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Archive for the ‘clutter’ Category

Your Art Speaks Volumes

I still love my daughter’s paintings from elementary school which were given to me as a gift.

The art in your home is always talking to you.  What is it saying?  This includes hanging artwork, photos, sculptures, ceramic pieces, or a vignette combining several items.

There is a reason why you chose what is on display in your home.   If you  have recently acquired a piece, or have had it for years, take another look and really see what it’s saying to and about you.  You might discover that it  may not be making that positive statement  it once did.  To find out, ask yourself these questions:

When I look at it, how does it make me feel?  Does it lift my spirit, drag me down or not affect me at all?

How did I acquire it?   If it was a gift, how do I feel about the person who gave it to me?

Does it conjure up any specific memories?  If so, how do they make me feel now?

Does it represent or support a positive aspect of who I am or who I am striving to become?

If you answer any of these questions with a negative response, chances are it has outlived its benefit to you.   

When I do feng shui consultations, I always ask about the significance of the art in my clients’ rooms.  What surrounds you holds a strong clue into what may be triggering unhappiness, anxiety, sadness or an inability to move forward out of a stuck situation. Look at those items as outdated energy in your space and your life.

Don’t underestimate the power visual cues have on you.  We have conditioned ourselves to adapt to almost any situation and numb ourselves to our emotion,  but over time, it does have an affect on us.  Every day you receive a hit of negative energy that drains you little by little.  Are you holding on to something from your ex, even though you went through a nasty divorce several years ago?  When you see it, does it still give you a pang of regret, sadness or even anger?  Do you have an heirloom family portrait, or landscape painting done by Aunt Esther, that you didn’t want but felt obligated to take?  Every time you walk past it, you may feel some resentment towards the person who gave it to you for invading your private space.

Negative feelings related to things in your home cause stagnant energy and an inability to move out of the past.  It is especially important to understand this if you are currently going through a rough time, such as divorce or a major family conflict.  I’m not saying that you should just chuck it all out of the house, but I do suggest that you remove what may be holding less than positive, happy feelings from your space and see if you notice a shift in your energy level.  Here are a few guidelines to follow to help clear your space:

1.  Pack it away for 6 months, away from your location, and see if you miss it in your space.

2. Can you return it to the person who gave it to you?  Tell them it no longer works in your home.  Who knows, they may want it back or suggest someone else who would love to have it.

3.  If you truly don’t want the item, sell, donate or give it to a family member or friend who really does like it.  This occurs frequently with family heirlooms that are handed down.  The recipient may not like the piece, but another family member would love to have it.  Holding onto something in your home out of guilt is one of the worst energies you can have around you.  You have given your power away, in your own home, to someone else.  This can hold you back from stepping fully into your present life.

My parents have both passed (my dad 6 years ago, my mom 2 years ago).  They had collected a lot of unique pieces during our international travels as a military family.  In the trust disbursement, my parents listed some things they thought each of us wanted. It ended up being different than what we wanted, so we re-negotiated with each other.  In the end, we each received what meant the most to us, and it all worked out.  We did draw straws when we divided up jewelry, but the rest was either sold to an auction dealer or donated.  We received what we loved and honored as family mementos and would use or display  in our homes.  I feel our parents would have been proud of the way we honored the process of dividing their possessions.

Be conscious of where certain art pieces are displayed in your home.  The dining room or kitchen (where people gather to share food and visit) may not be the best location to display that war mask you bought as a souvenir from your travels. The energy it represents could instigate arguments.  A better place may be in a den or library, where it can ward off unwanted interruptions.

I’ve  mentioned before that family photos and religious artwork or statues are best removed from the master bedroom, unless you like all of them watching while you are engaged in other activities in bed besides sleeping!    If you are wanting a relationship, having artwork displaying lonely, single people in your personal space sends a contradictory message to the Universe.  Pieces should reflect being in a pair, preferably an equal pair.

Make deliberate and conscious decisions when you buy artwork for your home.  The feeling you get when you look at it is literally what it will be saying to you for a long time to come.  Make sure you are having a wonderful conversation, but also revisit that relationship when changes occur in your life.

