How do we Establish Rhythms in a Season of Constant Change?

We got a great question in our community called Homeroom and it was, how do we establish rhythms in a season of life where the last year and looking forward to the next couple will be continually filled with change? Careers, moving, same city but new housing, relationship changes, adding kids through foster care and parenting, the lifelong project of coaching. So, this is a real problem that a lot of people face is they go through huge transitions and they really, what we’re really focused on right now with Homeroom is how do we establish rhythms?

And a lot of times people can wait to establish rhythms until life is a peaceful, predictable, stable, and I would really-

Which is basically once you’re in the grave.

… Encourage you guys to not wait until life is perfect before you establish, because you won’t ever, life’s never stable. There’s also another really cool reality too. When you think about rhythms, it starts with us with, you’re trying to craft your ideal week. And when life is changing, it’s really, really helpful to know what your ideal week is, even when it’s getting blown up a lot. Because you know where you’re headed, and you know what to go back to. And one of the things that we’ve learned, if you want to create a lot of stability through seasons of change is, what you want to get really skilled at as a family, is moving from a chaotic season, right back into that ideal weekly rhythm.

And by the way when we say ideal, it takes a lifetime to learn to live an ideal week. And so we’re not saying you should craft a rhythm, and it should be ideal tomorrow, we’re saying that you should make a pursuit of your life, the design of an ideal week, and then you kind of move your life into that trajectory. And a lot of people get discouraged quickly because, often, especially in seasons of change, they’re not experiencing that ideal week. But it’s really important to know what it is, know where you’re headed, and know what you can get back to when life begins to get a little bit more stable.

So, I really feel like this sort of creates an anchor in your life to know what your ideal week is, and when you’re experiencing all that change, to begin to attempt to maintain some semblance of that ideal week, but then quickly moving back into it as soon as you have a stable week. We experienced a lot when we would travel. We would travel for a bit, and then as soon as we got home, instead of just sort of like … A lot of times what we used to do was sort of almost restart the whole rhythm conversation. And it would take months to get back to anything like stability.

And we said, we can’t keep doing that if we’re traveling a lot. So, what we began to do is, as soon as we got off of a season of change, the next week literally we’d be back into our normal ideal rhythm. That was so much more healthy, and it helped anchor us through those changes, and allowed us to get through those changes, and even embrace a lot of those crazy seasons better.

Totally, totally. And a couple of things I’ll say right there is that, that word anchoring I think is most important. It’s like if you don’t anchor yourself, you will fly away. Like change is best metaphored, pictured as like a storm, or as just like wind blowing really fast, that’s because you’re moving and you’re changing. And if you’re not anchored in that, right? Like in here in Hawaii we have crazy winds sometimes, and so everyone always has those umbrellas out in their yard with, you know, for shade, but everyone has to have a huge weight at the bottom of it, like a huge 25 or 50 pound weight, or at least they have the ones that are already weighted, so that it doesn’t blow away when the umbrella gets crazy.

And I think a lot of us with a lot of change, it’s almost like we’re changing umbrellas. Like, oh I want a blue one now, I want a yellow one now, and that’s fine, but you have to make sure that you’re always having the weight on. The weight is the sustaining variable. Like that holds the umbrella down so that you can actually live in it, and you can be anchored in it, and you can have shade. So I think that’s important. And then two quick tips I’ll say is, kind of I feel like the way I like to think about it in small bursts when it is crazy is, what’s my bare minimum?

What’s my bare minimum that’s going to give me the most meaning, and the most anchoring for maybe, you know, but still is the easiest to apply in crazy seasons? And so that’s for us, like you said, it’s similar with travel. So that’s not always travel to other people, but for us it was travel and so then the thing we would do still is like, kind of a pseudo Shabbat. Where we didn’t do this crazy, big dinner but, the ritual still is really fun to like, hey, can we find a candle somewhere just for dinner Friday night? Can we sing a song? Can we do that? Can we get up and just do one family activity Saturday if we’re traveling, even if I’m speaking that night?

And it just does something, or it just pulls you down and feels like, oh this is just who I am, this is just my week, just because I’m in a different place doesn’t mean it’s not true. And then that, and then there is small seasons where I think you, not for lack of a better term, kind of can throw it all out the window. And what I mean by that is like, once every two years, me and Alyssa are usually launching a book. And those are kind of insane where you have to just say yes and go everywhere, go to every city, say yes to every podcast, every media for about three to four weeks. And so for us, we very much say like, “Hey, everything’s off for that kind of three to four weeks.”

We’ll keep the baseline semblance of sanity as much as we can, but we give ourselves grace of like, hey, that’s three weeks about every two years, and the cool part is, I know that that, and like you said, and then we just pop right back into it. And for us there’s something about that, that just feels like you kind of just do it, and you just kind of move on, and your body just kind of locks back into place, you know? And so that’s what I would say is like, you can give yourself grace, you can have some kind of seasons, but I wouldn’t say those should go more than maybe four to six weeks. Anything more than that, and I feel like you start kind of messing with your actual physiology, right?

That you start almost changing your rhythm into a chaotic one. And so I would say yeah, definitely give yourself grace, but also anchor yourself, whatever it takes to anchor yourself in small ways that you can do, even in crazy seasons of change, is probably the best thing you can do.

And if you guys are not familiar with this idea of crafting your rhythm, Jeff and Alyssa, and April and I created a course called the Seven Day Family, which walks you through the steps to create an ideal week, how to create a day of rest, it has a lot of details there. So check that out at familyteams.com.

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