Wellness is Incidental

In all my years as a growth-oriented individual, I missed one universal truth – wellness is incidental. 

Our current cultural hegemony promotes the concepts of self-help and self-care as absolute requirements, but the mindset around them is always pass/fail. I have not met a single client to date who believes that they are doing enough – enough driving past comfort levels, enough self-shaming, enough doing the things they really don’t want to do and don’t feel well doing as if those are the things that make THE difference. Most of us are responding to a top-down, whip cracking social construct around health and wellness that insists that if we are not well, it is our fault because we are not enough. We have all agreed to be collectively gaslit, consciously or otherwise, and we’ve done a fine job of picking up the baton and self gaslighting. If we aren’t well, it’s because we are not doing enough, not working hard enough, not thinking hard enough, not eating properly, not exercising the right way. How can we ever be well with this mindset?

All this accepting that we’re failures without questioning context is making us very, very sick. Maybe there’s another way?

You may know that I’ve been in the process of writing a book since the beginning of June. This book, whose working title is The Art of Living Body First, is an overview of my own process of coming into full, vibrant wellness. My premise is that we must relearn to relate to the signals from our bodies minus the overlay of imposed or accumulated stories in order to establish new, accurate stories of what they mean. The process that I outline in the book is based on an understanding that there’s an order to things that we’ve overridden thanks to our collective hyperfocus on the intellect and the mind. My method, which is designed to teach a lifelong way of calibrating without having to keep thinking about it, is the quickest and most instinctive way to wellness. It requires, primarily, that we agree to the opposite of what we’ve been told – that we need to do so, so much less than what we are currently doing. After all, due to the meaning-making nature of our minds, we are our stories, and if we can’t adopt a story in which we don’t have to work so hard, we’re kind of screwed, stuck in hamster wheels, engineering our own demise. So being precise and intentional with our stories, specifically the stories of our body signals, becomes a non-negotiable if we want to live sustainably well over time. The body, with its innately wise design, is only waiting for us to accept its invitation to commune. It holds the key to our wellness, and it knows what to do. And I’ll show you how to allow it to guide you.

In the meantime, though, in terms of my own wellness trajectory, the process of writing has been as cathartic as I knew it would be. Through the work of wrestling with my own ideas and attempting to organize my abstract intense way of thinking into a minimum of linearity, I have come into deep and abiding wellness of a sort I only suspected was available to me the whole time I was busy becoming a person and figuring out who I was. Now I know – who and what I am is well and wholly alive. 

The writing process is not the only reason that I find myself here, vibrantly and beautifully alive most hours of most days. I’m also working with an exploding coaching practice and my ideal clients are coming to me organically. The synergy held in the space between my clients and me allows me ample opportunity to exist outside of my own stories for long periods, immersing myself in the work of a lifetime: supporting others to re-examine, in real time and practically outside our sessions, to redefine their stories on their own terms. I’m changed to some extent with each client session, as I use the space between us to sit back and bring myself into presence as much as I ever have, in service to another’s wellness. I get to be with what is true for me, in the essence of value neutrality, through my client work. What a gift, to reexamine the process of identifying with our stories through intimacy and connection.

On top of the writing and the coaching, my partner Doran and I are moving into greater and greater intimacy with each passing moment. His commitment to encountering his own wellness is as great as my own, and this is a relationship dream come true for both of us. To be partnering with another with the focus on the health of the relationship space rather the individuals in it is the key to the kind of intimacy we are all craving, and we hope to be able to have opportunity to speak to what we now know, what we’ve discovered that was always there – the power of the third. It is the most erotic space I have ever had the privilege of existing in, and it’s undeniably ours. We will not allow the immaterial to interfere anymore. It’s our dharma, this relationship.

All this to say, again, I am vibrantly WELL, alive, throbbing with the erotic and the essence of all of that is, and no longer afraid of stories that were keeping me from proclaiming to the world without needing to receive validation back, that I am living ecstatically and intend to continue to do so without apology. The only purpose of this share today is that we don’t see enough examples of people who are well, and enough examples of how they got there. It seems that once we are well the need to proclaim lessens, because part of being well is having enough experiences of being seen and heard and loved unconditionally, which is where I’m at. So I’m sharing.

And I also want to share an update!

My biggest existential coup is that my sucking, cloying attraction to social media has vanished. I have written in the past about leaving Facebook. This may be another one of those posts – only time will tell. But I know something is different, so I am writing from where I find myself. Something has fundamentally shifted and this I can’t deny. This is key, this shift. This is more incidental wellness. 

A couple of months back I picked up Stolen Focus by Johan Hari. Something about this book unsettled me. I intuited that I could not pick it up until I was ready to face some very shadowy parts of myself. This book would present one of those situations in which things could not be unseen. I was on the money with my assessment and I will admit to still not having finished it, simply because I cannot stomach the awareness that in embracing technology the way we have we have also engineered the demise of the species. 

It did not disappoint. I was rocked to my core. And I was also freed by the knowledge that I could finally hold myself harmless. My addiction to the internet was not a failure of willpower on my part. While I had inadvertently participated in the practice of being conditioned by tech giants, what happened to me, what has happened to so many of us, was largely inevitable. As events conspired to break the bonds of our humanity, social media became so prevalent a pseudo satisfier that many of us could not see the difference between true intimacy and the simulacrum presented by ever smarter technology.

My work is about intimacy. It’s about connection. It’s about sensing into the space between two bodies and living there, even when we are blinded by any beauty or by any pain. It’s a reclamation of Eros, as per Marc Gafni, whose work has put words to experiences I could not articulate. It’s about openness vs. vulnerability, and dignifying all our needs and all our shame. But even though this is what I’ve been angling towards all these years, I was still caught in the simulacrum because it was always immediately available and I didn’t have to work for it. It was low hanging fruit. I felt that something would have to shift, but I could not will or force it to do so. It had to happen incidentally. The simulacrum had to be displaced by the real thing.

All of a sudden, it seems that I’ve effected this shift. It crept up on me. Rather than going at it head on, one morning I woke up and simply noticed the absence of the craving. To support my shift, I asked Doran to lock me out of the Facebook app on my phone so that even if I was tempted to re-install it, I couldn’t. But I wasn’t tempted. And then I deleted the Instagram app, and again, I haven’t been tempted. That addiction craving is just gone.

Again, I won’t say with certainty that I won’t be back on the socials tomorrow. I’ve experienced some version of this before but it hasn’t lasted. Somehow, that itch to scroll, the jonesing for the next hit of entertainment, has always returned. But this time, something does feel different. The itch, even when I’m caught in agitation or my nervous system is overwhelmed, is notably absent. Because I have the real thing, and now that I see how deep and immutable it is, nothing else comes close. Anything that feels like intimacy but isn’t is immediately detected by my most valuable precision instrument, my body barometer.

This place where I find myself is ecstatic, reverential, pulsing with aliveness, connected, so deeply aware of the nature of the Cosmos that I play an essential part in – it’s the place I can return to now that I know what it feels like.

I start and intend to continue my week in rapture. And I wish you the same. Reach out if you’d like to discuss.

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