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Clutter and Its Affect on Ch’i

A transformed bedroom in our California home.

My first introduction to Feng Shui was over 12 years ago, because I was stressed and frustrated.  I always figured my life was chaotic because of my Type A personality – my mind was always going in 5 different directions, and always thinking 3 steps ahead (OK, so I still do that on occasion).  It wasn’t until I read an article about Feng Shui in a local paper that I understood the real reason for my stressful lifestyle.  My mind and physical surroundings were full of clutter, which caused me to have chaotic life energy (ch’i).  My personal ch’i and the ch’i in my physical environment needed help.  We can discuss mental clutter another time, but this post addresses the physical clutter.

Living with clutter was costing me time,  money and peace of mind.  I was always searching for the car keys, getting angry when I had to pay a late fee on a bill I had misplaced, or purchasing a duplicate of something because I couldn’t find it when I needed it.  When we had company over, I would have the whole family scrambling to pick up and hide all the stuff lying around.  We used to joke that having people over was the only time the house ever looked clean.  In reality, it was no laughing matter. 

Feng Shui is all about consciously arranging your physical environment to enhance the quality of your life.  I came to the realization that I couldn’t arrange all of the stuff we had because we had too much!  My urge to purge was awakened. The process became less painful and more enlightening  when I learned to ask some basic Feng Shui questions as I held or looked at each item.    

1.  Do I love it? 

2.  Do I need it? 

3.  Does it reflect who I am now in my life? 

4.  Does it act as an environmental affirmation to me? 

5.  What positive and/or negative thoughts, memories, or emotions do I associate with it? 

6.  Does it need to be fixed or repaired, and am I willing to do so now? 

7.  If I moved tomorrow, would I choose to take it with me? 

8.  If it is time to let it go, am I going to sell, lend or give it away, and when? 

As my husband, two kids and I went through our stuff, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to sell, donate or toss the things that no longer worked or served a purpose in our current lives – old dishes given to us by my husband’s late mother (we never used them and never would, so why not give someone else a chance to enjoy them?); the entire set of our wedding glassware (it was too ornate for our current tastes); broken items that could not be repaired; clothes that were outdated or didn’t fit anymore; craft supplies for projects that would never be completed; furniture we didn’t have room for; kids’ clothes and toys that weren’t used – the list went on and on. 

Everything was now in its place.

After going through this process, what remained were the items we really loved and wanted.  Clearing out the clutter really did re-energize my spirit.  I felt lighter and happier immediately!  We loved and used what we kept and could now honor it in our home.    Everything in the kitchen had its own spot where it could be found when needed, and returned after  using.  Our decor was simplified, calming and beautiful now.  Stuff was no longer crammed into our small 1200 sq.ft. home.  We finally had some breathing room. When friends came over, they would comment on how relaxing the house felt and asked me to help them with their homes.  That was the beginning of my Feng Shui career and I now look at spaces all the time through Feng Shui eyes.

We now live in Georgia and what an adventure it has been moving across the country and setting up another home.  We just recently moved again, so I am still re-arranging.   Each house has its own energy and special challenges, but we take our time and see what works and feels right, then go through our evaluation questions again.  We’ve released older furniture and purchased new pieces that are a better fit.  We always keep in mind that everything should be honored and have its own place.

Our new home is a new energy.

Now, I’m not saying that we always have a well-organized and calming home (paper clutter is still my challenge), but I can say that I love living in an energetically uplifting house.  That energy comes from letting go of the things that no longer work, consciously decorating with things that do, and staying on top of the accumulation of more stuff.

Life is good when you love what surrounds you!

Inviting Good Relationships Into Your Life

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately:   How can I use Feng Shui to bring a new relationship into my life?   Well, here are a few  suggestions to get you going!  Remember…Feng Shui addresses both the seen and unseen aspects of your environment.

1.  Let go of any past regrets, anger or guilt.  So a prior relationship didn’t work out – how much of that do you want to carry into a new one?  People grow and change, but not always at the same speed.  Bless it, accept that you learned what you do and do not want moving forward, and…….Let It Go!  This includes old photos, cards, memorabilia, etc.  If you keep it, you will be still holding space for this old, dead-end relationship in your life, which prevents something new from coming along.  This is especially important if there was a lot of energy invested, such as with a marriage.  If you still feel a pang of emotion when you look at something, it’s time to release it out of your environment.

