Detoxing from America’s wellness culture with Kerri Kelly
September 11th changed life for all of us, but for Kerri Kelly the impact was especially personal. In the aftermath of that event Kerri upended her life and went on a search for wellness. What she found was not what she expected and, once again, the trajectory of her life was changed.
In her new book, American Detox: The Myth of Wellness and How We Can Truly Heal, and in this conversation, Kerri explores the ways in which our culture of wellness perpetuates systems that are deeply unwell. She leads us in a conversation that helps us find our way towards the deep, connected wellness that nourishes us all and away from individualistic focus that keeps us stuck in unhealthy comparison and competition.
I couldn't put Kerri's book down and then, when we spoke, I wanted to talk to her for hours more.
Our distorted ideas of wellness hurt us all, and those ideas are so deeply embedded it can be hard to even see them. Kerri pulls back the curtain and gives us a path out, a path towards true healing.
Her book is out now and I can't say enough about how important a book I think it is. Listen to our conversation, read her book, and find your way to the healing that we so deeply desire.
For a written transcript of this conversation click here.
About Kerri Kelly:
Kerri Kelly, is the founder of CTZNWell, a movement that is democratizing wellbeing for all. A descendent of generations of firemen and first responders Kerri has dedicated her life to kicking down doors and fighting for justice. She has been teaching yoga for over 20 years. She is a community organizer, wellness activist, and author of American detox, the myth of wellness and how we can truly heal. Kerri is also recognized across communities for her inspired work to bridge transformational practice with social justice. Her leadership has inspired a movement that is actively organizing around issues of racial and economic justice, healthcare as a human right civic engagement and more. Kerri is a powerful facilitator, TED speaker, and is the host of the prominent podcast citizen, that is spelled CTZN. You can learn more about her work at KerriKelly.co.
1) Interrogate yourself. Be relentlessly curious about what you've been taught, how you've been shaped and indoctrinated by dominant stories and dominant narratives and cultures, and how that's holding you back from your own wholeness. So be curious about that. And how that's a part of a larger system, right, how you're a part of a larger system.
2) Locate yourself inside that system. What is your place, and proximity? We're all impacted and implicated in different ways. And I want to just say different and disproportionate, I feel like I have to say that as a white bodied woman with so much privilege. So it's really important for us to both take responsibility for our part in this mess. And also see ourselves as part of the solution, right? So it's like, locate yourself so that you can step into your right role and responsibility.
3) Engage in collective action, get political, work with other people, line up in solidarity with organizations who are on the frontlines of the many issues that we are navigating right now. Because personal solutions are not going to solve the many problems, the many systemic and collective problems that we're facing. And so it's really important for folks to see their practice beyond the cushion, and to see wellness as a radical political act, as we work to create the conditions where everybody can be well.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
American Detox: The Myth of Wellness and How We Can Truly Heal by Kerri Kelly
Decolonizing Wealth: indigenous wisdom to heal divides and restore balance
by Edgar Villanueva
Winner Takes All by Anand Giridharadas
Connect with Kerri:
Harmonica music courtesy of a friend.