How Wellness is Driven by Meaning

Many of you have heard the term “wellness” used in various forms and associations. Typically, it’s associated with the luxury of a spa or alternative “wellness” and holistic healing modalities. Now, more than ever, businesses are using wellness to describe so much more than that. Wellness is now a $4.5 Trillion (USD) Industry and it continues to grow and impact marketing, thus what big money wants you to believe.

Where we create joy, we will always find it.
Meaning is created in every moment, and how we choose that creates our experiences and how we LIVE

So, why is the term being used in such varying industries? It all comes down to what wellness encompasses. In the 1970’s, Dr. John Travis created the Illness-Wellness Continuum and began defining the term wellness. I see it as a pie, others a wheel, but I like food so, we’re going with pie.

This wonderful pie is cut into various slices, depending on the source and how they define wellness. Dr. Travis uses 12 slices in his Wellness Energy System. The National Wellness Institute has their Six Dimensions of Wellness, and the Global Wellness Institute while not having a pie per se, has an immense amount of research and information to chew on ranging from business to family resources. I love their work.

What in the world does meaning have to do with any of this, you ask?

Looking at all the slices of pie, wellness does encompass all dimensions of life and living (Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Social, Spiritual, Vocational, Financial, and Environmental). What I’ve found most compelling is that not all slices of the pie need to be in balance to find a state of wellbeing that suits you. Here, enters meaning.

Wellness, as defined by the National Wellness Institute, is “a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential.” This definition puts your state of wellbeing into your hands. It gives you sole responsibility for reaching your potential and surpassing it. Thinking along these lines, you can nix marketing and what business want you to think.

When you’re in control of your mindset, you are the creator of your goals. Now a goal without another goal to follow it up simply creates complacency and you’ll find your old habits creeping back in. When you bring meaning into this definition, you have the creative ability and reason to drive your pursuit of wellness.

I was first introduced to this while reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl. He spoke about how he could see, not only in himself, but in those that survived in the Nazi concentration camps and people he worked with after he was freed, that it was when meaning was created that people found the piece to drive their sense of purpose.

Wellness Pie Each slice is a part of how you live life, create meaning for each one and you will be the driver in your experiences

You’ll find meaning show up in the slice of pie termed “Spirituality.” Now, don’t get all weird about this term. Spirituality doesn’t need to mean religion or dogma. It’s the place that helps you create values in life. It’s where many people see that there is something bigger than themselves, whether it’s how people connect with each other, nature, animals, etc… or where you create authentic beliefs that drive home your values.

Values are the big driver in creating meaning in your life. You might think that meaning and purpose are the same. I like to argue that meaning precedes purpose.

Thinking back to becoming a mother, I had a set of beliefs and values that told me being a mother needed to look a certain way. The meaning those beliefs implied made my purpose of being a mother a status symbol, a specific type of person who looks and acts a certain way with her kids. That didn’t align with my authentic truth or my core values. The meaning and belief were mis-matched.

When I was able to really look into what motherhood meant to me, not to society, but what my values were as a parent, I was able to reclaim my beliefs from the ones set by society and create a new meaning for myself. Now that I have that, my purpose as a parent is different in every choice I make.

Breaking down meaning in this way impacts every aspect of wellness in your life. Again, each slice of the wellness pie doesn’t need to be in balance with the others. You may not place as much meaning on the environmental slice or social slice, and they may be a bit smaller than some of the others. It doesn’t make your pie any less delicious than your neighbors.

What you choose as meaning in your life does impact your purpose in the moment, your life’s purpose at this time in your life, and how you relate to each slice. For example, if you’re facing financial disempowerment and you make it mean that you’re a failure, then that feeling of failure impacts everything. If being out of work right now means that new doors are opening up for you or you get the opportunity to be creative in your next endeavor, that will impact everything as well. How you relate to every aspect of the pie is impacted by the meaning you create in life’s situations.  

If after reading this your purpose becomes finding a real slice of pie, then I’m with you. Please save a piece of cherry for me with a little vanilla ice cream on the side.

Pick up the phone and give me a call

If you’re finding that a sense of wellness or wellbeing is eluding you or that something is missing in your life give me call. Working together to find your core values and reflecting on them together is a great start to creating a fluid definition to what brings meaning to your life. From this place we can create a mindset, a way to carry yourself through life and begin to focus on goals that are reflective of the meaning you bring to this world. I’d love to work with you, be by your side and see where you take us!

Emily Kamala, MA, RMT, CHWC does virtual Wellness Coaching and draws on over two decades of work in the wellness industry. What lights you up is what drives her passion. Your successes are celebrated and your courage to dig deep into what is authentically you are all part of Wellness Coaching and creating your life well lived. You can reach her at 720-515-4178 or visit her website at for more information. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Breastfeeding with assistance, solving breastfeeding issue with Conscious Living

Top 3 Reasons CranioSacral Therapy is Right for You and Your Baby

Top 3 Reasons CranioSacral Therapy is Right for You and Your Baby

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If you haven’t heard of CranioSacral Therapy (CST), now is the time. Our society is so full of constant input and our systems have reached a state of overwhelm.

