Muscle memory! Muscle memory seems to be the key to everything!
Practice something enough and it will become a part of you, an acquired ability.
There is an automation that happens with singing and performing for example: I’ve sung so much, and sung certain lyrics so many times that the body already knows what comes next. It’s inbuilt, and I don’t have to think about it. If I let go of anxiety, the song will practically sing itself. And within that looseness I can also improvise and add more depth to the whole experience.
There’s a joke that a friend of mine tells about a centipede, who, amidst its rapid wiggling suddenly considers what leg 88 is doing and gets all fucked up… I know that feeling of myopic thinking and distraction within an important moment very well,
as it has happened to me many times in the past… But I’m learning that trusting myself can also be learned into muscle memory, and the more I trust myself, the less I’ll be thinking about leg 88.
I have always been shy: I’ve never been comfortable socially, not one to express my opinions in a crowd, for fear of losing the thread of what I’d want to say. I’ve just thought that this is who I am. Turns out that’s not who I am. It’s just that being outspoken in social situations is not in my muscle memory, due to my avoidance of speaking. Duh! Well, I am changing this now, as I find that I have a lot to say. Through these new lectures that I’m giving I’m discovering a whole new Janita! One that I didn’t realize existed. And I’m sure that as my muscle memory as a courageous outspoken woman grows, I will become even braver.
Fear is a wall that we need to get through. It seems impenetrable until we’re on the other side of it. And soon after, a new wall emerges… That just seems to be a fact of life. But knowing that developing muscle memory is the key to doing, well…everything! feels like a relief to me. None of us excel at anything unless we’ve worked hard at it, and that is good to remember. As beginners, we are not even meant to be competing with the experts. Like Bruce Lee said:
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times.”
Hiyah! Keep kicking.