The Puzzle of True Wellbeing
Written by Sue Fuller-Good (MSc Physio WITS) Physiotherapist with a special interest in the mind-body connection
I have taken a journey of discovery over the past 30 years of my life into true well-being and what that means. The discoveries I have made have all come from studying myself and my own body. With careful observation and experimentation, I have learnt through experience what wellbeing really means. I have seen that wellbeing is multidimensional. Wellbeing is multifactorial and is like a puzzle. Each piece is integral to the puzzle of wellbeing, each piece is vital to creating the whole picture and no piece is more important than any other. Most of us easily find some of the pieces and slot them into place, but getting the next pieces in place is more difficult. Some pieces may elude us and require real investigation to get them out of our blind spot so wellbeing doesn’t elude us.
Wellbeing is described as being comfortable, healthy or happy. To me it is so much more. Read on and I’ll show you why. Wellbeing is the ultimate prize, the ultimate gift. Most people don’t value their wellbeing until they haven’t got it anymore and only then do they recognize the treasure they had and have lost. This article on wellbeing is written to inspire you to value your wellbeing above all else, so you can develop it and keep it for the duration of your life. When the resource of wellbeing is there to support and hold you, everything else is easier!
So let me share my journey of discovery. I grew up on a very strict vegetarian diet for health purposes. No sugar, no flour, nothing processed. It definitely made me physically healthy, but it caused mental stress around food. I was a child and I felt deprived at times. Food was a big thing for me because of this. Sometimes, I would “break free” and eat all the forbidden things. I tried to follow the strict rules. I knew it was good for me. I resented it at times. Sometimes I just let go. I discovered deprivation and restriction are not sustainable. Food rented space in my front mind spot and became a source of conflict from this front line position.
In my twenties, I graduated from physiotherapy school and went to the UK to work and travel and begin my career. I had formidable energy and I got into running as a sport. It calmed me and felt really good. It quickly became part of my life of strict discipline and control. I did break free and party with my friends, but I always got up and ran the next day. I used to joke that I needed to: “earn my beer coupons”.
When I returned to South Africa, I ran the Comrades and many other ultra-distance marathons and I ran them well. I looked healthy and I genuinely thought I was. Healthy. I had the answers. Or so I thought. But I had endless injuries and constant pain. I had a hamstring tendinopathy for 18 odd years. It just never got better. I even put it in my will that I wanted my body donated to medical Science when I died so my colleagues who had tried to fix this infuriating problem could dissect it and finally find out what it looked like inside. I ran through the pain. Rest didn’t seem to help it. In hindsight, I don’t think I ever stuck with the treatment long enough for it to work and I was too busy to take the time to go for all the help I needed. Wellbeing, you may ask?
I asked the same question one day in a moment of clarity. Yes I was fit and yes I was slim, yes I had energy, but the puzzle was far from built. I moved to cross training, doing other sports and multitudes of different, fun things. I cycled, and climbed mountains and rock faces. I did yoga. I played some tennis and I paddled a canoe and a sea kayak. I felt heaps better and I was having more fun. Now the puzzle piece slotted into place and brought my attention to the next piece that needed to be found.
I felt better. I had balance and strength and fitness. I started eating to eat to nourish my body carefully, not just to follow the rules about healthy eating. I became aware of my body’s voice, and I started to listen to it! I knew when I needed protein and when I needed fats, I knew instinctively that living on carbohydrates wasn’t the way to go, even though that was the thinking of the day. I started to relish and enjoy food. Still living with my Mother’s instructions: “don’t live to eat, eat to live”, but allowing myself some space to delight in good, wholesome, tasty food.
I started to sleep more. I noticed my habit of self-medicating with coffee. I could get by with less sleep than I needed, because if I felt tired, I would pep myself up with some caffeine. What I didn’t think about was that the caffeine was assuring I stayed tired, because it interfered with my sleep the next night. So, I cut down radically on all caffeine. I felt even better and people kept telling me I was glowing with health. I leapt out of bed in the morning and I had masses of energy. I worked hard and I shared all I had learnt with anyone who would listen.
In my 30’s I realised that I walked on egg shells too much and had too much stress. I suffered from the disease to please. I avoided my emotions unless they were happy and excited in which case, I felt them fully. I realised this too was not compatible with health, I had to make changes. This was the next piece in the puzzle. The changes I opted for took me down the rabbit hole of seeking peace of mind and inner calm.
Many courses including coaching started to shine light on the dark corners of this challenge. I developed my meditation and mindfulness practice, joined a meditation circle with an amazing teacher and began the process of inner healing. This was different to running and processing feelings through movement, which I had mastered up until then. This was real confrontation with the inner space of me. This included a few trips to India and quite a few treks into the mountains including the Alps and the Himalayas. Many voyages I took, some of which included pushing myself to the edge and beyond helped me to find the route inside and to connect with me. This was the next piece in the puzzle. Stillness. Self-connection and self-awareness. I started to know and like and eventually trust the person I was and no longer felt the need to be the person I thought I should be. I made friends with my uncomfortable emotions, realized they wouldn’t last forever and they needed to be experienced in order for them to pass.
The puzzle was starting to look like a picture. The pieces were all in place. This thing called wellbeing was about food, hydration, a healthy gut and a healthy weight, fitness, balance and strength, sleep and rejuvenation, personal mastery, mind mastery and emotional mastery, relationship mastery, sensuality and sexuality and financial health too.
The Energy Incubator is the product of this journey into the discovery of true wellbeing and sustainable, pulsing energy. It is the product of all my years of study and investigation into the laboratory of my own body and life as you have seen.
I would love to share the secrets I have discovered with you. I believe you deserve to know how you can feel truly awesome and I believe you deserve to have the tools you need to create true lasting wellbeing for yourself.
Call now on +27 82 570 0824 to book, or Linked In message me and we can make you a time to have a one on one call or session so we can ascertain how this can work for you.
Or buy my brand new book, “The Sweet Spot” almost off the press in the UK and read about this puzzle in the quiet of your own home.