Muscle Memory

Last night, I had a dream where I was practicing my pitching – as in baseball.

For more than a decade, I played softball and was a pitcher.  You would think that in my dream I would be practicing that kind of pitching, but no, I was learning and practicing pitching in baseball. It’s also odd because just before I fell asleep, I was watching football.  In fact, that’s the only sport I’ve been watching lately. So the fact that my dream was about baseball struck me as odd and unusual.

However, in waking, I realized that this dream was an answer to a question I offered up to the Universe yesterday.  It was probably about baseball to catch my attention in a way a softball dream would not.

If you’ve ever played sports, you are well aware of a phenomenon referred to as muscle memory.  It’s really body intelligence.  I’ve pitched in softball, bowled, played golf, even took gymnastics for a year, and in all of these sports, muscle memory is what is needed to gain proficiency.

For this discussion, I will talk specifically about pitching.  One reason is that with pitching, the target is nearly static – meaning that it is nearly exactly the same every time.  In golf, the target is always different.  In football, the QB and the receiver are in motion.  In Bowling, the conditions change and affect the aim.  But in baseball and softball, the target doesn’t change and the wind conditions are minimal – unless you’re in San Francisco  :-).

When I reached my greatest proficiency in pitching, I could always feel the result of each pitch.  The moment I let go of the ball, I instantly knew whether it would hit the target or not.  I couldn’t always predict how the batter would respond, but I knew when I did my part well, and when I missed.

But how did I know this?  Well, I could feel it.  I could feel it in my body, in my muscles.  I threw so many pitches, I could tell when my muscle memory was accessed accurately and when it was not.

In fact, the way I calmed myself was to remind myself that my body knew what to do.  All I had to do was get out of the way – to get my mind out of the way of my body.

In sports, the best players practice, practice, and practice some more.  Why?  Well, for some it is to perfect their skill, but even when the highest skill is reached, it is to build and maintain muscle memory.

Muscle memory is not like mind memory.  It is instinctual. It is an imprint.  And it can be overwritten.  That’s how we improve.  We create a memory for our body to follow, but then, as we improve, we create a better imprint.  When we reach a peak, we still need to maintain that imprint lest a “bad habit” creep into our delivery.  That’s probably why baseball hitters are so streaky.  At times, they lose a good imprint and don’t hit well until they regain it.

So what does muscle memory have to do with real life?  Well, in a way, we employ a similar technique in our lives.  It’s called habit, ritual, routine, or a groove.

For example, my most comforting habit or ritual is my morning cup of coffee.  I love that first cup every morning and that’s what gets me out of bed.

And it’s not about the caffeine. It’s about comfort. It’s about rhythm. I might not know what I am going to do in most of my very unstructured day, but I know how it will start, and that’s what gets me going.

Let me drift into Astrology for a moment.  The 12 signs are divided into three categories with an aspect called Cardinality.  Four signs are what’s called Cardinal, four are Mutable, and four are Fixed.

The Fixed signs are most drawn toward ritual.  Fixed signs like routine.  They like stability.  They like things to remain mostly the same.  They are the ones who are slow and steady and most able to complete things due to this “fixity”.

Cardinal signs are the get up and go signs.  They like to start things.  They are driven, initiating, instigating, motivating.

Mutable signs are most adaptable.  They are not the trend setters, but they are the early adopters.  They are more fluid than the others and can bend with the wind, one way then another.

In my chart, of the three most influential aspects (Sun, Moon & Rising), I have two fixed signs and one mutable.  I am decidedly lacking in cardinality.  That’s why I am most attached to my coffee ritual.  It’s what helps me get started.  Once I have overcome inertial, my mutability kicks in and I’m off and running.

But that wasn’t my question and that’s not why I am sharing this information with you.  My lack of cardinality is not the issue or the point. (Actually, in a way it is – at least for me.)  What is the point is the purpose of instinct.

Now, allow me another short digression.  Instinct is not the same as intuition. Instinct is body intelligence based on the past. Intuition is spirit intelligence based on the future – or the unseen in the present. Instinct helps you (your body) survive.  Intuition helps you (your soul) evolve.  In some specific (and rare) cases, these can be diametrically opposed.

But in most cases, they are aligned, and that is getting to the meat of this discussion.

