What does a sneeze, a bowel movement, and vomiting have in common? I know, it sounds like the beginning of a joke. But all three are vital bodily functions with the expressed purpose of discharging toxins from our body. Each utilizing a build up of internal energy and momentum until the final purge is complete.
These three reflexes, and many others, are hard wired into our physiology. Like a pre-loaded app on your smart phone that you can't delete. But unlike the app, we don't have to spend time learning how to use them. When our body fires them up, we learn real fast how to get out of the way and let them run.
Prior to their event, all three provide a familiar prodromal awareness, a foreshadowing of what's to come. The sneeze and the bowel movement are somewhat pleasurable and welcomed. And while no one desires to vomit...we know compliance is mandatory.
You can feel the energy building from your insides, each having their own time and intensity signature. More than a purging reflex, they offer us the opportunity to deepen our relationship with our body. These powerful reflexes challenge our need to control and our ability to surrender. The ultimate lesson being - how to surrender to our physiology. That's the easy part. The rhythm is gonna get you.
More challenging is how we can harness this inborn knowledge to improve the quality of our relationships with the rest of our world. It's a blueprint to becoming whole. These three reflexes teach us the ABC's of how to surrender to our body. From easy to difficult, they each present a different level of opportunity to heal physically, and emotionally. The physics of their frequency, intensity, and duration could be categorized as small, medium, and large.
The sneeze is the simplest to subdue and the easiest to allow it to happen. We can prevent a sneeze with little physical consequence. There is no risk of interrupting the outcome or just allowing it to complete. Quick onset and resolution. If it was a sine wave, it would display a sharp rise, peak, and fall. Somewhat of an annoyance, but also briefly exhilarating in it’s own way. For these reasons, the sneeze provides a small degree of physical healing and almost no emotional healing.
An exception would be if this sneeze reflex becomes dysfunctional. The most obvious example is an exaggerated multiple sneezing attack often associated with seasonal allergies like hay-fever. The annoyance can escalate into frustration. But as far as I know, no one has ever been seriously injured by sneezing.
The bowel movement has more emotional and physical depth than a sneeze. A series of peristaltic waves with a crescendo of intensity over time. It is our friend, why not let it have it’s way? We know we are going to feel better to just let it happen. In the right place and time of course!
It is estimated that 90% of our serotonin is made in our gut. This presents a lot of opportunities to heal physically and emotionally. A greater capacity to heal and harm when dysfunctional. Constipation, diarrhea, colitis, Crohn’s and Celiac disease are some examples. More is at stake, it reaches us at a much deeper level. It seems harder to even discuss, let's move on.
The vomiting experience takes even longer to emerge and resolve than the bowel movement. From it’s first inclination of arrival, it is not welcomed. Of the three, it is the most challenging to our ability to surrender. It feels so unpleasant and unnatural. It is unnatural, but a healthy response to toxins. Like a drill Sargent, the vomiting reflex will sternly teach us how to let go.
I remember being concerned about how Quinn would handle the first time he would need to throw up. I recall his innocent expression of fear as he experienced those unfamiliar internal organizing rhythms working to make him healthier. His lesson was to surrender to his physiology. I wanted to save him. But my lesson was to surrender to the wisdom of his physiology and not try to save him. I think mine was harder. He did great. He threw up on Selina.
We did not have to learn these physiologic reflexive maneuvers. When our body needed the event, they emerged and executed their purpose. We do however need to activate these lessons that are anchored deep in our body-mind. How powerful it is to be able to surrender to a life situation?
Good news - surrender is the easiest thing to do.
Bad news - surrender is the hardest thing to do.
More good news - our body already knows how to do it.
PS. A balanced metabolism and clear nervous system is your direct pathway to accessing this inner knowledge. Come see me in the New Year.