Our own natural rhythm

I get the feeling more and more that our brains operate with their own rhythm that can differ quite a lot from person to person and the various aspects of life can get in the way and change the rhythm to a less natural one. Everyone has their own natural pacemaker and for some, it goes wacky and they need an artificial pacemaker installed to tell their heart “this is how you should be ticking”. What if life is like some overbearing artificial pacemaker?

Maybe our natural rhythm is jazz or hip-hop or trance. It’s like you hear a sound from a band and within a few seconds everything clicks into place and you’re in synch with them. That pacing has always been there, it’s why it fits so well. Many of us go from artificial structure to artificial structure in life. From school to college, to work, fitting into a pattern made by another. Working for my self the past year and a bit, doing what I want, when I want to do it, I started falling into a different pattern, my soul’s song got stronger the more I turned off the music of the world around me. How in fuck’s name can you be good in business or life when you are tied to a 9 to 5 lifestyle? Fun is 24/7 and business creativity can be spread over that too.

And with my change of working and living came new ways of thinking and while not a calm, a natural ebb and flow resulted. I could understand things more, I appreciated new things and all the time enjoyed a different sanity. From what I can tell, artists are solitary in nature. They create on their own; they compose music, paint, draw, code as individuals. Creativity is solitary, displaying of it, is not. Allowing yourself to think, not squeezing your brain to perform will get other parts of the brain to start working and interacting. Genius business people are the mavericks; they are the loners, the people away from the crowd. It’s not a circadian movement they have going on but I wonder are they the ones that are letting their inner song through?

My soul detoxified by removing elements, doing things for fun, breaking out of grooves my brain was forced into. Maybe this is like people who don’t know they have allergies and when they address them, they feel better and are better. I attended a voice training workshop in the Gaiety school of acting a while back. It was a full day event and most of the day was spent on how to breathe. For most of us, it was how to change how you breathe and use muscles in a different way. It really was a fascinating course and I learned a lot. One of the things we did was finding your “natural” voice. Through various exercises you can find the sound that sits best with your body and your vocal chords.

Round four - Samba!!!
Photo owned by lepiaf.geo (cc)

It’s like a sleeping pattern, it took me a while to find mine and eventually I was getting 9-10 hours a night and felt like I was a ninja during the waking hours, able to shape the world around me. I’m now back to 6-7 hours and my rhythm is out of whack, even when I can lie in, I wake too early and wake with my brain racing. My creativity is hampered a little but business needs must. For now.

Are the best dancers the ones who learn all the steps or the ones who feel the dance and know what happens next? If finding your natural voice is about breathing and about using muscles differently, then maybe finding that rhythm is about knowing your brain and body and massaging different parts back to functionality. Eat healthy, brain healthy, less sugar, more fibre, read fact, love fiction, learn the Alexander technique, write and write and write. Do a day of silence where you don’t read, don’t use a computer, turn off the phone and don’t talk. Don’t take notes. Let all the thoughts bump off each other. This is probably best done in seclusion. Einstein worked his ass off in his lab/office but that was raw manufacturing in a way, it was when he escaped from those places that the eureka moments happened. Exercising like walking or running or for Einstein, cycling, got one part of the brain to work on the mechanics of the body and then the brain went off and experimented with the data he had gathered.

If our brains are in constant data gathering mode and are also working from the hymn sheet of someone else then it’s going to be hard for us to be creative. I think everyone has the potential to be creative and to think differently and add value to things we encounter in daily life but we can only do that when we find our natural state. Reading books is bad if you are never in a state of not reading books or rather, letting the brain alone to digest things in its own peristaltic state. That goes too when you are bashing out work, creative or not. Good business ideas can possibly be cranked out; great business ideas need to be contemplated. Einstein may have cracked the nut on relativity in a flash but it took him 6 weeks to figure it out properly.

Edit: Originally written in pen on a train then typed up. Composing on computer and editing took three hours.

21 Responses to “Our own natural rhythm”

  1. Emma K says:

    Brilliant, brilliant post Damien. How’d you get so wise?!

  2. Dena says:

    Wow. Just wow really.

    Seriously thought provoking. Love it

  3. Cormac Parle says:

    6 weeks to figure out relativity properly? Dude, Einstein presented the special theory of relativity in 1905, and presented the general theory in 1915 – TEN YEARS later.

    I hear ya on the sleep thing though. I’ve been at my best when I get around 9-10 hours too. Einstein apparently used to get 12, more in his most productive periods

  4. Ian says:

    Class post 🙂

  5. SirJolt says:

    I run best on 6-7 hours of sleep, anything more and I find myself spiralling a bit 🙁 Anything less and I provoke monstrous headaches that put me down for the day by late afternoon.

