By Adrienne Ryan, Brisbane, Australia
A few months ago I was feeling not so great in my body. I was overweight, tired, my period had been going haywire and I had been experiencing discomfort in what I thought was my left ovary area. It had been some time since I had gone to my GP. Usually I visited him when I was too sick to work. This time was different. I was still working and going about my day-to-day life, but I realised that I wasn’t feeling good and I wanted to know why. I decided to book in for a thorough check-up to see what was happening with my 46 year old body.
I enjoyed being there with my doctor, taking the time to say, “Hey, I’m not sick sick, but I don’t feel well either.”
We did some hormone tests and these were all normal. It turned out the area I thought was ovary discomfort was actually my bowel and we scheduled a colonoscopy. My GP also recommended a bone scan.
I went back home and realised something had changed. I started to pay closer attention to my day-to-day habits and how they felt. I became more aware of the part of my diet that was based on instant food gratifications that tasted great but left me feeling buzzy, heavy, fuzzy, tired, bloated, itchy, congested, dull or depressed afterwards – signs that my body wasn’t enjoying what my mouth was. I started to realise that there were many foods that didn’t truly agree with me. As the weeks passed I began to let these foods go and noticed how much easier my food choices were and how I enjoyed not having the mental tennis match of will I or won’t I have a corn chip now? I had started to master choosing what to eat from my body’s perspective and not my mouth’s. I also began to see how the quantities of foods, or times and ways I ate also had an effect on me: too much and I would feel tired, too late and I’d wake up feeling whacked, too fast and I’d over eat.
A month came and went and I noticed how I didn’t have the same heaviness in my being that I did before. My weight changed a little, but I noticed a greater sense of lightness, ease and evenness. The other amazing thing is that my periods returned to what I considered normal for me.
I felt more alive and it was great that my period had normalised, but there was more to go. I still felt a bit sluggish and my digestion, even with the changes I’d made, was still not flowing smoothly.
I booked in for a visit with a naturopath and spent time beforehand filling in a detailed questionnaire he gave me about my health history. It was like writing an autobiography of my body and was a great confirmation of how much my health had changed from a severely asthmatic, allergy, eczema and bronchitis sufferer to a woman who, after making changes over time in my lifestyle ‘suffered’ these things no more. It was also inspiring because it made me aware of things that were not as severe as these past conditions, but none-the-less left me feeling less than well and vital in my body. I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day.
The naturopath performed some tests and we came to see that for my body there was too much of some things (meat, some nuts and too many egg yolks) and too little of other things (mineral salts, cod liver oil, hydration). He suggested cutting back on the too much and increasing the too little. I have done this for three weeks now and, we’re becoming intimate here, my bowels have returned to a beautiful, regular, healthy consistency. I would never have said my bowels were terrible but how I feel now is so clearly different that I have a new level of ‘normal’ for my bowels.
Today I went into hospital for my scheduled colonoscopy. There were lots of questions to answer about diet and the consumption of drugs and alcohol, and information needed on current medications I was taking. When the nurse checked my answers with me I realised from her comments that it is not so ‘normal’ to not drink alcohol at all or to not be on any type of medication.
The procedure was done and I was aware of what was going on and really appreciated the gentleness and skill of my surgeon and his team. I was told I had a beautiful bowel and that there was nothing there to worry about. It was great to have the confirmation by the medical system that my bowel was healthy.
It was only later that I discovered I had perhaps answered incorrectly on the questionnaire when I said no to being on any medicine. I realised that although I am not on specific medication, my daily life is actually full of medicine – what I choose to eat, drink, how I rest, exercise, prepare for the day to not be rushed or stressed, conduct myself gently through the day, the way I end my day and how I go to bed…is all medicine.
The more I use this medicine the better I feel in my body. It has been an ongoing experiment but the results clearly show how well prescribed this form of medicine has been. I am looking forward to discovering more of what it is to truly feel well and lovely in my body all the time.
