Divine inspiration: A reason to clean your house

“Yesterday, while I was vacuuming my house,” Jackie Hawley said, “the truth came to me.”

Hawley is the Artistic Director of Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa, a group that uses our church as a practice facility. She was invited to speak to us about her purpose and the work of the choir, and she told us that when she first started thinking about what to say, she focused on the music education, the performances, and the work in the community.

Then she vacuumed.

The repetitive physical act that required only muscle memory and no mental exertion opened her mind and invited inspiration. Her vacuuming body and open mind allowed her to realize that her purpose wasn’t really the education, the performances or the community work. They were all part of it, sure, but there was a deeper truth.

“I love through bringing music and beauty into the world,” she said.

She realized the truth about her purpose in life by cleaning her house.

Girls' choir on stage
Cantiamo Choirs of Ottawa

Some people say they do their best thinking in the shower. Same idea. I once received a story idea while stirring cooked pudding. Many writers go for long walks every day for the same reason.

Body movement that doesn’t require mental exertion allows the mind to open to ideas, truths, plot resolutions or comforting thoughts.

Suddenly, I feel an urge to do some vacuuming . . .

7 thoughts on “Divine inspiration: A reason to clean your house

  1. marianbeaman

    Your title and theme are perfect; in fact, my blog next week is a variation on this idea. Because of back problems, hubby vacuums our nubby floors. I walk (or cook) for inspiration. Thanks, Arlene!

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I think I fit into a Dorothy Parker philosophy when it comes to cleaning. I think she said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” I hate cleaning. I love having cleaned.” The right mindset is important for sure. I think I have to aim for the meditative approach.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      They sure are. Although, I’m not sure that wood splitting would be so meditative for me .- a pretty steep learning curve there – but I can see how it would be for someone who knew how to do it! Maybe I’ll try it and see what kind of divine inspiration (or not so divine?) comes out of it.


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