Running Toilet: The Rorschach of Household Problems

The other day, the toilet at my part-time house was running for too long. I had to turn the water off, and figure out what was wrong. I gave my dad a play-by-play of the situation over the phone as I turned the water on, flushed, and watched what happened in the back part. It was fun, connecty, and educational.

And it got me thinking. What if this was a metaphor of something?

In some schools of thought, you can view your house as a reflection of your self. If you always have trash piled up before taking it out, maybe you have a problem with letting things go. If you have too much food and can never fit it all in the cupboards, maybe you can use a better system for taking inventory of your day before adding more things to your schedule. It’s rather endless and fun, and I don’t really do it.

But this running toilet was interesting. I didn’t realize that you could just turn the water off to make it stop running, turn it back on, use the toilet, and then turn it off again. It was like empowering magic.

Do I have something that’s constantly running in my mind, something that ends up doing more than it should and causing problems because of it? Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. It’s called fear about the future. It’s always running, overflowing, doing more than it needs to.

A small amount of that fear can be fine in some situations. It helps me to be careful, to be safe, to take account of what’s happening and choose my actions accordingly.

But too much of that fear constantly running is just a waste of energy and creates an annoying noise in the background.

So I started applying what I learned about the toilet’s water system to my own fear. Turn it off. Twist the knob, make it stop. I can turn it on when I need it, but there’s no need for it to be running constantly.

I did that, specifically in relation to some dog issues that have been arising in this house, since it’s a ranch and there are many dogs and my dog’s a little nuts. I am constantly afraid that he’s going to get super hurt, but I also want us to be able to play by the river and have fun and get exercise.

I shut the fear off temporarily. I went to the river, I felt the ground under my feet and the sunshine and all the things that were not fear. It went fine. The fear came back, but then I went to the river again the next day. The fear didn’t come back that time.

And now, the toilet doesn’t keep running. Maybe it will again, but for now it’s working great. At the same time, I try to learn about the water pipe of my fear. Where’s the knob, how far to the right do I have to turn it before it stops? Can I find it in the dark if I need to? And can I notice the times when it actually doesn’t run for too long and appreciate them?

Just some thoughts.

Are there household problems that you feel could relate to your own mind?

Do you ever see your house as a reflection of yourself or is that just new-age hippie crap?

If you had to pick one random thing, like dishes in the sink or dust on the shelves, and relate it to your mind, do you get some ideas of things that pop up?

Hope you all are well πŸ™‚

In the link under the picture is a song by Tom Waits called “Yesterday is Here” that I covered with a distant friend. Actually trying to “sing” was new for me, and I’m rather proud of how it turned out! Shuttin’ off the fear is fun!


39 thoughts on “Running Toilet: The Rorschach of Household Problems

  1. The greatest skill I’ve learned (in the past six months) was a method of prioritizing things happening into manageable tasks. Before then, my mind was always racing due to the fear of forgetting something. After sis months, I trust ‘the system’ and sleep through the night. Nice post.

    • That is awesome to hear! I could definitely use some work with prioritizing. When a big fear is happening, it seems to take precedence over all else. I’ve been trying to use my “values” as the top priority- I “value” my dog having a full and fun life, so it’s worth the risk of the fer that “something bad might happen.” Slowly but surely I’m working with it, glad to know that you found success!

  2. This is such an incredibly amazing metaphor. I have to share this with my husband. We are constantly in “renovationland” where ever we live. I wonder what that says?

  3. (Β―`✻´¯)Jennifer. β™₯Β°*β€ΛœΖΈΣœΖ·Λœβ€*Β°β™₯ Who knew? I guess your Sound Cloud friends knew. You have
    `*.ΒΈ.*βœΏαƒ¦βœΏαƒ¦.ΒΈΒΈβ™₯// (Λ†β—‘Λ†)\\β™₯ … ツ such a bluesy, sultry voice. Great song, your friend sounds like Tom Waits.

    Now to your blog post. I love it. The house is a great analogy, is it not used in psychology, as well as dreams and metaphysics? A house, a car, a human body are all vessels, so to me they are all related or representative in some way. I could go on but I won’t, What you got from it with fear running rampant is priceless. The last couple of days I was up and positive, like I had the fear turned off.

