Haneda Airport was selected as the world’s number one cleanest airport in 2013 and 2014. I saw a documentary program about an experienced cleaner who works in Haneda Airport. I was touched by how she lives.
She said that even if we don’t use something, it can be dirty, because dusts settles on it. I remembered that I was impressed by the shiny public water fountain at Narita Airport. I felt that’s how cleaners clean it up.
Dust and stains made her smile. She used the long staircase not the escalator. When she was asked the reason, she said that this is like taking a stroll before working. I was impressed by the lightness of her heart. When she cleans something or somewhere, she never scrubs it. She always washes it as if she is giving a baby a warm bath. That was gentle and tender way.
I reflected on my cleaning style. I love cleaning but I know that I sometimes do it in a boastful manner. I felt ashamed. I did not spend my energy to find out how it became dirty. My attitude towards dirtiness was sometimes slapdash. Dust and stains sometimes made me smile. But not always.
She said that when we do everything from loving place, we can find a way to live well. I resonate with that. That is her life. Because of World War II, she grew up in China, although she is Japanese. She was picked on in China, because she is Japanese. When she came back to Japan with her family at the age of seventeen. She was also picked on, because she could not speak Japanese. She saw the dirty side of people through her life. And finally it gave her power and pride.
She said that removing stains and scratches should be clearly recognized as different things. She carefully pours her energy into this point, so she gets many new ideas for cleaning up. Her being was as if she pours love into the here and now. So extra energy guides her to the right place.
Her turning point was her boss’s words. She was told, “If you have a lot of space in your heart, you can be an cleaning expert. The space in your heart creates compassion and imagination towards others. If you don’t have space in your heart, you will be satisfied with your job, but you will be complacent.” After that, she learned how she could transcend her ego.
Cleaning makes us gentle and tender. I am happy to have an opportunity to clean up my apartment every day. And also I am happy to have a chance to create a lot of space in my heart every day. I learned that appreciation helps us to find a way. We can always find a way.