HEALTH is what we are given.
WELLNESS is what we do with it.
Health conditions and tendencies are inherited from parents. In an ideal world, development from fertilized cell, to embryo, to fetus, through birth and ongoing growth results in a sound, well-functioning, comfortable system that naturally and easily sustains a thriving individual.
In the real world, health is rarely so straightforward. Life usually brings a blend of good and bad genetic fortune that is increased or decreased by how genes respond to environment. Genetic blessings or unfavorable genetic predispositions can be increased or diminished by internal and external exposure. Additionally, accidents that may occur before, during or after birth affect lifelong health. In any given life, there is little likelihood of avoiding at least some degree of pain or dysfunction.
Health is therefore relative–a range of physical and intellectual abilities and disabilities that are given and need mitigation, or maintenance. Health can sometimes be increased through a wellness lifestyle that takes what nature provides and nurtures it. Appreciating the variety of resources given and sustaining them in a balanced state is essential. That becomes the platform for designing greater health.
Wellness is something that happens only if it becomes conscious at some point in life—and for some that is earlier, for others later, and for some not at all. With consciousness comes the awareness that wellness is not just physical but also multidimensional. Wellness requires sufficient maturity for self-awareness and freedom. It is an active, lifelong process of learning ways to improve what is working and ways to either accept or to compensate for that which cannot be improved. Even when pain, discomfort or dysfunction cannot be avoided or changed, the perception and interpretation of such can be modifiable.
Wellness is a process in which change is always possible, whether it is moving inward towards personal physical, emotional, attitudinal, mental, intellectual, spiritual, and creative growth, or outward oriented toward environment, vocation, connection, community, compassion and service. To exercise options it is necessary to manage time well to find and use the appropriate guidance, methods and tools.
Wellness is a conscious choice, understanding that change includes both acquiring external knowledge and direct self-knowledge. In the learning process, it is important to remain aware of what can be known and what cannot. Acknowledging and accepting limitations, having both strength and vulnerability, are important aspects of wellness.
The state of “radical acceptance” is Grace. It is from this state of surrender to what IS, that it is possible to move forward in a meaningful and powerful way with choices that are realistic and authentic.
Authentic choice means that even when scope is limited there are a variety of options that can serve the highest and best good.