    I am getting ready to move from Louisiana for the last couple of years to Arizona, in like a week. I am driving there alone. I am going to school, moving across country and either looking for work or winning the lottery. I vote lottery but I will be realistic….airing to the positive.
    So today I am in fearful panic mode, near to anxiety. lol Time to go listen to some mediation music and get spiritually pumped up by Deepak.

    After I go listen to your song again.

    ΪΏΪ°Ϋ£β™₯ΪΏΪ°Ϋ£β™₯ Peace & Love β™₯ΪΏΪ°Ϋ£β™₯ΪΏΪ°Ϋ£β™₯
    Sindy Sue

  4. It really amazes me how you can come up with such an intellectually powerful blog post just from interacting with household products such as the toilet, and whatever it is that people in America use it for. In Australia we take off the seat and wear it as a necklace (that’s my attempt at humor). Seriously though, that ideology of how your house is a reflection of yourself is really intriguing. There’s the notion that you are what you eat, and you are who you hang out with, so why not have your house too be a reflection of yourself. By eating healthy food you are visualized as a healthy individual, so perhaps be keeping a clean, functioning house you are seen to others as a clean, well productive individual.
    As for what I could relate to within my house – perhaps I’ll choose the household spanner – because I really open up to people.

    • Woah what is a spanner? I could google it but I’d rather just ask πŸ™‚ And yeah, some people really get into that analogy, others go into it part way. I like it as a loose thing to just offer mind-food rather than to get too hung up on it because sometimes, a thing just breaks or a system just doesn’t work right, and it’s not really such a reflection after all πŸ™‚ for me, this one happened to ring true so I wrote about it!

      • A spanner Jennifer is a tool with two ends at its tip which can be retracted and compressed. This device can fit around objects the likes of washers and bolts, and can be used to twist them inwards or outwards depending on your needs. They can come in many different shapes and sizes and are predominantly made from steel. Hope this helps. Perhaps in America it is referred to as something different? Or maybe Americans do not require such primitive technology? πŸ˜€

  5. Great scene from The Way (one of my favs) between Jack from Ireland and his new found pilgrim friends on the Camino:
    Jack: I think this place means something.
    Sarah: This place means–?
    Jack: This place is brimming with significance! That’s the problem with this whole damn road!
    Joost: Problem?
    Jack: Me-ta-phor, man! You’re out walking all alone and suddenly you see a dogfight by a cheese farm. What does that dogfight mean? And despite it’s literalness, the idea of a pilgrim’s journey on this road is a metaphor bonanza!
    Sarah: Well, Jack, maybe a dogfight near a cheese farm is just a dogfight near a cheese farm.
    Jack: Ahh! Okay. That’s good…that is very good. Maybe I should adopt a more conservative attitude instead of trying to trickle meaning out of every curve in the road…oh Christ!

    Jennifer, this is not new age hippie crap. Really it’s not. It’s having the eyes to see beyond the literalness that surrounds us. To look harder, to playfully look deeper. Yes we can get weird with it. And yes we may even be committed one day if we look too hard and too deep for too long. But the fact is that the journey we all share is quite literally a metaphor bonanza. Most of us are just too dimwitted (aka sophisticated) to even go there. Glad you do. And I’ll be musing on that running toilet for a while. Thank you. As always. I once again burp out my satisfaction as I exclaim, “Dear God, where does she get this stuff?” πŸ™‚

    • πŸ™‚ I love this comment! There is definitely a metaphor in every single little thing. The trick is to find the balance, I think, between seeing just enough to really help on one’s journey and seeing so much that it becomes a problem and makes us lose our ground and connection to the present moment πŸ™‚ I will have to look up The Way!

  6. Pingback: of running toilets and metaphor bonanzas « wordhavering

  7. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tackled a house problem with my Dad helping patiently on the other end of a telephone. Aren’t mobile phones great, he’s even been sitting in the attic with me at one stage when there was a problem with the water tank. πŸ™‚
    Thanks for sharing this, it made me smile. πŸ˜€

  8. Thanx πŸ™‚
    It`s not crap!
    When I`m feeling worry, I put in order mine papers, bills and similar stuff. My mind gets happier πŸ™‚

    Today the sun shine on mine windows.They are filthy. Mybee I have to clean them…. to see the road ahead….

    Have a nice day!

    Marie/ MT

  9. I think I never have enough counter space. I’m always cleaning the small things off of it in order to have space to do other things. That could be a reflection of the feeling of never having enough; whatever it may be. Money, affection, furry dogs…

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