Good Health is More than Moving and Eating Well: Conducting a Health MOT
You are holding up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, terribly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.
something wonderful happens:
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arms up
to the ceiling beside you.
So you finally get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flowing back
to your fingers and arms.
And when your partner’s arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.
And it can go on like this
for many years
without the house falling.
I love this poem so much. It acknowledges that life isn’t always easy, in fact it can can feel like you are holding up a ceiling. This can be exhausting and it is so wonderful when someone steps into your life and helps lighten the load. The Maori model of health does something similar, it breaks health and life into four cornerstones that make up the four walls of a meeting house. It acknowledges that we have mental health, physical health, family/cultural health and spiritual health.
Here in the UK doctors are prescribing time in galleries .They are referring people to exercise specialists and they are nature prescribing. This has all come about in the realisation that our health needs to encompass our whole selves - we are spiritual, psychological, physical and mental beings and so we must nurture each of these aspects of ourselves to be fully healthy.