There no river

When do You change the toilet paper roll?

Have you ever been stuck on the toilet and there is no toilet paper on the roll?  Have you ever found a roll nearby but slightly out of reach, or perhaps just below the empty roll itself?    Chances are you have!

  The changing of the toilet paper roll is a seemingly innocuous event in our daily lives but can reflect our attitudes toward self and others at a very basic level.  Perhaps if we could measure the “changing of the roll” so to speak, it would reflect the way in which we are in the community.

Imagine this, you are sitting on the “throne”. The tissue is hanging off the roll, just enough for you.  Another fresh new roll lies just below within easy reach.   What do you do?  Honestly now!  Do you take your piece, leave the roll empty, wash your hands and go?  Do you use the last piece, and as a courtesy to the next person, change the roll?   Or, do you leave the roll empty on the floor for the next person to change it?  Perhaps you are so absorbed in your internal or external activities that you don’t even notice the roll on the floor.  In which case, I sure hope you wash you hands on the way out!

 What we do, and how we are as individual’s in our daily lives reflects what we bring to the larger community. If we change the roll, we are thinking of the persons who come after us.  It reflects an act of kindness, mindful of the present and anticipating future needs.  One can extrapolate a potential attitude of concern for the generations to come.  Not changing does not automatically assume its opposite possibility, but perhaps a position of mindlessness, preoccupation, or ignoring what is.  Yet if we ignore possibilities for small acts of kindness and let the next person be greeted by the empty roll, it reflects an attitude of every-person-for themselves, and dog-eat-dog.  Dogs don’t generally eat dogs, perhaps not unless they are starving, or trained to.  We live in an age of plenty – for the most part, and there would be more than enough if there were more generosity of spirit.

 Ask yourself even further, do you change the roll only in your own house, or do you also change it public places?  Otherwise, do you stick to only taking care of your own “tribe”, or are you extending your act of kindness however small to others.   If the toilet paper is out of reach, do you make the extra effort and change it after, or leave it? Do you not change the roll at all but leave the roll on the floor after using it?  How do you feel when you change said roll?  Do you do it automatically because that is how you were trained?  Do you change the roll with frustration, perhaps perceiving always having to do it, or anticipating always having to do it?  Do you change it wanting recognition in what you do, perhaps distilling future anger for recognition not being forth coming?  Or are you changing it because it is simply what needs to be done.  None of these positions are right or wrong, however they do reflect the quality of heart on an individual and collective level.

I was in a job interview years ago, being interviewed by approximately 3-4 women.  After all the questions were asked and the interview was coming to a close, someone asked, “Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?”  Without really thinking I blurted out, ”I know how to change a toilet paper roll.”   This little comment garnered a few chuckles, for we had all been there, but it also reflected, that I took the extra step of consideration for others after me whoever they may be.

I am not suggesting that we start running around and taking care of other people’s business.  It is important to first take care of your own and then perhaps one extra thing.  We are all in this together, whatever color shape or size.  If daily we did one extra thing to make the world a better place without measuring reward or personal gain, how quickly our world would change!  If we changed that toilet paper roll, or picked up the trash, or performed a random act of kindness or generosity of any sort we would be making one more gesture, which opens our hearts personally, and as a community.

It is easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of things that need to be changed when we start looking.  It is easy to lose heart when overwhelmed.  Breathe deeply and remember the heart of your being, it is here we are connected. 


©Leslie H Bambic Ciechanowski 2009






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