Almost everyone I know is trying to “stay fit” or “get in shape” or “lose a few pounds.” Health directives as well as personal experiences have pointed to the value of fitness. There’s no question that healthy diets, consistent work-outs, and a constant vigilance to how we live our lives all contribute to better health. We live longer and live better if we’re in shape. Along with this, we are also convinced that once we’re in shape our life will go better. We’ll be able to write that book, get that promotion, launch that project. Our energy will be boundless.
In all of this shaping up, I propose that you also take time to “shape up” your house and office as well. As a feng shui consultant, I have seen remarkable circumstances and situations unfold as a person incorporates the belief that the condition of your life is mirrored by the condition of your space. In other words, as your house goes, so goes your life. Feng shuiworks on the premise that your space can support your goals, if it’s set up with that in mind. Feng shui is an ancient art of placement that originated in Asia and is now making its way to the West.
In my work as a feng shui consultant, I contend without a doubt that the biggest issue in people’s lives is their clutter. We have expendable income, more opportunities for travel, and more opportunities to buy what we consider important and life-changing items. We’re getting more mail, more e-mail, more phone calls, and faster cars to enable us to get more places during the day. We’re learning to multi-task while on the phone, driving the car and at the office.
As a result of all this input, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Our vision gets hampered by all that we own and all that we have to do. That pet project keeps getting lost in the shuffle. I can see this scenario playing out simply by looking at a person’s house. Keeping in mind that the philosophy of feng shuiis that your space reflects your life, I focus on horizontal surfaces when I hear someone talking about losing their creativity and their vision. I look to see what and how much is stacked in strategic places, because once you lose the ability to see the top of your desk, or the top of a table or a counter, your ability to hold onto your vision is also lost. Clutter becomes no longer just an annoyance, but a serious detriment to moving forward.
If creativity at work is a specific issue, then looking at the desk is an obvious step. It’s easy for things to get piled here because, during the course of a normal day, you don’t always have time to deal with each and every item that comes along. Eventually, there’s no room to work on the desk or you might work on top of the piles. Sometimes co-workers give us gifts which we’re obligated to display. So, a little more space is taken up on that crowded desk. As the space on your desk gets diminished, so does your vision.
A woman named Anne hired me to come to her office, one of many offices in a large publishing company. She called me because she felt stuck and bored. The reality of her situation was that there were stacks of paper, files, magazines, proposals, etc., on every horizontal surface. Her desk, credenza, some extra chairs, the top of the file cabinets and the floor were filled, leaving only a small path to her office chair. It goes without saying she was overwhelmed. I knew that instructing Anne to spend her next free weekend cleaning up her office would have been met with a lot of resistance. I suggested instead she spend the last ten minutes of her day, every day, doing something to clean off her desk. It didn’t matter if one piece of paper got moved, or a whole stack. The important part of this exercise was for her to start a new habit of keeping her space under control.
Initially, Anne admitted she couldn’t imagine how doing such a small thing would make any difference. She was looking for a life vision; she was looking to ignite some long-lost creativity. Moving these little pieces of paper seemed so insignificant. Yet, within a few days of taking some small steps, Anne began to notice differences. It hit her about the fifth day when she made her publisher’s deadline, for the first time ever. She explained to me it was as though she had more time in her day. A week later, she proposed a new management idea to her boss who not only found it workable, but, when putting it into place, re-routed some of the mundane and downright annoying parts of her job to someone else. It was then that Anne decided to pay attention to the fengshui she was doing. The more physical space she uncovered in her office, the more changes she saw relating to her job. After she had finished clearing the desk, she slowly but steadily dealt with all the loose ends around the office. Recently when I returned to see her, there was a place for me to sit, room to comfortably walk around, some additional storage, and her desk was cleared off, ready for new, expansive ideas.
Here are some feng shui ideas to help you declutter so you can find your creative spark at work and anywhere else in your life:
- Manage the stacks of files, papers, books, etc. on your desk to discover the time and energy you need to spark new ideas at work.
- Clear off every last item on the fireplace mantel so your eyes get used to empty space. After a week or two, replace a couple of the things you absolutely love.
- Keep your night-stand clear of extraneous things so your night-time dreams can be creative and free.
- Allow your kitchen counters to breathe in health and well-being by keeping them as clear as possible.
- Be careful the dining room table doesn’t get piled with mail, newspapers, and miscellaneous items. It is here you can nourish those creative ideas just as you nourish your body.
Feng shui works in subtle ways. You have to be careful not to miss the results as they often come tip-toeing softly and unexpectedly. Opening up the physical space of your office or your home and allowing surfaces to be clear and open can bring about clarity and freshness to your life. Sometimes the smallest attempt will bring about the biggest rewards.
Carole J. Hyder has been a Feng Shui consultant since 1992. She is an internationally recognized teacher, speaker, author and trainers. Carole has authored two books ("Wind and Water" and "Living Feng Shui") as well as 2 DVDs and a CD. In 1998 she founded the Wind and Water School of Feng Shui, and has since certified nearly 300 students. Visit Carole's website at carolehyder.com for more information.