Health & Wellness Committee: Cultivating Wellness

Pamela Hipp, Weavers Way, Health & Wellness Committee

Views expressed in this article are those of the author, not necessarily the Weavers Way Health & Wellness Committee, and are not a substitute for talking to your doctor.

Just as we all have our own gifts to share with the world, we each have a unique recipe for cultivating our own wellness. There are countless paths to choose from. While it may seem like an impossible feat, every action taken toward wellness brings us closer to our goal. If we are willing to pay attention, our bodies make requests for the nutrition, movement, rest, connection and pleasure they require. 

Sometimes these requests arrive as symptoms informing us of having lost our way. 

As an adolescent, I suffered from low back pain that ranged from uncomfortable to debilitating. It interfered with my activities on a daily basis, and looking back, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me! It may sound absurd, but this seeming tragedy changed the trajectory of my life in a dramatic way that led to tremendous growth. When Western medicine was unable to help me, I sought out alternatives. I began to understand that wellness was something that I could cultivate with my behavior and thoughts.

Understanding health as more than just the absence of major disease, I began to explore techniques that would improve my comfort and vitality. I discovered the joys of yoga, affirmations and meditation. I soon realized that spending an hour in the morning practicing self-care set me up for feeling centered and energized throughout the day. I became interested in nutrition, the concept of food as medicine and an anti-inflammatory diet. I enjoyed so many benefits from bodywork that I went on to study massage and Reiki. 

I’ve noticed that activities that bring me joy are easily incorporated into my daily routine. Those that I think I should do but dread have no staying power. I’ve experimented with a wide variety of wellness therapies over the past two decades and have learned that will power is limited, but devotion to fun, harmony, balance, freedom, and vitality comes easily. Just as symptoms alert us when we have strayed from our wellness path, joy points us in the right direction.

My back pain dissipated over time, now occurring as a message from my body that something is out of balance. When I feel that first twinge of discomfort, I’ve learned to slow down and check in with my thoughts, words and actions. Where am I not honoring myself, my values, my health or my intentions? How can I take better care of myself? Rather than ignoring or suppressing this valuable clue, I investigate it as an effect pointing me toward an unhealthy cause.

Remember the Chinese proverb, “A thousand mile journey begins with just one step.” Why not begin today?

Pamela Hipp is a Reiki master teacher, licensed massage therapist and owner of Luminous Heart ( She offers Reiki sessions and classes and intuitive bodywork in Mount Airy.