Under all our endeavours lie rhythms we normally take for granted: breathing, brainwaves, sleep and waking, digestion… and most vital of all, the heartbeat. On Sunday morning the cat woke me and I noticed I had an irregular heartbeat. A really irregular heartbeat. Suddenly it was hard to think of anything else but the rhythm. Raewyn took me to the hospital, where the good people whose whole job is to help people when the rhythms get our of order, tested and helped me so nicely I felt a joy and gratitude for them and empathy for all embodied beings.
But after a few hours in the ward time dragged and the spectre of a life so handicapped by fibrillation kept me from even being able to read (!). All the busyness and goals from before the loss of rhythm seemed impossible to return to. I gave up coffee, got out on Sunday night with a withdrawal headache, a beta blocker prescription – and an irregular heartbeat.
Last night the caffeine withdrawal was almost over and I had caught up on sleep, but the heartbeat thing was distracting and depressing. I had read about ‘entrainment’, how rhythms in proximity tend to synchronise, for example two pendulum clocks mounted side by side, and I thought maybe lying heart to heart with Raewyn with her steady beat might help my erratic one get in line again. It was hard to even settle to trying that – the tendency seems to be to nurse the affected parts and protect them. Then I meditated and listened to music. I prayed to get that rhythm back, and vowed to be calmer and meditative. I found I could imagine opening Dreamspace after all if I was like that, in harmony with myself (what was left of me) and any others who visit the gallery. I went to sleep more calm about the future.
This morning I noticed I wasn’t noticing my heart – the rhythm was back! I am learning, not the way I would prefer, but it is good! I intend to continue with these lessons. I’m back in the most vital rhythm of life – and appreciating all the other ones!