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In my early twenties, I used to think that certain external things would finally make me complete, happy. A great boyfriend, a house, a high-paying job, a successful career were going to allow me to reach the ultimate happiness.
"When I stop living with roommates in a tiny New York apartment, I will start caring for my space and really personalize it". "When I get married, I will buy a house". "When I get a house, I will make it perfect". "When I have more money, I will buy this couch and that table, and make it perfect". "When I have my career figured out, I will start working on my internal blockages".
There were always new conditions that needed to be met before I could be happy and work on myself.
But as I started obtaining some of the things I had always wanted, I realized this pursuit for external things would be endless and probably never lead me to the place of personal contentment that I sought.
I realized that you could still desperately want certain things like meet your soulmate or have kids, or money or a lot of great friends or a beautiful home, but you should still seek harmony today and work on the harmony in your home for more happiness, right now.
And the more you work on your spiritual quest, the more you realize all these ideas were also conditioned (someone else’s ideas). And as you awaken to this fact, your priorities start shifting naturally.
How do I start undoing the conditioned mind?
You can focus on spiritual matters; you can cultivate your “chi”, your life energy, and do it constantly.
Feng Shui is an internal mindset, a spiritual discipline. Working on your home, making it peaceful and vibrant will automatically trigger internal things in you, which will bring you more joy and more happiness. Cultivate your house chi, and cultivate your own chi.
Here are a few ideas to implement right away in order to shift your chi by shifting your home’s energy:
1/ Personalize your home décor. A client of mine found a pair of snakes at a store and sent me a photo of them, with the text: “Is this a good idea to buy and put it in my love corner?” I was horrified. I immediately felt like responding “No! Snakes can bite. You will invite discord in your new romantic partnership.” But then I paused. I asked her why she was drawn to them and what they represented for her. She said: “ I saw them and their passionate but flexible postures and immediately thought that they were feeling immense love for each other!” I was baffled. But I still told her to go ahead and get them. Why? Your emotions or gut feelings around an object will never change. This was her depiction of true love. This gut feeling around objects supersedes any rigid“Feng Shui” concepts. If traditional objects representing deep love such as mandarin ducks don’t speak to you, best not to bother.
2/ Have a garden or a house filled with plants. Plants have innate positive “chi”, clear the air of allergens, and really do wonders for us, humans. Remember where we came from: we certainly did not come from square constructions and sharp designer furniture. We came to be in nature, and nature will always be soothing to us. Much like caring for animals, caring for plants and the action of planting and watering elevates our “chi” and makes us truer, more grounded. You are known to kill your plants or are afraid that they will die if you travel a lot? Get some silk flowers, succulents, plants that do not need too much maintenance.
3/ Have an altar or a peaceful corner where you can read and reflect. This altar could be decorated with candles, books, spiritual figures of your choice and objects with inspirational symbols. But it could also be a dimly lit area where you can lounge or read in complete peace, without the disturbing sounds of electronics. It doesn’t have to be anything official like “a meditation room”, but it should be your private and chosen place of respite.
4/ Get rid of all the negative/bad/old memories that keep haunting you. Whenever you look somewhere in your home or room, it should have positive associations. I often see art that makes people sad in their homes. And the sadder they already are, the sadder art I see on their walls, like their art is a mirror of their inner life. Stop the cycle! Photos that are bitter sweet, of an ex, for example, never make us feel good. There is always a feeling of “missing” or an association with the break up that will make us sad. If you miss someone who died, and want to have pictures of them, choose pictures from when the person was healthy and happy, not from your visit at the hospital.
5/ Avoid making “intellectually sound” decisions in spite of your gut telling you otherwise. These decisions go like: “doing a modern kitchen will increase the resale value even though I really like my old cabinets”, “my mom will probably be resentful if she doesn’t see her painting up on the wall”, “I keep these photos of my ex because this person has meant a lot to me and maybe I won’t find love like that again”, “I fell in love with an apartment that was a walk-up but I didn’t take it. Instead I chose one I don’t love but it has an elevator”. In the same vein, try not to follow trends you don’t truly love. Following trends avidly leads to overspending and owning too much “stuff”. Try to shop for quality or vintage pieces that you will love owning for a long time. Furnishing a temporary rental or a sublet? Go to flea markets where you will find great finds at the same price as Ikea! And you’ll do the planet a favor!
The more you give weight to external considerations when you make a decision, the lower your energy gets. Constantly doing this kills our inner trust in our instincts.
There is often a way around the objective stuff. If you are young and in good health, you should consider the walk-up apartment over the elevator one you dislike! There are benefits to walking up and down the stairs and many delivery services will help you carry your groceries. However, you can never get past the discomfort that you feel in certain spaces and around certain objects that are just “convenient”, or “a bargain”, or bought because the latest decorating blog says you should buy them.
I remember fondly my awkward six-floor walk up in Soho, New York City, I was subletting and shared with a roommate. It was not mine and it was already furnished, but it was charming, and because I had finally understood that feeling good was supposed to happen NOW, not when I get all these external things, I truly personalized and enjoyed it very much. I also remember fondly my apartment in an old area of Buenos Aires that hardly anyone thought was a good idea for me to rent. I remember that I made it my own, and every one came to visit because I had made it into a cozy space. But I still remember the old voices, internal and external, that were telling me to rent another apartment, in another area, etc. I had to trust that I knew what was best for me, not what others thought in their conventional wisdom. I just acted on it.
