Tag Archives: change
I just discovered this wonderful post on the Malavika Blog. She gives 5 terrific tips on setting intentions for your day. I couldn’t have done a better job–go see:
SPOILER ALERT: We’re discussing the film “Yes Man” here and may disclose some of the plot so if you haven’t seen it –and I recommend you do– come back to read this post afterward.
It’s rare that I get both uplifted AND entertained by a movie. Director Peyton Reed’s “Yes Man” is that type of film. Starring Jim Carrey as “Carl” and Zooey Deschanel as “Alison”, the story starts out with Carl as a sad sack guy filled with negativity and ennui wanting to stay at home hiding from his friends and the world at large. It’s only when he takes a seminar that requires he say yes to everything (even dubious opportunities) that good things start coming his way. Feng Shui By Fishgirl calls that being in the flow with the universe. Not only does his dead-end job turn around but also Carl ends up being happier and attracting more opportunities to him. That’s what feng shui is all about.
Carl soon starts noticing the synchronicity and begins to look for signs. By the end of the film he realizes he can be a conduit to bringing other people together, introduce opportunity to his widening circle of friend, and discovers that he is integral to their lives since we truly are all connected. Without Carl saying Yes to taking Korean lessons would Sue and Norman meet at the end of the movie, for example?
We never know where saying yes is going to lead. And fortunately, the movie explains clearly that one doesn’t need to say yes to everything and everyone, just those things that resonate within one’s heart. It’s opening your heart that is key and then paying attention to what it’s telling you. Then you are free to say no to some things (which is the same as saying yes to yourself). Of course, all of this is conveyed with a great deal of humor and pathos as Jim Carrey delivers a touching and believable performance. I say 2 thumbs up to “Yes Man” and to making more films like it. Do you agree?
1) Take an inventory of where you have clutter in your life. Examine your immediate work space, your home space, your car, your friendships. Assess the size of the clean up job and schedule time to handle it accordingly.
2) Start with baby steps. Remember, dealing with clutter is often overwhelming because it brings up painful emotions related to our psychological attachment to the clutter. If you’ve got clutter all over your home or office, start with one small area and clean that up first.
3) Pace yourself so that you don’t get burned out on letting go. Set small goals of one file at a time. Set a time goal of one to two hours per day to clear up the clutter until you’ve got it under control. Thereafter, you should be able to manage it with less than ten to fifteen minutes per day.
4) Fade away. If you’ve got a group of friends that are a negative influence on your life, remove yourself gradually from the group by seeing them less and less over a period of time. Surround yourself with positive people and experiences. Often the people we’ve outgrown will just naturally drop out of our lives once we’ve claimed our authentic selves.
5) Reward yourself for embracing your clutter-free self and removing the blocks to your success. Get a manicure, go to a movie, buy yourself a lottery ticket!
William Morris, England’s most famous designer / craftsman who inspired the Arts & Crafts Movement in the mid 1800’s said “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Whether he knew it or not, Willam Morris was practicing Feng Shui.
One of the first things we learn when studying Feng Shui is to get rid of anything that is broken or that isn’t working. A clock that sits on your mantelpiece that no longer tells time may be a beautiful antique, but, if it is in disrepair it is not helping your ch’i (energy). And if it isn’t helping, it is most likely hurting. It may be the reason why your romance has stalled. Or your business contacts have dried up. Or your diet isn’t working. The mischief it is causing for you would depend on exactly what area of your home that your broken clock is located in. I would recommend that you take your broken clocks to an horologist immediately (look in your yellow pages, not your bordello).
I love a good challenge, don’t you? So, let me give you The Feng Shui By Fishgirl Challenge…this is an exercise not for the weak of heart. You must be willing to go the distance. To evaluate with brutal honesty. To discard with ruthless abandon. To commit to paying for routine maintenance on anything broken that you have decided is worth keeping. I want to challenge you to go through your home room by room and make a list (or a pile) of everything in it that falls into the William Morris catagories of either  Not Useful, or,  Not Beautiful. Let me give you some examples of both.
IF IT AIN’T BROKEN…
Remember the old adage,’ if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it ‘? Well, I’m telling you if it IS broken: FIX IT! If it can’t be fixed, junk it or give it away to the Salvation Army. Some of the “Not Useful” things I have seen in client’s homes which you may also have in yours are:
*Clothing that doesn’t fit, or is stained or ripped.
