Feng Shui, the ancient art of energy arrangement, is based on the universal law of attraction. By keeping the energy flowing in all areas of our lives, and by consciously arranging our living and working spaces, we attract more of what we desire. Some of us are busily clearing clutter and others are making plans for the new year. Both good ideas, however, you might want to consider the following 7 steps to increase the flow of positive energy in your life for the New Year.
Cleaning and clearing clutter: Have you ever noticed how you periodically dream about houses? A house in a dream represents many levels of meaning, all having to do with you and your overall health and well-being. Symbolically, a clean, clutter-free home attracts new opportunities, positive energy, and a clearing out of any residual energy from grief, illness, negative experiences/memories, and sadness from the past year. This is a very good time to do a thorough house cleaning, and to get 2012 off to a good start. Remember to clean out little places or places that you might normally overlook (purses, pockets, wallets, bowls or jars where you put change or odds and ends). Clean off the tops of high places, the spaces underneath furniture and appliances, and get your car cleaned out too.
Resolving conflicts and settling old accounts: At year’s end, we might want to forget about some of the issues that we have been struggling with. Financial situations that are not yet resolved, taxes that require our attention, decisions about maintaining a sustainable life style, and relationship conflicts that need to be resolved. As much as possible, make a list of everything that has to be settled in order for you to enter a new year in peace, and devise a plan to take care of each item. It may be that just sending a note to remind someone you care about, how much you appreciate them. You may owe some money that you can’t yet pay back; do something about it, even if it’s only making a small payment to show your good faith. Come to peace within yourself about relationships and issues that have “driven you crazy,” and set your intention (in prayer, in a letter, in some concrete way) to resolve to release the negativity connected to all relationships. Look inside yourself to see what about someone else is so difficult, and then consider how you are like that person. What can you do to change your own behavior? And then make a conscious effort to behave differently and develop a healthier, more positive outlook towards others.
Practicing paying attention to your inner dialogue and outer actions: In keeping with acknowledging how we help create the chaos, lack, negativity in our lives by what we do or don’t do, by how we think or act, and by our attitudes and beliefs. Begin practicing listening to the inner dialogue that guides and governs your life. Are you living in alignment with what you say you believe? How do you talk to yourself? How do you talk about others? What could you do to turn your thoughts into a more positive direction?
Lightening your load: At my daughter’s recently, we were talking about how to keep paring down the “junk” and excess that seems to build up. Find ways to eliminate some of the excess in your life. Nature abhors a vacuum; as soon as there is space, we tend to want to fill it up. Energy cannot flow easily if there is too much stuff and junk. Make a practice of giving 1-2 things away for every new thing you bring into the house (this could be clothes, furniture, shoes, dishes, cookware, whatever you tend to accumulate). I think the hardest things for some of us to get rid of are items that have sentimental value. Consider the greeting cards that you save or the mugs that fill the top shelves of your cupboard. How about cookbooks or stuffed animals? What is taking up loads of space, and could be recycled, leaving you with more room and space for new energy to fill? Remember, our physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual energy can remain attached to items whether we consciously think about them or not. When items serve no purpose or have outworn the purpose they served, they take up space and energy. My cousin just replaced a bulky hot water heater in her basement with a small, energy-efficient one. An entire corner of her basement opened up. That, and the fine job her son-in-law did cleaning out and rearranging her basement, cleared space and energy. How can you lighten your load? What would make your home or office feel more spacious, and what can you do to create that space?
Enjoying good company and good food: I am not a party gal, but I love to entertain periodically. Entertaining is one way I can express my gratitude to friends and family. I love to cook, and enjoy preparing a meal or dish to share. This New Year’s, I’m hosting an afternoon open house on New Year’s Eve (3-6). It’s a drop in, informal gathering, designed to welcome people and wish my friends well for their new year. When I returned from time with my family in San Francisco a few days ago, the first thing I did was get fresh vegetables, fruit, and basic supplies so I could enjoy my time at home. I put the fresh food in a clean refrigerator (made easier to clean by having been emptied before my trip). A good time to clean the refrigerator is when there’s little in it. Do it before you go shopping, and then you make a habit of keeping food in a clean, appetizing environment. Nourishing our hearts and bodies is necessary for us to maintain good, positive lives. Instead of overindulging, prepare healthy, tasty meals and snacks, drink enough water, eat more slowly and consciously, and set the table and make each meal an occasion.
