The Rhythm of The Self
In this series of blogs, we want to take a look at the concept of ‘rhythm’ to explore what it means in the context of our lives and our inner selves.
Rhythm and tempo are concepts familiar and accessible to all of us no matter how un-musical we may think we are, expressed in simple embodied actions like tapping our foot, nodding our head or drumming our fingers.
From the moment we are born the body’s internal pulse is a constant presence in our lives. Even when we are unaware of it the heart is working rhythmically to regulate our bodies and allow us to function. Yet beyond the basic physicality of internal rhythm, we each possess a unique mental and spiritual ‘tempo’. By learning to live in accord with this inner rhythm we can bring our true, whole selves into our relationships and working lives.
Work is one area where we can easily discern our rhythm, taking note of how we feel throughout a day, a week, or even an individual task. Do we work best in short, sharp bursts of activity? Do we need time to build ourselves up, procrastinating until the last second of inspiration? Maybe we like to take a slow and steady approach, chipping away at projects bit by bit over a longer period of time.
Unfortunately, while work offers the chance to identify our own rhythm it can also be the area of life where our individuality is least valued. Rigid schedules or pressure to conform to a standardised working culture can flatten out difference, causing us to lose touch with our rhythm as we attempt to move to the beat of the world around us.
This external tempo can easily lure us. Maybe we’re seduced by a high-octane environment where everything feels important, vital even, and so do we. It’s easy to get caught trying to match up to a world that we think represents who we are without taking the time to truly listen to what our bodies and subconscious are telling us. Sometimes the conscious brain is not our best guide.
No matter how long we are able to persist in a world that is out of step with our inner selves, eventually it will start to affect us. A lingering sense of fatigue, dislocation or unease may start to creep into our lives as our body feels the strain of working to a beat which is not its own. Taking the time to really listen to ourselves, monitoring our energy and excitement levels, mapping the ebb and flow of our emotions and creativity, allows us to identify our individual affective rhythm and to better serve ourselves and fulfil who we truly are.