By Marnie Pehrson Kuhns
I love to discover the cycles, patterns, and stages of life. All of nature operates in a rhythm of ups and downs, highs and lows, circles and pendulum swings. The Law of Rhythm permeates nature. It’s found in our brain waves, our biorhythms, the seasons, the evolution of night and day, the tides, the yearly journey of the earth around the sun. Rhythm is found in the Hero’s Journey. This is a common cycle or theme that shows up in every good story and even in the complicated nuances of our lives.
One of the major themes of my life has been the study of the rhythmic patterns found in everything we do. Rhythm is best known for how it shows up in music, but even our lives have a rhythm to them. When we work in harmony with this rhythm instead of fighting against it, we are happier. Things flow more smoothly.
The Creative Cycle is a great way to illustrate the Law of Rhythm. It is very much like the seasons of the year, even though your Creative Cycle may not coincide with the time-based seasons.
Flow is like Spring where ideas are flowing. You have lots of energy and feel like things are popping along in a joyful way. Life is good, ideas are flowing, and you are generally joyful because of it.
Production is like Summer where you take one of your ideas and produce something around it. You pick an idea and implement it (or hopefully you do). You get things done, and you feel like you’re making progress.
Organization is like Autumn. You may have worked so hard in the Production phase that you’ve neglected your body or the world around you. You may come out of the Production phase realizing you haven’t been eating right or exercising. In the organization phase, you might implement a new meal plan or take up a new healthy way of eating. Maybe your office desk or your house is messy, and you set that in order. Maybe you feel the need to do your bookkeeping or organize something in your home or office.
Rest is like Winter. Nothing is growing. No new ideas. You couldn’t think up a new idea if your life depended on it. Or if you did, you can’t get excited about it. It just feels blah. Maybe you feel exhausted and want to sleep a lot. Maybe you want to lie around, and binge watch your favorite shows. If you’ve really neglected yourself, the rest phase may even show up as sickness or disease – forcing you to stop and take care of your body.
The Rest phase may leave you feeling broken, depressed, frustrated, or even despondent. The trick is relaxing into the rest and allowing it to be what it is. It is a time to help you recuperate and refuel for the next round of the cycle. Don’t fight it! Relax into it!
The sooner you allow the Rest phase to serve its purpose, it will give way to a new Flow state where your mind will be popping with ideas and renewed energy.
We tend to go through the Creative Cycle within days, within weeks, months and years. There are cycles within cycles within cycles. The hope that the Law of Rhythm gives us is knowing that it is all natural and normal.
You aren’t broken in your Rest phase. You aren’t a loser because your world became disorganized in high Production or because you’ve lost interest in your dreams in the Rest phase. Eventually, you learn to carry self-care throughout the Creative Cycle so that your Organization and Rest phases aren’t so frustrating, crippling or chaotic. You learn to relax into the Rest and welcome it for what it is. You learn to document your ideas and inspiration while it’s Flowing. You learn to pick an idea and ride the energy wave during the Production phase.
It’s all good. This too shall pass, and you’ll have another opportunity when things cycle back around.
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