Paying attention to the “yeah buts”: When you are clearing space and energy (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual), listen to the areas of your life you wish to avoid facing. When clearing clutter, notice when you hem and haw over something that you are finding hard to release. Notice, but don’t dwell on it. Remember the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and if you have 35 mugs, get rid of most of them. Give them to someone who needs 35 mugs (church, office, school, retirement home, soup kitchen). Get rid of things you are not using, and recycle things you never look at or haven’t put in an album or some kind of keepsake form. Recycle or resell books. Give away magazines and journals. If you are having a hard time making a major decision about something, sit down for a good solid hour or so and lay out all the pros and cons, consult a friend or expert about your choices, and then make a choice and live with it. Often we tie up loads of energy in decisions we can’t seem to make. Today I got a letter in the mail that at first seemed like a major problem. I almost went off the deep end, until I thought about what I would council someone else. How could this notice be a sign for a major change I have wanted to make for months? It might just be that some of the “bad” news we get is really good news in disguise. Often times, this is the kind of sign we get when we have not been able to make a decision. Anne Tiedmann’s book, How to Not Make It, uses an illustration of how we often live our lives. We make plans, we push in one direction or another trying to make something happen, and all the time it is not happening. For example, we may want to leave a job or find a job. We may want a relationship to work out or may want out of one. We may want to get a task completed, but can’t seem to do it. Anne Tiedmann’s example compared this kind of struggle to setting a giant jig saw puzzle on a flimsy card table. We work on the puzzle and almost have it completely figured out, when someone comes along and kicks the card table causing the puzzle to fly all over the room. The best plans to achieving our goals, are offset by events and circumstances that we might not necessarily see as good news. Look for the gifts in the garbage and clutter right now, and see what may be getting cleared out of your life to open new possibilities. Speed the process of clutter clearing and change up by releasing as much as you can including the negative emotions that keep you connected the unresolved conflicts, dilemmas, and accounts in your life.
Taking care of your health, body, mind, spirit, emotions. Good Feng Shui practices involve arranging our lives and ourselves with conscious intention. When arranging your home and office, you know to put your bed or desk in the Command position (in the corner farthest from the door, facing the open doorway but not directly in the doorway). Symbolically and energetically, this keeps us in awareness of what and who comes in and out of our space. It symbolizes that we are not bombarded by energy, but have set ourselves in a space where we are comfortable and surrounded by good, clear energy. Other areas of our lives require conscious intention as well. Taking care of ourselves is about more than just eating right or exercising. The Feng Shui of exercising and eating comes in our being intentional and focused in the process. Be proactive with your health. If you do not have insurance, find places where you can get good health care for little or no cost. There are good clinics in nearly every major city, and often in small towns, where medical specialists volunteer their time and energy. Before you need the services, find out what is available. Find out what you are eligible for. If you are living on a fixed income, have no job or are underemployed, spend some time looking for resources you can use if you need help. Universities and schools that train other medical and healing specialists have clinics.
If you are working for yourself, consider joining with several other independent contractors to find a group plan you can all afford. If you can’t afford to sign up for a health club or yoga class, get a tape and do exercise at home. On the Monterey Peninsula, your have the most beautiful place in the world to take a walk. Find ways to balance by giving yourself permission to be quiet and not busy. Visit a cathedral, mission, or other quiet sanctuary for some quality time for prayer, meditation, or reflection. Create a ritual honoring all the parts of your life, and make it part of your celebration for New Year’s Eve. In your special welcoming in of this new year, whether you are alone or with others, mark the occasion with food, music, company, stories, rituals, or other traditions that have made an impression on you. The Jewish tradition of writing something you want to leave in the old year and then burning it, is one of my favorite traditions. Doing something symbolic, helps create and release energy–intention=energy=manifestation. Set your good intentions free, be honest and clear about your desires and wishes, and then clear the space and release the energy in your life to allow for the free flow of goodness in all areas of your life. Happy New Year!