Have you ever tried a trendy diet and soon found out the regime did nothing for you? Or have you wondered why one moment you are an eager gym bunny and the next you feel guilty as the gym membership goes to waste month after month? It's often too tempting to apply a blanket strategy to your life and actually fail to listen to the most important participant - you. We'd like to think there's a one-size-fits-all solution to all our worries (ie. a magic pill) and believe that as long as we stick to the recipe, we'll be ok.
A year ago I was getting up at 5.30 am every morning. I'd bounce up from my bed and go for a run. And then I'd work for 2 hours before my kids got up. Ah, I'd even make breakfast for the family before they woke. I was bursting with energy. What an annoying person I was! I thought this would last forever. I thought this was the new me.
Now my morning goes more like this... I have my eyes open (I've checked the time) at 5.49 am. A thought of getting up and putting my running shoes on crosses my mind, very briefly. I visit the day's work load before happily falling back to sleep. The next thing I know it's 8.15 am! Huh. I simply don't seem to be able to get out of bed before 8 am anymore. Even my husband is wondering what happened, I used to be such an (annoyingly) early riser. Why am I not charging up in the morning like a hungry lion?
Have I lost my mojo?
Perhaps not. Perhaps I've actually found it!
A year ago I would have most likely beaten myself up (mentally) for being such a lazy sod. "You gotta show some discipline, woman!" I would have shouted myself in my head. "How do you think you'll get anywhere (in life) if you are not squeezing it all in?" And so I did. One year ago my life was filled up, back-to-back.
But did I actually get more done? Or was I pushing my boat too hard?
I think so.
I went into an overdrive. I became obsessed with getting up and doing my run. Getting some work in. Doing all that driven woman stuff.
Don't get me wrong. I believe it's great to go for a run in the morning. I just don't feel like doing it at 5 am, right now.
I'm no more lazy than I was a year ago. I work very hard, often burning the midnight oil (which partly explains my lack of enthusiasm for getting up at 5 or 6 am). The difference is that I'm more focused. I'm more connected to what I'm doing and feeling right now, rather than just doing what should be done. And I think I actually get much more done now, than a year ago.
I understand now that my natural rhythm changes all the time. A year ago I needed to show myself (and others?) that little extra push. I wanted to push my boat a little harder to get to here where I'm today. To learn. Now I'm happy to be still and to observe.
The most important thing is that I don't beat myself up for not doing something that was necessary to do a year ago. I could easily get stuck in that old pattern and think that I have to be the same person I was a year ago. Instead, I accept new things as my natural rhythm changes and make most of it.
What have I learned about finding my rhythm? Here are a couple of discoveries:
It's good to over do it
Only by exploring our limits we find our natural middle. This includes stopping and being too hyped. Working too hard and getting a panic attack. Or stopping and taking a deep breath. The ripple effect can start large but over time it gets better, and you will find your balance.
Stop applying blanket strategies
There is no 'perfect diet' that every human being should follow. There's no 'perfect rhythm' or 'perfect relationship' or 'perfect what-ever' either. Stop chasing fads, or following what your friends or glossy magazines say, and start stopping and listening to your own body and soul. You have all the answers that are right for you, right now.
Look at life in its entirety
It's easy to get obsessed about one day, one week or a year. You can never find balance (or it's difficult) in short periods of time, but when you extend the time span, you can see that there is a good life-balance, you start to see your real patterns. The number of sun spots (in the sun) increase every 11 years. What's your pattern?
Life is a paradox. I'm learning that as much I have to appreciate the time I have, I can't be obsessed about it. I can't spend my time wastefully, but l shouldn't stress over it either. When it's time to return to a more pressurised morning schedule, I'll do it naturally. I miss the 5 am morning energy, but until it returns to me without calling, I shall enjoy my morning sleep.
What is your pattern? Please comment and share your thoughts on finding a balance.
Have a great week, a one that comes naturally to you.