“It’s all about poop,” my son announced, rather earnestly.
He was extolling the virtues of permaculture, a holistic, symbiotic, “nothing is wasted” ecosystem. Inherent in this system is the value of all species’ excrement. Chicken manure, when composted becomes “black gold” and is a natural fertilizer for the soil. Goat droppings provide healthier plants and crop yields without attracting insects. On and on the list went, each one’s endings blessing another’s beginnings. Included in this list was human waste. I must confess I was having my doubts about the benevolence of humanure in the grand scheme of things. It didn’t seem quite as virtuous as the rest.
‘What about all of the toxic components it contains like excess pharmaceuticals through the overuse of prescription drugs?” I protested. His eyes lit up as he relayed the startling news that when humanure is combined with compost micro-organisms, the microbes can break it all down. Really? I suddenly had visions of poop saving the world. It seemed appropriate somehow. If it kept Matt Damon alive on another planet…..
I rarely walk away from an encounter with my son without having my eyes opened to something I truly did not know. He is a veritable fountain of information and never ceases to amaze me with his discernment.
I am a firm believer in the interdependency of the web of life. I get goose bumps from adding organic waste to a compost pile and a healthy endorphin fix from recycling. I even plan one day to own my very own composting toilet. Yet when my son began to divulge his plans to build a human waste collecting “thunder box” that could, he assured me through the magic of sawdust, easily double as a coffee table, he kind of lost me right there. I suggested we had now reached the point of too much information and we moved on to some more palatable topics.
We are so squeamish in our society about our elimination process. We either ignore it completely or make schoolyard jokes about it. Sometimes we do both. One of my favorite Monty Python animated skits is of the queen resplendent in evening gown and tiara making her way across a crowded room with a painted smile, royal wave and a proper “hello” to each person she passes until she reaches a closed door and goes inside. Then we hear the explosive sounds of a lengthy gaseous bowel movement, followed by the door opening, regal smile intact, once more the picture of decorum. The queen goes to the bathroom?
We learn to giggle over bathroom humor from a young age. Barely out of toddlerhood, my two grandsons had their first taste of brotherly bonding while sharing the delighted hilarity of making fart sounds together.
We use words describing our fecal matter that are considered profane expletives when we are annoyed with something. Or we employ them as a description of something substandard. “What a pile of crap this car is!” With a president allegedly labeling other countries using such language, I have to cop to being highly amused and entertained as I watched the nightly news during the reporting of the story. Several anchors squirmed more than a little as they struggled to repeat his alleged wording on national television.
For a completely natural bodily process to be so highly denigrated, the truth is that when it is not happening, it causes a great deal more distress. It is, after all, the very necessary completion of the digestive cycle that begins with the first bite of that delicious morsel of food. It really is a remarkable system when you consider it.
Why all of my interest in poop? Well, it isn’t so much interest as much as observation. In considering all of this, I have become acutely aware that I can be equally squeamish about my own emotional crap! I do the very same “ignore or ridicule dance” when dealing with the stuff I need to release from my psyche – either denying its existence altogether or derisivelyberating myself for having it in the first place. Either aspect stops the flow of healing. Without digestion and release comes “spiritual constipation.”
We need to masticate, digest and defecate. Take in experiences, integrate them with compassion and release. Welcome the day as it arises, be present every moment and let it go as it recedes into nightfall. The letting go process is about learning from, then releasing the regrets and mistakes of the past. Using the microbes of forgiveness and kindness, those moments, extricated from the reservoir of memory, can morph into learning experiences that provide fodder for new growth. Shift can happen.
New Thought teacher, Louise Hay, once asked, “Would you go into yesterday’s garbage to make today’s dinner?” Despite its repugnance, the question delivers a poignant message. Let yesterday turn into rich compost and allow it to become the ground from which today’s transformation grows.
If I stop letting things from the past either be ignored or ridiculed and instead embrace them with forgiveness and compassion, they can turn a seemingly negative experience that has been holding me back, into the seed of a much greater blossoming of tomorrow. In truth, every experience is rich with the promise of new life if I choose to be moved by it! (Pun intended.)
Even though I have newfound respect for the value of my excremental experiences, the next time I visit my son, I will probably still steer clear of any suspicious looking coffee tables that have mysteriously appeared in his living room.
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This easy to use and turnkey curriculum comes with all you need for a 6-week class, complete with lesson plans and accompanying media.
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