2.  Set your intention on what you want and be specific.  What do you really want in a successful, long-term relationship?   The Law of Attraction works to bring you what you are vibrationally sending out, so raise your vibration!!   Write your intentions down on paper and state you’d like this or something even better to come along.  Give the Universe some wiggle room.  When making your list, consider that what most of us really want is to feel loved, respected and supported.  Physical features are fine to list, but are there certain interests, personality traits, and habits you desire above all else?’  Have fun putting in this order – put thought into your must-haves.

3. Place your intention in the Love/Relationship gua of your bedroom or your home (the far right corner from the entrance).  You can wrap it up with a 9 inch red ribbon, to give it more FIRE energy and place it next to a pair of anything that evokes romance to you:  a pair of red, pink or white candles,  two pink quartz crystals or stones of equal size, two red roses (silk ones work well so they won’t wither) in a vase – you get the picture.  The symbolism is literal, so keep it positive and of equal size as best you can.  I’m sure most people would not wish to have one person in the relationship overpowering the other.  You can also use any other symbolism you connect with.  I love this abundant heart bouquet card I found (pictured above).  It is currently on display in the Relationship area of a table in our bedroom.

4.  Check all Love & Relationship areas in your home.   Again, this is the far right corner of your house or apartment and in each room  (https://feelgoodinyourspace.com/bagua-map/) .  Go from room to room and see what’s keeping romance away.  Do you see dirt bunnies, empty boxes, dirty laundry or just basic clutter in those areas?  Move it out and clean it up, and yes – closets do count!!  If you have a bedroom closet or food pantry in this corner, get it organized.  If you find that you are actually missing the right corner of your home (it may be cut out of your building, or where an outside stairway is located),  hiring a feng shui consultant would be beneficial.  A missing area can be problematic if you find that the corresponding area of your life is having negative issues.

5.  Create a romantic and relaxing bedroom.   Please refer to my February 2012 blog post where I covered this in detail.

6.  Make sure your artwork isn’t counterproductive to your goal.  You want to see yourself in a relationship, so remove any photos you have of yourself, alone, from all areas of your space, especially the bedroom!   Move all family and religious photos out of the bedroom as well.  Nothing can dampen the feeling of intimacy with another more than having others staring at you, especially your children.   I also suggest you look through your entire home to see if you are displaying other lonely images (a lone animal, a picture of one flower, one person vignettes, etc).  These items may have been appealing to you while you were going through another phase of your life, but they don’t support your current goal of sharing your life (and space) with someone else.  Peruse stores, boutiques and galleries for inspiring, affordable, romantic artwork.  Why not design something yourself?  Pick a pair of something you enjoy and go with it!

7.  Keep your home entrance open to new opportunities.  If your home entrance is cluttered, or the door can’t open fully, ch’i (life energy) won’t be able to come in and circulate around you.  Place a beautiful welcome mat out and invite the positive ch’i in (and also that someone special).

8.  Keep yourself in good repair!  It’s not just your physical space that needs to feel renewed and open.  Do some Feng Shui on your physical self.  Eat healthy, get plenty of good quality sleep, spend time out in nature, and focus on things in your life that you feel grateful and happy about!  The best relationship you can have is the one with yourself first.  Once that is going well, it will be easier for that wonderful someone  to find you.

As with all things Feng Shui,  perform these intentions, clearings and enhancements with a light and positive heart.  Be patient and let things come to you once you’ve laid the welcome mat out!

A Romantic, Restful Bedroom

To honor Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a great time to talk about the importance of Feng Shuing your bedroom to promote not only romantic love, but also to love and honor yourself.  Whether you are looking for that one perfect partner, re-vitalizing an existing relationship, or creating an oasis of serenity & support for yourself, having a calm and inviting bedroom is the first step.  Of course, using Feng Shui is only part of the equation – you need to set your intention on what it is you want in a relationship, then do your part to develop that relationship.  I can, at least, help you set the stage!

