I get asked all the time if I think I am “healed” from Wellness. Underneath this question hides a deeper, more difficult query: is there such a thing as “post-Wellness,” “post-illness,” or in truth a “post-any-major-life-challenge,” and if so, what that may be?
At one level, this seems like a question with a simple, yes or no answer, especially in a world where we tend to view things as black or white, good or bad. I’m through with my symptoms, that relationship, being broke, overweight, out of shape…so yes, clearly there is a “post-fill in the blank.” But the more I sit with this question, the more I realize that there really isn’t a simple answer for me.
As with so many other “simple” questions, I find myself in that mysterious gray area between black and white. For example, I’m not sure we will ever be 100% “healed of our Wellness:” for one thing, it’s likely that our labs will always show residual infection, and I know that stress and other negative health factors can increase the risk of relapse, which means that we will always be conscious and vigilant of our health, our habits, and other life influences. I still deal with insomnia, and my vision hasn’t returned to what it was before Wellness (though I do have blur-free days!). Problems do pop up, like some issues that arose for my daughter recently, but that said, I feel confident that I can answer “yes” – for the most part we are past the illness stage of our Chronic Wellness and are now living as a post-Wellness family.
And this brings up that deeper question: what is Post-Wellness (or post any illness or personal challenge for that matter)? For me, it means that my family has been on a long and difficult journey, and we now find ourselves in a new space, not the “healthy” space of pre-illness, nor the “healthy” space of someone untouched by illness, but a space that is informed by the lessons we learned from our disease. We know ourselves better now, we are more conscious of how we live our lives, and this gives us more power and motivation to choose how we will live each day. It’s truly as if the disempowering experience of our illness led us to a place of more empowerment, more self-awareness, and more presence and gratitude for each moment.
The second question I am often hearing now is “what did you do to heal.” The truth is it wasn’t any one thing. We depended on a whole panoply of different treatments, both conventional and alternative, and crucially, we became hyper-conscious of our daily life choices, because a small oversight in sleep, diet, supplementation, or activity could have dramatic effects on our health. So we developed a strong practice of self-tracking to see not only what we needed to guard against, but also what was really working for each of us. I feel that this self-awareness practice provided the healing context and was pivotal in tipping the scales of our health from illness to wellness.
Similarly, I am convinced that in any context, whether health, financial, relationship, physical performance, spiritual, or otherwise, self-awareness in the form of self-tracking is an essential piece of the transformational journey.
Post-Wellness I am still using my tracker to follow my daily ups and downs. I am seeing how my continuing focus on clean food, detox, my core routines, and other wellness practices keep me moving further into a wellness space.
Chronic illnesses and other significant life challenges rarely have easy solutions. But if we can shift how we think of them, if we can intentionally choose to focus on increasing our wellness (rather than mitigating our discomfort) – then we can reach a post-challenge place, more well, more aware, more empowered than we were before. It is possible!
With love and seeing us all “whole” – xo Lindsay