March 17, 2010

Getting Back into the Rhythm of Life

There’s nothing like rhythm in your life to energize and ground you.

Rhythm went missing in my life for awhile recently. It happens to all of us. The only way to get life’s rhythm back is to keep dancing even though you can’t hear the tune.

How did I lose my rhythm? Pretty simple, really. As is the case with many people these days, my wife and I faced some big financial challenges over the past two years. Some of those challenges came from choices we made. Some from an unexpected downturn in my communication consulting business. Certainly there were external circumstances beyond our control, but I prefer to own my situation and take complete responsibility for it.

Someone, in an effort to offer some support, told me that times are hard right now, that life is a struggle, and that I shouldn’t beat myself up too much over our situation. That’s not quite right. Truth is, I started struggling with life. I lost my rhythm.

So what’s a guy to do when he loses his rhythm?

Sometimes the Only Way Through is Paying Attention While You Ride It Out

Have you ever watched a rodeo cowboy ride a bull? I have. The rider settles himself onto a restless, 2000 pound animal and grabs hold of a thick, braided rope. Then the bucking chute opens and the bull charges out into the arena, bucking and kicking for all it’s worth in an enraged attempt to dislodge the man riding on its back. The goal? Stay on that bucking bull for at least eight seconds.

The rider is either thrown off or dismounts more or less under his own power. What amazes me is the way the best riders match the bull’s rhythm, remaining on the massive creature until that eight seconds has lapsed.

Muscles tire. The rider is ever in danger of losing his single-handed grip on the rope. Then the ride is over — but not before he manages to become one with one of the great forces of nature.

Not a rodeo fan? Neither am I. But I appreciate the metaphor.

Life Has Rhythm. Ignore It At Your Peril.

Life has a rhythm we can choose to match or ignore. But every time I let my attention get distracted from that rhythm, I’m thrown to the dirt.

Okay, so if I’m working to the rhythm of life, how do I express myself? What about my own rhythm? Good question. When I’m tuned into life’s rhythm, I’m improvising around the beat. I can sing to it, dance to it, slide, glide, whoop, or play my guitar until my fingers ache.

You have to find your uniqueness and express yourself through it. That’s what I do, anyway, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever found that consistently works. I’ve lost my focus and abandoned my uniqueness more than once in this lifetime, and paid a heavy price as a result. My uniqueness manifests itself in writing, in sharing my experiences with anxiety and depression, and helping people and organizations collaborate to solve high-stakes problems. From time to time I also help people choose and use technology without doing something dumb.

Somehow I got sidetracked again these past couple of years. Yet as soon as I returned to expressing my uniqueness, started dancing my dance and matching the rhythm of life again, something shifted. And though we’re still picking up the pieces — including a move in the next couple of months to who knows where — we’re in a much better position now.

What’s your dance? What makes you unique? Find your dance and shake that money-maker.

Surely more to come…

Comment Below ↓

There are no comments yet, be the first!

You must log in to post a comment.