For Families In Panic Or Calm, Dealing With Kids Sick Or Well

Holistic Cleaning

It’s so easy and wrong to let sickness define us. Yesterday I visited my sister who is eighty and had broken her kneecap, bruised her shoulder and hit her head on Christmas day by tripping and falling over. She sat in a chair with a plaster caste up to her hip and down to her ankle. We had positioned a comfortable chair next to the telephone, since she did not use a mobile phone, and within reach of the buzzer for opening the front door. She was a doctor before she retired but diabetes had taken its toll and severely restricted her mobility. A cleaner kept the flat ordered and tidy but not inviting.

Chatting with her was easy, we could talk for England but the depressing part of the visit was the inevitable array of disorganised stuff that generally surrounded her with all the medicines, food and books/magazines within easy reach while leaving space for Zimmer frame, blanket and pillows.

My visit today was different. The sun was shinning but the place sparkled. The place felt optimistic, and alive. The feel of the place lifted my mood.

A new cleaner/carer was there and her approach was different.

She looked at the flat holistically from the sight, touch and sounds of the people in it. The room, or its use, did not define the space. It was divided up by viewpoints. As the doorbell rang it was natural to look towards the door to see who was coming in. The door was shiny and clean. The glass was clear and bright, the doorknob felt inviting with a lingering aroma of essential oil in the air. It was (geranium- one of my favourites.) The scent was barely noticeable. I did not think incense or air freshener.

The same care and attention to sensually aware detail continued to the bathroom and the bed. The two cats looked especially happy and relaxed. A special low dining table(a coffee table) had been introduced so that my sister could feed the cats. Boredom and diminishing duties all add to the depressive mix of illness.

I had never thought of cleaning the house as a creative act. I now know that it can be. Keeping clean does not mean that everything has to smell of disinfectant. Even if my cats want to roll on the bleach cleaned floors in my neighbours house. Books don’t need to be tided away especially if you are someone who likes to look at them with “a cupper.”

Conversation flows when the interests of the host are visible and are active.

Good memories of home are not made up of tidiness and order. They are made up of the imprint the people who occupy the space, their personalities and what they do – the actions that take place.

When a great meal has been enjoyed, the blitzed table of plates, empty dishes and glasses and general debris is a satisfying testament to be enjoyed. We want the smells, the evidence to linger as we savour the event.

Children’s mess lingers with the enthusiasm of the painting orgy enjoyed. My favourite memory of Christmas fun was a battle with old newspapers as my children rolled and tumbled on the floor totally absorbed. The place was covered with paper bits torn with glee into ever-smaller pieces. It was a moments of pure delight in destruction that proved to damage nothing, cost nothing and could be cleared in a trice. Good memories are triggered by smell, touch, taste and sounds not by layout and tidiness.

We are all sensual beings whether we acknowledge it or not. One does not have to label oneself as sensitive or “into aromatherapy” to be able to respond to good rather than bad smells. It is the same for the quality of light regardless of how bright we want it.

How things feel, taste, sound, move all affects our mood and feeling of well being. Fresh not stale, sensual not harsh,- pamper the people. Feeling calm and positive can only be good. Make your home generate good memories rather than going for housewife of the year.

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