If you have worked with me for any amount of time, you likely have heard me refer to the "wellness journey." I want you to walk away from this blog post with more clarity about this phrase and a feeling of commitment to your personal wellness journey.
To be on a wellness journey is to have daily encounters with choices that will impact your overall well-being. Everyone is on this journey, but only some choose to be conscious, intentional, and self-aware of their choices. Some days will be filled with positive choices for your well-being and yet on other days those choices feel so out of reach. When you embrace the ebbs and flows of this process, you are stepping into your unique wellness journey instead of a prefabricated definition of what wellness looks like.
My favorite metaphor for this journey is the labyrinth.
While many of us wish there was a quick fix or a strait and narrow path towards well-being, the truth is being human is complex and the sooner we embrace our complex nature, the sooner we can enjoy it.
A labyrinth is like a maze full of intricate pathways. Unlike a maze, the labyrinth does not have dead ends or deceitful paths. You enter from the outside and step by step you will make your way to the center. Navigating the journey through the labyrinth requires your patience and commitment. You may feel disoriented or like you are moving farther away from your goals with each step, but, if you stay committed, the labyrinth will always bring you one step closer to the center.
Begin to consider your wellness journey as a labyrinth.
It is intricate and mysterious and uniquely yours to walk.
It is on this journey you will come to learn what works for you.
You will come to understand why you developed behaviors and habits during one part of your journey, only for them to have no place in the next leg of the journey.
Some examples of behaviors and habits that may have once served you but may no longer serve you in your journey to the center of the labyrinth include perfectionism, restricting or bingeing foods, high-intensity jobs and relationships, yo-yo dieting, information overloading, criticism and judgement, over-analyzing, abusing substances, numbing or distraction from emotional experience, pessimism, or dissociating.
We adopt these behaviors in an effort to help ourselves feel well given the resources available at the time but eventually, we find that we can gain new resources that will lead us closer to the center of the labyrinth.
At a certain point, you must listen and trust your own inner guidance.
It may be scary and confusing letting go of the rules or behaviors that have helped you navigate the paths in the beginning, but in order to open up the pathways to the center, you must commit to deep honoring and listening.
The poem below by Mary Oliver illuminates this turning point. It takes self-awareness and self-discipline to decide if you are at the point of your wellness journey to dive deep and discover your innate wisdom.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you want support on this wellness journey. Recognizing behaviors that are holding your back can be confusing and scary. My experience has shaped me to be a nurturing guide for others. Together we will discover what may be holding you back and what resources you need to be empowered to move closer to the center of your labyrinth.