When you decide to add a family to the mix of it all, overwhelm then becomes something much bigger and our bodies begin to protest. You feel exhausted or irritable, you start to create habits that don’t support you even though you think that they are, and your life generally starts living you instead of you living it.

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a very gentle form of bodywork that addresses the Central Nervous System (CNS), and can assist in bringing it back to a more neutral state instead of being hyper-alert and always “on.” When you have a family, it’s not just you anymore. You have to be “on” all of the time because now you have so much more to be responsible for.

Let’s look more deeply at why CST can help you.

1. You’re a husband or partner in child-rearing

Being the supporting partner in creating a family tends to be a little less rewarding that perhaps one may initially have thought it would have been. There is a level of stress that typically goes unnoticed because there’s a baby in the house that needs so much moment to moment care.
The partner that you used to come home to, who was once interested in your day is now handing a child over to you and is so exhausted that she may not even see you beyond the babies needs.

This emotional strain of providing the blind necessities of life and then no longer having the depth of connection you may have once had strains the nervous system. This strain leaves the body with little of the much needed dopamine and other “happy” hormones that cause us to feel lifted in our lives and connected to those around us.

While CST work won’t provide a lasting boost of dopamine in your system, it does allow the brain to dump out some of the other stress hormones that are building up and essentially “reboot” the hard drive computer of the brain, thus allowing an individual to find a place of neutrality and go back into the world with a fresh view on life.

I have found in my practice that the most common benefit of CST work is an individual’s ability to rest, sleep, and not have the wheels spinning in their heads so fast or for so long. It can also help with any physical responses, like headaches, jaw clenching, and general constriction going on in your muscular system.

2. You have difficulty with breastfeeding or you have a fussy child

I want you to meet “Sam.” He’s a fussy baby that doesn’t sleep well, and nursing is a challenge. Mom is exhausted and is doing a lot on her own with her partner traveling for work on a regular basis. Sam is not yet a month old and when you “should” be in a blissful postpartum period, this is not happening for this mom.

Breastfeeding with assistance, solving breastfeeding issue with Conscious LivingThe next part is what I love the most about CST and newborns. While we’re working on Sam’s latching challenges, he starts to fall asleep. In this place the rhythm of the cerebral spinal fluid (the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord moves to reflect this and is palpable) starts to shift. I begin to follow this and feel deeper restrictions in the tissue in the brain as it pulls into the restriction that he had in his neck. As we work with this deeper restriction, he settles deeper, and deeper. Mom notices the shift in Sam, feeling him get heavy, his breath is deeper and softer; he looks like he’s in another world.

Sam leaves the session, still asleep while we transfer him into his car seat (Yeah, right! Like that EVER happens!!!), and I get a message from his mom that he slept for 3 hours that afternoon. At a later session, he still is resting wonderfully and we’re just checking in because he took a fall. Sam is still rocking a balanced nervous system. I’m so grateful, and mom is too.

CST work is so amazing with the newborns. In many instances I have found a very common trait among newborns with latching issues or almost any other challenge, as I mentioned with Sam. They typically hold their head to one side and have difficulty turning to the other side without using their chest and shoulders to get there. This is called torticollis. You can find a lot of information online about this, and please, don’t get google happy. It is simple and not anything to panic about. This restriction is found in the neck and base of the scull. A few times I have found that it originates lower in the body and a child is also showing signs of reflux or painful gas.

Applying CST work and even chiropractic (both by practitioners that are specifically trained with infants, PLEASE!) can help with this type of restriction. Again, CST is very gentle work that affects the fascial layer of tissue (connective tissue that holds everything together…the clear shiny stuff in chicken when you pull the skin away from the meat). When there is a rotation, it pulls on this tissue and thus continues pulling throughout the body. Quite similarly to a thread in your favorite sweater when it snags on a bracelet or on your partners watch when they grabbed you the other day to give you some much needed affection. (Hey, we have to keep that in the forefront of our minds, right??!!) This does need to be addressed as it can lead to other challenges as your child grows and can resurface later in life during developmental shifts.

3. You gave birth

With someone properly trained in CST work for Obstetrics, you will find a therapist that has the ability to work with not only your hormones like I stated above, but you will also find someone who is trained to work with the uterus and the surrounding tissue and ligaments. All work is done outside of the body to access your pelvic floor and your uterus to gently release any fascial restrictions that have been created by doubling in size over 38 weeks and then having to shrink right back down in the matter of a week or so.

Your body has done some amazing things and it needs time to heal and reorganize itself. From a physical perspective, CST work can ever so gently work on the tissue that has bound up and is now causing problems from a prolapsed uterus (ie: cramping with your cycle, difficulty with intercourse, inability to fully empty your bladder, etc…) to low back pain caused by the tension on the ligaments that attach to the bones of your pelvis and hold the uterus upright.

Even a mom that has had a C-birth can have any of the aforementioned challenges and now can add scar tissue to the mix. It is best to get in as soon as you can postpartum as the tissue is more pliable and responds more easily versus in five years when you finally feel like you have your “life” back.