When self-awareness feels like pooping…

June 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

We all know that list – the short list of things that you need or you will die.  Food, water, breath.  Food, water, breath.  It’s been drilled into your brain.  Food, water, breath.  How many times have you heard someone espouse the benefits of breathing?  Or ask that you sink into gratitude for the nourishment your food provides?  Or sing the praises of water and the benefits of hydration?  These three things are – quite literally – vital, and I am not discounting any of them.  But besides breathing, eating, and drinking, there’s another process that never gets the love and respect it deserves: elimination.  Going potty.  Wee-wee and doo-doo.  Getting a visit from the tinkle fairy.

I’m talkin’ about pooping and peeing.

Oh suck it up, we're all adults here.  Taro Gomi, I salute you.

Oh suck it up, we’re all adults here. Taro Gomi, I salute you.

Why does the love stop at eating, hydrating, and breathing?  We give all the love to the Big 3 without going near number 1 and number 2.  Everyone wants to talk about the glorious things we put into our bodies.  Nobody wants to talk about the glorious process of ridding ourselves of what we no longer need.  And through our butts, no less!  Come on!

Listen, if you never pooped or peed, it would suck and then you would die (Don’t believe me?  Ask Google.  Prepare to be horrified.).  Regularly peeing and pooing is as important to living a healthy, vibrant life as proper nutrition, hydration, and oxygenation.  If you think that’s a silly claim, go eat a brick of cheese (or, as my Grandfather called it, “asshole cement”) and get back to me in two days.  Elimination is the most elegant and necessary process that we never talk about.

But what, specifically, happens when we don’t shed our shit?  It goes septic.  We feel sick.  Blocked up.  It’s uncomfortable, and it makes everything else feel uncomfortable.  And the worst is that we don’t want to talk about it!  We don’t ask for help alleviating the discomfort because it’s ‘not something to talk about with people.’

Sound familiar?

A process of personal development is kind of like this.  People begin self-work because of all the good things they get to ingest, as it were: clarity, peace, sense of self, more confidence, more joy.  We gulp the goods down like air, drink ‘em in like water, and blissfully gorge ourselves on the tasty smorgasbord of self-awareness like it’s a damn kale smoothie.

And this is all great.  Like the Big 3, these processes of development are vital to living full-out.  They are the bread and butter.

But when you eat enough bread and butter, eventually you need to shit something out.

Because what is the byproduct?  What does all that work yield?  It yields awareness of old shit lying around that you don’t need anymore.  And when you don’t have a process of elimination that is as vital to your practice as the processes of ingesting all the goodness in your life, you get stuck.  Your soul gets – how do I put this? – constipated.

What is the “shit?”  It might be actual stuff; the clutter in your home that no longer aligns with the clarity in the rest of your life.  It may be a relationship that once energized you and now drains you.  It could be a habit.  Maybe you once numbed out on food/shopping/Netflix to avoid knowing yourself, and now even though you embrace self-discovery, the habit still lingers. Most often, the shit is a belief.  A series of thoughts about ourselves, our lives, the world.  These beliefs have been sitting in your system growing stucker and stucker, and they’ll take some straining to drop off (I swear I’m actually restraining myself on the poo wordplay but guys, it’s tough).

Just like your body has a system for elimination, so do you need to create a soulful process of cutting the shit.  But how do you start?  Here are just a few suggestions for shedding that which no longer serves:

Move your body.  It’s amazing how many times I’ve found a crusty old belief, and ‘taken it on a run’ with the intention of releasing it.  Sometimes feeling myself sweat out the thought helps me start to question and dismantle it.  After enough time, our beliefs seem to take up space in our body, and sometimes it takes a little running/jumping/stretching/wiggling/jiggling to shake ‘em loose.

Serve it up.  Ask this thing, habit, or belief, “how did you serve me?  And however it was, can I create that for myself if I let you go?”  Things only happen to serve us, you gotta believe it.  But sometimes, when the service stops, the vestige lingers – whether it’s a thought, a thing, a person, a habit.  So yes, maybe sexting your ex gave you a fleeting thrill and feeling of foxiness, but ultimately it just feels crappy.  It doesn’t serve you.  So how can you recreate that thrilling foxiness in some high-service way that renders the crappy-feeling habit unnecessary?  Now you’re onto something…

Ask.  This is where things get shitty, in the sense that ‘I shouldn’t talk to other people about it because ew.”  But sometimes, just hearing yourself say things outloud to another set of ears can be an incredible step towards questioning – and ultimately dismantling – whatever no longer serves you.  And just like everybody poops, everybody has their own lingering shit too.  Ain’t no shame in a little shit.

Think about it.  Ever notice how sometimes if you think about peeing you suddenly need to pee?  Releasing old junk is kind of like that too.  Sometimes it just takes a little bit of conscious thinking about the junk, and nature calls you to flush it from your life.  We’ll just chalk that one up to cosmic bathroom magic.

It’s important to gorge yourself on all the nutrients of self-awarness and a soulful practice of development.  But it’s equally important to regularly eliminate the old byproducts.  Because otherwise, no matter how much goodness you throw down your gullet, you’re still full of crap.