There are so many words that get tossed around in the alternate universe that is called “wellness” that really stick in my craw. I find that when I share my annoyances, they dissipate a little and I don’t have to obsess over them….as much. So, join me in the aggravation shall you?
natural: as in “natural foods”, ‘natural flavors”, etc. This is the most seductive of them right now. You want stuff to be natural, I’m sure. However, the dictionary delineates between things we find in their raw state as natural and something manmade as not natural. So how can any boxed/packaged food claim to be natural? They can’t. Not by definition. Of course, neither can a good chicken soup be considered natural because it’s been processed by your dear sweet grandmother. On the other side of things, this also seems to imply that whatever man does is not natural. Why is a beehive natural and a skyscraper not? Why is a dog snarling when cornered natural and a woman screaming in rage when abused not? The constructed delineation between what is natural and what is not allows for the madness that a boxed, sugar coated, puffed cereal grain can be marketed as “natural”. This word means nothing, is what I’m trying unsuccessfully to point out. Next time you’re walking through the grocery store, just notice what is marketed as natural food. It’s not the meat and produce and grass-fed butter. It’s the chips, energy bars, whey powders….in short, it’s just a marketing tool to steer you away from the things that are authentic to your species and to spending more money on a myth.
organic: Ugh, something is organic because it is a carbon-based life form. Do I need to say more? Everything you eat is organic. Every fruit, leaf, slice of steak…a carbon-based life form. They get you because by saying something is organic, the theory is that its not been sprayed or treated with anything inorganic (not a carbon-based life form). Which is of course WONDERFUL! LIfe forms eat other life forms in general until you work your way down the web and something is just absorbing sunlight. (Thank you chlorophyll! We love you!) The problem is this. A cow eating organic (unsprayed, untreated) grain and not receiving hormones or antibiotics is of greater quality than one that isn’t treated this way is still not getting to be a cow. What I mean is this. Cows eat grass. They want to eat grass. When they get to eat grass and be out in the sunlight and walk around, they get to be cows. (This also goes for plants. Plants do well when they grow with other kinds of plants and not so well when they are mono-cropped, so you vegetarians aren’t in the clear.) Organic is certainly a higher rung on the ladder but organic in its common usage still doesn’t mean that the animal or plant gets to be itself.
chemical: Everything is chemical. When you see something advertise itself as chemical free what does that even mean? It would be a box or bottle of nothing if it were true. What they mean to say, I’m assuming, is no added chemicals. You are a chemical being. So, chemical free doesn’t mean anything at all. You need to read and find out what chemicals are authentic to us and can be absorbed or come into contact with no harm and what can’t.
spiritual: Here it comes. Spiritual means something sanctioned by a religion or church. Yeah, surprising, right? Contrary to what you’ve been spoon-fed since birth, you do not need a spiritual component to your life in order to be healthy. What a lot of people call their spiritual practice is just otherwise known as being authentically human. What I mean by that is that:
We need to go outside.
We need to eat things that are authentic to us and that get to live lives that are authentic to them.
We need quiet time to not think about much of anything.
We need time with others. We are a primarily social species.
We need to play.
We need to learn new things.
We need to move.
We need to express ourselves and be heard.
We need to sleep in safety.
These are some of our needs. The different ways that we meet those needs that our culture sanctifies and codifies become what we call “spirituality”. But, you don’t have to. It’s…funny?…to me that we are taught to be so afraid of the body’s needs that we can only allow ourselves to meet them by labeling them spiritual. It’s not. It’s physical and authentic and not at all mystical.
purity: On the heels of that last rant. Purity and “pure” make my bile rise and burns the back of my throat. Pure water has no nutrition. Pure oxygen will kill you. Pure environments will starve your immune system. Purity of the body is an impossible, deluded fantasy that can easily become an obsession so dangerous that it will kill you. Purity of the blood is at the heart of every genocide. This word also means nothing…well, nothing good. It always gives me the heebie-jeebies. Purity of thought leads to stasis and lack of creativity. Pure also means that something else is dirty. This is also dangerous. Pure emotions are compassion and happiness and joy. Dirty is anger and fear? Except of course, anger is a really good way to know that something has violated you and fear will keep you alive.
These are a couple of things that keep me up at night. And, because language is important.