The Rhythm of
By Dr. Steve
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The Rhythm Of
In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.
will need a way of maintaining our bearings as we undertake the transformation explored in
this book. Just how is it that we can keep our eye on the ball? Well, the means is simple.
We only need to understand and come to trust The Rhythm of Life.
rhythm of life? You bet. I hope by now you have a better appreciation for what goes into
stepping out of the shadows, but do you understand that its a process that unfolds
over a lifetime? As you discover what each passageway in this book looks like for you,
youll next discover that life is nothing more than a process of experimentation.
Simply put, theres an ebb and flow to whatever you do. You will not do even a
majority of this work right.
thats not the point. The only right thing
to do is to keep on trying. Dont approach this work like its one more thing
you need to excel at, because I promise you, you wont. Youll struggle because
its part of the human condition to struggle.
there are ways to be with your struggle that will inch you closer and closer to your
destiny. A destiny in which youll be free to be who you want to be. A destiny full
of purpose and well-being. A destiny that leaves you healed from within, connected on the
outside with the people who matter most, and aligned from above with a higher power.
tools of such a destiny? Take these two with you. Choice and risk-taking. Throw
perfectionism out the window. Open yourself up to whats possible. Transform your
life with these two trustworthy means: your freedom to make choices and the courage to
take risks. These are the pick and shovel for the work we must all do in order to step out
of the shadows. Let me show you what I mean.
Stepping out of the shadows begins with our willingness to let go.
process of stepping out of the shadows needs to be sprinkled with a little bit of this and
a little bit of that. The little bit of this is flexibility and joy. These are the two
ingredients that well use to replace rigidity and idealism. Although I have
presented you my slant of how our journey will unfold, please leave this experience
knowing that theres no one right way. Ive only attempted to provide you with
the chalklines that outline the playing field. Itll be up to you to create the rules
of the game and what position you want to play.
only hope that we can agree on the general outcome. Joy. Wonder. Renewal. Exultation.
the little bit of that is letting go. I have the following quote by Andre Gide taped on my
desk as a never ending reminder of the importance of letting go. One doesnt
discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long
At the same time, can you see how whatever it is youre clinging to, prevents
you from visiting those new lands? Again, give this some careful consideration. What
shores do you need to let go of in order that you may visit new lands?
Letting go is unavoidable and oftentimes quite painful. But letting go is one of those
things that, quite simply, is a note of the rhythm of life. As much pain as it brings, it
opens our life up to new and wondrous things at the same time. Just like that old saying,
for every door that closes, a new one opens, letting go is the mechanism by which we
discover new pieces of the puzzle, new parts of ourselves, and, most importantly, new ways
of being in the world.
[Re]connecting to our lifes journey requires that we give more to the
journey than the journey gives back to us.
tried everything, believe me, none of this works. Ive been in and out of therapy for
over ten years. I did meditation for two years.
day, twice a day? I asked.
no, not exactly. It didnt seem to be working the way I thought it should, so I just
did it here and there.
tried three different twelve step programs. None, I mean none of that stuff helped. All of
those people bitching and complaining. All that God stuff.
you try to find a meeting with people who you liked? I asked.
you get anybodys phone number so you could get some support from them? I
you go to any one meeting long enough so that you could get a sponsor?
you learn how to work the steps?
exactly. But, I did buy three books on how to do the steps, he said somewhat
you read the books?
exactly. I could see those programs werent for me. I tried group therapy, but that
didnt work either.
you try and connect with the people in the group?
you go to the group every week?
you ask the group leaders for help?
just what exactly is it that youre waiting for, some sort of guarantee that all of
this stuff works before you try to do what youre supposed to do?
many times have we built up a big head of steam about something new yet never move beyond
square one? A new exercise program, a new food plan, checking out a few classes at the
local college. What about the musical instrument we promised ourselves we were going to
start learning how to play?
matter what process of transformation we become involved with, bear in mind this very
simple formula. What we receive from any person or thing will only be in direct proportion
to what we invest in that person or thing. Makes sense. Nothing terribly profound about
many of us can honestly say that we give more to an experience than what we expect to
receive from it? Yet, its this very principle we need to embrace in order to gain
the very benefits we hope to derive.
often, I see people quit in discouragement. Their discouragement given birth by their
belief that someone or something has failed them. They walk away in discouragement,
ignoring the simple law that can assure them an abundance of whatever it is that
up now, is any of that true about you? Looking for resources, wanting to know what those
resources will do for you, but not willing to invest yourself in what the process requires
of you? Does that ring true for you? Placing all of your hopes and dreams in the next
book, the next workshop, the next quick-fix remedy, but never taking the time to
understand whats required of you.
does it mean to invest yourself? In its most simplistic terms, show up, be present,
participate. Know that any means of transforming your life is not a passive process.
