Take a look at any magazine in the grocery store checkout lane and you’re bound to find articles referencing “self care” and the importance of taking “me time” for anyone seeking happiness and a balanced life. While the theories behind self care are (mostly) beneficial to the soul, they tend to focus too much on the individual instead of the larger community and, therefore, lack a lasting effect and legitimate power.
What if, instead, we focus on healing practices that look outside of ourselves? Even those that look to the past for inspiration and ahead to the future for vision? What if we find ways to work towards true liberation and resiliency by bringing back the practices that have been lost and stolen for far too long? That, my friends, is “healing justice” and it’s how our communities will be restored.
What Is Wellness in the First Place?
It’s fairly safe to say that the world has a somewhat healthy but sometimes troubling obsession with wellness and the pursuit of it. There are countless books, seminars, and gadgets devoted to chasing it and capturing the riches it promises. But what is it, really?
In definition, “wellness” is the practice of healthy habits to attain better physical and mental health outcomes. By pursuing wellness, the hope is that you’ll be able to move from merely surviving in this world to thriving.
Many people think this is found by turning yourself into a pretzel in yoga, others look for it in a soothing bubble bath with a good book, and some believe they find it in a church or mosque. It can be elusive and abstract, distant and foreign, and yet we devote boundless energy and time to getting closer to it. Most of the time we spend this pursuit by looking inward, focusing on our inner being and reflection, and trying to become one with our inner child.
This is all well and good, but there seems to be a major component missing to this pursuit of wellness. What if true wellness comes when we start looking outward?
Healing Justice and Its Role in Wellness
Healing justice can be defined as both a term and a movement with a shared goal of correcting the generational trauma that has been endured by people of color for centuries. It aims to quiet systemic violence and oppression by utilizing ancient healing practices that have been renewed for inclusivity in today’s modern world.
In short, it’s a collection of practices that was created to respond to trauma and violence by focusing on healing and political action.
Wellness intersects with healing justice when it’s sought in a community that has experienced such trauma. True wellness can only be reached when the community itself is healed, and that kind of healing only happens when individuals who have undergone the healing process come together to examine the systems and legacies that have created the environments we find ourselves in today.
Without healing justice, wellness is only a pipe dream.
Healing justice can be seen in many different practices and methods. These are often found in brave spaces where individuals are encouraged to receive and practice healing through counseling, support, therapy, and massage therapy.
These spaces are for anyone that’s felt marginalized or excluded due to their race, background, or even sexual orientation. It’s here that healing justice and wellness partner with one another to create truly healthy individuals ready to take on the world.
World Transformation Led by Healing Justice
It may sound trite to say that the world will be transformed by healing justice, however, it isn’t that far of a stretch. Imagine communities, cities, counties, states, and countries that place a new focus on dealing directly with the systems that have contributed to trauma for generations?
Is it really hard to believe that such a movement could actually change the world we live in? What about the world we’re building for our children and our children’s children?
Healing justice is about more than any one individual. It’s even about more than one community. It’s about dismantling the racism that has been ingrained into our nation and replacing it with liberation, joy, and equality.
It’s about restoring the power of the Black man and woman and creating a future where we walk tall and proud not because the world says we should but because we’re walking in the strength and legacy of our ancestors. That’s healing justice. That’s true wellness.