Trusting Your Rhythms
Not long ago, I was watching a late-night talk show that was following the morning routine of actor Mark Wahlberg. His typical morning routine is as follows: 2:30am wakeup, 2:45am prayer time, 3:15am breakfast, 3:40am-5:15am workout, 5:30am post-workout meal, 6am shower. Before I even wake for the day, Wahlberg has accomplished more than I usually do in my whole day!
Whenever I hear of someone with such a disciplined routine, I become inspired to make changes to my own schedule and make the most of my time. However, what often happens is that I make the change for a couple of weeks or maybe even months, but then I return to my old routine. Just recently, I thought I wanted to wake up earlier than usual and upon doing so, I immediately regretted it. As I sat on my couch that morning, I thought to myself, I can barely function at this time of the day, why on Earth am I up so early? So, the next morning, I went back to my usual wake-up time and felt better for it.
I used to be hard on myself for not being as disciplined as other people. Perhaps, you can relate. I’d tell myself, Travis, you need to get your act together; you need to work harder. Yet, all of this internal coaching didn’t get me to make a permanent change to my routine. In fact, it would often just leave me feeling discouraged and that internal voice changed from coach to critic in a matter of moments. Over time, I got sick and tired of being my own worst critic. So, I decided to make a change that revolutionized my routine. I decided to criticize less and accept who I am more. Instead of being hard on myself for not being like someone else, I thank God for what I am capable of and how I’ve been wired. Although it’s not always easy, it has eased the pressure to be more than I am and has allowed me to embrace my daily rhythms as unique to me.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when changes to our daily rhythm are absolutely necessary, and we need to do whatever we have to make those changes, but as we learn to accept who we are: how we are wired and what state our bodies are in, then we can make the necessary changes with grace and accept the things we can’t change.
The Serenity Prayer, made famous by the Twelve Step programs, puts it well:
grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
A simple but profound prayer that gets at the core of daily life. Accepting what we cannot change enables us to let go of worry. The courage to change the things we can helps us to let go of feeling powerless. And the wisdom to know the difference reminds us that life is not always as clear as we want it to be and there is grace in that.
Peace be upon you,
Chaplain Travis Jamieson