A Community Approach to Wellness
By Jane Miners
We all go through challenges in our lives at different times. Whether it is health or relationship issues, job changes, housing transitions, death, birth, emotional trauma, addiction, or natural disasters, one thing is clear: We will all experience adversity in our lives one way or another.
When it comes to facing hard times, many of us have been taught to ignore or suppress uncomfortable emotions, which can be viewed as a measure of strength. We have been conditioned in our highly individualistic society to keep most “negative” things to ourselves, to “be tough,” “smile” and “be happy,” so the outward version of ourselves does not always represent what we may be going through in life. This façade of keeping a positive outward appearance can lead to feelings of separation, sadness, and frustration. To a certain degree, we have to make our own choices in how we navigate our lives, and yet there are times when we ALL need help in life. We ALL need support in times of struggle, and we ALL need help when it comes to healing.
In some indigenous traditions, there are four aspects to healing: Inner-self (values, sense of peace, thought processes); community (family, country, clan); spiritual (connection to Earth and creator, etc.); and environment (balance in daily life, habits, food and nature, etc…). Even though this view of wellness is not new, it has been largely forgotten. This is the philosophy that Wellness for Being is actualizing in our community.
Embracing the holistic, or “whole-system” approach to health can help us greatly when we face challenges because how we respond to them influences the course of our lives. With this in mind, it can be very beneficial for us to reach out for help when we need it. As a person who has faced many difficulties in life, I have come to learn that more often than not, I need help! In my early 20s, it was hard for me to admit that I needed help, but when I began to recognize that I was dealing with depression and anxiety, and was on the road to alcoholism, I knew I couldn’t do it alone.
Gradually, I began to ask for help, and though the help I asked for may not have looked “normal” to some, for me it was perfect. For me, help was making appointments for massage, Reiki treatments, and starting counseling. It was asking for advice from friends, trying acupuncture and beginning to openly share my feelings and experiences with people I trusted. Help was finding the right yoga teachers and finding new ways to cope with stress. Once I admitted I needed help, and realized that help comes in many different forms and from different people, it opened up a new way to healing for me, and this holistic approach to health influenced me to create a wellness collective in my own community—Wellness for Being.
Wellness for Being is an online listing of holistic services and classes at different locations, offering many different ways to help individuals (and the community) to find healing. Inspired by my personal healing experiences, Wellness for Being is a part of the “new” paradigm—or model—of health that many are beginning to embrace. The members in this wellness collective view health as the state of being in all aspects of the self, mind, body, and spirit. This includes emotions, relationships, home and everyday life dynamics, and consciousness of our planet, in the short-term and long-term.
Wellness for Being offers a mindset of health from a holistic, or whole-system approach, and looks at individual healing from the viewpoint that we don’t have to heal ourselves alone, each person’s healing path will look different from another’s, and the wellness journey may not always stay the same.
In our modern culture, “help” can come in a lot of different ways. Getting help can be attending an addiction program, receiving body-work (massage, acupuncture, and the like), energy healing, talking to a health-coach, applying for financial assistance, or asking for advice. Help can come in many forms, but we are not meant to heal alone. We are NOT meant to figure out life in a solitary fashion, journaling our quiet lives away, and keeping our feelings to ourselves. The more I experience challenges in life, the stronger I feel that vulnerability is the key to healing. When we admit that we need help and are lost, afraid, sad, confused, angry, we have unlocked the door within ourselves to connection, healing and growth.
Part of the challenge in healing is taking a first step; making a phone call for an appointment or reaching out to someone for advice. When we allow ourselves to get out of our comfort zone, we open ourselves to the possibilities of healing, new insight, understanding or ideas to make positive change in our lives. Wellness for Being is here to offer you a way to reach out. When we feel we aren’t alone, we begin to imagine that there might actually be solutions, there might actually be a way to change our circumstances, become a better person, and find ways to heal and grow.