I was having a conversation with a dear friend about balance last night and she said to me, “I don’t use that word” and I laughed loudly. We laughed together. Finally, someone else besides me hates to hear the word. But better than the fact that Natasha doesn’t use the word is that she gave me a replacement that made a whole lot of sense and better explained the present lack in my life. I was being told that I lacked balance. But what is actually missing in my life right now is a systematic rhythm.
Imagine that, a black girl from Southern Georgia who has lost her rhythm.
Hard to believe I know, but it is absolutely true.
Natasha and I talked about several different examples in the Bible such as Moses, Paul and Jesus who don’t display a clear balance structure in their work but we can surely see a rhythm in their lives. You might be wondering the difference between balance and rhythm. Some people actually use these terms interchangeably which I think can be a great misfortune of daily living.
Balance is a distribution of load so that steadiness is achieved. In order to maintain a steady, balanced condition implies that what we carry has to be proportionately equivalent to our capacity to hold it. This mindset keeps us lying to ourselves saying, “I can manage, I can manage” as we consistently pile more and more on our proverbial plates (or better stated, our scales) rather mismanaging our capacity. For the balancing act to be methodical and therefore achievable, it has to be strategic. If we admit it, we don’t think about a method until we have failed at managing the balance.
Rhythm, on the other hand, is systematic from the get go or it can’t be called rhythm. We rely on patterns and cadence. The beauty of rhythm is the longer the duration is maintained, the more comfortable you become with it. Unlike balance where the progression of weight distribution could eventually prove detrimental to us causing us to “tip over”. Progression of that steady succession of cadence becomes comfortable, regulated, uniform and even routine. Next thing you know you’re moving to the beat. You’re dancing and YOU LIKE HOW IT FEELS.
Routine …that is what I am going after. I don’t believe one can achieve a life’s order or comfortable routine chasing after balance. In fact, I wish people would stop using the phrase “work-life balance” because work and life will never be equal. Balance requires equivalence to be achieved. Now, I can see rhythm as making work, living and rest routine more attainable. Natasha, a former, competitive sprinter shared with me, when she ran hurdles at the U.S. Naval Academy she had a certain way she attacked that race and she still remembers that method to this day. In the same way, we learn and must adopt ways to attack our days, every day so that we are comfortable and not feeling the way I do now…offbeat!
So how do you achieve rhythm? Simply stated, you have to set a cadence, continue in succession and exercise it repeatedly. Get back to what was working and stick with it. Sticking is the integral part!
What that looks like for me:
Morning Routine (Devotion, Stretching, Water Intake and Breakfast)
Morning Work (Write, Chores, Volunteer and Attack My To-Dos)
Break (Lunch, More Water Intake, Walk and Short Nap)
Afternoon Work (Attack More To-Do List Items and More Water Intake)
Break (Play, Afterschool Time, DIYs and Personal Enjoyment)
Evening Work (Dinner Preparation, Homework and Chores)
Evening Entertainment (Dinner, Socializing, Fellowship and/or TV Time)
Evening Routine (Wind Down, Prayer, Read and Relaxing Music)
Natasha speaks a lot about learning to put into practice your spiritual disciplines. I am thankful to have had this conversation with her about rhythm. Because she checked me, I am now able to pass this learning on to you!
No more lost rhythm! QuaWanna is getting her groove back!
How about you? How will you attack your day today and tomorrow and the day after? Please share with us your spiritual disciplines and maybe you can help us get the rhythm. Let’s Dance.