We lose our rhythm after a TBI: the rhythm of our life.
In trying to get back the life we used to have, we tend to focus on the loss of pieces of who we are; our skills and abilities. These are essential to us being
able to live our everyday lives, and this effort draws all our attention.
We may not think to address a large, overall loss that is hard to define: our rhythm.
Our rhythm is our being, our individuality, our excitement, our vivaciousness. It is our breath of life; the thing that makes us who we are. When we lose it, we are like a shell of ourselves.
Somehow, I had to get my rhythm back, and be back in synch with the world.
It’s one thing to define it, but how do we go about getting it back?
I have a very clear memory of the “aha” moment, when it became obvious to me that there was something I could do about starting to get my rhythm back.
I was alone in a silent, nearly deserted museum. I found myself in one of those TBI “holes”; passing time with nothing in my brain except frustration. I just sat and looked at the paintings which had no relevance or meaning to me. I was completely out of synch.
At that moment, I decided that what I needed was a rhythm to my life, a structure that I could form around; something which would give me a foundation I could build on, and I could move forward with.
I got up off my seat, and began walking at a steady, even pace, around the rooms in the museum. I counted off my steps in groups of four as I developed a pace at which I moved, and said to myself, “This is going to be the pace of my life. I am going to be in perpetual motion. I won’t stop.”
I regulated my breathing as I stepped so that there was a symmetry between my breathing and my steps.
There is comfort about being in motion. There is something relaxing about being fluid, like a brook or a stream. I thought of the times I was motion-less, and how that left me tensed up, unable to think. Being in motion, developing a rhythm for my life, was the antidote.
I had taken a small step forward in my quest to regain my rhythm. Minuscule, really. But motion seemed to be the beginning of getting it back. There in the museum, I had come up with a solution to something that had been bothering me for the longest time but I had never been able to put a finger on.
Rhythm and breathing were the glue. They were something I could trust and claim as my own. They were mine; things I could rely on and have control over at a time when my life seemed out of control. Understanding the new rhythm of my life would contribute to everything else I needed to do. Most importantly, rhythm was a simple solution to being stuck.
The opposite of fluidity, of being in rhythm, is being stuck. Being stuck is the worst. Oh, you know the feeling. You haven’t been able to do anything right. There’s too much to think about, and things are just too confusing. It feels like your head is empty because you can’t make a decision, but we’ve just got all this bottled up fear and anxiety.
You’ve got to find a way to access your power, your strength, by being in rhythm. Find something that is your own, unique to you, and claim it. Own it, then build on it.
Seek out ways to begin getting your rhythm back. For me it was being fluid and getting motion and breath into my life. That was the beginning. It showed me a way to give my life motion, to give it action, to give it promise.
My rhythm started to come back over time, along with the confidence and hope that motion and action bring. I had to look for ways to apply fluidity to other parts of my life, and that helped me not to get bound up in tenseness, fear and anxiety.
Find your own way to get your rhythm back. Determine what works best for you, and put yourself on that path. Be simple. This is a chance to take some control back, and make a statement about your life and how you want to live it.
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