Healthy like an air balloon
Working in the National Health Service taught me that health is complex.
It’s not a question of health being there or not. Health is more like a 3-dimensional ballon: It can be fully blown up, lacking a bit of oomph and shrivel, or be altogether flat. To play and have fun we need a nicely blown up ballon, right?!
The World Health Organisation reminds us health is more than the absence of disease: A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Wow, that’s a tall order!
I’d add to that ecological wellbeing. Without ecologically sound foundations, none of the other aspects are achievable.
So, hand on heart:
Are you well? Are you healthy?
Are your family members?
Are our societies?
I am living parallel lives (striving for integration!), diving deeper into human and soil health.
Working in neurological rehabilitation, I see people with severe brain injuries achieve remarkable things. Others, with sometimes less severe injuries can struggle. What enables or disables them apart from their impairments, is often the quality of their social communities. The relationships they invested in pre- and post injury can have a huge impact on their long-term health.
The conditions we create as a society play an equally important part, leaving some at an advantage and others at a disadvantage.
Hmm, aren’t there parallels with ecological communities, and the link between elements?!?
To give space to my other passion, connecting with food producing and wild(er) landscapes in the UK, I took sometimes shorter, sometimes longer breaks from my NHS work. I started volunteering on farms. One of my favourite jobs that I often found myself drawn to, was composting.
I was curious to meet all these different compost characters, and woohoo, some were very pungently characterful – not pleasant but at least occasionally intriguing, others sad and neglected, sulking to themselves, with not much going on, others springy, spongy, vibrant or just the reliably, trustworthy kind, others not quite sure what they wanted to become.
Now I am learning with the help of excellent tutors and a microscope, what’s really going on with these characters, and how I can help them be vibrant.
I am on my journey to being a soil health coach, training on the Consultant Training Programme with Dr. Elaine Ingham’s Soil Food Web school and learning widely from pioneers in regenerative agriculture and my own observations.
Towards a whole-some understanding
Science is catching up with how nature has been operating all along. Neuroscience is discovering that microbiology has a huge impact on our brain and overall health. The microbiome reasearch for humans and the soil biome research is converging.
Bacteria are not our enemies. Neither are fungi. In fact, many are positive life-buddies. If we get afflicted by some disease-causing organism, we may question our underlying health, and the condition of our own health-supporting microbiological community.
We are learning that it is all connected. We are connected through biology, and are part of nature.
As a counter-point to ecological collapse I want to contribute to beautiful resilient landscapes, rich in life and water, producing nourising foods. I want to see people connected to their landscapes, and hope this will result in fewer people needing to overcome the impacts of preventable diseases.
Cheers then – to good health! And please check whether your compost may need a drink, too.