning how to manage knitting needles and yarn or a yo-yo — we can learn to build new neuro-pathways. We don’t have to continue to use pathological “muscle memory” instilled into us by our previous experiences.
We can learn balance. We can right ourselves during our wobbles. We can grow.