Tag Archives: feng shui

Good Feng Shui Following the Death of a Pet

Last week we said good-bye to Jake, our beloved terrier mutt. He had been part of our lives for 11 years and 3 months. It was time. He was 15-17 years old. He had had a good life with us. His little body wore out, though his devotion to me never did. It was a very difficult decision to let him go.

What did I do in the aftermath of his death? I took up all the beds he slept on, threw several away because they were not in good shape, and washed the rest. I was driven to change the environment to reflect the fact that Jake was no longer with us. Otherwise, every time I’d look at one of those beds I’d picture him curled up in it and my broken heart would crack open again. I put his food bowl away in a cabinet. Seeing it would keep my heart wounds raw. I also took all his dog food and bagged it to donate to the SPCA.

Why did I act so quickly to remove his things? Those things associated with his daily activities held his energy that once was so alive and vibrant but now is gone. They held the sadness about his decline and death in place, making it hard for me to grieve his death and move beyond it.  Feng shui teaches that it is important that your space reflect your current self, your current reality. By clearing out things that would cause pain whenever I saw them, I was signaling to the Universe that I choose to let go of the energy of death and decline and instead focus on good memories of Jake when he was alive and thriving.

As so often happens when I clear my space of things that don’t reflect my current reality, my mind cleared and I noticed that I have no photos of Jake displayed in our house. I have photos on my computer, but none that I can enjoy seeing every day. With that new awareness I began planning ways to hold his energy in our space. I will print out a photo to frame. I also plan to make a photo book of him to hold his sweet energy in place.

When you lose a loved one, you have a choice. Keep things that hold the energies of death, decline and sadness in place or release them in favor of things that hold positive memories and good feelings. It’s a choice to stay stuck in grief or move through it.

Transform Refrigerator Clutter Into Art

We’ve all seen it, the front and/or sides of a refrigerator plastered with papers and photos

Can you guess what I love when you look at my refrigerator collage? Dogs, art, family and friends!

hanging on for dear life at all angles in a hectic jumble. I’ll bet your first instinct when you see that messy bulletin board in someone’s kitchen is to look away. Why is that? Because it looks chaotic and radiates negative energy.

“But,” you say, “it’s so practical to have those papers within easy reach for reference or to cue you to do something . . .” I’m sure it could helpful if you could easily see everything hanging there. What seems to happen over time is that so many papers begin to accumulate on the refrigerator surface that it’s hard to see anything. To make things worse, papers are placed there at different angles which creates an off-balance, out of control feeling. Plus, if you look closely, many of those papers are probably out of date and irrelevant, therefore trash. Refrigerators loaded with papers are vertical displays of clutter.

What to do? Transform your refrigerator surfaces into a vertical collage. Create an arrangement you love to look at. Here’s how you can do that:

      • remove everything from the refrigerator surface
      • sort through the papers and photos, choosing items that are still relevant and/or lift your spirits 
      • find other items that warm your heart and make you smile, like photos of special people or places, a colorful calendar, inspirational poems or sayings, interesting or unique magnets
      • intentionally arrange those items on your refrigerator so that you can see everything, each item is at right angles to the edges of the refrigerator, and the overall arrangement is attractive and interesting to look at
      • put all papers in one area or mix them with photos and other items of visual interest which will offset the somewhat negative energy of the papers
      • step back and look at your creation
      • rearrange items if necessary for visibility or to make it more visually attractive

Once you’ve created your refrigerator masterpiece your work is not done! It’s important to maintain its order and visual appeal. Regularly clear off papers that are no longer useful. When you add new items, resist the urge to slap them up there willy nilly at odd angles. Place each item deliberately at right angles to the refrigerator edges, making sure it can be easily seen and that its placement adds to the visual appeal of the entire arrangement.

If you start thinking about your refrigerator surfaces as opportunities for artistic expression instead of convenient bulletin boards, you are more likely to treat them with the respect and care they deserve. The payoff for taking a few extra minutes to arrange their surfaces and maintain them as peaceful collages that hold useful information and warm your heart is that they will enhance your kitchen instead of being eyesores. You and others will be drawn to look at them with interest and curiosity instead of being repelled by their chaos and negative energy.

Productivity: Where You Sit Matters

Yesterday I watched myself carefully choose a seat in Starbucks. I was between meetings and

I didn’t choose to sit at this table because none of the chairs put me in the Power Position. One chair had its back to the main door, one chair had its back to the flow of traffic going to and from the bathroom and exiting the building, and the third chair had its back to the flow of traffic entering by the back door. In all positions my nervous system would be on high alert, and I would feel vulnerable.

needed a place where I could get work done on my computer. I noticed that not just any seat would do. It had to be the most comfortable seat in the restaurant.

