Does Affluence and Privilege Afford Us the Ability to Separate Ourselves From Our “SHIT”?
Updated: Aug 28
I was walking with a friend on the beach the other day. We were merrily yakking away until we arrived at a spot where a river enters the sea and where there is often an overwhelming stench of sewerage.
I am always amazed at the reaction and feelings that emerge when faced with this juxtaposition of the beauty my eyes are beholding and the onslaught to one’s olfactory senses – it is a kind of sensory invasion that literally whacks you sideways.
The friend I was walking with, is not only very wise, but also challenges and questions everything. She spends a lot of time in her surf ski paddling around in the waters of False Bay and because she is also a project manager in the construction industry, I knew she would be a good person to ask why the beach often smells so bad at this particular spot.
She then went on to explain how the processing of sewerage and the management of a treatment plant requires highly skilled people, many of whom we have lost due to emigration over the past couple of years. We also have continuous rolling black outs or loadshedding, as it is called here in South Africa, which means the pumps and treatment plants are unable to operate at full capacity and things back up and there overflow into the river and then into the ocean. It is especially bad after we have had a storm and the beach is then littered with everything from disposable nappies, sanitary pads and other unmentionables – it boggles the mind really.
Uncontaminated human waste is potentially so useful in terms of energy production and as a fertilizer for crops to name only two of its beneficial uses. The sad reality is that we as humanity have even managed to mess our excrement up by ingesting micro-plastics, pharmaceuticals, chemicals etc. which are not at all useful and unbalance the entire inner and outer eco-systems.
At this point, the conversation got really interesting and my friend suggested that affluence and privilege buys is the ability to separate ourselves from our shit. Back in the day and even present day rural folk have to make a plan with their waste. They dig holes, long drops, septic tanks or reuse it in ways that are healthy and sustainable for us and the environment.
These days, most of us sit on our lavatories – some of them even come gold plated, have heated seats and jet sprays and when we have done our business, we simply press a button and flush it away and don’t give it a second thought. It’s out of our hands and we don’t need to deal with it.
That got me thinking about how affluence and privilege has also offered us the ability to avoid having to deal with the other crap in our lives. We medicate it away, we drink it away, numb ourselves with an array of other addictions, we distract ourselves with devices and constant entertainment. This toxicity also builds up and creates an unbelievably unhealthy internal and external environment.
Being a human with freedoms, we get to choose what to do with our BS – most of us are full of it literally and figuratively – some of us will choose to work with it and turn it into something useful and generative and others will simply flush it away and let it become someone else’s problem to deal with down the line. We are at a choice point, a turning point in our evolution as a species. Any waste matter in the form of unhealed karmic lessons and karmic patterns, ancestral wounds and childhood trauma builds up a tremendous amount of toxicity in our subconscious which basically runs the show of about 95% of our waking lives and affects all the other levels of our being (physical, emotional, spiritual and mental bodies). Truth is, we are all having to share this planet and our energy, so our unhealed and un-dealt with stuff in all its forms affects everyone and everything.
It’s time we got intimate with our shit again and appreciate it for the preciousness that it is. It’s up to us to transcend this. There is such transformative power in learning to craft this raw material This is the realm of alchemy and magic.
So let’s be conscious and let’s choose to be with our shit a little more closely.