THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY
JUNE 14 2016
You name it, I’ve studied it. I’m a 52 year old Counsellor and Hypnotherapist who in the beginning of my career inhaled every type of therapy available as I was focused on how to reach and transform the pain in the clients I saw. Amongst traditional counselling, Hypnosis, NLP and life skills I studied, Reiki, Kahuna healing, Tibetan singing bowls ,Energy healing and Chakras, meditation, Music therapy, Art Therapy, Indian Head Massage, Jungian dream analysis and symbolism, and many more alternative therapies .In fact my interests in healing and the human psyche was birthed by my Mother who used to take me to everything that would serve to open my mind to choices in how we heal and connect; Baptist churches, Haitian churches, Indian temples, Psychic fairs, Gypsy readers. My mother wanted me to form my own opinions after I tried something new before I simply rejected it. She showed me the value in honouring the many paths that people take and that choices feed the many needs and languages of what an individual may need. I continued this into my own career so I could at least understand and be more expansive in my approach. I didn’t embrace everything but I enjoyed the journey. I followed the advice of a wise Mentor , one of many I’ve had, who said “Deirdre, there is a high road and low road to everything…always take the high road and you’ll be fine.” Obviously it’s up to the individual to determine what that highroad is and set the boundaries accordingly. I understand the excitement in knowledge, in opening the way for growth, healing, inner reflection and wellness. Embracing new experiences, saying yes , as knowledge IS POWER.
So, it’s not that the Wellness Industry is new….it’s just the wheel is being ‘reinvented” and I worry, as an observer, that REAL is no longer REAL if it’s taught as the latest marketing tool to support your brand and increase those sales. I mean I’m not sure how you feel but I cringe when I see yet another video pop up in my Facebook feed of someone who’s revealing their deepest fear, with puppy eyes sincerity only to quickly tag in that super turbo blender and latest Kale recipe, or some pyramid brand product . Don’t get me wrong, it’s exciting social media, and it’s so powerful. It’s a whole new form of reaching your perspective clients and I do have to navigate through or should I say “stumble” in order to keep up and stay …in the game…but I’m trying to do it with integrity and with the basic common courtesy I’d like others to give me. But it is a game, isn’t it?
What was initially designed to connect us has in fact disconnected us, not just to each other, but worst of all, to ourselves…you know…THE REAL YOU. Assuming you had the time in your own quiet to explore, challenge and reflect on the REAL you. No, its not quite the same thing if every single facet of your self exploration is documented and uploaded ,tagged and stamped with your brand. I mean I remember my Dad spending our entire Disneyland holiday behind the lens of his new 8track video camera. He wasn’t even present on the rides , didn’t participate in our excited dialogues about “Pirates of the Caribbean” ,he was too busy, filming. He missed out on the whole adventure, and to his frustrations those tapes collected dust in his home office as no one cared to view them. You’re either in it, absorbing, inhaling the experience or you’re not. Documenting can disconnect us from the experiencing. Imagine just having fun versus knowing you’re on camera for everyone to see and trying to look like you’re having fun while at the same time looking fabulously young and vital ,slim and REAL.
Perhaps it’s because I have a different window in which I see things. I’ve had clients who have come to see me who have had parts of their stomach removed in order to lose weight under the strains and pursuits of “representing” the required look to support the weight loss or fitness industry they blog about, or to maintain their brand, often being their image. I’ve had clients known in social media for their confidence and strength, cry throughout our sessions overwhelmed by the pressures of feeling unable to show their vulnerabilities.
According to the Fifth National annual Stress and Wellbeing survey in Australia they found Australians are experiencing higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. In that survey it was found 66 % of teens need to share their experiences online if they were having a good time.Teens are getting confused between cyber world and the real world. Of those who felt the highest amount of feeling disconnected or left out the age range was 18-35.
So is this Wellness industry reaching us, healing us in a way that expands our choices ,inspires us,stirs deeper insights, assist us in being authentic, finding our real inner wholeness, uniqueness, calming us and finding powerful ways of introducing alternative therapies . Or, is this omnipresent force a dangerous weapon of mass destruction concealed in clever marketing, and branding, manipulating our psyche ? Is it fuelling our confusion over what is real, what we need for our individual self growth and not just following the trend.
As an Aries I admittedly scan over my horoscope each morning while having coffee, not a deconstructed coffee, just coffee, but I take it light-heartedly as surely one size can’t fit all.So perhaps instead of us all doing yoga, drinking kale infused smoothies, becoming vegan, mastering duck face,instagraming everything we eat…well what we want others to think we eat, uploading our videos documenting our secrets fears and heartfelt testimonials or how much fun we and our followers who sell our brand are having and the crazy things we get up to cause it’s just fun, fun fun. Maybe we don’t need to do all of that.
Maybe it’s ok that I assume there are others out there just like me who are happy to learn about other services and therapies but with a bit more integrity and honesty. And maybe in doing so, we can allow the natural selective process of people deciding for themselves what feels right. Opening up the way for people to actually hear, feel, sense, connect to their own intuition. I know it might not make me famous, and it will probably cost in a few lost clients, but when I started in this wellness industry over 20 years ago it was about helping other find what’s real to them, and about them. I was taught to assess each client and refer them on if I couldn’t help them , to only treat what I felt they needed or even more importantly what they felt they needed. I had to take various forms of therapy myself to learn and sensitize myself to the experience of my clients. I learned there was no one size fit all method…just various tools, method, theories, I collected to work with as every client must be treated individually as we are all as unique as our fingerprints.
