Sunday, June 5, 2011

what do you have to teach me today?

WARNING for my readers who don't like cuss words OR who are religious to the point of intolerance towards religious beliefs that are different from your own OR who are squeamish about body parts & bodily emissions: You should skip this blog entry! Don't say that I didn't warn you.

This morning, I was watching a wonderful documentary called "Everest Rocks", which chronicles a 14 day trek through Everest country to benefit The Nepal Cancer Relief Society. The trekkers were cancer survivors from various countries and musicians such as Mike Peters (The Alarm), Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats), Glenn Tillbrook (Squeeze), Nick Harper (legendary UK folk artist), Cy Curnin and Jamie West-Oram (The Fixx) and local Nepalese artists. The documentary was produced by Alex Coletti (the acclaimed producer of MTV’s ‘Unplugged’ series).

The documentary detailed not just the trek, but the personal stories of the trekkers. And at each stop, the guitars came out and various musicians performed well-known pieces from their careers, as well as other songs, known and unknown. The Nepalese Sherpa and porters clearly enjoyed the music. Scattered throughout the documentary is, of course, the spectacular scenery. Wow! There are several serendipitous moments during the trek, where you feel the hand of God (or some may say Fate) on the shoulders of the trekkers - or on the shoulders of people they meet along the way.

I was particularly moved by the stories told by the cancer survivors. A common theme was "getting through it", taking one step at a time with a determination to survive. One woman spoke of seeing her cancer as a blessing from God. Each speaker spoke of survival in different terms, depending on his or her religious beliefs (or lack thereof). This was particularly moving to me because I have always been very relaxed about multiple people believing different things and have always been deeply offended by religious groups that demand that their way is the only way. Here, I thought, was a bird's eye view of my thoughts - different people handling the difficulties that came their way - with the widest possible variety of belief systems, all going through this trekking experience together. It made me smile!

As I was watching the documentary, my old cat (Joe) was sitting in my lap. At one point, Joe jumped down to pursue whatever was next on his agenda. I glanced down and spotted something on my pants leg. I leaned over to get a closer look. It was a tiny piece of shit, which must have come from Joe's hindquarters. GROSS!!!!! I grabbed the bottom of the pants leg so I could lift up that portion without touching it, limped into the bathroom and deposited it into the toilet. Joe's litterbox is in the bathroom, so I also noticed that I needed to police it, which I absolutely HATE doing. Then I went to my bedroom to change my pants! As I changed pants, I was muttering to myself that this is the LAST animal I will ever have because I am sick of dealing with shit!!!

But the recent viewing of that documentary on cancer survival inspired me to change direction with my thinking. EVERY relationship and EVERY circumstance comes with some shit! I changed diapers for my son - shit. I clean litter boxes - shit. I walked my dogs - shit. And what about metaphorical shit? My boyfriend is always late - shit. My mother is never satisfied with my choices - shit. My brother is a recluse - shit. A friend over-reacts to everything - shit. My boss questions my decisions - shit. My car won't start - shit.

So, initial logic would guide you to avoid shit. But maybe the answer is to welcome it. Because without it, life isn't happening. And since we know that shit can also be fertilizer, maybe we look at each appearance of shit to guide us to new growth. Welcome, shit, what do you have to teach me today??? I know, I'm crazy again. But since I have already learned to embrace my lunacy, I'm going with this! (But that doesn't mean I won't be checking Joe's hindquarters the next time he jumps up to sit in my lap.)



Claudia said...

Thanks, Alice! One forgets how important shit is.

OyaSophia said...

You are more than welcome, Trixie!