Muscle memory

I had a really positive experience of hope this morning (the morning that I’m writing this) and I want to share it, because it’s a timely answer to some of our “concerns”.

I got back in the water today. I reenrolled back into my gym and following all of the protocols, I went to a waterfit class. This particular class can be a pretty aggressive workout but with the support (and resistance) of the water.

Now, you can’t just show up for classes right now. You have to register in advance, and there’s a lot of demand. So I registered 74 hours in advance. Put a reminder in my calendar, got online and got in!

Which means I had 73 hours to think about it. I never wanted to back out, but …it has to be 10 years since I’ve been in the water in this class. I’ve done a lot of other types of exercise in the intervening years, but not this. I wondered if it would be like it was in the way, way back when I was a beginner. Would it be too challenging? Would I like it? Could I do it? Would it hurt? Lots of thoughts that were really questions.

Last night I packed my swim bag. Oh, that’s right I need water shoes, sunglasses…and a mask and my own towel because we have taken a step back. Went to be early so I would get a good night’s sleep. I felt kind of like I was a kid going back to school or something.

I got to the gym and remembered the routine. Hugged the instructor. Got in the water. On came the music and…

It all came back. I naturally knew how to move through the water with a combination of grace and strength. I remembered how to follow the instructor’s cues. I knew how to intensify the movements and how to sneak in a rest when I needed it. I had muscle memory. All of my muscles remembered how to I needed to be to move through this world. I was back.

My muscles also remembered that I like to go all out, and that I’m extremely competitive in the water. My eyes remembered to look around and make sure that I was working the hardest, jumping the highest, had perfect form, yada yada. I need to decide whether I want to keep all that, because maybe it doesn’t serve me anymore.

I’m sure you see the parable here. We have muscle memory, so we can relax a bit, because it will all come back to us. We also need to be intentional about what we want to keep, because we have an opportunity to learn new ways to be and retrain our muscles. Both of these are true and feed my hope.

And after we stretched and the instructor was sending us back out into the world, she said “Be well. Be safe. Be kind.” I KNEW I was home.

In the meantime, remember these things: You are loved. We are all loved. Let’s all be kind. And in all things – progress, not perfection!

Love and light,



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  1. Katherine August 26, 2021 at 10:15 am

    This made me think of the muscle memory of putting on a mask and being intentional to protect others. It was so easy to fall back and not put on a mask because I’m vaccinated. One of my many perspective’s of today’s blog is my gratitude for muscle memory as it serves me so well. My appreciation of my health because of muscle memory, but also to be intentional of muscle memory that serves others. Like giving massages, repairing shower heads around the house, picking up trash on a trail and wearing a mask. So many ways to use our muscle memory in appreciation of all that we have!

  2. Christopher August 29, 2021 at 6:28 am

    Great story, Maggie! And excellent points. I have found muscle memory to be a tremendous comfort and ally in playing the piano, which I can’t do as regularly as I would prefer. But in coming back rusty and re-establishing my skill quickly, I’ve learned to trust my body and my hands as I never really considered doing before. I also love the idea of being intentional around what to keep. Thank you!


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