On Rhythms

I swim.

I swim to stretch, to breathe, to become lost in my own thoughts, to get to the point where my body stops fighting me and just turns loose in the water.

On some of my best swim days, I forget to count laps.  I get in a rhythm.  Stroke, breathe, kick, repeat.  My mind wanders.

At some point, my consciousness kicks back in.  I stroke and kick to the wall and pull off my goggles.

After I stop swimming, I notice that I’m breathing heavily and my arms and legs feel heavy with use.  I became aware, once again, of my basic bodily sensations — sensations that moved into the background in my rhythmic meditative swimming.

Life is all about rhythms — the automated processes that govern us from dawn to dusk.  The thing is though, we don’t see the rhythms when we’re in one.  It’s not until we stop and catch our breath that we see the rhythm.

For me, swimming is a healthy rhythm. It stretches my body and gives my active mind a little peace.

But life is fraught with negative rhythms too.  It’s all too easy to get caught up in a rhythm that detracts from life’s goals.

For us, our children made us keenly aware of these rhythms — the good and the not-so-good ones.  As we set out to create a life as a family, we started asking each other questions about what kind of present and future we wanted to share together.

In a way, we became attuned to our role as the artists of our lives, not passive figures blindly wrapped up in daily rhythms. 

We do not have all the answers, but we have gained a degree of clarity and a sense of direction. Whether we are cooking a family meal, reading books to our children, or dreaming up a new line of merino long johns, we strive to make conscious choices.  

Choices about what enriches our lives.  Choices about what we wish to share with our kids.  Choices about the community to which we want to contribute.

So, let’s all remember to stop and catch our collective breath, so that we can become aware of the rhythms in our lives. Let’s consciously throw our collective energy into what is true, beautiful, and good.