Last week I attended the virtual conference Thriving Women in 2021, listening as powerful, engaged women shared their personal stories of personal and professional development. One message that rang out clearly to me was to create a dedicated workspace in my home and make the living areas as restful and harmonious as possible, because everyone is now home all the time.
I have been working off my dining table for the last five years, and it is not working for me anymore (if it ever did.) My husband has an office in our house, and it is not practical to share that space with him. The piles of ‘work’ prominently displayed on the dining table are interrupting the clean lines of my furnishings and disrupt the feeling of sanctuary I want my home to exude. Plus, they are a constant reminder of everything I could/should be doing when I want to relax. So, my first quarter project for this year is to claim a room of my own and set it up in an ergonomic and healthy style. (I will keep you posted on my progress.)
This will be one part of making my home more livable for everyone in the family, husband Tim, 5-year-old Jimmy and Sparky our Wheaten Terrier. I am looking at our home as a whole and implementing Feng Shui practices to enhance our environment.
What is Feng Shui? Feng Shui is the Chinese practice of trying to create balance with the natural world in our interior spaces. It uses energy forces, called qi (chi), to create harmony between an individual and their environment. It is not only based on simple common-sense practices that make our homes healthier and more organized, but it also reveals how connected we are to our homes—and in turn, how they can affect our mood and well-being.
Here are some simple practices that I will be implementing first in our home:
Clear the Clutter!!! This is always my biggest challenge, so I am moving it to the top of the list. I have cleared the litter of keys, hats, small jackets that adorn an entry table and put them in drawers and the front closet. Shoes are in the closet or garage if muddy (there is a lot of mud coming home these days).
I have made a start on the family room, sorting the shrapnel of childhood into organized baskets, and moving many toys upstairs to Jimmy’s room (which will also be getting an organizational overhaul).
Next up the junk drawer hiding in my kitchen! It may take me a while to get there, my goal is to spend some dedicated time each day to decluttering, making sure to not add more as I go, and by the end of the year I will have gone through every room and all the closets. I already feel lighter, less frazzled, and more efficient.
Make an Entrance! Your front door and entry are ‘the mouth of qi’, where energy enters your space, and represents your face to the world, as it what people see from outside your home, so you want to make a positive impression here.
Start outside, make sure it is clearly lit, well-marked and the address is visible. Keep this area clean, sweep the path and wash the door regularly. Your door must open easily! If you are constantly struggling to open the door you will feel frustration, that opportunities are hard to come by and life is a struggle. This was an eye opener for me, I have had a sticky front door latch for over a month, and who needs more struggle in life? The locksmith is coming today!
Once inside, it is important to slow down the energy flow, if your front door has a direct line of sight to your back door the energy shoots through the house too quickly. Instead of having it fly straight out the back door, move it in a graceful undulating way that goes around your whole home evenly. Slow the chi down with a patterned rug on the floor, artwork on the walls, or even a round entry table.
The Heart of the Home. The kitchen is a feng shui symbol of wealth and prosperity and represents how we nourish ourselves. Easy ways to improve your kitchen feng shui:
- Make sure your refrigerator is clean and tidy, clear out all the science experiments and compost them, wipe down the inside with the intention of creating a space where you can nourish yourself with healthy food.
- Stow away anything that’s sharp including your kitchen knives and utensils. Having anything sharp on display is considered bad luck.
- Display food in abundance! Keep colorful fresh fruit in a bowl, store your rice, grains, and pasta in clear glass jars, reorganize your spice rack, and make it a focal point of your space.
Balance is Elementary. Feng shui divides the world into five elements: earth, wood, fire, water, and metal. Earth represents stability and security; wood symbolizes new life, growth, and creativity; and fire is associated with action, passion, and fame. Water is tied to abundance, prosperity, movement, cleansing, and the flow of emotions, while metal assists with focus and clarity, health, wealth, and love. An ideal feng shui home should have each element equally distributed across all rooms to help release positive energy, and create balance, the most important principle of feng shui. These elements can be present in your home either physically or symbolically. For example, you could bring the fire element with warm tones, like reds and oranges, or you could have actual fire with a fireplace or a burning candle.
In my new office space, I will be incorporating white and gray (metal) to enhance focus, blue (water) for calm and green (wood) for new beginnings. As 2021 is a Metal Year, the Zodiac will be working with me in my quest for a space to focus and work. I think The Buddha will be a good reminder for mindfulness and purpose in my workday.
Items of Attraction. Symbolism bombards us daily, guiding us when we read, watch movies, and look at traffic signs when driving. In our homes, our intimate space, it is enhanced even more, and you need to be conscious in surrounding yourself with symbols of what you want to attract and remove symbols that are counter to your desires and goals.
Ask yourself a few questions: Do you have trouble getting clarity? Check if you have stuff all over your surfaces. Do you have self-esteem issues? Check if your mirrors are hung too high, so you can never measure up. Are you chronically single? Assess if you are loading up your home with single imagery—a single vase, a single chair, a single person in a picture.
Evaluate what challenges you are facing in life and try to identify whether they are symbolically showing up in your space. Remove the symbols and replace them with items you want to attract. For years I have kept a small dish overflowing with coins from my travels in my home, symbolizing abundance, and while I work hard, I believe that by consciously channeling abundance into my life I have created it. I now curate items that bring me joy and connection to purpose.
Be in Command. Your home is your castle, and you are the Queen of all you survey. The commanding position is one of the fundamental basics in feng shui. Your command positions are the anchor points of each room, which best enable you to control your energy and feel in charge of the space. If you always bump into a chair or the corner of your sofa, those items are likely hindering the house energy flow. Imagine energy as a river flowing through your home, if it is getting obstructed, something must change.
It is important that your bed, desk, and stove are all in command since each of these items represents a significant aspect of your life. Your bed represents you, your stove represents your wealth and resources, and your desk represents your career and path in life. In order to place your bed, desk, or stove in command, find a location in the room where the following is true: when you’re sitting at your desk, lying in bed, or cooking, you can see the door without being directly in line with it. You will have a good view of anyone or anything that could be coming in through the door, which helps you feel more at ease on a subconscious level. It also means that you are more aware of potential opportunities that might be coming towards you.
I am looking forward to using feng shui to create more balance, flow, and harmony in our home this year, and watching the effect it has on our family life.