What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
– HS Haskins
(though also attributed to many other “soft philosophers”)
We’re at the beginning of a (slightly shop-soiled) new year. Somehow, that feels grand and important to most of us. Behind us lies a year of frustrations and triumphs, high hopes and low politics, big dreams and small realities. Ahead of us lies the promise of a new start, a second chance (or, in my case, a 48th chance). Will this be the year when I …? Plans are made, the backbone is stiffened a bit, the liver gets shaken up a lot. We’re ready! Bring it on!
But the past and the future are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Deep, Deep, DEEP within us.
I dedicate this year to what lies within each one of us. Something so tiny, you can’t see it with the naked eye. Yet also so numerous, it matches the number of stars in a THOUSAND galaxies.
I’m talking about your MICROBIOME.
If you just said, “Huh?”, allow me to define “microbiome”:
“The collection of microorganisms living in and on us.”
Two other terms that basically mean the same as “microbiome” are “gut flora” and “microbiota” (although scientists and language purists will debate the finer differences ad nauseum).
That simple definition hides what is quite possibly the most complex interaction between living creatures anywhere on the planet – or in our galaxy, or the universe for that matter. And it is right there, inside of you and me.
Forget the stars. Gaze at your gut flora for a while.
And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby solemnly declare 2016 to be
The Year Of The Microbiome
(at least in my corner of the planet).
If you just said, “Huuuuh?”, you are not alone. Except for a few die-hard health nutters (like myself), few people take any interest in the microbiome.
In his famous sci-fi novel, “War of the Worlds”, HG Wells tells how the world is saved by humble bacteria, which infect and kill the otherwise unstoppable Martian invaders. As you will see, this is actually a good description of what our gut flora are doing inside of us every day. They humbly protect us against alien invasions – but they do LOTS more than that, too.
During 2016, I hope to enlighten your view of the microbiome. By the end of this year, I hope you will understand that “what lies inside of us” is immensely important to every aspect of wellness. I also hope you will understand how to nourish your microbiome to the point of abundant flourishing.
Have a gutsy year!
P.S. The microbiome even gets a small entry in Wikipedia.