Wellness is only achievable on the individual level if is simultaneously multilateral, equitable and on the planetary scale. Yet it is simple.
Back in December 2019 a magazine* asked me to write a brief article upon the subject of wellbeing. The simple approach I share here might be useful in these times of confusion and chaos. And it is clear through many things, including the recent manifestation of Covid- 19, that it was to our peril that we have ignored this simple yet essential way.
First let's unpack what it means to be 'well' with this statement: Wellbeing is only achievable on the individual level if is simultaneously multilateral, equitable and on the planetary scale.
Wellness must be the blanket value of a system, a blanket that is fit for all and keeps everyone tucked in.
The pursuit of individual good health suffers the fatal flaw of omitting the fact that wellness cannot be achieved in isolation. The reason for this is so simple that it is almost ridiculous: We are utterly and irrevocably connected to the whole - the whole of this planet.
Every aspect of the planet that suffers ill health affects us and we can only thrive when the planet does too. Don’t let the word ‘planet’ distance us from it, I’m not just talking about the far off concept of a blue dot in space, I’m talking about right up close; the ground under our feet, the air around us that we breath in, the water that we drink and the food that we eat.
Understanding that we are neurologically, physically and socially designed to thrive when we are connected and that we fail dismally to even survive when we are disconnected and separated helps us to summarise that wellbeing relies upon connections.
I’ve been reading about how near-death experiences or psychedelics are helping to facilitate a deep sensed change of heart. How even one-off users emerge with a sense of connection, or at least an override of the disconnect. Maybe my life experiences contributed to, or I was born with the sense that we are in fact nature itself and we are one with all and everything. How ever this comprehension manifested in me, I am sure that it is the core to enduring wellness and satisfaction in my life. I’m glad to read that the sense can be awakened, but I wonder how can that awakening be reached without scary experiences* or taking drugs?
Certainly, when it comes to wellness it is essential to heal the three severed links:
The Three Connections
1. Between our own mind and heart.
2. Between ourselves and other people.
3. Between us and nature.
These three steps of connection are to be found here too in the words of Satish Kumar from his book ‘Soil Soul Society, A New Trinity for our Time’: "In India we always pronounce the word peace three times: shanti shanti shanti - peace, peace, peace. Why three times? Because peace has at least three dimensions: inner peace, social peace and ecological peace - making peace with yourself, making peace with the world and making peace with nature"
Fortunately deep, meaningful connection and mind transforming experiences can be found in the miracle of everyday. We can start to invoke this connect by making a concerted effort to take a few simple steps.
1. Hang out with ourselves. Use tools such as Connected |Conversation and Curated Questions to delve into our hearts and minds and link up with one or a few others in doing this. Host or attend Circle gathering and have meaningful conversations, learn to listen to our own hearts, our own minds and to others.
2. Step outside of our indoor lives, by connecting with nature we often find ourselves. Listen to the planet.
3. Free ourselves from the closed loop of consumer self-gratification that is inevitably so dissatisfying. Only buy what we need.
Connection is the ridiculously simple revelation and revolution in the concept of wellbeing.
So, when it comes to personal wellness, don’t take a massage, let's try massaging the planet instead. Let's try a deep cleanse and tonic, not just upon our faces but on the face of the earth. We can do this by taking the time we’d spend at the gym outside on an outdoor walk, we can take a bag and collect litter, or bird watch and sit quietly and listen to the rustle of the leaves in the trees. We can stand under the rain and let it run down our faces and drop off our chins.
Instead of meditating alone inside we can talk with some trees and listen to birdsong. We can clench our glutes as we sit and talk with the tree, nature won’t mind. We can do some face yoga as we take deep breaths and stretch our necks up to listen and see. Bend and stretch down to stroke the moss, let our fingers and feet (try bare foot) sense the textures of this planet that is so much a part of us and in doing so appreciate our perfect bodies too.
While we are there we can take a moment to go through this three-part ritual that helps also with our three steps of connection to self, other and planet, (the three of which are one and a part of the same whole).
1. Express your gratitude.
2. Sense deeper and connect into your surroundings or the other.
3. Wish for your own, others and planetary health and pledge to work with your community together towards it, for you really do depend upon each other. It is a beautiful relationship.
Rather than trip up on the traps of modern day living I’d rather get trippy on the fabulousness and the wonder of what our planet presents us, just as soon as we take a closer look. Feel free to connect so we can share the journey together.
* I'm writing another piece about feminine embodied wisdom and how ongoing versions of the life-changing, near-death experiences are lived in women with each month of our cycle of creation and mini death (with the shedding of the unfertilised egg). If you'd like to catch this post when it's published you can subscribe here or follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
* A version of this article was first published in Bloomer Magazine