*Stacks of old stereo equipment that doesn’t work anymore.
*Dead plants, or plants with just a sickly little stem poking out of a huge pot.
*The aforementioned broken clock, or watch, that no longer keeps time.
*Books…. ie: toss out the old computer manuals at the same time you upgrade your computer.
*Broken/cracked glass still in picture frames or mirrors.
*Newspaper bundles waiting to be read or recycled.
*Lamps needing light bulbs.
*Curtain rods dangling.
*Candles that are melted beyond use.
*Various electrical appliances that no longer work.
*Bath towels that are tattered beyond belief.
*Wallpaper peeling down.
*Doorbells that don’t ring.
IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT, SHOVE IT
There is always some example of something that is not beautiful, yet, it is cherished and we love it so we will keep it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We love something, it becomes beautiful because we love it. So, do not think I am asking you to throw away anything that is not “good looking”. Or conversely, to keep things only because they are beautiful.
If you do not believe it to be beautiful, it doesn’t belong in your house. That means, if you don’t love it: shove it! We’ve spoken in past newsletters about how we imbue either positive or negative ch’i onto objects and spaces. Think about all the negative ch’i buildup being created by that Limoges nut dish your Aunt Bessie gave you last Christmas. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Limoges (and hopefully, there’s nothing wrong with your Aunt Bessie !). And chances are, she spent too much for it. This tends to add to the guilt we feel if we don’t really like it and don’t want it in our home. However, if your crib is furnished in 1950’s Modern, the fancy Limoges nut dish looks totally out of place; you probably do not like it but feel some obligation to keep it, right?
We all have a version of the nutdish. It’s time for all of us to let go of our attachment to keeping anything in our sacred home space that we aren’t absolutely in love with, or at the very least, anything that doesn’t please us. I hereby give you permission to remove those items from your home today!
Some examples of things that people hang on to that fall into this catagory:
*Gifts (especially given by family members).
*Inherited objects (furniture, paintings, etc) that aren’t your taste.
*Plants that aren’t flourishing.
*Expensive things (we have a harder time letting go of things we paid a lot of money for even if we hate the piece after we’ve bought it).
*Things that connect us to our past and who we once were, but that no longer represent who we are now and where we are going.
By the way, if you now have a pile of unwanted things in your space, be sure to donate them to charity or have a yard sale. If you have a pile of things you intend to repair, make sure you take care of it quickly. If you must leave the pile there for awhile, you want to be sure your pile is in a benign area of your home. The last thing you want to do is gather up all of your broken down items and stack them in your Health Area, your Love & Relationship Area or your Wealth Area until you get around to it. As always, if you are unsure of where these areas are located within your home, contact Feng Shui By Fishgirl for a professional assessment.
Great read in the NYT’s T Magazine this weekend: The Self-Storage Self that explains (sort of) why the self storage industry is booming. It’s written by Jon Mooallem. People don’t want to let go of their stuff. They’d rather put it in storage for years and years (perhaps eternity!?) than let go of it. Enough! I give you permission to declutter your space and rid yourself of storage bills.
This excerpt from todays NYT Magazine article “The Women’s Crusade” (Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl WuDunn) is unintentionally a brilliant description of how setting intentions (here they are called “goals”) is a very powerful feng shui tool we can all use. It’s the story of Tererai, a woman in Africa who showed high academic promise as a child but was actively prevented from going to school because of her gender and was instead married off and turned into a goatherder.
“Tererai timidly voiced hope of getting an education. Luck pounced and told her that she could do it, that she should write down her goals and methodically pursue them. After Luck and her entourage disappeared, Tererai began to study on her own, in hiding from her husband, while raising her five children. Painstakingly, with the help of friends, she wrote down her goals on a piece of paper: “One day I will go to the United States of America,” she began, for Goal 1. She added that she would earn a college degree, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. — all exquisitely absurd dreams for a married cattle herder in Zimbabwe who had less than one year’s formal education. But Tererai took the piece of paper and folded it inside three layers of plastic to protect it, and then placed it in an old can. She buried the can under a rock where she herded cattle.
