Category Archives: Feng Shui

Good Feng Shui in Your Home Office Is Possible!

Feng shui teaches that creating a personal paradise is your goal when you
feng-shui-officearrange
a space. No room needs that approach more than a home office. As one of the most neglected and most dumped-on rooms in the house, it really needs some thoughtful attention and positive energy to make it an appealing place to work.

But, where to start? How exciting are filing cabinets, bookcases, desks and computer equipment?

TIP #1: Start with the wall color. It will set the tone and serve as the foundation for all other enhancements you make. Painting the walls a color is imperative. White walls very quickly become dingy, scarred and dirty. It is also easy to feel anxious and depressed in rooms with white walls because the colors of prints, photographs and paintings on the walls just won’t show up. We need color to feel good. It nurtures us with its energy. So paint your home office walls a color. Colors I recommend for home offices are a buttery yellow, sage green, and my new favorite, an earthy turquoise blue. Blues and greens are associated with the wood element. The wood element is associated with growth and expansion and a positive, upward energy. Yellow is an optimistic earth element.

TIP #2: Eliminate any furniture that is broken, ugly or doesn’t work well. You want all your furnishings to have good energy. It’s likely that you’ll be using odds and ends in this room, i.e., furniture that isn’t needed elsewhere. Just make sure that you actually like each piece and that all the pieces look good together.

TIP #3: Eliminate fluorescent lighting and be sure you have multiple incandescent light sources. It’s a good idea to have some uplighting as well, light that is directed up toward the ceiling. Light is energy. You’ll need plenty of energy to face the types of tasks typically done in a home office.

TIP #4: Place the desk in the power position with a solid wall behind it and a full view of the door. From that position your nervous system will relax and you will feel empowered and ready to tackle whatever awaits you on the desk.

TIP #5: Place other furniture around the desk, both to accommodate the convenient completion of the tasks to be done at the desk and to look attractive.

TIP #6: Add plants to bring the outdoors inside. Green is an optimistic color, and live or silk plants can immediately change the feel of a room that has lots of hard edges and electrical equipment. They provide a soft, soothing energy. Make sure they are healthy and have round shapes. Avoid dried plants and those with thorns and pointed shapes. Dried plants have a dead energy, especially when their color fades, and thorns and pointed leaves have negative energies because of their potential to do physical harm.

TIP #7: Add art, photographs, and special mementoes you love, anything that makes your heart sing and that empowers you. For example, I have a photograph of me that was taken with Jack Canfield at a conference years ago. Jack is one of my mentors. He doesn’t know it, but I want to do the kind of work he’s been so successful doing, and I want to be able to share my message with the world like he has. I also framed a print of the Chinese letters for “feng shui” since feng shui is a focus of all the work I do. And, when I recently re-decorated my office, I deliberately chose to limit almost all other art on the walls to original art by artists I know.

Invest in making your home office a personal paradise, and you’ll want to spend more time there.

You’ll also be more motivated to treat it with the respect it deserves! Wouldn’t it be nice to LOVE your home office instead of dreading it or avoiding it? You can! Make it so!

Counter Knife Blocks = A Feng Shui Kitchen “No! No!”

One of the most common feng shui errors that I find in kitchens is the knife-block-563633_640presence of a knife block on the counter. You know, a block of wood holding knives of various sizes. It’s a very convenient way to store knives so they are easily accessible for use.

When you assess the feng shui of a space, it’s important to consider safety. Knives that are located out in the open in a knife block are not considered safe because they are so accessible. They could easily be used as weapons. A block of knives is a block of negative energy because of its potential for harm.

You are probably thinking, “If I can’t store them on the counter, how should I store them for easy access?” You have several options. First, you can put the block out of sight. Make room on a shelf in one of your lower cabinets for the knife block. It’s important that you be able to reach the knives easily. If accessing it is the least bit inconvenient, you will avoid getting knives that way. Then either the block will end up on the counter again, or the knives will be tossed into drawers.

A second option, and my preferred option, is to purchase a wooden drawer insert specifically for knives. Be sure to measure the drawer first so you are sure to buy an insert of the correct size. The insert will have slits to hold the knives, safely containing the blades out of harm’s way.

Removing a knife block from the counter is a great way to make a kitchen immediately feel more peaceful. Commit to peace and safety in your kitchen by removing your knife block from the counter.

Clear Kid Photo Clutter: Who Are You Sleeping With?

“I recommend that you remove all photos of your children from your

Remove all photos of your children from your bedroom.

Remove all photos of your children from your bedroom.

bedroom.” The woman who had hired me to do a feng shui consultation looked at me with a shocked expression on her face. “Really? Why?” “Well,” I responded, “those photos hold the energy of your children. It’s as though you are sleeping with your children. Do you want to be sleeping with your children? And, how romantic can it be with your husband when your children are looking on while the two of you are having sex?”

Once you have children, an enormous amount of energy naturally shifts to meet the legitimate needs of the children. Tending the needs of the couple can easily slip by the wayside in the busyness of childrearing and making ends meet. Even the bedroom can become all about the children.

Ideally the bedroom of a couple should be treated as a love nest, a place to honor and enjoy your relationship. 

Given that the health of the couple assures the health of the family unit, doesn’t it make sense that you devote one room to being all about the couple? Make sure that you have at least one photo of you and your spouse/partner in the bedroom. Remove all photos of people other than the two of you. Not only will your bedroom feel more peaceful once the crowd has exited the room, but, hopefully you’ll find it easier to focus on your relationship.

In the 18+ years I’ve been of helping people clear clutter and improve their lives and marriages, I’ve found that the couples with the most photos of their children in the bedroom often have no pictures of the two of them in that room! They aren’t even conscious that they’ve left themselves out of the picture.

Like my client, you may be skeptical, but I challenge you to remove all photos from your bedroom except those of you and your spouse/partner.* Make the bedroom all about just the two of you energetically. Then, look for the energy in your marriage/relationship to shift in a positive direction. Eliminating the visible energy of your children will make it easier for you to relax and be more present in your relationship.

*Most people want to know what to do with all the photos that were removed, as if the actual children were asked to leave. I recommend that those photos be displayed in any of the public areas of the home. Public areas are any other room in the house except the bedrooms.

Clear Shoe Clutter from the Bedroom

Your goal in setting up your bedroom is to create a space that is completely

How peaceful is this?

How peaceful is this?

conducive to sleep. The energy of smelly feet can only be distracting. Why is it that I so often find pairs of shoes strewn over bedroom floors?

I’m fairly certain that part of the problem is not having adequate storage for the number of shoes that people own these days.

Also, sometimes shoes just don’t make it to the closet. You may be thinking, “Why put them away? I’m just going to put them on again tomorrow. . .”  or “I’ll put them away later.” Sweaty, smelly feet and

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

Are you sleeping with smelly feet?

rest just don’t go well together. Ideally it’s best to reduce the number of shoes you own to those that can fit in your closet. Then make a commitment to yourself to get them back there every night.

