Honoring Your Family’s Natural Rhythms

I found out the hard way that I was the destroyer of my family peace.

Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to such problems as diabetes, depression, dementia and obesity, says Steve Kay, a professor of molecular and computational biology at the University of Southern California. *source The Wall Street Journal

cycles

image source: National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Having never considered myself an A-type push, push, push personality it was a rude awakening the day I realized I was pushing my loved ones past their natural limits in an effort to achieve.

It started with a three alarm meltdown from my daughter, then just three years old.

I had done away with the nap in an effort to “keep up” with my peers that were swearing by a no nap/ earlier bedtime for their kids. These peers had convinced  me that this new arrangement would allow me may hours in the evening to do my work and thus be more productive.

Now here we were at her group playtime at the YMCA losing our collective minds.

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The meltdown was so severe I did not even know how to handle it.

I just let it roll out, tears, full volume screams, sideways glances and sneering comments about seeking a child psychologist from the adults that run the playgroup etc.

It was a terrible, heartbreaking moment.

After the dust settled I knew it was sleep related.

My daughter is prone to big emotions and big outbursts but, this was different.

I had rearranged her biological clock to fit my needs not her natural rhythms. We all ebb and flow to a deeply centered biological clock that receives its data from mother earth and the surrounding universe.

Basically, I messed with God’s plan and my child suffered.

Now before you go telling me it’s all a learning process and not to be so hard on myself. I know that. I got it. I just want to illustrate how our ingrained programming to go, go, go forth and be productive can come at a price.

The price of happiness lost.

Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony -Thomas Merton

After this sobering event I realized I had pushed this glorification of busy on myself and my husband.

I recalled the days I had huffed and puffed about the house resentful of my husband resting on the couch. He seemed to always need a daily siesta and it bothered my undercover overachiever demon. I used to make him feel guilty for needing a nap when in fact the truth was the whole family should have been taking a natural quiet time each afternoon as our bodies were calling for it.

I saw clearly how I pushed us all  through times of feeling weak aka tired or depleted.

And clearly now I could see how this wasn’t amping up our productivity at all. It was just making us resentful, tired and downright crabby.

So, wheres the happy ending?

I realized that when it’s time to rest it’s time to rest.

The entire family now enjoys a blissful interlude mid day. And what do you know an earlier bed time is still part of the package. Because I allow her to recharge mid day my daughter isn’t filled with frenetic energy at bed time.

The moral – never be afraid to admit you are wrong.

Here are a few ways you can honor your own families natural rhythms.

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. – Joseph Campbell

1 Know your tribe.

Don’t be blind to your family’s specific needs. We are not cookie cutter humans. We all tune into the universal rhythms but we all also have different internal clocks. Some people are natural night owls Other people have medical conditions that override their biological clocks. My husband for example has low thyroid activity thus rendering him tired and depleted more often than others. Know your people and honor their differences schedule your events accordingly. Do not make family members feel guilty for their natural physical reactions to different parts of the day.

2 Work with your natural environment.

When the sun goes down turn your screens off. This is crucial. I know that a lot of us work at a computer and a lot of us do this at night while our family sleeps. I get that. But, as often as you can honor the universe and its endless cycles of day to night, When the sun goes down reduce exposure to artificial light so that bodies can continue on their natural cycles.

3 Be willing to always be working and reworking what works.

Only you will know or observe what is working and what isn’t. Like a good editor always be revising for optimal results. Also be willing to challenge the current constructs you are working within such as  school or work schedules. Be willing to challenge these things and see if you can find some give or leeway.

4 Think like a scientist.

Observe the earth, moon, sun, stars, tides, seasons etc. Notice how this system is already perfect. Learn what you can take from natural systems to implement in your family.

 

As with everything holistic keep an open mind and be willing to implement new things.

Tell us in comments or at the Facebook page how you honor your natural rhythms.

 

Kiki Harshman

On most days Kiki can be found seeking elevated states of being through better food.  A certified kitchen witch since the age of seven, Kiki is always continuing her education in blissful states of consumption. She is certified in Raw Nutrition by Raw Food trailblazer David Wolfe through the BodyMind Institute, where she continues her training. She has also completed an introduction to herbalism course through the Herbal Academy of New England. Currently taking a break from personal blogging, her curriculum vitae is available at her About.Me page.

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