On Thursday morning I woke up at 3.30am, was picked up at 4.45am and brought to the airport in time to catch a 6.30am flight. When I arrived at the airport, it was buzzing, just like it usually is at this time of morning. 

Incredible, I think to myself, how we all succumb to this insane way of working – routinely waking up in the dead of night, cutting short the vital renewal that each nights sleep brings, in order to touch down in another city at the top of the hour, to begin a new work day!

But everyone does it. And when everyone is doing it, then the behaviour becomes acceptable, the status quo is established. Like sheep we all follow and ignore the discomfort that we routinely feel.

Travelling throws me off balance in many ways  – it affects my sleep, what I eat, when and how much I eat, opportunity to move my body regularly, keep my circulation happy, blah blah. When I discuss with colleagues my travel discomforts, I’m met with glazed eyes. If they feel any “offness,” discomforts of their own, a painkiller here or there is the answer.  

But I make too much of this story of travel. The thing that really puzzles me is how out of touch so many of us are with our own needs. And if we get a whiff of them, how crippled we feel about finding a way to tell all concerned – bosses, lovers, friends, family – about what we want, and also what we cannot deliver in the relationship.

In bewilderment, we either occasionally throw our toys out of the cot like angry children, or numb ourselves with too much food, or too much sleep, or drugs. But mostly, mostly we swallow our discomforts and unmet needs in a forest of silence.

Without caring for ourselves, and negotiating the delicate balance of relationships, we all too easily slip into shadows of our vibrant selves. Do you stay sharp to your own needs?