July 2016

Every year when the blueberries in North America are ripe, the voles run around with blue teeth. I read about this funny fact in one of my cookbooks when looking for a blueberry pie recipe. They love the berries just as much as I do, though I don’t end up with blue teeth.

Blueberries can be used for different purposes, they work against bowel infection and constipation, but they also improve your eyesight – Royal Air Force pilots were obliged to eat them during World War II! The vole must instinctively know that this type of food is nutritious. When the blueberry season starts, it eats as many as it can, never mind the blue teeth.

But that is not what I want to talk about really. This story made me think that we sometimes need to grab an opportunity with both hands (or put our teeth in it, like the vole) when it occurs and when it feels (or tastes – talking of parallel senses) right. Very often we take decisions rationally, with our heads and minds – we do not listen to our gut feeling and end up with bad consequences.

Our bowels are also called “our second brain” or “our brain behind the belly button”. You undoubtedly know the expression “follow your gut feeling” when you need to take an important decision. This brain-gut connection is not only a metaphor. Our brain is connected to our gastrointestinal system by an elaborate network of neurons and a highway of chemical substances and hormones that constantly give feedback on how hungry we are, whether we experience stress or have caught a nasty microbe.

This data highway is called the brain-gut axis and constantly gives updates about the situation on both sides. When you are stressed, your belly will know instantly. And apparently the information travels faster from the gut to the brain than the other way around. We have forgotten to trust this information, our gut feeling, so we often ignore the signs.

As coach you gratefully use this so-called sixth sense. But did you know that even people in the finance and business world very often take their most successful decisions based on gut feeling or intuition?

That’s a lot of inspiration coming from a vole following its gut feeling! From 26 July until 18 August I will be spending my holidays in the territory of the North American vole. I hope it left some blueberries for me. My Inspirations will continue to appear during my absence.

Not to worry, I have not started practising witchcraft. The hag’s taper grows in my garden, my unlimited source of inspiration, even more so during this season where everything is either in bloom or growing. Most will spontaneously categorise the hag’s taper as weed, since it mainly grows on roadsides and wasteland. I like having it in my garden as it is not only beautiful but also talented.

Its Latin name is Verbascum thapsus. It is truly regal and its ‘torch’ (the Romans drenched the stem in tar or resin to use it as such) can grow up to 2 metres, an impressive height. From July to October new yellow flowers appear daily.

What you probably do not realise when you pass by this plant without paying it further attention, is that the flowers are edible and look great in salads. When dried you can use them to make tea that works preventively against coughing and respiratory infections. They are full of useful substances – I will spare you the chemical names – that work against mucus, infections, bacteria, spasms and have a soothing, diuretic and even painkilling effect.

A true unsuspected talent in other words. As you know by now this is one of my favourite topics, which I also wrote about when inspired by another welcome guest in my garden, the tree spinach. Whatever they are, cherish your talents, develop them, show them and use them as they are unique and can be a source of help or joy to others.

If you do not yet have a clear view on your talents, or if you do not see how you can develop them or use them in a fulfilling way, contact me for a series of coaching sessions and we will get working on them.