What Is Wholeness?

To me, wholeness means feeling balanced and good about how we handle the many challenges that come our way every day.  Life will always be a mixture of good and bad, easy and difficult, love and fear – and everything in between! What lies in our control is the way in which we react to the things that happen to us.

Wholeness also means accepting our imperfections (yes, it’s hard!), loving ourselves just as we are, and feeling peaceful enough within to experience joy and derive a deep sense of meaning and fulfillment from our lives. Wholeness is not a destination that we reach and stay in for the rest of our lives, but rather a place we strive to inhabit moment-by-moment and as much of the time as possible, an endeavor which requires the willingness to examine and choose our mindset.

While each of us must find and define our own path to wholeness, as well as the pace at which we can comfortably travel, I’ll share with you what my path has looked like so far. It takes the shape of a spiral, as I shift my attention from one area of my life to the next – not necessarily in a particular order and for as much time as I need. I raise my awareness of my own needs, working to integrate that new awareness into my everyday life, then move to another section.

The Sections of My Spiral Path

To walk the path to wholeness, I:

  • Process emotional pain and mistaken beliefs from the past, as well as grieving, accepting and relinquishing that pain; this may involve forgiving myself for mistakes I’ve made, asking others for forgiveness, or forgiving others who’ve hurt me
  • Learn how to better love, unconditionally accept, and care for myself – physically, emotionally and spiritually – which includes a daily practice
  • Locate my inner self and get to know that being, allowing feelings and intuition to be my guide
  • Connect with God, stillness, faith, the Divine, the Universe (whatever name you give it) in ever more meaningful ways
  • Enjoy and adjust my personal relationships as I grow and change (I’m so grateful for the amazing people in my life who accept and embrace the ever-changing me)
  • Align my daily life with the values of my inner self (allowing my inner self, instead of my mind, to steer the ship)
  • Find a more profound sense of the meaning and purpose of my life (there are lots of books that can help with this!)
  • Design and bring into physical form all of my wishes and desires (yes, it’s possible!)

At times, the act of integration is less purposeful and more restful, as if happening on a subconscious level. And I’ve also found it important to play and rest in between periods of concentrated work; this re-energizes me and prepares me for the next stage of learning. I listen to my inner self and follow its cues.

Eventually, I return to each prior section, but at a higher point in the spiral and with an entirely new perspective based on the learning and integration I’ve done within the other sections. Through this ongoing process, I sense the progression of my life. And I’ve found that I now feel wholeness and well-being much of the time (compared to a state of chronic depression, this is really great!), which enables me to more fully exchange love with the people in my life, to experience joy, and to share my gifts with the world.

With each turn of the spiral, my understanding and experience within each of these sections deepens and becomes more fulfilling. Do you walk a path to wholeness? What does yours look like? How would you characterize your sections?

My Spiral Path Toolkit

To help me walk my path to wholeness, I’ve developed a toolkit – a group of attitudes and practices that help me respond to stress and keep me moving in the right direction. Each of us must create our own toolkit, but mine includes:

  • Willingness to uncover truth and be vulnerable
  • Gratitude practice
  • Affirmations practice (choosing positive thoughts about myself and my life)
  • Meditation/prayer
  • Time with my loved ones – family and friends
  • Meaningful work
  • Books and learning
  • Spending time in Nature (hiking, walking the dogs, etc.)
  • Examining the events of my life symbolically: what is each event or person in my life meant to teach me?
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutritious food and hydration
  • Healthy sleep
  • Tuning into my inner self to ascertain its needs and try to meet them (like noticing when I want to say “yes” to a request, or “no”, and honoring that)
  • Creative expression – any kind of artistic or creative pursuit
  • Play – unstructured time to do whatever I want

This is how it works for me. How does it work for you? What tools do you use in your life to keep you feeling healthy and balanced?