Natural Rhythms

We’re totally accepting of plants and animals having natural rhythms, growth periods and dormant periods.  We happily indulge their hibernation. But ourselves? Not so much.


Photo by Patrick Hendry on Unsplash


Hello.  How’s 2007 going for you so far?
A rich and fertile new year, each moment ripe, luscious, full of promise and lived with zest and relish?

Or closer to the other end of the spectrum, a bit grey and tired?  Weather a bit grey, skin a bit grey, system a bit groggy?

No problem, eat this superfood and get vibrant in a day!

Wow.  When did we develop expectations of year round vibrancy and verve, with no allowances for the natural ebb and flow of things?   From people who make products that will help us get that way maybe.

We’re totally accepting of plants and animals having natural rhythms, growth periods and dormant periods.  We happily indulge their hibernation.
Trees can drop their leaves and do apparently nothing for months without us being on their case to produce.  When new shoots arrive in the Spring we’re delighted to see them.  We don’t say ‘About time!  How long does it take to produce a few shoots.  What have you been doing all winter?’

But ourselves?  We seem to be far less accepting of our own natural rhythms.
Or rather we’re very accepting of the flowing, the ebbing not so much. Treating tiredness as a problem to be overcome rather than a signal from our wise bodies advising us to rest.

Do you agree to lots of social things that all sound great and you really want to do but them when the time comes you just don’t have the energy and either crawl your way through and don’t enjoy them or end up canceling and feeling bad?  It seems our body just goes right ahead and organises our ‘ebbing times’ regardless of our plans and we go right ahead and fill our diaries regardless of our bodies plans.

Do you keep working late to finish ‘just this piece of work’, telling yourself you’ll get back to normal hours after this, but then another priority arrives, working late becomes normal, time at home drops down the priority list and before you know it ‘ebbing time’ is barely there?

I know very few people who know what their natural rhythms are and fewer still who pay attention to them and work their lives according to this precious wisdom.

I’ve tended to adopt timetables.  Working hours that are culturally acceptable, school hours and social habits and flex myself to accommodate them without giving a whole lot of thought to my own rhythms.
The size of the gap between our natural rhythms and our adopted timetable determines how much we will need to flex and ignore or alter our bodies in order to continue with our adopted timetable.
My ignoring and altering habits seem like minor enough offences

–  I sometimes stay up and socialise longer than my body would like to.  It says
tired now, time for sleep’.  I ignore it and stay up anyway.
–  I sometimes need to be up in the morning before my body would like to be, so I ignore
it wanting more sleep, set an alarm and get it up out of bed anyway.
–  When I get downstairs and start getting breakfast ready, I’m a little less than sparky and
ready for the day so I alter that with a cup of earl grey tea.
Minor offences when you think about the sugar, drugs, workaholic and shopaholic tactics I could be adopting to ignore or alter things.

Minor though they may be, I can’t help wondering what it might be like not to ignore or adjust all the time but to try life according to my body, what that would mean in practice and how different that is from what I’m doing now?

I’ve decided it’s time to find out.
I’m putting my body in charge for a week.
Next week!

I’ve chosen next week as it’ll be a little easier, it’s our school Feb half term holiday and my son is away snowboarding (the highlight of his year by far), so I won’t have him and his friends round for tea.  A friend who regularly stays with us while working up this side of the country has her last day in that job today (Fri 9th Feb) and so won’t be here either.  I’ve also kept the week fairly free of appointments so I’ll have as little as possible to dodge around.
I’ve thought about some of the things my body might like to have a say about, like how much and when I work, eat, drink, sleep, sit quietly, exercise, and socialise.  I’m open to hearing things I hadn’t anticipated too.  I’m really looking forward to seeing what it suggests and has maybe been trying to get me to do for years.

Have you a sense of how close or far away you are from your natural rhythms and how your body would adjust things if you let it?

I’m hoping to unearth my natural rhythms, (or at least my natural rhythms for a week in February), then we’ll see…….
Is it bliss?  Do I love it?  Am I converted? What am I going to do now?

All these answers and more…. find out how it’s going here at the blog.


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