And now I’m going to tell you about my question.  Recently, I’ve been experiencing pain in my body in odd places.  It seems like I’ve always had pain, but there are lots of different kinds of pain.  Two days after working out or playing sports, I hurt from soreness, but that’s a good pain.  Sometimes, after excessive activity, I hurt in the joints, but that pain goes away with additional movement.

But the pain I’ve been noticing lately is pain that is there one day for 30 or 60 minutes, or hours, and then gone for days at a time.  It is not based on use.  When I feel into it, it is most assuredly based on stress.  When I am worried, these pains flair up, and when I am relaxed and comfortable, they are gone.

So, yesterday, when I was noticing all sorts of pain (from all sorts of causes) rolling through my body, I asked about this one type. I asked, “Is this pain telling me that something is wrong – physically? And if not, where is it coming from and what is it telling me?”

And that’s where my dream came along to answer the question.

Last week I spoke about walking around with a heart full of pain.  Well, generally speaking, there are three types of people out there – emotionally speaking.

The first kind processes hurt through emotion.  If life hands them lemons, they cry.  These are the ones that appear to be least in control, and yet these are the ones that are most healthy (potentially). Their expression helps keep the energy moving.  These are the ones with Cardinal moons.  They feel pain, and then emote pain.  They have no problem getting the energy moving out.

The next ones are the silent brooders.  They feel, but they don’t necessarily emote – at least not right away.  They are the ducks floating on the pond.  They look calm, cool, and collected, but that’s only because you can’t see what’s happening under the surface. These are the ones with Mutable moons.  They feel, and then can choose whether to emote, when to emote, and how to emote.  These are the ones that will, in some cases, channel worry into experience.  They can worry about some feared event, hold the energy for too long, and then release it by manifesting an event similar to the one feared.

And then you have those like me, the ones with Fixed moons – the ones who, when given lemons hide them away inside of Pandora’s box.  Those like me not only don’t emote readily, but often don’t even feel. And for those who are like this, often the energy held and carried results in physical pain rather than emotional pain.  Since we’re not just hiding emotion (from others), but hiding feelings (from ourselves), we’re making the energy more unconscious, which pushes it down to the lower chakras.

The first chakra is about the physical body (as in atoms), and the second chakra is about our biology (as in cells).  Together, they are about surviving – remaining physical and alive.  But if “negative” energy is pushed down to these levels, then it is felt as physical pain instead of emotional pain and ultimately can interfere with the ability to survive physically.

And that’s why it takes more than just intuition to help.  It takes instinct. If we hide energy in the lower chakras, body intelligence is needed to clear and process it.

So the answer to my question is this.  When I am thinking worry thoughts, my  physical pains flair up as a warning to change course.  If I go down this path too long, then the pain will move from the odd pain for no reason, to physical hurt pain.  It could go a lot further.  Luckily for me, the odd pain gets my attention.  And luckily for me, I may be fixed with regard to feelings and emotions, but I’m not dense.

So this discussion is really about understanding how different people process feelings and emotions.  That’s why Astrology chart readings are helpful.  They help us understand ourselves and our partners, parents, children, and friends.

We are wired differently.  We don’t respond to stimulus the same way.  We don’t feel hurt the same, and we don’t process hurt the same.

However, in all cases, there is guidance. Our higher self knows us and knows how to communicate guidance to us.  There is no one teaching that serves all because we have different needs.  So first, it’s helpful to understand who we are, and then it’s helpful to understand how we’re guided.  And then, after both of those pieces of information are known, comes our choice.  We can always choose to evolve or choose not to.

I’m not even sure that any particular cardinality of the moon is better than any other.  They are just different.

So in my case, my body is talking to me and guiding me to a better place.  It’s time to figure out which routines are bringing comfort and which are holding me back.

I’ll keep you posted…

By the way – keep in mind that the discussion above about how one reacts given the cardinality of their moon is a gross simplification.  Not all people with the same moon sign will react the same way.  Sometimes our emotion is not coming from our moon sign but from our rising sign.  The sign of our moon along with the house it is in provides a set of tools that can be used by the individual, but are not necessarily chosen.  We aren’t the way we are because of our Astrology.  However, our Astrology is what it is because of who we are.  Its purpose is to provide information to us about us, but intuitive discernment must always be used when interpreting the information.

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