Are You in Sh*t Up to Your Chin?

If we stay where we are, where we’re stuck, where we’re comfortable and safe, we die there. We become like mushrooms, living in the dark, with poop up to our chins. If you want to know what you already know, you’re dying. You’re saying:  Leave me alone; I don’t mind this little rathole. It’s warm and dry. Really, it’s fine.

~ Anne Lamott

Finally, finally, finally! I moved from position #63 to the top of the library’s waiting list for Anne Lamott’s book, Help. Thanks. Wow. And it was so worth the wait. Unfortunately I read the book in a day, an indicator that I can’t read slowly when I’m just lovin’ a book. Know what I mean?

I so enjoy her down-to-earth way of looking at the everyday-ness of life, and always finding beauty, joy and gratitude in the mundane.

This quote is from her latest book, and it conjures such a vivid picture of stuckness. “Living in the dark, with poop up to our chins.” What a wonderfully descriptive phrase.

We live in a culture that emphasizes ease and comfort. We get caught up in our routines because it makes our life more efficient. So we put our brain on autopilot while we lurch along in our same-old, same-old world.

We’re comfortable. We know how our life works. Round and round we go.

Meanwhile the sh*t keeps piling up around our ears: there’s no time for ourselves, our romantic relationship has lost its zing, our creativity has disappeared, stress enfolds us, and we’re dog-tired.

And yet we sit in the dark, thinking we should be grateful for what we DO have. ‘Cause there are so many others who have it worse than we do.

The dark lets us hide. It hampers our vision. It can be falsely comforting.

Meanwhile we sit in the sh*t, perversely cozy because it’s familiar, although the odor may be annoying. Yet we ignore the smell, just like we’ve learned to ignore so many unpleasant things in our lives.

Maybe we complain or play the martyr. Maybe we’ve been taught to keep it all inside. Either way that gnawing feeling, that something isn’t quite right, nibbles at our consciousness.

And yet we’re keenly aware that the clock keeps ticking. We’re starting to feel our own mortality creeping closer.

And our discomfort grows. And the dreams we put on hold because we were giving, giving, giving, are becoming restless, having begun to find their voices. “What about me?” “It’s not too late!” “Hurry, hurry.”

So, how long are you going to keep saying, “I don’t mind this little rathole. It’s warm and dry. Really, it’s fine.”


Your Call to Action

What’s in your pile of sh*t and what’s causing the stink? Where are you living in the dark in your life? How would life be different if you shined a light into this darkness and washed off the crap? Let me know if I can help.


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