Toot, Toot, Toot My Own Horn . . . I’m Right, I’m Right, the Belly IS the Master Brain . . . Dr. Mate Says So!

“The nervous system of the gut contains about one hundred million nerve cells — we have as many in the small intestine alone as there are in our entire spine!  These nerves do more than coordinate the digestion and absorption of food and the elimination of waste — they also form part of our sensory apparatus.  The gut responds to emotional stimuli by muscle contractions, blood flow changes and the secretion of a multitude of biologically active substances.  Such brain-gut integration is essential for survival.  Large volumes of blood, for example, may need to be diverted from the intestines to the heart and to the muscles of the limbs at a moment’s notice.”

“In turn, the gut is abundantly supplied with sensory nerves that carry information to the brain.  Quite to the contrary of what we believed until recently, nerve fibres ascending from the intestines to the brain greatly outnumber ones descending from brain to gut.”

“The brain relays to the gut data from sensory organs such as the eyes, the skin or the ears — or more correctly, relayed to the gut is the interpretation of such data by the brain’s emotional centres.  The resulting physiological events in the gut then reinforce that emotional interpretation.  The signals sent back to the brain give rise to gut feelings that we can apprehend consciously.  If we lose touch with the gut feelings, the world becomes less safe.”—-“When The Body Says No; Understanding The Stress Disease Connection” by Gabor Mate, M.D. — Page 146 paragraphs 3-5

So the head brain and the belly brain are in cahoots!  Saying that out loud makes me also say to myself, “Of course they are, what else could they be!”  It sounds to me like Dr. Mate is saying the head brain is an extension of the belly brain . . . a sensor and interpreter of information for the belly brain . . . information the belly brain uses to make judgments . . . gut feelings . . . intuitions.

Is this what Dr. Mate is saying?  I think so.  What do you think?


“When The Body Says No; Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection” by Gabor Mate, M.D. A Book Review

I am reading, for the second time, “When the Body Says No; Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection”.

The connection between the emotions and the physical body play a more important role than many people realize.  Dr. Mate recognizes and writes about this in very definite ways.

The first time I read this book I was looking to find my own symptoms and understand what is going on with me, and skimmed through most of the text.  Now I am reading for greater understanding of how emotions affect all our body systems.

According to Dr. Mate, many diseases these days are diagnosed through a process of elimination, when the physical cause cannot be determined.  Auto immune diseases, cancer, nerve pain, IBS, and fibromyalgia, to name a few.  The medical professionals are not sure what causes these diseases, but there is a connection to emotions according to Dr. Mate.  Why do some smokers get lung cancer and others don’t.  Emotions and stress play a role.

To seperate the treatment of a physical condition without taking into account the whole picture, including the emotions and levels of stress, is like looking at only a part of the picture.  What is not seen is often an integral piece of the puzzle in understanding the disease, and in prescribing treatment.

Like with me, to take medicine is not enough.  When I continued to live my life with the same stresses I had previously been experiencing, I was only getting worse each year.  To get better, I believe, I have to stop worrying.  In fact, I am not “allowed” to worry or stress any more; my brain scrambles when I do and I can’t think straight.  In order to think clearly, I must focus my attention on relaxing, appreciating each moment, and loving myself.  To do this, I relax into my center and stop living in my head.  I find I am not so concerned with doing, I am more aware of “being”.  In this state of “being” I still have desires, and act on them, but in a more centered and relaxed way . . . I guess I would say in a more Zen like way. Many of my old ideas, what I thought I should be doing, or needed to be doing, have fallen away.

I wonder what would happen if everyone in the world could only function in this way.  Would everything crumble or would we all begin to live better?  I wonder.



Is Someone Shoulding on you? Are You Shoulding on Yourself?

One of the words Patricia Evans talks about in her book “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” is the word “should”.  To tell someone they “should” do this, or “should” do that, is a controlling way of communicating.  Shoulding is of the ways we abuse ourselves and others.  Shoulding suggests shame if you don’t do what you “should” do.  A less abusive way of communicating with others, or with yourself, is to say, “You might like to do this,” or “Have you considered doing that.”

This approach may sound mambsy pambsy, but in reality it is simply more respectful.  To tell someone they “should” do something is implying you know better than they do and have the authority to tell them what to do.

Changing the way we communicate can be challenging.  I should on myself all the time, and on other people too, and don’t realize it.  My daughter Melissa, the amateur psychologist in the family, catches me doing this and calls me on it.  She was visiting the other day and pointed out that not only was I shoulding on myself, I was shoulding on everyone else as well.  When Melissa pointed this out, repeatedly, I began to catch myself and correct myself before she could chime in with, “You’re shoulding on yourself again.”

