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May 122014

A few days ago I ran into a childhood friend  and neighbor, who has a PhD in nursing and taught nursing students for years before her retirement.

We got to talking about my family problems which she was aware of and empathized with mine, and her own family problems, which I had not been aware of. We talked about our mistakes and the abuse others heaped on us unfairly. Then she told me an analogy she had used with a nursing student who had made a mistake in a surgical suite during an operation. The girl was embarrassed and devastated that the doctor had screamed at her. She told my friend that she was going to drop out of the nursing school.

My friend then gave her student  this analogy. “What would do you do when you have a bowel movement?” The student looked puzzled and said,” well, I flush it away.” My friend then said to her student. “That’s what you do with mistakes….you flush them away. You don’t keep them around to try to figure out how things could have been different, because pretty soon if you keep concentrating on that BM you will have nothing but a big stink, so you flush it and forget it and go on. Live in the HERE AND NOW. Live in the moment, and not in the past which we can’t change.”

The more I have pondered my friend’s wise advice to her student the more I see the validity of her advice to the student. We all make mistakes, we all make poor choices from time to time, but we need to FLUSH THEM AWAY. Get them out of our lives and live in the here and now. What do we need to do TODAY? What do we need to do this moment? Think about it.

My friend also gave her students an assignment. In nursing we make a “nursing care plan”  after we have assessed the patient’s needs, then we make a plan on HOW our patient (with our help) can meet those needs. Some of those needs in patients are very very basic, but others more complex.

She assigned her stressed-out students to make an assessment of their own needs, and how to meet those needs. She said many of them simply wanted MORE SLEEP. They actually needed more sleep but many were single parents juggling school, study, children and maybe even a job. She said her students correctly assessed their own NEEDS, but they fell very short of how to  provide for  these  needs for themselves.

There are many times in life when we put other’s needs before our own. If you are on an airplane the steward will tell you “if the oxygen mask falls down, PUT YOURS ON FIRST…and only THEN attempt to help someone else. If we do not meet our own needs there is no way we can continue indefinitely helping someone else.

It is important that we FLUSH AWAY those things in our life that are past, live in the here and now, and take care of our own basic needs FIRST. We can’t heal without our needs being met.

Like me, and many nurses, my friend had put her family’s needs before her own, though she KNEW this wasn’t healthy but we talked about ways to put ourselves first and I think she is going to concentrate now on taking care of her own needs, flushing those nasty things that she can’t change, and get on with her life in a more healthy way.

Even for professionals we don’t always practice the things we preach to patients. Now it is time to flush away the bad and get on with the good things of meeting our own needs.






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  6 Responses to “Flush it away”

  1. Article UP

  2. Well then, that’s definitely one way of looking at it. Flush the spath and all of their crap down the drain with them. How fitting!

    I view mine and the bills he left me, as paying an exterminater. It’s the cost of fumigating the house to get rid of rodents and pests. Whatever the cost? It’s usually worth every penny.

    Bottom line though, whatever you choose to compare it too, however it makes sense to each of us, how we choose to view it, its a reminder to let it go. Get it away from us and our of our life. The sooner, the better.

  3. Joyce, I’ve been offline for a long while, lately. Nothing serious, just “life happening,” as it often does.

    This is a phenomenal article, Joyce, because what you addressed was specifically what I’ve been dealing with in my counseling sessions: my personal mistakes in judgement. I’ve been wrangling with this, for years. I chose an abusive spath, the first time around, and I chose another even more insidious spath the second time around – of course, I also surrounded myself with the disordered and toxic, from soup to nuts.

    This analogy is important to me because, as a human being, I’m “allowed” to make mistakes. I’m not a god, I’m not an immortal, nor do I have all of the answers to Life’s Questions. I’m a human being, and I’m going to make mistakes – the Earth will still spin upon her axis whether I’m making mistakes, or not, and whether I’m even on the planet, or not. And, throughout my lifetime, I was FEARFUL of making mistakes – errors in judgement and/or decisions caused me to simply take NO action, at all (avoidance disorder, absolutely).

    EXCELLENT article on recovery and healing, Joyce – exactly what I needed to read, right now.

  4. Glad you were helped by the article, Truthy, I too was helped with my friend’s analogy…I too set perfection for ME, though definitely not for others. If they were not perfect, I could accept that (no matter how bad they were) but if I was not 100% perfect, then I felt I was worthless.