A few years ago I went into a clothing store near my office and the sales girl immediately swooped in on me, holding up dresses she thought would look amazing on me ( yeah when I was 16),accessorizing it with belts, earring, shoes, purse, necklace, it happened suddenly and aggressively. Having studied NLP I recognize the learned tactics…distract, bombard so quickly as to confuse, offer a deal with no time to waste and take the money. I refused, walked out and never, ever went back. When I shop I like to be left alone, to vibe it out, sense, imagine how I’d look in something, where I’d wear it. I know what I like and what I need, I felt violated, and disrespected.
I think the wellness industry in many ways is doing that now.Just today I received an acceptance to join a spiritual group only to be tagged simultaneously by a member offering a FREE Alchemy course that will help me remove the fears I didn’t know I had that prevent me from making the millions I deserve. I responded to a FREE tag on Facebook last year as it came via someone I admired and trusted. Turns out the FREE information that offered to help me write my book had 7 levels of services I needed, each progressing in the 1000s $$$ it would cost AND amazingly it would only take 48 hours to write my book. Funny, a published author I know agonizes for years and does extensive research before he releases his work, but I guess as a graduate of Columbia he is just pedantic, 48 hrs for a book, and its not just about making money? Just this weekend I was at The Mind Body Spirit Expo with my daughter when a woman asked her if she wanted to sign up for a FREE vacation. She said, no thanks. ‘NOOOOO scathed the woman, who doesn’t want a vacation?’ ” I don’t said my daughter.” “That’s ridiculous, everyone wants a vacation said the woman”. She was livid, I imagine the FREE wasn’t so free as why did it get her so riled up. All these false gurus who seemingly have our best interest are stressing me out and I wonder how its really affecting others. Whatever happened to just being real.I’m starting to think my own inner rebel is staying away from yoga just to prove my distain for being a sheep as I consider myself more wolf, albeit a wolf with seizing muscles and a sore back. If a service or brand really are good, things will sell themselves right? If something doesn’t sell it means I need to assess the product or service not up my covert manipulation social media strategies, right? We are smarter than this, aren’t we? Integrity matters, doesn’t it? And just for the record, Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one knows and no one is watching. Not everyone needs to eat kale in fact its ok to hate it, right?
If we go back in time to what wellness used to be, it a much more personal, quiet, inner reflective, intuitive journey that was shared mainly with oneself. Nothing I ever took or studied was forced upon me, or hyper-marketed and inundated in my life. I had to search, look in obscure places, be in the right synchronized places, meeting the right person at that right moment,for me at that time or reading the right notice board. It took time, and I had time, because the more I learned the more I realized I knew nothing and that the evolution of me and my own wellness would be a life long journey. That the process of seeking the things or experiences or therapists or healers I needed was just as important as the experiences I took from them. I learned wellness was an intrinsic experience, that my true wellness and happiness and evolution was created by the internal me not reaching out to the external world. My experience or journey of my own wellness is far from over. I don’t have 1000s of likes or videos or a pictorial collection of duck face images of all the amazing things I’ve done. I couldn’t even fully put into words all I’ve learned. But I feel well, whole, I’ve worked hard at me, and I’m intrigued and excited by who I’ve become.
In the Buddhist depiction of Heaven and Hell there are 6 monks sitting around a round table, each with a bowl of hot porridge and a spoon 2 feet long. In Hell the monks struggle with their excessively long spoons and eventually starve to death, but in Heaven, they feed each other. If you imagined being in the same room with 1000s of you, would it be Heaven or Hell?
My intention is not to disregard the wonders of social media. I love seeing pictures of my friends overseas, my children just having fun, my grandkid’s latest achievements and the global consciousness and response to crisis. However, like a car its both powerful in it’s ability to take you places yet dangerous in the wrong hands.
I merely act a voice for the preservation of Wellness as outside of some great selfies it serves a much more vital role in the prevention of disease, mental disharmony and the pathway to the authentic you. So my message is simply to, Take time out , unplug from all the bombardment of what you should be eating, doing, or how you should look or feel or act, and remember what you used to love; music, dancing, tennis, laughing, art, and go do it. Do things on your own, try something new, and if you don’t like it, at least you tried. Keep some things to yourself, your greatest validation comes from within you. Get out in nature, do things that make you laugh, that make you feel loved or special or even desired. And at some point , when you feel ready, find a therapist that’s right for you. Decide if you need a Male or a female, the type of therapy that interests you and the qualification you want them to have. Find a picture of the potential therapist and Vibe it out, and do some work on you, accountable people are the healthiest people .Most importantly enjoy the process, you have time. The moment we stop philosophizing, reflecting, thinking for ourselves and listening in to our own intuition, being real, individual and evolving is the moment we are no longer alive on this earth, and I wish for all of you to reach the wonderful old age of 115.
Trust your intuition
Clinical Counsellor and Clinical Hypnotherapist