The Rhythm of Life

by Juliet Platt on February 3, 2011

in Journaling,Work life balance

The snowdrops are beginning to push through the cold ground, and are reminding us of the rhythmic cycle of the seasons. It’s a sight that always triggers a sense of optimism for new growth, warmth and life to come. 

Rhythm is everywhere. Not just in music and the usual sounds of our day, but in the ebbs and flows of our daily routine, energy, mood, and the recurrence of our thoughts. 

Businessmen and women, athletes, writers, artists, students – everyone with every type of experience will be aware of different rhythms and routines in their lives. 

When things are going well, when you feel in the flow of life, and things fall into place just as you need them to, it is likely you are aligned with your natural pace and rhythm. You are making your own luck! 

However, whenever life begins to feel like a struggle, when exercise starts feeling like hard work, your business hangs like a millstone round your neck, and the natural variation of your hormone levels becomes more like an illness, it is possible that you have become out of kilter with your own rhythm. 

Perhaps you have begun to dance to the beat of someone else’s drum, are trying to keep up with a new set of Joneses, or are using up all your energy protecting your ego from taking a bruising. 

So how can you get more in tune with your own rhythm and know the benefits of being in greater alignment with your individual pace? 

First of all, pay attention. Notice your heart beat, the depth of your breath, how your body feels. Write down your observations in your journal. What’s going on around you that might be triggering your physical response? What is the pattern of your thoughts? What are the recurring stories running through your head? 

Listen to your favourite piece of music. Notice the melody. Then pay attention to the bass line or drum beat. Often the melody can distract us from the true pace of the music and the actual rhythm is faster or slower than you think. Like our recurring thoughts and stories, the melody may be deceptive and may cover up what’s really going on. 

How often in business do we tell ourselves stories about our customers’ behaviour, the market, or the economic forces we’re powerless to combat? Only focussing on the stories means we miss out on underlying opportunities, the heartbeat of our business. 

Next, allow a new rhythm to emerge and respond to it. If the day feels slow, let it be. Take advantage of slowness, and find an activity best suited to it. Perhaps some time spent reflecting on progress, setting new goals and intentions or creating a tidier office space and getting organised. 

If things feel sluggish, step up the energy. You know the difference between a genuinely slow track on your music player and one that slurs because the batteries need changing. Don’t neglect to put in more energy if that’s what’s needed. 

Finally, get curious. Play with different rhythms. Try this kick-off sentence in your journal: “If I lived my life at the pace of…” A bullet train? A snail? Snowdrops? A snare drum? A mountain? Notice what’s possible from different rhythmic perspectives. 

Rhythm is simultaneously grounding and uplifting. It keeps the body anchored in the present moment while the spirit is able to soar. Tuning into the true rhythm of our life has the power to transform our experience. Start paying attention today.

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