For your bedroom to support a secure and intimate relationship, everything you see, feel, smell and touch in the room should promote relaxation, security and intimacy.  Yin energy should be dominant in the room to create the coziness and comfort, while the addition of yang energy (see yin/yang for more info) adds the heat for amorous activities.   If it is too bright with too much to capture your attention (TV, computer, work desk or exercise equipment), you will have too many distractions to focus on intimacy or sleep.  Below are some Feng Shui suggestions to create balance and harmony for both to co-exist in the bedroom.

♥ Remove all clutter in the room.   This includes under the bed and in the closets.  It all counts because clutter causes stress in the form of confusion, irritation, overwhelm and frustration, which does not bode well for romance or a good night’s sleep.  Ignoring clutter does not mean it doesn’t affect you.  If you absolutely have to use your bedroom for storage, keep things neat and protected in containers made for storage.  Cardboard boxes and laundry baskets don’t count!  Keeping items under the bed should be the last resort, because beneficial energy (ch’i) cannot circulate freely around the bed.  It is difficult to get a good night’s sleep with stagnant energy around you!

♥ Use flesh-toned colors on your bedroom walls.   There is a wide-range of skin colors from people around the world including cream, pink, peach, yellow, lavender, beige, caramel, coral, raspberry, gold, terra-cotta and brown.  The general response to these colors is friendly, which is important in a room where you let your guard down.   Blue or green walls have more yang energy, since they represent the Wood element (the element for growth and activity).  White, gray, or even black walls tend to make the room feel cooler and less cozy.  If you do have white walls and cannot repaint, balance them with flesh tones in bed covers & linens, art, pillows, area rugs, and other decor.

♥ Keep the bed as the focal point of the room.   Giving the TV a commanding position in your bedroom can cause a definite drop in intimacy.  If you absolutely must have a TV in the room, put it behind closed doors at night, or cover it with a beautiful piece of cloth before going to bed – you don’t need this big black eye watching you while you sleep, or are otherwise engaged.  This also applies to computers, work desks, exercise equipment and all forms of paperwork and laundry.  These are all constant reminders of work, not rest, and do not belong in the bedroom at all!

The bed itself is important.  A good mattress is critical because if it doesn’t support your back, you will not feel supported in your life.  And as much as we think bigger beds are better, king size beds can leave too much space between people and reduce closeness for most couples.

Bed positioning is important to creating a safe haven for the most vulnerable time you spend in this room – during sleep.  Good quality sleep is critical for a good quality of life and great relationships. You should have the largest view of the room and see the entrance door from where you lie in bed, without being in direct line with the door.  If this is not possible, place a mirror on the opposite wall from the door to see it better from the bed. If the head of your bed is under a window, add a headboard or window treatments.  If the foot of the bed can only be positioned to face the door, add a footboard or chest there for a feeling of protection from the incoming energy of the hallway.

If your desire is to have a long-term relationship:  Be able to get out of bed on both sides and avoid having just one night stand next to the bed – use two.  Keep some closet space open, and remove stuffed animals and excess pillows.  All of these signal the universe that there is no room for another in your space – your space is already filled!

♥ Remove or cover all mirrors at night.   In Feng Shui, mirrors reflect yang activity.  The bigger and the closer a mirror is to the bed, the more it will disturb your sleep.  It is better to have no mirrors, or one that is not facing the bed (such as mentioned above).  The other option is to cover them with a beautiful cloth at night.  Our home in California had mirrored closet doors that reflected the entire length of the bed on my side.  Not long after we installed a curtain rod and curtains to cover them (which we opened during the day and closed at night),  the quality of my sleep improved and I fell back asleep quicker if I awoke during the night.  Eventually, we replaced the mirrored doors with louvered ones and eliminated the situation altogether.

♥ Use good quality bed linens.  Splurge on the best you can afford.  Considering how much of your time is spent in bed, a higher thread count and luxurious fabrics really do make a difference.  Textures, patterns and darker colors  promote more yin energy.  There are new fabrics out there that have an amazing sensual feel to them and are reasonably priced.

