The health and wellness industry is one of the largest growing business in America. The Health care debate is in the throes of political policy and rhetoric. Yet here we are, Americans, trying to take care of ourselves, trying to live, survive, and just feel good with so much of our health being decided in government.
Everyone complains about what they want or what they don’t have. It is a basic human need to survive. We are born into this world to procreate and sustain the species. But after, it is all about survival. Everything we do is about getting through another day and living to see the next.
However, somewhere along the line of human existence we have lost sight of our humanness. We’ve compartmentalized our life. Fun is here. Work is there. Exercise is here. Family is there. Vices go in a closet. Food is over there. And we all have our strange relationship with food. Each part of our life is in a box and we live it like we are visiting different states, or dare I say, planets. It's almost to the point where we become different people in each place.
We ignore and don’t communicate with all that makes us whole. We ignore signs in one area that will eventually lead to a serious break down in another area. When there is stress it affects all aspects of our lives, our relationships with people and within our selves. An infection cannot be contained.
How do we change this?
I think it’s easy for me to say all this as my entire career is based on staying healthy, both body and mind. I teach people to move freely in their bodies and hopefully have fun doing it at the same time so that their two little boxes of fun and exercise can come together. I talk about life and learning about ourselves to hopefully get clients to see that they can’t turn off the physical part of their bodies when they are at work or home. Just because they have left the studio doesn’t mean they can’t still be present in their bodies for the rest of the day. I ask about how people feel when they come in, so they know to not ignore their emotions when they are choosing to move or exercise. I do this because I hope -really hope- people will start to get the connections and start to choose to bring all of those boxes of life together. They are all an essential part of our survival.
I have friends that teach Yoga. I have friends that are life coaches or therapists and you know what? We all struggle. The yogis aren’t perfect and the therapists need their own therapy. We are not perfect nor do we have it all figured out. We just keep at it.
I recently read an article from Michael Stone who was a teacher, writer, and facilitator of this very subject, who recently passed. In an essay about grief, he talks about his own struggles with an end to a partnership. He also had bi polar disorder and worked on relief through meditation and practical uses of Buddhist teachings. His approach to health was very tangible and accessible, but he was willing to be open about his own struggles realizing that yoga and meditation were key but that his body also at times needed medication for support.
You can’t put it away in a box. Everything affects everything. Our approach to wellness should be a full approach where we incorporate all aspects of our lives. It almost sounds cliche to say “balance,” but what other word is there? Sometimes when we are sick or have a chronic condition, we just treat it in one way and one way only. We don’t see how something as simple as joy, or movement, music or connecting to another human being can help heal.
It really is that simple. Let it out and let the little boxes open up and bleed together so that not one thing is completely by itself. In this balance we can also reach out to others because surviving as one is a lonely world. We all need each other to see it to the next day, to make our lives full. It’s a community of health and wellness that lifts us all up
It’s an approach to wellness that I hope this country will take.