Rhythm, Routine and the Rebel takes approx 5 mins to read 💚
Our biological rhythms are the symphony of the cosmos, music embedded deep within us to which we dance, even when we can’t name the tune.
Many years ago I worked with a guy who was by profession a musician, he played the Medieval recorder. One drunken evening we found ourselves deep in debate about discipline and freedom.
I was, at that time, unable to separate discipline from unpleasant childhood experiences. Trapped in the past, at I may add 30 years old, I equated discipline with punishment and seemed unable to conceive of any other meaning for the word.
My childhood was a place of do as I you are told or else. Even doing as I was told could result in, or else! The punishments were not predictable, being disciplined could happen anytime, anywhere and with varying degrees of unpleasantness.
Consequently I developed an inner rebel who instantly reacted to anything that felt like being told what to do. It might have been a friendly suggestion, a care or concern but I heard telling, ordering, trying to control me and reacted accordingly…not well. I would rebel and do it my way, another way, or not at all, often to my own detriment.
Root to freedom
Interestingly, however, a part of that discipline conversation has never left me.
“Mairi the root to freedom IS discipline.” He explained that in order to have the freedom to pick up his recorder and play whatever he wanted he had had to be disciplined in learning and practicing. It didn’t just happen.
I wanted freedom, and so did my inner rebel.
I got what he said intellectually, but in practice it’s hard, for me anyway. My inner rebel has fought my attempts at self discipline at every turn. That is until recently. We’ve had an interesting shift.
My life has felt very full this year since taking on a polytunnel on top of everything else. But just to complicate things further I recently adopted a slightly neurotic cat, borrowed a broody hen to hatch out chicks and then I decided to make some significant lifestyle changes.
The floundering around, feeling all over the place didn’t take long to start. Neither did the whining about everything I had to do, fit in and attend to. How on earth to manage it all? Self discipline and routine of course.
No! My inner rebel protested. Fuck it she says, fuck routine, fuck regular, fuck doing the same thing at the same time every day, fuck no, fuck it all. She’s very compelling when she gets going. Convinced that anything that smacks of regularity and control will trap me in a boring life of meaningless repetitive daily grind, a prison camp of my own making.
Thank goodness I have some agency over myself today and recognise who this aspect is. She’s not bad, she’s a reaction to what happened to me, stuck in the past. Interestingly now, this little freedom fighter has become curious. She can see that I am experiencing some sort of epiphany or awakening and discipline might not be as bad as she thought. Maybe a rhythm and routine to the day has some merit.
Lessons from nature
Exactly 21 days after Mama hen sat on the eggs 10 chicks pecked their way into the world. Mum is now teaching them about living to the rhythm of the planet, when to rise and when to head for bed. She tips their bowl of food over so they have to peck, showing them how – it’s incredibly clever, natural and awe inspiring.
Now over to kitty. Betty is her name. She’s had a rough start. Traumatic journey to get here from her previous island home, then bitten by tics which turned into a fur pulling nightmare which led to anxiety and agitation. As with all of us she needed a rhythm and routine to help calm these troubles. Application of creams, giving of remedies, feed times all needed to happen regularly, not when I could fit it in.
And then, on my new early morning walks more lessons in rhythm. Mother Nature is in her post Beltain rush to the Summer solstice. There is an energy of aliveness and abundance in this dash to peak daylight. Much needs done before the autumnal changes begin. These earthly cycles, this regular, repeating rhythm of nature accompanies my own attempts to gain control of my human endeavours at life.
Attempts at rhythm and routine
Deepening in me is a place that connects with all of these repeating patterns. There is a comfort growing in the rhythm and routine, the regular beat of each day.
Alongside runs the disarray as I ricochet around attempting to introduce new routines. I have chosen to eat differently, to sort out my poor sleep patterns, and biggest of all to engage in a spiritual programme which includes new daily and weekly practices.
My normal morning routine had to change. What order should I do it all in, who and what needs to come first? I have been feeling all over the place as I experiment with different possibilities. Walk first, no, hens and cat first, then walk? Spiritual practice, then cat, hens, walk? Or cat, hens, spiritual practice, walk? Oh God, what about breakfast, washing, dressing, yogaaaa, how do I fit it all in?
Align with nature
Discipline is required to make this work and my rebel was not happy, until that is something strange happened.
The other day as I set of on my walk I noticed a new aspect of me emerge. She wants to align with the beat of nature, the rhythm of the planet, a reliable, known pattern of what and when. The desire for a more disciplined life seems to have come upon me, who would have thought.
My rebel aspect can see it gives me freedom. I know what I am doing when, and I have the satisfaction of getting things done.
A reconnection is occurring, a coming home to deep ancestral knowings about being here, on earth, part of this extraordinary eco-system. A tiny pulse of remembering has begun to beat.
My morning routine is settling down into a known pattern, it’s easier now, comforting. I still have work to do at the end of my day and in between, well that’s another story, let’s just say I’m a work in progress on that front. But something new is emerging, a sense of belonging, here on earth, as part of the rhythm. What a blessing this is.
Nature promotes mutualism. The flower nourishes the bee. The river waters quench the thirst of all living beings. And trees provide a welcoming home to so many birds and animals. There is a rhythm to this togetherness.
If you would like some simple ideas to start your day, to develop rhythm and routine check out the Simple Self Care Ideas below.