Creating Beautiful, Healthy Rhythms
by Mark Votava
My life has been so fragmented that sometimes I want to give up any searching for what is authentic within me. Fear, confusion, frustration and pain all leave me in my melancholy where it is hard to be grateful while seeing all of life as sacred. Sometimes I allow the dominant narratives of the media around individualism, competition and mobility to create unhealthy rhythms in me. But I am learning a more healthy way of life that creates beautiful rhythms in the place I live.
- God’s presence is always living within us
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). God’s presence is always living within us and our locality. Even in the most seemingly God forsaken place, God is always with us. God is intertwined into our world.
- Our rhythms bring awareness to God’s presence within us and around us
God is intertwined into our locality. God is intertwined in our relationships. God will never leave us abandoned and alone even though we can often feel like this is happening. Our rhythms bring awareness to God’s presence within and around us.
- Rhythms that are relational and contextual
The more rooted practices and rhythms in our locality that we develop, whatever they may be, the more we will be connected to the mystical imagination within us. We need to become creative and intentional with exploring unlimited possibilities of rhythms that can be experimented with in our locality. Rhythms are always relational and contextual to our locality.
- Finding intentional rhythms within ourselves
I cannot tell you what rhythms will work for you and you cannot tell me what rhythms will work for me. That’s why it is dangerous to have a centralized hub of power telling you what to do outside of the particular context. This will not work and will result in colonialism and exploitation which doesn’t represent the gospel.
- Rhythms are about intentionality
Simon Cross says, “We might conceive of all lives having rhythms… In this context, a rhythm of life is again all about intentionality. We choose to do certain things at certain times, to accept certain parts of life as necessary, and to incorporate ways of being into our way of life.”
- Doing away with unhealthy rhythms
Intentionality, spirituality and locality need to find a way to fit together in everyday life for rhythms to actually develop and have some sustainability. We can cultivate a rhythm of fragmentation and speed that is unrooted in place and violent in the name of God. This is not a good representation of the body of Christ and will do much damage.
- Creating beautiful rhythms for the common good
But we can also create rhythms that are helpful, beautiful, relational, convivial, rooted, peaceable, loving and for the common good. I hope we will chose to orientate our rhythms around the latter of the two. If this does not happen, it is questionable what kind of a future we will leave our children.
How can we create beautiful, healthy rhythms in our lives together?