For one thing, you’ll find your bedroom is more peaceful because there will be fewer items out and visible in the room. You’ll also find that your focus can shift away from the energy chatter of pairs of shoes to more important things like gentle reading, reflecting about your day, conversation with a partner or spouse and/or sex.

Energy chatter. What chatter? Everything is alive with energy. Positive or negative. Everything!  This may sound silly or “woo woo” to you, but stick with me.

What do shoes say? Here are some of the conversations I’ve heard:

  • Those shoes really are too tight, but they are the only ones that really look professional.
  • I really should polish that pair. Look how scuffed they are!
  • The bottoms are really worn on that pair. Is it time to bite the bullet and get another pair?
  • I look like such a dork in those shoes! But, they are so comfortable!
  • Those shoes really stink. I wonder what’s going on with my feet that they stink so badly.

With all those conversations going on, is it any wonder that you don’t get great sleep anymore? Yes, when your eyes are closed you can’t see all those shoes, but you are affected by their negative energy when you are sleeping. That negative presence interferes with peaceful sleep.

 Set your shoes free. Clear out shoes that you no longer love or use at least once a year. Banish the remaining shoes from the bedroom to the closet, and find a storage solution that will work in your closet. Then enjoy sweet dreams and the peace that results from your efforts.  

Books Are Fire in the Bedroom

Do you want to sleep peacefully?  Do you want to have sweet dreams? 

Are you sleeping with a bonfire?

Are you sleeping with a bonfire?

If so, it’s a good idea to become very conscious of what can influence you while you sleep.  Let’s look at the impact of books in the bedroom. Most people have books and other reading material on their bedside tables. Some have a book or two and others have the equivalent of a whole library.

Let me describe for you what a book is in terms of the FIVE ELEMENTS of feng shui.  The five elements are: wood, fire, metal, water and earth. 

The hottest, most energetic of those elements is fire.  Books are fire elements.  The words on the pages are fire.  The pages themselves are wood because they are made from wood. Wood feeds fire. In other words, if you have many books in your bedroom, you are sleeping with a bonfire. Sound restful?

What I’m saying is that books are high energy things. Their energy will affect you while you are sleeping. That’s why it’s good to limit the books in your bedroom to one or two per person. Store your books elsewhere and bring them in as you read them.

I was working with a client who loves to read in bed. She had her current reads on the bedside table. On the floor on the other side of the bed she had a four foot row of books lined up that she was interested in reading. I urged her to move the books to a bookshelf in her office that she could designate as the holding place for books she really wants to read.  She was willing and we got to work. 

As I was moving the books I noticed the titles.  She had a whole series of books by one author who writes about vampires and death. It seemed like every book I looked at had death and dying in the title. That alarmed me because not only is it a good idea to limit the number of books in a bedroom, it is also a good idea to make sure the content is peaceful and pleasant.  When you sleep, your subconscious has access to the content of books. I could only imagine what my client’s subconscious was doing with all those death books.

In another situation I was working with a woman who was a physician and was married to a physician. Guess what I found in their bedside tables?  Medical journals! How romantic! Work and romance really do not go together! And, she and her husband were both working right up until they closed their eyes at night! Sleeping with those journals in the room kept both of them focused on medicine as they slept. I suggested that if she wanted more intimacy with her husband as well as more restful sleep, the journals should be banned from the bedroom. She was thrilled to have permission to remove them and later reported that her husband was also very happy with the arrangement.

My advice: reduce the number of books and reading material you keep in your bedroom to a small number and make sure they are about topics that are positive, pleasant and NOT work-related.

Good Bedroom Feng Shui Includes Art

What hangs on the walls of your bedroom? What kind of energy surroundsScan 14 you when you sleep? The energy of each painting, print, and photograph affect the quality of your sleep and the quality of your relationships. In fact, the feng shui of any art in your bedroom is also directly related to your overall health and general well-being. So it’s important to check out each piece of art to make sure that its energy is in keeping with the primary energy you want to achieve in the space.

Remember, bedrooms are primarily about rest, changing your clothes and intimacy (sex).

So, ideally the art should have a restful, peaceful and/or sensual energy. Landscapes, beach and garden scenes are good choices for a peaceful bedroom. Scenes with people should be avoided because people have the energy of fire. Fire is the highest energy element and therefore not restful.  Violent or troubling scenes can affect your interactions with a spouse and can disrupt your sleep. Definitely avoid depictions of war and anything disturbing.  You also want to avoid art in the bedroom that conveys sad or lonely images. So what are some important feng shui factors to consider when choosing bedroom art?

Check out the subject matter of each art piece.

What is going on in the scene? You are sleeping with the content.  The best feng shui advice for bedroom art is to choose images that you want to experience in your life. Remember, what you put on your walls is alive with energy. To ensure peace in the bedroom, good sleeping and intimacy, remove anything that has a negative association or a busy, frenetic energy.

If you want to attract romance, choose art that feels romantic

If you are part of a couple and want to add some spark to your love life, add prints of couples embracing, sensual subjects that you both find appealing and pairs of prints, candles, or objects of any kind. Or, to make the bedroom all about the two of you, enlarge photographs from your honeymoon or a special trip you enjoyed together, and frame them. Avoid art depicting single women or single men. They hold the energy of being single and could affect the strength of your relationship.

Remember the functions of your bedroom: rest, changing your clothes, and intimacy (sex). Make sure your art is compatible with those functions and you will have good feng shui in your bedroom.

Feng Shui: How Quiet Is Your Bedroom?

2006 pictures 015A starting point for organizing any room is to identify the function of the space. What kinds of activities are going to happen there? Those activities then guide your decision-making about what to keep in the space.

Bedrooms usually have three functions: rest, changing clothes, and intimacy (for couples). In my work as a professional organizer I’ve had the opportunity to see some bedrooms that include everything but the kitchen sink. How anyone could get a good night’s sleep was beyond me!

Feng shui teaches that everything is alive with energy. Everything! Energies are positive or negative. The energy of things actually talks to you. For example, a pair of pants dropped on the floor could say, “ Why don’t you hang me up?” or “The wife’s not going to be happy that you’ve left me here!” Everything out and visible in a bedroom is talking to you — all at the same time! So, it only makes sense that there is an inverse relationship between the number of things in a bedroom and how peaceful the space feels.

Going a step further, there are specific types of items that are particularly DSCN0067.JPGnoisy and problematic in a bedroom. Anything associated with work has energy that says, “You should be doing this task!” And, you’re likely to “work” in your dreams. This includes bills, sewing projects, exercise equipment, house plans, day planners, computers. The bedroom is about rest, not work. To make your bedroom a haven where quality rest is possible, remove those types of things.

