aka, "Cleaning a Mind That's Lost Its Shine"
Monday is bathroom-cleaning day around here. Needless to say, that is not my most-favourite way to spend half an hour, but it’s got to be done, doesn’t it? Yesterday I found myself standing in the tub, scrubbing down the walls with these standard bathroom-cleaning thoughts running through my mind:
I hate this job. It’s hard physical work, too hard for a woman of my age. And talk about tedious - Mirror, sink, shower, toilet, floor; change out the towels. Then when I’m done here, the towels have to go into the washing machine, then the dryer, then they have to be folded and put away and then next week I’ll have it to do all over again. What a waste of my precious time!!
Why am I the one who always has to clean the blasted bathroom? Why can’t himself do it once in a while? I’m sure not the only one who uses it, but he never thinks about that, does he? He probably thinks the bathroom just gets clean by magic; I just wiggle my nose and voila! Shiny taps! I hate this … “
There was a lot more to the spiel before, out of the blue, a jolt of awareness hit.
“WHOA!” I exclaimed. “Wait a minute here. Whoa, stop. What the heck am I thinking? This is NOT happiness!”
Those ugly thoughts I was running were anything but happy, but trust me, The bathroom fixtures weren’t the only thing that needed a good scrub and polish.
I turned on the shower, rinsed down the shower and reminded myself of my 2019 motto, the basis of this whole Happiness Experiment: “Happiness is a choice we can make as we start the day.” Since I have such a deeply engrained habit of being not-happy, the choice to feel happy is one I have to make over and over and over again throughout the course of the day.
I picked up the toilet brush, and asked myself, “Would it make me happier to down tools and NOT clean the bathroom?”
No, because I like living in a clean home, it is a gift I give myself. I could ask himself to do this job occasionally, but then he might reasonably expect me to do my share of lawn-mowing, vehicle-maintenance, etc., none of which I care to tackle. We sorted out this division of household labour a long time ago. Who does the work isn’t the crucial question. The crux of the matter is what thoughts, what attitudes, do I choose to run as the background music for my work?
I took out another dry rag and began the final dry-and-polish. Cleaning the bathroom is routine that it takes but little mind-power, so I began to deliberately thing thoughts that would make me happier: “This is a pretty nice bathroom; I like my pretty shower curtain, and especially this curving curtain rod; thank you to whatever genius bathroom-designer came up with that idea, a decade or two ago! Thank you to the previous owner of this house for installing one here for me to enjoy and appreciate.”
My rant of appreciation continued as I mopped my way out of the room, a smile on my face. I felt satisfied with two jobs well-done: a clean bathroom, and thoughts I didn’t want or need successfully flushed away (couldn’t resist that) on a flood of happier ones.
I wonder what other tricks or techniques we could use when our mood is lowered by circumstances, or rather, by our thoughts and reactions to circumstances? Share yours in COMMENTS below, because we’re all in this together.
All the Best Always, Elaine H
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