In traditional Chinese homes and culture, the Kitchen God, Zao Jun, represents the blessings and curses that the homeowner/family accrues each year through their thoughts, actions, and intentions. The traditional stories are generally about how the husband treats the wife with disrespect, and at the end of the year, the Kitchen God metes out punishment. The heroine of these strories is the wife who is forgiving and willing to give. The traditions hold that it is the wife’s job to record everything that goes on in the home during the year, in order to report to the Kitchen God at the new year. The custom focuses on something that is important to all of us, regardless of our culture, beliefs, or traditions. We all live with the accumulated energy of how we live, what we do, and how we treat others. At some point in our lives, it is important to connect to the energy that we are helping create in the world, and check in with ourselves to see how we are doing. Are we wasting and abusing energy (ours and that of others)? Are we living from a base of fear or one of loving kindness? How does the way we live affect not only ourselves and our families, but everyone and everything around us? Clearing personal energy regularly is key to maintaining the steady flow of Chi/energy in all areas of our lives.
In our efforts to live harmonious, healthy, meaningful lives, we need to periodically check in on ourselves to access our energy. Have you ever felt like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Most of us have at one time or another. While you may have some idea why that is, it may also be that you are dealing with energy blocks that have just started breaking up and are rising up into your awareness. An essential element of good Feng Shui is keeping Chi/energy flowing. Let those times when you just seem to be ‘having one of those days” or feel out of sorts serve as little reminders that you need to keep up with clearing clutter on the energetic level.
Clearing space using Feng Shui is about cleansing and releasing on an energetic level. While space and clutter clearing are essential on a physical level, energy clearing of emotions, thoughts, and energy-draining habits are at least if not more important. If you find yourself edgy, irritable, or downright crabby, you may want to do a little attitude and emotional energy adjustment.
Here are some simple ways to spend some time before getting started with the day or stopping when you feel off center, to take time to get back in balance-energetically that is. According to Ichi Lee, author of Life Particle Meditation: A Practical Guide for Healing and Meditation, “The energy of life entering and leaving your body flows evenly throughout the universe. With that current, the mind of the cosmos communicates with all things.”
Our energy is the essential tool through which we live life, and if that energy is trapped in negative places, conditions, relationships, or thinking, it does not serve us or the world well. What are some of the signals that your energy is out of whack? And once you notice it, how do you deal with negative energy that blocks health and well being? Once you notice what’s happening, what can you do to make simple changes?
Stop, Look, and Listen. To yourself, that is. What is making you feel angry, irritable, resentful, or frustrated? Negative emotions are signaling you to pay attention to something that you are missing. If you find yourself feeling unreasonably angry, resentful, or irritated, stop what you’re doing and take inventory. Who or what are you angry with? What are you feeling resentful about? In what ways are you irritated, and with whom or what? Identify the source of your emotional reactions. Notice what needs, desires, or values you may have been compromising on. What to do? Identify and name the reason you feel angry.
Slow Down, Focus, and Breathe. Focus your attention on your breath. Notice your breathing in and breathing out. Spend a minute or two just getting yourself focused on your inhales and exhales, letting yourself get more centered, grounded, and aware. With each breath in, imagine yourself receiving something you need to refresh and strengthen you (love, peace, compassion, rest, understanding, whatever comes to mind). On each exhale, visualize whatever is causing discomfort of stress leaving. You might say to yourself, “I’m breathing in peace, and I’m releasing fear”. Allow yourself to simply let whatever comes to you to enter on each breath, and whatever is leaving to be released on each exhale. You might also visualize your body receiving needed energy, strength, on the inhale, and releasing tension, stress, negative emotions or concerns on the exhale. The main point is to spend a few minutes connecting to your own breath, body, brain, and spiritual-emotional being.
Practice Forgiveness. When we connect to whatever or whoever is the source of our conflict, stress, or negative emotions, we can then begin to get untrapped from the energy we have allowed to get wrapped up in another person, a situation or condition, or with some aspect of ourselves. Whether or not we feel we are ready to forgive, understand, or disconnect from whatever is pulling us into the energy trap that causes us pain, we can freely forgive anyone, any situation, or ourselves from anything we have ever done that needs to be forgiven or from anything or anything we need to forgive. Intentionally seeking, asking, praying for forgiveness is an important part of getting untrapped in the negative patterns that bind us up in unhealthy and unloving behavior and habits. Forgiveness requires us to let go of dwelling on the situation, person, discomfort, and turning our attention toward what is more life-giving.
Practice Gratitude. When we connect to all that blesses us in our lives, we are better able to turn from unloving and unkind thoughts and behavior toward compassionate and loving ones. Make a list of all that you are grateful for. Write a thank you note to someone who deserves your gratitude, and tell someone how how grateful you are for their presence in your life. Give thanks in prayer, and meditate on what blesses and builds you up, and on what gives you joy through giving and serving others. Each act, thought, word, and attitude that we affect by being forgiving and grateful, helps change not only our own energy, but the energy that flows from us and between us and others.
What we express through our lives is the living energy of the Divine helping create more beauty, joy, compassion, and love. When we disengage our energy from dwelling on negative conditions, behavior, thoughts, actions, we help lessen its influence and destructive power. Use gratitude to turn pain and sorrow into something that can be affirming and creative (write a poem, paint a picture, take a walk and look for something beautiful to connect with, dance out the feelings, or sing out the pain). Put the energy into creative use, and break that negative energy up into more positive expressions of who you are.
Set forth on a new path. Having grounded yourself, paid closer attention to what is draining your energy, and taken some steps to change the direction that your energy is flowing, take time to make some changes for the future. Along with getting in touch with who or what is bothering you, hopefully you noticed what actions, thoughts, and beliefs led you to behavior and thinking that is draining your creative life force. What can you do to make changes in the way you live or in the way you look at how you live? Unless you make changes, you will find yourself repeating the same negative patterns. Hold yourself accountable for doing what it takes to get healthier, be happier with your choices, and live a more fulfilling life. Change the way you tell your story, from “My life is too busy...” the excuse for just about everything, or “I don’t have time for ....”, “I’m too old/young/inexperienced/experienced”, or “I’m not _______ enough”. Whatever it is that you recognize as your ‘escapes clauses’, review them, and change your thinking then your story (the one you tell yourself and the one you tell others), and then your life. Tony Robbins was right when he said, "Manage your energy not your time." How we express ourselves is all about how we use our precious energy.
When you report to the Kitchen God, or whatever higher power you honor, be able to hold yourself accountable for coping with life in the most life-affirming way you can. Enjoy taking care of your own personal energy system, and see how much it will affect the way your life is from when you live. Energy is the life force through which our lives are formed, propeled, and expressesed. Mother Theresa understood how much our energy and spirit are affected by negativity, "“There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
Part of that connection to the power of personal energy to bring about healing and light in our lives, comes through our own ability to be open and receptive to that energy flowing in, and through us. Let the energy flow within you and your life now.