400 thoughts on “Beautiful Bowels and Beyond”
“I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day.” What a great marker! That is not currently how I wake up feeling, so more work to be done there to live in tune with and in harmony with my body. I have had some very clear understandings recently from experiences showing me the huge impact of emotions and thoughts on the body. My doctor once told me that a long run over kilometres has a big impact, but telling someone they have a serious health condition like cancer can have an even bigger impact because of the emotion – my doctor was speaking from experience. This week I have really seen how well I feel when I’m socialising and having fun, basically being and expressing me and the joy of being with others, and how unwell I feel if I let negative thinking take hold. There is so much we can tweak to bring about vitality if we listen to and observe our body, and observe how life impacts or supports us.
This is a beautiful confirmation that life is Medicine, what we eat, how we look after ourselves, how we sleep, if we can live life in an harmonious flow, then is it possible that this is felt by the planet we live on and so it wouldn’t have to take such correcting actions such as earthquakes and hurricanes to restore the balance of a society that is totally out of balance.
It makes sense to me that the body thrives with a very detailed level of care, stemming from its own feedback. The body is such an incredible and amazing organism, yet we live so unaware of this and as a result we don’t really value or care for ourselves. Each body is filled with different cells doing amazing jobs to help keep the whole body operating, how wonderful it would be for us all to know more about this and hold our bodies more preciously.
Every part of our body is needed to be a part of the whole. If one part is not working or flowing efficiently, then the other parts become affected. To me this is saying everything is needed and nothing is discounted.
Take care of the all and the all will take care of you.
Shushila I like what you have written
‘Take care of the all and the all will take care of you’
This reminds me of my biology lessons years ago where we discovered that some plants have a symbiotic relationship with each other so that they live harmoniously. They say that plants and animals reflect back to humanity and this is a great reflection for us to all consider.
I read this blog as I am currently working and focusing a bit more on my colon, digestion and what I eat and have definitely started to do this more ‘I had started to master choosing what to eat from my body’s perspective and not my mouth’s’, reviewing what I eat, which feels good. While reading your blog what came to me is just how hard it is to get a doctors appointment in the UK. In the past people used to be able to call and someone would answer and they would book you an appointment for either that day or a few days time. Now from experience and talking to other people who have the same experience, you call for ages and get told to either call back in a weeks time as that is when the new appointments will be made/booked or be given an appointment for 2 weeks time. Also what I got told by the surgery’s receptionist is that I can only book 1 appointment for 1 thing, so for example if I had several things I wanted to discuss or get checked I needed to book several appointments!!!!! This alone just shows how much pressure we are putting on the health service. Your blog is a great reminder that the way we live can be medicine and in fact it is this that only needs changing and I feel this is something as a whole we definitely need to understand and live more.
Love this Adrienne what a fantastic blog, you have certainly inspired me to take more loving care of food choices and how I live my day.
it’s so true that the way we choose to live is our medicine so not just what we put into our body but also the way we move through life as well as appreciating the choices we make on a daily basis and reviewing them where necessary.
The whole blog is food for thought! I found the latter part more confirming, life is medicine and medicine is life, they go together hand in hand. When one is affected, then look at the cause of the effect and address it. Life would be simple if we could do this more often.
Medicine is so much more than medication we may have, its every choice, our every move in our life.
“I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day.” A beautiful prescription for true health.
There’s much power in claiming that the way we are living is a medicine in itself. It is the amalgamation of love and commitment to ourselves that no one else can give. What more could be nurturing than that?
Our bowels are able to tell us a lot about our general health and what we are eating too is often a reflection of how we feel, it is amazing how everything is related especially to the way that we live, I have found in the past when I lived in anxiousness it had a direct correlation to what I ate in terms of comfort food which in turn had an affect on my bowels too.
I have been looking into this more … the importance of our gut health and how this affects our whole wellbeing is quite huge and I can really feel this in my body (which is why I have been looking into it more) but agree that instead of just focusing on one thing or part of the anatomy how we LIVE can be our medicine ✨ This is an old wisdom that seems to, on a grand scale within the world, currently be a bit lost (or ignored). It would be great to come back to this truth.
“how I enjoyed not having the mental tennis match of will I or won’t I have a corn chip now?” Oh my, I know this one well. A loving work in progress for me to end that game.
What a confirmation that listening to our bodies and honouring what we feel has a huge impact on our health and wellbeing.
