I first heard of Reform Wellness during Lent on this episode of the Poco a Poco Podcast. I, like so many, have been spiritually formed by the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and know that anyone invited on the podcast shares a similar heart for the Friars and their work.
“Reform is a functional medicine and holistic wellness practice rooted in Christ. We redefine health as the state of the body and soul together.”
Naturally, afterwards I began following Reform on Instagram and really became intrigued with the idea of Christ Centered Wellness:
Our mission is to empower people to grow in wholeness and become the best versions of themselves: physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Choosing Reform Wellness
There isn’t anything in the Catholic sphere that really bridges the gap of physical wellness regarding the mind, body, and soul. I have seen other businesses that tackle one or the other but not the integration of all three.
I knew Reform would be more than what came to mind when I heard the word "wellness," which is homemade kombucha, some sort of green smoothie, and an exclusive gym membership that gives you access to a spa-like resort (that’s probably due to living in Las Vegas, NV, and seeing all spectrums of fitness and wellness to the extreme).
Because Fr. Innocent is the chaplain of Reform I had a feeling the course would be unlike one I had ever taken and that the influence of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal would be a part of the process which is what intrigued me to begin with.
As I continued to prayerfully discern if I was in the right season and could place myself in the right posture to receive what the program had to offer, I became aware of my answers to the following questions.
Is God Calling You to Reform?
We invite you to prayerfully consider Reform Online™ if you find yourself…
- Switching between diets that don’t work or craving food freedom
- Losing sleep and struggling to manage daily stressors
- Craving community and feeling isolated
- Confused, exhausted, and chasing an image of health
- Searching for meaning in the mega and mundane moments
- Overextending yourself while ignoring your health in the process
- Feeling unbalanced in your work, home, and social lives
- Craving change or a better way of living
- Filling your calendar with busy work solely to feel productive/keep busy
- Living reactively instead of proactively
- Feeling disconnected from your faith and purpose
The last time I was in any type of wellness routine was before I got married and had kids which was a little over ten years ago. With so many changes to my body over these last couple of years, I realized it had been a long time since I had taken a sincere inventory of the state of my overall wellness.
During the last couple of years I have been very focused on my prayer life and growing in community with my Blessed is She small group which has brought me immense joy and gratitude. However, other areas of my life felt disconnected to my overall wellbeing.
With an increased awareness of how I talk to myself with judgement instead of compassion, being burnt out from doing work outside of the home that was unfulfilling, settling to be the people pleaser and never saying “no,” the time felt right to pursue Reform Wellness.
During The Course
At first glance, the program looked too good to be true. Would I really be able to work my way through Reform’s nine wellness pillars of faith, nutrition, functional movement, rest, community, personal growth, environment, play, and stress management through a Catholic lens?
Reform’s motto is:
Take care of your body as if you are going to live forever and take care of your soul as if you are going to die tomorrow. // Saint Augustine
It is such a radical statement, and yet one I had never considered. I figured fatigue, exhaustion, mood swings, sleepless nights, and craving sugar were just part of being a mom of small children. I hadn’t considered that there could be other matters at play. When I reach for that dark chocolate or pick-me-up latte at 3 p.m., I just thought I was participating in refueling myself for the next leg of the day. You know the homework, dinner, and bath time routine. While refueling isn’t unhealthy in of itself, what and how I was refueling my body was misaligned with what my body was actually asking me for. I didn't have the mindset to question why I was eating the sweet treats I was reaching for, or the reasons I was overcommitted to things outside of the home. I was just used to volunteering for this thing or being involved in that thing and never gave a second thought as to how any of these things took away from my energy, joy, or time.
Being able to have the space to consider the nine pillars and the areas where I felt I disconnected helped me start to do the slow work of bringing order to those places of my life that were begging for it.
The Holy Spirit will open your eyes to the things you have had on the back burner because maybe at the time it felt too hard to face the realities of certain unhealthy habits or a lack of boundaries left you feeling defeated.
The truth is that God is always asking us to surrender every part of our humanity over to Him, body and soul. Reform opened my mind to new ways of praying, listening, and actively looking for the Lord in my daily life as a wife and stay-at-home mom. It helped me realize how deeply interconnected every aspect of our person is and how it all belongs to Jesus.
He doesn’t just want to take care of our spiritual lives; He wants to take care of our mind and body too.
The Hard Truth
It is hard when you are doing this and your spouse may be on a different journey in terms of wellness or your kids don’t need to change their diet or their lifestyle. However, the beauty of Reform Online is that because you are growing into new habits it will affect your family incrementally. While I did have a tiny inclination to overhaul at the beginning, the Reform team continued to remind me and other students that that is the way of the world and not how Jesus produces new fertile ground for growth.
Even when I caught myself thinking, “I am falling behind,” I would remember that the format of the program is there to help and not to add stress to Type A+ personalities like myself.
As lay people, we may think that sisters, brothers, priests, and other religious don’t have it bad because they are in the right environments that don’t produce as much stress, toxic relationships, burn out, fatigue, or tax their mental health. But, after all, they are human beings. They too need rest, to reduce stress, and to recommit to placing Jesus at the center of their lives each and everyday.
The difference is we fall out of obedience or a desire to be committed to a rule of life that will help us cultivate ways to become a Whole™ person in order to be Holy™ (as Reform teaches).
Living in the world we fall prey to making excuses and being okay with complacency without really knowing that we are. In my own prayer life I have compartmentalized the order of things that I thought were most important to take to the Father when in reality every aspect of my well being is connected.
Discover Reform Wellness
If you are interested in journeying on the next Reform Online course consider joining this free webinar to learn about Christ-Centered Living or read Fr. Barry Braum’s blog post to help you discern if this course is for you. Lastly, if you are a CFR fan and want to read Fr. Innocent’s Reform journey check it out here.
The next Reform Online Lenten class begins February 28th and goes through May 20th.
Don’t allow cost to discourage your wellness journey. Reform Wellness offers payment plans as well scholarships through Reform Alms. To find out when scholarships are available sign up here.
Reform doesn’t replace health for an Idol. It empowers you to take the discouragement that you may feel in some areas of the pillars of faith, nutrition, functional movement, rest, community, personal growth, environment, play, and stress management and provides you with concrete steps to do something about it with Jesus leading the way.
Reform offers a community Rosary and Divine Mercy Chaplet prayer every Wednesday at 12p.m. EST. The zoom link is always posted on the Reform IG account prior to the community prayer.
Reform is offering our readers a 10% off discount of all products and services through January 31st. Use code BIS10.