Part Two of this two-part series on Feng Shui tips for the holiday season focuses on creating space at different levels of your being. We are complex beings, and we are affected by what we experience as well as what is going on in and around us.
Creating and clearing physical space.
Feng Shui is based on the idea that removing something from our environment may be just as important as adding different features. Before you begin making changes, do an assessment of your physical space, including your physical body.
Notice what areas in your home, office, studio, car, or purse/wallet are overcrowded or seem to be blocking energy and movement. For example, do you have too much furniture in a space? Is your wallet, purse, or brief case full of things that do not belong there? Are drawers, cupboards and closets filled with items that are not used or need?
Assess your physical body. Notice where you feel stuffy or blocked. Are your hips tight or are your hands and feet tired? Are you weighed down by heavy clothing or wearing clothes that no longer fit or appeal to your senses? Do you need to have your hair trimmed or conditioned, or would you like to take a long soak in the tub?
Get an idea of the physical places in and around you that keep you from feeling a sense of free-flowing energy and ideas. When my table or desk is piled with unfinished work, it drains my energy. When my clothes are worn out or uncomfortable, my energy is affected.
Move things around or out. When we move objects in our environment, it changes the flow of energy. When we change something about our physical appearance, it makes us feel differently…there’s a release of energy. Where we may have felt like we were in a rut, we now feel a greater flow of energy. Remove items from your environment. To create more space in our surroundings, clear all surfaces, and move one piece of furniture out of the room. You might want to move furniture around to get a different flow of energy. In the dark of winter, moving chairs, desks, and couches near windows provides working areas (reading and writing) with more light.
Make space for real needs. Some people decorate their homes so the home looks good. Others want their homes to be functional and serve the needs of those living in the space. Change things to meet the real needs you have, and get rid of arrangements and objects that are really serving no purpose. Anything with no purpose drains or blocks energy. For example, if you have a large coffee table taking up space in the middle of a small living room, consider getting smaller, stacking tables to serve the purpose a coffee table might have. Keeping the middle of the room open and free is an excellent way to create more space in your physical environment.
With your own body, do a physical clearing and cleansing, and make a fresh start. Get your hair taken care of, and make taking care of it part of your daily physical clearing. It may sound simple, but some of us get into a rut with daily habits, and we ignore hair and skin care. Our skin and our hair are physical signs of our health and well being. Getting enough rest, exercise, and taking care of our physical needs is crucial to creating space in our physical health. Tending to our nails, hands, and feet are essential to taking care of ourselves. Put on some clean, fresh clothing, and add a dash of color to our look. Wear a colorful scarf or hat. Perk up your spirits by enhancing and taking pride in your dress and appearance. You are not just your looks, but your appearance is a powerful indicator of how you feel about yourself.
Creating Mental Space
Creating and clearing mental space is another important step in getting energy flowing. Whatever we hold in our thoughts, uses energy and transmits whatever you are holding inside. Make a regular practice of examining your thoughts, and becoming more conscious and aware of what thoughts your dwell on throughout the day. Notice when your thoughts are negative, and when they are positive.
With negative thoughts, decide which ones demand attention, and which ones are not really any of your business. For example, around holidays, many of us are so busy worrying about pleasing others or about living up to unrealistic expectations, that our minds are a jumble of thoughts that make us anxious. Holidays often remind us of memories and connections which we feel unsettled about. Missing a loved one or feeling disconnected from family or friends, often leads to some pretty depressing thoughts.
Make a list of what is bothering you. For each item on the list, decide whether or not you can take a positive step to resolve or address an issue or not. For those you cannot do anything about, write a positive statement about what you have learned or come to understand from the situation. For example, I might be thinking about feeling far away from family. I cannot do anything about that right now, but I could do something for the people who are close to me.
Letting go of the past. Holidays often remind us of unfulfilled desires, dreams, or expectations. One way to approach these kinds of thoughts is to make a list of all the things we are grateful for. What is working well in your life? If you don’t have your parents or didn’t have the parents you hoped for, what do you have that is a blessing? For example, I may not have had my Mother for as long as I wanted (she died when I was a young woman), but I have had some wonderful, strong, loving women in my life who have been loving and supportive. And I have the joy of being a mother to my daughter and grandmother to my granddaughter.
Energy is what we focus on, and when I focus on what I do not have, I drain my own energy. Honoring what has been a part of our past is important, and incorporating the gifts of those memories into our present life and relationships is the blessing. Bemoaning our fate, is dishonoring the life we have been given to use. Use your mind to honor the gifts you have.
Creating and clearing emotional space
Emotional health is vital to optimum well being. Many of us have been taught or conditioned to ignore or dismiss our emotional responses and reactions–as if there was something inherently wrong with our feelings. The opposite is true. When we suppress, ignore, or try to otherwise dismiss our emotional responses and reactions, we put ourselves in jeopardy. Emotions are signals to get us to pay attention to what we need to do to come into greater harmony within and with those we are in relationship with.
