One of the things we grab hold of as grown-ups is the capacity to be “meta,” which is the ability to get outside of ourselves and look in. This is what many of us call self-awareness. It is a gift, for the “unexamined life is not worth living,” but there is also a risk of forever evaluating your own and others’ actions and thoughts. There is a time to just be in the moment and not have any “awareness.”
It’s really interesting because many of the things we consider “therapeutic” are things that give us back this inherent rhythm. We yearn for them and don’t even know it: breathing deeply, music, art, dance, swinging, hypnosis, touch, digging in the dirt. What other things are rhythmic/therapeutic?
What we are talking about is our bodies’ need to recover following work, a balance between activity and rest. Real rest is some activity or lack thereof which replenishes energy. It does not have to be sleep but can be. It can be stamp-collecting or riding a bike. It can be playing or listening to music.
The schedules and demands we put in place do not exactly fall in line with the tempo of the universe. We are given all we need for day. Sometimes I think we try to take too much from a day, or we fret because we believe the day does not contain all we need.
Because our bodies are naturally trying to stay in step with the universe’s rhythm, compulsive behaviors surface in order to try to put us back in cadence. Sometimes these compulsive behaviors work and sometimes they do not. What they are trying to tell us is that we are out of tempo and we should pay better attention to what our bodies are trying to tell us on a daily basis.