The word, rhythm, swirled in my mind strongly ever since a phone call in January two years ago to cancel a February speaking engagement. My journal that day reads; “After I shared with T the reason that I had to cancel was Jim’s terminal illness, she prayed a very encouraging prayer asking the Lord to give me wisdom to find a new rhythm.” I was puzzled about rhythm in living, but sounded like a good approach.
Throughout the sixty-five years of Jim’s and my juggling of lifestyle-matters together, I wondered how I could continue doing it alone. I was aware of the importance of routine and ritual, but rhythm sounded like a strange combination. For me, up to then, rhythm was linked to music, roller skating or skiing. I didn’t ski, but before writing about the important role that rhythm plays in one’s lifestyle--single or married—I would do the usual: interview one or more and consult the dictionary, in that order. Hmmm, who to interview about rhythm? You won’t believe this, but the gal picking me up for bible study the next morning is an avid skier who I felt sure could shed light on the importance of rhythm in skiing.
M shared: Actually, timing is the most important in consistent conditions, especially regarding sharp turns but rhythm also plays an important part. When you have both, it’s enjoyable, relaxing and fun. You feel like you could ski with your eyes closed. But if I hit a piece of ice and lose control, and my feet begin to slide then recovery without falling becomes a challenge. Kids can fall and get up quickly, but older folks have difficulty. When conditions are great, timing and steady-rhythm are good, everything just flows and is stress-free and peaceful--a wonderful feeling!
She also mentioned meeting a 90-year-old woman on the ski slopes, skiing alone but needed a bit of equipment assistance. The woman had been skiing for 62 years, which is not only amazing and admirable but a good example.
Additional skiing tips added insight. Practice balance and movement; maintain good posture for basic plough turning. Learn to glide and maintain a consistent speed. Leaning back is the most common mistake skiers make. Warm boots are easier to put on. Drink plenty of water to help your muscles and body functions. Pace yourself. Confidence grows as skills increase. Skiing is great exercise. Take breaks during your day of skiing; don’t get too tired. Enjoy a good meal when you’re finished; you deserve it.
Rhythm Definition: measured motion. To flow; alternation with opposite or different elements or features.
The skiing-tips analogy highlights the successful syncing of lifestyle-responsibilities more than I had imagined including reaching a goal of fun, exercise and snacks. As I contemplated factoring in rhythm to what looked like an impossible harmonizing of unrelated functions—study time, finances, phone calls, car care, counseling, cooking, cleaning, garden and figuring out Jim’s watering system, getting IRS material together, reserving time for friends, family and extended family, weekly church responsibilities, exercise, aquatic classes, walking, reading, hobbies and vacation. I looked forward to a rhythmic, stress-free life-style living.
A blog subject months ago encouraged setting a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time which satisfies our systems, but employment and kids’ schedules often prevent that. I also recommend meals at a set time which is very difficult for me because when I’m writing, I don’t get hungry. I didn’t realize until after Jim was gone that when he stuck his head in my office door and said “When’s lunch?”, or again “What are we doing for supper?” that he’s the one who kept me, an Intuitive, on a Sensing routine/ritual time schedule. Another reason why opposites are good together.
Just as skiers wisely plan ahead for weather and available ski times, lifestyle-planning also is a time-saver. Keeping a hard-copy calendar handy in a specified spot with its own ball point pen is not only helpful but a must for me. Checking it every morning is also a very wise practice as occasionally, a knock at the door reveals a client whose name is written in my unchecked calendar. Keeping my cell phone in an upright holder rather than asking Google to call my “misplaced” phone somewhere in my office or in another room has also saved time.
Prioritizing and re-prioritizing is a wise move all through the week since interruptions can push back a project a couple of hours, a day or maybe a month. Choose to do the most intense jobs when mind and energy levels are freshest. Control minor distractions from derailing your plans by jotting notes.
Pacing helps to maintain sanity. I tend to put too many things on my platter which is counter-productive. Paying attention to what jobs can be done at night (like writing, scrubbing floors or making soup) and those that demand cooler morning weather for working in the garden or washing windows. (I know many people hate that job, but I relish it). Rushing to finish a project neutralizes joyfulness due to mistakes or subverting tomorrow’s schedule. Be wise not only about the number and types of projects planned but factor in plenty of leeway time.
Balance supplies inner control to lifestyle as we’ve discussed before: all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy as the old saying goes. Playing is more difficult for structured people because their work is their play as well, and hobbies often become business. Leaving the house and the sight of unfinished chores in order to play may be a beneficial option. Playing, laughing, enjoying scenery changes and a variety of people is relaxing, energizing and as M said very well, is stress-free and peaceful--a wonderful feeling!
Upon learning about the Lifestyle Rhythm subject, a loyal-reader commented: it's good to get knocked out of our rhythm and balance sometimes because it can help us to grow and learn new things. But too much of that though, can lead to stress and anxiety.
The ski words, repetition and routine can double for bookend-approaches for Lifestyle Rhythm. Practice makes perfect, as the old adage claimed. Skiing requires physical, mental strength and knowledge of what to do when the ‘slope’ gets rough, dangerous or overly crowded. Just like life. No slope is too tough for the Lord to help one to navigate, but we just might require a little assistance in securing skis to be fastened just right. I don’t plan to ski at my age, maybe you either, but pretend you are 90, take a run and zig zag gracefully down a challenging new spiritual slope.
The Lord wants us to trust Him. He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. Job. 5:9. Youwill keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You. Isa. 26:3 (NIV)
1 Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. 5 You have made my lot secure. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; 11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Ps. 16: 1, 5-6, 11 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5-6 (NIV
Thank you, Lord, for T’s simple but significant prayer that lifted my spirit, raised my sites and challenged me to embrace a unique approach toward a brand-new lifestyle. Help me to be alert to those who may need the same kind of encouragement.
If you wondered: Without notice, a stomach bug’s visit delayed the launching of the fully suited-up Feb. 20th Lifestyle Rhythm blog but now encircles Feb. 27 as well.