Find your natural rhythm; honor the natural rhythm of others.
We feel happier when we move with our body's own rhythms. Find a day soon, stay home, and find out what your natural rhythms are. For example, eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are tired. Honor your tempo.
- Judith Hanson Lasater, A Year of Living Your Yoga
Since I was young I have gone at my own quite slow, Cynthia-pace. Not on purpose, this is just how I came out of the womb! It seems it is my natural way of being, much to the chagrin of my family.
Growing up, I was told things like, "You are slower than molasses in January." Living in an extremely cold climate like Minnesota, this means S-L-O-W!!! I also heard often enough, "Cynthia, you'll be late to your own funeral." You know that can't be good!
I'm quite certain they didn't mean to be insulting, they were simply commenting aloud at how slow I was at everything I did. Sadly, I used to spend time wondering if someday I might be late to my own funeral, not realizing it wasn't possible. Thank goodness!
And I guess I kind of laughed hearing these things, not really understanding the impact they had on me and my fundamental belief in myself. That I wasn't okay the way I am. I got used to being viewed in this way and because my family could not accept this aspect of me, I could not accept it in myself.
I thought it was bad or wrong how slowly I went about on all of my activities and projects. Kind of like my sensitivity, but that's for another post sometime. :) I often questioned myself, "Why can't I be fast like others?"
How different (aka tortoiselike) my pace seems to be than the rest of the world has been quite obvious to me over the years. Someone else can enter the bathroom stall next to me and be done before I've even finished. In college I was often the last one to finish an exam. Working in a call center for a large bank, I could never get my calls to be less than three minutes like was expected of me. And without fail, I am the last one out of yoga class... every time! How do they fold up their mat so quickly anyway?? Don't even ask how long it takes me to shower!! And thank goodness quality comes over quantity in writing! There is pretty much nothing that I finish first at (unless it is a word game!) nor am I ever early---unless I am made to hurry!
This is what feels good to me. When I try to rush I feel extremely flustered, usually make an error and may even experience anxiety as I try to speed up my pace or rhythm. I've always hated rushing and this is why! Sometimes this means I am a few minutes late for things, but so be it. No one is usually harmed in the process.
I've always kind of been embarrassed about my snaillike pace and would play it off by telling myself and others the same things my family would say to me. Making light of it would create laughter in whomever I was with and perhaps a superficial level of acceptance in myself.
In the last few years I have learned a new perspective, much to my delight! We are supposed to move through life with greater intention! I took a mindfulness training class a few summers ago and was told we should move through life at a mindful and intentional pace. I was shocked to learn that people study about and practice being this way, as I have been like this for as long as I can remember! Being mindful comes naturally to me! Although it was refreshing to learn about mindfulness, there was still a part of me that would put myself down as I saw myself doing things slower than everyone else around me.
There's something to be said about the frenzied pace of Type A personalities and how very much they can get done in a short amount of time. Kind of like a whirlwind! Completing many things in a short time frame to me not even finishing one thing..
The chef I used to volunteer assist once a week would get very frustrated as we prepped before class and I cut up the vegetables and herbs slowly, with extreme care and diligence. I could never cut up things fast enough or as many things as he would have liked. Yet to rush would have taken the joy out of it for me.
Once when telling my mother-in-law how patient her son (my husband) is, she reacted in great shock. She was quick to say, "Jaim is NOT patient!" I feel fortunate that even though he spends countless minutes waiting for me in just about everything we do, somehow he doesn't seem to notice or mind. He just patiently waits for me. Such a blessing! Very seldom do I feel rushed by him and the last time I was I got so flustered and let him know about this honoring my rhythm thing. I think he got it..
In recent months the conversation about my naturally slow rhythm came up with several of my beloved healthcare providers. You cannot believe how happy I was when they reassured me that although slow, my natural rhythm is okay and even to honor it! They didn't laugh when I shared my usual jokes of what I was told as a child with them. I learned that honoring and accepting my natural rhythm was a way to promote health. This was a very happy day for me, let me tell you! It was good and even okay to be slow?? Yayy!!!
And then I was reminded again how much okay it is when I stumbled upon this passage in my nighttime reading before bed recently. And I knew I wanted to share this wisdom with you. How much do we not accept parts of ourselves? Especially when it might be something different than how others seem to be or against the grain of society. Even if it is not on a conscious level, we often try to fit in and be just like others.
Each of can learn to slow down a bit and honor our own rhythm. Take a nap when we are tired. Go on a walk, bike ride or jog and listen to our body's energy level and request that day instead of pushing what we think we need to do to be fit. Of course it is wise to check in with your doctor first if you realize upon honoring your own wisdom that you want to eat at different times.
By listening to our individual rhythm we create a more nurturing environment to take care of and honor our bodies which equates to better diabetes management and control. It is freeing to accept ourselves the way we are and stop the negative self-talk that occurs often without our awareness. Besides, what fun would it be if we were all the same? Diversity is beautiful and you are beautiful just the way you are. I will be sure to remind myself of this wisdom the next time I'm the last one at something! :)
What is your natural rhythm? Do you honor it?
Was anyone else born with a slow and steady way of being like me?? :)
In Peace & Wellness,
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