Joy in the simple things
Today is the day I plan to wash the toilet floor – by hand, on my knees.
I don’t expect to get any joy out of it.
But on page 96 of Oneness With All Life, Eckhart Tolle wrote:
Joy does not come from what you do, it flows into what you do and thus into this world from deep within you.
You will enjoy any activity in which you are fully present, any activity that is not just a means to an end.
I don’t really want to wash the toilet floor. I want to get the job over and done in as short a time as possible because I don’t expect to get any joy out of it. In fact, I expect it to make me miserable. I’d much rather be reading a spine-thrilling book whilst sitting on the grassy deck overlooking the lake, with a glass of sparkling water within easy reach!
However, according to Tolle, I will enjoy (experience joy) doing any activity as long as I’m fully present while doing it. Joy will flow through me from a bottomless, universal source, and spill out into the enclosed space within which I work.
Hmm. I doubt it. But I’ll go and wash the toilet floor while being fully present. Then I’ll report back. I won’t be long (I hope).
Well, that joyful little job only took 4.58 minutes.
I’ll document what happened in that little room.
At first, it was a bit humbling. I don’t look my best on my hands and knees, with my pale-blue-tracksuit-covered backside swaying from side to side in the air. The tricky bit was trying to keep my head away from the toilet bowl, toilet brush holder, and a nest of toilet rolls Rob stacks so high it resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and has been known to tumble.
I maneuvered a small basin of hot water and disinfectant between my legs, grasped an abrasive walnut sponge, and started scrubbing.
After doing one side with great disgruntlement, I remembered what I was supposed to be doing, which was to be present during the task. I affixed a smile to my face and continued scrubbing, but this didn’t change a thing. I realised I was going to have to change my thoughts or stop thinking altogether.
So, I stopped thinking how much I hated being there and started looking at my gloved hand as it moved along the edge where the wall met the floor. I noticed the dirt the scrubber was removing, the shine of the white bowl, the rhythm of my arm moving back and forth. Sunlight angled through the toilet window and fell on the damp floor, illuminating the results of my effort.
And what was that feeling surging through me, filling the room and dancing atop the toilet seat?
It wasn’t joy, exactly. It was more like peace, or contentment, or satisfaction.
But they’re close enough to joy to make me realise that I’d found a better way to do housework.
Joy may come next time.
Somewhat stiffly, I sat back on my haunches, then got up, put away the cleaning gear, glanced through the small window at a view of the garden, and came back to make my report to you.
Joy in the Simple Things
So, if you want to (maybe) experience joy today, pick a job you’ve been putting off, and go and do it. Do it now, being present while you do it.
Remember: Joy doesn't come from what you are doing. Joy flows into what you are doing. This joy comes from an endless source of joy from within you.
Find joy in the simple things that you do every day - like cleaning the floor, or your teeth, or a burnt pot.
Report back how you went, in the Comments section below. You’ll have to become a site member to write a comment, but it’s free and easily done. Just follow the prompt to enter your name and email, and you can make a comment on any of my blogs.
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Wishing you a bit of universal joy today, whatever job you’re doing!