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Your Body's Natural Rhythm

Rhythm is described as a strong repeated pattern of movement or sound. I currently question many times a week, where does time go? One minute it's Monday morning and I’m staring down at the 101 things I have to do, and the next moment it’s Friday and another week is over. It’s going too fast. It feels like I’m living much of my life on autopilot, catching small moments to feel and experience what’s going on around me. It feels as if I’m stuck on a rhythm that doesn’t feel natural to me. I’m waiting for the stop button to be pressed and I’m not sure how, who, when or why it’ll be pressed.  

I believe that we all have an internal rhythm which is unique to our being. The rhythm dictates how we spend our time and energies, how we move, how effectively we function and how much we are able to manage. I can imagine that we are all feeling off our rhythm as we are forced to become slaves to the rhythm of life and productivity, whether that’s our work, our families, social commitments or completing day to day activities.  

I take you back to 1985 with Grace Jones and her artistic, political, cultural and dystopian expression of the changing world around her in her song ‘Slave to the Rhythm’. I wonder what the video would look like now. I see different rhythms in the way my mum will say ‘stop rushing me.’ When my cat Winston sits on me and I’m thinking I have to move, I’ve got things to do, or when you’re sitting in traffic and you can sense the different urgencies around you. We have all been indoctrinated in different rhythms, with different priorities. A friend will ask ‘How can you take a nap, haven’t you got things to do?’ A nap is deemed extravagant and unnecessary to him. I have things to do, but this is what the rhythm is telling me to do. I need to slow my rhythm.  

Our natural speed is a down regulated nervous system. It’s when we are living at ease, we feel safe and can be fully present in the moment. We can use all of our senses to experience the world around. It’s a slow heartbeat, long deep breaths, softened muscles and moments of gratitude. It might be a moment of feeling joy, of laughing, or that moment that allows you to quieten your mind, knowing we all have things to do, but not feeling overwhelmed by them, or that moment of thinking the day is complete I can now sleep.  

Those are just a few examples that highlight we are all probably living on an alternative rhythm. It’s not to say that it’s possible to always live in our natural rhythm, but we need to be able to fluctuate with the experiences and demands of life, but to always be able to find our way back. For most of us we’re not even sure what our natural rhythm is.

What rhythm are you living on? What does your natural rhythm feel like? When did you last experience it? This may be a completely new concept to some of you, so I invite you to hold this thought and question the rhythms in different moments.  

As mentioned, we live in a high demand culture where we are expected to stay on the rhythm, but this is why for example Craniosacral Therapy, Yoga, getting your hair done, having a massage, reading, walking a dog, going for a run are so beneficial for you. These and many more are examples of changing the rhythms in your system, not only that, but some of them are other people dictating and giving us permission to change the rhythms. When does that ever happen? When did your baby last say, take a break mum/dad, I’ll sleep so you can get some rest? Or your boss says, you’ve worked hard, take a day off?  

In these moments we have to surrender, put our phones down and give into the moment. Those moments where you feel so heavy that you can’t move after a massage, or you feel super sleepy after a yoga class. The activity has attuned you to another rhythm. It can feel weird, like life is moving slow and our brains aren’t firing as quick.

Is this how life is meant to be lived?

Does life really need to be so fast paced? Or it can go the other way, we may move to a quicker rhythm like a spin class to break the cycle of the day to day over stimulation. We have natural rhythms to follow like our circadian rhythms influencing our sleep, the rhythm of the ocean, the movement of the sun moving through a forest. The flowing current of a river, or the movement of the clouds. Many of which we miss because we’re moving too fast.  

Take a moment to match your rhythm to a song.

Are you on an Adele track or a Spice Girls?  Is your mind and body stuck on a heavy metal album, unbearably banging and screaming? Different tracks are needed for different rhythms of our life. And when we’re conflicted on rhythms, when we can’t keep up or slow down, when we’ve got five different songs playing at the same time and we can’t make out any of them. It’s like that moment at a concert where someone can’t clap to the beat. When someone pronounces a word wrong, and all you can hear is the wrong one, but you’re scrambling through your mind to find the correct one. When your car stalls and that sense of panic.  

There is so much happening in the world at the moment that we are consciously and unconsciously being pulled into so many rhythms. Some of which will have nothing to do with us, or anything that we’re particularly interested in, but if we see it enough we’ll get sucked in.

Why have I suddenly taken a disliking to Jennifer Lopez? The algorithms are working overtime. Algorithms - a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer. I haven’t just turned in a conspiracy theorist. Don’t worry. We get sucked into the rhythms (dramas) of those around us. Beware!

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