by Carol C. Wheelock
Both of the following questions serve as reminders that feng shui is about flow in our lives and surroundings, not just our surroundings. It can be a powerful tool for personal transformation and for bringing balance and harmony to our lives in a world that is out of balance. The following ancient Chinese proverb sums up the importance of beginning with ourselves:
- When there is light in the soul, There is beauty in the person;
- When there is beauty in the person, There is harmony in the home;
- When there is harmony in the home, There is honor in the nation;
- When there is honor in the nation, There is peace in the world.
Blessings for a peaceful and auspicious 2005,
I have used several feng shui "cures" and they haven't worked. What am I doing wrong?
There are several reasons why a specific cure may not work. Let's go back to what feng shui means. On a literal level feng means wind and shui means water, referring to the flow of energy that is desirable in our lives and spaces. Envision meandering streams and gentle breezes, not hurricanes or floods, or stagnant, stifling conditions.
Feng shui also refers to the inner and the outer. This means that it is not just about your space (outer), but also about your life (inner). It is very easy to move a chair, paint a room a new color, buy a plant, or hang a wind chime. They are all adjustments to your space. None of these requires any emotional investment.
If feng shui is going to work, it requires an emotional investment on two levels. The first is the emotion behind an intention. Any and all feng shui cures and enhancements should be done with very clear intention. State clearly what is desired. This is the "why am I doing this in the first place?" part of feng shui.
As an example, if you are cleaning out your closet to make room for new career opportunities (or whatever your goal is), then keep that thought in mind while you are clearing the closet of all things that are no longer used or loved. Visualize what it is you desire. It is also important to invoke it in some way - say a prayer, sing a song, etc. Compare this action to an "I hate to clean my closet" approach to cleaning. Grumble, grumble.
The second level of emotional investment involves your own clarity and feelings of worthiness around what it is you say you want. If you hang a wind chime to call in more prosperity, but don't feel that you deserve prosperity, it is not going to work for you. If you have ambivalence around something, that will also get in the way. It is important to do your own inner work so that you don't sabotage yourself.
Feng shui can help with some of the self-sabotage issues by giving you a focus to serve as a reminder. If you add an affirmation to your intention as you clean a closet, move furniture, paint a room, hang a wind chime, etc., then feng shui can become a powerful tool for transformation. This might mean stating, "I am clearing out my old files to make room for prosperity which I deserve." Remember to visualize and invoke your desired results.
It is also possible that it did work, just not in the way you expected. It is very easy to become attached to a certain outcome, rather that stating your intention and waiting to see how it unfolds. By remaining open and expressing gratitude for what does happen, you open the way for your dreams to come true.
My roommate insists that the clutter in the closets matters as much as the clutter in the living room (which we are slowly clearing). I say that as long as the door is closed and we don't see it, it isn't that big of a deal. Who's right?
Just as feng shui refers to the inner and the outer as in the answer above, it also refers to the seen (water) and the unseen (wind). This means that clutter you can't see can affect you as much as the clutter you can see. It is still there; it is still an energy block.
Physical clutter creates mental clutter because it takes a lot of energy to manage all that clutter. So now you have a block on two levels, both of which can impact any area(s) of your life. All that clutter is taking up space that could be used to invite into your life something that you truly desire. What you want can't come in if there is no room for it.
Clutter is closets is often associated with keeping things and secrets hidden. Are you hiding the real you? Are you stuffing emotions so you don't have to deal with them? It may also be a way of claiming space. Paying attention to what comes up emotionally when you do start to clear those closets will give you a clue as to what is behind your clutter.
Still not convinced? A few years ago a student in one of my classes went home after the first evening, ready to tackle her clutter. She cleared 27 things (a feng shui recommendation). The energy in her condo felt so much better she cleared 27 more. In the end she got rid of 135 (27 x 5) things. The next week she exclaimed to the class how wonderful her space felt. The significance of her story is that she is blind. The seen and the unseen - they both count.
This principle also means that clutter under beds, in attics, under bathroom sinks, in the basement, or in garages or sheds all counts. The proliferation of storage units these days leads me to believe that this is a "solution" for dealing with clutter in many instances. While these storage units often provide legitimate and needed storage, they can also easily turn into another space that holds hidden and/or forgotten clutter.
Clutter is clutter, whether or not you can see it.
Carol C. Wheelock, M.Ed. of Feng Shui Vermont is a certified feng shui practitioner who has studied in the United Sates and China. She practices Black Sect or western feng shui. Carol does private consultations for homes, schools, libraries, and businesses; clutter counseling and clearing; spaces clearings; phone consultations; presentations; and teaches workshops throughout the United States. She also does personal clearings.