Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about different cultures and beliefs and have found truth in unlikely places. I still maintain a degree of skepticism as I approach something new, but I’m open to a lot of things I would have previously dismissed… including what I explored this week- feng shui.
It originated in China over 3,000 years ago, and deals with the flow of energy (known as ch’i) in a given space. The ancient Chinese believed that if ch’i flows in a balanced and free way, life offers positive experiences in happiness, health and wealth. Feng Shui is the art/science of placing things in a way that enables that to happen. (Check out this commercial- it made me laugh: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Rv6G5JxQY)
I’ve noticed that as I’ve cleared up the emotional clutter inside of me, life has been easier to manage. So, it wasn’t an enormous step to accept that cleaning up the clutter in my environment can also impact the quality of my life.
I’ve been interested in the topic, so I did some reading and took a class this week to find out more. Then, on Saturday, I cranked up Gnarls Barkley’s song “Feng Shui” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erDRGHE7a0g&feature=related) and set to work on my bedroom.
From what I learned, there are three steps to beginning the feng shui process. The first step is to clean up all clutter and junk, so I took some large trash bags into my room and tried to get rid of things I don’t use or that just take up space. The Chinese believed that clutter stagnates, drains, and decays the energy of a room. I’ve experienced that. There’s just a different feel to a clean room or house. Getting rid of the old clutter, old clothes, old books, etc. serves to make a space for new and better things to come into life (similar to the quote I shared in week four’s blog). And it’s not enough to just put the clutter into a closet or drawer. It needs to be discarded.
The second step is to clear the energy. This can be done in a lot of ways- vacuuming, prayer, visualization, burning dried sage (a Native American technique), diffusing lemon grass essential oils, etc. I chose to play beautiful music.
The third step is to utilize movement and placement. There are two types of feng shui: the traditional Chinese Pa Kua and the western Black Hat. Both use the same points of reference, but the western method is a little easier to follow, so that’s what I learned about.
The western method uses a map called a Bagua that is divided into nine quadrants. Each quadrant represents a different part of life composing the living space.
Without getting into too much detail, feng shui is governed by the Chinese Five Element Theory- or the belief that all health and emotion is governed by one of five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water). These five elements are supported by energies known as yin (the energy of earth) and yang (the energy of heaven). Each quadrant in the bagua corresponds to different elements that can help the flow of ch’i.
Anyway, I mentally divided my room into the nine quadrants defined in the bagua. I moved around pictures and possessions to correspond with the recommendations for each quadrant. It was not awesome to discover that I had been keeping my trash in my “love and marriage” quadrant. In fact, I put most of my attention into that quadrant, since that’s where I’d like to see the most change. I displayed pictures of family and friends, placed two candles together and a few other things that are supposed to enhance the energy there. And maybe this is a coincidence, but later that day, a handsome guy struck up a conversation with me at the grocery store. And then today, I had a friend call and tell me she wanted to set me up with someone. Could be a coincidence, but I’ll take it, either way.
It’s been said that what is on the inside of us reflects on our environment and vice versa. Whatever the actual impact of feng shui, I like the feel of living in an organized space and I’m glad I got to learn a little about a really interesting new hobby.