Los Angeles Whole Life Times Magazine – Feng Shui Clinic: Mar 2003
It was Winston Churchill who said, “We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shapes us.” The home is like a container and like any container, the shape of the container shapes its contents. And that is the purpose of feng shui. It is our challenge to shape the container so that it shapes us the way we want to be shaped. The first step to having good feng shui is to start by clearing clutter, keeping everything in good working order, keeping a home clean and tidy while maintaining a pleasant presentation.
Spring Cleaning the Feng Shui Way
Spring cleaning is more that just a seasonal ritual of putting away winter things and taking out the warm weather wear. Spring is usually the time that encourages people to do deep cleaning – drapes get taken down and cleaned, rugs get taken out and beaten, and even behind the refrig gets dusted. Spring time is also a good time to do deep cleaning of the clutter that has accumulated in the clothing closet, utility draw, medicine chest and pantry. It is even a good time to cull through the book shelves, CD collection, and file cabinet.
As Karen Kingston, the feng shui clutter clearing expert writes in her book, Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui, “There is something immensely therapeutic about clearing your clutter. The reason is that while you are clearing things on an external level, there is a corresponding change going on internally too.”
Get rid of extraneous stuff and you’ll feel lighter. Get rid of the clutter under your bed and you will sleep better. Get rid of the clutter on top of a closet and that headache might just go away. Clean those windows and you will have a new view of reality and see things more clearly.
“When you experience joy,” Kingston continues, “it is a feeling of great energy flowing through your body, and this cannot happen if your channels are clogged.”
Let the Ch’i Flow
Throughout the year it is important to maintain the basics – clear the clutter of last night’s dishes, pick up the laundry along side the bed, and recycle the department store sale catalogues that have been piling up on the dining room table.
Keeping up on repairs is also important as everything not working parallels something not working in your life. If a door squeaks, people argue. Get out the WD-40 and harmony is restored. If the plumbing leaks, money flows out. Fix the plumbing and the money that flows in, stays with you. The stove is another symbol of prosperity and a properly working stove means you can be “cooking on all four.” Utilize all four burners and you take advantage of all the opportunities available to you.
But when spring time comes, it is also time to attend to less obvious details like getting a damp rag and wiping the thick layer of dust off the top of door jams and window frames. This may be a good time to get your old toothbrush (it’s probably time to get a new one anyway) and clean in the nooks and crevices of windows, computer keyboards, or air vents of electrical appliances.
Some feng shui experts even suggest lifting heavy furniture once in a while to stir up the stagnant ch’i of years gone by. Get four strong people to come over and have them just lift the sofa up and then put it down again. Have them lift the side board and even the armoire. Make it easy on them and have them take the TV or your clothes out first. Let the fresh air flow under these ponderous objects and let the ch’i flow.
If You Don’t Need It, Use It or Love It, Get Rid of It!
Clearing clutter can be daunting to consider and it is much easier to procrastinate. Perhaps the most difficult part is waiting for some spare time from other important things to do like work projects, family activities and watching TV or going to the movies. To overcome this resistance instead of waiting for a free moment, schedule it on your calendar like any other important activity.
The other most difficult part to clearing clutter is making the decision to keep it or toss it. The criteria is simple: if you don’t need it, haven’t used it, or don’t love it, don’t keep it around. If you know decision making is going to be difficult, invite a friend over to help you let go of useless items that are weighing your energy down while obstructing your progress. Remember the goal is to lighten up.
Healthy Energy Is Moving Energy
Once you’ve got all the stuff you don’t need sorted through, you will find it easy to get rid. If its worthy of the homeless shelter or thrift store, pass it along. Let other people have it. Don’t hold onto something with the idea that maybe you’ll need it someday. Why block your abundance with an attitude of scarcity. Why not accept that if you need it in the future, you can always get it again. If it’s trash on the other hand, use those two bins sitting in the garage that say Refuse Only on one and Recyclables Only on the other.
Just as you want to keep the house clear of clutter, under the bed, in the cupboards, medicine chest and pantry, so too the attic, basement or garage should be maintained as a clutter free zone. Therefore be careful before agreeing to take care of other people’s belongings. Consider whether you like it enough to use it, or if you really do have extra storage space in the attic, basement or garage. After all, you’re trying to clear your clutter not add to it. And set a time limit that allows you to pass their belongings along if they don’t come and claim it as agreed, especially if it grows mold or sprouts roots.
The Entrance Way
One of the most important areas of the home to attend too is the entrance way. From the feng shui perspective, we are so identified with our homes that the entrance way is the mouth of the house. It is through the front door that the home receives its nourishment.
Beneficial ch’i comes in as good opportunities, and like oxygen, good ch’i coming in the front door means good health, and with good health comes enthusiasm and inspiration. With this in mind, maintain a clear and unobstructed path to the front door. Trim back the foliage, repair any steps or stepping stones and consider if this is a good time to enliven the front door with a fresh coat of paint or wood preservative. Perhaps it is also a good time for a new Welcome mat. And does the door open wide or is it obstructed by clutter behind it or by furniture blocking the way in? Do all you can to invite beneficial ch’i into your home.
Feng Shui Cures Work Better When Properly Maintained
If you have been doing feng shui and placed a crystal to energize your Wealth Area, put a photo of you and your honey in the Relationship Area, or placed a potted plant in front of a sharp edge to protect you from a “hidden arrow,” don’t forget they too need maintaining. A crystal clouded with airborne dust-crud, a photo with a tarnished frame, or a plant that is root bound with yellowed or dying leaves isn’t going to be a very effective anchor for your intentions.
Clean the crystal so it sparkles, polish the brass so it twinkles, and repot and feed the plant so it too can thrive. For feng shui cures to really work, clutter has to be cleared first. Clutter can not only hinder the effectiveness of your feng shui cures but can intensify your problems.
Clean Inside & Out
Spring is also a good time to do a liver cleanse and clear the accumulation of toxins. A toxic liver seems to correlate with impatience, irritability, and short temper. Of course before doing a liver cleanse, first do an intestinal cleanse so the toxins released by the liver don’t over load the intestines and end up polluting the blood. Get clean and get clear. Cleaning the home and cleaning your body are two sure fire ways to increase your energy and your joy of life.
The Home As A Reflection Of Our Self
For some people the home is just a back drop for their movie with not much care being given to its appearance or up keep. If the home is a reflection of our self consider what kind of back drop do you want to have behind you. Having a harmonious home environment is the goal of feng shui, and the first step to having good feng shui is clearing clutter, keeping everything in good working order, keeping a home clean and tidy while maintaining a pleasant presentation. Make this year’s spring clean really count.