I’m not talking about the comfort of the chair I would sit in. All the chairs were the same. I’m referring to the location of the chair in the restaurant. I passed chairs that had their backs to glass walls and chairs that faced outside with their backs to the flow of customer traffic. I was searching for a seat where I could have a solid wall behind me and a full view of the front door.

Why would I be so deliberate about my choice of seating? In my feng shui training I learned that I can be most productive and successful if I position myself in the Power Position when I am working. The Power Position is a location where I have a solid wall behind me and a full view of the door. My nervous systems is programmed for survival. A solid wall behind me ensures that I won’t be surprised from behind. A view of the door makes it possible to know what’s coming at me so I can prepare to defend myself if needed.

The chair where you see the computer was my choice because it put me in the Power Position. I had a solid wall behind me and a full view of both doors.

When I don’t have a solid wall behind me, my nervous system is on high alert for possible threats and therefore can’t settle down to focus my full attention on my work. If I don’t have a view of the door, a part of me feels unsettled, again making it impossible to be fully present to my work. The Power Position is the most comfortable place to sit, a place where my nervous system can settle down and I can focus on important things other than safety. Putting myself in the Power Position is a choice for personal empowerment and productivity.

It has become a habit to position myself in the Power Position whenever I sit down. Yesterday I really wanted to get work done at my computer. I knew if I could find a comfortable place to seat myself, I’d be able to get a lot done. If I couldn’t do that, I would be less productive.

Fortunately the best seat in the house was available with a solid wall behind me and a full view

My view of both doors (one at the end and one just off to the right) and most of the activity in the space plus a solid wall behind me made it possible for me to relax and focus on my work.

of both doors into the coffee shop. It was interesting to note that there were only two seats in the whole restaurant that put customers in the Power Position. Perhaps Starbucks unconsciously wants customers to be a little unsettled and not too comfortable, so they won’t linger, thereby making space for other customers. Or, the interior designers for Starbucks aren’t aware of feng shui principles and the effect that seating can have on the comfort and productivity of clients.

With awareness of the importance of sitting in the Power Position, you too can make seating decisions that lead to having the best focus, brainpower, and productivity.

Artists: Improve Your Studios for Success

Artists need inspiration and motivation to keep producing art. Years ago I visited a number of

A studio housed in a garage.

artists’ studios to get a sense of the environments in which artists work. As a feng shui practitioner who appreciates the feng shui principal that what you have in your space and how it’s arranged affects what happens in the space, it was interesting to see that many artists work in very utilitarian spaces that are cluttered, disorganized, and not very inviting. The priority in many studios seems to have been to expend creative energy on art pieces rather than on the space itself.

Feng shui teaches that if you make a space a personal paradise, an attractive space with many sources of positive energy (light, color, plants, treasures, useful supplies, etc.) and few sources of negative energy (clutter, piles of paper, trash, supplies you no longer use, etc.) and utterly comfortable, you will attract more good into your life (motivation to create, increased productivity, commissions, ideas, opportunities to show your work, resources, etc.). Given that reality, it would behoove artists to invest more time, energy, and creativity into transforming their utilitarian studios into luscious places to work.

I recently had the opportunity to do a feng shui consultation for Kymberly Keniston-Pond, an artist and wellness consultant whose studio was in a small shed in her backyard. As most sheds are, it was unpainted on the inside and had no windows, a pretty grim, utilitarian space much better suited for storing yard tools than for creating art.

I initially questioned Kymberly about the idea of trying to make that space her center of creativity. It was so small, dark and uninviting. When it became apparent that the shed was her only option for a studio, we began brainstorming ways to make the space work for her. We identified areas of the space for specific activities and discussed furnishings, shelving and storage options. I made recommendations for color on the walls, for softening hard edges, for bringing a sense of the outside into the space, and for my client making the space her own. When I left that day, Kymberly had a long list of steps to take to create a studio that she’d love to come to every day.

As happens when I do a feng shui consultation, months passed with no word from Kymberly. I

The beginning — adding color to the walls and fabric in the eaves to soften the hard edges of the rafters.

often never hear from feng shui clients and wonder if they followed my recommendations but never let me know the results of their efforts, or if they never took action at all. In this case, I was lucky to receive an email from my Kymberly eight months after our consultation sharing her progress once she got a majority of the work done.