And I will leave you with this anonymous phrase I read somewhere and that stuck with me:
Ego says: ”Once everything falls into place, I’ll find peace. Spirit says” Find peace and everything will fall into place.”
So, please, choose your home and your furniture with your guts, not with your head. I would extend it to your clothes, too. Doing this constantly and mindfully makes us more grounded and happier. Try not succumb to trends and fads, and go about your life with your own style. And do not forget to de-clutter often!
I am convinced that Feng Shui would be much more widespread if we really knew its origins and its relationship with the overarching philosophy conveyed in the I-Ching and in the Dao (which is derived from the I-Ching).
In this post, I would like to highlight the top 10 things you might be getting wrong in your home Feng Shui.
First, I just want to reassure you that there is almost always a remedy to "not-so-good" Feng Shui. So, although you might have done things wrong for a while, it is rarely beyond repair!
So please pay attention to these common Feng Shui mistakes beginners often make:
1/ Not decluttering properly before installing any Feng Shui remedies. Most of us dread the idea of decluttering. We hold on to our possessions for fear of missing. But it is absolutely necessary to declutter before starting doing some Feng Shui work on your home. Feng Shui has “eyes” in every nook and cranny, so do not try to hide the clutter. Hidden clutter still drains your energy! Example: I had a hoarder client who had a spotless house, except for her garage where she was hiding gigantic mounts of “stuff”. This explained to me why my client had not obtained the life she wanted: clutter was simply impairing the chi by burdening her.
2/ Hanging big paintings and photos on top of places where you sleep or lay down (bed, couch, or chairs). Safety is number one, so never place anything heavy on top of the bed. Yes, I know, it’s what designers do in just about any bedroom. Sorry, heavy art!
3/ Positioning beds, sofas, desk chair with your back to the door. You may not feel this consciously but in order to feel safe, we need to be in the "command position" (i.e. we need to know that no one is going to come from behind and surprise us). Our amygdala, a primitive part of our brains, is conditioned to be on alert when we cannot see what is behind us and will be preparing to respond in a flight or fight mode. If you cannot change your desk position, I recommend attaching a small rear-view mirror on top of your computer screen so that you can see what is behind you at all times.
4/ Seduced by a beautiful object that does not fit the criteria of “comfort and safety”. Sharp edges, wobbly furniture, a painting above the bed, prickly cacti inside the home (and in accessible areas of the garden) are all very poor ideas. We react strongly and subconsciously to threatening objects and situations. A client I had was once almost seduced by an Italian designer table with a sharp edged glass top and with feet that designed a “V” which formed two threatening “arrows”. That's a no-no.
5/ Beware of “tortured art”. I had a client once who absolutely refused to remove her “drowning woman” photo series by a famed photographer. While her life otherwise became extremely fulfilling, she has not yet been able to find love. Pictures of single people especially if depicted as sick, lonely, or unhappy are not at all good for you, so remove them! Look around and question those objects, art and photos! What do they communicate to you?
6/ Only paying attention to one of the areas of your life you desperately want to improve. Say you absolutely want to get wealthy (wealth gua). Make sure you also enhance the areas that will help you get the abundance you want. Are you planning to get wealthy through your excellent reputation or customer service (fame and reputation area)? Is it through opportunities coming your way or thanks to a mentor or a boss (in the helpful people area)? Is it through getting recognized at your work (your career area)? or if you are a teacher, a coach, or a student, is it through your knowledge and self-cultivation area? Everything is connected, so do not focus on one thing only.
7/ Beware of overusing one element for the sake of creating a “color palette”. The 5 elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. Some designers (and clients I have had) have a very strong preference for one or two of the 5 elements, but this is detrimental to the feel of a room. As an example, many people report arguments and fights in houses where the Metal presence is too high (White, grays, metallic objects). Earthy homes (with lots of yellows, ceramics, square shapes) can be too “stuffy” and the energy can become stale, etc. So always balance the 5 elements in every room.
8/ Focusing too much on a specific outcome. Say you want to salvage your love relationship. You activate your Romance gua and your relationship still falls apart. What happened? You are activating an area that needed a renewal of energy flow. Feng Shui works in unexpected ways. It could be for your own good that the Chi flowed in a way that made this relationship dissolve. So don’t hold on too tight to a specific outcome., or you might miss the opportunity to live what life has in store for you. This relates to core teachings of Taoism.
9/ Treating your home like it’s not made to be lived in. There is a tendency in Interior Design to make “perfect” interiors. Just like you want to avoid elemental imbalance, you want to avoid decorating with materials and furniture that are so precious that you feel guilty or anxious when they are in use. Example: when your catwants to sit on that “perfect” velvet chair, or that you scold your kid when they bring toys to play in your “perfect” living room. Taking kids and pets as an example, they have a wonderful life energy (“chi”) so letting them run around might actually manifest the luck you are so eager to find!
10/ Keeping broken items in need of repair. Objects need to be in use or they should not be in your home. Never save for later. If you don’t care enough to repair them right now, donate them or sell them “as is” to someone with better handy skills.
When in doubt, do not hesitate to book a consultation with me.
I offer virtual consultations as well.
"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now." (Goethe) This has a lot to do with my career and it also reminds me of the importance to follow through, work hard, surmount obstacles and accept any outcomes. It also reminds me of the magic of creation.Read More