New Moon in Cancer: Autoimmunity and the Loss of Self-Tolerance

(Image: We are One, by MiaCharro.)

I’ve been reading a book called The Hashimoto’s Healing Diet: Anti-Inflammatory Strategies for Losing Weight, Boosting Your Thyroid, and Getting Your Energy Back by Marc Ryan. As I was saying here, I keep an eye out for thyroid stuff, cos it’s in my genetic stream.

I also know that an unconscious Western diet leads directly to disease, which is not what anyone wants! So I am always interested in books on food, nourishment and health in general, but it’s a slow process sifting through everyone’s ideas and feeling for what resonates for me at an embodied level.

Certainly a lot of this book resonated. Ryan and I share a love of physiology – aren’t our bodies farking miraculous!! I can nerd out on gut health for a long time!

But I was particularly interested in this statement:

“Autoimmunity is the loss of self-tolerance.”

With any autoimmune disease – of which there are so many these days – our immune system has lost the ability to differentiate between our own cells and foreign invaders (like bacteria, viruses and other proteins), so we attack our own proteins, and our own tissues made from these proteins.

If everything is interconnected – which I believe it is! – then this physical lack of self-tolerance can also mirror a lack of emotional/mental self-tolerance.

Play with that for a minute.

We’ve lost our self-tolerance, our self-acceptance… We are intolerant…

The metaphor feels apt when I look at the world around me!

What do you find hard to ‘tolerate’ or accept in yourself or others?

Do you tend to direct that judgment inward or outward?


Seeds of Self-Acceptance

Just as we can change our diet and slowly update our ‘oral tolerance,’ we can tweak our mental ‘diet’ to one that is less reactive, less judgmental, more loving, more accepting.

(And, of course, we know that our physical diet affects our gut health, which directly influences our emotions and how we feel!)

This is part of the power of Thought Field Therapy, also known as tapping: “Even though I’m feeling ______, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

That is a radical statement right there, whatever you fill the gap in with!

How do we shift our mental ‘diet’?

We can curate what we are take in.
We can choose what stories we live by.

Ryan says: “Some of the most powerful health decisions actually involve doing less…”

With all that said, it’s a real delight and privilege to be maiden-voyaging with Reclaiming Rest as a Pathway to Joy and a bunch of deep soul-travellers, planting seeds of self-acceptance that can grow to feed ourselves, our families and our community! 🎉🎉🎉


Millennials as Human Capital

Another book I’ve been reading this last month is Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials by Malcolm Harris. Obviously this concerns the social context of Millennials/Gen Y, and is set firmly in an American landscape (where the differences of race, class, money, etc, always seem extreme).

There’s a lot being written about Millennials and burnout, so I was interested to read more. (See here and here.)

This book, with its big-picture questions, its mistrust of institutions and general cynicism, has been a counterpoint to my deep immersion in the themes of joy, rest and periodic slowness. Though our paths totally intersect at freedom as a necessary ingredient for the good life!

In Harris’s words, “No one puts their whole self into their job like a Millennial who never learned to separate work and life enough to balance them, especially if they’re wired on uppers and get anxious when they’re too far away from their phone.”

Kids have less free time than they once did. School and homework take up a significantly higher proportion of time than they used to, with kids reporting less ‘happy’ time. (There’s a direct correlation between being able to choose one’s activities and feeling happy, of course.) University tuition costs are astronomical, with reduced ‘gains’ or employment pay-offs for this human capital ‘investment.’

Students sign up for what can be a lifetime of debt owed to the state, without the option of going bankrupt. University funds are increasingly directed towards administrators and construction, rather than teaching staff. Job security is diminishing. Anxiety, ADHD, prescription medication, all these (and other) understandable coping mechanisms are on the up.

To summarise: the rat race is alive and well, and children are being taught how to run as effectively as possible on that hamster wheel, to generate the most profit for a small group of business owners.

Oh man, I hate that thought. But it feels fairly accurate.

I’m back to autoimmunity, and a society eating away at itself. Parts of society just not coping with these intolerably stressful conditions, becoming unable to differentiate between genuine sources of nourishment and pathological habits and structures.

And that society eating away at the planet’s resources. Profit eroding almost everything of value. Violence and weapons in service of profit. Unsustainability and intolerance in every direction.

Is this really the world I live in? Hand me the Prozac now!

Harris says: “We aren’t dumb, we’re adaptable – but adapting to a messed-up world messes you up, whether you remain functional or not. The kind of environment that causes over 80 percent of young Americans to find most people untrustworthy is likely to have induced additional psychic maladies, and there has been no institutional safeguard to put the brakes on the market as it has begun to drive more and more people crazy.”


(Winnipeg General Strike, 1919)

How Do We Change the World?

How to create genuine, structural change? Is that even possible?

I jumped to Harris’s Conclusion, wanting some answers.

But he doesn’t hand any over, instead talking through why buying, voting, giving/volunteering and protesting don’t work, and it’s hard to argue with him, or the guns that come out at almost any significant protest.

(See the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, or Tiananmen Square thirty years ago, to name just two of so many…)

Is it ridiculous to be practising mindfulness and self-acceptance in a world where so many of the dynamics don’t deserve our tolerance? Instead, they deserve our ire, our rage, our heartbreak, our tears, our despair…

Perhaps the work is accepting, receiving – welcoming, even – our heartbreak and despair, and choosing stories that help us embody a alternative value set.

I hear a ‘yin gospel‘ of cyclical sustainable wisdom whispering in my ear…

What is true ‘good news’ in today’s world, and how can I live that out?

I choose to believe that growing our self-awareness means we can refuse the trendlines and make different choices. Choose slower, choose less, choose an inversion of capitalist values, choose peace.

I choose to believe that any small steps I take towards self-tolerance and self-sustainability not only impacts how I relate to others, but makes a difference to the bigger picture, just as the health of the body is comprised of the health of each cell.

I choose to believe that women’s embodied wisdom and women’s voices, still so very new to the world leadership stage, barely one hundred years old, will change things over the long-term. Listening to our bodies and our babies has got to make a difference, doesn’t it?

I mean, right now, a menstrual revolution is happening, which is essentially about rest and honouring the descent phase of the natural cycle!

As Michael Franti reminds us, “Revolution never comes with a warning…” (Yell Fire)

Which brings me to the big meeting between Saturn and Pluto in January 2020. I’m wondering what deep restructuring and renewal we can call in…