Updated: Feb 2, 2018
When I was a kid I had a teacher who used to get a bit impatient with how long it took me to complete in-class assignments and creative projects. He wasn't mean. He chose to refer to me as "methodical," but I could hear him sigh as I toiled away, the last to put back the colored pencils.
I was, admittedly, a turtle.
We're all turtles about some things. Or the opposite. We are the hares and can't seem to keep ourselves glued in place while we wait for others to complete the same task. But how many times can you remember in your lifetime being told that you were doing things by the count of the wrong clock? How did it make you feel?
Stressed, rushed, held back, stifled? Something along those lines?
I know for myself, it took me a while into my early adulthood to reconnect with parts of my creativity, because when I tried rushing the process out of perceived expectation, I never felt like I was creating something that felt really complete.
Over the years, working with patients, I've come to realize how much our disconnect from our own natural rhythm and pace can contribute to our own health challenges. A common example would be the cold that lingers for weeks longer than it should because we weren't able to give ourselves that one long day of "dead to the world" sleep. More insidious, I see stress induced health concerns arise from years of working outside of our own truest speed.
We all, at times, have to make concessions on our own timeline and rhythm. Children, jobs, family obligations all can derail a perfectly set day. But I am convinced we are so out of practice, or perhaps completely ignorant to our own true pace, that we cannot devise a reasonable ask. Does this sound familiar to you?
Nature models inconvenient, but necessary timetables quite well. The robins in my back yard decided to stay the winter this year. As it turns out, robin migration is based more-so on their access to food than temperature and timing of the seasons. My assumptions about them clearly don't mean a hill of beans, and I marvel at their "knowing" as I watch them hop around eating the remaining staghorn sumac fruit.
I bring this up as a reminder to myself and others: that the process of healing is often dependent on the pace and needs of the individual.
And understanding the times and speed at which you thrive is a skill we can grow over time.
As I practice this skill, these are a few questions I continually and seasonally ask myself. Give it a try, if you like:
1) What time of day do I feel most inspired to move my body?
2) Are there times in the day when I feel highest or lowest energy? Is there anything that happens at those times that I could relate to those sensations?
3) Are there days in the week where I have high or low energy? What am I doing the most of those days?
This information can be turned into small, but empowering steps toward being guided by your own internal clock. It can help you understand why you feel energized when you drive without the news radio on, or why your best workouts should happen after 2pm, or how your best creative ideas come in the wee hours of the morning. You can be there to greet yourself in the way you need to be greeted. Like our robin friends, you may cease migrating and stay put, because a slower winter could have as much promise as a strenuous journey.
Wellness Said with Love,