I share the following photos to show you an example of what can be done if you turn your creative energies to making your studio a personal paradise for your work. What you see may not appeal to you, but remember, it is an expression of Kymberly’s personal tastes and choices. Your expression of YOUR personal paradise will be very different.

Using fabric for visual interest, to balance the hard edges of the walls and shelving, and to screen art supplies stored below.

The specific color and content choices are not as important as the fact that Kymberly created a space she loves, one that inspires her engage in creative activities. Here’s what she had to say about the space,

“I love going into my ‘korner’. . . it makes me smile, and I feel instantly relaxed, happy, nurtured. I am looking for a beautiful chandelier to hang above my table. I will know it when I see it. I painted the covers of the florescent lights, hung some awesome Edison ones, and when I get back I will be taking down the florescent ones and hanging two more strings of Edison. . . that’s the lighting I’m most comfortable with.”

As you can see, her studio is a work in progress, one that she has enjoyed creating and now

A framed outdoor scene creates the sense of a window. A work table is transformed into an object of visual interest by covering it with with colorful fabric.

enjoys working in.

What can you do to make your studio a place that draws you in and motivate you to create more art?

A sign with the name of Kymberly’s business and a swinging chair with colorful pillows add whimsy and a lighthearted, warm energy to the space.

The Konmari Method: Not a Magic Bullet!

51mf3u-jpal-_sx348_bo1204203200_Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has been the all the rage for the last two years. I’m guessing it caught on because people were fascinated and hungering for information about how to rid themselves of clutter forever. Wouldn’t that be nice! Or, perhaps the idea that tidying up could be magical and not a dreaded boring task was appealing.

Unfortunately, the only way to rid yourself of clutter forever is to have a highly effective, committed staff that follows you everywhere cleaning up and clearing out behind you or to be dead. As we move through life, we create clutter. The only way I know to live somewhat clutter-free is to make daily clutter clearing a priority along with several larger clutter clearing sessions per year.

Not only was I initially very put off by the suggestion that it is possible to clear clutter forever, I also had a problem with Ms. Kondo’s insistence that everything should be cleared out at once. Having worked as a professional organizer who has cleared clutter for almost 20 years, I have learned that the human brain wears out after an hour or two when making decisions once after another. Going through an entire house can take weeks or even months for most people. It is an enormous task!

Clutter clearing is all about making decisions. The idea that people are capable of working hour after hour, day after day to clear clutter not only is an impossibility (unless a team of people are doing the clearing), but it is a recipe for exhaustion and failure.

I also struggled with the sorting method proposed in Ms. Kondo’s book. At one point she suggested that a person’s closet be emptied onto the floor and clothes from other parts of the house be added to the pile. Then the sorting would begin and continue until all the clothes were sorted.

First, piling all the clothes in one place is a recipe for overwhelm. Seeing all the clothes at once would shut down most of my clients’ brains, especially those with ADHD. Also, it really isn’t necessary to empty closets when clearing them out. In fact, it’s much more efficient to leave all clothes in the closet, except for any that are on the floor, and pull out only those that a person no longer wants.

Finally, it is highly unlikely that even a person who is highly focused and motivated would be able to stay engaged in the sorting process until that enormous job was done. When exhaustion sets in, the brain melts down. When the brain is done, people quit clearing clutter. That would leave a big pile of clothes in the middle of the bedroom, a pile that would be much harder to get back to than it was to work on it the first time.

With all that said, I really liked the feng shui feel of the book. The way she looked at possessions was almost referent. Plus, she linked quality of a person’s life to the condition of their environment. Feng shui teaches that what you have in your space affects what happens in your life.

I can see all my shirts at once! No MIA shirts!

I can see all my shirts at once! No MIA shirts!

My favorite part of the book, however, was the section addressing how to fold clothes for maximum visibility. Using her suggestions I have totally transformed my sock and nightgown drawer and my shirt drawer using her methods. I feel proud and happy every time I open one of those drawers. Everything is so neat, organized and visible.

No, you can’t banish clutter forever. There are no magic bullets. But, you can improve the condition of your space by clearing clutter every day.

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.

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.

Bedroom Clutter Clearing: Live Within Your Closet

I was raised with parents who were not accumulators of material things.  I Home office closet_Anever saw clothes hanging from brackets attached to the outside of closets or scads of toiletries strewn across a bathroom counter.  So, in my early days of working as a professional organizer I was really unprepared for the quantities of clothes and other belongings that spilled from closets, drawers and cabinets.

