Irene, your article sparked some deep contemplation on my part, really challenging me to look at my assumptions about the wellness industry. As a life coach for highly sensitive people, I witness firsthand the impact that chronic pain, anxiety and stress have on my clients.
As a person who has struggled with chronic pain for most of my life, I understand personally this journey. I recently wrote about this topic in my blog and it was one of the highest read pieces I have put out there to date, telling me that so many people are also living with a central nervous system stuck on high alert.
A couple of things that I have observed: I have yet to meet a Holistic practitioner who was strictly in this for the money, but instead many of them, including myself and likely you as well have been called to this work because of our own experiences and a strong desire to be of service, to lend our gifts. Does that mean that any one of us has ‘the entire answer’? I don’t think so.
Just like any field, we only know what we currently know. And as time goes on, we will learn more. What is clear is that more than any other time in our world history, masses of people are seeking a different type of life. That is a blessing because I hold a vision that one day, we will live in a work that honors a more sensitive way of being. Our external environment does have a deep and ongoing impact on our health.
Coming into wholeness is a complex, lifelong process — which includes a myriad of choices and actions. Everything from the stress reduction you speak of, addressing head on root wounds or triggers we have experienced. Changing our relationship to food, moving our body, sleep. Connecting deeply with a spiritual practice, stepping into our authenticity, finding our voice, setting healthy boundaries, sweating in yoga, walking in nature. Sitting in gratitude, choosing healthy relationships, the list goes on.
It’s not simply just one thing that will magically transform my life or anyone’s else’s, which I gather was the point of your article.
What I will respectfully differ with you on, is that all these things, quite simply everything we engage in is a part of our spiritual practice. It truly does not matter if someone is engaging in yoga for ‘spiritual’ purpose or to make their body strong and flexible — both support their spiritual wellbeing. Some days I come to my meditative practice solely for the purpose of connecting with God, other days to ground and connect with my physical body, asking for deepening consciousness of health, peace and vitality. Again, two sides of the same coin.
And for people like myself living daily with chronic pain, by its very nature it is absolutely a spiritual journey. I have come to understand that I am not a victim or a sufferer or weak. Recognizing the strength in myself, the power to choose a lifestyle that supports me, is precisely my description of a spiritual awakening.
It requires me to face head on things that are really challenging to address. But wholesale change is needed for all of us, both inside ourselves as well as how our society views wellness.
So what if as a Holistic community, we could release judgement about each other? We could learn to collaborate — seeking out small groups of trusted practitioners who are committed to quality service, standards for the industry, and together providing our clients with more of a 360 degree perspective of health and wholeness. Being transparent with our clients about the fact there’s no easy fix.
What if we rejected the current business value system that tells us in order to market our own work, we have to make our ‘competition' wrong or less than?
What you are writing about is very important because none of us want to see the pursuit of health as simply a ‘trend’ but instead a fundamental change in how we live our lives. Thank you for speaking up and bringing this topic out into the limelight — may you spark a great deal of respectful and purposeful dialogue leading to action.
Whatever way I can support you in this effort, I am happy to collaborate.
To your highest good,