• amyobrien

Grasping for Wellness

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

How do you feel about the word Wellness?


How does Wellness make you feel?

The word 'wellness' for me brings an instant recoil.

It has done so for many years.

It feels a little suffocating.

And as a practitioner I find a sense of sadness and frustration too. An opportunity lost.

A red herring in this beautiful story called life.

And I realise now, after all this time, it's the '-ness' of the word Wellness that feels so deeply troubling to me.

With the -ness, Wellness owns a sense of grasping.

A reaching for something that isn’t yet yours.

A longing for something outside of yourself. Something to seek.

A battle never won.

A destination never quite arrived at.

A place where you must always look outside yourself for guidance.

I am not the person that knows their auxiliary verbs from their verbs, not by a long shot, but

What I do know is the way that words make us feel. And the word Wellness almost never feels good.

To Be Well, on the other hand, is To Claim It for yourself. To Own It with your own skin and bones.

To Be Well has an air of grounding firm.

Claiming what is already yours.

To Be Well is to be strong and capable.

It honours the knowledge and healing available to us

inside our own skin.

Without needing to defer to others at every turn.

Where we can embrace care from the outside

Without giving our power away.

In so many ways, To Be Well is to know that where we are is okay.

That, in fact, we are already there.

I started thinking about other -ness words

To be slow - Owns the feeling.

Slowness - A sense of yearning. Of not being enough. Not fast enough. Not slow enough. Not enough.

To be tired - Owns the feeling.

Tiredness - A sense of yearning. Of not enough-ness. Of should-be-better-than-this.

To be happy - Feels expansive, free, sitting strong in the feeling.

Happiness - a sense of something to have to work towards, to control, manage, to catch up to, something to seek to attain. And hey, something that you might even have to fake because you're not already there.

The suffix -ness gives a quality. And in the arena of Wellness, that quality is nearly always grasping.

It feels as if it's the -ness that we are being sold

Wellness. Happiness.

Because when those things don't feel like they are already ours,

or we don't feel capable of 'getting there' to that 'other place' where happiness and wellness are,

we might be tempted to find that path though others.

So we slowly, but definitely, begin to lean outside of our centre.

Outside ourselves.

Handing our power over.

And We Begin To Grasp.

If you can feel it too - feel that Wellness can own that sense of grasping for something outside of ourselves, then imagine the damage we could do by adding 'World' to it.

The Wellness World

An entire seperate world constructed around and dedicated to the act of grasping for things in our health we do not yet have.

You might start to see why I am so deeply troubled by how this is unfolding for women that I see in the clinic every day.

What I see is that with the tidal wave that has been The Wellness World, women are no more well.

They are simply more aware of how they could be better. They are more aware of the things they're not doing that they should be. They are more informed on the paths outside themselves that will (supposedly) get them there.

We are overwhelmed. Of course we are overwhelmed.

We have this whole World of infinite resources, gurus and conflicting information pressing in on us. Pressing in on our insecurities and our sense of what is is to be a human.

We are bathing in our own inadequacies. And swimming in shame any time things aren't perfect.

It's less noticeable when we are in good health. It's a niggle in the background. Too small to pin down. But give me a woman who is struggling with her fertility, her mental health, her digestion, or having a tough time, and it's clear to see how this World is impacting her.

Why Is it so bad to be human?

To falter.

To live in a state of ebb and flow in our health.

To not always be in control or standing in perfection with our health.

There sure is a lot for us to dig into around this topic.

And I'll be right here unpacking and deep diving in the coming weeks.


And hey, it's okay if this all feels a bit heavy.

Don't let this dishearten you or discourage you.

Let it lighten you and liberate you. Because what this is, is reclaiming the power that we've been sending outwards - and calling it back into our own two capable hands.

This is steadying ourselves. Trusting our selves.

This is time to Cosy into the knowing that we are beautifully enough.

This is just the beginning of a layered and rich discussion that will be taking place here about the future of being well. I have so many great thoughts, my heart could burst.

Sometimes we unearth the potential of what something could be by first exploring what it should not. And it does require shining a light on the tricky things.

We find what works thought what is not working. And that's okay.

And so, we find ourselves here, in this moment in time

And I am keen to stand beside you all as we talk to how we might rebuild this space so it's truly inclusive, deeply supportive, actually beneficial and pure joy for us all to be inside.

Big love.


How can you use this information to positively impact your day today?

If you can identify with this sense of grasping and leaning out, in what small way can you reclaim the power from inside yourself?

Some ideas: stop eating when your body tells you it's full. Acknowledge when your body is tired and allow it to rest, even just for a short while. Open up those lines of communication. Tiny repeatable things really are the biggest things.

Keen for a big project? Go through your social media platforms and clear out any accounts that create that sense of grasping. It's tough and easy all at the same time.

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