Its a process that requires you to give of yourself in a consistent fashion.
Dont just give when youre hurting and scared. Dont just give when
youre feeling particularly inspired. Dont just give when youre feeling
particularly rewarded for your efforts.
day, take the next small step. Do the next thing that you know you need to do. Dont
wait for what you want to present itself to you. If you keep looking for the immediate
reward, for some sense of why you should keep-on-keeping-on, even when theres no
immediate justification for doing so, then you have only set yourself up to fail.
prepared to feel frustrated from time to time. Know that itll be more tempting to
hold others responsible for your well-being rather than take responsibility for your
well-being. But that shall pass as you find new ways to get around old obstacles.
pain is what gets most of us involved in this kind of work, but its not what will
keep us involved.
to our lifes journey is built upon the efforts of honestly exploring who we are in
the context of ourselves, our friends and family, and our place in the universe.
is where our unfinished business lives. Until we honestly seek to bring understanding and
acceptance where all there is now is denial and pain, well be doomed to live a life
stuck in a web of all of our yesterdays.
that make sense to you? We cant grow beyond the experiences of our past until we put
to bed these very ghosts. Its a simple rule of thumb about the rhythm of life. The
work that lies before us is going nowhere until we meet it head on and work through it,
otherwise it will reappear in our lives over and over again.
is the most fundamental premise of my Relationship Bridge-Builders groups. Its a
safe environment where the group members get to explore in an honest fashion who they are,
how who they are impacts the other people in the group, and finally how they fit into the
world at large.
in the safety of these groups that we explore how our unfinished business seeps into our
adult lives. Seeing is believing. The group provides the context for a place to heal the
wounds that continue to fester in our day-to-day lives.
about you? Can you think of events that continue to reappear in your life over and over
again? A certain kind of relationship? The same problems at work? Unable to break out of
the trap of a compulsive behavior?
at least three things that continually reappear in your life, something that just never
goes away, something that brings you pain time and time again?
think for a moment. Whats the lesson to be learned from each of those events that
continue to reappear in your life?
point is that no one is immune to this simple law of life. All of us need to develop an
understanding of what makes us do, say, and feel the things that we do. The benefit is
clear. Doing so enables us to live a clean life where we better understand our place in
the world and the choices weve made in order to claim that spot.
Stepping out of the shadows is a process in which we focus on the nail we are
hammering, rather than day-dreaming about the house we are going to build.
were finishing up the first session. He asked a question that most clients of mine wonder
long is all of this going to take?
dont know. Just what is it that you want for yourself? I asked.
want to be healthy. I want to be able to stay in a relationship without messing it up the
way I always do. I cant keep on losing job after job. I have to find a way to not be
involved so much with my family.
mean to tell me you cant tell me how long that is going to take?
no. You see youve told me how you want the last page of your book to read, but you
havent told me what the chapters of the book are, you havent told me how you
intend to live the words of each chapter.
me ask you, Irvin, can you tell me how long itll take you to act in a loving way
towards yourself in the moment? Can you tell me how long itll take you to stop going
to war with every driver who doesnt drive the way you would have them drive? Can you
tell me how long itll take for you to surrender your way of being in the world for a
new and different way? Can you tell me how long itll take you to heal the wounds
that live within you? Can you...
right, all right, I get your point, but you must be able to give me some idea.
you dont get my point. What you want for yourself is a finished product, what I want
for you is a way of life that you live and breathe each and every moment. That can happen
for you right now.
lose sight of this point. Take your eye off the outcome. The outcome will happen for you
if, and only if, you stay focused on the steps of the journey.
yourself from the expectations of being perfect--doing it perfectly. Free yourself from
the unobtainable standards that you set for yourself. Free yourself from the dualities of
good and bad, right and wrong, kind and cruel.
get lost in the completion of the project, because the point of our journey is to become
more comfortable with being rather than living in the trap of always doing.
need to embrace the magic of the moment. We need to measure those moments not by how well
were rewarded by them, but by how each moment offers one more kernel of Truth, one
more morsel of experience, an experience that enables us to become who we genuinely
best to benefit from the path were creating for ourselves? Start with this: our
growth, our transformation is built upon a foundation. Discover who we are rather than
pursue the ideal that we are not.
