This past week President Obama delivered his ‘State of the Union” address, something every president does this time of year. In light of this annual ritual, I suggest we take this as an opportunity for each of us to do something similar in terms of our own wellness. I invite us to pause and take stock of the “state of our wellness” and specifically to reflect on the state of our own “union.”
What exactly do I mean by this? Well, let me start by saying that one of the core wellness principles in all of our Living Compass programs is the principle of integration. To be well is to live an integrated life. This means several things. It means we pay attention to and integrate all aspects of wellness in our lives–physical, spiritual, emotional, relational, vocational, and intellectual. It means that we are integrated in all the roles we play in our lives, meaning that we are not one person at work and in public, and a different person at home and in our private lives. To live life in a united, integrated way is to “walk the talk, and talk the walk.” It means that we have no secrets and that we have nothing to hide from others or from ourselves.
Another primary connection between unity, integration, and wellness is that it means we live our lives in such a way that our spirituality–our faith, our core values and beliefs–is integrated into every aspect of our lives. To live this way is to fully integrate what we believe into how we live. The opposite of union and integration is division, and so the opposite of living an integrated life is to live a divided, disintegrated life.
When we lived a divided life, a life where we do not integrate all dimensions of wellness, where we pay attention to one aspect of our wellness but neglect others, and a life where our spirituality is not integrated into all aspects of our lived, we will experience “dis-ease” instead of wellness. The wise Trappist monk and prolific author, Thomas Merton, wrote that “There is in all things, a hidden wholeness.” To seek to live into the wellness and wholeness that is God’s gift and God’s call to us, is to discover and integrate the “hidden wholeness” into our daily lives. I know this to be true, and yet I also know from first hand experience that to live a fully integrated life is an ongoing work in progress.
So what’s the current state of your life, of your wellness right now? What is the current state of your own “union,” your own integration? What do you want to affirm and celebrate and what to you want to commit to strengthen and improve going forward? What are your deeply held values?You and I don’t have to share our answers to these questions on national television, but pausing to take time to answer the questions for ourselves, will be invaluable for strengthening our own wellness and wholeness.