Monday, June 4, 2012

On Being Uncomfortable

sample #9 - spaced and crammed warp

One of the perq's of being an adult is that we have achieved a certain level of competency.  We have learned much and how to apply that learning.  We have reached a degree of skill with our methods and equipment that brings satisfaction with our results.  There is comfort in knowing what we know and how to do what we want to do.

All of which makes it very difficult to re-learn how to do those same things, differently.

Muscle memory is reluctant to be changed.  It takes concentrated effort to oust that ingrained knowledge and replace it with something new, even when we know - intellectually - that changing how we do 'it' will benefit us in the long run.

Our egos get very fussed with feeling incompetent - it's uncomfortable and we don't like it.  At all.

If we are not used to re-training ourselves in terms of bodily methods, this level of discomfort is off putting and we tend to slide back into our default mode - that ingrained muscle memory kicks in and we settle back into our comfort zone, in spite of knowing that by so doing we are probably not doing our muscles any great favours!

Having studied dance and some athletics, I came to weaving very familiar with the concept of bio-feedback and the awkwardness of re-training my muscles - the constant tweaking and fine-tuning of body position to achieve a particular effect.  So when I began weaving I was also highly aware of how something I was doing felt - whether or not it was awkward and how to slightly change position, test that and see if it improved anything, then change and test again.

Over the years I have refined my techniques and as I was exposed to new (to me) methods, I incorporated them when I recognized that they would be beneficial.

I've mentioned elsewhere that it generally takes me 7 warps to incorporate the new technique into my physical vocabulary.

Adults tend to assume that when they change a method it will be an automatic and instant change, not one that they will have to willfully and consciously work at over a (sometimes) lengthy period of time.  This is especially true for people who do not weave on a regular basis.  Muscle memory is insistent on clinging to the old, comfortable ways.

If a practitioner truly wants to change things, they need to work at it, mindfully, willfully, persistently.

And to take rest breaks.  Remember the golden rule of repetitive motions - when you feel the strain.....stop!


Nancy said...

you are so right, Laura! As a music teacher, I found that the adult pupils most apt to do well were those who gave themselves permission to first feel "stupid" not to get it at first, and then be okay with practicing until it becaume second nature.

Amy said...

Agreed! I was so excited when I first bought my floor loom that I wove a yard of fabric 6" wide as fast as I could. I was not wearing shoes. I ended up spraining my left foot and wearing a walking cast for 2 months! :)

Laura Fry said...

Oh dear, that doesn't sound good! Hope you are all recovered now.