Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Feng Shui for life

Move your bed, change your fortune?

Do you think it's possible to arrange our physical stuff to bring wealth into our lives? I do.

After reading my last article, "The glass is already broken," which had strategies on letting go of unnecessary stuff, one reader was left wanting more. She needed specifics on letting go of physical clutter. When she look around a cluttered space, she becomes overwhelmed then paralyzed saying "I don't know where to begin."

I understand. I short-circuit as well when I enter our garage and see unfinished projects. My current strategy is to stand outside the garage door, take a deep breath, then repeat "dog food ... dog food ... dog food." When my mission is focused, I open the door and make a beeline.

I mentioned the connection between our physical stuff and our emotional state. There is an ancient practice that promises to join the two harmoniously. Feng Shui. This is the first of two parts on this ancient practice.

Feng whatever!

Feng Shui, pronounced "foong shway," is the ancient Chinese art of harnessing the heaven and earth to bring health, wealth and good fortune. Feng Shui harmonizes the seen world with unseen energies present known as ch'i (pronounced chee). For thousands of years, Feng Shui has been used to design cities, build homes and bury the dead. Many Chinese companies won't fill a shovel until they've consulted a Feng Shui master.

Before you dismiss Feng Shui as superstitious nonsense, consider this. Right now, who does the United States owe trillions of dollars? China. Coincidence? You tell me. Try using this ancient Chinese secret and see if money starts flowing your way.

Begin with first impressions

Have you ever walked into a space and immediately cringed? It was probably stagnant ch'i energy that spooked you. Energy caused by dirty, neglected or cramped spaces or energy from a previous crime like rest stop bathrooms. People exude energy too and if someone causes the heebie-jeebies, run away or delete them.

Other spaces fill us with an inexplicable sense of well-being. Entering Merv Griffen's Givenchy Hotel and Spa in Palm Springs, I immediately feel like everything is right with the world. Rose aromatherapy is pumped through the air ducts, things are polished, beautiful, well cared for and employees are concerned with guest happiness. Their beds are so divine, I asked housekeeping for their bed recipe, (thread counts ... fluff factors) and duplicated it at home.

Now for assessing reactions to spaces. Notepad in hand, walk into spaces where you spend the most time and focus on your gut reaction. Like a metal detector, beeping will speed up around stale ch'i. Office drawers, cluttered closets. Also note areas with no visible clutter that also make you uncomfortable - they could contain "predecessor energy." The Chinese believe moving into a previously occupied space it is much like stepping into someone else's shoes.

Breath of fresh air

In Chinese Feng means "wind" and shui means "water." Between heaven and earth are clouds that consist of wind and water; therefore, many Chinese see these two elements as the intermediaries between heaven and earth and the carriers of ch'i - life force energy.

Creating good flowing ch'i is the goal of Feng Shui whether it's within the meridians of the body, rooms in homes, cubicle spaces, or outdoors. According to Karen Kingston, who wrote "Clearing Your Clutter with Feng Shui," breathing fresh air into a space requires clearing in three areas: physical grime, predecessor energy, and clutter.

Clutter be gone

Many experts say take it slow. One area at a time is the only way to go and if you don't know where to begin, start in the bedroom. Lack of sleep impairs cognitive function and clutter and messes are usually psychological. A restful sleeping space can help get your head straight.

Tearing apart multiple spaces simultaneously will lead to short circuiting - finding oneself hungry, sitting alone in a big mess unable to decide if a Taco Bell bobble head dog is a keeper. This is why enlisting a trusted and rational friend to help with decisions on what to let go is essential.

Slowly sort through belongings and get rid of anything that isn't absolutely essential and isn't loved and used often. Clothes not worn in 6 months to a year get donated. A "might need in future" box should be filled and sealed for one year and if unopened, donate the box.

Call charity spots to find out their needs, then sort stuff into labeled bins, and gift it away (remember hoarding can be considered selfish). Some stuff might need to go to the landfill. I got desperate last year and for six months I didn't go anywhere without donating something. I made it a habit because for me it's a constant daily battle.

There are only a few places to donate in Juneau, so my clutter soon wore out its welcome. I resorted to disguises which didn't work either; they'd spot me and my junk coming and yell "we don't need any more toddler toys today, Lady!"

Next column we'll look at the larger picture, and see how Feng Shui determines what effect a room direction has on marriage, children, mentors, career, education, family, wealth and fame. We'll also explore more subtle energy problems like "secret arrows" and learn about energy adjustment tricks.

To my interested readers, pick a space and set a goal of two weeks to remove clutter, clean grime and air the area. In two weeks I'll outline steps on how to arrange the area to maximize your health and wealth.

• Courtney Nelson can be reached at nelsonfamily@acsalaska.net">nelsonfamily@acsalaska.net.

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