♥ Display photos and decor that honor your personal relationship.   You, as a couple, are the focus, rather than you as parents or part of a community.  Religious, family & group photos serve you better in other areas of the house.  Just remember…all eyes are on you while you sleep and enjoy other activities – do you really want everyone watching?!  Place your happy couple photos throughout the bedroom, especially in the Love & Relationship Bagua area of the room (far right corner from the door).  Items that you received as gifts from your loved one, or to honor your relationship, are wonderful to display anywhere in the room.  On our dresser, we have our framed wedding announcement (which was given to us as a gift) next to a wedding photo and a vacation photo we took in Hawaii.   I pass by the dresser each morning and am reminded of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful relationship!

If you are not yet in a relationship, in lieu of photos, use any objects that represent an equal pair – two flowers, two candles (red or pink are great color choices), statues of 2 birds (preferably facing each other or relating positively) or even 2 crystals or stones of equal size (to represent a rock solid pairing).  Equal proportion supports the idea of a balanced relationship.  Choosing 2 items that are disproportionate to each other can bring you a relationship where one person is dominant over the other.  Having photos or other artwork depicting a single person creates the energy of ‘one’, which is counterproductive to a couple status so watch what you display in your bedroom.  The Universe tends to take things literally!

Treat your sense of smell.  Years ago, I read that the scent of vanilla is a sensual scent for men (I guess it relates to: “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”).  Vanilla is used in a lot of desserts, and desserts are the epitome of decadence and comfort.  If vanilla doesn’t do it for you or your partner, find a scent that does and use it in subtle ways with candles or essential oils.  Lavender creates a relaxing atmosphere condusive for sleep and general well-being.  Keeping bowls of potpourri around does not promote positive energy.  Potpourri is made out of dried, dead items.

♥  Spark Passion with Red and Pink.    Red and pink are the colors that represent love & marriage, so feel free to accessorize with whatever shades you love.  Be careful not to go crazy with red everything in the bedroom though, because too much Fire can trigger arguments or cause restless sleep.  When you walk into the room, your eyes should be able to quickly pick out those pops of Fire, not be burned by it.

♥  Strengthen all of the Love & Relationship areas of your home.  If your master bedroom is located in the far right corner of your home, then you’re off to a great start!  If not, focus on cleaning up this area of all rooms in the house (all floors).  You can add paired items in these rooms to support the couple vibe.  The important thing is to get rid of clutter and unnecessary items!

Wishing you a Happy and Romantic Valentine’s Day!

2012 – The Year of The Dragon

2012 - The Year of The Dragon

January 23, 2012 begins the Year of The Dragon (more specifically the Year of The Water Dragon).  The dragon is the mightiest of all the Chinese zodiac signs and the only mythical one.  Originally, the dragon represented the emperor & power.  In modern times, it is the ultimate auspicious symbol signifying success & happiness!   This year holds the potential to breathe life-shaping fire into it – a year full of energy & vitality, which may prove to invigorate some and be a bit exhausting to others.  Lots of continued changes are in store!  Have you made room in your home to welcome in this auspicious energy yet?   Yes, we are getting back to the discussion of getting rid of clutter – the unnecessary stuff in your life right now!

Clutter is the biggest obstacle to achieving ANYTHING positive in a person’s life.  I love Feng Shui guru & Soul Coach, Denise Linn‘s description of clutter as being ‘an accumulation of things that impede the flow of energy in your home’.   Positive intention is also an important part of achieving what you want, so be aware of your mental and emotional clutter as well.  Negative self-talk, feelings of scarcity, living in the past, or holding onto resentment toward someone all count!

You can use the Bagua map to find out where stuck or stagnant energy may be in your home (thereby affecting you) by choosing an area in your life you would like to improve and checking for clutter in the corresponding area of the bagua.  For example, the wealth/prosperity area of your home footprint is located in the rear left corner as you walk in the front door.  If this area is cluttered or dirty, it is a good bet that you are having financial challenges as well.  By clearing out and cleaning up those spaces, you should have a clearer vision of your finances. You may even get ideas flowing to you of how to improve them!  Another suggestions is to also check each room individually (line each room’s door up to the bottom of the bagua map).  Do you see any clutter claiming the far left corners?  If you do…..clear it out and clean it up.  Everything counts in Feng Shui – every nook & cranny!

