For the past several weeks the basic tenets of wellness have been covered. According to John W. Travis, MD from his Wellness Workbook . . .
- Wellness is a choice
- Wellness is a way of life
- Wellness is a process
- Wellness is a balanced channeling of energy
- Wellness is the integration of the body, mind, and spirit
- Wellness is the loving acceptance of yourself
- Wellness is Relationships!
Travis also coined this apt phrase, “CONNECTEDNESS IS THE CURRENCY OF WELLNESS.” When I think about my own wellness journey, going it alone when facing the “I” in Illness definitely wasn’t the route to take. I too needed to accept and seek out the “We” in Wellness for myself. Yet, at the time, I didn’t know it would take me on a 30 plus year journey to embrace that wellness was a choice I take. Wellness became a way of life for me. Wellness was definitely a process with no end point and health and happiness was possible in each moment in the here and now.
The journey taught me that wellness needs to be a balance of energy around me, inside me, and given to others. I wasn’t as afraid anymore but began to appreciate everything in what I do, think, feel, and believe. One of the biggest hurtles was seeing wellness as the loving acceptance of myself just as I am. Only then was I able to reach out to others with the genuine me. With every “We” step I found those relationships helping me gain wellness and wholeness along the way I wouldn’t have experienced any other way.
This is my wellness declaration I made 30 plus years ago, at the beginning of my journey: “To proactively seek, reach, and achieve wholeness and wellbeing in every area of my life. To celebrate life and have those experiences in my life become “a door of hope” for others, professionally and personally. To be my husband’s life partner...enjoying together the opportunities and challenges life brings our way. To delight in seeing my lovely daughters experience life at its fullest...to offer friendship each day, counsel when asked, and my unconditional love throughout their lives. To leave a legacy of hope, faith, and love.”
Today, I am at the young-at-heart age of 71! And still counting! I won’t even try to cover those 30 plus years in one swallow but will offer a glimpse here. Some additional morsels will be served during the next month’s lifeskill, Meals, since so much of my wellness journey centered around mealtime as medicine through the years. My hope is each “food for thought” bite will give you hope, personal insight, and commitment to start your own wellness journey. Yours may not be the same as mine. Yet, possibly some of it will spark a path uniquely tailored for you. So, here we go . . . In the beginning . . .
Nope, this won’t be a “biblical” chronicle! However, for every story told there is always a beginning if we are willing to dig a little deeper and further back in time to connect the dots. For me, it was a childhood filled with the good, the bad, the ugly. In the middle of the Hollywood California scene, my Dad and Mom worked hard to make a life for the three of us siblings, me being the middle child. My Dad had his own childhood story of neglect, abuse, and more. And him working at Paramount Studios, with all its glamour and grisly, only made the growing up even more complicated.
How do you sort out the good from the bad?. Yes, there were many good memories but also some very bad ones. Childhood sexual abuse by the one you call Daddy does complicate life and can forever change who you are and what you become. Then add being a fairly sickly child with iron & pernicious anemia and asthma, resulting in a dangerously infective tonsillectomy at four years old. I thought, “every kid goes through these childhood ailments. No big deal.” Yet, I found myself hiding who I was for many years in a Pollyanna world that was just fine with me for awhile.
Yet, growing up and older comes to us all along the way. From being severely anemic and asthmatic I so easily caught colds and other germs around me, I simply thought that was the norm. I entered my teens as a shy one and moved into young adulthood with my Pollyanna perspective still completely intact with no memories of much of my childhood. Except for a few happy glimpses I chose to remember, I blissfully continued on.
From my twenties into my thirties I married, earned a degree in art and business, and continued to have a variety of ailments pop up. As I pressed on determined to ignore the signs both physically and emotionally, I was having too much fun pursuing a career in the arts while using my business skills at the same time. I also birthed two beautiful daughters in spite of the toll it took on my body. I just kept pressing on like the good Pollyanna girl I was! See you next week for part two of my story, as the journey continues . . .