Feng shui teaches that everything has energy and the energy talks to you. 

Well, when things that really belong in the privacy of a closet are hanging outside the closet, they talk to you!  In fact, if there are very many of them on the loose, they scream at you.  A peaceful bedroom can be quickly transformed to a noisy crowd when clothes no longer fit in closets and drawers.  That noise will interfere with getting good sleep which will affect your productivity, and over time, your health.

What do I mean by talk to you?  Things get their energy from their color, the memories associated with them, their materials, textures and design.  When something is out in the open all those components of it are visible and chatting away. 

What to do?  Make a commitment to live within your closets, drawers and cabinets.

Don’t accumulate more than you can comfortably house in the storage containers available to you. You can do that by regularly clearing out items you no longer love or use.

“But my closets are so small,” you say.  Get a wardrobe!  Move to a house with bigger closets!  What is more important — all those clothes, toiletries, gadgets, etc. or a peaceful home where it is really possible to get quality sleep?

Reduce Grief By Creating a Memorabilia Altar

I’ve noticed that some people who have experienced the death of someoneAlter very important keep large quantities of items associated with that person. Everything seems to have great significance. Clients have stated that when they get rid of things associated with their spouse, parent, child, etc., they feel like they are getting rid of that person. Little do they know that by holding onto quantities of things that remind them of that person they are actually anchoring their grief about the loss.

Everything a person own holds their energy if when you look at it you think of that person. An item might have had a very positive energy when the person was alive. For example, a musical instrument they enjoyed playing would likely hold positive energy. However, when the person dies the energy of their items is tinged with sadness.  The musical instrument that held positive energy could evoke sadness because the musician can no longer play the item. Holding onto it anchors sadness.

To facilitate moving through normal grief over the loss of a loved one, I recommend that survivors keep only those items that they like the best, those things that evoke happy feelings. Less is best.

One way to honor a loved one is to create an altar with an arrangement of a few precious items that belonged to the person. You don’t need to hold onto quantities of items associated with a beloved mother to hold her memory in place. Choose a few special items that remind you of the person and arrange them on a surface that you will see in passing as you move through you space. Those items might include a photograph, a special curio, a medal or award they received, anything of theirs that really matters to you or really mattered to them.

My mother died recently. After she died I created an altar to hold a few special things associated with her. It sits atop a small chest of drawers that was in our living room when I was growing up and has been in Mom’s home ever since. I chose to keep that chest for its association with Mom and my life while I was living at home with Mom and Dad.

I gave Mom the little purple silk flower arrangement. She loved flowers and she loved it. The wax ball smells of lilac, her favorite flower and fragrance. I added a few other items for aesthetics — a small painting by my dad, a live plant and a paperweight given to me by a special client who often checked in with me about how Mom was doing during the last few years.

The quantity of items on the altar associated with Mom was less important than the feelings evoked by the items. Just three items (the chest, flower arrangement, and wax ball) hold Mom’s energy and memory in place. When I walk by this little altar my heart remembers Mom and what she loved, and it smiles.

Do the things you have kept that once belonged to a loved one make your heart smile? Are they out and visible where you can see and enjoy the memories? If not, you have inadvertently created pockets of pain that make moving through your grief a much more difficult and slow process. Keep and honor the best. Let go of the rest! 

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!

12 Tips to Ensure Peace in your Family Room

A cluttered room, regardless of its furnishings and paint color, is a noisy,

A family room can be peaceful!

A family room can be peaceful!

stressful environment whose negative energy will have a negative effect on the energy of its occupants. Conflicts are more likely to occur in a cluttered space.

When you think about your family room or den, do you sigh with pleasure or groan with displeasure, irritation or overwhelm? Family rooms are gathering spots, high use areas for relaxing at the end of busy days and busy weeks. As such, they tend to attract all kinds of things that have very little to do with relaxing, like computers and other forms of technology, CDs, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, catalogues, toys, art supplies, paper. . . the list goes on! If your family room is cluttered, you are not alone! Family rooms seem to take on a life of their own, especially when more than one person is sharing that space.

