Everyone has been in situations that have made them uneasy, shy, or on edge. It is not uncommon to have feelings like this multiple times per week, or even multiple times per day. However, there are many ways to view every situation, and changing your attitude can change the entire circumstance. Just because something is uncomfortable, doesn’t mean that in some ways it can’t have virtuous qualities- you might just need to change your perspective.
During what should have been my second semester at college, I took some time off from school and went traveling. Outward Bound is an outdoor education and adventure group that runs many programs. I signed up for their longest trip, which was a three month long semester excursion. The first place we went was the Florida Keys. There were fourteen of us with four instructors. We were split into two groups and set sail on 30-foot sail boats. Nine people were on each 30-foot boat, each boat being seven feet at its widest. Space was limited, to say the least. We bathed in the ocean with the same soap we used to do dishes, slept on oars every night, and the bathroom was nothing but a yellow bucket located at the front of the boat behind the main mast. Things were not always pretty on Pulling Boat 15, (the name of our boat) but we did manage to get a lot of enjoyment out of the trip. On the fourteenth day of our expedition, my view of the trip changed significantly by simply taking a poop.
The job of bow watch involved keeping an eye out for anything we might hit and locating markers to navigate us. The head bucket’s housing also doubled as a seat for bow watch due to its convenient location. On this particular day, there was a woman on bow watch; I offered to take over her duties for a while as I needed to use the head bucket. We switched positions, and I opened up the rotting wooden box that held the yellow head bucket. I pulled off the lid and set it to the side. I proceeded to drop my shorts and begin my duties… both as bow watch and in the bucket. It was an especially beautiful Florida day as we planned to sail about 15 miles. Although it was previously mentioned to us, I never really took into appreciation just how amazing the view from the head bucket was. On my left, I had a section of the only undeveloped coast line of Florida with the Everglades located right behind it. To my right was the magnificent Florida Bay, with all of the beautiful turquois colors you could ever ask for. At this moment, I realized just how lucky I was to be taking a poop in a bucket to such beauty, while most everyone taking a poop in the United States was doing so in a normal private toilet.
I took a moment to let this sight sink into my mind as I scanned the horizon. Then, I saw it. Off to our port side (to the left) was a group of about seven dolphins, 300 feet way. I yelled to the rest of my crew members. I felt the boat rock as everyone rushed to the port side to see- a rather uneasy feeling for someone sitting down, similar to hitting turbulence in an airplane bathroom. Any sort of wildlife always got us excited. I transitioned back and forth; from watching the dolphins to looking out for anything else in front of us. Everyone slowly returned to their normal positions on the boat. When I looked for the dolphins again, I realized there was one right next to the bow- exactly where I was sitting taking my poop! It breached about three feet from me, and then I watched the family swim off into the Florida Bay. It was at that moment that I had realized that this was undoubtedly the greatest poop of my life.
If I had just kept my head down and been ashamed of going to the bathroom in front of eight other people, I would have never been aware of the beauty surrounding me. Since I decided to sit back and enjoy my surroundings as I did my duties, I had the pooping experience of a lifetime. Although I never had another bathroom opportunity quite like that one in Costa Rica, Panama, or Nicaragua, I’ll always remember what I learned that day in Florida Bay. If you don’t keep your eye out for the beauty in every occasion, you might just miss the opportunity of a lifetime.