I’m not gonna lie – it was bad, real bad. There were times when I didn’t know if I’d get through it.
An evening autumn walk on the cliff-top path had seemed like such a good idea at the time, but at the end of my walk and back in my camper, IT hit my nostrils. The unmistakable noxious stench of dog shit.
I looked down in the dark and oh dear God, there was no mistake. Copious, glutinous, squidgy and smeared like bathroom grout into the chunky trademark treads of my Dr Marten Molly Black GLITTER Chunky Platforms. Brand new and never before worn. I need you to grasp the tragedy.
So we humans, in differing degrees, have three ways we react to adversity that has been ‘done unto us’ by another – aka some bastard did us over.
1. Hatred, blame and aversion. Up to and including plotting revenge of downfall of the perpetrator of the heinous deed. There is a special place in hell for dog owners that ‘allow the poop yet do not scoop’.
2. Denial. Jump to what is known as pre-mature enlightenment. It’s fine, really. Maybe the person’s mother just died. Be grateful for the fact you have shoes/boots. Anger is bad and spiritual people don’t feel that – right? No not really.
3. Or confusion. We freeze, go into shock and do nothing. In this case, my distressed DMs would still be sitting fucked and fermenting in the emergency Tesco carrier bag I pulled from the dash.
A common mistake us spiritual seekers make is to judge ‘anger’ as a bad thing. That’s because an awful lot of us experience care-givers expressing anger is a dangerous and damaging way. But it doesn’t have to be that.
Anger can be a perfectly and healthy body/emotional reaction to certain events and it can be healthily and respectfully expressed. Like all emotion it has some important information to give us – should I have spoken up about something, made a boundary, tell someone I’ve had enough and to go and do one. We serve no-one by being human door-mats.
When we deny our own anger, it becomes damaging and can fester; bursting out later to the wrong people, easier targets, or come out passively or we turn on the self.
As well as meditation, mindfulness philosophy offers an effective cognitive method to meet these Dog Turds of Life moments.
1. First arrow. Shit happens. That’s the pain. Suffering is our reaction to the event.
2. We notice our thoughts and body reactions and be kind and compassionate to ourselves.
3. We can do an Inquiry. Examine our thoughts beliefs around the heinous devilish event! Did the owner and doggy really have an agenda to fuck up my day? I doubt the turd had my name engraved on it. Mindful inquiry invites us to question own our own ‘part’ – what did I do that put me in a position for this to happen.
4. We can take wise action. Mindfulness is not about passivity.
Anger can mean speaking out in a way that let’s the other person know what they did or said impacted you and is not acceptable. We can make strong request for a change of behaviour. And we can be fierce and committed in our expression – without personally attacking the other. What we say is far more likely to be heard when we attack the action or the speech, rather than the individual’s birth mother.
Mindfulness and spiritually are not about being obsequious and ‘nice’. We don’t need to abandon ourselves and people please to avoid conflict – it never works. I know; I speak as a recovering former slithering people pleaser who once apologised to a builder who dropped a bucket of cement ……. on my face.
Anyway – the dog owner was long gone so no conversation was possible in this case. It was a two hour clean up involving expletives that would make a Navi blush, dollops of tiger balm shoved up my nostrils, a pair marigolds, two bottles of disinfectant and several miles of kitchen towel.
So how are things now? Well me and the boots may never fully recover to our former glittering glory. What has been seen cannot be unseen. We have been exposed to one of life’s darker truths. Dog Shit and Glitter don’t mix.