Friday, January 28, 2011

Muscle memory

So in the post about my SF walk I touched on a concept that I think is pretty interesting. I mentioned somewhere along the walk my body seemed to remember it could walk long distances. Your body does remember you know.

If it has been a long time since you have just relaxed, sometimes it takes a moment or two before your shoulders come down from around your ears, your breath comes from deep within instead of from around your nose, your frown slowly turns upwards into a contented grin and you melt into body as you look over the scenery.

But your muscles also remember stress. Funny how it doesn't take as long to remember how to tense into a tight ball of nerves and unhappiness. A phone call can be the trigger - Opening an unwanted piece of mail - An unkind word and you can find yourself immediately thrown into a place of reacting to and instead of being at peace with your environment.

The body is a pretty incredible thing, almost as incredible as your mind (which I have heard is a muscle too).

Think back can you feel what it felt like to be on a swing when you were little. To some of us it felt like we were birds flying. To others it evoked fear. But I bet all of us can remember and our hearts beat just a little faster as you feel the air rushing by your face and your sense of gravity momentarily suspended.

If you have ever been pregnant undoubtedly you can feel what it felt like even though your child is now decades old. You remember how when you placed your hand on your belly you could feel their movements as they twisted and turned inside. You remember how your back felt, and how at times it felt as if your ribs were expanding. And although it was quite the physical act, most of us remember most the emotion of the birth and how it caused the pain to become not so poignant of a memory.

There is another feeling not all of you can feel. That would be feeling the presence of a piece of your body that has been taken away. This is something a woman who has had a mastectomy does know. After my surgery I could literally feel my left breast even though it was gone. I could feel the heat on the outside of my chest wall and the tingling of skin that was no longer there. There are times when I am quiet, that I still can feel the sensation of having it there still. I know it is gone. But I feel it none the less. And those times for me are little sad. a way, they are also reaffirming. Those times remind me that although my breast may be gone, I am still here. They tell me that I have been blessed beyond measure with the opportunity to try and spare others from having pieces of their bodies discarded. The fact that my breast is gone has given me permission to fight until Breast Cancer is gone from our existence. And for that I am very grateful.

Muscle memory. Yup, more to that story thank just a long walk.