Getting Shat Upon…
Sometimes in life, you get shat upon. Sometimes, there’s no avoiding it or the messy clean-up job that follows.
As a teen, I owned a shirt that said:
“I’m always in the shit –
Only the depth varies!”
It can be a great metaphor for what life ‘throws’ at you. Still: there are times when you half expect it, and other moments where the timing could not be any worse.
A few weeks ago – I was shat on, quite literally.
I was at a party, which was the first major opportunity for me to meet some new people locally, and I was quite excited that there were fellow motorbike-riders and vegetarians present! It was outdoors, since the Scots are quick to make the most of any fair weather, and there was both a big BBQ and a smaller ‘veggie’ one heating up.
I spent most of the night clustered around one or other of the BBQs trying to stay warm, and was by the smaller of the two when a bird flying above let it’s bowel contents go…right on the crown of my head.
I was of course blissfully ignorant of the risk – right up until the point of impact; and disbelief (“this couldn’t happen to me right now!”) warred with shock only long enough for me to jump up & rush inside, but not before the news had started circulating through the 30-something gathered.
I wish I could say it was the 1st time*, & I can’t say with any certainty that it will be the last. But what are the odds of being shat on by a bird flying (not sitting – but flying!) overhead, twice in your life?
It is said to be lucky. And someone joked about rushing out to buy a lottery ticket. But as I was upstairs in the bathroom having the front half of my hair washed in a tiny sink by a very caring but equally inebriated woman, I commented that this must be said simply to help make the dirtied one feel better!
However, apart from a bit of embarrassment that it happened in front of such a crowd, I was quite bemused by the whole episode and making jokes about people having a unique reason to remember me! It would have been really easy to get totally upset about it, to cry, and to feel too embarrassed to return to the party. But I was determined to make the most of the evening that I had been enjoying until rudely interrupted, and wasn’t going to let a bit of bird-luck get in my way. The woman helping me wash my hair remarked that I seemed so calm about the whole thing, and asked what I did. She laughed when I told her I was a lifecoach, and said that quite explained it!
Joking aside – what I did in that moment – was to notice that I had a choice. I couldn’t choose to undo the fact that I had been shat upon, but I could choose to have a miserable end to my evening, or a wonderful one. This is not a choice that is solely available to coaches, nor is it about ‘positive thinking’. At no point did I feel like thanking the bird that inadvertently caused this. I didn’t even buy into the ‘it’s lucky’ idea. I simply chose my reaction to a situation I couldn’t have avoided.
It would also have been easy to get really angry with the bird, or with a party being held outside on a cold evening, or the injustice in the world! And there is a great piece of wisdom in one of the 55 Concepts that I’ve mentioned before:
“People [birds, life] don’t do things TO you;
They do them FOR themselves.”
The bird didn’t choose to deliberately dump its waste on my head. The bird simply needed to relieve itself, and I was perhaps in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What choice will you make, when life next dumps you in an unpleasant mess?
P.S. (*The 1st time – about 5yrs ago in London, I did let it did spoil my day!)