rhyth·mist (ˈrith-mist) n. A master of rhythmical composition; also, one versed in rhythmics.
(from Webster Comprehensive Dictionary: International Edition, Lobate through Z)
“Get rhythm when you get the blues/ Get rhythm when you get the blues/ Yes a jumpy rhythm makes you feel so fine/It’ll shake all the trouble from your mind/Get rhythm when you get the blues.” –Johnny Cash
Lately, I’ve had a case of the doldrums. This usually happens to me in summer. I think that we make summer the time of happiness. Get a tan. Go on vacation. Read mindless books. Enjoy yourself. So if you aren’t feeling happy all the time, there is something wrong with you because, come on, it’s summer.
Especially in the past four years while I have been studying and working on the academic calendar, summer is a sort of pause in the rhythm of my life. It is a time for reflection and detoxification and detoxifying requires bringing all the toxins to the surface, where they are visible. This can be a difficult process.
I’ve been thinking lately about what I am in this life and what I am meant to be. I know, easy questions. And I’ve also been thinking about Lucinda Williams’ song “Born to be loved.” In it, she cites all the things you are not born to be: “to be abused,” “to lose,” “to be abandoned,” “to be forsaken,” “to be mistreated,” “to be misguided.” What you are born to be at the end of each refrain is loved. You were born to be loved.
Lately, in my mindfulness meditation, I’ve been practicing metta, or loving-kindness, for myself and one of the things I’ve been saying to myself is “May I be love. May I be loved.” Isn’t it amazing that only one letter is different in these two intentions? When I say them aloud, if I do so quickly, you may not even hear the difference. Perhaps it is because they are so closely intertwined, the ability to love others and one’s receptivity to love. Recently, Stephen Elliot in his daily email piece for The Rumpus quoted someone’s interpretation of the human question as being not: “Am I loveable?” but “Am I capable of love?” For it is in our capacity to offer love, which we are all born with even if we have to work at it in our lives, that we are able to be loved. My mindfulness teacher has me offering metta to myself because he knows that only in offering acceptance and love to myself am I really able to offer these to others.
So, a few pulses I have been considering, a few rhythms repeating in my mind these days. Hope yours are steady and continuous and raw and new.