Life As Rhythm

Camilla Storlie is the pause and deep breath we all need to take right now. With the heart and ordination as a pastor, let her words shepherd your soul today. I first met Camilla at an event at her church and instantly felt a soul connection. Our friendship has bloomed over the past year and I am better for it.

A busy mom of three and pastor at Alongsiders Church in Portland, OR, Camilla is a lover of music, regularly leading her church in worship with her husband Josh, the worship pastor. She is the kind of gal you could chat with for hours over a good cup of coffee. It is a blessing to have Camilla at the table with us today.

Guest Blog by Camilla Storlie

I recently was hiking by myself. I do this a lot, well not necessarily hike, but walk and talk to God. I often wonder if I should wear headphones or something to keep the neighbors from asking questions about my sanity but I’ve opted for just risking their thoughts. As I was briskly hiking uphill, in a remote place by myself, all of a sudden I was startled by a loud noise, a pounding, like someone was running up the trail behind me… I jumped and quickly looked behind me and all around me! I was alone.

Then I realized that the noise I had been startled by was my heart beating.

You can imagine the laughter that I had with myself that it was my own heart beating that had startled me? But I can’t help but wonder if it was the quiet, the fact that I was alone, that made me more present to myself and the noises around me and inside me. Whatever the reason, this made me stop and wonder when was the last time I heard my own heart beating? When was the last time you heard your heart beating, without hard breathing taking over, like me when I’m jogging.

As I continued on my hike I was overwhelmed by the silence. This experience of noticing myself helped me to recognize the silence around me. lt awakened my senses, this being in silence, alone. It made me more heightened to what was around me and what was happening inside me, in my own body. It brought a thankfulness for my body that worked the way it did, for the noises that I could hear all around me when I was able to pay attention, and was made aware of the smallest flowers that I could see when I actually looked.

How often do we take the time to notice?

I am a busy mom of 3 kids that I homeschool, (yes I chose to homeschool before covid made us all homeschooling parents). I work part time, which can sometimes morph into full time depending on the season, I volunteer at our food pantry and Laundry Love. I also speak semi-often as I am also a licensed minister, I am committed to neighboring well in my community which takes intention and time. But I’ve always hated to say that I am busy. Everyone seems to be busy these days. We all have our own busy and I believe we make that regardless of what we do for work or whether we have kids or not. We could be professional social media creators, dog walkers, barista in the morning and Uber driver in the evening, work from home, travel for work… You get it. The world is busy. This is a known fact. And it’s not getting any slower. Until covid hit. What’s interesting is that when this happened our life amped up because all of a sudden we had a huge learning curve that all had to do with online everything and creating content, and and and.

I wonder how it was for you? Did life/work slow down or speed up?

What’s so interesting is the exhaustion I felt and heard confirmed by many friends; all of this screen time, all of these walks we were taking multiple times a day to keep our sanity (which were lovely, by the way), all of the precautions and the thinking forward and the wondering about what life was going to look like and how long… everything was just exhausting. And I felt it. I wish I could say that I am great at reaching out to others when I am having a hard time, but I so often try to ignore the deep dark feelings that I am having until they completely overwhelm. I HAVE to take a serious look at them because if I don’t I might spontaneously combust all over everyone in my household. If you don’t know what I am talking about, that’s amazing. Good on you. Just imagine what this could be like with me. When these moments have hit I have had to take a run/walk. Pour my heart out to God. My worries, my frustration, my anger and my attitude. Though I don’t like getting to this place, I love what comes from it. The realization that I need to keep working on my daily rhythm of self care, stillness and silence, solitude and prayer.

When I do, these moments are fewer and farther between.

I don’t remember at what point I heard this growing up, but it was the balance conversation. A good balance equaled a good life, or at least that’s how I remember it but that always seemed so hard. I felt like I was literally living out of balance all the time, always tipping the scales and never getting it right. Then, when I was probably in my early 20’s I heard a friend speak of

life as being rhythm.

We all have our ups and downs, our busy times and less busy times, our times that we give a lot and then moments that we choose to pull back and have more rest. Rhythm. This shift of perspective was so mind blowing for me. No longer trying to keep my life and the lives of my family balanced well on a scale and watching how everyone else did it around me, but instead, thinking about my life as rhythm. I don’t know about you, but I love music and love all kinds of music with all kinds of different rhythms. Sometimes I like something slow and methodical, sometimes more upbeat to get me moving. Likewise, in my family’s life there are things I add in we do often, and things thrown at us we need to work through. But I love always coming back to what I want our life rhythm to look like and how I will handle the things that are thrown at me. The way that we meet at a laundromat to wash the clothes of families that are under resourced once or twice a month, and we continue to return because we believe it’s important to create meaningful rhythm for our family and our kids. Or the way that we have family breakfast on mornings off and linger with one another at the table, or the prayers that we pray and songs that we sing with our kids nightly. This isn’t a contest of who can put the most in their rhythm of life, rather what do I want to add or take away to our rhythm of life. I realize that I say all of this as a privileged white woman. I have choices and I am adding things to my rhythm that I hope will help me to understand not everyone has the same choices I do, but I still believe in rhythm. At times our rhythm has sped up to a tempo I knew was not lasting and so in those moments I have prepared myself to have conversations with family members about how things will change or slow again, but I still look at all of this, as rhythm.

This makes me think about how creation has its own rhythm.

The rhythm of the ocean waves, the rhythm of the sun and moon and planets, the rhythm that the bullfrog or the crickets make, the rhythm of birds wings that keep them afloat, the rhythm of your heart beating to pump blood and your lungs breathing in breath. It’s all so beautiful. Finding a rhythm that fits you and your life is beautiful.

Going back to my hiking story, I wondered how truly needed these moments are. I need these moments of taking in my own breath, my own self, my heart beating… and also being in silence, solitude, stillness and prayer. How foreign are these practices to you as daily or weekly rhythm? Silence, solitude, stillness and prayer? They are a form of worship. I can tell you as I was taking all of this in, the wonder of my own body, the wonder at this beautiful creation of nature, sound and silence, there was a connection that I felt, a wonder and a worship of the God who created it all.

I was reminded that it takes intentionality to have these experiences, it takes seeking, it takes adding them to my rhythm of life.

Whether in a busy season or a slowed down season, rhythm is still important because it’s making room for the things that I want to have in my life, instead of life taking over. The more that I live, the more I realize that healthy rhythm often doesn’t happen naturally, it takes intention.

So don’t give up trying. Don’t give up if you feel you just aren’t naturally rhythmic, because it’s a journey of creating this rhythm. Take a deep breath and try again. My reminder to myself is to flow with the things that come and remember to choose daily practices that help me through it all.

A little note from Colette

Hey friends, I am so glad that you have joined us for the Ordinary Time series! This series will give us the opportunity to hear from a variety of voices, from different backgrounds, holding their own strong convictions around faith all the while calling us to the same thing: perseverance. I give my guests freedom to express their faith freely and any specific convictions they may hold. This is bigger table theology working itself out on this blog. We may not all agree concerning specific areas of scripture but one thing I know we can, Jesus is Lord!

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Hey friend! I'm excited to meet you! I live in Portland, OR and completely love city life. My hubby and I have been married for over 14 years and still completely adore each other. I am a Jesus follower who is passionate about building up the local church and developing healthy communities. It's so nice of you to stop by! So grab a coffee or a glass of wine, and hang out a bit.

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