Other noisy items are energy enhancers like mirrors, fountains, and televisions. One mirror or fewer is recommended in bedrooms. Not only do fountains stir up the energies in a space, they have been known to make people have the urge to urinate. Televisions stimulate both the nervous system and a person’s thoughts. It’s recommended that you not watch television right up until you turn out the lights. You’ll be left with an overactive brain, one that won’t let you rest well. Besides, televisions in bedrooms interferes with intimacy. If you’re watching television you are not focused on your partner.

books-818772_640There are two other sources of noisy energy that I often find in bedrooms: books and photographs. In feng shui everything is associated with one of five feng shui elements: fire, wood, water, metal and earth. The words in books are fire elements, very active energies. The paper is wood, also very active energies. Wood feeds fire. So, books are little bonfires! They have a stimulating, hot energy which in turn affects your energy and your nervous system, stimulating it.

Add to that the fact that when you are sleeping your subconscious can access the content of the books. If your husband likes to read war books, you’re sleeping in a space that has the energy of war. Your brain is accessing the horror of the content of those books. I personally think the energy of war in those books can lead to conflict between a man and a woman sharing the bedroom.

I recommend that you keep just one to three books or magazines at your bedside. Limiting the quantity will limit the stimulation. I also recommend choosing books that are a gentle read, preferably positive stories with little violence.

IMG_4640Images of people in photographs are also fire elements. To make your bedroom peaceful, limit the photographs in the bedroom. Photographs add a great life-affirming energy in any other part of your house, but in the bedroom they “talk” loudly and can disrupt sleep. Photos of your children in particular can distract you from the opportunity for intimacy with your spouse. Photos of parents and children can keep your subconscious working on ideas for parenting and caregiving, not rest and love-making.

How quiet is your bedroom? The condition of your bedroom can have a profound effect on your health. Because you daily spend more time in that one place than anywhere else in your house, the noise of negative energies in the bedroom can affect the body negatively, resulting in health issues. Take steps to eliminate conversations and sources of stimulation like energy enhancers, books and photographs. Make your bedroom a lovely, peaceful place to rest.

Garage Clutter Clearing: The Challenge of Negative Energies

If you have a garage you probably have had this type of experience. You or
DSCN1058your spouse set your intention that this weekend you’re going to tackle the garage. The weekend comes. After your breakfast, coffee and the newspaper you set out for the garage, fully prepared to take on the beast. You open the door to the garage, take a look at the chaos, clutter, dirt and enormous quantities of items to be sorted and organized and you turn on your heel to return to the comfort of your family room and a good book or the TV remote.

Is it any wonder that garages rank right up there with attics, basements, and paper as clutter clearing challenges that are most often avoided? Why is that?

With few exceptions most garages present with a whole host of negative energy challenges. In other words, garages tend to be places that for one reason or another don’t “feel good.” Spaces that don’t feel good energetically push you away. Negative energy repulses. Positive energy attracts.

Why all the negative energy?

  • Garages are typically storage areas of an enormous quantity of items. The numbers of things to be organized, stored and kept in order is overwhelming.
  • Garages are also typically very busy places. Items of all sizes from large yard equipment like lawn mowers and weed eaters to tiny nuts, screws and bolts are stored there.
  • Many of the items in a garage are visible. If they are visible, their energy talks to you all the time. There is no peace in the typical garage with all those various conversations!
  • Garages usually hold various kinds of toxic substances like fertilizers, pesticides, and paints.
  • Garages are the storage area for items that hold “weapon” energy, tools that can do harm. This includes handsaws, drills, axes, chainsaws, hammers and crowbars.
  • Garages are often unfinished spaces with exposed framing. Even though it is common to leave garages unfinished, being unfinished makes them unattractive and feel like spaces waiting for finishing touches to make them more attractive and appealing.
  • Garages are dirty places. Even with the most deliberate attention to keep a garage swept clean, dust, dirt and grime easily accumulate because of their enormous doors and the types of items stored there.
  • Garages are dumping grounds. They are convenient places to drop things on your way into the house. Also, items get dumped in the garage because they is usually room to store things “temporarily” when shifting things around inside your house. Often “temporary” becomes permanent. Plus, when people can’t decide what to do with items, or if they run out of room for things in the house, their mantra often is, “Stick it in the garage.” Unfortunately, once dropped in the garage those items are out of sight, out of mind and become part of the garage chaos.

It is no wonder that most people tend to avoid clearing, cleaning and organizing the garage! It’s negative energy alone can send you for the sofa and the remote control!

Are you now feeling sufficiently overwhelmed? Don’t worry. That’s very normal. However, the garage monster can be tackled. Before that can happen you must be conscious of the sources of negative energy that can shut you down. If you head for the garage unprepared for its common challenges, like the power of its negative energies, you are likely to find yourself on the sofa time and time again.

Once you have an awareness of the sources of negative energy, you can use that knowledge to inform your retreating self that it’s not simply laziness or the inability to do the job that keeps you from clearing out your garage. It is the negative energy of the space as a whole that is dousing your enthusiasm to create order in your garage. With that knowledge and your new awareness of the power of negative energies to shut down clutter clearing and organizing attempts, you can then take a deep breath and seek ways to manage those energies so you can reclaim your garage.

China Cabinet: A Haven for Treasures or Trash?

Have you ever noticed who you’ve got living in your corner cupboard or chinaliving-room-670237__340 (1) cabinet?

In my work as a feng shui practitioner who works with people to clear clutter I help people identify and evaluate the energies throughout their homes and offices to make those energies conscious and ensure that they were positive and supportive. Positive and supportive energies attract more positive experiences and good into your life.

I once worked with a man who had been divorced for many years. His feelings about his ex-wife could best be described as hostile. When we reached the dining room he was startled to realize that his wedding china, which was prominently displayed both inside and outside of his corner cupboard, held the energy of his marriage and of his ex-wife. Needless to say, we discussed the significance of those pieces and removed them from their prominent location.

Items that are stored in china cabinets, buffets, and corner cupboards in dining rooms are often loaded with associations with family members and past events. It’s where we store our “good stuff.”

Take a look at your dining room storage cabinet. I’ll bet you find china that belonged to your mother or grandmother. Or, perhaps you have crystal you got when you got married. Or, there may be candle holders from a dear friend. Rarely does a dining room storage cabinet hold things devoid of associations.

When an item brings back the memory of a family member, it holds the energy of that person. It’s as if that person has taken up residence in your space. If the item holds the energy of a significant event, the event will replay in your mind when you see the item. If you are not in good relationship with the person whose energy is held in place by an object, or if your memory of a significant event is not positive, those objects are holding negative energies associated with the person or event.

Check out each item in your china cabinet, buffet or corner cupboard. Pay attention to the thoughts that immediately pop into your mind. If an item has a strong positive association you could hear, “Oh, I love that! It’s the gravy boat we used every year for Christmas,” or “That’s Nana’s salt and pepper shaker. She was so special.”

When an item holds a strong negative association or has no significant association at all you might hear, “That ugly thing was so important to Mom. It belonged to Aunt Thelma. And, she was not a nice woman!” or “I don’t know where that came from. It isn’t nearly as nice as some of my other pieces.”

Also pay attention to your energy. Items with good energy are likely to lift your spirits and elicit a warm feeling inside. They often bring a smile to your face. Items that hold memories of painful times or stressed relationships are likely cause your energy to drop and can register as a groan, a frown, or as an uneasy feeling.

