Guts: a noun meaning entrails but also a verb meaning courage. Not a coincidence.
Last week I wrote about the physiological impact of stress on our gut, and of our gut health on our stress resilience. So important! There’s more to this story, as the gut is related to a lot of emotions. Take these common idioms: things which are ‘gut wrenching’, having ‘butterflies in the stomach’, ‘I couldn’t stomach that atrocity’, ‘he had no stomach for that work’, ‘she had a gut reaction’, ‘there’s a knot in my stomach’. Right? Our culture hasn’t randomly made those up. Our guts cop a lot of emotions, and they speak to us about it. Like I mentioned last week, those emotions aren’t inert, they can have a physical impact on us.
They can also have an energetic impact on us. Our gut is quite literally our core. Our centre of gravity. It is the place of our ‘gut feeling’ – of deep, wise knowing. When our gut is our of whack energetically we will probably be having physical symptoms, but we will probably also be experiencing problems in other areas of our life, such as lack of work/life balance, being walked all over by other people, generally wanting to hide away, being unable to make a firm decision, and being afraid to assert our opinions.
These teachings have ancient origins. In the Japanese traditions the area of your guts is your ‘hara’, your centre of power and reservoir of life force energy. Teachings on the seven chakras identify this area as manipurna, or the solar plexus/ third chakra. It is said to be “a source of personal power and governs self-esteem, warrior energy, and the power of transformation.” (Thanks Deepak Chopra.)
How good is that, the source of our warrior energy, right there in our guts.
A couple of weeks ago I was reading an article called ‘I spend my time writing about the economy, but the climate data hits me right in the gut‘. Just that headline resonated so strongly with me. For how many of us is the area of our gut an issue? I’d vouch to say lots. I’m not at all surprised that my own feelings of powerlessness about climate change, feeling unbalanced and off centre in my life, being undecided about my future, and stressed out, manifested in my body as a broken gut. We can be proactive about this though (she says with the gift of hindsight). We can look after our physical and mental health and that warrior energy by taking care of our gut physically (see my suggestions here), even yoga and pilates help – core strength people! We can also look after our guts energetically.
Power up that energy centre
My favourite chakra teacher is Belinda Davidson, she’s so matter of fact about it all. I’d like to pass on her advice about the third chakra, which she relates very strongly to our courage and free will, and our ability to hold our own and stand up for what we believe in – essential Earth Warrior traits you’d agree! In the two of her workshops which I attended she guided us to place our hand over our solar plexus, so just above the belly button, and with eyes closed in a relaxed state bring your mind to that area and sit with it for a while, breathing into it, and then, if you like, to imagine the space being filled up with yellow. You know when you’re done. You can also imagine it filling up with light. Belinda has a free mini chakra course on her website with the instructions if that’s something you’re interested in, and I can highly recommend her chakra cleanse meditation (not affiliated, just like it).
If you want to have a red hot crack at looking after your guts, then join me this September for my online soulstainability kickstart! From the 1st to the 28th we will be honing in on our healthy habits to build a lifestyle that supports our Earth Warrior calling, one step at a time.