The Whiteness of Wellness

The email I sent yesterday sparked curiosity for some of you.  (If you are not on my email list, you can join here.)

Several of you asked what I meant when I said I was wrestling with “the whiteness of wellness.”

I realize these complex issues require more than one line in an email.  Here’s my attempt to say more about what I meant by that.

The events of the past two years have rocked my world in all the good and necessary ways. I’m coming to terms with so many things.

The way I’ve been living.

The way I was raised.

The biases, beliefs, and patterns within myself.

Many are painful to acknowledge.

I’m beginning to see the ways in which I’ve been conditioned to think, feel and act have harmed me and others.

I’m starting to see how some of these patterns and beliefs – perfectionism, urgency, black and white thinking, the need for certainty –  showed up in the language, structure, and pace of the Vibrant Body + Wise Mind program and in my coaching.

I’m looking at how my identities (white, straight, cis, able bodied, college educated, female, etc), my education and training, and my conditioning (how and where I was raised, my culture, societies messages) have shaped my view of wellness.

How I think and talk about self-care, mental health, sleep, diet, etc haven’t always considered the lived experiences of those who hold identities different from mine.

In this way, the way some of the content and structure of the program was perpetuating the dominant view of wellness.  One that excludes some and harms us all.

Perhaps you feel like I’m being too hard on myself.

I don’t think so. I can believe I am an effective coach and have work to do.

Perhaps you benefitted from your time in the program and don’t want to think it was for nothing. It wasn’t. You can trust your experience.

I, too, believe people have had amazing experiences in the Vibrant Body + Wise Mind Program and that we can do better.

I don’t have any answers about how to “do this right.”

There is no “right” way to do any of this, by the way.

I can’t tell you how to wrestle with the big questions about how systems of oppression (misogyny, patriarchy, capitalism, racism, ableism, etc) have affected you or about your part in upholding them.

Just like I can’t tell you the “right” way to navigate a personal loss or life transition.

What I can do is share what’s worked for me. What I’m learning. How I’m working through this.

I feel called to share my process with you, because I need to be in community with you.

Not because I have the answers for you.

If you are wrestling with some big questions and want some company on your journey, listen to Season 2 of the podcast.

I’ll be sharing in more detail and depth what I’m wrestling with, what I’m learning, and how I’m moving through it.

I hope this email provides more context.

I welcome your questions and feedback.

In community,