Then Tererai took correspondence classes and began saving money. Her self-confidence grew as she did brilliantly in her studies, and she became a community organizer for Heifer. She stunned everyone with superb schoolwork, and the Heifer aid workers encouraged her to think that she could study in America. One day in 1998, she received notice that she had been admitted to Oklahoma State University.
Some of the neighbors thought that a woman should focus on educating her children, not herself. “I can’t talk about my children’s education when I’m not educated myself,” Tererai responded. “If I educate myself, then I can educate my children.” So she climbed into an airplane and flew to America.
At Oklahoma State, Tererai took every credit she could and worked nights to make money. She earned her undergraduate degree, brought her five children to America and started her master’s, then returned to her village. She dug up the tin can under the rock and took out the paper on which she had scribbled her goals. She put check marks beside the goals she had fulfilled and buried the tin can again.”
What intentions would you put in your tin can? Write them down today. Adding Action to Intention = Manifestation and Success.
I grew up in New Hampshire where winters were always white. This was ski country and somehow I was 18 and a senior in high school before I enrolled in ski lessons (only to find every single classmate in my group was a 6-year old first grader). Those little kids were zooming down the slopes while I was stiffly towering over them as I slowly made my way down the baby slopes. I cried when I fell down time after time and realized I was the worst skier in the bunch. But I stuck with the training and learned downhill skiing. And the little kids thought I was cool for skiing with their class.
If you’re enrolled in classes retraining for a new career, you may feel a little out of place, too, especially if the majority of the other students enrolled came directly from high school. Or perhaps you’re going back to school after several years of staying at home to raise a family. In that case, you may find the rest of the students are half your age. Will you be able to keep up? It’s scary enough going to school the first time around, let alone going back for a second career after years outside of the structure of an academic setting.
Feeling fear is a natural human response built into our system as a survival mechanism. Without the adrenaline rush caused when the “fight or flight” response kicks in, we would not have the wherewithal to survive extreme challenges. Back on the slopes, I don’t know what I was more afraid of: skiing down the mountain or how bad I would feel if I couldn’t do it and all those little kids could. Fear of failure motivated me to learn. It pushed me to go for it.
But there is a flip side to fear. Fear can paralyze us and block us from reaching our full potential. Fear may make us choose the easier route…stay where we are without testing ourselves, or drop out when the going gets tough instead of working harder to complete the course. Fear comes in many disguises. It can be masked by embarrassment, guilt, low self-esteem, and even anger.
Fear is the opposite of love. Love opens up our hearts and our minds to new people and new experiences. Fear keeps us “safe” from being hurt but in doing so, prevents us from real growth. Here are some tips for overcoming your fear and gaining confidence to achieve your goals.
*Breathe deeply. Relaxing the body and mind really helps to alleviate fear.
*Meditate on Ganesha. The Hindu deity Ganesha is represented by an elephant and is called the Lord of Success and Remover of All Obstacles. Visualize the elephant god removing the fears causing roadblocks for you. No matter your belief system, meditation is a very grounding practice. Self confidence comes with that inner peace you get from a regular meditation practice.
*You’re not alone. We’re often intimidated because we think others may know something we don’t. If we take a moment to realize that the other guy is afraid, too, that kind of levels the playing field and our fear disappears.
*Take back your power. Imagining the competition without their clothes on is one technique to overcome your inferiority complex. When we see the vulnerability in others, we no longer fear risking our own vulnerability. Give yourself permission to trust in your own ability and talent, allow yourself to feel and work through uncomfortable situations, name your fears and let them go.
*Keep growing. Remaining curious and open to new experiences is key to a successful life ruled by love and not fear. Think of all the things you’ll miss out on if you let your fears get in the way.
ROOM TO BREATHE
When we are meditating, or following our spiritual practice, the goal is
often to still the chatter in the mind, to simply “be”. In fact, the
Calming Heart Sutra aids us in accomplishing that goal. Notice when you are in that stillness of being,there is still one thing that you are doing: breathing. Without breath, you are not alive. Think of Qi or ch’i (pronounced “chee”) as the breath of your home or office environment. We want to keep the rooms we live and work in healthy and filled with vitality. To do that, the ch’i must be circulating, the space itself must be breathing. That’s the main explanation why feng shui practitioners are so obsessed with eliminating clutter. Clutter blocks the circulation of ch’i.