As I write my head is a whirl, a mess of knotty thoughts that won’t unravel. I’ve had the bones and the desire to write this post for a few months now about the stomach spleen and how it’s responsible for energy transformation and distribution, yet it won’t formulate into a clear coherent line of thought and then it comes to me …. It is this chaotic state of mind that I need to write about. I need to enter the confusion and enjoy the process, to see what comes rather than write this blog as another job to tick off the never ending “to do” list that makes me into the person I think I am. I could write easily of needing to mother the child in me blah blah, eat sweet veg such as carrots blah blah and that would reinforce Jo as the person who writes about Shiatsu & Conscious Cooking. Today I will write from a place of playful exploration rather than efficient multi-tasker. I am more than my everyday logical mind, I can tap into a larger field of consciousness and come up with creative thought way beyond what I imagined was possible. So here goes…
Stomach/spleen energy covers mental thought and activity, we chew over ideas or if we over think things we get knots in our stomach. This mental capacity of needing to sort things out, to put things in place or arrive at logical conclusions gives us a feeling of control and security in an ever changing world. However it is not this logical mind that brings us true security, it is the clear mind free from thoughts of the past and desires for the future where we find peace and stability, Like the bright blue sky which may be obscured by emotional clouds, thoughts and events, it is always there showing us its always blue and everything will be ok in the end.
We must trust in the mystery of life, relax into the flow and receive the abundance that comes from the void. We don’t have to do it all and we are not responsible for everything. Over mothering will deplete the stomach/spleen energy.
Sometimes I have difficulty accessing this state of mind and definitely have trouble holding onto it. There can be a discomfort in silence and letting go that not thinking creates. But it is silent connecting to what is, the changing energy of life, without needing to control what is that brings true nurturing and security. Tidying up the kitchen, finishing a business plan or solving a mathematical equation brings momentary satisfaction but there will always be more mess to clean and more problems to solve so unless we can relax into the understanding that we never get it finished, we will wear ourselves out filling our lives with short term fixes or turn to substances such as chocolate or narcotics to gratify and fill the void.
The stomach/spleen sensory organ is the mouth so it is no surprise that in times of instability and uncertainty we can use this organ to ground us either by eating, smoking and even kissing. In different ways all these actions use the mouth to bring us satisfaction just like a baby suckling on a nipple. However these are short lived fixes and we need to take care they don’t become addictions especially when we consider that the flavour for this season is sweet. All too easy when we need to feel secure to head for the chocolate or the biscuits. Nothing is inherently wrong but if we use a substance or action to escape from our situation it does not solve the problem it merely weakens us and if stomach/spleen energy becomes weak it creates dampness in the digestive system which can accumulate and become phlegm. Symptoms manifest as heavy, tired muscles, candida, thrush, eczema, asthma and of course being overweight. The mind becomes cloudy and thinking goes around and around. So to break the cycle and support the stomach and spleen consciously you could try the following
- Eat plenty of grains such as millet, brown rice, quinoa and barley
- Avoid carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and potatoes as these are broken down using insulin and changed into sugars. If there is too much insulin the body looses magnesium which is essential to synthesize these carbs into energy. This leads to the heavy tiredness discussed above
- Eat warm sweet foods such as carrots, parsnips, squash, sweet potato
- Cooking food begins the digestive process. Too much raw, cold food can build up dampness in the body
- Chew, chew, chew – essential for the digestive process
- Chickpeas are great for clearing spleen damp
- Don’t drink water whilst eating, it puts out the digestive fire
- Find time to sit on the grass and feel the support of the earth, relax the mind knowing that everything is perfect as it is
If I’m very honest and personal I think my mind is whirling because I’ve just finished dating a guy and am swirling adrift once again in the sea of singles. No more hugs for a while (great for the stomach and spleen; see blog on children) means that I have to be careful not to go off into organisational overdrive so instead, carrot sticks and humus, lie on the grass in my back garden, drink in the perfection of the present moment and cornflakes on the kitchen floor.