Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Defining Wellness

Headlamps are useful before dawn.
This morning I woke my nine year old at 5:00 a.m. for a sunrise hike to a pond near our home. We didn't actually get to see the sun rise due to an overabundance of clouds, it was cold and the pond was still frozen, but we enjoyed our first hike of 2013 anyway. It was as much an acknowledgement of my own return to wellness as it was a celebration of the start of mud season in the Adirondacks.

My husband is not a morning person. When I announced our planned hike, he noted that my idea of wellness is someone else's idea of insanity. This had me thinking that it is impossible to define wellness in a broad sense. We each have to define wellness in our own terms, and we only can by knowing our own bodies, minds and spirits.

This is very evident whenever I get together with the Bona Fide Butterflies, who include myself and my two friends and partners Annie Gregson and Beti Spangel. Together we facilitate empowering retreats and workshops for women. We strive to help women design and live authentic, inspired lives based on their individual values.

Individual values - that's the key. Society likes to tell us what to value. Media gets paid to tell us what to value. But it's our individual values, the ones that come from the heart, that make us unique, that keep everyone from being the same and living the same life according to the same plan. It's our individual values that make human existence diverse, colorful and fun. 

The BFBs
Annie and Beti are incredible women living joyful lives of their own design. Neither one of them is likely to start training for a marathon. Neither one wants to teach yoga, although they enjoy their own yoga practices. Annie, a life coach, also makes incredible art. She has lots of time in her life for long walks in the woods with her dog, and she throws fun, seemingly spontaneous parties. Beti has horses and chickens on her homestead, and she makes yummy cheese. She can drive a tractor. She's also an awesome writer.

Our differences are what we have in common. All three of us have taken the time to figure out what's important to us and we've created lives that honor those things. Unique, diverse, authentic lives. Our own definitions of wellness. 

The other thing we have in common is a road in Schroon Lake, where we're neighbors in the "I'll drive a few miles up the road to your house" sense of the word. I think fate had something to do with that.

Take a look at the Bona Fide Butterflies website and see the workshops and retreats we offer. We're also on Facebook

I'm heading to a yoga class to stretch out sore hiking and running muscles, and to honor my own idea of wellness.

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