Guidelines for a Peaceful Family Room

  1. Remember that everything is alive with energy, and that the energies of items talk to you all the time. The more items you have in the space, the noisier and less peaceful the space will be.
  2. Keep small items like CDs, DVDs, art supplies and games contained and out of sight to quiet their noisy energies.
  3. Limit the number of knick knacks you have out and visible to just a few precious items.
  4. Have a balance between large objects (furniture) and small objects (knick knacks, books, magazines, etc.) in the room, erring on the side of more large objects and fewer small objects.
  5. Keep paper out of the family room. If you bring paper into the room to read or work on, be sure to remove it when you leave. Paper usually has the energy of activity and work, and is not conducive to the function of peace and relaxation of a family room.
  6. Limit the number of framed photos to one to three per surface so each photo can be enjoyed. Large quantities of framed photos on a surface have the energy of a crowd, more annoying than pleasurable. Plus, because the energy of a crowd feels overwhelming, it’s less likely that all the photos will be seen.
  7. Contain your magazines and catalogues to one or two baskets or bins rather than out on tables. If a basket fills up, consider it a sign that it’s time review the contents of the basket and let some items go to recycling or the trash.
  8. Keep side tables clear by using small boxes with lids on side tables to contain small items that are frequently used in the family room, like nail clippers, nail files, pens, note pads, etc. When those items are used, return them immediately to the box.
  9. If you have more than one remote, devote one attractive container to remotes and return all remotes to it at the end of each day.
  10. Teach children that whatever they bring into the room must leave it when they leave, like book bags, school supplies, books, snack wrappers, plates, shoes, iPods, tablets, laptops, etc.
  11. Return the room to order each time you leave it and teach your family members to do the same. Return magazines to their basket, remove newspapers, return dishes to the kitchen, and put CDs and DVDs that were used back in place.
  12. Keep the room clean. Dust and dirt are negative energy. Negative energies can induce negative behaviors, irritation and conflict.

It takes just minutes per day to maintain peace in a family room. And, a peaceful family room can also be trashed and transformed into a chaotic mess in a matter of minutes of thoughtless action. Choose for peace!

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!

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!

Clutter: 5 Negative Effects on Personal Relationships

If you think your clutter affects only you, think again. Feng shui teaches that everything

Clutter creates conflict in relationships.

Clutter creates conflict in relationships.

is connected. Clutter in any area of your home affects the overall energy of the space. The overall energy of the space affects what happens in your life.

Clutter is negative energy. Negative energy repels good things from coming to you. It also can make you feel unsettled, irritable, anxious and overwhelmed. Clutter affects your energy and the energy of everyone in your space even if the clutter is yours alone. The energy of each family member affects their decision-making and behavior. 

Over the years I’ve worked as a professional organizer I’ve seen clutter affect personal relationships in the following ways:

  • It affects your relationship with yourself. Your self-esteem and your thinking and feelings about yourself suffer when you have clutter. You can be very self-critical, forever beating yourself up about your inability to clear your clutter. Clutter blocks you from accessing your gifts and strengths and effectively utilizing them in your life.
  • It affects your relationship with your spouse. Spouses of a cluttered person who are bothered by the condition of the environment express their discomfort in judgment, negative comments, name calling, anger and irritability. Even if your spouse is not openly judgmental, the negative energy of the clutter creates a charged environment in which it is easier to become irritated, agitated and at odds with each other. Clutter also keeps you unconscious of the state of your relationship, it’s growth or lack of growth, issues that need to be addressed, and changes that need to be made for the sake of the relationship. Failure to address clutter challenges can lead to divorce.
  • It affects your relationship with your children. Clutter is distracting. Feng shui teaches that the energy of each item in your space talks to you. Having clutter, therefore, is like having hundreds of little conversations going on all at once. All that noise keeps you distracted, unable to have the mental clarity needed to parent effectively. It also makes it more difficult to stay calm, grounded and make good decisions. In a cluttered space you are more likely to be reactive, saying and doing things that are hurtful to your children.
  • It affects family relationships. The negative energy in cluttered spaces makes everyone less tolerant and more easily irritated and reactive. It distracts from what is really important to sustain healthy family connections. Clutter keeps you focused on what’s wrong, what doesn’t feel good rather than on fostering and investing in positive connections.
  • It affects your relationships with friends and relatives. You may be embarrassed by the condition of your space to the point where you avoid asking people over to visit, to share a meal or to celebrate birthdays and holidays. Barring people from your home can disconnect you from social contacts and eventually result in isolation.

What can you do today to improve your relationships by clearing clutter? If you cannot clear clutter on your own despite your best efforts, email me today to schedule a free 30 minute coaching consultation to determine your next step to clear clutter for the sake of your relationships.

Post-Christmas Clutter Clearing for a Great New Year!

The days following the hoopla of Christmas can be a let down. Or, they can be a greatsmiley-798856_1280 opportunity to clear clutter to prepare for a great new year. No doubt you are sitting there with an array of gifts, some that you love and will use, and others that don’t love and wish you didn’t have to deal with.

