Over the years, we’ve come to to view illness as a path that can, if we are lucky or open to it, provide a lot of illumination and healing. It’s helped us learn about levels of stress or unattended to emotion in our daily lives, or ways in which we weren’t taking care: eating on the run or not-ideal foods, not getting enough rest, not taking care of an emotional upheaval… As challenging as it has been, it has always yielded insight and agency: Illness as a path of inquiry.

When we mentioned this to our remarkable physical therapist Rachel Miller Williams she nodded and said:

I agree but prefer to replace “illness” with “wellness” in my head. It centers my focus on what I consider to be my natural state — wellness — and that I am always moving toward that light, rather than a darker identification with illness.

During a recent, first, bout of Covid, we tried this simple shift and found it to be a much better view. It dispelled the strange fear that accompanies the mysterious ever-changing virus, and helped us listen deeply to what we needed to take care of ourselves, to rest in our ability to heal.

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Rachel Miller Williams, MSPT founder of the great Midtown Physical Therapy in Manhattan and Riverdale, is a gifted John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Therapist.

Artist Maria Robledo sent the image at top long ago when we were recuperating: a reminder of gentle caretaking.

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2 replies on “Boosting Wellness Through Language

  1. Sally,
    Thank you for all of the good and encouraging work that give to the world!
    I add my prayers for your wellness.

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