Wednesday, 27 May 2015


Humans are the most adaptable species on the planet. The cost of this is that our younge (or young-lings as Star Wars will have it) take the longest of all to be independent. 
The advantage is that we can exploit nearly every situation or environment there is, from the arctic to the jungle, from hunter gathering to mega cities.
Humans (me and you) have adapted and more importantly will continue to do so. 

Now I find this idea a little intimidating. We will continue to adapt! That means that every thing we do, every thought we have, every behaviour we express will lead to adaptation (to change). So doing nothing is not doing nothing it's active adaptation. 

So when we slump on the sofa it's not neutral it's an adaptation to slumping on the sofa. The same is true for; taking the car rather than cycling, being negative rather than positive, eating crap rather than something healthy, I'm sure you get the idea. 

But the positive expression of this is also really true, every time we make a better decision we adapt. That means that in a relatively short space of time we can change. We can be fitter, more flexible, happier or more positive (whatever your list looks like). 

For me the point is there is no nutral, we will adapt; we have no choice, we just need to keep actively choosing to make that a positive adaptation. 

It makes us responsible but also means we have an endless ability to get better, whatever that means to you. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Our second brain and fecal transplant (maybe don't read this over breakfast)

I have often spoken to my Shiatsu Clients; and any one else who will listen,  about our second (I think first, as in earliest) brain in the gut

This fascinating BBC program about  digestion features this; (around 37:08 in)

I think really worth a look

The section on fecal transplant is interesting, this was filmed in 2011 and my understanding is that many people have been treated with great success. 

Our understanding of our own Eco system is so small, its role in both physical and emotional life is just starting to be understood my western science. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been looking into this for a couple of thousand years and has some fascinating ideas in this area. 

Wikipedia has this
The concept of treating fecal diseases with fecal matter originated in China millennia ago. Fourth century Chinese medical literature mentions it to treat food poisoning and severe diarrhea. 1200 years later Li Shizhen used yellow soup aka golden syrup which contained fresh dry or fermented stool to treat abdominal diseases. 'Yellow soup' was made of fecal matter and water, which was drunk by the patient


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Letting go

WWe create ourselves every day. We repeat patterns of thought and behaviours which together construct an image of who we are. Much of this is neutral and indeed necessary, but much is old, stale, and unhelpful. Thoughts and stories about how; useless, ugly, clumsy, stupid (insert your own list) we are. 

Previously I have spoken about the work of listening to these, facing them and seeing who's voice they are. 

In this post I wanted to suggest just letting go and to give you a simple method to do so. 

Using something that is always with us and totally free. The breath. 

The method is simple; 
Deliberately breath in through your nose, at the top of that in breath, let go. 

So the work is in letting go. You need to not breath out in an active way. You need to allow the breath to leave by just letting go. 
If there is a feeling of effort (and there often is) just try again. Let go, give in, yield, do nothing, collapse. 

Do it once, do it for 5 mins, do it a 100 times a day, whatever you have time for. 

You may find that with the letting go of the breath you start to let go of some of the other things we don't need to hold on to. 

There are lots of possible reasons why this works, but it doesn't matter too much. This is not a theory it's a practice. You can only experience the effects by practice. 

So, well; practice. 

Be aware that release can be strong. Things we have been holding can be released. These can be physical, emotional or spiritual (or a mixture). It can be shocking or difficult; for me the important thing is not hold on, but to accept they are flowing through you. You may want to explore the feelings; counselling, group work, meditation or body work. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Drifting free from the body

I have treated a number of individuals who have or are experiencing different mental health issues. This is not surprising as its a problem shared by so many folks. 
(1 in 4 according to the Mental Health Foundation

Anxiety and depression seem particularly prevalent. I work in many ways to assist with the person as Shiatsu assists the whole person not just symptoms. But our work together (often along side other interventions) seems to have really positive effects. 

The common thread of my work is bringing people into their bodies, in a positive way. With appropriate touch the client reconnects, with an aspect of themselves that often gets lost in these situations. 

During episodes of mental ill health it's common for people to live inside their heads. It's easy to start to believe the thoughts we have, and then often a spiral of negative feelings, driven by negative thoughts happens. It's common for these negative thoughts to be based on the past or the future but seldom if ever in the now. 'I should be', 'this shouldn't have happened', 'If only I could'

The body is always in the present always in the now and it seems that the more time we spend in 'now' the better. I'm not saying we don't need to reflect or plan, but if we can keep some part of us present when we do, we can do this with greater skill and less harm. 

At the beginning of having treatments the session is like a holiday from the dominance of mental and emotional  activity.

As the sessions continue the client can learn to take the perspective that the holiday gives into the rest of their lives. 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

The body and loving oneself

For quit a while now I have been practicing a form of meditation called loving kindness. The structure is that one develops loving thoughts towards others; close loved ones, not so close loved ones, strangers, people we don't like, people we really despise and finally oneself. 
Of these groups the one I have always had the most problems with has been myself. Generating genuine compassion towards myself seems to be very difficult. I have spoken with quite a few folks around this and my experience is not uncommon. 

I can be really quick to see the less than perfect aspects of myself. My self judgment can be so much harsher than I would ever judge others. If I spoke to others how I internally speak to myself I think I would be friendless very quickly. 

And when it comes to my historical judgment and attitudes towards my body, well it really has not been skilful. 

So I have been starting to try to develop a practice of love and patience towards myself, to treat myself with the same (if not better) level of compassion that I would others. I'm actively practising in meditation and Yoga and dropping into it throughout the day when I remember. 

It's a work in progress but something that I feel is essential. How can I really offer compassion or love to others if I can't offer it to myself.