On the Practice of Being Well

by Shannon Lynne Sullivan, GCFP

Happiness and Well-Being are practically
synonymous in my culture of middle-class Americana. In fact, the definition of well-being according to Merriam-Webster is "the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous.” Thus, by definition, happiness is a subset of well-being—one of three potential avenues. (Interestingly, the Oxford English Dictionary has a slightly, yet profoundly, different definition: "The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy.” ) I believe it can be useful, functional, and freeing to challenge this definition.
It is often possible to be well in the absence of, and even amidst states contradictory to, those listed above—such as sadness or illness. It is often possible to be well in the presence of unpleasant experiences including physical pain, uncomfortable emotions, and the many moments in life in which either social or internal circumstances remove all but the technicality of choice. I believe that the pursuit of well-being in the midst of, sometimes even despite, external and internal realities can be a worthy commitment. I also believe that the Feldenkrais Method® can be of great service to such an endeavor. 

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