We are in changing times – change is all around us – in every way!
It is the season of late summer, with the earth element in focus and the nights are drawing in. The dew is heavy on the ground in the mornings, the warmth is mellow and we are harvesting what is possible after an incredibly dry summer. We are on our way to the autumn and the metal element – the time in the Chinese calendar for letting go of what we no longer need in life. For many of us letting go is hard to do.
The large intestine – the gut – helps us in the process of letting go and allowing space for new dreams and possibilities to emerge. So, it also figures that this could be a time of protest at the changes we know we need to make. We may hang on to what we are familiar with, old ways of being and doing as well as to old beliefs and connections. But this year there is a huge difference. We are facing huge upheaval in society – with water scarcity, food shortages and enormous energy costs – climate change in action will hit us all. Money will not last as long as it always has. Life as we have known it is changing fast.
The question I have been asking myself is what will help us to achieve the change we need to make in our lives so we can still be healthy and most of all so we can be joyful. And one answer seems to be to pay attention to our large intestine – our gut brain – our second brain.
Let’s start with a few facts about the gut brain, helping us to increase our awareness of our gut brain as we face any of the difficulties that are coming our way. Our guts have ten times more neurons than we have in our heads – it is truly another brain with its own intelligence.
SOME PHYSICAL GUT FACTS:
- First and foremost, it is important to know that a healthy gut means a healthy immune system
- The gut produces Vitamin B that supports the nervous system and repairs and develops the cells we need
- It is an energy producer for the muscles of the body
- Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, is produced in the gut; also, Vitamin D that feeds our immune systems.
- 95% of the body’s serotonin comes from the gut as well as hosts of other ‘happy’ hormones – our guts keep us joyful!!
- The gut contains trillions of microbes that keep us healthy as they work in symbiosis with the rest of the digestive system.
‘The gut is not simply a fleshy tube for carrying waste from the body, a kind of fleshy sewage system. It is far more than that. I describe it as a living, breathing inner city, one that contains teeming trillions of tiny organisms, its microbes. These are the bacteria, fungi, yeasts, viruses, parasite and other tiny beings, all of which we need for a balanced system. Bacteria make up 90% of these trillions.’
Extract from my book: The Way of the Tracker, available on Amazon.
Coming to realise that we have ten times more microbes in the gut than we have human cells is sobering – each microbe has DNA and a life! Microbes inhabited our beautiful earth long before there was other life – and now they operate in symbiosis with humans, we simply cannot live without them.
How can we support this internal life?
- Nutritionally we can feed our trillions of microbes – with pre-biotics. In other words, eating roughage – vegetables, fruit and fibre
- Our guts like natural food – microbes are ancient, they were brought up on simple food for millennia – today’s processed food just doesn’t support them.
- We can make positive affirmations that support the health of the gut – both our head and gut brains like us to talk positively to them.
- Be aware of the intuition that speaks to us – not like the head brain does in words and thoughts – but in instinctual responses and reactions.
A simple exercise to help with letting go
Re-setting the Large Intestine Meridian.
- Find the two large intestine acupuncture points that exist on either side of the widest part of your nose, next to your cheek
- Place a finger on both sides and breathe
- Slowly sink your finger into the skin, the muscles and tissues until your fingers come to rest on the bone (or more accurately the covering over the bone, the periosteum)
- Slowly rotate your fingers in this spot, imagining that you are very gently moving the periosteum along with the rest of the bone coverings. Do this until you feel a change of some kind – a yawn, a sigh, a feeling or a knowing
- Bring your fingers slowly out of this position as you come through the layers.
- You will have changed the connective tissue covering the bones and enabled change to be present in your body – oh so gently!
For more information on this and other Vagus Nerve enhancing exercises see Stanley Rosenberg’s book: ‘Accessing the healing Power of the Vagus Nerve’ North Atlantic Books 2017