If you are eating, I feel compelled to tell you that, contrary to the title of this blog, this is not a blog about food. In fact, if you are currently eating, please just read this after you are done. Or, if you have a strong constitution, just put your fork down and proceed. Consider yourself warned and enjoy the read!
The stuff of nightmares. Now and then people will have horrible and totally embarrassing dreams about some toilet catastrophe. Whether it is in a public setting, such as a public toilet, or in a private one, the backed up toilet dream is horrifying. It speaks to all that is absolutely gross and disgusting about the nature of being human. The elimination process is one that has never been seen, to my knowledge anyway, as being “sweet” or “pretty”. It has, however, been seen as humiliating and shameful. Just ask any person who wet the bet after age 7 years. I have come to call such dreams and such real life events as the Six Foot Pumpernickel Diaries.
Everyone has a story of these things that they can pull from their own diaries. Be they a dream journal or an actual real life journal, you will find a story in there. And some are so embarrassing and horrific that they are never even written in a diary. They are tucked into the deep, dark cobwebs of the brain, where they fester and become raging infections with puss and ooze. And then, when one least expects it, they come to the forefront. Sometimes a real life event triggers these wounds to come forth. A child has an accident in their pants. A friend accidentally plugs your toilet with their feces. All of it is quite gross. And all of it is quite “normal”.
So what is it that we are to learn from such experiences?
Well, one thing that I have taken from such things is that in life “shit happens”. And that is not a judgement on who it happens to or who it involves. It just happens. We need to be able to transmute the shitty experiences into something of a lesson or medicine that we can carry with us and possibly with which we can help others.
Another lesson is that sometimes when we are trying to eliminate things or people from our lives the process can get backed up. Try as we might, those things or people keep coming at us, sometimes in a variety of forms. We get rid of one toxic person and the next one steps in to challenge our resolve. We let go of one bad habit only to find ourselves embracing yet another bad habit.
We can also take from this the fact that life can be quite messy. We cannot control others around us, but can only do our best to control who we choose to be in any given moment. Life is full of challenges and obstacles. It is how we choose to deal with them that counts.
Sometimes, when things get all blocked up, we need to call in a “plumber.” The plumber is the person with the skill set and the appropriate tools to take care of the events from our Six Foot Pumpernickel Diary. They help us not just to unclog our “toilets,” but also help us to learn skill sets of our own. We all know someone who is resistant to calling a plumber. The entire floor of the bathroom, or even the rest of the house, can be covered in feces and urine and they still will not seek assistance. These folks have to just sit in their own “shit,” so-to-speak, until it becomes uncomfortable enough for them to actually seek assistance. Let them sit there. You do not need to save them. You do not need to do something for them that they can, indeed, do for themselves. They have to realize that it is alright to ask for assistance and to call in a professional. Until then, they will be just as toxic as the crap in which they sit. In the meantime, we can refer them to our own plumbers for assistance over and over again, but we need not expect them to follow through until they are sick and tired of their crappy lives.
And finally, something that we can take from this is that, when all is said and done, and the toilet is unplugged, and the tools are put away, we do clean up of the bathroom and possibly surrounding area. Everything becomes spic and span and there are glints of sparkling light off of all of the fixtures, the sink, the toilet, the tub etcetera. No one walking into that bathroom would ever know that anything unsavory had ever happened. People are like that. We can go through the most horrific things in life and heal from it and then move through life with a smile on our faces and no one would ever know what happened in our past. That is why we need to allow others in. We need to share our stories. Those stories can inspire and help people know that they are not alone in their struggles. We also need to not judge people simply by how they appear to be. A smile on a face can be hiding deep grief and sorrow or depression. We need to be able to connect with others around us. Sometimes that means stopping to talk to a stranger on the street. Those brief encounters can actually make a person’s day without it ever meaning much at all to ourselves. We just never know what others are going through without actually taking the time to connect and communicate.
That also means that we have to be humble and real enough to share our Six Foot Pumpernickel stories. That way, each time we do, we also get to see how far we have come since the last time we shared those stories. And we, in sharing those stories, can inspire others to share their stories and to spread the healing all around. Sometimes the sharing of the stories will cause tears to flow (ours or theirs or both) and that is important because it is cleansing. It is also an extremely STRONG thing to do. People often equate tears with weakness. Nope. Vulnerability is one of the greatest strengths one can have. And allowing others to see our tears helps them to know that they, too, can be vulnerable and not get judged for it. This is a lesson that I have had to learn over and over throughout my own life. I do not like to have my face leak in front of others. I will never be seen crying at a funeral, for example. But once I get home and feel safe I will let them flow abundantly. Very few people have seen me cry. I want that to change in my life. I have been working at allowing my tears to well up when someone shares something painful with me. I allow my tears to flow when watching something heart breaking on tv. And I allow myself now, after many years, to let tears flow when under stress or in a crisis situation. They help me to not dissociate from the situation. I stay present and I stay real. So it will likely not be very long before I am able to cry at a funeral. The only one I have ever cried at was at my wife’s funeral. There were some who quite judged me for that because they were really messed up people. But I figured that I was allowed this one time to do this act of allowing tears to flow. So I know that I can do it. But I have not cried at funerals since then. Perhaps it is a matter of feeling safe. Nonetheless, it is an ongoing process of self-discovery.
1. Yes, I have plugged toilets in the past.
2. Yes, it is embarrassing.
3. Yes, we now have a really efficient plunger. AND we also bought a new toilet because it became painfully obvious that the old one was inefficient when it came to the force of the flush. Since then I have not backed it up. The proper tools and equipment make all the difference in life!
4. The term “Six Foot Pumpernickel” actually comes from a cousin of mine, who would dump the biggest turds I have ever seen in my life! He was quite proud of them, otherwise I would never have seen them!
5. Always remember: Dump, flush, wipe, flush. It WORKS!