One of the criticisms railed at BrocanteHome in the Summer Survey was that it was too spiritual... that spirituality and self-help had no place in a blog about housekeeping and to that I have to say... phooey. If you want your brand of housekeeping delivered without the spiritual hoo ha, then there are literally thousands of alternatives to Brocantehome online, but here I remain dedicated to helping women lead authentic, home-centered lives and I'm not sure I can bring myself to apologise for that! You see we cannot be good housekeepers if we are unhappy women. And we will never be happy women if we do not pay attention to the gentle demands of our inner muse. She who is our memory, our creative inspiration and the fuel that keeps our authentic fire burning.
We can of course be empty women. The streets throb with them. Women who keep house immaculately. Go through the motions. Live to turn out a half-decent meal every evening. Deny their own needs, personal ambition, the ache to know passion. To exist in pain and come out still alive. Still yearning. Still fighting and ready to live with 100 per cent attention to another day.
For that is what both a meaningful life and good housekeeping require: attention. Not to the dirt acquiring on the skirting boards, but to the routines and rituals that sustain family life. Routines that require commitment: a quality we cannot possess if we are embittered by the daily denial of our own needs.
Let's face it though, meeting our own needs isn't easy. We are often last on our own to-do lists and all the worse wives, Mums and homemakers but for it. But it doesn't have to be that way: with the teeniest ounce of discomfort we can reinforce our commitment to our Muse and re-invent our mornings in such a way that we empower ourselves as women in our own right, long before the rest of the family rises and demands that we are thrust into all the other roles we have taken on.
Are you panicking yet? For yes: I am talking about becoming an early riser - One of the mainstays of life as a Vintage Housekeeper for as long as I have been writing here. For sure you will have read one of my morning meditations: when I describe creeping down the stairs in the dark to drink coffee in silence at dawn? It is a treasured ritual but one that I have never really thought of utilizing before for anything much beyond sitting quietly or catching up with email in peace. And then I read The Morning Miracle and saw my stolen mornings in a whole new light...
Written by Hal Elrod, The Morning Miracle describes a way to utilize one quiet morning hour, by dividing it into bite sized activities designed to help you address the phyiscal and emotional needs of yourself and your lovely Muse. Using an acronym he calls The Life S.A.V.E.R.S. Hal asks us to divide our stolen hour up like so...
Silence (5 mins) Sitting quietly. Meditating. Praying. Watching the flicker of a candle...
Affirmations (5 mins) Speaking out loud the promises you have made to yourself. Repeating personal affirmations until they become convictions.
Visualization (5 mins) Working on visualization boards. Focusing quietly on who you want to be.
Exercise (20 mins) Stretching. The sun salute. Yoga. Pilates. Wii fit or an exercise video.
Reading (20 mins) Self-help books. The bible. Poetry. Anything that allows you to grow.
Scribing (5 mins) Journaling. Letters to yourself. Morning pages.
The good thing about this system of self-nurture (for that is essentially what it is) is that it is entirely flexible. If you prefer to meditate for twenty minutes and exercise for five, then that's OK. You can adapt it to your own requirements: shifting the pattern of the hour to suit as long as each of the six S.A.V.E.R.S are incorporated to whatever degree you choose. You can even do your morning miracle last thing at night if it is simply impossible to do it first thing. The most important thing is taking that hour for yourself and using it to bird by bird, change your life, so that you move into your future feeling like a whole being...
A lovely idea, mais non? We can do this Darlings: we can make time for ourselves.