By Joan Law and Ariana Rawls Fine
Source: Natural Awakenings Magazine
Creating a life we don’t want to run away from includes creating spaces within our homes for self-care. Focusing on areas such as the bedroom, kitchen and repurposed rooms can help us further our healing journey using feng shui principles. The practical, intuitive art is used to bring individuals and their environments into harmony. It works with the system of the five elements and the principle of chi, the vital energetic force present in all beings and things.
Restful Energy in the Bedroom
The bedroom is our space to rest and rejuvenate. Certain items can keep the energy circulating in the room, when it should be a peaceful place.
For instance, stacks of books by the bedside creates a sense of not having the time to read them all. Remove items from the bedroom such as mirrors, televisions, items under the bed, laundry, paperwork and electronics as much as possible. Even putting the cell phone on a bureau so that it is not easily accessible from the bed will help.
Pictures of children should not be in the bedroom; it is not that we are not thinking of them, but more the visual reminders that we worry about them, and the anxiety and stress that might cause.
The bed placement is important. Try not to have it under or in front of a window as that symbolizes lacking support. Position the bed where the door can be seen so we can see who is entering.
Another simple tip is opening and closing the curtains in the bedroom or living room. This ritual at the beginning and ending of the day can make a difference in our perception of the day’s progression.
Making the bedrooms fit the people is another concept that can help familial energy. If, for instance, there are three boys sharing a bedroom when the parents are in the bigger room, it may make sense to rearrange the bedroom allocations. Use the house the way it works best for the whole family.
Space for Healthy Cooking at Home
As we strive to be healthier, our kitchen can reflect our emotional clutter and health difficulties. The supplements and kitchen equipment we use for special diets can take up space. The cluttered counters then become a stressful, visual reminder for the family of the impact the diet may be having on family financials. Clearing out cabinets from infrequently used things, such as extra mugs, makes space to put away the constant dietary reminders and declutters the countertops.
Other tips include ensuring plenty of room on the counters for food prepping. Keep snacks behind closed doors; if we don’t see them, we are less likely to eat them so readily.
“Having an organized, decluttered kitchen with good flow and full of nutritious food makes eating so much easier and encourages healthier habits,” says Diana Pruzinsky Abata, CHC, AFMC (DianaPruzinsky.com).
Hoarding food, which can support a feeling of not having enough and living fearfully, is an interesting topic, as some people like to be prepared for the future with sufficient supplies. There is a difference between buying on sale where many items then go bad or expire before they are used and long-term, healthy storage of food.
What’s the Purpose?
Look at the home through feng shui “eyes” to reimagine spaces that may not be used frequently or optimally. Just because conventional thought says a room’s purpose is supposed to be one thing doesn’t mean it has to be. Live in a space that is comfortable and efficient for the family.
A spare room that is “saved” for infrequent guests could be repurposed as a self-care space to bring peace, healing and rejuvenation to the people actually living in the home.
Remember that we are trying to create the space for the activity we want more of, so don’t just fill it with “something”. Wait for the perfect item for the space.
For parents that lament that their grown children or family never visit, take a look at their room or the guest room in which they would stay. Are the rooms treated as a storage or big closet room? Use that space with intention; is it an inviting room ready for guests?
Many of us need to face the retention of “things” and the patterns of unwillingness to let them go. The action of releasing is part of a healing process to create pathways in the brain for other things that we need to release. Strengthening or loosening the “muscles” of letting go can change the way we look at life in general, whether it is about people, jobs or other life elements that are no longer serving a productive purpose for us.
“A health concern prompted me to call a feng shui practitioner again. My home office was really out of control. I’d convinced myself ‘the clutter didn’t bother me’. I needed to change my space to support a healthier lifestyle,” says Kara Flannery. “After we finished that office, I suddenly felt lighter.
I realized how much energy it had taken me to ‘block out’ the clutter each day so I could focus on my work. I was spending several hours a day in a room that was just weighing me down and holding me back. Now, I work in a room that inspires me.”
All That Stuff!
Many of us retain things because we don’t want to throw them out or we want to save them for others. This is especially apparent with parents and grandparents. Those items take up space physically and energetically. It can help to work with family members on a list of what they really want to save and what is truly important to the parents and grandparents.
Empty nesters may also need to think about whether they will sell and downsize; that requires sifting through what is more important. Getting comfortable with small, feng shui changes prepares them for making the bigger life changes coming.
A house can be cluttered with things that aren’t relevant to the current life we are living, such as a retired nurse with scrubs or a lawyer with college textbooks. We may be saving the good china sets and party gear but no longer host formal parties. Or we may be a parent keeping so much of our kids’ artwork.
Consider what we see as we enter the house. Are the entrances cluttered or stressful to look at? Do they feel welcoming when the family returns home? Do they reflect who the family is?
Learning the lesson of buying with purpose and of donating that which we don’t need can help us change our behavior to be more intentional in how we design the healing spaces we live in.