IT’S TIME TO GET A RHYTHM INTO YOUR LIFE.
A rhythm is a regular, repeated movement or sound. If one thinks of some examples like the rhythm of a wall clock, the heartbeat, your pulse, our breathing, the rising of the sun in the morning; it all carries with it some element of regularity and predictability. If these rhythms stop, it leads to dysfunctionality and may even be life threatening.
In life we need to develop a rhythm within ourselves, primary relationships, social activities, spirituality, just about everything. You cannot go about life in an erratic fashion; people should know where they stand with you. Anthony Robbins puts it so aptly “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” The quality of your life is determined by your daily agenda. If you develop a rhythm in all your primary endeavours, it can propel you from being ordinary and mediocre to being excellent and phenomenal.
It is therefore important to keep the important things important and keep it in check at all times. Let me share with you some of the rhythms that I built into my life:
1. I make the first cup of tea for Liz and myself when we wake up in the morning. We will then do our morning devotions by each reading and reflecting on our respective literature and related Bible reading. We will then exchange notes as to the application of what we have read on our personal, family, professional and social lives. After that we will hold hands and spend time in prayer. This sets the tone for our day.
2. As far as communication is concerned, we are forever talking about general stuff but we deliberately built in the following rhythm to set aside dedicated time for meaningful engagement:
– dialogue daily
– date weekly
– depart quarterly.
Admittedly, there are times when this rhythm can be disrupted, but we have applied this rhythm over many years now and find creative ways to compensate for any potential lapse in this regard. If you don’t build a rhythm for deep and reflective engagement, you can easily drift apart as a couple.
3. Family celebrations are critical. Birthdays, anniversaries and special events should never be taken for granted. It does not always have to be a big bash but some structured form of activity to appreciate the journey traversed thus far and an expression of gratitude. It also helps to build a catalogue of enduring memories that we as a family co-create together. Our youngest daughter Zoe’s portfolio for many years now, has been to take care of the Christmas tree.
4. Church attendance on a Sunday, is not optional and my children even knew when they were teenagers still staying with us, this is non-negotiable. The community of faith is the most important anchors of society. We are charged with diligently building that community right from the family foundation. It will act as a moral compass for generations to come.
5. I check in with friends regularly. I can’t recall how many times I will get a call just out of the blues from a friend and the timing will be perfect because at that moment I might be battling with something. That word of encouragement, a listening ear or just being there, has saved me from lapsing into many a downward spiral. Over the last six months, I had a serious health setback that severely curtailed my mobility. It was so heart-warming to see some of my friends travelling long distances to come and spend time with me. This wouldn’t be possible if I did not invest consciously and deliberately into meaningful friendships.
6. Creating moments of solitude for myself. We live in a very noisy world and we need to set aside time for reflection. Reflection is that ability to stop and look inside of ourselves and ask honest questions in an attempt to give honest and sincere responses. Never become too busy for yourself. Some people try to evade the hard questions and drown the voice of their soul by filling their lives with endless activity, noise and meaningful engagements. I normally go to a retreat center in Hartbeespoort monthly and spend a day there just to unplug. Oh how I’ve missed it over the last six months! I had to create some internal no-fly zones here at home where I just find a quiet spot to reflect.
7. One cannot overemphasize the importance of going for a full scale annual medical check-up. Any potential problems can be detected early and corrective action initiated timeously. This averted many a health crisis in my life. You must check-up or else you will checkout. I am in my late sixties but have been going through this routine for decades now.
8. To keep me on top of my game, I need to periodically take out time to engage in competency enhancement initiatives. Busyness is not necessarily effectiveness. Investment in my competency levels ensured that I remain effective, relevant and produce credible outcomes. I delight in sharing notes with those that are leaders in my area of work for benchmarking purposes and identifying possible areas of new innovations that I can bring into the field. I make a special effort to continuously invest in the tools of my trade and hone my skills-set at every available opportunity. Rob Thompson said the following in this regard “ Today’s excellence is tomorrow’s mediocrity. ” By regularly attending workshops, seminars, doing short courses, attending master classes (mostly online nowadays) and reading widely on current issues, keep me on top of my game.
9. When it comes to intimacy in marriage (by the way I am married for 41 years now), can I take you into confidence? The sexual act is one of the most sacred and pleasurable things in a marital relationship. It is a culmination of all the signals, gestures, messages that were sent out throughout the ensuing period. It is not a matter of switch off the lights and pump up the primus stove. No broer! If you want to have heaven at eleven, you already have to start at seven. Let me repeat myself, heaven at eleven, starts at seven not five minutes before kick-off time. There should therefore be that conscious and deliberate yet subtle attempt to pursue each other right throughout the day.
The above is not an exhaustive list but just a few examples of some of the things I had to consciously and deliberately built into my daily, weekly, monthly or annual routine. It brings about consistency in my life and by so doing, I was able to develop my credibility. The intense expectations from our daily lives can become a vicious cycle. We can become burned out, ineffective and simply lose our zeal and enthusiasm for our primary responsibilities. By building in a rhythm into our lives, will greatly assists to keep us energized and to remain on course.
The question that I would like to raise with you is – what makes you tick? Passion is the fuel that drives behavior and gives us a reason for being. Passion responds positively and decisively to things that make one mad, glad or sad. For this to happen, we need to protect those things that compromise our passion by maintaining consistency in what we regard as vital in our lives. Osho Adetunji puts it so aptly “If you can strike the chord of consistency on the guitar of your life, the world will dance to your music of greatness.”
Whenever something encroaches on any area that maintains your rhythm in life, give it your urgent attention. Any delay in dealing with it and failure to initiate the appropriate remedial action, can lead to total dysfunctionality or even become fatal in that area of your life.