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Using Feng Shui to maintain a balanced, harmonious home

Waxing Full Moon
Waxing Full MoonCatherine Al-Meten

Using Feng Shui to maintain a balanced, harmonious home

Feng Shui, the art and science of working with energy, is an ongoing practice. Like other practices meant to infuse our lives with meaning, purpose, and mindful prescence, Feng Shui principles provide guidelines for using the tools we have for arranging, organizing, and creating our homes, studios, offices, and personal space.

Our lives are dynamic. We change and life changes around us, constantly. This is perfectly natural, yet we often attempt to freeze ourselves in place, time, or some experience that then defines us. For example, if we have spent many years in an career, our homes, our offices, and even our ‘look’ often reveal that identity. After many years in a career in education, my wardrobe is filled with clothes designed for work I no longer do very often.

What does your space say about who you are?

Look at your closets, attics, basements, or home office and studio. What remnants of a ‘past life’ are still shaping and influencing the energy of your space? Are there boxes of files from an old job? Still carrying around papers and possessions from someone who died long ago, or who is no longer in your life? What art is hanging on your walls, and what meaning does it have to you? What clothes are you keeping, and of those clothes, which ones do you actually wear? What does your space say about who you are and what defines you? Imagine you are a visitor coming into your own space for the first time. What does your home, your office, your studio say about who you are? About who and what inspires you?

Identify and prioritize your clearing targets.

Identify your targets. Right now, think of 3-4 areas of your house where energy is blocked. Don’t overthink this. If you want, write a quick list, or walk around and notice the places where there is clutter or where you feel space is not being used effectively. Where does your mind go immediately after raising the question? Pick only 3-4 so as not to overwhelm yourself. You’re going to tackle this one little piece at a time. Prioritize your targets. Of the places you picked, which one could be fixed most easily? For example, you might have stacked some packages or bags by the front door, or piled some papers or equipment on a work table. There may be a bag of random items on the dining room table—remnants from Saturday night’s event. Some people like to start with the easiest and work their way to the most difficult task. Others prefer the opposite approach.

Focus on Key Feng Shui energy spaces.

There are several places in the home that are key in Feng Shui, including: the entryway, the bedroom, the kitchen, your office, and the bathroom (including all plumbing).

Entryway, the Mouth of Chi. The entryway is where we welcome in guests and everything else that comes into our lives. It is where we leave and enter our home daily, and it is where we welcome in or block Chi/energy from entering our lives. The entryway needs to be inviting and free of clutter. The door should open easily inward, and nothing should block the door. Other tips:

Landing space. Have a small table for putting items like keys, and space for hanging up a jacket or coat. For many of us, we take our shoes off when we come inside, so there should be a place to take off our shoes and neatly store them

Mirrors and Artwork. Place a mirror (represents money) by the front door, and make certain the mirror reflects something you want to attract, not something that drains your resources. Hang beautiful art by the front door.

Colors for the Entryway. Use black by the front door. Black represents the water element, and attracts positive Chi/energy related to wealth, into the house. Use a black and white rug inside the entry and another mat outside. White represents metal and attracts and nourishes the water elements. Keep the entryway swept clean, and make the doorway inviting inside and out. Put a potted money tree or another plant, inside and one outside the door. Rosemary is another good plant to have near the front door. Red is also a very welcoming, fortuitous color to have on the outside of the front door. A red gate or red door is auspicious.

Lighting. Make certain your entryway is well lit. Replace burned out bulbs right away. Id possible, use full light spectrum bulbs.

Kitchen. In Feng Shui, the kitchen represents the family’s wealth and health. Focus on the following:

Keep the stove clean and clear;
Keep the refrigerator clean, organized, and well-stocked.
Keep all counters clear of clutter and keep them clean.
Stock the pantry with nutritious foods.
Keep trash and garbage clearned out of the kitchen regularly. Avoid letting it pile up and spoil in large, unhygienic containers. Take the trash, recycling, and garbage out daily.
Clean up as you go along when cooking.
Keep the sink clear. Make certain water runs through drains smoothly. Use a vinegar/baking soda solution to clean drains out regularly.

Master bedroom.

The bedroom is where we want to encourage nourishing and sensual energy. Bedrooms are places where we rest and nourish ourselves, body, mind, and spirit.

Keep the bedroom free of electronic devices (televisions, computers, pads, and phones). If you must keep a phone in your bedroom, turn the ringer off. Keep exercise equipment somewhere other than the bedroom. Keep books and magazines, and other work-related materials out of the bedroom. Use your home office to store work-related materials, and keep the books out of the space where you sleep. This is particularly helpful for those who suffer allergies. Books hold a lot of dust particles, and removing them from your bedroom will go a long way to relieving night time allergy problems.
As much as possible, keep he bedroom full of fresh air. Open the windows. Use an air purifier when you cannot get a steady flow of fresh air. Again, this is helpful for relieving allergies.

Use different levels of lighting in your bedroom ( brighter light for reading; a softer light for resting). Candlelight is an excellent Feng Shui tool (avoid toxins in some candles).

Arrange your bed so it faces but does not come into direct alignment with the door. If possible, have the bed approachable from both sides. Arrange items to balance out (two night stands, two figurines of dragons or birds). Use the best quality linens and bed accessories you can, and keep the linens fresh and clean. Use sachet bags under the pillows (lavendar and rose are nice; use what you prefer).

Office/Studio Space. In your office or studio, keep the surfaces of all desks and work tables clear when possible. If you are in the middle of a big project, and need to keep things spread out, do so. However, once you are done, clear things off and file things away right away. Right now I have a bag full of receipts, business cards, napkins, and cups, brochures, and a pajmina sitting on my desk. Before I do anything else, I’m going to clear that bag out, file the receipts, put the business cards where they belong, and put everything else away. This ties up the odds and ends of one small project, and releases energy that is trapped. The business cards and brochures are for my use to follow through with some potential clients and other connections. We often tie up energy and ideas by pushing things aside or putting them in boxes, bags, notebooks, or other hidden places.
This is really for another article, but devise a regular method/practice for dealing with beginnings, conducting business/creating, and completions. We need a beginning, middle and end to some things in order to get projects and goals completed.

Taking care of some of the main areas of our homes, and then maintaining each space as part of our regular routine, allows us to live more peacefully within the flow of our daily lives. We can live with some disorder and the messiness of big projects that take up huge chunks of our lives, if we are also maintaining a daily practice of keeping our homes, lives, and selves in balance and harmony.

As you work on clearing and reorganizing different spaces in your home, keep in mind what is no longer part of who you are, what you want to attract, or what you treasure and desire. Keeping photographs, objects, and jewelry and other special items from the past is fine as long as it is something and reminder of someone or something that is still nourishing your life now. In order to attract new ideas, new experiences, and abundance into our lives, we have to have created space for that energy to flow. Letting go of something that is blocking, draining, or trapping your energy is necessary, and Feng Shui is one way to help you identify and develop the skills and initiative to do some clearing, cleaning, and creating so that the Chi/Universal energy flows into your life more freely.

*For the remainder of July, I will be writing about reorganizing our offices, schedules, and work procedures using Feng Shui. I’ll be working on this myself as a way to get ready to work on two major book projects. Contact me with your ideas, questions, and special concerns about how to use Feng Shui in organizing and creating a more harmonious home, office, studio, and living space.