A rhythm is a regular repeating pattern. Usually we think in terms of sound or movement but it could be events, it could be patterns of behaviour at particular times.
Walking, Lullabies, Football Chants
How often have you recognised people across the street by their rhythm and pattern of walking? Think of a lullaby, how the rhythm is hypnotic and soothing. The child responds but the parent sets the rhythm. Remember a chant at a sports game and people from all over the stadium pick up the communal rhythm.
Rhythm of daily life
Our daily lives are rhythms too, personal to each of us, entrancing and comfortable.
Biological rhythms: heart beat, breathing, sleeping and eating, are at the base. Over a week our bodies know when to get up, when to head for the train, drive a car to work and when to meet people. We absorb the timetables other people run by and perhaps adapt our own to them.
Ever found your body on the way to do something but your mind suddenly waking up and wondering what exactly you are doing in the kitchen, searching through the cutlery drawer? Responding to an inner rhythm – it’s cake time?
Efficiency of Rhythm
This life rhythm is efficient too. We know when to do certain stuff because it is always done that way at the appointed time. Our habits, which we have taken a long time to develop, are all a part of our life’s rhythm.
As we respond to the rhythm and pace we have set ourselves, our minds are free to do whatever else it wants to do, including nothing. Ever looked back on a day, week or even a month and wondered idly to yourself – what have I been doing? Stuff happened as you followed a rhythm but where were you in it?
Remember starting a new job, or joining a new group and it has taken a while to work out the rhythm of the organisation. The words “fast paced” in a job advert are attempting to convey a message about the rhythm, for people to decide whether they can thrive there.
Whether your rhythm is fixed and obvious to others or very idiosyncratic, it is part of the fabric of your life.
A break in the Rhythm
You notice the rhythm when something breaks it. When something happen that sets you “out of kilter”. A phone call at an odd time of the morning which delays you, then you play catch up the whole of the day, not quite feeling in time. Or other people are out of their rhythm, your family pitches up for a weekend when you did not expect it and that sets your rhythm out as you adjust. (Happily or not!)
Sometimes the interruption is refreshing and resets the rhythm in unexpected and surprising ways.
Sometimes the interruption is more honestly described as disturbing.
A time of change, whether chosen by you or forced on you, disrupts the rhythm of your life. Your sense of equilibrium can be lost, momentarily or for quite long periods of time.
Choosing to make changes in your life is rarely something that happens in total isolation. Others will feel the change in rhythm too. This disruption is disturbing.
Whose Rhythm is it anyway?
It is possible that your life is not following your own rhythm at all, that it is interruption driven, based on the needs of other people. When those other people no longer need you, finding your own rhythm again can take a while!
It is good to remember that after a period of adjustment, a new rhythm will form, one perhaps you set mindfully.
If you’d like to get a fresh perspective on your life and a greater understanding of the rhythms that guide it, join one of our upcoming Hope and Choices events. Sign up here to receive our bi-monthly newsletter.