I spent some time by one of the beautiful rivers near my home yesterday. I sat in the sunshine on a giant rock jutting out into the water and watched the water tumble and flow past my feet. It was peaceful and quiet (aside from the loudness of the water rushing) and calming.
I’d been struggling this week to get back into my routine after have a week off for vacation and much needed time to recharge. It’s been a slow start. I’ve been struggling with week with feeling like I’m not getting enough done or being productive enough. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m much better at doing than simply being.
Sitting by that river yesterday, it occurred to me that my natural rhythm is more ocean tides than river rushing. The trouble is, I often think I should be a river rushing. (Stay with me here, we’re in metaphor land!)
The ocean has natural ebbs and flows, high tides and low tides. It powers forward in waves and quietly rolls back out again. Power and ease working together in perfect rhythm. Rivers, on the other hand, rush forward with one setting – fast and powerful. They are relentless and single-minded in their motion tumbling through their banks.
This week I’ve been the ocean, trying to make myself be a river. Well, this week and pretty much every other week of my life! It’s a rather consistent pattern for me.
I’m great at allowing myself to flow, to do and accomplish and create. It’s the ebbing part of my natural rhythm that I struggle to embrace. I’m not always so great at allowing myself to slow, to retreat, and to breathe in so that I can flow forward again with power and ease. I’m good at exhaling, but not so great at remembering to inhale.
And that resistance to my natural rhythm leads to frustration, self-judgment, and perpetual exhaustion.
I am not a river. I am an ocean. I need to flow AND to ebb. I need to give it my all, and then retreat to recharge and reenergize.
As much as my brain dislikes it, I’m in an ebb. I need more quiet. More space. More breathing room. Quieter and slower movements. This is my natural rhythm and I have to trust it. Because when I do, when it’s time, the flow will return and I can power forward.
I am an ocean, not a river. I am at my best when I embrace my ocean-ness, my ebb and flow rhythm. Life is happier. I am more energized. I do better work. Life just works.
So, how about you? What’s your natural rhythm? Are you trying to should yourself into someone you aren’t?
Something to ponder.