• Connie Greshner

Journey to Wellness

In my last blog, I used the term, "journey to wellness." Even as I wrote it, the phrase felt wrong. Imprecise. Incongruent with what I wanted to say. In need of clarification. So here it is:

At the end of Borderline Shine, I summarized some of the learning that I had gained at that time. Taking responsibility for choices, compassion, acceptance, non judgment. These values and choices have enabled me to achieve a degree of happiness and contentment in my life. Moments of joy. What I sometimes refer to as "pearls."

Yet is that "wellness?"

'Shine ended five years ago in 2015, and I wrote the book in the summer of 2018. In the last five years, would I describe myself as "well?"

I have continued to struggle. I even wrote a sequel to the book, which I entitled Over the Borderline: A story of relapse and recovery. It chronicled the personal and situational challenges I faced in the three years after 'Shine ended. And even since I completed that draft, life continues to be tumultuous inside and out. Some may say that is "normal," but besides the fact that I hate the word "normal," I often wonder, "What the hell? Surely other people don't have such bizarre, ridiculous and random events happen!"

I reflect that my own episodes of anxiety swell and ebb, much as I think many other people's do. And when I find myself lost in the distortions of fear, grief and anger, the ludicrousness of using the term "journey to wellness" makes me sneer in self depreciation.

And yet, and yet...I also believe that "wellness" can be a relativistic term. Sometimes I think that wellness can be an ever changing point on a continuum between fear and love (I use fear and love as general words to differentiate between darkness and light...and that will be a whole other blog). If I'm more often near love, maybe I'm well. If I'm even able to shift myself closer to love in the midst of fear, maybe I'm well.

Or maybe wellness can be conceptualized as a dialectic - I am love AND fear, but the greater of these is love.

My intention in writing this blog is to remind my readers that there is no endpoint in the "journey to wellness" as it can be redefined by perception, definition, and relativity. That's why one theme of Borderline Shine is to be cautious with judgments. Even with the most loving of intentions, we cannot fully understand another person.

I posted a picture of a quote by Anais Nin that said, "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." This was in response to the misinterpretation of the content and intent of Borderline Shine by a few readers, misinterpretations which were absolutely unexpected and astonishing to me. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, as human history is redolent with examples of misinterpretations, and on a lesser level they occur between people every day. Thousands of years of human history, and we are still struggling to understand the world and each other. It is a bit of a relief when I give up the struggle and tell myself, "honestly, half the time I don't have a clue what is going on." Mindfulness practice teaches noticing what we observe with the five senses without judgment, with an open, curious mind. But what if we had different senses? We would totally experience a different world. It is all relative.

So whoever you are, wherever you are, and however you define "wellness," I send you love and reiterate the last lines of the poem I wrote and ended my memoir with: "Never give up/Borderline, Shine."

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