What the BLEEP is Wellness?
This summer, as I was putting together my plans for opening my counseling practice, I was put in the weird/awkward/confusing/annoying place of needing to decide on a name for my business. Many therapists simply use their names as their business, but that didn’t feel right for me. Others use growth-oriented, metaphorical names. Deciding that my name allowed me to be in both arenas, I struck a balance between the two and went with Rockwell Wellness Counseling, LLC, allowing me to use my lucky birth name AND the focus of my services all in one!
But with all of the stuff OUT THERE about wellness, especially at this time of year when we’re deep in “nailing” our New Year’s resolutions, I felt like it was important to share with you my reflections about wellness and why, like the fine wine I am giving up for a while (more on that next week), it pairs well with the word, “counseling.” So, how does this counselor define wellness? Here it goes in a few little points!
Wellness, like counseling, is a largely internal process. If you’re buying something that’s guaranteeing to bring you wellness, you are looking in the wrong direction. Like Carl Jung said, “The way comes from within.” If you spend all of your time looking outside for wellness, you’re on a detour, my friend, and it will very likely be an expensive one, both in money, but also in time and energy lost. It’s time for a U-turn.
Wellness, like counseling, is a state of action. Similar to my previous point, the expectation that wellness will come to us in a passive, “bestowed upon us” sort of way will only lead to feelings of disappointment and often, resentment. Now, there is always a time in our quest for wellness in which the power is in the waiting, the pause, and the deep and slow inversion into ourselves that to others may not look like action. And that is fine. Part of wellness is knowing when to brake as well as when to accelerate, but it is always an action-oriented mindset. Similarly, one of the first things that I tell clients about the counseling process is that they need to be ready to WORK. This can come in the form of actually allowing oneself to feel feelings, to be honest about regrets, and to even challenge me (the therapist) when I’ve said something or asked something that doesn’t quite jive with them. Contrary to what my children say to me, this active process is NOT “just people sitting in a room talking.” Far from it! Your wellness, in mind, body, spirit and heart, deserves your loving kindness and attention, and you’ve got to be an active participant in it.
Wellness is highly individualized. What it takes for me to feel well and be well is likely totally different from what you need to have the same feeling and enter into the same state. I have LONG preferred cooking over baking because I love to improvise, hate using precise measurements, and get excited to see how I can turn whatever is in front of me into something cool in that moment, though likely unable to be replicated. The same goes for your path to wellness – your recipe is completely your own, and what works this year might not be what works next. What works today may not work tomorrow. Since it’s a state of action of you doing what you need to address areas in your life that just aren’t quite “doing it” for you, and humans are constantly changing creatures, wellness is probably better thought of as an ever-evolving process rather than some muscled, thin, friendly, grounded, patient, one-with-God outcome. Pave your yellow brick road with whatever the hell you want, just keep walking along and adjusting as needed.
The rest of this month will focus on various approaches to wellness, some that are mentioned here, some that others are going to be far more familiar with than I am. And as an added bonus, several other wellness practitioners and I are putting together a Winter Wellness Series over lunch hours in February where we will discuss our different points of view on being well and being in connection with one another. I hope you’ll join in!