Friday, November 13, 2009

Finding Your Own Optimal BPM

In college, I knew some DJ's. At that point, they were still using...records, and the best of the best of these DJ's moved each song smoothly into the next and even aimed to match BPM's when he did so. BPM's -- Beats Per Minute.

This DJ taught me that most people in a club setting like to dance to music that has about 120 beats per minute. He said more than that and most people sit down.

Right now, my favorite music to dance to is Salsa and the typical BPMs on that are 180 to 220.

Yes. It's fast.

Yesterday, I was talking about the "shoulds" that can still haunt my days, like anyone else.

One of the main things I am working on is getting into a regular schedule that feeds me, and it hit me while standing at the kitchen window yesterday evening that this schedule thing is all about finding my rhythm.

Again, I can take a lesson from dance.

Right now, my favorite thing is Salsa but that wasn't the case just two weeks ago when I was thoroughly absorbed by traditional, Broadway-type jazz.

A few weeks before that, I was playing around with (egads!) slow songs.

My body's desire for rhythm is constantly in flux and so I wonder why I would be surprised that the same is true of my brain.

As I am in this Salsa space in my body, I am also writing a lot more and a lot faster. I cram in a ton of work rather quickly.

It just so happens that this mode of working matches the way my ego likes to think about me: efficient and quick and productive and never stopping! What happens to my ego when I am in a slow song stage of life?

You got it -- my ego gets all "oh...I suck!"

But my body never goes there. My body just thinks, "mmmm...yummmm...slow songs...nice change...let's see what I can do with this."

Oh, Body, you are so much smarter than Brain could ever be.

Why? Because brain is just an organ. It's an organ that we ascribe a lot of power to, but doing this is a lot like suddenly deciding that our livers are in charge.

Nope. It's the whole of us that has the most important and wise stuff to say.

Do you allow the rhythm of your life to ebb and flow?

(Photo & Text Copyright: Christine C. Reed,, 2009, Sculpture/Terra Vista Studio)


Jan said...

Great post! I am a huge fan of creating your own rhythm. Honoring what "need" comes in the moment and following that. I used to go pretty fast. Now I go slow. A big fall (with head injury) invited me to slow way down. At first, I resisted. But going slow has tremendous benefits, new ways of seeing and being in the world. But it IS all about listening to what your spirit is calling you to and honoring that. I am so glad you are doing this, Christine. Salsa away!

Grace said...

I can honestly say that one of the best things I've learned in life so far is to accept the natural ebbs and flows of my inner rhythms, which are always changing, rarely achieving a state of balance, but make life interesting. Great post, I like your recent thoughts on dance and life.

Rowena said...

I'm trying. I'm trying.

Eco Yogini said...


I had never thought of it that way. But yes- I definitely have different BPM's... but I try to balance them out...

Music has always been such an emotional and moving part- whether it be jazz, heavy metal, salsa (WISH i could dance that way).
It's why I always wished I had body rhythm to DANCE... as music moves me so much.

perhaps playing the guitar- slow and fast depending and belting my little heart out helps :)

differenceayearmakes said...

I must admit I've struggled with what I call the hills and valleys. There is this desire to always feel "good" and never feel "bad" - but really how boring would that actually be to live in the mundane middle ground. And honestly just not possible.

Honoring the ebb and flow is the key and the challenge. I'm working on it.