After  clutter clearing, you can decorate your home with symbols of good fortune to usher in the Chinese New Year such as:

– Adding bright colors such as red (happiness) or gold/orange (wealth/happiness).     Note: Chinese brides wear red.

– Putting fruit out such as oranges and tangerines (good health/long life); tangerines with attached leaves (long lasting friendships that are fruitful and multiply as in having children); and persimmons (happiness/wealth)

– Displaying a circular candy tray (candy is the sweet and circular signifies togetherness)

– Putting out a bouquet of flowers (tradition states that if the flowers bloom on New Year’s Day, it will be a prosperous year!  Just make sure you dispose of them as soon as they start losing their freshness.

Starting the Year of The Dragon off with clean and clear spaces decorated with happiness and prosperity in mind will allow wonderful new opportunities and things (such as money) into your life this year!

Gung Hey Fat Choy!     translation:   “Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth”

Preparing To Ring In The New!

New Year’s Day 2012 is only a hop, skip and jump away (can you detect the movement of energy?) and many of us are preparing to start at least one, and usually more, New Year’s resolutions.  The problem most of us have with resolutions is that our ‘resolve’ is short-lived.  Were we really serious about committing to a successful outcome, or were they just wishful thoughts?  I believe that we all have the best intentions of having them come true, but maybe we didn’t surround ourselves with the correct support to see them through.  Here are a few suggestions to help support your 2012 goals:

1.  State your desire in the positive, rather than the negative.  For example, probably the most popular New Year’s resolution is losing weight –  I want to lose 20 lbs. in the next 3 months.  In this statement, you”re wanting to lose something, rather than gain something.  Rewording your desire by stating it as a positive affirmation, such as – I am becoming fit and healthy everyday by eating healthy foods and keeping active  can give you the feeling of adding to your life rather than losing something through sacrifice.  Post your positive affirmation where you see it daily, such as a bathroom mirror or refrigerator, and you will be reminded of your intentions on a regular basis.   Repetition, over time, creates a habit!

2.  Clear the clutter to make room for the new to come into your life.  This cannot be overstated!  Clutter can include physical, emotional, computer or people clutter.  An old Chinese proverb states that you can change the energy around you quickly by moving 27 things in your home.  This re-energizes the life force (ch’i) around you.  One way to do this is to replace or remove pictures, art work or other decor that does not make you happy.  Only keep items in your space that brings you a positive feeling.

You can also clear out items in your closet that you truly do not love to wear (rationalizing about its cost or that you might wear it someday is holding stagnant energy in place).  Be grateful for the time you did enjoy it, then donate or sell it so someone else who needs it will find it!  Most of us only wear 10 – 20% of what’s hanging in our closet anyway!  If you haven’t worn something in a full year, you probably won’t.

Go through your computer files and e-mails to delete what is no longer needed.  This is one of my 2012 goals – keep only what’s important to keep.   You will allow more room for new information and opportunities to come along!   Are you holding on to emotional baggage from past situations that no longer serve you?  Maybe this is the year to learn a new technique or find help to allow you to release the hold it has on you.

3.  Use physical affirmations in your space to support your goals.  If one of your resolutions is to become more fit and healthy, give your refrigerator and pantry a good cleaning and re-stock with foods that will support healthier eating.  The kitchen represents abundance & prosperity, so keep it clean & clear of clutter.  It’s where the body is nourished.   If you want to become more active, have your workout clothes and gear more accessible so you can grab them and go.   If you want to write more, keep your desk clear with writing materials out and available – maybe even purchase a beautiful new pen and journal to write with.

Another great physical affirmation is a Vision Board.  It is a dream board made up of words, pictures and drawings representing what you want in your life.  This can be made out of almost anything, but poster board is the most common.  You can create an amazing visual using old magazines, photos, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks or tape you can create an amazing  visual.  A Vision Board get-together with a few friends can be just the ticket to bring additional positive energy to its creation!   Make sure you place it where you see it daily.

We believe each new year offers the opportunity to make positive changes to our lives.  Whatever you desire to have in the coming year, I wish you the best success!

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