Learning to recognize and honor our emotions helps us befriend our own emotional . Take some time to be still and quiet. Meditation is a simple practice of quieting the mind and body in order to become more aware of who we are and what we are feeling. The emotions that we may have hidden from or those that we are not even aware of, will rise up into the awareness when we give ourselves enough time and stillness to pay attention. for many, this itself is the problem.
Acknowledging emotions is, for many, just as difficult as it is to do something about the causes of our emotional reactions. Take some time whenever you can. Even 5 minutes once or twice a day, or before or after you tackle some big project or issue, helps you lower your levels of stress and anxiety.
Allow yourself to simply notice what emotions are arising. You might describe them to yourself, for example, saying “this is like being in a cage” or “this feels like I’m climbing through mud.” Avoid judging yourself for what you are feeling. Try to just identify what you’re feeling, without having to figure out why and without shaming yourself into thinking you shouldn’t feel that way. Whatever you feel emotionally is okay. It’s what you do about your emotions that can be harmful. And one of the most harmful things we can do is to ignore our emotions.
Emotions let us know we are sad, or angry, or unhappy. Identifying the emotion is a key to help relieve ourselves of the feelings that go with that emotion.
Next, imagine for just a few moments that you are observing yourself and your emotions. Sometimes a little perspective is what is needed. And sometimes a little time to sit with the emotions give us the sense that we can cope with whatever feelings we are having–the emotions or feelings won’t destroy us. Feeling bad about something is not terrible, and is not permanent. When we try to hold back or control our emotional reaction, we cause a buildup to occur–much like a volcano that is getting ready to erupt. Letting ourselves feel the emotional release is helpful.
One way I suggest to my clients is to imagine the situations or conditions that are trapping your energy–places where you attach your anger, fear, frustration, or unhappiness. Then imagine a long cord of energy, like an electrical cord that run from you to the situation, relationship, condition, or experience. Notice what you are attached to, and then imagine pulling that cord out and back to you. Call your energy back to yourself, and visualize letting go of whatever place your energy has been trapped.
Other ways we can also help ourselves feel better emotionally include creating a sensually pleasant environment for ourselves. Everything works together. Sometimes the best way to deal with emotions is to channel that energy into creating something nourishing, soothing, appealing, or artistic. Cook a pot of fresh vegetable soup. Draw or paint your emotions onto canvas. Work your hands into the soil, or into clay as you express your emotions through our tactile experiences. Wash the dishes. Take a long walk and have a talk with your emotions. Focus on helping someone else solve a problem. Helping someone else changes the flow of energy and enables you to move your energy into a more positive direction.
One of the most beautiful suggestions I have heard for dealing with pent up or negative emotions is to imagine the emotions wherever they seem to be in your body or mind, and visualizing them a bright color. Imagine the emotion as fluid energy and visualize it leaving your body and being absorbed back into the earth. If you are swimming, imagine it becoming part of the ocean, lake, or river, and mentally see it leaving your body, to be changed into some other form of energy–something more constructive.
Energy becomes negative when it results in imbalance. When we are able to release what has turned negative in our lives, we can let that energy take some other form. Emotions are powerful energy, and we can intentionally work on releasing emotions into physical, sensual, and imaginative. We dilute the potency of the energy with each step we take to let go of dwelling on and allowing ourselves to be ruled by emotional negativity.
Creating spiritual space
Our connection to Spirit, the Universal flow of energy, is sometimes difficult for us to define. Our personal soul or spirit feels connected to whatever it is we consider holy or sacred. Sometimes that connection is influenced by beliefs and experiences that do not seem to fit our inner needs, desires, or understanding and truth. Spiritual growth is not stagnant. It changes and grows as we do.
We are no longer children, and the lessons we are learning at different times of life, are helping us grow and develop. The spiritual journey we are each on differs and changes. At certain times, we feel very connected and have no trouble finding meaning and purpose. At other times, we feel more disconnected, and at sea, not quite knowing what to believe or think.
Where do you feel most connected at this point in your life? What gives you purpose and meaning? Where do you feel disconnected? What seems to be missing or lacking from your spiritual and religious experience? What do you long for? What gifts do you see that you have that call you to a higher purpose in your life?
Take some time to ask yourself these questions, and then to contemplate, meditate, pray, and wonder about the answers for you at this time. This is all part of spiritual discernment–the process of coming closer to a deeper understanding of our spiritual truths and identity.
Take some time to consider what is most important for your growth and development at this point in life, and what you could do to open yourself to more of what calls you to a deeper spiritual connection and awakening. Our spiritual paths are all so different. Some are called to serve. Some are called to explore and seek. Others are called to build and create, while still others are called to worship, adore, and celebrate. And many of us are called a mixture of all these paths. Whatever you seek, honor the fact that your life is unique, and you have opportunities to use your gifts, talents, and skills. Enjoy the special gifts of your life, and be grateful for all that forms the essence of who you are. Surround yourself with positive people and honor your right to be safe, healthy, and happy.
And ask yourself, “What gives me peace?” Then listen and watch for the answer as it comes into your awareness. Live in that peace.