The Work life balance experts would have you believe
that we can divvy up the various pieces of our lives
our responsibilities our obligations our wants our needs on an imaginary scale
shuffle them from one side to the other until the scale gets nicely balanced.
What a nice pipe dream
THE REALITY Throw out the scale.
The MAGIC is to be found in RHYTHM
Rhythm is all around us we just have to tap into it.
From the Micro
MORNING and EVENING
Hormonal & digestive cycles
Going in and out of Dream Sleep ( REM)
WINTER and SPRING
Sowing and Harvesting
To the Macro
WAXING AND WANING OF THE MOON,
THE MOTION OF THE STARS.
Everything has Rhythms and Cycles.
Or as the song by Pete Seeger, in 1962 and popularised by the Byrds,
says it all To Everything There is a Season.
Nature wants us to connect with the RHYTHMS around us.
The most well known example is
when blood pressure lowers and heart beat slows down in human and dog
when human pets dog.
Machines were introduced during the Industrial Revolution to optimise human output.
Sadly, this era of managing machines
started us down the road of the clock managing our lives
instead of our internal RHYTHMS
It marked the beginning of long work days
for humans, “work/life imbalance,” disappeared and got swallowed up
by the needs of mass productivity.
In our attempts to humanise the deplorable situation
of people working until they literally dropped dead at the job
we divided the work day into 3- 8 hour pieces to match the 24 hour clock
Trouble is the rhythms of our internal biological mechanisms
do not divide nicely into 3 chunks of 8 hour segments
From coercing hens into laying more eggs by keeping lights on 24 hours at a time.
to being so obsessed with being electronically connected that YouTube is rife with
hundreds of examples of people walking into doors, falling into fountains and man holes
because we no longer even watch where we are walking.
It is bad enough to consider it normal
that when friends get together they ignore each other
as they are totally absorbed in their electronic leashes following the lives
of people who are not there.
But to be so detached from ourselves that we end up unable to walk without
falling in a fountain or a ending up ditch, or worse killing someone just because
we allow ourselves to be distracted for the trivial then we have gone too far.
In the name of progress, convenience, and of course consumerism
we have lost our HEART SONG
The music of life no longer sings to us.
Yet, the scientific study of life’s natural rhythms
– known as Chronobiology – seems to beg us to reconsider
the course of our current songless narrative.
Here are 4 things Chronobiology, and it’s different cycles,
tells us about how to recover the natural rhythms of life.
1. MANAGE ENERGY , NOT TIME
Studies have shown
that our human minds can focus on any given task for 90-120 minutes.
After that we need a 20-30 minute break
The break does not have to be doing nothing.
If you are doing your financial books a break could be tiding up the kitchen
If you are at work doing precision detail work
a break could be tiding up your electronic or paper files.
You know yourself best, you know which time in the day
you are at your sharpest, at your dullest
at your most energised and your most depleted.
You do not need a machine to tell you when circadian rhythms, are at their peak.
You do not even need to know what a circadian Rhythm is or
how our core body temperature , brain wave activity and hormone production
is tied into our cell regeneration.
YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW YOU
Instead of taking energy this and energy that supplements from coffee to pills
Instead of expecting yourself to stay in a hyped out
state of permanent energy overdrive on your way to a shortened life span
plan your tasks around your own Rhythms.
Cannot figure out what to have for supper every night.
Select a time slot when you are at your most energised
and plan the meals for a week even for a month.
Make it family time together where the whole family gets to be a part of
“what’s for dinner”
MANAGE OUR MENTAL ENERGY AND STOP MANAGING OUR CLOCKS
There is no point in forcing a workout when your physical strength is at its ebb
or planning a creative session after eating a big meal and all you want to do is sleep.
Go for a walk after eating and not only will you aid digestion
but you will experience creative bursts on anything which needs your attention.
3. SABBATH IS NOT JUST A RELIGIOUS ACT
You do not have to be religious to appreciate the day of rest.
According to what scientists call the circaseptan cycles, or a 7 day cycle,
our bodies and our brains NEED rest on a weekly basis to fully replenish.
Research has uncovered that our heartbeat, blood pressure, body temperature,
hormone levels rise and fall in seven day cycles.
Again the day of rest does not mean you do nothing.
Instead you do things which rejuvenate you.
Be it cooking, or reading or walking,
or doing that one thing you wanted to do all week
and did not get to it but if you do it on your day or Rest or Free day
and it will warm your heart, then do it.
The day of rest is when you remove the intensity and take the day leisurely.
4. BE IN SYNC WITH YOUR SEASONS
Our rhythms follow the seasons
Annual rhythms are reflected in the 4 seasons, the lunar cycles,
and we are not immune to that.
Our creativity over the centuries have been put to turning night into day
and allowing us to live in the most inhabitable places on the planet.
A friend of mine said to me one day.
It is a good thing that the Colorado River has been tapped into
otherwise California would be a desert.
California is a desert.
Importing water does not change its basic nature.
Stop importing water and it will still be a desert only without water.
So also do we have basic natures.
Some of us love summer.
Some of us love winter
- Yes that is true, as a matter of fact many of us love winter
we look forward to winter and hate when it ends early
Just ask the skiing destinations
which have to keep increasing the size of the chair seats in the chair lifts
to accommodate the number of people wanting to get to the top of the hill.
Winter lovers have to stay in hiding because summer lovers
are so appalled when we state our preference they make quite a fuss.
Conversely if we groan when summer lovers call 35 - 40 degrees Celsius a nice day
we will be taken to task.
At least summer lovers and winter lovers can meet in the middle
because everyone loves
SPRING AND FALL
In the end all you have to do is know which season is yours
and plan your big projects for that season.
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned
so as to have the life which is waiting for us
The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth,
dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Until next time
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