Stepping out of the shadows is a process of
reclaiming all of who we are.
tell me again why its so damn important for me to feel my feelings. Whats the
big deal? Why would I want to go through all of that suffering all over again?
dont see the value of being whole? I asked.
dont start using that stuff on me. I asked about my feelings. That stuffs in
my past. Why cant I just forget about it?
dont see the value in taking ownership of all of your life experiences, even the
particularly. Why stir everything up again? I manage to cope. Now, you gotta give me that
much. A person my age, the things Ive been through, the way Ive managed to
glue my life back together. What more is there to all of this?
dont see the value in feeling a sense of integration, that all of the pieces inside
fit, that they somehow come together in a way that makes sense?
not really, Ive gotten use to the noise. Ive gotten use to the push-and-pull,
starting-and-stopping, going off in one direction, then coming back from another
direction. Ive gotten use to all of the commotion on the inside, the resultant
confusion on the outside.
dont see the value in silencing the noise, the fear, the mistrust, the hunger for
love and acceptance? You dont see the value in quenching the thirst you have for a
I guess I do but not if its going to hurt this much.
of this work, all of this growth through healing and expanding, all of this transformation
through letting go and starting anew. Why? What for?
were really trying to do is create a wonderful mosaic. A mosaic constructed from all
the various parts of who we are. A mosaic that includes all of our rough edges. All of
those edges that weve believed for so long that we had to either smooth off or hide
heres the means by which we set ourselves free. Set ourselves free from the energy
weve invested in disowning the many parts of who we are. Nows the time to
create a wondrous tapestry out of all of who we are, as well as all that weve
longer do we need to rely on baling wire to hold ourselves together. Walking through life
feeling fragmented, have we really understood the inherent paradox of healing? Healing
occurs by walking through the painful act of reclaiming all of the bits and pieces of who
act of stepping out of the shadows, the act of reclaiming begins by extending ourselves
permission. Permission to just be. Let that roll over you for a couple of minutes. How
does that sit with you?
to surrender the vigilance we maintain over ourselves. Do you understand how many of us
live our lives in a panic? A panic fanned by the inherent fear of just being. Being
careful not to let anything leak out.
have so carefully compartmentalized ourselves. Now, Im suggesting that we stop doing
that--that we take the brakes off. Oh, dont worry, even if youre open to my
suggestion, it wont happen all at once.
picture it for a moment. All the edges, all of them out in the open, maybe even in a
playful way. Discovering other people whove given their edges permission to come out
Im suggesting is that fun should be waiting for anyone whos decided to step
out of the shadows. Oh sure, its scary. It has its moments of loneliness, even
regrets. But the simple act of permission can give birth to an avalanche.
avalanche of joy. A time in your life when you no longer have to be on guard. You no
longer have to be so controlled in what you do. No longer having to hold your breath every
moment, always vigilant to how others are reacting to you. All the guesswork in trying to
figure out what others want you to be.
freedom affords its own way of life--a lightness towards yourself, a carefree, playful
attitude with others.
are the rewards that await you. And its true what I said earlier. We deserve to
bring all of who we are to the table. Were deserving of a life where discouragement
is a moment in time, not a way of life. We deserve the benefits from a life of knowing our
place in this world affords us. And the path is a simple one. We merely need to reclaim
all of who we are.
Do not despair about the setbacks you encounter on your path for it is from
these very errors that we can discover the Truth about our journey.
one is so counter-intuitive to everything that we believe to be true. We have to get
it right, We have to do it better, We have to work harder so that
we can be the best. Yet, Im suggesting that you give up the myth that our
journey is about being better at it.
than that, I am suggesting that wisdom is born out of the lessons that our setbacks teach
us. Embrace our stumblings as necessary encounters with our life lessons. Celebrate the
fact that we chose to get into the game rather than safely sit on the sidelines.
Therere no gifts to be had from not trying. Theres no growth to be experienced
from playing it safe.
are the only guarantees I have for you if you choose to inch your way out of the shadows.
Dont get me wrong, I trust that a better way of life awaits you, as well. But the
only sure thing is that when were moving around in the dark, were all going to
trip over ourselves.
it. Celebrate it. Embrace the stumbles, each and every one of them. Discouragement is
inevitable. Lets acknowledge that from the outset. But any life experience that
doesnt test you, will never bear the fruit youre hoping for.
can see it quite clearly, I hope. The rhythm of lifes nothing more than the ebb and
flow we experience from the series of tests that the universe serves us. Avoid, at all
costs, an over-abundance of caution. Sure, it leaves you unprotected. But come on now,
raise your hand if this is true for you, hasnt self-protection grown into
insulation? Havent we crossed the line between the appropriate need to protect
ourselves and completely insulating ourselves from who we are as well as the people in our
where we all have the most opportunity for movement. Unwrapping ourselves. Discovering new
pieces of ourselves that can support us as we try new experiences, and inevitably, fall
down and pick ourselves back up again. These are the pieces of ourselves thatll lead
us to a life of fun and experimentation. Embrace those pieces and give them permission to
come out and play.
me end this section by sharing with you the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who I think has
captured the essence of the Rhythm of Life, Do not be too timid and squeamish about
your actions. All life is an experiment.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.