Combating Ableism at a Wellness Fair

May 18, 2015

Recently I attended a wellness fair and on the brochure was this ableist statement:

Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions the gates of the soul open. ~B.K.S

I say "ableist" because it does not acknowledge that the concept of health is on a spectrum and it discounts those with chronic disabilities.

It is ableist to say that a person with a chronic disability cannot still be healthy.

When a person has a chronic disability, their locus of health must be resituated.  Health is no longer not being physically and mentally unwell, but on having peace of mind, on having a life worth living, however differently that may look to each person.  To say that a blind person or a person with depression can never have "the gates of the soul open" is oppressive.  It puts society's view of health on a hierarchy over an individual's view of health.

I say the gates of the soul are open whenever someone has an open mind, heart and spirit.  Whenever a person is willing to entertain the thought that there might be more creative, more positive ways of living then their soul is opened.  Whenever a person is willing to forgive or love more deeply then their soul is opened.  Whenever a person strives towards justice and peace instead of vengeance then their soul is opened.

It is healthy to strive for less "mental distractions" even if one is still experiencing them.  It is healthy to try to take care of one's body, even if one's body will always be disabled in some way.  As I have said over and over on this blog, all bodies will become disabled one day - disability is a natural process that happens as one ages and so it is also ageist to say that physical and mental handicaps automatically make one unhealthy.

Our society likes to put people in divisive categories such as, fit and unfit, well and unwell, healthy and unhealthy, but it would actually be a lot more accurate to put people's conditions and characteristics on a spectrum.  One can be disabled and still be healthy. One does not need to be in perfect health to have an open and willing soul.

 (in Ashville)
Link Love:
Sadly, we spend just under 50% of our life in the present moment. “That means for almost 50% of our waking hours we’re worrying about the future or ruminating over the past and not engaged with, or enjoying, what we’re doing in the present moment,” says Soloway.
New research suggests that in matriarchies, there is no divine masculine per se, because though men have their own important roles, both males and females are encouraged to embody the values associated with mothers and mothering—in other words to be loving, giving, caring, and generous. In this context there is no opposition or sharp contrast between the divine masculine, the divine feminine, and any other divine gender or transgender.
People with SEID needed a term to better describe what’s going on in their bodies: systemic (affecting the whole body); exertion (associated with both mental and physical exertion); intolerance (specific impairment, like in gluten intolerance); disorder — a very real and very serious medical condition.
He adds that parents shouldn’t be concerned that serious talks about mental health will somehow suggest suicide to teens. “Adults are often worried that if they talk about suicide it will put the idea into their kid’s head. This just isn’t how it works

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