I think it is no mistake that Autoimmune Disease starts in our gut. Everyone in this movement is familiar with the term ‘healing your gut’. So to heal our guts, we start on the AIP diet, reduce stress and take supplements like l-glutamine to heal the intestinal mucosa. But, I say why stop there? Maybe that is only 50% of the whole picture. Why not take a deeper look at your gut? We all know when we get devastating news it feels like ‘we got punched in the gut’. Or when we get nervous to try something new we get ‘butterflies’ in our stomach. And the whole idea of simply reducing stress (going to bed early, staying positive, meditating, letting things not bother you) works only to a degree. In fact, the whole “positive outlook” is a pressure we are constantly exposed to, and it can make us really feel like we have failed when we are not positive. And that message is everywhere. Just go on facebook and scroll down your feed. I am not pitching the idea that we should not be positive. I am pitching the idea however, that if you go beyond choosing to be positive and into the realm of Loving What is Here (which contains the good, bad and ugly), you are setting yourself up for wisdom. That is really the ticket to freedom. That is the philosophy that gets us into our center, where healing comes forward. That is how we use everything to lift. If you really want to get to the nitty gritty of autoimmune disease, one consideration for a comprehensive look at healing may be a conversation with your gut about the beliefs it holds. Because I see the gut as our body-brain; the center for taking messages we believe about the world and managing those beliefs on a physical level. When we make up beliefs about ourselves to survive the circumstances in our life, it affects our most basic safety center: the gut. Lets say for example you were rejected by your father as a child, and then perhaps made up a belief about it. It may have been that you are not worthy of love. It may have been that love will never touch your life. It may have been that the world is hostile and devoid of caring. That belief takes root. It needed to, because at that age, you needed to make sense of how horrible it must have felt to be rejected. Then disease becomes just an after-thought that manifests itself like a ripple in a pond after a stone was thrown. And there, in that place of working with our beliefs about what we think and feel about the world is where we can unwind the tangled strings that make up dis-ease in the body. And instead of relying on our diets alone, we can integrate support from everything that makes up our life for health, joy and abundance. Now when I consider a healing approach to healing the gut, I find myself not able to discount the whole picture. And just the willingness to look at beliefs we may have about our lives can unlock what holds us back. It can be as easy as saying “I forgive myself for believing the world is an unsafe place” in the presence of a witness that can unwind, let go and release beliefs. The evolution of science is already hinting that this sacred place can be a treasure trove for our health. Just look at the amazing success of the Omega Institute for an example of how this type of work can provide incredible alternatives for health beyond just diet.
There are a few valuable resources for the comprehensive heart-centered approaches I speak of. Working with me is one and The Loving Diet program I offer is one of them, but there is a movement of others making up this work. I believe this kind of healing path to be the most significant emerging mind-body science for the next decade. I believe the blending of the loving-kindness philosophy, along with the healing modalities such as noetic field therapy and progressive anti-inflammatory diets and supplements like the AIP diet could be the blend of resources that provide the most complete road map of healing so many people are looking for. I think that is how we heal the gut; when we look at what we believe about the world. Doing this work myself for the last decade, I find that sometimes the difficulty is figuring out what beliefs I hold that are holding me down. When I ask myself about what beliefs I have I can’t think of any. That is when working with a practitioner helps. Do you think the world is unsafe? Or hostile? Or against you? Or unfair? Because I don’t think we need to live with those beliefs anymore. And I think those beliefs are at the bottom of the pot, the stew that has been brewing your disease. When we place awareness on those beliefs, they dissolve. When they dissolve, that is a process of acceptance. Acceptance is a form of loving. Then the body-brain (gut) can get behind the new way of living inside your body. We let go of what is ailing us. The premise begins with the willingness to choose it. Wisdom is an experiential process. As many of your know, we don’t become wise parents by reading parenting books. We become a wise parent by raising children, making mistakes, loving, forgiving and trying new things. As wonderful as it may be meditating on a mountain top or living as a monk in a monastery, the more you surround yourself with experience of your life, the more opportunity you get for gaining wisdom. I believe autoimmune disease has such a tremendous potential for unlocking this work because autoimmune disease is so experiential. It presents itself so clearly through symptoms in the body. The same goes for chronic disease. And failed relationships, sorrow, addictions and many behavioral disorders. They seem to be a part of our daily lives like a song that won’t shut off. I wonder if instead of protesting about their constant nagging through the aches and pains they manifest, we use them like a doorbell to open the door to the deeper understanding of what gifts they hold for your life. Then instead of your disease being the fire breathing dragon, it becomes the vehicle that opened your heart to the vast expanse of loving.
Here are a few wonderful resources I use quite a bit for diving into this kind of work:
3. Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser
4. Any book by Pema Chodron! But I love this one.
5. Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up And Leave Insecurity Behind by Kristen Neff
6. Noetic Field Therapy (be sure to listen to the audio clip)