Monday, February 04, 2008

Muscle Memory

15 years ago, I worked at the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. They had a little gym across the street called, "Revisions," where I used to work out. One day, they offered a self-defense class, and on a whim, I signed up. The class was taught by an amazing karate sensei, Jeff Kohn, and everyone loved the class and Jeff so much that he ended up teaching a weekly karate class at Revisions. So that's how I ended up taking up karate at the age of 25!

Karate was the best mind-body-spirit exercise I'd ever experienced. I loved how you had to concentrate so completely on what you were doing, and, in the same moment, you had to stop thinking and let your body just do its thing. At that time, I was struggling with infertility, and let me tell you, I was pretty obsessed about it! Practicing karate was just what I needed for my mental health. In that hour, I couldn't think about infertility. I only stopped training when I was five months pregnant with twins and could no longer tie my gi!

Fast forward to this past summer. My good friend Julie called me up one morning and out of the blue asked me if I wanted to take karate. Without considering cost, or time constraints, or anything, I agreed.
We train twice a week with that same amazing sensei, and I love it just as much as before. This morning, Sensei taught us a new kata - at least I thought it was new. I hadn't remembered learning it, but I must have. Because after just a few reminders from Sensei, my body knew just what to do. Muscle memory.

When I wrote my second novel, I had thought it would be easy. Or at least easier. After all, I'd already written one! But if anything, it was harder. It had its own challenges, its own lessons to teach me. And now I'm writing my third novel. I don't expect it to be easy. But I am finding that I have a bit of muscle memory now when it comes to writing. I'm not planning as much as I used to. I'm just writing. And I'm trusting that my body will know what to do.

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