I have recently written a book to share a snapshot of my personal development journey (available in print on www.sarahwindrum.co.uk and digitally on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B077DVD5R2) I had written all of it by the end of 2016 but I spent six months struggling to find a nice clean conclusion I was happy with. Because there aren’t any of those in life. As anyone who has undergone any significant period of personal change will know, it never truly ends. You learn strategies and you keep applying and adapting them …. forever.
I struggle most when I prioritise either my heart, body, or mind and neglect one or more of the remaining trio. The key to my happiness is acknowledgement and awareness of all three and their needs. And from there follows a lifelong attempt to balance the triad as best I can. I have come to accept it will never be truly balanced. I find I always need one more than the others to tackle a specific challenge or moment in time. But as long as I check in regularly with the needs of the other two and shift my focus as soon as it is appropriate, I avoid a build up of neglect and the unhappiness that directly ensues.
That sounds easy yet I don’t find it so. I have to engineer reminders into my everyday life. Too often I save caring for my heart for holidays (see The Hygge Life) and too often it suffers as a result. Too often I neglect my body because my mind is tired and loses its momentum and drive. Too often I am guilty of focusing exclusively on my mind. It is the part of me I have invested most heavily in. It gets me out of trouble. It protects me. It hides my vulnerabilities. It is also the part of me I always have been praised for. I was the clever girl at school. The nerd. The geek. It was my thing. And up until 2011 I didn’t think I needed to change. Being mind-focused had always brought me the success I wanted. Academically. Financially. And, as I believed at the time, emotionally too. And then I had a baby and everything changed.
My relationship with my daughter began in my heart. I loved her before she came into being. The short version of the story, and the one she likes to tell, is I had four babies and she was the strong one that survived. She is the most precious gift I will ever have. I’d written countless poems about her before she was even born. As I said, our relationship began in the heart. But it was obviously a very physical relationship too. While I was pregnant, it was crucial to take care of my body in order to give her the best start and to have the strength to survive those sleepless nights once she arrived. I also had to have a lot of hormones due to my medical history. And when my precious gift did arrive into the world, it was much tougher physically than I had imagined. And continues to be so! I have arm muscles built by carrying a tired child. I have legs used to chasing the Yusein Bolt of the toddler world. I may not have the most athletic looking of bodies but I have learnt how to use every ounce of strength and speed when it matters! The one relationship we did not have for those first years was one of the mind. We are building that now she has started school and developed a sense of rationale and reason I can converse with. And I love that too. But those first precious years were built only on connections of the heart and body. And it is the heart which will always be our strongest bond. I love to tell her now how my body fed her (even though breast-feeding was certainly not the wonderful experience I had been led to believe it would be!) I dance with her, I sing with her, I tell her I love her 100 times a day. She has awoken my heart to more joy than I ever thought possible. And she reminds me my body needs to be strong to take the best care of her. I may have had all the financial and academic success I wanted with a strong mind. But my daughter needs a mother with a strong heart and body too.
There’s my why. And there’s a good reason for sharing that with you. Because if I don’t continually connect with my why I will fall into the trap of prioritising my mind again and again. I still want financial success – my daughter needs a home and clothes and food too – and it’s easy to fall back into the habits you have always known. Easy to walk the paths you have already trodden. It is true that Nirvana will never be reached. The perfect state of equilibrium between heart, body, and mind never achieved. But for the sake of a little girl who brought more joy, hope, and love into my life than I will ever deserve: I will never ever give up.