© 2019 by Ashley Smith & Milagro Midwestern Spa Collective

  • Ashley

Overhealthiness.

They say to find what you were born to do you should focus on what gets you fired up. What makes you angry. What really gets your blood hot.

Twice this month I’ve had spa guests use the word “guilty” when talking about scheduling time for themselves at Milagro. One of them recently returned from a medical missions trip to Guatemala and one recently endured a life-shattering tragedy.

This guilt is not okay with me. I can say with near certainty it would never cross their minds to feel guilty about taking time for a good workout or a delicious and nutritious home cooked meal.

I’m not upset with these fantastic folks who use Milagro to fill their own tank or to escape the unfair heartbreak of life. I’m angry we don’t value the health of our souls at anywhere near the obsessive level we value the “health” of our bodies. And I’m putting “health” in quotes because now that “health” is a hot, marketable commodity, it is no longer actually health we’re talking about. Ironically, we’ve lost our damn minds over “health”.

“Health” is now a consumer trend, which means it will be sold to all of us using the traditional marketing tools of fear, guilt, and inadequacy. Yay.

Quite possibly the dumbest and most insulting meme ever. And that’s saying a lot.


And I’m super glad we’re now equating morality and virtue with “health”:

-“Clean” eating (As opposed to unclean? What is this, Leviticus?) -“Buy goods, not bads” (Thanks for that gem, Whole Foods. Let me guess, the food you sell for 40% more than any other store is the “goods”. Wholesomeness is expensive.) -“Food as it should be” (Really, Panera? The only time “should” can be used regarding food is when discussing the way Lamar’s makes glazed donuts. As they SHOULD be.)

What we’re missing here is a couple important things: actual health does not look like one particular image (sorry, Instagram) and in many (MANY) cases, ill health is an unfortunate luck of the draw and not the consequence of insufficient juicing.

These are inconvenient facts when you are marketing to the masses and need to convince them if they buy your BS they will become the picture of “health” (insert photo of thin white girl in yoga pants here) and will be safeguarded for life against any unfortunate diagnosis.

When we make “health” the mark of a virtuous life, we kick dirt in the faces of people struggling with actual health. We stigmatize the use of necessary, life saving medications (real medicine, not food as “thy medicine”) and we degrade an entire segment (err, like 99%) of the population who could never afford the “healthy” lifestyle we’re being sold.

In case you couldn’t tell, this topic fires me up. It’s why I avoid the “wellness” label like the plague. There is nothing “well” about selling this type of “health”.

In my world, I see people who are tired, stressed, lonely, struggling, disconnected, and discouraged. They work too many hours in jobs they don’t find meaningful. They invest all of their energy into their kids to the point of exhaustion and wonder if they’ve done enough or if they’re doing it right. They have 1,600 Facebook friends and feel completely alone. I see people whose souls are being neglected to the point of international health crisis. I have DAILY conversations with people who look around at where we are and what we’ve become and feel the need to run. Far, far away. Again, this is not okay with me.

And it is why I am determined to remove soul-care from the “guilty pleasure” category and place it where it belongs, in the category of absolutely necessary to be a good human and spread hope and good human-ness to other good humans.

Refined sugars are not my demons to fight. They just don’t rile me up.

No amount of this week’s hottest superfood will heal fragile souls and struggling hearts. And those are the ailments I care about most.