“Happiness is a Matter of Rhythm.”— Thomas Merton

Walking home from school, the Lady and I were stomping and crushing the ice with our rubber boots. She laughed as she said “it sounds like this -teeka teeka tee tee teeka tee”. The Lady, the girl who just finished skipping down the street in time to “Mary had a little Lamb” enjoys finding the rhythm in everything. 

Saturday with the sun on our backs, I loaded the Monkeys into the Chariot, pumped up the tires on the Lady’s bike and we set out. It was her first bike ride of the year. There was still ice and snow on the ground. Her legs, so strong by the end last summer had forgotten what to do exactly. Hills were hard. Falling was frustrating. Knowing how fast to pedal and when to slow down felt impossible.  She had lost her rhythm, and it would take time for her to remember. 

 

Before the snow hit again and out for a walk the other day I saw a man in the middle of a field practicing fly fishing; perfecting his rhythm. 

I’m a swimmer. I love the cool water. With my head under beneath the surface I love the quiet, the security the weight of the water provides. I love the relationship between powerfully moving through the water and the relaxed suspension of buoyancy. I feel out of balance when it’s been too long between swims. The last time I swam, my mind was buzzing as I began – I had problems to solve- how to get Squdge and Squidge to nap for more than 20 minutes at a time, grocery lists to formulate, the best way to help Buster with school and sports and being 8, my swimming form to perfect after so many months swimming on top of a very pregnant belly and then months of not swimming at all… It only took me a few hundred meters before I realized I was missing it. I was in the pool but still missing the swim. So I stopped thinking and settled into the pattern of my breathing.

Stroke stroke stroke breathe stroke stroke breathe stroke stroke stroke breatheRhythm. 

When I was coaching a team of young swimmers, I had one little boy on my team who was never very interested in taking my advise. I remember one race in particular. It was 50m free. In his longer races he liked to breathe every other stroke but because this was a race that would last less than a minute, he had a very fast turnover  and it’s faster not to breathe as often, I instructed him to try breathing every 4 or six.  Predictably though He didn’t do what I asked. He instead tried to breathe every 12 strokes. His first 25m was fast but by the 35m mark, with not enough oxygen to his muscles, he tanked. 

The thing is, I too usually think in terms of momentum. An object in motion stays in motion, so get moving. Want to get into shape? Momentum. Overhaul your diet? Momentum. Getting my life together? Momentum. 

But there is more to progress than momentum. There needs to be times of motion, yes, but also times of rest, to breathe, to take in air, feel the water and the music, to enjoy where we are right at that moment without the pressure to be somewhere else, to do something else, to be someone else all. the. time. 

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony”— Thomas Merton. 

The seasons change in rhythms of growth, produce and rest. There is day light and night time; High tide and low tides. Our own bodies work  in a state of constant rhythm. Movement is necessary but if not followed by times of adequate rest, time away from both physical and mental stress, it can lead to adrenal fatigue, burn out, a general sense of crankiness and a host of other problems. 

What works for someone else may not work for you because we all have our own rhythm. The amount of sleep you need, how introverted/extroverted you are, overall health and energy levels, emotional resilience, how many little and big people you have in your life that need you…they all affect and are a part of your –my– rhythm. And that’s okay. 

So set goals. Begin moving. But remember that your rhythm is your own. Remind yourself that you don’t need to do everything everyone else is doing and not at their speed.  Rest, the amount of time between movement, is just as important to motion as movement is.

Seek for harmony because balance comes not in successfully juggling everything at once but instead knowing when to act and when rest; knowing when to let go, to breathe ,’to not just hear but stop and enjoy the “teeka teeka tee tee teeka tee” in everything. 



 

 

 

 

Do you know about these Lemon Chips? I’ve had my eye on these little drops of lemony sunshine from BulkBarn for a while. They are so SO good- sweet with just a touch of tart right at the end. 

Someday I’ll make one of of these Baskets of Sunshine to give to someone I love. This popcorn would go so great in one.

It would also be fantastic at a shower, or as a teacher gift, or for your neighbors or pretty much anytime. Buster said it’s the best popcorn he’s ever had, but lately his favorite food seems to be the food he’s eating at that moment. He is so fun to cook for.

But this popcorn is super good. Sweet, subtle, simple. You’ve got to try it.

Lemon Sunshine Popcorn. 

  •  1/3 cup popcorn Kernels popped
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup lemon chips
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Salt to taste
  • Splash of lemon juice -optional

Pop the popcorn and pour into a large bowl.

Combine the chips in a microwave safe dish, and melt, stirring every 30 seconds to prevent the chocolate from scorching.

When it is nice and creamy, pour over the popcorn, add the zest and stir well to combine.

Spread the mixture out evenly onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Let it cool about 10 minutes then break the pieces apart.

If you are eating it right away and don’t mind a few soft pieces, sprinkle just a bit of lemon juice on it to add a little kick.

Store in an airtight container.

I also highly recommend these Lemon Crinkle cookies from Cooking Classy with 1 cup of the lemon chips added.

http://www.cookingclassy.com/2014/06/lemon-crinkle-cookies/

They were Heav.En.Ly! When I open my imaginary bakery, I will be selling these there for pretend sure.  They had a texture I’ve never had in a cookie, almost like a pastry, but everything you want in a cookie. So So So good!

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