Distinguishing the Rhythms of Now
As someone who rides her bike six days a week, I’ve noticed how my brain-body-beliefs speak to me in forms of rhythm both on and off the bike. But I recognize that as those rhythms are pulsing and doing their thing, sometimes I am not really in the pulse, and I am missing the opportunity to absorb and enjoy the intricacies of the now.
On the Bike
On the bike, there are many rhythms I experience, some in isolation, but most of them pulsing synchronously. All consistent and perpetual. The pedal stroke. The heartbeat. The cycles of inhalations and exhalations. The observations of external views and internal views. Within those rhythms, there are more subtle rhythms that pulse. The ancy ache in my hips that craves attention, and that invites me to stop on the side of the road or trail and to fold into my funky one-legged flamingo-like hip stretch. The itch in that “can’t quite get to it” spot in my middle-upper back, and the attempt to scratch it that looks like yoga on a bicycle. The ruminating thought that pierces every inhale and congests every exhale. My mind’s past and future seesaw that infiltrates the present so when I get home I barely remember my ride. See? Rhythms.
Off the Bike
Off the bike, there are rhythms I experience also, some in isolation, but most of them pulsing synchronously. All consistent and perpetual. The footsteps of routine. The heartbeat. The cycles of inhalations and exhalations. The observations of external views and internal views. And there are more subtle rhythms similar to the ones on the bike. The aches, itches, scratches, thoughts and mind clutter. Yes, they are all rhythms because they are consistent and perpetual.
But there is a lot of blur unless I am conscious about distinguishing the rhythms to help me be in the moment. If my on the bike and off the bike rhythms are so similar, am I really present in the present? No. In addition to the lack of distinction, a clear sign is I often think about my life off the bike while on the bike and about my life on the bike when I am off the bike. Does that mean all my rhythms are rooted in either memories or anticipatory thoughts and never in the now ? It seems so. Is that how I want to celebrate the rhythms of my life? Am I honoring each footstep off the bike and each pedal stroke on the bike if I am that blurred?
Believing to Be in the Now
I went for a bike ride the other day when my stomach was feeling nauseous. I was hoping the rhythm of the ride would evaporate the nausea. But, all I thought about was how upset my stomach was, how I’d get home and feel worse. And that’s exactly what happened. Perhaps because I pushed it too hard, you might ask? Who goes for a bike ride when they aren’t feeling well anyway? I do. It’s a mind over matter thing for me. And I have lots of prior experience with the bicycle being my best healer. But, not when I remember to believe it is.
On that ride with an upset stomach, I forgot to access the power of the rhythms on my bike. I forgot to believe, Each pedal stroke is propelling the nausea right out of me. Each heartbeat is boosting my immune system. Each inhale is calibrating my energetic alignment in cell, spirit and circumstance. Each exhale is releasing any misalignment that is oppressing and suppressing my health.
And when I returned from that ride, I ended up in bed for 37 hours with the worst stomach pain of my life. I attest this to my having forgotten to believe in my bicycle and to consciously recognize the rhythms of the present moment. It was in the midst of what felt like incessant daggers piercing for all those tormentous hours that I remembered the power of the rhythms on the bike and off the bike. I came right into the present moment and spoke to the pain through the footsteps (when I got out of bed to pee), heartbeats and breaths. I surrendered to those rhythms and felt empowered. I remembered to believe in the rhythms. I imagined being on the bike and only being on the bike, not being in my off the bike life in my mind. And then I came right back to my presence of being in bed, because that was the point. The present. The rhythms of the now. Their power. The trick is distinguishing them when they blur.
Tune In, True In
I was quite delirious when I was in bed, and as I write I am trying to recall what felt like an epic epiphany about the importance of recognizing and distinguishing the rhythms in life. All I know is my stomach pain subsided when I thought about all this. And it was in that energetic alignment of what felt like a spiritual vision that I knew I was going back to teaching in school. And then it happened. My dream job popped up, I applied, I was hired and to school I go beginning after Thanksgiving.
I do believe when we pay attention to our rhythms, magic happens. Tune in, true in. Life is about the now. So simple but seemingly hard. Set the intention that no matter what you are doing, you are right here. You’ll get to the “there” when you get there and then you’ll be “here” there when the time is right. No matter where you are, notice your rhythms to keep you in the moment. Celebrate them by being grateful that you simply recognized them. That’s all you have to do.
What are your rhythms? Where do your rhythms take you in brain-body-beliefs? When you are in the consistency and perpetuation of a rhythm, are you really there? How do you know?
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