“Life is so…daily!” my client said, in a tone of complaint.
“What do you mean?
“Well, we sleep, we wake up, we eat, we do stuff, eat, sleep. Over and over.”
It wasn’t the way I would have described living, but he was bored. I guess that’s why it felt foreign. I’ve had my share of pain and fear, but not boredom.
He had a point: life is repetitive and largely predictable in its broadest outline. Some things we actually do within every 24 hour period. Reflecting, though, I had to ask, what is the the alternative? Irregularity. Would that be better? Never to know when, or if, night would come? To be uncertain about food or whether we would become hungry? To experience no repetition in those activities by which we earn? And learn? Not to know if or when we’d be ready for rest? Being uncertain about whether the sun would rise?
I prefer to think of life’s dailiness as a rhythm. Rhythm has a repetitive beat, but along with that comes infinite variety, myriad styles and melodies, evoking every imaginable feeling, giving impetus and beauty to our being.
Rhythm brings a certain steadiness of movement, a repetition of the framework of the music, a pulse that is in our bodies as well as in the moon and the changes of seasons. It’s a matter of focus, isn’t it? Where are we putting our attention? On the repetition and sometimes sameness of things, or on the dancing melodies that enter and leave our lives in endless variations?
Fortunately, we needn’t choose. We can enjoy both. Sometimes sameness is profoundly restful, and I need it. Sometimes surprise is the most delightful. I need that too.
As my client and I talked further, he came to realize that it wasn’t the repetition that disturbed him, it was his own attitude toward it. Our work together then became a seeking of ways to support an inner change of focus and a willingness to enjoy life as it is given, and to change it when it is not offering us contentment.
Daily life? Indeed. But Maya Angelou had it right, too: “This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.”