What do you think of when you hear the term “junk in the trunk”? The phrase became popular with hip hoppers and rappers appreciatively referring to women with ample butts. (After watching the Olympics last summer, I think the term can also apply to some of our talented male athletes, too!) Our butts are behind us. Makes it somewhat hard to see what’s going on back there. What’s all this got to do with feng shui?
Just because I can’t see my butt doesn’t mean it isn’t getting bigger! It takes discipline and hard work to keep it in shape and that’s true of your feng shui, too. Practicing feng shui, we know that clutter drains us of chi (energy) and puts blocks us mentally from getting things done. Often we find a big “trunk” (drawer, bin, closet) and throw all the clutter and junk in there, close the lid, and forget about it. On the surface our desks and our living/ working space looks clutter-free so we get a temporary jolt of good feng shui. We’ve put the clutter problem behind us. Or have we?
Tossing all the clutter inside a storage unit of some kind does help a little bit. But eventually, we’re going to open that closet door or that drawer and see the jumbled mess contained within. That sinking feeling of “where do I begin to clear up this mess?” is a sign that your chi is being drained but the clutter. It’s much better to spend a few minutes each day putting away your stuff, organizing your desktop, and clearing the way for the next day than letting it pile up into a bigger problem to solve later on. If you’re trying to de-clutter an entire room or building, do it in smaller increments until you have the entire place under control so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the task.
It takes time to get into the daily organizational habit. One spring-cleaning per year is a good start, but does not yield results unless you keep up with the maintenance. You wouldn’t expect to reshape your gluts with only one hard workout, would you?
The art of feng shui is about achieving balance in our lives so that chi (energy) can circulate freely without blockage. I often think of feng shui as yoga for the environments where we live and work because yoga teaches our bodies to breathe. Ever get winded going up a flight of stairs? Well, if your home or office has stagnant energy in it, it’s like the room or building itself is in a constant state of being winded. Not having enough energy to do the job. And in this case, the job I’m referring to is having enough positive chi to support a balanced life, a life filled with opportunities for success. That’s what feng shui is all about. So clear out the clutter and let your home breathe deep. I think I hear your kitchen saying “OM”…
This poster gives off mixed messages even though everyone is smiling. “Stormy Weather” could refer to Wall Street today.
Want to shake up your chi (energy)? Why don’t you assess your work space and take inventory of any positive or negative symbols that might be dominating your environment while having an impact on your success. What we surround ourselves with directly influences our mood, our emotions, and our drive (or lack of ambition). That’s why those motivational posters with sayings such as “Believe & Succeed” are so popular in corporate culture. In fact, they are known as “Culture Builders” and “Attitude Enhancers” in the corporate art trade. One giant company that makes these products calls itself and its product “Successories“.
Motivational artwork can be classy or cliché. The point is, the posters offer positive reinforcement of our best intentions at the workplace. You wouldn’t hang up a poster that said, “Give Up Now. You’re a Big Loser”. But you might have objects in your office that give off a similar negative vibe. For instance, I recently worked with a client who had a welcome mat at the front door to his executive office. It was a square jute rug with the words “Get Lost!” in bright, fun colors splashed across a black ground. While meant in jest, in feng shui terms he was saying something very negative to his employees, clients, and vendors. The intention was to lighten up, obviously, but the subliminal message on this entry rug was quite blatant and tells Opportunity to go away because it’s not welcome here. I laughed when he told me he bought the rug on deep discount (most people were repelled at point-of-sale by the message and literally “got lost”).
Another client had books on the shelf with titles like “Pain” or “The Tragic Story of…”. Still another had a Hollywood vintage poster that screamed out in giant text, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. I’m sorry to tell you that for most of us, there is no neutral area in the feng shui bagua to place these emotionally-charged messages. Scout your own space and see if you can find similar book titles or negative imagery that mighty be sapping your career mojo. Go for uplifting messages and fine art that inspires.
Time to get your spring cleaning and feng shui organizing done, people! But you don’t need to throw your books out the window unless you are installation artist Alicia Martin. See more of her books pouring out of buildings here. Meanwhile some tips on cleaning out your library:
* Place books all the way to the front edge of shelves so that you don’t get dust buildup.
*Books and magazines you no longer need (school texts, for example) can be recycled to nursing homes, rec centers, even doctor’s offices. The Goodwill Stores will gladly take them off your hands.
*Make room for new interests by giving away old ones.
*Artists might find your books a great supply of art materials.
*Group books by topics so you can find them easily when you need them.
Fernando Robert "Shrine Shoe Rack"
How many pairs of shoes go to waste in your closet because you forget that you own them? Now you can make a shrine to your Pradas, your Jimmy Choos, and your Ferragamos and turn them into wall art. Read more about the Fernando Robert-designed “Shrine Shoe Rack” here. I think it’s a very helpful product and an awesome design!
Dyson Animale DC-28
With two medium sized dogs in the house and out of the house all day long (not to mention their playdates!) it’s hard to manage to keep your floors clean and free of pet hair. That’s essential if you want to practice feng shui. My old vacuum cleaner couldn’t keep up. In fact, I think our house killed the poor thing. So when it came time to replace the vac this year I did a ton of online research. Dyson came highly recommended but also highly priced . The Dyson company has a full range of vacs but for pet owners, this one is state-o-the-art. The suction power practically drags you across the room. It has all kinds of filtering technology that takes care of pet hair, pollen, allergens, even mold and returns the vented air fresher than when it went into the vac. And, it’s purple. Purple! I haven’t even begun to play with all the attachments yet but if they’re as easy to use as my Dyson DC-28 Animale was right out of the box, my spring cleaning is going to be a snap! The very first time I used it my carpeting and rugs looked plumped up as if I had gotten them shampooed. Did I mention it’s purple?
30 bags of leaf debris...photo by Katy Allgeyer
In preparation for creating our Personal Feng Shui Treasure Maps, we’re asked by my guest blogger Tracy Abbott to clean inside and outside our home space. Most people call that Spring Cleaning. My house has 3 gigantic oak trees out front that spill leaves not only on our lawn but the neighbor’s, too. Yesterday the entire family was in their yard raking up leaves for the pickup tomorrow. It was just the incentive I needed to pickup 30 bags of my own yard debris (see photo above). Some people like to show the before and after photo but I like to show the results of what I discard. Call me crazy but there’s a certain satisfaction in seeing those piled up garbage bags on their way out (so that more opportunity can find me).
I also bought two new “Welcome” mats–one for the front door Mouth of Ch’i and one for my art studio door. This should let the universe know we are receptive to new opportunity and abundance. Home Depot had some great ones on sale.
My next step will be to spackle and paint the ping pong room. We have the color chosen (bright red color called “Grenadine”!) that will work great as the room is located in the Love & Relationship and Fame areas of our home.
What have you been doing to spruce up your home for spring? Do tell!