Make your dining room storage cabinets a repository of treasures, not trash. Save items with the best associations, the best energy. Donate the rest!

Clearing Clutter: Only Keep Parents’ Belongings That You Love

I love this glass bottle. It was in my mother’s home for as long as I can IMG_3750remember. It is one item I chose to keep when clearing items from Mom’s apartment in an attempt to create a simpler, safer environment.

I’ve been clearing out my mother’s belongings since the day she went into assisted living in 2013. First I cleared out her house to prepare it for sale. Over the last two years I’ve taken clothing items from her apartment that she no longer uses or is not likely to use given her changing needs due to the ravages of Alzheimer’s.

More recently in her Alzheimer’s-induced agitation Mom began to pull things from drawers and closets and cabinets, creating visual chaos and obstacles that increased her fall risk. To help calm Mom and eliminate the volume of items that she could move around, I began clearing decorative items, photos, cards plus more clothing in an attempt to simplify her living space.

Each time I take a bag out of Mom’s apartment I sort the items into: trash, donate, give to another family member, and keep for myself. The items I choose for myself have to be “love it” items or items I will use.

The purple vase is a “love it” item. I love the color. I love the quality of the glass. I love the shape. I love that it’s small and fits nicely into our small house. I especially love it because it was Mom’s treasure, a permanent fixture in her home. It holds in place her energy and her love of beautiful colored glass items. When I look at it, I think of Mom and her love for me. Her treasure has become my treasure.

There were many other glass bottles in Mom’s collection. I kept only two. I kept the two that I loved most for their aesthetic qualities. Both hold Mom’s memory and love in place.

When doing the sad task of dismantling a parent’s home, instead of keeping boxes of items to go through at a later date, look for items that you love. Keep those and let go of the rest. Keep items that you love for their aesthetics, the memories they hold in place, and for their association with your parent. 

Your Home Office Could Be Affecting Your Finances

How does your home office make you feel?

How easy would it be to focus and make good decisions in this office?

How easy would it be to focus and make good decisions in this office?

When you look at your home office, do you cringe?

Many people do. Why is that? I think  there are two main reasons that home offices become places to avoid: 1) they often hold functions that most people want to avoid, like bill paying, financial management and paper repository; and 2) they are often unattractively appointed and cluttered. 

No matter how much money you make, you probably still feel some discomfort when it comes to paying bills and managing your finances.

And, were you ever taught how to handle paper? Not likely! So, quite possibly it’s an area associated with money anxiety and paper incompetence. Doesn’t that just make you so excited about spending time there doing boring tasks like paying bills and filing? Heck no!

Unless you use your home office for a home-based business that generates enough income to pay for high quality office furniture, most home offices are furnished with furniture leftovers doubling as office furniture; folding tables and cheap office furniture from office supply chain stores. You end of up with a hodge podge of furnishings that are difficult to make look attractive.

And wall color, if funds are tight, you’ll hold off on painting the home office a pleasant color. Attractive art in the home office? Why bother? After all, nobody sees it but family members, and you don’t even spend that much time there! Or, if there is art in the home office it’s likely to be faded prints you used in college or during the early days of your marriage.

Add to that the fact that home offices often are multi-purpose rooms that are also used as guest and craft rooms.

When rooms have more than one purpose, it’s easy for their essential functions to become blurred. They eventually end up as dumping grounds for things you don’t know what to do with, for things you don’t want to take the time to move up to the attic, and for things you need to clear from other rooms when company is coming.

If by now you’re feeling sorry for your home office, good! Because it’s the brain of the house, the home of crucial functions like financial management, and should be treated with more respect.

If I told you the condition of your home office could be affecting both your current finances and your financial future, would you treat it with more respect?A cluttered home office is loaded with negative energy blocks that could be affecting the flow of money into the family or your home-based business.

If I told you that disorder in that room creates a mental fogginess that could affect all decision-making, would that motivate you to create a new order and spend some time and money making it an attractive place where you could enjoy doing essential tasks like bill paying and financial management? I hope so. Because it’s true. 

If you decided to make your home office a personal paradise, a place where you would enjoy spending time, what would it look like?

Because the typical functions of a home office cause discomfort and anxiety, it  should be an especially lovely, comfortable space, one that will seduce you into crossing the threshold to do dreaded tasks like filing and bill paying. Have fun with it! The time and expense are well worth the potential financial benefits!

Want Peace in the Family? Clear Kitchen Countertop Clutter!

At this time of kitchen gadgets and appliances galore, it’s not uncommon toCalm Kitchen find kitchen counters clogged with those “essentials.” But, I challenge you to do a survey of those items asking yourself, “How often do I use this?” I’ll bet you can cut those “essentials” in half if you limit countertop items to those you use every day. Any item used less often can be stored in a cabinet or pantry and retrieved when needed.

The energy of those items displayed on your counters talks to you and everyone else in the kitchen. Multiple appliances and gadgets create lots of energy chatter. Lots of chatter can become lots of stress, particularly when you add the chatter of family members to the mix. Remove the chatter by removing those items, and you’ll find that your kitchen feels much more peaceful.

It’s also difficult to make cluttered countertops look attractive. “Attractive? Kitchens are meant to be functional, not necessarily attractive,” you say. I say, “Why not functional AND attractive?” Treat your kitchen as a 3D collage of those things that bring family and friends together and you’ll find interactions with others in that space not only more harmonious, but more connected. Environment affects performance. A cluttered space tends to irritate the nervous system. A lovely space soothes it. Which would you prefer?

Feng Shui: Small Changes Lead to Clutter Clearing

IMG_3578Feng shui can be done in small steps. Throw away a dead plant. Clear clutter from a drawer. Add a lamp to a dark area in your home. Add fresh flowers to your kitchen. When you eliminate negative energy (dead things, clutter) and increase positive energy (adding light, add color and plants), you are doing feng shui.

I had the chance to appreciate the power of feng shui when I made a simple change in my kitchen. What started as trimming an overgrown plant ended up being a significant enhancement to the energies in my kitchen.

I trimmed a pothos, a hardy type of philodendron that grows in long vines. Instead of tossing the vines I’d cut off the plant into the trash, I stuffed them in a jar and put the jar on my kitchen counter. That little pop of color and positive energy totally transformed the feel of my kitchen! It’s amazing what a little pop of bright green can do to energize a room. I also added a photo of my beloved Harry and a special rock from my dear friend, Margaret Norman. 

Adding three sources of positive energy really changed the look and feel of my counter. My spirits lift every time my eyes light on the little green plant. The arrangement looked and felt so good that I was motivated to reduce our paper piles on that counter from two to one. Less clutter = good feng shui! Plus, now I work really hard to keep that counter clear. Who knew that sticking green cuttings in a jar could lead not only a daily mood shift but also motivate me to clear clutter and keep it clear!

What small step can you take today to eliminate a source of negative energy and/or add positive energy to your home or office? Clear and enhance! Small steps add up to big changes over time!

Take Down Christmas Decorations to Jumpstart Your New Year!

