[ ruh-thahy-mee-uh ]
- Carefree behavior; light-heartedness
** Either a story beginning, a story ending, a piece of flash fiction, a poem, painting, dance move—inspired by the word, rhathymia, where does it take me? Where does it take you? Learn more about “The Word” here.
He whistled a song of his own making, improvising the next notes one after the other. His foot tapped to a rhythm of his own design, steady and slow. Heartbeats matched the taps of his foot, and his breath was like ocean waves—the kind that lulled you to sleep.
Landon took a quick glance at the clock, which he saw as counting the seconds and minutes of his newly created song. The clock read, 1:01. Then, his hands went back to work, moving swiftly and precisely, like a surgeon as his breathing and foot-tapping remained steady.
The others around him were sweating. Landon spared them no thought. The others around him were glancing at each other with horror upon their faces. Yet, they were entirely out of control and firmly in his. All they could do was watch and pray.
Another glance at the clock, 0:37. It had felt like an hour, those twenty-four seconds. Landon had another hour left then, and his whistling tune continued without pause or hesitation.
This rig, this bomb, was the most complicated he’d ever seen, the most intricate design. As the clock reached the final five seconds, Landon’s tune remained unshaken, his foot tapped without pause, and his heart kept steady, as did his hands.
There’s one thing I know from teaching students how to take tests, and taking them myself, is that when under any amount of pressure, there are only two choices: allow the pressure in, or ignore it.
If you allow the pressure in—which is to let in the fears, doubts, and worries—then the mind stops working. It just goes blank. I’m sure you’ve experienced this when someone asks you at random something like, what is 8 times 7? Go! All of a sudden, the feeling you need to answer quickly ensures that you forget everything you have ever learned about multiplication! You might even forget your own name at that moment ; )
Yet, if we ignore the pressure, we end up answering faster and moving faster through our tasks. It’s a zen-like focus where all that matters is the question to be answered or the task to be completed.
There’s a great audiobook, The Practicing Mind, which I highly recommend to anyone. I recommend the audiobook because the experience of the audio version is a zen-like experience in and of itself.
What do you think of Rhathymia?
How do you think under pressure? Does it get the better of you? Or are you the master of your mind? I’m sure most of us fall into a spectrum of somewhere in between. Check out that audiobook if you’re looking to diffuse bombs like Landon, calm and unflinching with five seconds on the clock : )
Leave your thoughts, your own story beginning/ending, flash-fiction, or whatever in the comments! Where did rhathymia or my story take you?
If you liked this story, check out my podcast of short stories, More Than A Story.
Today’s word is from Dictionary.com
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