Testimonials

Tolu has guided me in Cleaning as Practice twice: once as an individual and once as part of a working team.   In both cases, I found the experience wonderful in more ways I can list, all of them surprising.  It was refreshing to use all of my body - I spend most of my days sitting at a computer or talking in meetings.  It was amazing to feel love literally blossom in my heart as I cleaned in caring service of those who use the space.  I enjoyed the challenge of finding dirt and of revealing beauty (as Tolu says), even (especially!) in hard to reach places.  

It was delightful to lose myself in the task, to allow my mind to wander, and then to notice where it wandered.  I became more aware of my patterns of thought. some of which I actively chose to redirect toward something more positive.  In other cases, without really trying, I was able to untangle my thoughts to find clarity and insight.  

In the group cleaning, I loved looking up to find a colleague inviting me into a shared task.  We brought care and intention into our work and it breathed new life into our space and also into our relationship.  At the end, we all expressed the deep pride we felt as we stood in a space that not only looked better - it felt better.  Rather than a dirty chore or a shameful position, cleaning became a joy, a way of expressing our care for each other and for our space and our work 

Co-Founder, Thrivable World Quest

Cleaning as Practice was a very humbling experience, which was good, but didn't always feel good - especially the night I finished two cleaning shifts and went out to a restaurant alone on a Saturday night in downtown Montreal, wearing my cleaning uniform. They say it's good to walk in someone else's shoes. I think it's good to wear someone else's uniform, but it's not always comfortable, or pretty.

I was also surprised by how connected I felt when I cleaned a house. It's an intimate thing to do, to clean someone else's home. You're surrounded by all their stuff, their photos... It surprised me that I could feel that connected to a family that I didn't really know.

I learned a lot by getting to know the other cleaners, and they helped me to look at my life and work in a new light. Honestly, I learned the most by getting to know you, Tolu. You helped me to experience what connects us as human beings, and what keeps us separated -- and all the crazy ways we distinguish important work from unimportant work. Meaningful work from menial work. And you helped me get unstuck.

After I finished Cleaning As Practice, when I was thinking about why the experience was so powerful for me, I realized that the practices that lead to learning and innovation are the same things we have to do as outsiders: ask questions, listen well, learn from people with different perspectives, experiment, make mistakes, develop resilience, learn that it's okay to feel uncomfortable, and learn to see things in a new light.

Executive Director, Social Venture Network