As I’ve walked through my neighborhood I’ve noticed that some people still have christmas-315661_640Christmas decorations on the outside of their homes. When I see them I find myself wondering:

  • Are they so busy they can’t get around to taking down decorations?
  • Is taking down decorations hard to face because it is a boring, time consuming task?
  • Does the person typically keep decorations up until mid-January?
  • Has taking decorations down fallen off their radar?

I will admit that taking down Christmas decorations is a chore I dislike. It’s such an anti-climax and is an annoying, boring chore. But, I make myself do it by New Year’s Day every year. Why is that?

I want to start my new year on a high note with high energy, unburdened by incomplete tasks from the previous year. Decorations that stay up into the new year hold the energy of the previous year, the Christmas just past. They keep you stuck in the past. Since taking them down is a task most people don’t relish, perhaps because the effort signals the end to a season of celebrating and is quite boring to do, the decorations also hold a melancholy, heavy energy. It’s difficult to move into a fresh, new year weighted by lingering tasks from the previous year, tasks to stir up uncomfortable feelings.

Experience a nice pop of energy and feelings of excitement about what’s possible in the new year by biting the bullet and putting away your Christmas decorations. It’s a great way to jumpstart your new year!

Clear Clutter and Create an Attic You Love

I can imagine that many of your are thinking, “Love my attic. Are you kidding?” What2008 Photos 003 would it take for you to love your attic? Attics are not places that we think about loving. They are storage spaces, not areas where you hang out. But, imagine going into your attic without a sense of dread. Imagine actually looking forward to entering your attic. What would that attic look like? How would it feel?

Here are some of my ideas for having an attic that you love:

  • It has been cleared of all things that you no longer love or use and gets cleared at least once a year.
  • It is well organized so you can find things easily.
  • It has space to move around–not packed to the gills!
  • The floors have been swept or vacuumed to remove dust and grime.
  • The things you use most often are conveniently located for easy access.
  • Everything in the space is in good condition and in good working order.
  • Everything in the space has a purpose.
  • It has good lighting.
An attic you can love.

An attic you can love.

An attic like the one I’ve described would certainly not feel like the burden that most attics seem to be. It would still be a storage area, not a place to spend time, but I’ll bet you’d be less likely to procrastinate going there. Perhaps that’s as close to loving your attic as you can get.

Fall is a great time to clear clutter out of your attic! Feng shui teaches that the attic is the area that holds energies of your hopes and aspirations. Make an investment in attaining your hopes and aspirations by decluttering your attic!

Remove Shoe Clutter, Sleep Better!

Shoes in the bedroom have a smelly energy. Your goal in setting up your bedroom is to

For best sleep, store your shoes in your closet.

For best sleep, store your shoes in your closet.

create a space that is completely conducive to sleep. The energy of smelly feet can only be distracting. Why is it that I so often find pairs of shoes strewn over bedroom floors?

I’m fairly certain that part of the problem is not having adequate storage for the number of shoes that people own these days.

Also, sometimes shoes just don’t make it to the closet. You may be thinking, “Why put them away? I’m just going to put them on again tomorrow. . .”

Sweaty, smelly feet and rest just don’t go well together. Ideally it’s best to reduce the number of shoes you own to those that can fit in your closet. Then make it a point to make sure they get back there every night. For one thing, you’ll find your bedroom is more peaceful because there will be fewer items out and visible in the room. You’ll also find that your focus can shift away from the energy chatter of pairs of shoes to more important things like some gentle reading, reflecting about your day, or conversation with a partner or spouse.

Energy chatter. What chatter? Everything is alive with energy. Everything! 

The energy can be negative (smelly or tight fitting or scuffed) or positive (so comfortable, so beautiful). And, the energy talks to you. What do shoes say? Here are some of the conversations I’ve heard:

  • “Those shoes really are too tight, but they are the only ones that really look professional.”
  • “I really should polish that pair. Look how scuffed they are!”
  • “The bottoms are really worn on that pair. Is it time to bite the bullet and get another pair?”
  • “I look like such a dork in those shoes! But, they are so comfortable!”
  • “Those shoes really stink. I wonder what’s going on with my feet that they stink so badly.”

With all those conversations going on, is it any wonder that you don’t get great sleep anymore? Yes, when your eyes are closed you can’t see all those shoes, but you feel their energy when you are sleeping. Their presence interferes with peaceful sleep.

Banish shoes from the bedroom to the closet and enjoy the peace that results from your efforts.  Remember, if you’re coming up with ANY reason at all to “let go” of a pair of shoes – just do it. Set them free.  Take the remaining shoes and find a storage solution that will work in your closet. Try a stacking shelf or, if wall space is limited, consider storing solutions that you can hang in the closet.

Then, enjoy sweet dreams!

Home Office: The Most Neglected Room in the House

When you look at your home office, do you cringe?

A home office that is guarantee to scare you off!

A home office that is guaranteed to scare you off!

Many people do! Why is that? I think  there are two main reasons that home offices become places to avoid: they often hold  functions that most people want to avoid, like bill paying, financial management and paper repository; and they are often unattractively appointed and cluttered. 

No matter how much money you make, you probably still have some discomfort when it comes to paying bills and managing your finances. And, were you ever taught how to handle paper? Not likely! So, quite possibly it’s an area associated with money anxiety and paper incompetence. Doesn’t that just make you so excited about spending time there doing boring tasks like paying bills and filing? Heck no!

Unless you use your home office for a home-based business that generates enough income to pay for high quality office furniture, most home offices are furnished with furniture leftovers doubling as office furniture; folding tables and cheap office furniture from office supply chain stores. You end of up with a hodge podge of furnishings that are difficult to make look attractive. And wall color, if funds are tight, you’ll hold off on painting the home office a pleasant color. Attractive art in the home office? Why bother! After all, nobody sees it but family members, and you don’t even spend that much time there! 

Add to that the fact that home offices often are multi-purpose rooms that are also used as guest and craft rooms. When rooms have more than one purpose, it’s easy for their essential functions to become blurred. They eventually end up as dumping grounds for things you don’t know what to do with, things you don’t want to take the time to move up to the attic, and things you need to clear from other rooms when company is coming.

If by now you’re feeling sorry for your home office, good! Because it’s the brain of the house, the home of crucial functions like financial management, and should be treated with more respect. If I told you the condition of your home office could be affecting both your current finances and your financial future, would you treat it with more respect? If I told you that disorder in that room creates a mental fogginess that could affect all decision-making and productivity, would that motivate you to create a new order and spend some time and money making it an attractive place where you enjoy doing essential tasks like bill paying? I hope so. Because what it’s true.

This is my home office. It's look may not appeal to you, but compare how it feels to the photo above. In which office would you be most able to get something done?

This is my home office. It’s look may not appeal to you, but compare how it feels to the photo above. In which office would you be most able to get something done?

