I opened my mouth to argue, to rebut him, to say that cancer doesn't work that way. But then I shut it again and stayed quiet, having realized he'd already proved his point - not by chasing wellness but by being it (his cancer having nothing to do with it).
Out of our conversations, I've recontextualized (I love that word) what it is to be health conscious (which is what I claim to be). Look: chasing wellness and being health conscious aren't interchangeable, and like my friend I eschew chasing wellness. It's just smart (very smart) to be health (and diet and exercise) conscious. I mean, we put the right fluids in our cars' engines - or they don't run well, impacting our ability to get around freely. How stoopid would it be if we denied our bodies the same.
In being wellness, I'm generating and honoring a context in which I hold my health. This is now, and "the way it is" is good medicine. It's a trap (not to mention self-defeating) to conflate chasing wellness with being health conscious (the more I'm chasing wellness, the more I'm actually not being consciously well - no matter what I've got going on with my health). And that's my entire wellness thesis right there: wellness is a generated context for living, a context within which I take care of my health. There's an assurance in being wellness, especially in times of ill-health and dis-ease, when chasing wellness is futile.
I'm getting some exercise, hiking in the blistering 100° dry summer heat of Northern California's Napa Valley where I live. I pause to sit on a bench in the shade for some relief, reflecting on what I've learned from my friend as it bodes for health. What I get is "health" distinguishes something different than "wellness": wellness is a context for living, which is mine to generate, within which health shows up in whatever state it is (and we're prone to add a "wrong / right", "bad / good", "worse / better" assessment to whatever state of health we've got going on at any particular time). While wellness is a context I generate, my state of health is whatever it is.
That said, if I'm chasing wellness by focusing only on improving my health, I've shelved my responsibility (and the opportunity) for being wellness. Health happens in its own time. If it's what's happening, I choose it (whatever its state) even as I maximize my ability to get around freely by putting the right fluids in my car's engine.
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