CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO…. HAPPINESS!

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bathmat being scrubbed new

Happy Samhain* to you!

There is NOTHING like the alchemy of giving one’s house a good hard scrub- well, perhaps a sweat lodge, and cleansing of the body-mind-spirit… But the house, as a container for one’s life and dreams, has to occasionally be seriously de-cluttered, mopped, polished and rearranged, in order for life to take on a harmonious hue. As above, so below, and as on the outside, so on the inside!

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bathroom shower curtains, scrubbed clean and airing

I took this past week to give the arthouse an autumnal-spring-clean, and it feels like a million dollars, as it were! Everything is new again, shining in the late October light which Italy does so well. It all feels fresh and ready for a new cycle of inspiration, creativity, and guests.

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everything on its way to the washing machine

As with my DIY projects, cleaning is something I always do myself. I learned in Findhorn (a big spiritual community in north-east Scotland) about the practise of cleanliness being next to godliness; of cleaning as a service to others, and to the divine. I’d go even further, and say that cleaning and ordering one’s life and space is an essential aspect of any healthy life and, in its way, it is a vital key to happiness.

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I bought these beautiful big curtains for just 2€ in a local market

Cleaning = happiness, yes, you heard right! Seriously, why do you think so many ashrams and disciplines have their dedicated followers down on their knees with a brush and bucket? I’ll tell you: the very act of cleaning, of wiping away the muck that we put there, is a means of making ourselves new again. It is a way of acknowledging the effect we have on the world, and making it good again; a means of bringing ourselves into alignment and gaining perspective. There is no act more important in our daily lives -after breathing, drinking and eating!

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curtains drying in the warm October sun, happily flapping over the valley

I often have discussions with folks here in Italy, about my doing my DIY all by myself. I get a spectrum of reactions when I confess it: from awe and back-slapping, to sideways leers of disbelief, as the occasional cynic assigns me to a pigeon-hole marked ‘mad’.

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smartening up a lovely 70s lamp, found in the house

Over the past years, as the arthouse business has grown and expanded, it is demanding much less hard graft on the DIY side, but I have found it really hard work keeping up with the scale of cleaning. More guests arrive and leave- some of them on the same day, and I don’t pay a maid, as is common in this part of the world.

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wee lamp, also found in the house, glam with a touch of new gold paint

Many folks have advised me to take on a cleaner, and I’m sure it’d make sense to someone on the outside, when they see me scrubbing and mopping and sweating and laundrying. But they might be missing what is going on inside… For me, cleaning is a happy-making activity, because it is a chance for me to love and care for my house, my business, my guests- and myself: my dream and vision of a magical home and business.

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vintage linen and blankets, found for a couple of euros in the market

Because I am there, doing all this with my own hands, it becomes something sacred: each cycle of cleaning brings a new awareness about the house itself, and it helps me to see how the house is used, where it needs attention, how it might work even more efficiently, beautifully. It keeps my feet on the ground, and keeps me humble -another vital aspect in a happy life.

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the kitchen- wonderfully neat and colourful!

The recent Big Clean had me taking down all the curtains, dusting the highest and lowest corners, repainting and stucco-ing, shifting and reassessing. It gave me new eyes on the spaces in the house, and how they can best be used- it even made me realise that I have an extra room or three which could be integrated into an even more glorious guest experience! Wow!

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the chapel bedroom, all fresh

My mind opened, whilst shifting furniture and old things around, to how much more I could be including in my business; I began to dream bigger, and to put down in pixels what I’d been a bit nervous of admitting: the true spirit of the thing I am putting into the world.

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the chapel bedroom this week: shining new!

You can see my rooms on Air BnB here and here -check the reviews!

Going over the house with a delicate cotton cloth, is also a way of blessing it, and of returning to every corner with that same presence of intense loving awareness as I had when I first ever saw the rooms. This act reminds of why I really first came here; why I bought this house, why it was so very vital to my life and work, which is, having an energetically clean home-based business.

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first ever viewing of the chapel bedroom -and as it is now

At the core of this is the idea of purity, and a complete lack of negativity: a harmony in which I can work and share, create and create. This is the core need in my life, from which all my creative outpourings can freely flow! In a clean, beautiful house, like a plant in it’s perfect micro-climate, we can begin to flourish, and to do/ be/ share the fullness what we are meant to.

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the kitchen then, and now

Here, now, I am creating this sacred space, which is kept sacred by my own daily interaction with it, caring for it, and making it special. It’s more than just keeping on top of the housework; for me it’s like bringing the sacred into the everymoment: connecting with the good-in-all-things and the god-in-all-things, by being present, and attending to what needs to be attended to.

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first ever viewing of the bathroom -and after loving transformation

Back to the cleaning I go- there’s the studio room next, where I’m opening up the wee room at the back of the castle-bed bedroom. It is a fabulous space with a medieval tiled floor, arches, and a selection of interesting alcoves: I’m clearing it out from being my art-materials-and-officey-storage-room, and making it into an extra bedroom- yey! Pics to come, as the rooms are made fabulous.

As usual, you can keep up with my activities via my arthouse facebook group, and you can join my quarterly newsletter via the panel to your upper left (where I share insights, offers and news only with my beloved subscribers).

I thank you sincerely for following my blog, and my unfolding story- it is truly an honour to be connected with you!

And if you liked this blog, please share it with someone you know will be interested – many thanks again!

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Blessings on the dark nights drawing in Clare

*You can read more about the cultural significance of Samhain and cleansing at this time of the year, here.

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