Saturday, 14 March 2015

Chuckling Goat

What an extraordinary story! If you have even a passing interest in natural health, Secrets from Chuckling Goat is a must-read. Shann Nix Jones started off in the US as a radio talk show host and ended up making truly life-changing products from the milk of the goats she now rears on a remote farm in Wales. Her journey is remarkable in many ways, not least because she was so ill-prepared for the challenges she was to face, but she tells her beautifully written tale with a lightness of touch that allows the reader to gently learn the lessons she had to learn the hard way.

The point where her story intersects with the goats begins when she marries a Welsh farmer called Rich, who suggests that goats' milk may help clear her young son Benji's recurring bronchial infections. And so, off they go to buy a goat, whose milk does indeed clear up Benji's infections as well as his asthma. With the surplus of milk, Shann decides to try her hand at soaps and creams, the use of which results in Benji's eczema also completely disappearing. Armed with these successes, increasing interest from other mums on the school run and a new-found love of goats, she goes on to buy a whole herd. She also starts to experiment with other ancient kitchen staples, discovering the health benefits of fermentation along the way through her experiments with sourdough bread starters and kefir. She describes beautifully the concept of perthyn, which loosely means connection, relation, belonging.... This concept is really what drives her and ties her to this new land where she finds herself, so many light years away from where (and how) she began.

Then, when Shann thinks her husband might actually die form the MRSA infection he contracts in the hospital following an operation for his colitis, instead of cracking, she finds grace. In the midst of months of severe stress, she is able to let grace guide her to the answers that she had all along -- that we all have, but are usually not able to access. We are not conditioned to listen to our own inner wisdom, to use what we "know" to be true even when everyone is telling us we're crazy all the while having no answers of their own to give us. We need to remember this skill because we need to change a great many things in this world if we are all to survive.

That sounds so dramatic, I know, but I truly believe that we can fix the mess before it's too late. As a parent, I want nothing more than to leave the world in better shape than I found it for my own children and the rest of their generation, as well as teaching them new ways (or re-learning old ways?!) to respond to the challenges they will face. We all have innate talents and things that we feel passionate about and if we're encouraged to chase those passions and think outside the box about how to work with them then we all will be facing a very bright future indeed.

Shann thought way outside the box and in doing so, saved her husband's life with a combination of home remedies that drove the infection from his body. Now fully recovered, the two of them have quit their day jobs and devoted themselves fully to growing the line of products produced from the milk of their beloved goats. They are even working with the Welsh Assembly Government and scientists at Swansea University on further research and development of these powerfully healing ingredients. For more information, have a read of their website, Chuckling Goat; it's fascinating stuff!

So, here's to Shann Nix Jones -- for being an intrepid pioneer, for listening to her inner wisdom and for being brave enough to stick to her guns about what she knew was right. I suspect her seminal work with probiotics and gut health will prove of the utmost importance in a movement that is only just now starting to receive the widespread public attention it deserves. There are so many health issues that the medical profession is struggling to address. Hopefully, the general public will start to embrace this new paradigm shift in how to think about healing. I, for one, am very excited about its potential and will continue to share wonderful stories here like those of Shann and her chuckling goats!

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