Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Clutter, Money, Abundance & Happiness

I'll have to ask you to forgive the possible random stream of consciousness style of this post. Lots of things in life lately seem to be leading me to ponder Clutter, Money, Abundance and how they tie in to Happiness.

I'm in a fairly intense de-cluttering phase at home. It's coming along more slowly than I'd like it to, but then slow changes are good in terms of Feng Shui. Read more about that in a previous post here.

I tend to be overwhelmed by the clutter, and I'm very aware that I function and thrive so much better in fairly orderly environment. All of this lends credibility to the Feng Shui concept of keeping your home fairly clear.

But there is a mindset to clutter, beyond just what we see. I get weary, sometimes, often really, of digging into the why of things, and would rather just move forward. At times though, it's still helpful to understand why we hold onto the things we do. Here are some recent theories of mine:

1) We're somewhat conditioned to do so.
It seems to be a very American idea that more is better, that bigger is better, that "if I get that (whatever that may be), I'll feel better." I have grown up steeped in this culture, and can admit to all of these ways of thinking. There is much bashing of this kind of thinking in "green" circles, and although I understand that we're at a point globally where dramatic changes are need, I think that an approach to change that includes gentleness with self is the most useful.

2) Things hold memories
Especially if we're very visual, then the things around us remind us of things we want to hold onto. Happy times, people who have passed on, feelings we had and hope to get back.

3) It's just too hard to sort through it all
This one speaks for itself, and I can definitely relate. Looking at stacks and piles can be so overwhelming that I want to shut the door (and do), but those things still take up the same amount of space in our homes, offices, and psyches, even though we choose to ignore them.

So there are some of my thoughts on why. Here are the benefits of letting some go.

1) Better Energetic Flow
When the spaces we occupy are uncluttered, energy flows more smoothly, bringing in good things and clearing out the unwanted.

2) More Time
Less time stumbling, tripping over, avoiding, searching through and navigating around extraneous stuff means more time for the things we love. Time with family, time with friends, time with self.

3) What you don't need may help someone else & is Green
That thing that is just sitting there unused may be of good use to someone who really needs it. And it cuts down on the need for another, and another, another, to be manufactured, which reduces strain on our already over-tapped environmental resources.

4) More Money
Energetically, the less we hold on tightly to, the more flows to us. And in a tangible, concrete way, if we're more aware of our spending and choosing to buy less, we have more money available for intangible things. For experiences, for sharing.

I read this article recently, and another similar one. It's worth a read on your own, but in a nutshell, it states that once we have our basics covered, how we spend our money has a stronger impact on our happiness than how much money we have does. People who donate regularly are generally happier than those that don't even when they can only give a small amount. People who spend money on trips, meals with friends and family, and theater tickets are happier than people who spend it on stuff.

I'll leave you with these thoughts, for now. And the reminder that gentle change can have immense results.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New vs Antique

I read an interesting segment on furniture in the book, Practical Feng Shui for Business, by Simon Brown. It is a completely different school of thought from the Classical Feng Shui that I practice, but there is some information that is definitely applicable in any case.

In the book, Mr Brown discusses the merits of furnishing your home with new vs vintage or antique items. Here are some of the merits of each.

Antique and Vintage Items

These items carry a solid, grounded energy. Think stable, sturdy, lasting. Too many antique items can sometimes create a stagnate, stale type of energy.

New Items

These items carry a fresh, new, inspired energy. Think new ideas and concepts, change. Too many new items can create a sense of upheavel or unrest.

Balance is always good. If you feel good in your space, there's no need to change your furnishings. If you're seeking a more grounded energy, you can try adding a few older items to your decor. More inspiration, bring in a few new pieces.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A different kind of Certificate

In my last post, I talked about hanging your diplomas and certificates on the walls and the value of this. Now I'd like to talk about a different kind of certificate. This is not one you would necessarily hang on the wall, but is equally as powerful.

Are you ready to retire? I am, at least, in certain areas of my life. Does it matter how old I am for this? Not really.

When I was training in classical Feng Shui, one of the class segments was titled "Inner Feng Shui." This was a surprise to me. I was prepared to learn formulas, work on diagrams and otherwise get to know the process of evaluating a building for energy flow. Our instructor, a very wise man who I respect immensely, believes that inner work is important to a Feng Shui practice and that being clear emotionally can only benefit the client. I would have to concur.

One of the things he recommended was for us to look at  our lives, and decide in which areas we were ready to move on. He told the story of Japanese soldiers found in 1970s and 80s who were unaware that WWII had ended. Japan held a ceremony to retire them with honor, so they could finally move on.

So, to repeat the question with more information now, are you ready to retire from anything? After taking this class, I decided it was time for me to retire from my role as the "Hero Eldest Daughter" in my family. After years to trying to hold things together within my family of origin, and make things okay for everyone, I decided I was tired, really tired, and it was time for me to live more authentically for me.

My certificate stated: In recognition of a job well done in the role of family hero, savior and otherwise fixer of all problems. You are now retired from duty.

That was nearly three years ago, and this is a process, but I have taken huge steps in the direction of living for me, not selfishly, but with the knowledge that the more I live by my own lights, the more brightly I can shine for others.

This is the year of the Metal Tiger. Great info about this here. Metal Tiger creates restless energy and supports change. It may be time to retire from your current career and embark upon a new one, from any role in your life that no longer suits you, from excessive worry, from low self-esteem, from a relationship that's not working. This very simple process can have such powerful results. Intention is a powerful tool, and the support that lines up when you set your intention can be amazing.