Why a Shit Storm is All for the Best and How to Survive It
I love getting older, because the crazier life gets, the calmer my response. Experience enables the faith you can survive this too. Whatever this is, including the stinkiest shit storm in history.
This week someone I love got hit hard and called me for an industrial strength rubber umbrella. You’ve been here when someone you love is in trouble, it’s your role to help, but you don’t want to get trapped in their stinky drama.
But being a Texan Jewish mother, I’m a sucker. Plus I’ve survived plenty of tornadoes, so a shit storm is nothing. The second the alarm sounds, I whip out my plastic, washable cape to save the day. Darling, it breaks my heart to see them suffer, but I have to work hard to ensure I too don’t get caught in the rain and go home with stinky, wet clothes.
I’m not going to tell you who was in what kind of shitty monsoon, but I’ll share why a shit storm is a good thing and my approach to getting through it dry and smelling pretty.
The way I cope helping others escape their shitty showers is the same way I do when my life starts to sink. I’ve had plenty of Titanic days; like being kidnapped on my honeymoon, getting death threats from Islamic extremist terrorists and putting my Daddy in jail when I was 12 years old. Stories for another day.
Before I get to how to navigate the storm, here’s the fundamental secret on how to approach any shitty situation; it’s the concept of Gam zu l’tovah. This is a Hebrew expression that roughly translates to “Even this is for the best,” this being something rotten you’re enduring. Gam zu l’tovah is a Jewish philosophy that’s comforting, somehow this horrible experience is a catalyst for a better future.
Sounds like the foundation of all Jewish comedy.
Anyhoo, when the shit storm starts, it’s hard to see how this stinky mess is the kick in the ass we need to change our future.
If you’re the one trying to get out of the shit, don’t be insulted I’m saying your foul weather is for the best. But if it takes lightning to strike your head for you to take action, even out of sheer desperation, trust it can change your life for the better.
Even this morning my Deepak Chopra morning meditation (day 14 of Manifesting True Success) hits this point. The centering thought was “I trust that my life fits a larger plan”. Trust is the key here. You have to trust when it’s raining shit, there’s reason for it.
Chopra mentions four categories of bad weather 1) it’s temporary and straightens itself out with minimal effort, 2) it points you in a new direction, asking you to reexamine what you’re doing, 3) it contains hidden negative emotions or beliefs that you need to work on or 4) it prepares the way for a new opportunity that is getting ready to present itself.
He says, “Setbacks and disappoints are meant to fit into your evolution.”
Think about it, people pay to take mud baths, so maybe surviving a shit storm is a valuable experience.
So whether you or someone you care about, needs a strong umbrella for their Gam zu l’tovah — self-evolution moment, consider my survival tips:
Feel the shit
I’m not good at emotions, I find them messy and unproductive. (Really I don’t cry because I don’t use waterproof mascara). Yet if I’m in a crisis with other people and I’m stoic, it seems like I don’t care. So now I allow my shitty feelings of blame, fear, sadness, and anger to flow. They rise up, I acknowledge each one like an old, not-so-good friend, allow them to flow through me and then I release them (no enema needed, more on how later).
Don’t worry about the shit
The second the shit starts falling, historically my mind goes to the worse case scenario. And I have a dark imagination. But now I said to myself, ‘Really are you that stupid to waste your time worrying about the future? My sister and her husband, both Dr. Goldstein — aka mindfulness gurus — put that voice in my head and I’m grateful. Here’s Dr. Elisha Goldstein’s Worrying Less in 5 Steps article. Worrying is really a waste of toxic waste of time, worse than swiping for true love while on the toilet.
Surrender control of the shit and laugh
I admit I’m a control freak, but I have a sense of humor. With experience comes the wisdom to let go of control and laugh at the shittiest situations. I remember when I took my babies out into the world and their poop explosions sprayed out the top of their shirts and out their pants legs. Strangers would stare at us horrified. All I could do was laugh. Whatever bad happens now, I find the humor in it try to make my loved ones laugh through their tears.
Don’t let the shit dirty the rest of your life
When the shitty rain keeps pouring, it’s a great excuse to ignore the rest of your life. My family, friends, entrepreneurs, investors, and staff depend on me. I can’t hide or shirk my duties no matter what kind of nasty is coming out of the sky for me or the people I love. I feel l like I can survive anything if I take care of my family, stay on top of my work and keep my house clean. The world may be ending, but my dishes are done! I promise you, when shit is falling you have super coping powers. Doubt it? Call me, I’ll lend you my cape.
Don’t treat yourself shitty
Oh baby, when disaster strikes, I immediately crave a few pints of Ben & Jerry's. Now when the shit storm starts, I make a conscious effort to take extra care of myself: sleep 7–8 hours a night, eat healthy (even vegetarian at times), run, meditate. Being a Southern gal, I don’t believe much in talking therapy, we consider the best self-care is to get a mani/pedi. Hell yeah, this week my nails look great! Guys — your toes are nasty too! Get a pedicure!
Dance on the shit
I’m as graceful as a possum but I love to dance like a whirling dervish. When those foul feelings are flowing through me, the only way I can release them is through dance. I’ve found “Ecstatic Dance” and on an as-needed basis, I join their tribe. Trust me, I’d never proactively choose to hang out with people who look like the offspring of Jerry Garcia and Ziggy Stardust and smell worse, but when there’s great music and everyone dances barefoot as crazy as you, it’s healing.
Pray the shit will stop
I’m grateful I always feel the presence of G-d especially when (s)he’s dumping the shit on our heads. When it starts pouring down, I admit I’m overcome with winds of helplessness. So in those moments where I feel there’s only so much I can do and there must be a reason for it, I pray for patience and understanding. It helps. Prayer can look a lot of ways. This week was so tough, I took it up a notch. I went to a Soul Revival, Marcus J Freed’s Sabbath experience with singing, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, Jewish gospel, traditional prayers, and Torah wisdom. Sounds wacky but it worked.
Ask for what you need to survive the shit
Don’t be frustrated when you tell others you’re fleeing a feces storm and they give the stupidest replies. Some will one-up you and say how they survived a volcanic eruption of Australian dung. Others will tell you how they like to bathe in fertilizer. Rarely they’ll hand you a clean handkerchief and say, “I’m so sorry.” Don’t get angry. They don’t know what to say. You have to tell them, “I’m in a shit storm, it sucks, please tell me, ‘I’m sorry, it will stop, you will be OK, and it’s all for the best’.”
I started writing this piece exactly seven days ago when I thought the world was ending for someone I love very much. Today we realized the horrific shit storm they endured led them to extraordinary path that will propel their lives in ways we could not have never imagined. The road is long ahead, but it’s a good one we hadn’t foreseen.
It can seem like forever between the time when the shit storm starts and the clean sky reveals a clean colon rainbow of hope. But it happens. Believe it.
I’ve seen it so many times that now, when the shit starts pouring on me or someone I love, I’m actually excited for the evolution! I grab my rubber umbrella and scream to the heavens,
“Gam zu l’tovah, this is for the best!”