Why you won’t hear much about wellness

There is mounting evidence that deep breathing (the essence of mindfulness meditation and the underpinning of yoga) is an effective treatment for anxiety, depression and a host of other issues.

Yet who is going to spread the word on this?  Sure, I’m blogging about it in my little obscure corner of the collective—and I encourage you to pencil in five minutes of steady, deep, calm breathing and put it at the top, not the bottom, of your to-do list.  This is one of the most powerful things you can do toward being your best Self as a parent, and in facilitating your own happiness.  You don’t need another book about it; just breathe.

As for why you’re unlikely to hear much about this any time soon:  there’s simply no money in wellness, not in America anyway—not in the way corporate America defines money.  Sure one can make a modest living as a holistic healer, a homeopath, a yoga teacher… but these services cost a tiny fraction of what western medicine charges for so-called healing that is based on waiting until you’re really sick and then “attacking” the illness.

Happiness is subversive.  Wellness is subversive.  Well and happy people will not buy things they don’t need, they won’t flock to doctors with their heart disease and diabetes and other chronic after-effects of toxic lives and environments… and the whole machine would start to fall apart if there were enough happily well people.

Could we imagine a TV commercial for breathing?  The air is still free, so why would anyone pay a big pharma company, or a big-box store for some air?  What warning list of side effects would consumers need to be advised of?  None.

Breathing has been shown to be good for a lot of so-called “disorders,” but it is even better as a wellness treatment.  Deep breathing activates the immune system and this keeps us from getting ill in the first place.  Breathing is also a way to tell the anxious brain that all is well when every sort of calming self-talk seems to just make the hamster brain run faster on its wheel.  Give breathing a try.  Just because it’s free, doesn’t mean it has no value or isn’t effective.

Breathing one’s way to wellness is subversive.

A society without fear is a society without unnecessary spending.  Would this be good for Wall Street?  Would it be good for Detroit?  It could be a big problem for life as we know it if everyone were to suddenly start breathing and becoming well.  So maybe we shouldn’t do it, maybe we should stay unhappy as an act of kindness for our fellow depressed and frightened citizens?  Or maybe that’s not healthy thinking even though we’ve been engaged in it all our lives, rushing from one thing to the next but never quite arriving at good feelings that last.

I will not be doing this blog forever.  I enjoy it, but I also look forward to mastering my own wisdom, shutting up and breathing in my garden and trusting that this too helps the world—probably more than my prattling on about breathing (even if I mean well).

In traditional China you only paid your doctor when you were well.  I blog for free in a sick culture, but maybe our collective striving for wellness via our blogging, our working, our parenting and our loving, in service of ourselves and our children, will come back to us some day and in some way.  Maybe it will just be that we find ourselves happy without actually getting anything more than we have right now.

The air is still reasonably good, but it’s up to you to take it in at the medicinal level (and not just the hummingbird sips that get us to Starbucks for a refuel, but not much further).

So, let’s dedicate today to actually breathing—breathing in love and breathing out fear and desire (and not just reading about it)—in the service of all our collective children.

Namaste, Bruce


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6 Responses to “Why you won’t hear much about wellness”

  1. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    My thought while reading this was pretty much the same it always is in response to one of your posts: Amen! (I swear, your writing makes me into a virtual parishioner at a call-and-response style church.)

    Sometimes I wonder how long the air will stay free.

  2. Laurie Says:

    I have been going through some very difficult emotional times and I swear if it weren’t for deep breathing I wouldn’t be where I am. That tip I rec’d from one of your early blogs. I know you won’t do this forever but know you make a difference, my dear fellow.

  3. Beth K Says:

    I second Laurie’s comment that you make a difference.

  4. Lindsey Says:

    This bothers me so much, about our culture today – the focus on fixing problems rather than preventing them. You are right to call it what it is, and it’s so awfully toxic. I suppose it will have to be a revolution of individuals, who decide that wellness is worth it. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. Michele Priest Gautret Says:

    Prattle on about whatever you like Bruce! There is always relevance in your words, and I for one will miss you sorely when your Year of Mindful Parenting comes to an end.

  6. Lindsey M Nelson Says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I remember reading Everyday Blessings and feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea of creating time for meditation, but when you write it as five minutes of deep breathing it sounds like it might possibly be manageable.

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