Feng Shui is the 4,000-year-old Chinese practice of arranging your environment to enhance your life. At first glance, Feng Shui may seem complex. However, Feng Shui philosophy is filled with common sense practices and simple techniques for creating a more prosperous, healthy and happy life. In fact, you will most likely find you are already intuitively practicing Feng Shui. Fundamentally, Feng Shui is about making a home that feels good – a home that supports your dreams and nurtures your mind, body and spirit. The following five simple practices capture the essence of Feng Shui.
1. Live with what you love. Did you know that you would be practicing perfect Feng Shui if you loved everything in your home? Feng Shui believes that everything in our environment is affecting our energy positively or negatively. A good way to ensure that your energy is being affected positively is to love everything you surround yourself with. Look at your belongings and observe your response. Objects, art or furniture that make us feel irritated, depressed or anxious zap our energy each time we see them. Examples of energy zappers would be photographs of people we are not in good relationship with, broken appliances or items in disrepair, clothes that we do not fit into, but wish we did, art and furniture that no longer fit our personal aesthetic, and objects that remind us of unhappy memories. Ideally, each of your belongings will lift your spirit. Give yourself the gift of loving everything in your home.
Be sure that everything in your surroundings evokes positive feelings.
Surround yourself with objects, art and furniture that you find beautiful and express your personal taste.
Keep all the things in your environment clean and in good working order.
Fill your space with photos and objects that you have loving associations with.
Your home may be your retreat and haven where you are supported and therefore revitalized with all the positive energy that comes from living with what you love.
For more information about this check out our blog Live With What You Love.
2. Simplify, clear your clutter, and organize. Clutter equals delay of all the good, abundance and success we desire. Clutter ties up our creative energy and keeps us bogged down in the past. When we are inundated with clutter and therefore disorganized, we are setting ourselves up for failure. For instance, the anxiety of not knowing where you put important documents such as bills, can make you delay your payments, which can cost you money, damage your credit and negatively affect your finances. Clutter also requires an enormous amount of our energy. Think how much time is spent buying, maintaining, cleaning, repairing, dry-cleaning, storing, organizing and finding a place for our possessions. This time and energy could be spent doing things that bring us true joy and with people who are dear to us. Before you spend any more of your precious time and energy, make sure these belongings are worth it.
De-clutter! Give each item in your home the useful, beautiful and loved test. Look at each object in every room of your home and ask yourself the following questions: Do I love it? Do I use it? If it is broken or needs to be cleaned etc., will I do so now? Does it reflect who I am now and what my current desires/goals are? You should be able to answer yes to at least one of the above questions for every item in your home. If your answer is no to all of the questions consider selling the object, giving it away, or throwing it away.
Organize! Everything in your home should have a designated place to stay when not in use.
As you let go of all that no longer serves you do so with the intention that you are making space for many more wonderful things to come into your life.
Fore more information about simplifying and organizing read our Guide to Clearing Clutter.
3. Cleanse and circulate the energy. Just as it is essential to our health that the oxygen we breathe is pure and flows throughout our bodies, so too is it vital to the health of our homes that the energy is clean and circulates freely. Have you ever walked into a room after others have been in a fight and sensed the hostility in the air? You did not hear or see the argument, but you could “cut the tension with a knife.” In this situation you are sensing stuck energy that needs to be cleansed. Our homes hold the energy of every person that entered and every event that took place. Over time this energy builds up and needs to be cleansed. In order to keep the energy fresh and uplifting there must be proper circulation and flow.
A simple and effective way to cleanse energy is by burning sage or sandalwood incense in your home. Set the intention that as the smoke travels through your space any stuck energy goes out the door. Then open your windows with the intention of ushering in positive and fresh energy to take its place. Simply pulling back curtains and opening windows to allow in fresh air and natural sunlight also purifies the energy. A good physical cleaning of your space will refresh the energy as well.
