Haven’t we all heard this phrase, “They step to the beat of a different drummer”? Yes, and what have been our thoughts around this phrase when perhaps being described this way? That because we weren’t one who went with the flow of society, that we were less than? I have been sitting with being different this past week, and have found a brilliant lesson through the ‘art’ of syncopation in music.
Syncopation is defined as, “ 1 : a temporary displacement of the regular metrical accent in music caused typically by stressing the weak beat. 2 : a syncopated rhythm, passage, or dance step.” I can certainly apply this definition to humans that seem to look at life and live life differently, mySelf being one of these humans. I also surround mySelf with unique individuals and steep in the beauty of this offbeat rhythm in life. Why? Why would I not want to be in the flow of the river of humanity…like everyone else? I really had to sit with this, because in some ways, I do let myself be taken down certain passageways with the bulk of humanity, because it has just been easier. Yet, for the most part, I have lived my entire life as the salmon swimming upstream in a heavy current, and…wanting to be the salmon that had white flesh, instead of red…I wanted to be that different aspect of humanity, to be embraced by others because I was different.
To be living a life in syncopation is to honor the differences in each of us, from where I “Be” in the world. Recently, I listened to a favorite jazz musician, Wynton Marsalis speak about syncopation. I loved what he said! “Syncopation can distinguish a group and can also characterize a region, with each individual’s way of pushing and pulling the beat being very personal.” He also eloquently, stated, “Syncopation is the daring application of dexterity, jocularity and timing to challenge the common grid…a common way of doing things…the accepted way. It is the masterful challenging of convention, the element of surprise that makes a punchline funny.” Isn’t this how we might look through a lens to see ourselves? Don’t we challenge the common grid by daring to BE who we came here to be? Don’t we, as a different sort of human, add color, the offbeat aspects of our personhood, humor and experience to others? I know we do!
In the present moment, I see this new learning of being with the offbeat as such a gift, knowing that I may look like I am stepping to a different beat, yet I, with you, bring such beauty in this offbeat kaleidoscope of life! Being the syncopated drummer, adding to the orchestra of life, that one spark of a new color, piece of language, twist of perception that can add flair and new insight to being human is really fun!. This perception gives me passion in looking at what we as humans are now creating that adds such deeper meaning to living. I am excited to be looking through my kaleidoscope with its complex rhythms and colors. What about you? What sparks you in the spectrum of difference you carry to others? What is your rhythm that is unique? You are essential in this orchestra of life that we are. Your rhythm SO matters! I am so happy you chose to be here in this time of life where we all are beginning to remember how much we as humanity matter to the whole of existence. Thank you for your unique service in and to LIFE!