Do we consider (I wonder) the way we’re training our mind/will/emotions in our daily responses to things?

Earlier this week a friend my mom’s age was mentioning to me how her mother’s dementia was worsening. This friend described how hard it was getting to shift her mother’s focus off the negative (real and imagined) of her own world.

I said that, since we all have to choose to be positive anyway (negative seems to come so naturally), perhaps her mother was just past that place of being able to make that choice. The daughter looked me in the eye and said, “It’s a muscle-memory thing.”

I’ve been thinking about that since Tuesday– Apparently this woman used to find the negative, even when she had the choice, and now that she has less and less capacity to choose, she’s paying for it.

That phrase my friend used seems so spot-on: “Muscle memory.”

It makes me think of my guitar practice, and how exciting it is when my fingers just go where they need to be, without my having to think about it. They’re beginning to be trained, but only because I made it happen at first, by doing and thinking about it, over and over.

5 thoughts on “Muscle-memory

  1. What does one do when the negative seems to make more sense and one is a practical – not romantic – person? I’m not expecting you to answer that, but if you do have an answer feel free!

  2. Well, I’ve never really thought of myself as a “romantic” person. I’m more the type just to make decisions.

    “When the negative seems to make more sense and one is practical,” that is the time when one must ask God for the strength to see past one’s self, and “just” knuckle-down to the hard work of life.

    How? The same way people have for generations, I suppose. Day by day, minute by minute. I ask this question about the persecuted peoples often. I’ve been told the Psalms can be helpful. I’ve also only found that to be true when I want it to be.

    I seem to be able to choose whether I can be comforted too…

    Willful. That’s how I sound, isn’t it.

  3. Negative *things* do, certainly.

    Negative *reactions* too.

    I think what we choose is where to dwell. What I think I can choose is where I set up shop once the flash of anger, hurt, or fear has hit and run.

    I seem to be on the “benefits” side of this muscle memory thing. My most natural response now is to position my mind in a positive place. I feel very deeply, but somehow (by the power of God, no doubt, not my own), I don’t let it control me.

    The distinction:
    Do people *make* you angry?
    Anger (like money) is not evil. But, also like money, it’s pretty easy to see a functional connection.

    I manage my money, and I manage my emotions. It’s the goal I constantly strive toward.

    Here’s where we insert Phil 3:12– “Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature…”

    Just in case anybody actually wonders ;o)

  4. Ah, I see. So it’s not that you’re ignoring the negative things but just controlling your emotions over them.

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