If you decided to make your home office a personal paradise, a place where you would enjoy spending time, what would it look like? Because the functions of a home office cause discomfort and anxiety, you really need to create a lovely, comfortable space that will seduce you into crossing the threshold to do dreaded tasks like filing and bill paying. Have fun with it! The time and expense are well worth 

Bedroom Clutter Clearing Begins with Your Bed

Easily the biggest piece of furniture in the room, the bed can have a profound impact on both

Is your bed good feng shui?

Is your bed good feng shui? It is if it’s both comfortable and free of negative associations.

the health of its occupants and the quality of the relationship of a couple. It is important to consider the comfort of the mattress and the history of the mattress and bed frame.

Your bed should be utterly comfortable.

You hopefully spend six to eight hours in it, about one third of each day, and if it’s comfortable, you will rest well and feel good. If it is not comfortable, too hard, too soft, dips in the middle, is hard to get in and out of, it is an irritant in direct connection with your body. Six to eight hours of discomfort can translate into exhaustion, irritability, depression and disease. To thrive you must sleep well. If your bed has passed its prime, and you find yourself having more and more aches and pains, consider pitching the old mattress and buying one that is as comfortable as you can afford.

What is the history of your headboard and bed frame?

Objects hold the energy of their history. If the history is positive to you and your partner,  and you both love its style, great! Keep it. If, however, one of you is concerned about its history or dislikes the style, it’s a good idea to either move it to another room or get rid of it. A couple cannot afford to have a bed that one of them dislikes for whatever reason. Their negative feelings will affect the relationship.

“I think we should get rid of this bed. My husband slept in it with his ex-wife. What do you think?”

I’ll never forget that day, standing in that bedroom looking at the ornately carved headboard. My client was newly married and had invited me to help her clear clutter to make the master bedroom a place where she and her husband would be comfortable and compatible.

“Tell me about the history of the headboard and the mattress,” I said. She proceeded to inform me that the headboard was a family heirloom of her husband’s, and the mattress was in fact the one he’d slept on with his former wife. Clearly the energy of the bed screamed “ex-wife!” I recommended that she and her husband consider using the headboard and bed frame in a guest room and that they give away the mattress.

“The mattress holds her energy,” I said. “It’s like she’s sleeping in the bed with the two of you.” My client was thrilled with my recommendation and passed it on to her husband. He pooh poohed my concern about the energy of the ex-wife. But, nonetheless, he consulted the women in his office about the mattress situation. When he asked them if they thought it would be a problem for he and his new wife to be sleeping on the bed he’d slept in with his ex-wife, he got unanimous agreement that doing so would be a big mistake. Marriage can be challenging enough without an ex-wife hanging around, especially in the most intimate moments!

Clearing clutter from your bedroom such as older furniture that has negative associations and therefore holds negative energy can make all the difference in the overall energy in the room as well as your relationship.

Have a Good Feng Shui Christmas!

My favorite definition of feng shui is, “arranging your space to enhance your life.” So, you’re

xmas giftprobably wondering how feng shui could pertain to Christmas. Good feng shui is achieved by eliminating things with negative energy and enhancing by adding things with positive energy.  You can take that process and apply it to any aspect of your life, even Christmas.

Feng shui teaches that everything is alive with energy. Everything. So, the common aspects of Christmas, decorating, meal preparation, gift giving, sending Christmas cards, spending time with family, and attending holiday parties and events, have energies associated with them. 

For example, let’s take decorating. Perhaps just saying the word makes your gut clench and you immediately feel overwhelmed by the thought of all the work and time involved in decorating your home.  Decorating holds negative energy and is not good feng shui for you. 

Should you eliminate it because it’s bad feng shui? That is an option. But, another more realistic option could be simplifying what you do. What if decorating just involved removing the cover off of a previously decorated artificial tree and setting out some special treasures, like a family creche or a collection of small Santas? If you found a way to reduce the process both in the quantity of decorations you use and in the time it takes to decorate, wouldn’t the process feel less daunting and more positive to you?

Another way to shift the energy of decorating from negative to positive would be to evaluate the energies of all your decorations and eliminate any that never get used, are broken, hold a negative association, or are annoying to deal with. That would reduce the volume of decorations you handle and your decorations would hold only positive energy. Wouldn’t that make opening those boxes each year a pleasure instead of a chore?

The same process I’ve described above can be applied to every aspect of your holiday experience. If spending time with some family members always stirs up negative energy, you can choose to abstain from seeing them or plan to spend only a short time in their presence. You may exposed to some negative energy if you spend time with difficult family members for even a short time, but you’ll experience positive energy when you go into the situation with an exit strategy. 

If you hate certain types of holiday parties, you can choose not to attend them and instead plan time with people you really want to spend time with. If preparing six dishes for your holiday dinner is very stressful to pull off, you can reduce the number and prepare only those you love the most or that are the easiest to prepare. 

If you hate shopping and wrapping presents, you can give gift cards or order items online complete with gift wrapping. If you hate the addressing Christmas cards and often don’t get the job done, but still feel guilty about not sending them, you can switch to sending e-cards online or you can just decide not to send them because the whole process generates too much negative energy.

Having a happy holiday season is a choice. What can you do this year to improve the feng shui of your holiday activities and traditions?

Clutter Clearing & Feng Shui: Not All “Love It” Energy is Created Equal

Feng shui teaches that we should live with what we love to attract good into our lives. “Love it” things hold positive energies and in turn enhance our spaces and our lives. Items can be loved for many reasons: their shape, their color, their functionality, the way we feel in their presence, the memories associated with them. 

IMG_2615My pink hat is a “love it” item. It is my favorite hat. It is a favorite shade of pink and has silver sequins scattered all over it. I love its appearance. I love the way it fits. I love the way I look in it. All that love makes it a high energy item, one worthy of keeping in my space.

But, the love goes deeper than that. It was also a thoughtful gift from my husband who knew I love pink. It holds the energy of his caring and his remembering what I love. It is associated with Bob and his love for me. That association transformed the energy of that hat from a “love it” item to a “LOVE IT” item.

IMG_2581

Bob, me and the pink hat!

You’re probably thinking that’s all the “love it” energy one hat can hold. But, the story continues. I took that hat with me on my recent vacation to New Mexico for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. I wore it each time we went to the balloon park to see hundreds of hot air balloons inflate and take off like magical colorful jewels in the sky. It hid my “bed head” hair, and kept me warm in the wee hours of the morning as we waited shivering in the dark for the first balloons to light up. It became part of the memory of that incredible experience. Its “LOVE IT” energy ratcheted up to LOVE IT” energy.

What kind of “love it” energies do you have in your space? Not all “love it” energy is created equal! If you are a person who loves so many things that your space has become uncomfortable because of their quantity, check out the strength of the love you actually feel for those items. 

For the best feng shui and the most energy benefit from “love it” items, check out the reasons why you love each item. Do you love an item because you really love it or because you don’t want to let it go? Ask yourself, “Does this item have “love it,” “LOVE IT,” or “LOVE IT” energy? Checking out the associations and stories associated with items is a great way to more easily make decisions about whether items have adequate “love it” energy to be taking up prime real estate in your home and in your life. 

