Rhythm vs Routine

” I manifest through spirals, a momentum that builds, routine, repetition, weaving of the threads, the rhythm is key, the rhythm is real – claim back your rhythms – respect them– if you ever wish to unfold in fullness.” – Mediatrix

Yesterday I allowed material to flow from me. Today I start refining it.

The Mediatrix spoke of Rhythm. There is a thread here, of truth. Over the last few years I lost all Rhythm, displaced from my conventional routines, timezones, countries. Moving on, going forward, ever changing landscape, city, culture, nature. Not knowing where I would land. It sounds exciting, and it was, but I unraveled in this.

Loss of Routine

In fact the loss of Routine has been a reactionary journey of years against convention. I felt the first big break of it in my early twenties when I managed to go from 1 full time job to 2 part time jobs, plus massage training on saturdays. The 5 day – 2 day week was shattered – I felt liberated, and a little afraid. I’d stepped outside the pattern. A sense that if anyone noticed they’d take it away. A sense of smug authority that I’d taken a big leap towards self authority. I needed a lot of encouragement to claim it though – from friends, Tribe. I remember that. How hard it was to step from the known, mind numbing, soul crushing pattern into something enlivening and different. Harder than I expected. We need allies for big steps.

Making my own Money

Self employment – creating my massage business – took struggle and uncertainty but again a huge leap in freedom. I remember the joy of being freed from the constrains of ANY office schedule, and the shift from depression to healthy stress – I initially thrived on the sense of making my own wealth, that it was all on me. That my efforts were the bottom line, I had to go out and engage with the world – I was rewarded for it through notes of cash I used to stack up and look at in awe.

As I entered my professional training, I was able to mix part time intense study and earn money — but it took me 2 years before I had a sense of focus and balance… A developing sense of inadequacy and disorganization which surprised me was beginning to chase after me, like a shadow.

Challenge of Procrastination

Given how well I performed at school, the levels of procrastination – and prevarication as my Father would say – which emerged from me as I claimed my own freedom and job stunned me. I had no idea I would be so unable to “get shit done”. I beat myself up for this a lot, till I worked out that I had never learnt how to organise myself. My early life had been grown within external structures, routines, and performance-feedback loops which were fast and focused. I learnt how to respond to stress, and do what I was told, and I excelled in it. I did the homework and got the grades. However the more of my personal life I claimed, the less I could force myself into those modes of being. And yet — I couldn’t seem to perform at all until there was enough pressure and stress. I’d generally procrastinate around until that stress was real, immediate, and unavoidable.

This stress-run life created a wonderful hormone imbalance, hair loss, anxiety and spiralling down into increasing futility and survival mode. Hooray for me.

The Paradoxical Craving for Routine 

The more freedom I acquired to create my own life, the worse this pattern got. I really got angry with myself for it. I was given the gift of a time without needing to work, without needing to do anything but create my True Work – and the result was collapse into anxiety and depression. It took a long time to start being nice to myself and begin real healing and recovery.

Through this whole period I have craved that externally imposed Routine. Why? Because I look back to that phase in life as intensely productive and focused – I just got so much stuff done. The more the routine has gone, the higher the stress and anxiety became. Living the Dream turned out to have some nightmarish chapters.

Instead of Routine I became Reactive. I let clients dictate when I worked or not worked. I let friends dictate my social life. And when I found a man to love and follow across the planet – I grabbed on to him as provider of my new Reactive-driven life, tried to create routine around his needs and structure – the result was horrific. What a weight to put on someone else – that they should organise you and your life? I could see myself suffocating him and watched my desperation and demands grow and yet couldn’t see a way out.

I craved Routine but the thought of putting myself into one for some reason crushes my soul – I end up Reactive, chaotic instead…. either way the problem is that I am externally driven – responding to what is happening outside only. Trying to make my life structure based on what is given rather than what is created or emergent. As I learn about Archtypes, I can recognise that for many people, aligning with the external forms and structures is DEEPLY satisfying. Yet a core aspect of me rebels against that – putting myself in those boxes leads to depression. (If it didn’t, I’d much rather do the office job 9 to 5 than create my own thing – self employment is hard!)

Rhythm vs Routine

Why don’t I like the word “Routine”? Because it brings to mind this external imposition I need to adhere to. Actually – not just external, but MIND driven – a perfect ideal from my head of some rigid structure, daily set of instructions, computer program, cognitive behaviour. “Left brain”. Feels boring, feels uncreative. And yet feels like I will always fail without Routine, that Routine is the gold standard of personal development, that this is the Path, the Way, the Straight Line to Success.

Why DO I like the word “Rhythm”? Where did that come from? Rhythm – it is based in Nature, it is part of my body, it is seeing the cycles, the timing, the ebb and flow. It is organic, artistic, weaving, sexual, musical – versus the linear programming of a computer. I’m not a computer. I’m a squishy living organism with the ebb and flow of hormones. I run on rhythms.

I see it now :

  • Break down, destruction of rhythm is what led to the ill health, the anxiety, the exhaustion. Not a failure of Will or capacity to work hard.
  • If you are not living a Routine Life, then trying to fix lack of structure  with rigid Routines is NOT GOING TO WORK very well.
  • Having totally Reactive and Responsive attitude ALSO fails to work, if you wish to Create Art. Yes, day dream all day with ideas and visions – but for the manifestation of these same ideas, a rhythm is needed.
  • Rhythm is of the body, as Routine is of the mind. (though in reality it is more complex than that)
  • Routines can exist WITHIN Rhythm – small scale micro patterns to get things done efficiently. However the Rhythm provides the structure, the base notes, the underlying momentum

The Experiement : Focus on Rhythm

I FEEL the yearning in my soul and my body for RHYTHM I can TRUST in. To LET go into it, to allow it to carry me like the tides. I will focus not on perfecting a Routine, but create life affirming rhythm for my days and weeks and years. This will nourish me, get me from anxiety ridden nights and sluggish days. And what can happen within the rhythm can be flourishes of music, pauses, scales, or silence.

I want RHYTHM not ROUTINE. This can ONLY emerge from my fullself – listening to and acknowledging what comes from my body especially. This will be my experiement. I claim back responsibiltiy and creative authority over finding, expressing and growing from my own inherent rhythm – without guilt, shame, apology. My Rhythm is something I can return to, even when I get way off course, or spun out by life and others…knowing the sound of my own rhythm will bring me back home.






"There's nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way, you will find, live, and become a realization of your own personal myth." – Joseph Campbell

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