While writing my book Thriving by Following, I had the opportunity to speak with many good friends concerning the topic of rhythm. Some of those conversations turned into stories or content for my book. Others didn’t make it. Just like I shared earlier in this article series some of the stories that didn’t make the final cut, in this post, I wanted to share a conversation I had with my friend Mitch on the topic of community and movement.
Q: I recall you recently mentioned you’ve been reading a book on spiritual disciplines. What have you been learning through that about rhythm, spiritual disciplines, and finding a sense of meaning and purpose in community?
A: The first thing that came to mind when you said finding a sense of meaning and purpose in community was my hometown. It was a small, Catholic community in rural Indiana, and it was heavily influenced by those “Catholic rhythms.” Later in life, I moved to Indianapolis for eight years, and upon returning to my hometown, I was really taken aback. Being a Catholic-dominated community, they have very specific rhythms, such as attending church on Sundays (the Sabbath), working a nine to five job Monday through Friday, and then coming home to work on other projects, whether inside or outside of the house. They also hold to traditional gender roles for the most part, although some of that is slowly changing.
One thing I learned when moving back to my hometown was how important it is to find a sense of meaning and purpose within the rhythms of the people in the communities that you’re in. There’s a shared commonality there, and if you’re not following similar rhythms as the people around you, I think it’s really hard to get plugged in. That opened my eyes to notice the different cadences of life that people have, whether I’m with my family in Indiana, with my girlfriend’s family, or by myself on a regular weekday.
Q: It’s interesting hearing you talk about appreciating the rhythms of your hometown community. My initial reaction was that their rhythms seem too legalistic, but it seems as though you’re looking at it from a different angle. How do you manage that tension between different rhythms and communities?
A: There are definitely rhythms in my hometown community that I think that they’re holding on to that I would like to change or at least loosen up a little bit. But I’ve also learned to look at the big picture and appreciate the foundations of their rhythms, that being a strong work ethic and entrepreneurship. And then there’s the strong emphasis on rest and the Sabbath, which is very biblical. So, seeing everything from the big picture has been really helpful for me in that.
Q: While learning all this, how have you been cultivating healthy rhythms and spiritual disciplines into your daily life?
A: I’ve boiled my day down to three important times: a wake-up time, a quiet time, and movement. Out of those three, for me, a consistent wake-up time is the most important. When it comes to bedtime, on the other hand, that fluctuates all the time. But I’ve found it helpful that I at least consider these three main times of the day, even if they aren’t always one hundred percent consistent from day to day.
The other important part of my day is defining my movement. I want to consistently be moving my body, but I also want those movements to be practical and fit into my normal daily rhythm. For me, it’s usually some type of workout or leisure activity (such as walking, kayaking, or hiking). Even if it’s not always the same or doesn’t happen every day, as long as I’m intentional about it, that’s good enough. Giving myself grace in my daily rhythms is a key factor in cultivating those rhythms of movement.
Lastly, including one day to not have an agenda has been really helpful recently. This is usually one of the most difficult parts of my weekly rhythm because I want to keep moving, but when I include this day off in my week, it allows me to operate better throughout the rest of the week.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add that you think would help people as they grow in cultivating rhythms of movement?
A: When cultivating rhythms of movement, it’s much easier to do things that are based on who you are and which fit into your natural daily rhythms. It can be easy to get into a “checklist mentality” and get too focused on putting things on the list and checking them off, without giving thought to how they might fit into your day. Thinking about the main things I want to accomplish and then going from there gives my day a much better flow, and in the longer run, boosts my productivity and helps me grow and thrive each day. It’s more important that I’m maturing and learning each day than having to prove myself through a checklist. That’s really what it means to cultivate healthy rhythms in my opinion.
In this article series, I share excerpts and stories from my book, Thriving by Following. I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did enjoy it and want to stay up to date, you can reach me here via email, or connect with me on Instagram. You can also find my book on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback.