images-1 2Sometimes we don’t know why we get the hit to do something. I remember a friend’s story about the tsunami of 2004. She and her wife were in Thailand with a plan to spend New Years on the beach. Suddenly she wanted to change plans and travel inland instead. Her partner agreed and they canceled their beachfront hotel. A fluke, perhaps, but one that saved their lives. How wonderful that she listened to her gut.

Lately a few decisions have come from a deep place of intuition in conflict with what I consciously wanted…even as recently as this morning. For years I have been hooked on dance classes at ODC. I have a class pass that will expire soon and surely that injury I’ve been nursing is healed by now, I thought cheerfully. As I headed out the door my mind, heart and body were all ready for their fix of endorphins, laughter, movement, awesome music. Yes! Halfway there I could hear it, louder than the urge to dance. It was my gut: “What do you think you’re doing? You’re gonna regret it. Your knee will become inflamed and it will set back the healing process. Not worth it.” In my eagerness to get to class I hadn’t slowed down enough to check in to my body’s deeper wisdom. So I decided to heed that brain. I turned around and chose to walk instead for my workout.

Much of our social programming has the effect of alienating us from our bodies. In order to handle all that life throws at us we often override information from feelings and intuition. By continually undermining and sabotaging that valuable source of information, it becomes harder to hear it. My work with clients is about reinforcing the channel for communication, amplifying the messages from the brain in the gut. We practice slowing down and listening to the body. I help clients utilize this listening in everyday life.

Last night in my course Falling in Love: A Course for Women in Authentic Self Nourishment we saw a common thread in the things that deplete our energy: they pull us out of our bodies.  All of these offer a seductive promise of a disembodied high or a quick fix: sugar, getting lost on the internet, saying yes to please others. When we get into the body we can make more nourishing choices.

Have you ever regretted a decision that was made from a gut feeling? I know I haven’t.

Scientists have started referring to the gut as the second brain. If you think about how the intestines look, they’re quite similar to the brain. The gut is actually filled with important neurotransmitters and has evolved to do much more than just move food out of our system.

lower-brain

“As ninety five percent of serotonin neurotransmitters are located within the gut, it is clear that feelings can literally come from the gut. The link between stress and the gut is also well characterized. While this does not provide evidence for a location for intuition, the possibility that the gut feels is evidence which may support the idea of a location of intuition. Furthermore it is possible that the gut’s nervous system provides more than technical reflex support to the brain. Unlocking these questions may lead to new developments in understanding intuition.”

from Thinking Outside the Brain: Gut feelings and following the head by  Raven Harris

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