I learned a new word yesterday. Entrainment: “the process by which different rhythms fall into synchronization with each other”. Like many, the word is used in various ways and by many different fields of thought. Nevertheless, all definitions tend to lean toward the idea that everything has a rhythm and depending on the strongest of these rhythms, they will all fall into sync in one way or another.
Oddly enough, I learned this word as a result of my body falling… well, actually, crashing into sync with my soul. Per usual, I’ve been on the treadmill of life… seeing my typical full load of clients, doing classes, workshops, and various talks, developing and scheduling more classes, workshops, and talks, checking in on ailing friends, helping friends prepare their home for sale, making attempts to keep up with my own housework, paperwork, yard work, exercise, self-care, etc. I felt myself getting worn out mid-week, and tried to have a relaxing evening at home at the end of it. However, deep down, I knew I needed a bigger and deeper break. I needed to let my soul catch up with the rest of me.
I woke up the day before with a slightly scratchy throat. But, despite feeling wilty, I elected to continue the plan of running errands and shopping with a friend for some items that would hopefully help her to sell her house. I felt fine while I was out, but by the time I returned home I could tell that my body had overstayed its welcome and my soul was starting to take over. I spent the evening fluctuating between chills and fever and I awoke in the morning to feel like a small truck had run over me—very fatigued, fever burning, continued scratchy throat, full-skull headache. I got up long enough to feed and let the dogs out, then headed straight back to bed, where I slept for 3 more hours. In the midst of my second wave of sleep, I was aware that I was burning off a fever, but dove deeply enough into my slumber to not be fully disturbed. The second time I got out of bed I felt a bit better, but clearly I wasn’t out of the woods. I went into the sunroom and stared out the window for a while. Then I turned to look at the stack of books beside me. About a month ago, I had started reading a book called “Timeshifting” by Stephan Rechtschaffen, the founder of Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. The title drew me once again and I lifted the book and sat reading several chapters as it resonated with what my soul had been trying to tell me throughout the week: slow down, notice, reflect, rest……
In one chapter he wrote about entrainment and how we tend to fall into the rhythm of those around us regardless of whether it is our own natural rhythm. The energy of a city has a different energy from a town in the country and the rhythm of the different lifestyles are entrained in the individuals from these respective homes. As a physician, he spoke of his own shift from an entrained life in a busy medical practice to the more relaxed rhythm he created when he founded Omega– the center that I call the “Camp Hiawatha” for adults as it is a learning center in the Hudson Valley where you do, in fact, feel transported back in time. The word, entrainment, though stuck with me throughout the day—even after I returned to the bed for yet another extended period of sleep.
Like so many, I had been ignoring my soul. I was dismissing the message deep within to stop the race against time and just be. My shtick is to encourage others to listen to their body, mind, and spirit to hear the cues that will guide them to their optimal health—their ultimate experience of life. And yet, I fell prey to the entrainment of the American Way…. to the rhythm I despise just as much as I embrace.
My body rebelled because I was out of sync with my soul. I knew immediately that my symptoms were a message from my inner ally. If I wasn’t going to slow down on my own, my soul would have to take over my body in order to make its point. And, boy, did it! I can’t remember the last time I had a fever, but I surely knew to listen to my body and get the rest I needed. I gave in, slowed down, listened, read a much needed bit of information from a nearby book, and now my body only has remnant reminders that I was down for the count.
What would happen if we lived our lives fully in sync with our soul? I am certain that the rhythm of my own is often outrun by my ambitions—less so than in the past, but like today, I occasionally still find myself missing the beat.
If in sync, what messages would be hear—or at least hear more clearly? How would our lives be different? What turmoil would we outsmart? What obstacles of our evolution would we avert?
The soul has its own tempo—one that often doesn’t match our human lives. Oddly enough, everyone I know yearns for a slower, more balanced experience of life, yet few discipline themselves enough to have it regularly. Some of us might know when we aren’t following our desired rhythm, but due to the entrainment of our society, culture, or other influences, we often fall in sync with everything but the cadence of our soul. I am usually better than most at listening, but today I am reminded of the importance of that ultimate synchronization with our most treasured ally.
I accept that I am human, but my soul no longer tolerates when I become entrained in alien rhythms. My soul knows what I need. And I am once again humbled by its wisdom.