+ Metronome Sept 15 Blog 44221537_sAs a child, it was with great excitement that I received a wood-cased metronome from my piano teacher. She showed me how to wind it up, how to set the weight higher or lower on the metal post so that it would swing back and forth, faster and slower. “Tick, tock, tick, tock,” it whispered in my ear from the side of the music rack.

I understood that I was supposed to play my pieces to the beat of the metronome, but matching my playing to its speed was harder than I expected it to be. Each piece I played seemed to have a range of tempo that I was comfortable playing it in, but getting it to go faster, “up to tempo,” or slower, more sedately, pushed against my innate tempo comfort zone.

The metronome is meant as a tool to help musicians play a piece in its intended tempo and to promote steady playing. The ultimate challenge for a musician is to have a range of technique and expression so that she can comfortably match the piece’s spirit, intention, and tempo designation with her own inner tempo range. And, she should be able to execute any piece she plays with ease…the kind of ease with which we’d like to move through our life no matter what tempo or intensity is asked of us.

Perhaps my training as a musician has made me particularly sensitive to tempo and pace, but I think we’re all aware when things feel like they’re moving too fast or too slow – or when they’re “just right.”

I’m conscious of having a comfort range of life tempo as well as a musical one. I’m aware of when it syncs up with the tempos of the people around me. Early on, when my husband-to-be and I were newly engaged and meeting each other’s friends, a musician friend of mine offered her perception of us as a couple. “I like that you have a similar tempo,” she said. “I think the marriage is going to work!”

I’ve thought of her comment many times over the years and appreciated that sense of the importance of tempo – speed and timing – in a relationship. Having a similar tempo with one’s partner seems to make things go more smoothly. I can imagine it challenging a relationship if one person in the couple prefers the slower pace of staying at home and the other person yearns to go dancing. For myself, if I’m with someone who continuously talks much more rapidly than I do, I can tire and find it hard to stay focused.

Thinking about our own tempo preferences and comfort zone is important to consider in our daily lives as well as in our relationships. I try to be aware of my own inner tempo and how it syncs up with what the outer world is asking of me. If I have lots of errands to do but I’m feeling tired and run down, I recognize that it might not be a good day to try to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, so I try to adjust my plans.

I’m aware that my preferred internal tempo is a fairly moderate one – not too fast, not too slow. My inner metronome is most comfortable in the middle range, though there’s a certain range of motion that allows me to speed up and slow down when necessary. But, overall, a moderate, medium pace is my default tempo comfort zone.

This works for me most of the time in my day-to-day life. But I’m noticing a desire to expand my default tempo in both directions, quicker and slower – an expansion that I think will serve me in some other domains than the pacing of my everyday life.

On one end of the spectrum, I’d like to become deeply comfortable with a level of “slow” that is true stillness. This inner, central point of quiet – no motion, no activity — is the quality I listen for and cultivate when I meditate, when I’m on my porch looking at the trees or at the ocean contemplating the horizon.

My new intention is that I be able to access this stillness any time, and ultimately, to be in it all the time – even when I’m moving fast. I truly believe we are meant to be in connection with our Essence stillness no matter what is happening in our outer lives. From that centering point, the motion of the outer world is less disturbing. We stay calmer and more peaceful, more at ease.

The tempo spectrum’s opposite end is quickness, forward momentum. In this area, I’d like to increase my response time to Spirit’s impulses and inspirations. I really don’t want to hold back and live to have regrets for not having manifested some of my truest desires and leadings.

Recently, I noticed a tendency I have of dragging my energetic feet, so to speak. I’d had an inspiration to attend a workshop with a presenter I’d had my eye on for years. This time around the timing of her workshop finally coincided with my availability. I realized I really wanted to attend and that it was possible for me to do so. It felt right, but I still “worked” the decision over in my head for several days.

A week later, when I finally called to enroll, I realized I might have waited so long – pausing over a decision I’d actually made – that I might have missed my chance for a spot in her class. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending – there was room for me in the class – but I took the lesson anyhow and decided that when Spirit spoke, I would move on it faster! If I’d moved more quickly on my inspiration and decision to attend, I could have saved myself the week of procrastinating and risking getting shut out of the class.

Expanding our tempo spectrum helps us step out of our usual patterns and experience the richness of new territory. For myself, getting more comfortable with stillness and quickness has also enriched the speed and quality of the energy in between. As we expand whatever is our usual comfort zone, even step out of it into new speeds, we make what previously felt unfamiliar and extreme more natural and do-able.

There’s a word referring to quickness that used to be used as a blessing in partings. “Godspeed.” It meant, “Go quickly and safely.”

Perhaps Godspeed can be extended to embrace the whole spectrum of all speeds. All tempo, timing, is God’s speed, in a sense, from the quicksilver flow of action to the calm repose of complete stillness.

When we are in sync with our Essence, our tempo and timing is in Right Flow, no matter how fast or slow the metronome is ticking. We are always centered and present. From here, we can respond to the impulse that tells us to Act Now and follow an inspiration into manifestation or to stop everything and respond to our need for deep stillness and restoration.

It’s all in our Essence comfort zone, and it can all be done with ease. Godspeed!

Share your thoughts