What will you do with unwanted gifts, gifts that are the wrong size, that you dislike, that you don’t need, that you will never use? You now have the opportunity to practice living with what you love. Feng shui teaches that you will have the best life if you live exclusively with what you love or use. When you love and/or use things, they have positive energy. That positive energy attracts more positive into your life.

But, you may be thinking that you must keep gifts given to you by people that you love. You couldn’t possibly give them away or, God forbid, throw them away. When you hold onto things you don’t love or use or never will use, you are cluttering your home with items that have negative energy. Negative energy attracts more negative into your life.

What are your options?

  1. Keep unwanted items and clutter your house. You will feel burdened by the sense of obligation you feel to keep the items. You will then attract more negative into your life going into a new year.
  2. Re-gift items to people who would really enjoy having them, thereby clearing clutter and preventing the accumulation of negative energy.
  3. Donate items to a charity. That will clear clutter, help people in your community, and prevent the accumulation of negative energy.
  4. Throw items away which will clear clutter, but will also be wasteful, thereby attracting more negative energy.

Any gifts that are re-gifted or donated will lighten your load as you move into the new year. The act of clearing out things that don’t fit with who you are today sets the stage for attracting more of what does fit in the new year.

You have choices to make about what do do with unwanted gifts. Remember, whatever you choose will set the tone for your life in the new year. Will you passively allow unwanted things into your life or will you choose a lighter, more positive path?

Clear Bedroom Book Clutter & Sleep Better

Books are FIRE in the bedroom.DSCN0764

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

If so, it’s a good idea to become very conscious of what can influence you while you sleep.  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.  In feng shui there are five elements: 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 the equivalent of fire.  The pages themselves are wood elements.  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 into your bedroom when you are ready to 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 4’ 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 through the night as well. 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.

Clear book clutter in the bedroom and sleep well!

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!

Feng Shui Closet Clutter Clearing

Do you love them or use them?

Do you love them or use them?

Picture this. . .you desperately need to find one item in a closet jam packed with coats, games, gloves, hats, a vacuum cleaner, and yard flags. Would you be inclined to shut the door and forget the urgency of your quest? If you answered “yes,” you are not alone! Closets become physical nightmares when they’re arranged with the “just throw it in the closet” technique. Is it any wonder that many closets are a variant of the one described above?

What many people don’t know is that a packed closet adds stress to their life. Feng shui teaches that everything in a space is alive with energy, positive or negative. Everything! Individual items in a closet may have good energy because of their quality, their usefulness, or their associations, but when many items are packed in so tight that it’s hard to access any one particular item, the closet as a whole takes on a stressful negative energy. It’s hard to get anything in or out of the closet without creating a mess. Just opening the door is stressful!

What’s the best way to organize a closet? First, decide the categories of items that belong in the closet. For example, a closet near the front door usually holds coats and other clothing to protect against the whether. It may hold decorative items for the front door, like flags. It could also house the vacuum cleaner. Three categories: outdoor clothing, outdoor decorative items and the vacuum cleaner.

Second, pull things out of the closet that don’t fit the categories you’ve identified. Put them to the side to be addressed when the closet is done. Notice that it’s not recommended that you immediately put those things somewhere else. If you leave you run the risk of getting sidetracked and not returning to finish organizing the closet. Also, it is not necessary to completely empty a closet in order to organize it. You will save significant time if you take items out one at a time, starting with the biggest items.

Next, evaluate the items that do fit the identified categories to see if they are all of high value, worthy of taking up space in the limited confines of the closet. Ask yourself, “Do I love it? Do I use it?” Items that you love for their usefulness, their aesthetics, or their association, are keepers. So are items you use at least once a year. When you love an item or use it once a year, there’s a good chance that it has positive energy. Items that aren’t either loved or used are good candidates for pitching. They are taking up prime real estate and are likely to have a stressful negative energy.

And finally, devise ways to keep the different categories of items separate and clearly visible. This usually involves using containers or building in shelves and compartments with a company like California Closets. In the closet described above, adding separate bins for hats, gloves, scarves and flags is helpful. The idea is to keep items in one category together yet separated from other categories of items. You create closet chaos when different types of items are thrown together with no clumping into categories and no visible boundaries between categories.

Clearing closet clutter is a four step process:

  1. Decide the categories.
  2. Remove items that don’t fit the categories.
  3. Evaluate and keep only the best items that do fit the categories.
  4. Use containers to keep categories separate.

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.