By Erica Sofrina, author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World.
At the foundation of Feng Shui is the belief that everything in our home is alive and talking to us. This may seem like a stretch to many, but stop and think about it; when the first thing you encounter when you enter your home is the unrelenting pile of clutter, how does it make you feel? My sense is – not so great about yourself. And who needs that? (See my article The Anatomy of Clutter)
Your home holds information about belief systems that may or may not be serving you. You can train yourself to see them by looking at exactly what is there. By acting on this information, you gain valuable tools for transformation and personal growth.
My client Elinore’s living room walls were filled with large, expensive oil paintings of her husband’s dead relatives. Sort of like the ones you might find in a castle with everyone looking very severe and disapproving. She hated them but did not have the nerve to tell her husband. He had inherited them and as the only son of a wealthy family, wanted to have them up, but they had a very small home. She had no room to put any of the pictures that she loved. Her space had an important message for her if she was willing to see it.
In Elinore’s case it revealed that she didn’t value herself enough to have that “courageous conversation” with her husband about not feeling comfortable in her own space. She didn’t feel worthy of asking him for this important thing. She could have presented him with options; he could put them in his own office or even give them to other relatives. Because she could not speak up about her own needs, she was consigning herself to live with the “eyes of the disapproving relatives” eternally following her around the house.
It is our personality that resists confrontation. It fears we may lose all by speaking up. The truth is that we may lose if our relationships are built on sand, but if they are substantial, our loved ones will come around and our relationships will be better for it.
Feng Shui teaches that every object in our homes and gardens has a consciousness, which is called energy or chi. It is interacting with us and we are interacting with it on subtle, and not-so-subtle levels. We are continuously “painting” where we are in life into our physical surroundings. Whether we like it or not, our space is reflecting our inner psychology. By reading the messages that are there in our surroundings, we can gain valuable insights, bringing us the personal growth that our soul seeks.
As we study Feng Shui we learn to see our homes with a new pair of eyes. I have been eternally grateful for the simple messages that my homes have provided about what is going on in my inner world. As a person who has always been on a path of personal growth, I welcome these valuable insights.
One example was when I got it about the impacts of having too much stuff. I started making myself have just one or two objects displayed on a surface rather than my usual seven or eight. I realized my home looked like the homes I staged with lots of decorative objects filling every corner. There were no unfilled surfaces. In meditating why this made me uncomfortable, I suddenly saw the simple lesson that was embedded energetically into my home. I realized that I filled my social calendar the same way I filled my home. Every corner was busy! My home, like my life, reflected a lot of doing and not much being. I was uncomfortable creating more spaciousness in my life and there it was reflected in my home!
By creating more spaciousness in my living space, I created an environmental affirmation which reflected my intention to spend more time developing my inner landscape. This translated to more time spent in self-reflection, meditation and yoga. As a result of my home becoming more balanced, my life also came more into balance.
There are invaluable messages embedded in our space that can change our lives for the better. Feng Shui teaches us to look at our space in new ways which allows for many powerful “ah hah” moments. Subtle changes in our living space often produce big changes in our lives.
Although everything in our environment provides valuable information about our inner beliefs, the easiest way to start is by looking at your artwork. What is it telling you about your belief systems? The overwhelming wall of family photos in the hallway often reveals that the client’s life has been overwhelmingly about family in an un-balanced way. Often her children have grown and she is now faced with not knowing who she is. I recommend weeding out some of the family photos and adding pictures of the client doing fun things with friends or by herself. By affirming this new way of being, she brings it into prominence in her life. She begins to attract friends and experiences that affirm her as a individual, enriching her life and filling the “empty nest” with her new sense of self and purpose.
Perhaps you have some depressing pictures, or too many single women pictures – and you want to bring in a relationship? Or maybe you have art work that simply matches the room but does not inspire you? Your walls act as important real estate reflecting what it is you want to bring into your life. Use them to move your life forward in a way that affirms, inspires and uplifts. This affirmation in your physical space will begin to work energetically on your internal space and your life will begin to shift in the direction you desire. (See my article Your Home is Attracting your Future.)
You may also want to look at what is not there. Often a home with no pictures on the walls or sparse furniture reflects an inability or fear of commitment. A fear of making choices that are wrong, so no choices are made at all. It can also reflect a lack of commitment to your living space. You may not like it and are hoping to find something you like better when you can afford it. I have found time and time again when a client fully commits to where they are living now and makes it wonderful, the doors open pretty rapidly to a better place. Many of life’s lessons can be found in the Feng Shui of our space.
It’s quite simple really; when we feel better about our living space, we become happier people. Happier people attract others who want to spend time with them, who will often bring opportunities along as well.
A home that lifts your spirits and reflects your true tastes, loves and desires, makes you happy. In doing so it is amplifying the happiness quotient in your life and attracting more of it. Consequently, a home that always drags you down because of the accumulation of all the little things that bug you, is continuing to attract more of what you don’t want.
Western Feng Shui, which is the form that I teach and practice, is not about hanging mysterious crystals and wind chimes in strategic places. It is not about some “woo woo” superstition that is too complicated to figure out. You will unfortunately encounter many books that try to make it mysterious, but the skinny on Feng Shui is that is is simple. By working on your home to make it a more pleasing place for you and/or your family to be, you are changing your energy. You simply feel better, hence are more enjoyable to be around and you start to experience a domino effect of positive things happening in your life!