We are all constantly having a conversation with ourselves about health, whether we know it or not.
Here are a few simple convos I have throughout the day.
1. Should I go to bed?
2. What should I eat right now?
3. Should I keep eating this?
4. Should I meditate this morning?
5. How should I entertain/engage Henry and Hawk for the next few hours?
6. How do I respond to 'this' work question?
7. How do I respond to 'this' uncomfortable feeling or conversation in my life?
8. Should I move my body? How should I do it?
We are making votes for how we show up for ourselves and our health throughout the day. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions create the pattern behind our health, though our sociocultural structures very much guide the foundation we build on. I love the 'conversation' frame because we can unpack what health means for us. Health is both objective and subjective. What's 'right' or healthy for one person can be completely different from someone else. We can also agree we need sleep, water, food, shelter, and love at the most basic level to keep living and breathing.
I asked myself a subjective health question just this morning: 'Do I write about the new Alabama law that reversed a ban on yoga in public schools?' I laughed about it when I heard the news and almost brushed it off as just another day in the good ole US of A. The truth is it's sad, and it's problematic from a public health perspective in Alabama. They still will not allow meditation, and the word 'namaste' is forbidden. I grew up with privilege in Texas, with abundant access to a healthy lifestyle. I also experienced the subtle ways that my health was stunted or blocked from misguided nutrition information to side-stepping mental and emotional health opportunities.
After listening to this episode from Brene Brown's podcast, I decided to write about the yoga law reversal. Brene shares about her upbringing in Texas and the cued messages of 'being good.' Growing up in Dallas, I reflected on my caregiver's and adults' healthy/unhealthy cues. I think about my health inequities compared to someone my age living in poverty in Alabama in the mid-90s. So many people in our society have to swim against a systemic current that suppresses access to essential health (in many cases) and human rights (in others). When our structures block access to the health benefits of something backed by decades of science and yet promote a lifestyle of consumption and disconnection, I feel it's essential to call it out. We all deserve to live the most fulfilled and wholehearted lives we seek. It doesn't make sense to block access or deny what science can teach us. I want to leave behind a message in these conversations that our health should not be taken for granted, both for my children and future generations. It's a gift, a gift we can share that can transcend and shift our collective health. Hopefully, the good people of Alabama will continue to open up to new perspectives. 🙏🏽