    Just thought I’d say I enjoyed the post.

  6. Neil says:

    Enjoyable read Damien!

  7. Branedy says:

    Most of my best ideas and work solutions come in my sleep, often like dreams I begin to forget them rapidly after waking, I always need to write them down quickly before I forget.

    I’m working on solving that issue.

  8. Oisin says:

    Good man Damien!

    Totally with ya on needing time and space for reflection and that’s where the great ideas come from, then you work them out in detail.

    Been travelling the past 6 months and I look forward now to the mammoth bus journeys (12-48 hours) we’ve been taking because I always have my best ideas on those busses

    Cameron Moll wrote a good post last year about why showers are great places to think http://www.cameronmoll.com/archives/2008/11/showering_and_thinking/ and for me I find similar conditions on busses:

    “—Distractions are minimized, including noise
    —The body is engaged in a monotonous, mundane, or repetitive activity, freeing the mind to think about other things
    —The environment is changed”

    I love reading posts like yours and Cameron’s cos I feel like part of why I’m travelling is in search of my own natural rhythm and the best inspiration I can find.

  9. Tommy says:

    excellent post

  10. MJ says:

    Wonderful stuff.

    Lots of great analogies but I love the one about allergies & feeling much better afterwards – because I can relate! This post makes me excited about self employment – among other things. Was there anything specific recently that made you come to all these owl-like conclusions or has it been building for a while?

    You young sage you.

  11. tas says:

    the funniest thing is, u wouldn’t have reach to this marvelous conclusion if you didn’t endure and sanely survive the merciless “tuning” of society.

    we need tuning, this is how we exchange ideas and experiences, but in this state of age, tuning is going too far
    my alternative is selective tuning.. take control of your tuning, and ultimately become a tuner
    via a blog perhaps? 😛

  12. Joe Scanlon says:

    Plenty to think about here Damien. I’d agree with MJ on the self-employment front. I really like when you churn out these think posts. Looking forward to the next one already!

  13. Suzy says:

    Got to be the one written by pen in the office…love it!

  14. Joe Scanlon says:

    I’d guess pen on the train.

  15. Mark says:

    Great post Damien!

    A lot of what you say has rung true for me. I took 15 months out to travel the world, learn new languages, see different cultures and surf 🙂 and it changed me quite a lot (for the better I hope). I completely agree that you need time out and can’t concentrate on one subject all the time – you need to give your brain a break!!

    BTW, have you ever looked into NLP?

    Keep it up…..m

  16. Barney Austen says:

    Brilliant post Damien. Got out of the 9-5 culture 1.5 yrs ago and what you say about finding the rhythm is absolutely true. Totally different type of feeling – basically “in control” of my destiny has been the outcome. Embarking on a new business venture created out of ideas coming to fruition by giving myself time to think and to enjoy the world around me. Cheers.

  17. […] wrote an excellent post on finding the beat. That creative […]

  18. Stan says:

    Damien: Great post with lots of valid points, not least the importance of good breathing! The 9-5 routine is very unnatural yet it dictates the structure of so many lives. (It did mine, for long enough.) Take people out of it and things are liable to shake up for them; they escape ruts, break old habits, discover new potential. With a little luck and encouragement, people’s innate creativity comes into its own.

    Sleep experiments show that when people live without any sense of 24-hour time, they often revert to biphasic sleep – a few hours at night, a few more in the late morning or afternoon – a pattern that was much more prevalent before light bulbs and caffeine addiction took over. (Siestas and afternoon naps point to the stubbornness of the habit.) The technological ‘revolution’ was supposed to free up time for people to use at their leisure. Instead the rat race continued and people kept running.

    Obviously some structure to a day is useful, but there’s an immeasurable difference between being able to decide it for yourself and having it imposed on you, especially if the latter involves work that you’re not very satisfied by. Also, the amount of freedom that someone can eke out depends on a lot of things, e.g. family responsibilities, business obligations, social environment, personality. But those who can run with it often encounter a weird and wonderful blurring between work and play.

  19. niall larkin says:

    For optional sleeping patterns. And their effects on creativity.

    The Waste.
    The Siesta.
    The Everyman 1,2,3
    The Uberman.


  20. Bill says:

    This is excellent. Thanks Damien. Left the 9-5 behind myself a while back. Feels like I’m beginning to find a different rhythm. Looking forward to it 🙂

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