Reclaiming our spirit – some thoughts on alcohol and self-love

I've been pondering humanity's troubled relationship with alcohol more deeply than ever, this last 18 months, since I stopped consuming it myself. Partly because the clarity of hindsight has allowed me to newly appreciate, and own, how alcohol was the bane of my life for just so many years; really, its consumption underlay some of the very worst experiences (and behaviours) of my life. In fact all of my biggest traumas except those relating to loss of a loved one had their foundations on a rock bed of alcohol-induced behaviours including some monumentally poor decisions and mindsets that had very far-reaching effects. The most pervasive of these was as a result of how alcohol imparted a subtle yet deadly sense of self-loathing that became deeper, more innocuous, year-on-year; only to be remembered like a faintly ringing Pavlov's bell each time I took another drink and thus snowballed into even more self-denigration with each occasion. I know these things for sure - the path to recovery requires that you take back your personal power, your responsiblity for your own health and that you unconditionally love (and respect) yourself; none of which are consistent with what alcohol, voluntarily, does to the body each time we consume it....

Super-sensitive abroad

Travelling away from home can be an extra-challenge for those of us with health challenges and sensitivities of any kind because it takes us out of our routine. It's not so much the distance but the upheaval that can be difficult to cope with (on top of the extra tiredness that comes with travel) when you probably have well-established survival tactics in place at home that enable you to cope pretty well with your health most of the time. Booking a holiday can feel a bit like planning to blow all that carefully created homeostasis to pieces in the name of having fun and there have been times when I wonder why I do it; is it even worth it (the answer, by the way, is yes). Changes in sleep arrangements and diet can throw health into disarray when maintaining that balance has become a finely tuned thing.

More energy…not less

It's a truth I've come to own over years of learning to hold the equilibrium of my physical body that allows me to lead a normalish life - akin to countless others who think they have a shortfall of energy, I possess almost too much energy inside my cells rather than too little. Those waves of crashing exhaustion that periodically seem to want to floor me are because my tank is overspilling with energy, not running dry. And its a trait I notice about a lot of so-called energy-depleted people, especially women....

Knowing your sugar tolerance

The extreme effects that resulted when two of us revisited eating sugar after a long break from it reminded me that these are the normal outcome of sugar consumption for all people. So the variance isn't in the biological effects but in how much people notice them or have adapted to shield themselves from, or absorb, the backlash (though the resultant health issues are seldom avoided so much as redirected into another form of expression; often a more severe health issue, further down the line). Most people push on through the effects of sugar without really acknowledging that they are there; as I know I did, for years. The more we consume the crazy amount of sugar our modern diet makes almost compulsory and extremely (shockingly) normal, the more we become (ironically) immune to it as the nervous system is pushed over the limit to where it has no choice but to turn down its own sensitivity to everything, even those things we want to experience, in order to cope; like a form of self-created paralysis. Its as though sugar only knows one setting - one that makes us receive more sensation, delivered in the most abrasive way possible and it is more than our nervous system, which longs to experience many things but wants to be way more discerning than that, can cope with. We become over-stimulated...and so we break down or are forced to buffer ourselves like we are under constant attack and, of course, some of us stop feeling at all.

Is “gluten free”a distraction from health?

Is "gluten free" a distraction from health as suggested by this article? I think so; not that its a bad idea but its the way we go about it, focussing on the avoidance and not on what is actively most healthy for us to eat. There's such a core life lesson in this....a reminder to focus on what we DO want, to embrace what is POSITIVE for us, rather than being in resistance mode, avoiding what doesn't work.

Transforming Epstein-Barr…an update

Revisiting this topic a year on during a (now rare) flare-up of Epstein-Barr symptoms, it feels like a great time to talk about all the massive health improvements achieved in that year through some new approaches to healing what can feel most stuck; not least via Anthony William The Medical Medium's amazing book which deserves another shout-out for being just so nail-on-the head with my experiences. If you have a so-called "unshiftable" chronic illness going on, this post is for you!

What our mothers have to teach us

Maybe thats the thing about oestrogen – it buffers us from ourselves until – suddenly no longer there, there is nothing left to stand between us and the life we have embodied for years and we are left to face up to it all, in one almighty effort. The brick walls that kept away the view we didn’t want to see, the unholy mess we didn’t want to deal with, is suddenly crumbled away, the view exposed and no avoiding it and so we either sink or swim as life’s full tidal wave comes in for us to surf or get crashed by. Put simply, we have to get our shit together really quickly or it can be all too much for us, whatever’s waiting on the other side of the thick smokescreen we put up. That mess could consist of terrible, habitual, lifestyle habits or a thoroughly rotten marriage – or it may just mean we need to make some tweaks and do some straight talking – but, whatever it is, there’s no buffer any more and we feel it – oh how we feel it all...

The oestrogen effect

By virtue of its key role - preparing for an egg - oestrogen has come to stand for and embody a protective urge. It dominates the process by which we prepare for and protect that egg before its release into the world; it safeguards the hoped-for pregnancy yet only travels as far as the threshold of that potential being realised, stepping no further forward with it, like a mother stood waving at the door. It knows only "hold" and "protect" as its inner mantra - and this is oestrogen in a nutshell, without frills and, yes, generalised down to its very essence as we all know that not every egg leads to the realisation of a new beginning, nor do we want it do. Yet there is a very real truism in this stereotype of oestrogen as the egg-holder, the homemaker, coddling her creation tightly to her bosom because, when a women is in her oestrogen phase, this is what a woman tends to do and there is very real evidence that she becomes single-minded, withdrawn and less independent during that phase. To quote Leslie Kenton (Passage to Power: Natural Menopause revolution) "She is more willing to adjust herself to the needs of others. When oestrogens are running, women like to attract a mate not so much to draw him into her body as to comfort, admire and care for her. Her ovaries seem to be smiling - 'whatever you want, I'm happy to give' they seem to say". She continues: "A few women who by nature are high oestrogen producers feel quite dependent on others for approval, and for the definition of their being". Any wonder that so many doctors, even some husbands, have been so keen on advocating oestrogen hormone replacement in order to maintain this personality type in favour of its alternative, the independent, outward-thinking woman...