“Your mother’s heartbeat is the first sound you ever hear and your own heartbeat is the last.”
– jazz musician Dave Brubeck
Last week, the music world lost a legend – jazz musician Dave Brubeck – who passed away at the age of 91. As a lover of jazz, I am only now becoming familiar with the giants and their history, but it is his song “Take Five” that I have heard many, many times and continue to thoroughly enjoy listening to that instantly comes to mind when I hear his name. Needless to say, fans are mourning his death as well, as his best-selling album Time Out is temporarily out of stock.
His death captured my attention because what I have always enjoyed about jazz is that it has elements of improvisation, as well notes that on the surface sound cacophonous, yet in actuality work seamlessly together to create magical, fluid music. Understanding and appreciating this about the genre of jazz, I can’t help but compare one’s life journey to jazz music.
Just as Brubeck’s quote points out, we are born hearing a rhythm and we will hear at the end of our days the beat of our own heart, but it is the rhythm that we discover between those moments that define our legacy.
Maintaining one’s balance throughout life is a continual practice of choreographing our needs and wants so that we are replenished, yet feel productive, feel loved, yet don’t take anything for granted and know comfort, yet are forever curious and growing.
Keeping in mind that balance is crucial to achieving contentment throughout life, it is important to note that discovering a rhythm that works best with our true and authentic selves is a tremendous tool.
The world, your country, your community and even your family and friends most likely convey a rhythm that you subconsciously follow or abide by without realizing it. But I encourage you to live more consciously. While there may be aspects of the rhythms that surround you that you are comfortable with, there may be others that don’t sit so well with you, so be certain that you aren’t following blindly. In fact, I suggest, you not follow, yet simply become better in tune with your own rhythm, and if by chance they coincide with the rhythms of the world around you, how serendipitous!
Today I’d like to share with you five areas of your life that by discovering your own rhythm in, you are helping yourself to become your most authentic self and ultimately creating your very own simply luxurious life:
1. Social and Alone Time.
The more and more I come to understand the differences between extroverts and introverts, the more accepting I am of the differences, and most importantly, more understanding of why I need time alone to be the best version of myself. The continuum of introversion and extroversion is long and varied, and it is a tremendous help to understand what amount of social time and time alone works best for you. For me, time alone refuels my energy, while for others, it is when they are with others that they become re-energized. Neither approach is wrong, they are simply different, and yes, introverts and extroverts can get along so long as they understand what works best for each other and most importantly, themselves.
2. Time Away to Travel
Some people prefer staying home opposed to traveling and staying in strange hotel rooms, while others crave new sights and different environments every so often to jumpstart their creativity and appreciation. Encourage yourself to discover how much travel, what type and where is most enjoyable, and be sure remember that no matter what your decision is, when it comes to travel, make sure it is to liberate yourself, not to limit yourself. In other words, don’t stay home and follow the same routine every day because you’re scared of what you might discover. If you choose to stay home more often than you escape the daily routine, make sure it’s because you are creating your own opportunities right there in your backyard.
3. Getting to Know Others
Depending upon your personality, you may be either more guarded when it comes to meeting new people or more open initially. Discover what you feel comfortable with when it comes to opening up and trusting others. And remember, just because one person opens up immediately and asks personal questions of you, doesn’t mean you’re obliged to answer if you’re not comfortable. Everyone needs to go at a pace they are comfortable with. Take the time to discover what works best for you.
4. Making Decisions
Spontaneity may be your speed when it comes to making decisions, or a week or more may be preferable. Either way, make sure you decide to move forward when you are ready. Some people need to roll around ideas for awhile and make pros and cons lists, while others trust their instincts and make an immediate decision. Again, what works best for one person, may not work for another, so it is imperative that you do what is best for the life you are tailoring to your goals and values.
5. Hobbies, Passions & Interest
Walking to the beat of your own drum is something that should be encouraged and not labeled negatively or mocked. Choose to gravitate towards interests and hobbies that pique your interest. Don’t let a rock go unturned that causes you to be drawn to it in wonder. Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all, and the only way to discover your passion is to be daring enough to step out of line and dance to the beat of your own instrument.
Just as jazz involves improvisation, at times your life will involve moments that you hadn’t planned, but if taken advantage of may reveal to you something about yourself that you didn’t know you were capable of. And secondly, just as jazz may initially sound off-beat and confusing at times, ultimately it is doing what it must to create what it is capable of becoming. Each of our lives involve moments of frustrations and uncertainty, but it is the blending together of those moments with our unrelenting perseverance as well as the most beautiful memorable moments that lead us to where we were meant to go. And the only way to create your own unique life that is a creation of your individual, unique talents is if you follow your own rhythm. Listen carefully, trust me, it is speaking to you.