A Meditation on Sore Muscles

My new workout routine has made me a little sore, and I realized yesterday morning that when I stretched, it was painful, but in a good way. So I was thinking about how stretching when you aren’t sore feels good, but if you stretch when you are sore, it feels better. It’s as if the soreness gives you more relief from the stretch.

This reminds me of the idea of yin and yang. The yin-yang symbol represents two opposing forces that complement each other, one light and one dark, and there is a dark piece in the light and a light piece in the dark. They need each other to survive, and they need to be in balance. When one increases, the other must decrease, but they are always moving. Neither can be fully dominant and neither is superior to the other.

Jordan Peterson talks about the ideas of order and chaos, which follow the same path as yin-yang. We need both order and chaos, and they need each other to survive. Too much order is authoritarianism and too much chaos is, well, chaotic.

I think chaos gets a bad rap, though. Chaos is responsible for most of the beauty, art, and emotions that we enjoy. Too much chaos causes panic attacks–you feel like you can’t calm down. It’s the emotional side of you taking over. Emotions are great but they need to be tampered with rationality, otherwise they descend into madness.

So my sore muscles remind me that I am working on myself. Soreness insists on being known, and stretching a sore muscle feels good, because I’m acknowledging the soreness, acknowledging the work my muscles are doing. And that feels better in so many ways.

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