Here’s a typical, busy Hong Kong street. What do you see – the people or the empty space?
Flow is an ongoing journey. When we allow our feet to find an open pathway, we move around obstacles that appear to be in our way. Life gets easier. Flowing keeps us fluid.
Finding our Flow keeps our feet on the ground, so we know where we are. Our receptivity opens up and develops our inner intelligence.
I struggled to find my Flow in Hong Kong. I had to let go of unimportant busyness to create space in my life. Now I have a far greater sense of what’s important to me. I move faster because I’m not weighed down. I can see more opportunities around me.
When we practise finding empty space, walking on a busy city street seems like a stroll along the Great Wall of China.
Hong Kong is full of Staccato energy.
The rhythm of Staccato is percussive and clear, allowing expressive movements that have shape and definition. Whilst we find the rhythm of Flow with our feet, we find the beat of Staccato in our hips.
Jackie Chan’s action movies epitomise Staccato energy. He is flexible, adaptable and precise. His movement is like a series of elastic shapes. In one scene with a difficult opponent, he pauses, exhales, and reminds himself, “No need to panic, relax … treat this like a training session.” That is what we are doing on the dance floor – training for life.
Staccato is a lively rhythm, and probably the one we are most familiar with in our everyday lives. When we get stuck in habits and routines, our energy can turn rigid, tense and mechanical, like a robotic techno beat.
Personally, I danced to that beat for many years, working with details and objectives to achieve results. I lived my life outside of work in the same way. In Staccato I have learned to have enough structure to keep life organised while relaxing my rigidity!
Typhoons are chaotic energy beyond our control – they can disrupt our arrangements and disorganise our plans. We have to surrender to the force of Mother Nature.
We see this metaphor in our personal and working lives. Chaos is volatile and unpredictable, yet it is an opportunity to loosen the grip on old habits and let go of patterns that have no purpose. Chaos can be cathartic.
In the Flow and Staccato rhythms we find foundation and balance to physically orientate our bodies. When these two rhythms clash in the third rhythm, Chaos, we release intellectual control and learn to move within it. If we are thrown off centre by the force, our foundation and balance help us regain equilibrium more easily. We practise being the eye in the centre of the moving storm.
Before I discovered this rhythm, I was entrenched in my ways and scared to let go. I even found it hard to throw out old clothes from my wardrobe! I was overstuffed and overwhelmed.
Phew! The end of Chaos.
Lyrical, the fourth rhythm, is where we transform the old habits and patterns that were disorganised and let go of in the Chaos phase. Once released, we realise the weight of carrying those old burdens around. Lighter & freer, we can find a greater ease in ourselves and really enjoy this experience.
This rhythm opens up our playfulness, imagination and creativity. One student describes Lyrical as “feeling full of chi”. We are in transition from the past to where we will be in the future.
I did not understand Lyrical when I first danced 5Rhythms. So I faked it and wondered what this ‘joy’ was all about. Several waves later, I dropped some baggage in Chaos, and discovered Lyrical. If only I’d let go earlier.
The fifth rhythm is the one where we get to be our authentic selves, the one that emerges after dancing through the wave.
The natural one.
In balance. Centred.
At ease in our own skin.
At ease in our environment.
Our internal and external worlds in harmony.