The effects of food on the way we feel is absolutely massive – I have been experimenting recently with different kinds of food and after eating some food my clarity has gone, my focus has gone, the skip in my step has gone and I feel heavy for hours. Could certain foods not just be an innocent indulgence but have an actual harmful effect?
It’s great to have the awareness that our every choice has an impact on the body. Our choices can can be supportive and in harmony with the body resulting in vitality and lightness, or not supportive with all the accompanying uncomfortable symptoms. It’s actually a really beautiful partnership.
A partnership truly worth investing the time to build a deeply supportive way of living through.
‘… too much and I would feel tired, too late and I’d wake up feeling whacked, too fast and I’d over eat.’ It’s really interesting the understanding you had when observed closely the way you ate. I take note of it, because even though I take care of my diet and generally know the effect of food on my body, what you share here helps me to reflect even deeper in how I approach it. Thanks Adrienne.
Medicine – so much more than just a pill box, the way I lie here, the way I move, every food and exercise choice, the way I put myself to sleep, the way I wake up in the morning – basically every choice we make is either contributing to or hindering our health and well-being.
Our bowels are like other parts of the body we ignore until something goes wrong with them. Building a relationship with them and getting to understand the language of the bowels is so beneficial to our overall well being, along with not blaming them when things slow down, stop or move too quickly.
Julie I love what you’ve shared here about “the language of the bowels” and building a relationship with them. I’ve also been focusing on feeling my bowels through the day, the ascending, transverse and descending sections and understanding what they symbolise in esoteric medicine, as well as generally listening to them and feeling what may be impacting this part of the body. I’m also aware of other parts of my body, including my neck and the language it has for why things do or don’t feel great, and other parts of the body. It’s fascinating to build this relationship and be so aware of what the body symbolises and communicates and how my daily choices impact on it.
Well said Julie, we ignore most of our body until something is wrong, but it’s really worth taking note of every part of ourselves and what is actually happening – rather than waiting for something big to go wrong.
We often think that we get off scot-free when we mindlessly consume foods without worrying about the after effects but eventually, those choices do catch up with us; be it with excessive weight gain, sluggish bowels, feeling dull when we wake up and generally being low in energy. I have recently taken to reviewing my foods and have found that there are many things of which were not helping me to feel vital.
Medicine is so much more than pills and surgery, it’s how we live and when you consider that this is almost all of life, it shows how our relationship with how we live and our bodies is vital. And it can be as simple as eating from our body and not from taste, a great reminder that we are so much more than our mouths!
I agree our daily life is a form of medicine because every choice we make is either harming or healing and the key is to know the difference by building a relationship with our body, and through that we know what supports us and what does not support us.
So true – the way we choose to live is a medicine, either good or bad, and recognising it as the medicine that supports our well-being is a great way to appreciate it, and that in itself is a part of the medicine.
Every time we feel and honour what our bodies are telling us, we confirm our innate wisdom that is available to us at any time.
There’s nothing like the feeling of having your bowels working as they should, in contrast to when they are sluggish and struggling. Having a closer look at our diet does help, along with what we are not dealing with in life and letting go of those things.
So inspiring to read. I too can relate to the effects of eating too late and how certain foods leave you feeling heavy, bloated, tired, racy, congested and being constipated. I am still in the process of exploring what foods to choose to eliminate. I find a stubbornness around letting go with certain foods due to wanting comfort.
I love how are bodies are so sensitive that they keep up with the nurturing choices we make for ourselves taking the opportunity to rid themselves of accumulated toxins and continually readjusting and showing us how to make the adjustments in our diets that will continue to nurture ourselves further.
We often do not consider any of this in our day to day lives, and it is inspiring to read of the simplicity “…my daily life is actually full of medicine – what I choose to eat, drink, how I rest, exercise, prepare for the day to not be rushed or stressed, conduct myself gently through the day, the way I end my day and how I go to bed…is all medicine.” We complicate life so much, in essence what you share is what we could all be learning and maintaining from childhood. Illness and disease rarely arrives suddenly, its path to being shown in the body comes from a line of choices we have made previously, life style diseases are an epidemic and they are growing and so conversely ‘Life is Medicine’ If we choose it to be so.
