From time to time, I make a point of cleaning toilets. It keeps me humble. I don’t do it because I have to, I do it because I choose to. Sometimes, I admit, I can’t be bothered. But sometimes, it’s the right thing to do. No matter how much time it takes, there is value in cleaning toilets once in a while.
I choose to clean toilets because it puts me where I need to be. It’s the “lowest-ranked job” in the world. I love that. We all should do that from time to time.
It brings me back to a beginner’s mind. It brings me back to yes, anyone can clean a toilet, right? It’s not what you do but how you do it. It’s my practice at doing my best, even if it’s the “lowest-ranked job.” But the most important benefit of cleaning the toilet is practicing gratitude while doing that.
I think that’s a high level. Cleaning the toilet makes me think of who I am, what I have, what I can offer, and be grateful for it. It’s time off from writing this blog, being a jury member in a competition, accompanying people in their work, or being the best mom, a few of the things I usually do…
It just makes me think of the choice I have, the choices I made before getting to where I am today.
I remember, 30 years ago, I was living in the Mamu Butoh Centrum in Goettingen, where I studied Butoh and used to clean the studio (and the toilets too:) thinking, one day, I will clean my own studio. It was a dream, and now it’s a reality I am incredibly grateful for.
It’s a daily practice, no need to clean the toilet for it. Sit down daily and write 3-5 things you’re grateful for. Being alive could be one. You can take it on from there. Practicing an attitude of gratitude makes you feel better about life, yourself, and the world. It enhances health, creativity, and performance. If you are a leader, it catches on to the people you work with and lead. It becomes the atmosphere of the space that you are.
It’s a better way to be in the world.
Try it for a week, and let me know what changes in the comments below.