Choosing a Wholehearted Life

Photography: Bloom and Blossom Studio

By Geordie Bull

I love the David Whyte quote, “The antidote to exhaustion is not rest, it’s wholeheartedness“. I imagine this to mean waking every day to ask my body and soul, what must I do today to feel good and alive? And then doing it – with a whole heart.

It seems like a luxury to live this way. What mother has the time to listen to the longings of their wild heart? There are too many bills to pay, real work to be done, other people’s needs to take care of.

I have been experimenting with it, nonetheless. Part of my practice has been about quietly refining my life by asking my body what it loves and bypassing my mind. I have made a habit of constantly asking my body, “How does this feel? And how does this feel?” Slowly, patterns in what my heart loves are beginning to expose themselves, leading to minutes, sometimes hours of wholehearted living.

What mother has the time to listen to the longings of their wild heart? There are too many bills to pay, real work to be done, other people’s needs to take care of.

I have discovered that my body loves gardening, even though my mind is convinced I’m terrible at it. Despite my lack of green thumb, I am beginning to see it is my duty to slowly prioritise the garden, to spend more time out there with my hands in the dirt because it makes me feel alive, as it did when I was a child. I love mulching and weeding, crave the smell of rotting leaves. Isn’t it strange that dying leaves smell so fresh?

And then there is the work my imagination loves: writing. This, I must do just as surely as I must be out in the garden. By listening to my body and its signals, I know that the part of writing I love the most is imagining what could be and putting words to it. For me, writing my imaginings has always preceded creating them in real life. Writing is my magic wand, sowing the seeds of dreams that seemed impossible only yesterday.

Today I imagine a life where I wake up with the sun and go out into the garden, harvesting breakfast for my family. Then, revitalised, I go inside with a warm cup of turmeric tea or coffee and begin to type the contents of my soul. I type until I must rest or eat, and then I go back to the garden to again get my hands dirty and wake up my body. Writing this scene somehow makes it more realistic, more possible.

See page 2 for more…

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