October 6, 2013

Making Friends with Poop.

What ever happened to striking a match, or burning incense?

Is this for real, this product, “Poopourri”? And what will we think of next, if it is indeed a real product, which it appears to be.

The commercial seems like a skit on Saturday Night Live, one in which a pretty red-headed woman in pearls and lace sits on a toilet and holds forth about dropping a mother load with ease in a toilet at the office, her boyfriend’s, or at a party because she has “Poopourri.” She effuses about “skid marks” and the like.

Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, emphasizes the importance of a healthy psychological relation to our constitutions, our bowel movements. We’ve all gone scatological at some time in our lives, making often wary fun of the singular marker of our existence.

In yoga classes, Apanasana (wind removing pose) inevitably creates a snicker when a fart explodes, as knees press into digestive systems. In hot yoga classes, blaring music is understood to be a “benefit” precisely because it masks such organic music.

If you are offended by the smell of your earthiness and wish to change the odor, I’d suggest changing your diet rather than spraying Poopourri.

We are in a continual state of decay, and this is why we clean ourselves.

Decay reminds us that we are not infinite and our attachment to this finite body only serves to create more suffering. And in the case of Poopourri, more baggage, one more thing to carry around, to increase our load—pun intended. I’m certainly not saying that we should suffer foul odors. I’m simply saying that we shouldn’t need that which is foul to smell like a flower shop.

If you do opt for Poopourri there are many scents to choose from: “Daisy Doo” is probably the one I’d choose if I were to buy a bottle. I love daisies.

Supposedly you spray a layer over the water in the toilet and when your “astronauts,” land they are held in the chamber that the product creates, and when the stench of your waste rises it combines with the Poopourri and like magic the scent of flowers go dancing into the air.

It may seem far fetched, but how we package our meats and sell them in the grocery stores is similar to this silly product. We package our meats almost disguising the origins of where our meat comes from. The tendency to mask that which is uncomfortable for us to experience has grown to make us a bit neurotic about the most basic aspects of life.

We are uncomfortable in seeing the view of the cute cow attached to our filet mignon’s and seeing Babe displayed in the meat section might bring a whole different meaning to our morning bacon. Our meats are disguised in their comfortable packaging helping to make it easier to be less mindful about what we are buying and consuming.

Much like the  filmy later over the toilet water, before we make our deposit, so we don’t have to smell ourselves, seems connected to the concept that we have to hide what we’re really doing in life.

One of the things I learned while in India was that going to the bathroom is a very natural part of life.

There was a running joke at our yoga school that the person who saw the most penis at the end of our month stay together would get a free lunch, but by the end of the month we had all lost count because it is so common for men to urinate on the streets. There was no Poopourri to disguise our constitutions.

In Ayurveda, we are asked to describe the type of stools we have.

Did you know there are seven different types and that the various types reflect what is happening within the body? (That discussion is for another blog.) We learn a lot about the types of stools we create. There is an expression in Ayurveda:

“You are not what you eat, rather what you excrete.”

Now I’m not advocating we all urinate in the streets, or crouch down like that hilarious scene in the movie, Bridesmaids, when the bride-to-be squats in the middle of the street and has an explosion, or that we keep the door open to the bathroom telling all around us what type of poop we’ve just had, (although if you live with someone connected to Ayurveda there very well might be that dissuasion.)

I am merely exploring the possibility of our growing more distant from our natural bodies responses and advocating that we own ourselves and our earthiness, rather than adding yet another veneer to keep us from seeing what’s really going on, in and around us.

The advertisement for Poopourri definitely pokes fun at our common connection to those embarrassing moments we’ve all shared, and it is a real product that one can buy, with scents for men and women to choose from.

If it makes one more comfortable, then spray away, but buyer beware: distancing oneself too much from natural body occurrences will only serve to create more distance from one’s connection to earth.  Next thing you know, we’ll be making love to our partners with gloves on.

I remember that while in India, the teacher spoke of passing wind, how it’s unnatural to hold it in, as well as holding in a sneeze, and he said, “So, sneeze away and fart. Just fart. Get past it. We all fart,” and we all giggled like little kids in grade school.

But I must admit, by the end of the month, there were more natural sounds made by us all, and the laughter lessened around them, too, because they were no longer the pink elephants in the room we were trying to avoid.


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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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