My son and I share a passion for knowing the world. My obsession is the inner world. And his, the natural world.
Where I see a decaying animal body or pile of poop, he sees the path to answers: What did this creature eat? How did it live? What is it made of? Where has it been? As he delved into his most recent inquiry, which involved lugging this enormous skeleton down the beach with enormous pride and delight, I realized I’d developed a similar practice.
I’ve trained myself to lean into the “dead thing” of my marriage to better understand my own history, tendencies, vulnerabilities, and strengths. Such that anytime something that might otherwise be interpreted as a pile of poop presents itself to me, I welcome it with curiosity. I poke around with an exploratory stick to see if I can do more to understand or appreciate my coparent or myself. Or address the places in me that are scared, damaged, wobbly.
The next time you are inclined to judge, blame, rage, or complain about your coparent, I invite you instead to lean in. That terrible person on the other side of your pointing finger is reflecting back to you everything you need to know about yourself right now. The pile of poop at your feet is just the Rorschach test you need to see where you’re stuck, where you have more healing to do, and where you are cruising along just fine.
The dead thing becomes the nurse log to your next, best life when you decide to make it so.