The Shit is a Metaphor

goldenraintreecolor02I find myself constantly amazed by the color this time of year, how everything is lit up, the way some of the leaves are so bright on some plants that they look like they must be plugged in, electrified. I’m also gripped by a tender sadness as our garden gets too cold and stops producing, as things begin to die off, as the trees drop their leaves and stand naked, gray and bare.

It’s necessary, this cycling between blooming and resting, this transition from awake to asleep, from life to death. It’s the way things are, the way this works. We can resist it or try to deny it, but that only leads to more suffering.

I was watching myself this morning on our walk, noticing how I deal with obstacles. I work so hard in my practice to allow things to arise as they are, to be present with reality but without judgment or agenda, to show up with an open heart, to maintain my sense of curiosity and humor, to be patient and kind. I work at it, but so often I fail. I get triggered, hooked, irritated, upset. I act out.

that's not dirt, that's shit

that’s not dirt, that’s shit

This morning, there was horse poop about every 20 feet on at least three of the miles of trail we walked. With a puppy who doesn’t have a very good “leave it” yet when it comes to something so appealing, that means I spent an awful lot of my time trying to keep him out of it and it out of him, either by having to pull him away from it or reach into his mouth after it.

So I spent a lot of our walk this morning covered in shit. It was on my hands, the leash, and my pants. I wanted to just accept it for what it was, no judgement, but I confess after a bit, I was frustrated and looking for someone to blame. I was mad at everyone: the horses, their owners, my dog, myself. All we were trying to do was have a nice walk, to enjoy the cool air and beautiful colors and quiet and time together, and instead our path was littered with shit.

There was so much of it that at a certain point it was comical. When we came up the hill and saw the bridge we needed to cross was covered in it, all I could do was laugh. In that moment, I felt myself soften, shifting from wanting to bag up all the shit and dump it in the living room of the first horse owner I could find to feeling a genuine sense of kindness towards all of us, how hard we try and how messy and challenging the whole thing is. We cling so tightly to our sense of security and comfort that we can completely forget to look up, to see how the sky is lit up, that the leaves are glowing, to know that it is fleeting, all of it, and we must pay attention because soon it will be gone.

11 thoughts on “The Shit is a Metaphor

  1. Rita

    I know, I know. I truly do. But what to do when you’re positively wading in it? When it’s toxic? That’s when I struggle with suggestions to look up. Because sometimes we can’t really tell how deep it is, or how firm the ground beneath it, and whether it’s toxic waste or the kind of shit that makes things grow.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Oh no, Rita. The kind of shit you are talking about, that level, that depth of it shifts the whole thing from “look up” to “reach out.” When the shit feels like quicksand and you can’t breath, that’s when you call for help. Keep screaming until someone comes. ♥

  2. Christa

    Makes me wish my sweet palomino was still alive and we were gloriously, carelessly shitting up your trail. Horseshit is proof that someone was having a wonderful time.

  3. Alane

    i was able to take a walk in nature today with a dear friend. she knew the names of the leaves that were on the ground– i did not even tho we are the same age….. i just say green, brown, large small, she saw that too but w/the names added in. connected in the same space in different ways. we watched crows play in the wind as they spread their wings to dance and rain drops fell upon us. i saw a hawk (one of my Spirit guides) glide in the sky above Rose’s house as i left… so special. now just hearing the news of a doc w/ebola in NYC just a few short miles from where i live in NJ. so many mixed feelings…. all we have is this precious moment… i’m grateful, hopeful, thankful and hoping for the best. xo


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