Consider letting go of lesser “love it” items. In so doing you’ll be clearing clutter and making space for items of higher energy that can positively affect your energy and attract more positive into your life.

Clutter Clearing: Mastering Mixed Associations

Objects hold associations with their history. Those associations can be positive, negative, or mixed depending on the feelings associated with their history. Items with positive associations are valued, hold positive energies and can attract more positive into your life. Items with negative associations hold negative energies and can attract more negative into your life. To achieve good feng shui in your environment it is recommended that you check out the associations of everything in your space, and eliminate items with negative associations.

Every now and then you’ll discover that an item holds both negative and positive associations. Following is a story I wrote many years ago that demonstrates how a single item can hold both negative and positive associations. It shows that I intuitively understood the power of associations before I had been exposed to feng shui principles.

The Yellow Birch Table

The squatty table, made from an 8 inch thick slab of yellow birch perched atop three logsIMG_1613 of the same hardwood, is one of my prized possessions. Its story speaks to the life and death of my relationship with Dave, my first husband, and to the birth of a new, empowered self.

 In 1981, after two years of marriage, Dave and I moved to Vermont to help my father start a maple syrup and sheep operation. Together we worked closely with Ed McPhee, a local logger and hired handyman. Without a particular request or prompting, Ed offered to give us a slab of yellow birch to make a table. I had wondered if he was trying to connect with Dave, and if in fact he’d follow through on his offer.

As it turned out, Ed was as good as his word. He presented Dave with a thick, rough slab of yellow birch. If it had been left to me, I would have let it sit, given that I am no genius when it comes to anything that involves a power tool. Dave, however, set to work sanding and sanding and sanding the slab by hand. He seemed to enjoy watching the table top emerge from the rough hewn surface. I was impressed by his commitment of time and energy to the project. When the top of the slab had been softened to his standards, he searched for and found a slender yellow birch log that he cut into three pieces. He carefully carved the end of each piece to fit in holes he’d cut into the underside of the slab. He inserted the legs into the holes and the slab became a table. It weighed 85 pounds.

When the table was done, Dave presented it to me as a Christmas gift. I was surprised and touched to find that his hours of effort were a labor of love for me. At that time our relationship seemed on firm footing and the table was a visual symbol of our love.

We left Vermont the following summer with the table dismantled and wedged into our VW Rabbit. There was no question about whether the table would make the trip. It was a treasure, a piece of Vermont that we took with us, a reminder of that unique experience and the closeness between Dave and me that the isolation of that setting fostered.

Dave and I returned to Salt Lake City, Utah and lives we’d left behind when we embarked on the Vermont adventure. Unlike the time in Vermont, Dave and I went our separate ways each day. We assumed we’d continue to maintain the closeness we’d enjoyed in Vermont, but within six months there were obvious signs that our marriage was in trouble. In time I learned that Dave had had an affair and was unsure whether he wanted to remain married. I was devastated by his exit from our commitment to one another, and chose to separate and divorce.

When it came time to divide our possessions, the yellow birch table came under scrutiny. I had assumed that it was mine, given that it had been a gift. Dave had other ideas. He argued that it should be his, because he’d labored hard and long to bring it into being. 

One gift of our separation and ultimate divorce was that in the process of surviving that painful experience I learned to stand my ground with others. After years of succumbing to the wishes of almost everybody in an attempt to avoid rejection, I learned to figure out what really matters to me and assert both my wants and my rights. I cut my teeth on that journey of growth by letting Dave know that he’d get that table over my dead body. I informed him that the table was precious to me because it was the only gift he’d ever made for me. What I didn’t way was that the table represented a time when I had mattered to him and I wanted to remember that.

So, when I moved from Utah to Virginia, I left Dave behind, but the yellow birch table came with me. It now has a place of honor in the middle of our family room. It continues to draw groans from even the strongest men who have helped move it from place to place. It reminds me of a chapter in my life that was special, of a time when I thought love with Dave would last, and of the beginning of my emergence as a woman who knows she matters.

When items hold both positive and negative associations the challenge is to determine which association is strongest. In the case of my yellow birch table, it holds Dave’s energy and the energy of our relationship, which meant the world to me, associations that could stir feelings of loss and grief because of Dave’s betrayal and the death of our marriage. However, the strongest associations are of the friendship and generosity of Ed, of the very special year we spent in Vermont, of Dave’s efforts to show his love with a unique gift he made himself, and of my first major success holding my own despite the objection of an important person in my life. All those associations are positive and carry enough weight to offset the negative associations. Beside, I LOVE the table. It is unique and a powerful symbol of the woman I have become despite pain and life’s challenges.

Good Feng Shui Leads to Business Productivity and Profits

It can be difficult to explain the benefits of feng shui. However, nothing says it better than a story by a  client, who hired me to do a feng shui consultation who experienced positive results. Following is a story by Deena Kretzer,* a small business owner who used my feng shui services and offered to share her story with my readers. I’m most grateful to her for her willingness to share her experience.

before feng shui consultation

before feng shui consultation

In 2006, I had the privilege of beginning an incredible business with Arbonne International. More files and more shelves moved into my office!  I was thankful that much of my Arbonne work was done away from home, as I never liked working in the hodge podge jumble of my home office.  I was so embarrassed about how the office looked (even when picked up, it was a clutter of so many odds and ends of files, crates, shelves, tables) that I kept its doors closed, never once allowing any consultant on my team to catch a glimpse of it.  If I had to do any training with them at home, I would bring my laptop onto the kitchen table.

I am personally a 110% positive person. But, when Debbie Bowie spoke about “Using Feng Debbie Bowie at River CityShui to Make More Money” at the River City Express Network meeting in February, and talked about the effect of natural energies in your workspace on your ability to be productive and make money, about how spaces that have abundant sources of positive energy and very little negative energy attract more business and therefore more money, I realized that my workspace was anything but positive.

Debbie said that your desk should never be positioned with your back to the door, since in that position you have your back to your business, to customers, and to potential new business. She noted that we never see a doctor’s or an attorney’s desk facing the wall, having their back to the door.  Everything she said was ringing with truth. I thought, “I am a Regional VP with Arbonne and will reach the top level of the company in 2014. For all 7 years in this business, I have not only faced the wall, but have kept the doors closed so that no one would see the space I work in.”  I was determined to create a space that a National VP with Arbonne feels great about  and is happy to welcome others into.

I made an appointment for Debbie to come to my office to do a feng shui consultation. Just knowing that she was coming motivated me to remove everything that was not useful to my business.  I found another (much better) place for the piano, after spending years thinking there was nowhere else for it to go. I now face the door and have a solid wall behind my back, a position Debbie calls the Power Position. I learned that in that position my nervous system is able to relax and function really well, unlike when I had my back to the door and couldn’t see what was coming at me. That position disempowered me and kept my nervous system on high alert.

after clutter clearing, feng shui consultation and enhancements

after clutter clearing, feng shui consultation and enhancements

As I write this, I see light streaming in from not only my office windows, but also the hall glass panels at the front door and the dining room windows.  My double doors stay wide open, and I absolutely love being in this room that at last reflects who I am on the inside and my vision and my commitment to excellence in my work and service to my team. 

