This book is a narrative of the maturation of the sciences (Psychology and Neurology) and the combined experience of the authors, all of which started to take form in the 1960s with the unrest of youth over the Viet Nam war—the era of “give peace and love a chance”. In the 1970s, the authors were involved in a college occupational and academic counseling-teaching assignment, dealing with the aftermath of the previous era of changes in society and integration of the Black and White cultures. Having no effective references with which to work, they used a personality inventory (MBTI), based on the work of Dr. Carl Jung. Experience with groups and individuals soon allowed feelings of the students involved to surface at a variety of levels, which were centered on personal disturbances of their pasts and were not defined by the inventory. Hours of study of what they were learning from students, suggested that the authors were tapping into genuine universal instinctive feeling intelligence, primarily focused in the gut area of the body. In 1998, neurological research at Columbia University published the work of Dr. Michael Gershon that identified the enteric nervous system as a center of feeling-intelligence in the gut, which he called the “Second Brain”. The authors carefully examined this material and accepted the research findings as pointing to the same universal feeling intelligence they experienced in counseling with hundreds of people. Utilizing the research of Dr. Gershon, the work of Dr. Lise Eliot who charts the development of children from conception through the first five years of life, recent research of their own in the Psychology Department at Sonoma State University, and their vast clinical experience, the authors have presented an interpretation of recent medical research into a Gut Psychology and a more accurate behavioral understanding of the Self and human nature than has previously been available. They share a complete protocol and results of clinical research findings for the Somatic Reflection Process that they have created and used successfully, with themselves and hundreds of people, to assist the process of getting in touch with the voice of the gut and learning to follow its wisdom toward a healthy life—unifying the body-mind split in the individuation process. Over a period of 45 years, there has been a utilization of further graduate studies in Depth Psychology and Religious Education on the part of the authors, and giant steps forward in the fields of Neurology and Human Psychology, which help form a new more accurate image of human nature. The authors present this new image of human nature and the meaning of its understanding in making positive changes in our lives, both individually and collectively as a species. They suggest that we are at the beginning of a Renaissance in human consciousness and that understanding our true human nature is the way to thrive in this present era. This book also discusses the implications of this new image of human nature in education and for rehabilitation of those incarcerated. The authors suggest that early in the child learning process, care be taken to offer the experience of freedom and acceptance to the preschool child to form a positive self-concept and to self-regulate his and her behavior as part of the learning process in becoming a loving, caring person. After careful examination of life’s processes, they conclude that of all the mammals in the animal kingdom, humans seem to be the only species that has been denied the open use of their natural instincts. Out of ignorance, fear or wanton control by others—“we are denied the use of the brains we were born with”. This awareness is of growing concern since the absence of the use of the feeling intelligence of the body interferes with a major stabilizing force—built into the human system—that can affect human behavior, provide a sense of well-being, and the ability of the body to combat disease.
Martha Char Love was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, and grew up primarily in Georgia and Mississippi (yes, she is a "Georgia Peach"!). Presently, Martha lives in the Hawaiian Islands.
She received her BS in Elementary Education in 1968 and an MA in Educational Psychology in 1970, with a 5th year certificate in Psychometry in the School Psychology department. She was a counselor/instructor in the '70s and early 80's, working as both a career counselor and instructor at Meridian Junior College and later in a large community college, Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), in Gainesville Florida, as well as a licensed School Psychologist for the Alachua County Schools K-12. It was at that time that she first wrote a text for her classes with her colleague, Robert Sterling, about the gut instinctive responses that they were discovering with people they were working with in career exploration.
In 2005, she received her MA in Depth Psychology and continued her study of the gut instinctive response in a research study at Sonoma State University. In 2008, she received her PMA in Art Therapy. Her research on gut instincts at Sonoma State has been published in two articles for "Somatics Magazine" (with a world-wide distribution) in Spring 2007 "Using Somatic Awareness as a Guide for Making Healthy Life Choices" and in Spring 2008 "Healing the Trauma of the Body/Mind Split through Accessing Instinctual Gut Feelings: A Protocol for Facilitating the Somatic Reflection Process (SRP)" These articles may be partially viewed on her website at http://careerstorefront.agelfire.com.
After years of study and new medical breakthroughs supporting the intelligence of the gut brain, she and Robert Sterling have written a groundbreaking book "What's Behind Your Belly Button" introducing a new Gut Psychology exploring the intelligence of human nature and gut instincts for optimal well-being and healthy decision-making.