    It has been difficult for me to forgive myself for not being perfect…to flush away the things that are less than perfect….and realize that going over and over and OVER the things I have made bad decisions, choices, or just did wrong…well that was harder. now when I find myself kicking myself for not doing something perfectly, I flush it….recently I lost a baby calf because I did not realize SOON ENOUGH to take action that it needed help, I could not save it, and oh, if I had just been a day or two sooner she probably would have lived….but I’m NOT perfect and sometimes things slip and go haywire, but I can’t keep beating myself up about it. So this came at a time I needed to learn this lesson (again) as well.

    My friend came out to see me again this afternoon and we talked about healing…her mother recently died and her brother and the rest of the family are shunning her and she is in such pain…and so we talked, prayed together and uplifted each other and it was good for us both. She’s like a lot of nurses (me included) to give too much to others and don’t take care of ourselves. Grief is a hard thing to go through, but to be beaten down at the time you are grieving makes it worse.

    Not all offenders are breaking the law of the land, just the laws of love, kindness and compassion…

    • Joyce, that’s the crux of my personal issues – “all offenders” were behind bars or riding the lightning for what they’d done. “Bad people” simply did not exist in everyday life, unless they were ON THEIR WAY to prison. And, the reason (clinically speaking) that I believed that was true was directly related to my childhood traumas in the dynamics of alcoholism. The more that I learned about “these people,” and how I was so easily duped by them, the more I delved into my childhood traumas to find the answers.

      It’s creepy how much damage can be done to a child’s psyche even through words, let alone long-term abuse and neglect. I didn’t have a self-worth, self-esteem, or self-value and I wore these facts upon my forehead. The people who were emotionally healthy were just as astute as the people who were (at the very least) toxic, and I didn’t experience “healthy” relationships that could even be construed as within “normal” boundaries. It was either one way or the other, but NEVER in the realm of reasonably normal.

      SO…………the whole point of my response to this article is that it always started with what THEY DID to me…….there are countless examples of partners AND platonic friends that took advantage of my vulnerabilities and exploited my strengths to their advantages. Yeah, yeah………they are/were predators, to be sure! But, as I began the journey of recovery and healing, it has become ALL ABOUT ME!! Where I came from, how I respond/react to any given trigger/situation, and rewiring my brain (literally) to respond in a more normal range and how to maintain boundaries that I’ve had to construct from the foundation, on up. It’s been a complete reconstruct of myself from personal beliefs, spiritual beliefs, and truths about humanity. Learning that I was “allowed” to make mistakes and that I was STILL “okay” if I did was a tremendous relief to me – it took away that dreadful burden of perfection and an understanding that there’s NO SUCH THING as perfection – even a snowflake isn’t perfect, and “flushing” those mistakes is such a WONDERFUL analogy!!!

      It’s possible to do this – to reconstruct and exist in a world of “facts AND emotions,” without being an easy target or even appearing as any type of target. It’s not only possible, but it’s liberating and empowering beyond my ability to convey! It’s a long process, and scary, as well. But, it’s possible.

      The book that actually opened the path of recovery and healing in this manner is titled, “Healing The Shame That Binds You.” It’s been revised a number of times, and the origins regard substance abuse and alcoholism – very specific sources of “shame core beliefs,” but the truths that are discussed can be applied to ANY process of recovery.

      The Laws of Love, Kindness, and Compassion are easily broken, even by those without an agenda of harm or exploitation. Knowing and believing that we aren’t required to tolerate any abuse of those sacred and priceless Laws is the first step on that path of recovery and healing.

  5. Very well said, Truthy….It is sooo important I think that we learn about HEALTHY interactions and relationships, and unfortunately, many times as we grow up, we have no idea what a “healthy” relationship is.

    Many times the “upstanding citizens” of this world are offenders and play the abuser role well, and keep it covered in a cloak of “respectability”

    Charles “Jackie” Walls III (you can look him up on the arkansas state prison directory on line) was from a very respectable family, and he hid his perversions behind that layer of “respectability” as he molested hundreds of children for decades.

    My family seemed more concerned with what “the neighbors thought” than with reality, and so it was a game of “let’s pretend none of this happened”—oh YEA???? You “burn my house down” when you are mad at me, then say “oh, I’m sorry, I was mad, let’s pretend none of this happened and start over?”

    Unfortunately, for way too long I kept “starting over” and giving another and then another chance…”insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results” someone said once and that is true…I was VERY insane as I kept expecting different results. It’s been a long road to learn that lesson, but the thing is until we DO learn that lesson and act on it, then we can never get out of the “game” and so life keeps giving us opportunities to learn the lesson. LOL “Life’s a tough teacher, she gives the test first and THEN the lesson.” I’ve had to “repeat” a lot of classes. LOL

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