Debra Swersky
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Journal

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Muscle Memory

What happened to Headspace?” Simple question. Hard answer. As Andy, the Headspace guy, would say, “Just like the blue sky. It’s always there.” And that’s part of the point: Headspace. You can always get it. Some just need a little more help getting it than others. 

Yes, I am one of those people. I needed help. A push notification. A “run streak.” A progression of sessions. Something to remind and motivate myself to get some headspace. But, that’s the beauty of technology. Good habits can be gamified. 

And so, I confess. Over the past month my Headspace habit has dropped off. I have a bajillion reasons why, but the long-and-the-short of it is that my morning routine has evolved and Headspace just didn’t fit in anymore. I recognize that this is the excuse of all excuses for not doing something. I also recognize that if something were that important that I would have figured out how to integrate it back into my morning routine.

Headspace is important and I have lived and breathed the benefits of getting some daily. But, I am making an attempt to see the positive side of it… before taking steps to integrate it back into my day-to-day.

Here’s how I’ve rationalized my habit departure: I’m testing myself. 

Testing myself can go super well or horribly wrong. On the super well side, I would have learned enough from my 50+ hours of meditating to be able to implement some of what I learned throughout real life. On the horribly wrong side, my time spent “practicing” would have been insufficient and I’ll revert back to the life as I knew it before Headspace. The only way that I can find out is by testing myself.

The idea of testing myself came to mind while in a Bar Method class. In class there is a lot of talk about “muscle memory” or memory through repetition. With Bar Method there are a finite number of exercises that you aim to perform perfectly through repetition. Since each exercise involves a hefty dose of form-based set-up and small movements, muscle memory is important. The faster you get into form, the better the exercise will be. And chances are, your form will never be completely perfect. There’s just too much to keep track of! 

Here’s the kicker: You have to constantly evaluate your muscle memory to ensure that you’re staying in the correct form. If you lose your form, the exercise will be ineffective. 

Where does that leave me? Headspace. My muscle memory for my old morning routine is alive. Though I’m not currently practicing (by opening the app, going through a session, and continuing a run streak), I am still constantly evaluating my mental state. Which tells me that I might have just used technology, and game dynamics, effectively…

Debra Swersky