Wellness comes of balance and is the very base of a fulfilled life. It's not a destination. It's a lifestyle, a choice that we make, or don't make, in each moment.
In the early 1980s -- I was living in a spiritual community in the interior of British Columbia, in a gorgeous area of lakes, forest and meadows called the Cariboo – I suddenly developed a sore back.
I went to a local doctor, who looked at my situation and told me to lie down for three or four days. Complete bed rest, he said, was what was needed to get my back better.
Unfortunately, the reverse is what happened. My back got more and more sore, and within a week I was suffering from severe sciatica in my right leg. It hurt like hell to even touch my foot to the floor.
I retired from life
There followed a couple of months of pure misery as I kind of retired from life. Not a smart move at all. I got discouraged and depressed. I lost weight, and spent a lot of time hobbling painfully around the house until at last, one Spring afternoon, I rebelled at my self-imposed misery, and decided to go for a walk in the meadow at the back of our house.
As I was walking slowly and painfully along a forest path I stopped for some reason and looked at a small tree growing beside the path. “This tree is whole, and well,” I thought to myself, “why can’t I be whole and well too?"
My whole unhappy situation changed in that very moment. I think the tree reminded me to trust again. A friend had lent me a book of back exercises, and as soon as I got home, I began doing these exercises. I fell in love with them, did them earnestly every day and within a week or so was well on the way to recovery. I have not suffered from sciatica since that time.
Wellness is balance
What I have learned over the years is that wellness is closely related to balance. I agree entirely with some findings of Wayne State University in Michigan that I came across on the Internet the other day.
Entitled “Six areas of wellness," the report from the Counseling and Psychological Services of WSU describes how wellness is an overall balance of social, intellectual, spiritual, emotional, physical and occupational wellness.
The report summarises wellness in this way:
1. A direction which by its nature, moves us toward a more proactive, responsible and healthier existence.
2. The integration of the body, mind and spirit.
3. The loving acceptance of ourselves today and exciting free search for who we choose to become tomorrow.
4. Living by choice; a completion of the daily decisions we make that lead us to that person we choose to become.
I'd be delighted to hear any thoughts or experience you may like to share on this theme of wellness. Surely, if there was ever a need for increased wellness in our midst -- individually and collectively -- it is now.
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Picture credit: Atakan Sevgi