It’s a pleasure to walk in this room to begin my work day.  Instead of seeing that jumble of crates, files, shelves and an endless “to do” list produced by my surroundings, I walk in smiling (after 2 months, it’s still brand new every morning!) and can immediately give my focus and energy to my work – to helping my clients and my team.  After all these years of keeping everyone out of my office, I now feel great about where I am and about being able to welcome anyone into my space.

I am so grateful for Debbie and cannot recommend her highly enough! My only regret is that I forgot to take before and after photos.” (the first photo above was taken by Debbie when she did her consultation, when Deena was mid-way through the clearing process)!

Thanks, Deena! As you can see, letting go of clutter and repositioning furniture so that you are empowered and have a lovely view not only leads to spending more time in your office, it lifts your spirits and results in improved productivity and increased revenues. Can you afford to endure an office that is not “good feng shui?”

*Deena gave me permission to use her name and share her contact information. If you want information about Arbonne or about her feng shui consultation experience, she can be reached at 804-878-8710 or deenakr812@gmail.com.

Mug Feng Shui Tells a Story of Riches

As I was unloading my dishwasher today I took a look at the coffee mugs I was putting away. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that a majority of the mugs in my kitchen cabinet held good energy and special associations.

Mugs tell a story of rich relationships and memories over the years

Mugs tell a story of rich relationships and memories over the years

One mug was from Dale, a very dear friend, lovely creative spirit, and someone who lovingly spends time with my mother on many days when I can’t be there. It’s turquoise and a beautiful round shape. I smile whenever I look at or hold that mug.

Another was from Lou, a former client who is a very special gentle spirit. It’s pink with white spots. I love its association and it’s color. 

Another was from Barb, a very dear friend I had when living in Salt Lake City between 1979 and 1983. It has an artistic picture of a sheep on it. I raised sheep on my dad’s farm in Vermont for a year, and Barb knew I came away from that experience with a special love for those gentle creatures. That mug holds memories of all the support Barb offered me when I was divorcing my first husband and of the Vermont chapter in my life.

And, the most recent addition to my mug collection is a white mug with little black cats walking around its bottom edge. I gave that mug to my mom years ago because we had had a black cat named Beaut (affectionately called Beuttox or Toxity), a favorite cat among our family cats. That mug came to me just last week when we moved Mom into memory care where she has no kitchen. It holds the energy of our love for Beaut and my love for Mom.

Who knew a kitchen cabinet could be a treasure trove of my wealth of love, special memories and treasured relationships! Over the years I had been intentionally making it a point to weed out mugs that I didn’t love (the look, shape, size, association) or use. With my clutter clearing efforts I unconsciously ended up with a collection of useful items that not only appeal to me from a practical and aesthetic standpoint, but also document in physical form precious relationships I’ve had over the years.

Feng shui teaches that living exclusively with what you love or use is the way to transform your space so you can attract good things into your life. It seems to be working for me!

Feng Shui Makes Letting Go of Memorabilia Possible

Are you sentimental? Is your home filled with lots of items that remind you of past events and people who are important to you? I call that stuff memorabilia. And, the sentimental folks have the greatest quantity of it.

Did you know that the more stuff you have from your past, the more you’ll stay anchored in the energy of the past? Perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad if your past was perfect and you had everything you wanted or needed. But, most people have checkered pasts filled with both positive and negative circumstances and memories.

Feng shui teaches that everything is alive with energy. And, any energy will attract more of the same. If in your past you experienced difficulties, losses, and failures, it’s likely that some of the memorabilia you have will hold some of those energies. If you keep those items, you’ve more likely to attract more difficulties, losses and failures. Do you really want to attract more struggle and pain?

Most people I work with don’t know that memorabilia can anchor old energies. Once you become conscious that items hold the energies of the time they are associated with, you can begin to deliberately choose those things that hold the best energies of the past, energies that can enhance your future.

For example, perhaps school was always a challenge for you. Those difficulties are reflected in your report cards. Not only do they display poor grades, but they also hold negative teacher comments in place. Keeping those report cards and rereading them could anchor the energy of struggle with learning or struggle with teachers.

If, on the other hand, you were great at art, drama or music, why not pitch the report cards and anchor the energy of your school years with pieces of your art, photos of you on stage or CDs or videos of your choral group. That way the energy from the past that you’re holding onto is positive, celebrating your successes. Success energies are likely to attract more success.

I’m convinced that part of the reason people leave much of their memorabilia tucked in boxes in the attic is that they are intuitively avoiding facing the negative energies that all unsorted memorabilia holds. Unconsciously they know that if they pop those boxes open they’ll not only run into good memories, but they’ll also confront painful memories. Rather than take a trip back down the rocky road of memory lane, they leave the mixed bag of those accumulated energies untouched, often for decades. If those items are so precious, why are they tucked away in spaces where they are likely to be freezing in the winter and burning up in the summer?

No one has a perfect childhood. Just looking back at old items will bring back both good and bad memories. There is no way to avoid that happening, but you can clear out those items that have obvious negative associations, those that anchor pain. That way your memorabilia will hold the best energies from the past. When it does, you will want to make that memorabilia more accessible and it will attract more good into your life.

Buying a House: Feeling Matters

Scanned Image 102340035As I walked up my front walk today I took a trip down memory lane to the days when we first looked at the house while house hunting. I remembered how I loved the feel of walking up that front walk, the comfort I felt in the landscape. Everything felt solid and right. That feeling combined with a nice floor plan, a price we could work with, and pine trees in the back yard led to purchasing the home.

My mind then flitted back to the first home Bob and I purchased together, a little brick ranch house. I knew it was the right house for us as soon as we walked in the front door, before we’d even looked around or asked a single question. The house felt solid, well kept and loved. It felt like a good place to live. And, it was. 

We bought our second house the same way. I walked in and it felt right. I knew I was supposed to live there. My energy resonated with the energy of the house. For nine years that was just the right place for us to live.

I’ve worked with a number of clients who have shared with me that they hate their house, or that living in their house has always been a struggle because certain aspects of it were just not right. When I think about how much pleasure I get from being in a home that I love, one that feels right for us at this time in our life, I can only imagine what it’s like to wake up every day in a house that feels like the wrong place to live. 

Feng shui teaches that everything is connected. Our houses, therefore, are comparable to an outer skin, an extension of who we are. If you love your house, if it feels right, it’s comparable to wearing clothes that fit well. If your house doesn’t feel good, if you’d rather be living somewhere else, it’s as though you are wearing uncomfortable clothes that bind and pinch or someone else’s clothes. It’s impossible to feel settled, grounded, and be your best self when you are living in a place that doesn’t feel good and work well for you. Life in the wrong house is an on-going challenge that will distract you from other important aspects of your life.

How your house feels matters. It determines the quality of life you are likely to have there.  Choose carefully. Choose wisely. It’s worth the wait to find a home that feels right!