"Living Feng Shui" magazine
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Feng Shui: Acupuncture for the Home
By Flo Barnes
(Photo by Steve Babuljak, The New Mexican)
Feng shui is a 4,000-year-old method of checking and reassessing energy flow to produce environmental changes. The concept is that all physical objects influence our lives. By changing, eliminating or adding objects to our surroundings, we can promote life changes.
If thinking about clearing out clutter in your home tempts you to sit down and wait until the impulse passes, reconsider. Clutter can negatively impact your life, according to practitioners of feng shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement.
All schools of feng shui use the bagua, a grid whose sections represent wealth, fame, relationships, creativity, health, family, self-knowledge, career and benefactors that can be superimposed over a building or a room.
Removing clutter and rebalancing energy using enhancements — mirrors, wind chimes, crystals, fountains, mobiles, plants — that add color, movement and sound can modulate energy in the life area represented by the location you are working with.
Santa Fe feng shui practitioner Mary Layne likes to work with people who are ready to change, because with feng shui, “the energy is stirred up. Batten down the hatches — energy will flow in new ways.”
Physical clutter represents not only untidiness but also things broken, never used or disliked, she says. According to Layne, there’s also mental clutter: things put off, weight gain, obsessive worrying.
So if clutter is unsightly, why do so many people hang onto it? Layne says it allows us to avoid doing things we fear. Layne recommends picking an area of your life that you want to improve, find where it is on the bagua grid and start with clearing that area. Layne notes that important areas are the center of the house (represents health), bedroom (“we spend one third of our lives sleeping”), the stove (nourishment) and the desk.
Layne, a Realtor, uses feng shui to help homeowners mentally let go of their homes so they will sell more readily and declutters and arranges interiors harmoniously so potential buyers can imagine themselves living there.
Bookkeeper Lyra Grant appreciated Layne’s listening skills and intuitive approach as they cleared her home’s clutter and corrected energy-flow problems. Not only did the house feel better, but Grant says her business improved.
Setting a goal for the process is important. “In feng shui, you tell the universe what you would like,” she says. “You’re setting your intention to have a better life.”
Feng shui practitioner Carol Olmstead says clutter represents postponed decisions and inability to move forward. + She recommends several approaches, including putting on your favorite CD and clearing — when the music stops, you’re done for the day; a “feng shui fling” — grab 27 things to sell, give away or trash; don’t get anything new until you get rid of something old; and pass along books you’ve read.
Olmstead became a believer in feng shui when she cleared out her office and two weeks later landed a big client, without doing any new marketing. “It’s amazing what you leave open in life after clearing,” she says. “Nothing comes into your life unless you make room for it.”
Doctor of Oriental Medicine Janice Ledgerwood says the process is like acupuncture for the home. “Many people use feng shui and don’t even know it,” she says. She especially recommends getting caught up on paperwork and bills as piles of paper keep your energy stuck.
Realtor Jane Julseth says, “It’s very freeing to clear stuff out of the house. I learned it’s just fine to have walls with nothing on them and corners in rooms with no furniture.”
Julseth says she now enjoys more free time and that her clutter hasn’t come back.
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