Once the energy is cleansed, it is important to make sure the new energy circulates freely. To help energy flow, be mindful of furniture arrangement. There is an expression “where your attention goes, energy flows”. Track your eye movement through a room. You want your gaze to be gently drawn to different areas of the room, not rushing too quickly through the space or getting stuck on one object. Make sure you can easily move in and out of rooms without heavy furniture or clutter blocking your path.
Healthy plants, fresh flowers, lamps, and crystals will lift and circulate energy. It is particularly helpful to place these energy boosters in the corners of rooms where energy tends to stagnate.
Uplifting, free flowing energy helps our lives run smoothly and brings with it all the good we can imagine.
4. Create a safe, healthy and comfortable environment. Another important Feng Shui guideline is to put safety, health and comfort first. Four thousand years ago Feng Shui practitioners would survey the landscape to find a place where a family would best prosper by having the proper food, water and protection. These practitioners discovered the ideal place was not too high on a mountain where a family would be threatened by the extreme winds and not too low in a valley where a family would be threatened by high waters. Feng Shui translated from Chinese means wind and water. Feng Shui practitioners learned that to achieve comfort and safety one must begin by balancing extremes. Interior design magazines tend to display extreme environments, such as all white rooms, or rooms with all metal furnishings. Often these rooms are beautiful to behold, but they do not always feel good to live in. Feng Shui supports creating a home that is both beautiful and comfortable.
Choose comfortable furniture. Pay particular attention to places where you spend a good deal of time, such as a desk chair or bed. Make sure you are getting the proper support at your desk and the comfort you need to have a good night’s rest.
Position yourself so that you have a view of the door. This view will allow your body to relax more fully, unfretted by the possibility of someone startling you from behind.
Choose furniture with rounded edges. When this is not possible soften sharp corners and edges with plants or fabric.
Be mindful of the air you breathe. Keep the air in your home healthy by using natural cleaning products, maintaining houseplants and opening windows.
Decorate with healthy materials, furniture and fabrics. When purchasing new furniture for your home or office, invest in natural materials such as solid wood, untreated cotton, linen, wool, etc… Pressed wood, like particleboard or MDF, contains chemicals like formaldehyde that can off gas. Also, consider buying an organic mattresses and look for natural, untreated fabrics.
Set an intention for harmony in your home and life by decorating with a variety of colors, textures and materials. For example, balance an all white room by using red accents in pillows or flowers. Soften a predominantly metal kitchen by adding herbs in terra cotta pots or baskets of fresh fruit.
By maintaining balance in your environment, you are encouraging balance in your life.
For more information about comfort and safety check out Healthy Decorating, A Dozen Must-Haves for a Healthier Home, The Joy of Natural Cleaning Products, and Supporting Yourself at Home and in the Office.
5. Create environmental affirmations. Feng Shui teaches us that there are nine different areas of our home that relate to nine different areas of our life: fame and reputation, love and marriage, children and creativity, helpful people and travel, career, knowledge and self cultivation, health, family, and wealth and prosperity. What is your home saying about your goals in these eight different areas of your life? Would you like your finances to be strong and abundant? If so, make sure that goal is reflected in a home that is in good repair and filled with furnishings and objects that feel wealthy to you. You may enhance any area of your life by visually anchoring your intentions in your home.
Take the time to think about your goals for each area of your life. You may even choose to write down a list of successful outcomes. Let yourself dream and fill your mind and spirit with positive thoughts. Positive outcomes result from positive thinking and energy.
Make sure your home encourages and reflects your goals by creating visual reminders. For example, if you desire more helpful people in your life, place happy pictures of mentors, family and friends around your home. If you desire a loving relationship, create a romantic space especially designed for two people. For example, make sure there are two nightstands in the bedroom and two reading lamps, or two chairs by the fireplace. Fill your home with romantic and sensual objects such as candles and fresh flowers.
By surrounding yourself with positive reminders of your dreams you will attract the people and opportunities necessary to fulfill your goals.
For more information about Feng Shui, check out our iPhone app Easy Feng Shui with Augmented Reality available in the iTunes store now.