Shoulding is a way of putting pressure, or putting power over on someone else, or on yourself.  Shoulding can kill happiness, making life a chore instead of a joy.  This nerve condition I have (see My Very Spoiled Nervous System) is teaching me the evils of shoulding.  I had a conversation with my husband last night and he was directing me by using sentences beginning with, “You need to . . . ” and, “You should . . . ” etc.  All the things he said were valid things I “should do”, but because he was shoulding on me, I began shoulding on myself and woke up with burning skin and scrambled brain.  I overloaded myself with shoulds.

Honestly, a person could think of so many things they “should” do, it would take them many lifetimes to do them.

The only cure for my burning skin and scrambled brain, aside from increasing my medication again, is to relax, stop shoulding myself, and ask myself, “What is most important to me today?  What would bring me joy?  What does my heart long for?”

This sounds idealistic, I know.  I have a difficult time letting myself do what I want to do and not what I think I should do.  It’s working for me though.  Even though there is a very angry dragon inside me (see The Dragon and Guardian of Memyselfandi), I am happier than I have ever been in my life because I am learning to follow my heart.


"The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up"– a book review


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I just finished reading a BEAUTIFUL book by Marie Kondo called

“The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

I highly recommend it.  I loved the sweet feeling as I read Marie’s loving description on how to clean house.  She spoke to my resistance to decluttering in her gentle, understanding way, and brought a new spiritual dimension to cleaning that I found refreshing and freeing.

She looks upon all things with gratitude and love, and even letting go of things can be done with grace and thanksgiving.  Her perception that letting go of an unused item was freeing it to be of use to someone else, and that the item will be happier if it is used, was helpful to me.

When I saw there was a section on folding socks, my first reaction was “What, she even tells us how to fold socks?  That doesn’t seem that important.”  But that section turned out to be a very enlightening read, and one that I will never forget.

I will not give any more away with spoilers, but I have to recommend this book to everyone, and especially to those fellow hoarders out there who tend to keep things to the extent of bogging up down.

I have begun the process and I am loving it!  I plan to have some very cheap garage sales in November (I love to see peoples faces when they get really good deals!), to release all the items I have not been using, or that do not bring me joy, so they can be used again, loved again, and be happy!


Shame on me . . . OR NOT!



“Daring Greatly”!

I’ve been reading Brene Brown’s book called Daring Greatly.  Brown is a shame researcher and her book is hitting home with me, big time!  I even dreamed last night about all the ways I feel shame.  Let’s see, there’s the mother in  me, the father in me, the little girl in me, the little boy in me, the employee in me, the employer in me, the friend to others in me . . . and there were probably more, but those are the ones I could remember consciously so far.

Shame is different from guilt.  Shame is the one where one thinks ‘I am not good enough.  I am not enough.’  Guilt is the one where one thinks ‘I am good enough, but I did something that was not good.  I did something wrong.’  Shame is stifling and causes one to contract and feel helpless and hopeless.  Guilt can bring one to action and prompt one to make things right.

In the healing series I am currently involved in, through Wilderness Fusion with Karl Direske and the other teachers, I am looking at my main addiction: disconnecting (I have learned I disconnect with myself, my emotions, and with other people in order to feel safe), and holding that evaluation up to the shame model in Brene Brown’s book.  I can see how my feelings of shame and “not good enough” are contributing to my constantly disconnecting from others and from myself.

Shame is painful.  Disconnecting from myself, or my pain, or disconnecting from others eases the pain of the shame.  Understanding this is very healing because the “shame gremlin”does not like to be seen and understood.  Understanding how shame is affecting me, and understanding how shame began when I was young and how I continue to pass it forward to everything I do, allows me to discontinue that shaming voice within me.

I highly recommend the book “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.  I want to underline every sentence in that book!  There is so much important information in there for healing and understanding shame in our lives!!

“The Verbally Abusive Relationship” By Patricia Evans : A Book Review

In the last 5-6 years I have been working diligently to over come verbal abuse in all it’s forms in my life through clear communication.  For some people, like me, clear communication was blocked by my fear (see the next blog on fear).  But now, after coming through such a great learning of life’s lessons, I can share these books with confidence and understanding.

“The Verbally Abusive Relationship” and “Controlling People” are both by Patricia Evans, a communications specialist.  This is is something I have learned about in a very personal way, that I can share, knowing that the power of the messages in these books are extremely valuable!
Communication is so vital.  These books really help you understand about how the seemingly benign things we say to each other can actually be hurting someone, or how the seemingly benign things people are saying to us are actually hurting us.  By shining the light on verbal abuse in it’s most subtle disguises we can recognize it, understand it, and overcome it!
Check out my video book review on this link: