To pee or not to pee – should that even be a question?

By Coleen Hensey

I was recently advised by my GP to keep an eye on my blood pressure as we worked together to find the causes of some health issues that had arisen.

After attending a specialist appointment one lovely, warm day, I took myself for a rainforest walk and then walked my gorgeous labradoodle to the local dog park. We were both thirsty from our walks so I shared my water with my dog, who was most appreciative. I was feeling lovely – connected with nature and purposeful in having started to attend to these matters of personal health.

I felt so good that I decided to pop into the local pharmacy before going home and have my blood pressure measured, so that I would have a reference for ‘feeling lovely.’

My friendly pharmacist welcomed me warmly, as always, and we attached the sleeve to my arm to measure my current blood pressure. As the sleeve deflated and the reading appeared on the screen, I observed how the pharmacist had started to mask a sense of alarm: the diastolic reading (the bottom number) was registering a reading of hypertensive crisis – 124. (1) My usual reading is around 75-80. The systolic pressure was also higher than usual for me, but not alarmingly so.

The pharmacist asked me, with genuine care, if I had drunk any water recently and also if I needed to go the loo. I replied that I was a bit thirsty as I had shared my water with the dog and that, yes, I did need to visit the loo but wasn’t aware of there being a toilet in the immediate area. Solicitously, she directed me to a ‘shop’ toilet and then brought me three glasses of water in succession.

We waited for five minutes and then took a second blood pressure reading.

The diastolic reading was 85: it had dropped 40 points from a point of crisis to super normal after I went to the loo and then drank some water.

This was a very humbling moment. As I stared at the machine, I was both relieved to be back to normal but also aghast that, even feeling as lovely as I did on that day, the simple acts of not attending fully to my body’s needs to pee and to rehydrate completely had placed my body into a state of intense stress and me into a position of danger. My stubbornness in overriding these needs by pushing on to the pharmacy, rather than going home and attending to them, was completely exposed in that moment – necessarily so.

I began to reflect on how many times in my life I had overridden the needs to drink water and go to the toilet, as well as many other bodily needs, deferring all these needs to a time that was ‘more convenient’ – a time when I wasn’t busy or engaged in other activities.

Moreover, I also work in a profession where, oftentimes, it is seen as a mark of a child’s maturity that they can control their bladder for the duration of a teaching/learning session of up to two hours. This applies to we teachers, too, and we are the role models of bladder and thirst control.

I could not but marvel at my body’s exquisite sensitivity – how ignoring my bladder and the need for water affected my whole body adversely. I felt a deep appreciation for how instantly my body responded and returned to equilibrium directly once its needs were met. And I decided that, henceforth, any bodily need, no matter how insignificant or basic it may appear to be, will be addressed by me immediately… in line with my body’s communication of it. I reflected how a true rhythm excludes nothing – it is in the flow of all life. So I will never again be ‘too busy’ to attend to these basic bodily needs because I am engaged in ‘more important’ stuff… not even for a minute! My body is now an equal player in my life, no more a 2nd class citizen: we are now a democracy.

Inspired by Serge Benhayon who has long presented the need for us to care deeply for, and about, our bodies, as well as role modelling an absolute integrity in attending to the minute details of such self-care.




Read more:

  1. Self-care at work makes sense – why is it not common practice? 
  2. Your body is a living experiment

804 thoughts on “To pee or not to pee – should that even be a question?

  1. Such a simple example highlighting the sensitivity of our body and how it immediately responds to rebalance itself when we start to take care of ourselves.

  2. This experience highlights how essential it is to be fully present and attentive to every detail with our body and what we are feeling so that we do not disconnect and push through life living from our head that distracts us from being aware of our body’s sensitivity.

  3. Overriding what our bodies are constantly expressing is just so disregarding. Your blog Coleen is a powerful reminder to deeply honour, listen and respond to all that our bodies convey.

  4. ‘My body is now an equal player in my life, no more a 2nd class citizen: we are now a democracy.’ This is brilliant when so many of us are ignoring the messages from our bodies until it is too late and illness and disease take their toll. The mind can so overrule our real needs that we become very distant from the bodies innate wisdom. Re-awakening our relationship with our true feelings is essential to a healthy body and mind.

  5. I know those moments at work when there is so much going on that peeing is the last thing on the agenda. But when I listen to my body and take the time to pee my body is then less anxious and I’m able to work better. Taking the time to stop is so important. It’s our body’s way of saying ‘pause for a moment’!

  6. Wow such a simple example of not honouring the body and what a major impact to what it causes. Really goes to show how every little detail counts and we cannot ignore anything as we really do not know the damage it may cause.

  7. You really have showcased something that I have done a lot and still do at times, that is to hold on going to the toilet because I am busy. Which is such a bad excuse, for not honouring what my body is telling me. I will certainly bring a lot more awareness to this post having read your blog.

  8. No Coleen it should not be a question but the reality is, it so often is. Why is it that we over ride the very clear messages our body conveys to us? Thank you for raising my awareness and giving me much to ponder on.

  9. Talking to a friend the other day she was saying that nurses sometimes have 9 hour shifts and they don’t have time to go to the toilet. This is silly. We all have time to go to the toilet. I know I have put off going at work at times because I have felt there was no one else to do my job and I could not leave my position at the till but this is not true. If I collapsed at work someone else would step in or the till would be shut down for a wee ( pun not intended) while. We let a belief or an ideal run us to our own detriment and it is just not necessary and more than that it is causing us internal discomfort and consequent harm and it is also not having any let up from the rush and continual motion we have set ourselves in. This all has a knock on effect to everyone else and tells others that they don’t have to honour or take responsibility for their bodies either.

    1. Totally Elaine. In the past when I had back to back early morning meetings I was still so tense that I would put off going to the loo in case I disrupted the meeting in any way. Now I just freely leave the meeting when needed!

  10. This is a very sobering incident Coleen. I know that I have done the same. I sometimes completely forget to drink water through the day, though I have focal points which I now cannot ignore – a glass of warm water first thing in the morning with minerals in it, then a peppermint tea. Make sure I drink something around 11am, mid-afternoon and with dinner.

  11. Your words remind me Coleen how we celebrate and champion giving up smoking or drinking alcohol, but in truth this is just a small step. It’s great that we choose to stop poisoning ourselves, but wow there is so much further we can go with listening, measuring and hearing what our body has to say. It is responsive to life in the most sensational way. We think flowers are delicate and precious – but isn’t this in reality like a bird of paradise marvelling at the beauty of a brick? We need to realise just what and how amazing that we are.

  12. Your title offers a far greater enquiry Coleen – how well do we listen to our body and where is our level of care when we do not. There are so many ways in which we not only ‘do not listen’ but we attack and abuse this part of us that so loves us deeply and waits with all the wisdom we need to live a loving, nurturing and evolving life.

  13. So true I have overridden the natural urge to drink water and pee, it maintains a sort of anxiety when I do not honour how I feel, I have gone to food instead or got on to a task instead of peeing or drinking…time to turn our priorities around and make it about self-care first.

  14. Always awe-inspiring to hear of how our bodies are so willingly eager to support us to return us to a harmonious state of being. A finely tuned, delicate and super sensitive instrument that serves to guide and support us to live our Soulfulness. The only prerequisite required to be in true command with this instrument is the willingness to listen to, read and surrender to the truth of the messages that always reflect the effects that our choices have on us, and what needs to change in order for us to live with a deeper connection to our Soul.

  15. I sometimes feel like I’m waiting for a big wake up call from my body to shock me enough into consistently caring for myself in a deeply loving and nurturing way. I’m learning how to but the consistency is not there yet.

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