Finding A Rhythm In Life Lived

Dad decided for whatever reason I don’t know to send me to a percussion teacher when I was about eight years old. I learned the variety of rhythms–marching, Bossa Nova, rhumba, waltz, and so on by the time I moved on to guitar at 20.

I thought of rhythms thanks to a new book I’ve begun reading this week, Attention Span: A Groundbreaking Way to Restore Balance, Happiness and Productivity, by Gloria Mark, PhD. She is a psychologist who has researched things such as focus.

I’ve only gotten through the first four chapters so far. She has gone through some research on flow, a topic popularized mostly in athletics but also in creative work. This observation is derived from that feeling you have when you are deeply immersed in something–a book, painting a picture, playing soccer–and time passes unnoticed.

She points out that much of our work, and indeed our lives, are not in flow. Rather there is a rhythm. Perhaps the daily circadian rhythm. There are points of a day where we are more alert and times when we need a break.

Reading through the Proverbs (my annual January refresher course) I sense rhythms. The wise person rises early, attends to the work to be done, helps other people, avoids fools. The fool’s rhythm depends on the whims of the moment, the vagaries of the moment, the suggestions of “friends.”

Our trick is to find our daily/weekly/monthly rhythms and live them out. Hopefully the rhythm of the wise and not that of the fool.

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