womanontoilet.istockI absolutely hate sitting in the bathroom.

Some people savor that alone-time, their newspaper or magazine on their naked lap, while others use it to catch up on Words with Friends or Facebook. Not me. I have no patience for business that takes too long, believing it is evidence of an out-of-whack gut. When everything is in alignment, toxins eliminate easily and in their own time. It shouldn’t require effort.

But sometimes, it takes time to get out what needs to come out, and then I sit there, heaving big sighs, frustrated, impatient, annoyed as I didn’t have this allotted time in my schedule.

You may be laughing, and I don’t blame you. Seriously – a blog about poop? What a waste of time!

Or maybe it isn’t.

For those of us who are parents, we become aware of the importance of bodily elimination when that first little newborn wails its way into our lives. Pediatricians ask about the frequency, color and scent of a baby’s business. You see immediate changes when they transition from only-breastmilk to solid foods.

The first time my first child pooped in the bathtub, I literally freaked out. I pulled my squealing son from the tub, dried him off and wrapped him in a diaper quickly, while phoning my mother, asking what to do.

“All babies poop in the tub at some point,” she laughed, instructing me to drain the water and clean the tub. Scrub it. Make sure to get it as clean as possible.

Babies have it right. They eat when hungry, refuse when they’re not, and go to the bathroom when they have the urge. Free flow. Makes perfect sense.

At some point, we stop ruminating over our children’s toilet habits, figuring they’re on their own, and they’ll let us know if something is awry.

But do we ever pay attention to our own patterns? Do we notice color, scent, size and timing?

If not, perhaps we should.

As I got more into yoga and Ayurveda, I realized how important, and indicative, the gut is in telling us about our lives. When you are eating the right foods at the right times, your elimination habits happen pretty much like clockwork – same time, every day, and with ease.

When you have trouble going, it’s because you’re clogged up.

Literally.

Perhaps you’re eating the wrong foods. Most of us don’t even realize what is best for our particular dosha or natural bodily personality, and when we eat foods that are too hot or too cold, too artificial or too loaded, for our type, we push ourselves to the brink.

I've never understood the men in my life who love their bathroom time. The Sunday NYT - seriously?
I’ve never understood the men in my life who love their bathroom time. The Sunday NYT – seriously?

Daily pooping is the ideal, practitioners say. Eastern and western medicine folks alike agree on this. It typically happens at the same time every day. You just know that’s when it comes and accept it as fact.

When I traveled to India, day was night back home and vice versa. I recognized right away that my body was still on North American time when morning elimination became an evening activity. And I realized I was fully in India – mind, spirit AND body – when that changed to India’s morning time.

It happens occasionally, when my life is too busy and crowded with to-dos and plans, that morning comes and goes without going and I find myself in the evening on the pot, waiting for whatever is lurking in my gut to free itself. I wait and I wait, frustrated, impatient, anxious to move on with my evening because I really didn’t have time for this, since it’s supposed to happen in the morning. 

I finish the few games on Words that I have ignored for days because I’ve been so busy, and check Facebook again, hoping all the while that my phone doesn’t fall anywhere near the toilet. I never bring reading material into the bathroom because I don’t plan to be there long enough to even complete a paragraph.

And so I sit there, waiting and wondering what it was this time that threw my body completely off course.

Over-programming? Most definitely. Too much running here and there, attending to everyone’s needs but my own. Am I worried about something? Doing too much? Not enough exercise?

Food? Oh yeah – I ate lunch out yesterday and the day before, and I ordered that salad heaped with deli meats (processed!!) and creamy dressing. Too much pita bread, too many carbs. Of course I’m stuck here feeling stuck. What we put into our bodies determines the ease with which it comes out.

Eating the right foods makes elimination a smooth process.
Eating the right foods makes elimination a smooth process.

When I eat enough vegetables and fruits, in-season foods from the earth, perfectly spiced and minimally processed, and limit my consumption of meats and breads, bathroom time doesn’t even penetrate my awareness. It’s just something you do when nature calls, and you go on with your business.

So when I’m stuck on the can with nowhere to go and nothing flowing as it should, I realize it’s time to take stock. Assess how I’ve been off-kilter in my life and in my diet, and come up with a plan (hey, I’ve got time! I’m not going anywhere…) to rectify (pun intended) things.

Everybody poops. Just few people actually talk about it. Maybe things would flow that much easier if we did?

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