"TOILET. SEAT. DOWN."
One of the most famous yet controversial marketing campaigns in the history of consumer goods was the Unilever group's "Dove Campaign for real beauty" aiming to celebrate the natural bodies of women, offering them the confidence to be comfortable as they are.
The campaign kicked off in 2004 with a 3-year plan and was so successful that 13 years later it is still running,
having even extended its scope to include videos, workshops, sleepover events, the publication of a book, the production of a play and more.
But If the marketing team at Dove thought it would be widely accepted by all, they were wrong.
Critics of the campaign claimed it was hypocritical for the brand to adverte this type of "acceptance" whilst the group boasts other products and campaigns which go against these very values (ie: skin-whitening products for dark-skinned women, or overly sexualised adverts for brands like the Lynx deodorant.) It was also found that these so called “real” women had also been photo-shopped, smoothed and ever-so-slighting “e-primped”.
Yet the Dove team were right on one front:
our sense of self-love is very much linked to our self-care, and thus, to our bathroom.
In many ways, our morning rituals represent a motor of how we feel for the day.
We all know that feeling of waking up and just not feeling like we look good, or that we were rushed to get ready, and something just doesn’t feel right. It almost feels like a “bad-mood-chip” was inserted in your body and keeps running in the background all day long.
Since, the bathroom plays an important role in getting you ready for the world you need to feel good there in the morning and to want to linger there in the evening.
An evening at the spa
One thing you'll want to do is turn it into a sanctuary. Think about how great you feel when you go to a spa and they drape you in a thick comfy robe, and serve you a delicious tea and everything smells great around you.
Replicating this feeling at home can be cheaper and easier than you think.
It can be as simple as getting a new set of fluffy towels, scented candles, dim lighting and light smelling incense.
Keep it clean, fresh flowers are great here too.
Whilst they may seem more like an idea from a Cosmo article, we need to feel that we "look good" in our bathroom mirror.
You know, when your eye catches your reflection, in a mirror or a glass, and it feels like you are glowing a sort of golden light, like you are slightly tanned from having had a lunch on a sunny terrace, or your skin is unexpectedly smooth as if you have had a wonderful night's sleep... that is the "looking good" we are talking about.
Of course, you could also meditate the "hell out of it" and get yourself to a point that you feel amazing all the time no matter what! Let’s do that too…
But lets also look at ways our bathroom can help.
First, choose the right lighting.
Definitely no fluorescents or incandescents in the bathroom. Their light is too hard.
No cold (blueish) lights as they will make your skin look greyish, pale and tired.
Harsh overhead lighting accentuate shadows, making lines, wrinkles and other spots look deeper and more protruding. Instead, choose warm yellowish lights, and make sure they are soft. Soft halogens are great, and try to have them tilted at a slight angle rather than pointing straight down.
Its also a great idea to have diffused lights, behind an opal panel, such as those we often find in bathroom mirrors. They give off an even light which will also smooth your skin tones.
The tiles you choose also have an impact as they will reflect the light.
White tiles are simple and great as they reflect the light around you and allow you to enhance that sense of glow in your skin.
And if you’re hardcore, you can tilt the mirror down slightly towards you. This enhances cheekbones and shoulders and makes our waists look smaller. Hence why places like Soho house and many high fashion shops use this trick.
Remember the intention is not to manipulate anything, but rather enhance and showcase your truest beauty and your light, and send you off on your day feeling amazing.
If you get to choose, a great location for the bathroom according to the principles of temple-making, is the West part of the home as this is associated with the water element and travelling within.
Perfect area for self-care.
According to the Feng shui bagua map, a great area for the water element is the north facing one.
In any case, you definitely don’t want your bathroom near the front door as the entering chi will escape and drain out rather than circulate through your home as it should.
As the bathroom is a strong water area, best to balance it with some earth energy.
This can be done using a plant, or some crystals or stones. Bathrooms often don’t have very much natural light, so you can use a peace lily, a snake plant or a Chinese evergreen which don't need any.
As energy tends to drain here quite easily, I recommend using a clear quartz spherical crystal to diffuse and divert it to other areas of the home, away from the drains
Go greenDo revisit article 16 to remember how it should relate to your kitchen, as they are both important and have very contrasting energies. As this area is more of an energy drain than a source of energy, it is less sensitive to chemical products which contain toxins. I still keep my strong chemical products outside and use organic products here as much as possible, including (AND ESPECIALLY) toiletries!
It is something that most people scrimp on as they can be expensive. But after eating organic foods, it is possibly the next most nourishing thing you can do for yourself. (After turning your home into a temple and creating a direct and unshakeable link with divinity of course!).
Try switching to all organic toiletry products for 1 month and then switch back to your regular products. You will notice the difference...
And if you are worried about the cost, remember that using organic products is self-love, and self-love is the key to attracting everything which is meant for you, including abundance.
Feng shui practitioners recommend keeping toilet seat down and the door closed.
Do so especially if your bathroom is facing the front door or the kitchen.
You ideally want to create a space where energy will flow through rather than only drain away.
Make sure to fix all drips and leaks as these also waste chi unnecessarily.
Last tip, which I absolutely love and live by:
When I designed the bathrooms of the Saint Martins lofts, I placed small medals from the shop “merci” on the faucets. This sort of thing helps turn your bathroom into a temple of gratitude, so that every time you turn the tap you can remember how lucky you are for having such an easy access to running water (a luxury in many parts of the world). Beginning each day by noticing how lucky you are starts you off on the right foot!
If you are working with an existing flat, not a new build, locate where your bathroom is on your Bagua map. It is important to know where this potential “exit point” of your chi is located as it may affect that area of your life.
For instance, if it is in your wealth and blessings area that could explain why you may have trouble holding on to money. A drip in a bathroom located in your relationships area could be reflecting some constant annoyances there may be between you and your partner which need to be resolved. Again, fixing a leak will probably not resolve your age-old relationship or money issues, but reflecting on how these issues are potentially mirroring some blind spots is the key!
So sit down, clear your head, do a short meditation for a few minutes, then have a good look at your bathroom and its position on the bagua map and reflect on what it means for your life.
What changes can you make right now which can help this space enhance your life rather than possibly drain it?
Have a look at all the recommendations above and think of which ones you could apply quickly and inexpensively right now. You may have some scented candles or incense you never use, maybe you have some fluffier towels hidden away which you save for guests. And of course you can always start by putting down the toilet seat and finding a way to write “thank you” on the tap.
And remember that the bathroom is all about self-care and self-love and that is what this work is all about.
Love is the ultimate transformative force, and when we stand in it unconditionally, all the things we seek find their way to us.
Always remember your bathroom should be a charging pod to help you set the energy for the day, after which you will be ready to leave your home walking "as if you are kissing the ground with your feet” as famously recommended by Thich Nacht Hahn.