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Good Health is More than Moving and Eating Well: Conducting a Health MOT

A marriage

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.

But then,

unexpectedly,

something wonderful happens:

Someone,

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.

- Michael Blumenthal

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.