That is staggering and something that will only continue to increase while we rely on getting fixed rather than maintaining our health to the best of our ability. There will be times when we require support and it is vital we get it, however there are so many ways we can support ourselves in day to day life.
“…. my daily life is actually full of medicine – what I choose to eat, drink, how I rest, exercise, prepare for the day to not be rushed or stressed, conduct myself gently through the day, the way I end my day and how I go to bed…is all medicine.”I love this. Yes, our life is medicine – not just the what we do , eat etc, but the how is as important, and whether it is harming or healing us.
“I realised that although I am not on specific medication, my daily life is actually full of medicine – what I choose to eat, drink, how I rest, exercise, prepare for the day to not be rushed or stressed, conduct myself gently through the day, the way I end my day and how I go to bed…is all medicine.” So true – I concur Adrienne. A lot depends on our definition of words, which can mean different things to different people.
Amazing proof that our bodies are an incredible science and every little choice we make affects the balance and homeostasis of them, it’s simply about learning to refine our choices, diet, exercise, sleep, communication so we don’t interfere with this beautiful equilibrium.
When you look after your body consistently for a while you can get blasé and think you can do what you like. But as my body reminded me yesterday it did not heal and improve just so I could abuse it again but to go deeper with the way that I live – thank you Adrienne.
I love the idea that we could fill out a form and acknowledge the way that we choose to live is our best form of medication. I will take this to my next consultation.
“I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day.” Reading this has helped me to recognise and appreciate this is my measure of wellness too. I have not been feeling vital for a while now and am taking steps to change this, but hadn’t appreciated the massive changes that have already occurred in my body due to the medicine of my choices that I now live by.
It is great to put the bar of feeling well up to a level where we say ‘I am not sick but also not feeling well’. I noticed whilst reading how some foods and especially over eating gives me a discomfort in my stomach area after eating and that I accept this a just the way it is. Yet I feel inspired now to experiment with this and see if I can find out what it is that causes me this discomfort to eliminate it.
I’d love to see ‘living medicine’ or ‘how i live medicine’ on the list of medications that we take as you are so on the money, it is our commitment to living in a way that loves and nourishes you that is our daily living medicine.
There’s something very wholesome about your blog and about making life our daily medicine. It means every day we have the potential to make small adjustments that have ginormous effects on our health, all it takes is some willingness to investigate and experiment to see what truly works.
Our everyday life choices effect our body, and I have learnt that in order to look after myself I need to make loving choices that support me and therefore my everyday medicine is down to each and every choice I make.
This is beautiful Adrienne , its so wonderful hearing about a person taking responsibility and knowing its not a burden , but a huge pay off in how our life is . It must also have been inspiring for the medical staff to read your chart and the answer you gave to medical questions.
Wow this blog has really inspired me, what an amazing way to approach life and your health with making constant little adjustments and the utmost care for your body and well-being. It’s remarkable how a few little tweaks can make the biggest difference.
“I had begun to measure wellness not on the absence of illness but on the presence of a body that felt lovely, alive and beautiful to wake up with and be in every day” – this is very inspiring and makes me really value and appreciate the way I live as medicine as well. Thank you, Adrienne.
Beautiful realisation Adrienne, we offer ourselves the greatest complementary medicine to any ailment when we start to live medicine in our every day.
Life can indeed be a medicine and I love the way you have experimented with food and different things in your life, to see how it may affect the body. It is quite remarkable that so many of us have illness and disease yet we are not making those simple life style adjustments in order to do our part when we arrive at the doctors. Western Medicine generously provides such a support in this country but we cannot continue to abuse the system, a patient like you, is an ideal patient not because your bowel was healthy but because you were willing to adjust what is needed in order to make sure that it stays healthy.
It’s very inspiring to read of your story Adrienne, although it seems you looked after your health well, you have taken it to another level. It shows that while we might measure our health as normal against the normal, doing so is a dangerous thing as the only normal is really what is right for us and each passing day that changes and might well require a different level of care.
I love the way you reconsidered what medicine actually meant for you. Wouldnt it be great if we all started making this claim when visiting health professionals? 🙂
A beautiful testament of the miracle effect when we live our own medicine. If this was the first point of call when we felt ill or not quite right, we would take a lot of pressure of the medical system.