WHAT IS BELLY INTELLIGENCE?
Belly Intelligence is a doorway to realizing the natural and organic capacity of our body to support and inform us in an intelligent way. I call this Belly Intelligence because sensing into our belly center is the way we gain entry to this world of knowledge. Our body is a resource to be valued, not an object to be used and abused. Belly Intelligence first teaches us how to change our relationship with our body, so that we learn to trust it as a supportive ally. The body is also a storehouse of information about our relational patterns, our health, our self destructive behaviors, and our potentialities; so it can give us perspective into the recurring challenges we face day-to-day. Our body has a record, a somatic impression which reflects the impact from our environment, past and present. These impressions literally get stored in our tissue, and mentally they appear as beliefs and constructs about ourselves, the world and the relationship between the two. Belly Intelligence is also about investigating these imprints somatically, in a truthful, curious and open-ended way. Our bodies don’t lie – if we listen on our bodies’ terms. Once we understand these historical influences and see how they are impacting the present moment, we can also begin to explore the third level of belly intelligence: our body’s innate wisdom, a perspective and understanding much deeper than the ordinary “intellect” we use in daily life. When we begin to feel and sense on a gut level, we can then bring this amazing resource to our everyday challenges. Simply put, Belly Intelligence is about understanding our somatic imprint & signature, our unique perspective in life, and our body’s intuitive faculty that helps us thrive in the challenging times in which we find ourselves.
WHY IS BELLY INTELLIGENCE IMPORTANT?
Whenever I speak about Belly Intelligence, people always tell me, I can use some of that, I am too much in my head! When faced with any challenging issue, especially those filled with reactivity, most of us circle around in thinking that rarely seems to get anywhere new. It’s no wonder. For the most part, we live in a “heady” culture that values a logical, mental approach to knowing things, and we believe that the rational mind is the only vehicle available to deal with the issues we face. While addressing situations “head on” seems like the only answer, science is telling us differently. Science knows that the Newtonian way of perceiving the universe like a clock, mechanical and logical in its functioning, is simply not the whole story. The Newtonian world view, steeped in the breakthroughs of the Renaissance period of western civilization, is only a partial perspective of reality. New biology and quantum physics show us that mechanistic problem solving is an inadequate approach for the challenges that Living Systems face. Human beings, and the relational networks we live in, are complex and dynamic. We are not clocks. Utilizing only our rational mind to face complex dilemmas is like using only our left hand when we’re ambidextrous. In our hectic lives today, we NEED the body’s support just to get us through our days in a sane way. And our social, political and economic spheres need leaders that utilize ALL of the resources and faculties available to them.
Unfortunately, the body has been given a bad rap. Most of us have been somatically shamed, undervalued, or misunderstood. We have been taught that the value of the body’s perspective is far less than the intellect’s. I am here to tell you this is NOT true. Our bodies are intelligent beyond belief. If you attend one belly intelligence workshop and participate wholeheartedly, I guarantee that you will come away having a deep sense of how valuable your body’s perspective is to your daily life. If you don’t, the workshop’s on me!
THIS SOUNDS KIND OF NEW-AGEY OR AIRY-FAIRY. WHAT RESEARCH SUPPORTS THIS APPROACH?
Belly intelligence is far from airy-fairy. It’s a down-to-earth, in your face, roll up your sleeves, get real approach that does not tip toe around the nuts and bolts of real life challenges and issues. It seeks truth in a different way—one that relies on our gut’s, not our mind’s, point of view.
There is plenty of research that substantiates the fact that our thinking affects our reality, showing that what we believe we see and create in the world. Science is also proving that the body is directly affected by our thinking, down to the
- Chemical responses in our autonomic nervous system and brain functioning (Molecules of Emotion, by Candace B. Pert, Ph.D.)
- Biology of our body where at the cellular level our thinking affects how open/growth vs. closed/protected our cells operate. (Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, Ph.D)
Furthermore, Mind-Body research, brain research and Somatic psychology have shown that all psychological impressions are stored in our tissue. Literally everything that happens to us leaves its mark in our body, imprinting our physical form with tension patterns, inclinations towards health and/or disease, and even somatic storage areas of hardened beliefs and attitudes which are reflected in the ways we walk, sit, and compensate for shut down areas of our soma (body). And here’s the interesting part, Mindfulness meditation studies at University of Massachusetts Medical Center show how body awareness is a remarkable tool for managing stress, pain and illness (Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph. D). In other words, the body is full of subtle energies that can create areas of tension, pain, pleasure and a variety of physical and emotional sensations. If we can learn to understand and “sit with” these stored impressions in an accepting and open way, these energies soon relax, as does our mind. In other words, the body can affect the mind, just as the mind affects the body. For more on research and resources, see the Deeper Investigation page.