My preferred mode is the one where practicality wins out over positivity. It’s a (small) peeve of mine that so many so-called ‘self help’ books end up telling you what is wrong with your life (a heaping of guilt with that feeling of ignorance, sir?), offer simplistic ideas to make changes, and then rely on the power of positive thinking (in some form or another) to get the reader through the inevitable negative feelings that accompany the failure to make permanent, healthy changes.

Housekeeping for the Soul is a breath of fresh air clearing out the cobwebs of stagnation and psychological clutter and leaving a clean mental house behind. This is not a book about how to organize your closet: it is about how to shift your attitude so that that which seemed irredeemable becomes instead, exciting.

She uses the analogy of your mid/life/self as a house.

“Imagine standing in front of an old house. At one time this structure was well-kept and inviting, but all you see are remnants of a home now in a complete state of disrepair. The flower beds are barren and desolate, with only shriveled remains of weeds. The exterior paint is faded, the chimney crumbling, and missing shingles expose the roof. As you carefully make your way along the cracked sidewalk to the front door you notice the windows are boarded up, blocking your view of the inside. The door is unusually heavy, but you push it open and enter, only to find more damage.


Imagine now that the forbidding house is actually your life, the everyday reality you have erroneously created, inherited, or simply allowed for yourself.


Seeing the stark truth of the lives we inhabit can be a shock. For many it can be depressing, even frightening.


Once awakened to our situation, do we move forward with determination to change it or, faced with an overwhelming renovation, do we accept life as is, feeling we have no choice? Just as a neglected, weathered house can be restored to its original beauty, the house of our soul can be revitalized and transformed into a nurturing abode where a wonderful life can flourish. (from the Foreword.)”

As she promises, the first chapters are the most difficult as you open up the house to see the extent of the damage and starting the process of cleansing. Each chapter tackles a specific aspect of the cleansing process (fear of change, creating space and time for making changes, perceptions, etc.) and ends with affirmations. I appreciate her unique addition of ‘A Taste of Spiritual Unknown’ – a collection of wisdom from various spiritual traditions.

Ms. Carrington-Smith’s background is as eclectic as her writing: born in Italy, now residing in North Carolina, with Catholic and Voodoo parents; Strega and Christian faith healer grandmothers. Her personal anecdotes enliven the chapters and provide accessible understanding of the points she is making.

I highly recommend Housekeeping for the Soul to anyone interested in doing the work of clearing out the clutter and cleansing in preparation for the abundance the universe will bring.

~review by Lisa Mc Sherry


Author: Sandra Carrington-Smith

O-Books, 2010

pp. 159, $22.95


Also of interest to our readers is this message from the author:

As we continue our Hooked on the Book campaign, we would like to take the time to honor yet another category of Louisiana residents -- our four-legged friends. During Hurricane Katrina many animals were lost and separated from their families. Thanks to the effort of the Louisiana SPCA, many were able to be reunited with their original families, while others were placed in new loving homes.

As we approach the fifth anniversary of Katrina, I am proud to announce that $1 from each sale of Housekeeping for the Soul and The Book of Obeah will be donated to the Louisiana SPCA through Hooked on the Book, a Books for Good campaign.

Especially during active hurricane season, donations are fundamental to upkeeping the service agencies like SPCA are able to provide, so I hope you will join me in this effort and you will help me spread the word by forwarding this information to your family and friends. For more information, please visit

And please, always remember our motto: 'If everyone gives a thread, a poor man will have a shirt.' In this case, we might not be able to weave a shirt for our animal friends, but we'll ensure that they will have a home away from home if they ever need one again.

Many blessings,