Our son Zachary lives in a beautiful one floor country home that is the last house at the end of a mile long road. The street literally ends in front of his house, and the landscape becomes nothing but trees and the animals that live in the woods. It’s very calming and I love spending time there with him.
I actually love spending time there when I am alone also. I was doing just that a few weeks ago, writing or doing yoga or something, when I noticed a woman walking on Zach’s street past the end of the road and nearly into the woods. It’s somewhat private on this dead end road, and I usually notice what is going on outside.
I was curious about what this woman, who did not look at all familiar, was doing heading into the woods right there. I don’t normally see people go past the end of the road, but she was headed off of the pavement and onto a naturally worn path into the trees and the animals. No sooner did I wonder what she was doing, than I saw her drop down to “pop-a-squat” and relive her need to go to the bathroom.
I have no issue with this. We all know the great outdoors is one big bathroom. If it were me (and God knows it HAS been me) I would have chosen to go deeper into the woods, so the creepy lady looking out the window (yours truly) couldn’t see what I was doing. But she didn’t. She just went down to the end of the road and handled her business.
But here is what it made me think of: There is truly no privacy except that which we can create in our hearts and minds. This woman made the effort to get to the end of the road, but then didn’t really seek shelter in the trees, just sat at the end of the road and urinated. Again, I wasn’t so “pissed” about her choice since we have ALL been there before, when our body was doing its thing and we had to break the rules in order to avoid a catastrophe. But I imagine she didn’t realize she was not privately peeing.
With all forms of communication being public, digital, real-timed and social media’d to the infinite degree, we have no real privacy. Our devices record our conversations and our search histories. There are cameras in the most unsuspecting places. Our text messages and phone messages are all subject to discovery at some point, and we never really get to exhale and just show up.
Unless we are integrated. Unless we invite and allow all the parts of us be here. Because when we learn to integrate our pain, instead of bracing against it, we don’t have to worry about privacy in a sense, because we are genuinely showing up as ourselves in every context. We no longer have all of the “versions” of ourselves to contend with.
You know what I mean: There is a version of us when we are with our families and friends, versions of us that go out into the world to buy groceries or get gas, versions of us that never let our pain see the light of day, versions of us in the workplace and even a version of us that only peeks out when we are alone.
Remembering who I am supposed to be and in what context, became a full-time, energy sucking-commitment, trying to host all these versions of myself. And I did that pretty effectively for over two decades. But pain is patient, so we can keep running knowing it will always be there in shadows, waiting for our attention and respect. Or we can integrate it with our whole selves. Not an easy undertaking, but less work for sure.
And since we can ‘pop-a-squat’ with an assumption that no one is looking, but someone is ALWAYS looking, wouldn’t it be easier to just be that sole, soul version of ourselves so we don’t have to work so hard at hiding? My experience is that yes, we can. It takes courage, practice, patience and humility. But I find my grief easier to manage when I just tell the truth about how I am doing, what I am thinking about and what its like to lose two children. That way, no matter who is looking, listening or recording my digital footprint, I can just be myself.
Maybe you can too.