“There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus,” Thich Nhat Hanh.
As I am writing, I am waiting for the plumber to ring my doorbell. For better or worse, Mike has become a reliable fixture (no pun intended) since we moved back to Pennsylvania from Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Florida in early 1993. Heaters, clogged drains and in this case, at the moment, a backed up toilet. I got some upper body workout in prep for the gym tonight with the rigorous plunging that only temporarily allowed the water level to lower, only to rise again when flushed. I know that somehow, as he always does, Mike will work his magic and it will flow freely again. I notice a connection between the toilet’s condition and my own backed up thoughts that have me feeling sluggish and stuck. Funny thing is that I have been feeling quite creative today, having just returned from a retreat, scheduling events, writing a new book, an inspiring conversation with my friend Mali Apple who shared wonderful ideas for the book, doing promo, cleaning my house, doing grocery shopping. So, I wonder what this one is about. Financial fears have arisen like the water level, basic survival stuff as essential as letting go of the physiological fecal matter lest we implode. Emotional constipation exists here, as both my son and dear friends Ondreah and Janet remind me that witholding anger in the service of conflict avoidance is just as unhealthy. Old worn out beliefs and clogs. Needing an internal roto rooter, spiritual colonic. In life, we keep the bathroom door shut to do our ‘business’ in private so that no one else is involved with our releasing and relinquishing process. We know that they know what goes on behind the closed door because it is a necessary aspect of their lives too, and yet we pretend in the day to day interactions that we don’t have our own ‘stuff’ to deal with. We do our best to keep it all inside and yet how silly we are in acting as if it just isn’t there. Like most people, I imagine, I want to appear to have my ‘you know what’ together. After all, I erroneously reason, since I teach this stuff, how can it be any other way? And yet, as I am discovering, the more transparent I am able to be, the less likely I am to have emotional backups and will be less likely to need to be snaked out by life happenings.
Mike just left after a few twirls of the snake and by way of explaining the issue, he told me “These low flow toilets need all the help they can get.” as he raised the water level. Here I thought I was being eco-friendly by purchasing that kind of potty and it comes back to ‘bite me in the tush’; metaphorically speaking. For now, I will remember the wise word of Thich Nhat Hanh and take the time to cultivate the mud-flowers in my own life.