Energize your life by organizing your space

Last Saturday, my daughter and I went to a feng shui workshop at our local arboretum.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese system that studies people’s relationships to the environments in which they live. The class taught us to apply the ancient eastern principles to western life, helping us arrange our spaces to improve our lives.
And the beautiful arboretum was the perfect spot to think about this discipline of placement.
We began the day with introductions, and each person had a special reason for coming to the workshop. One woman said she hates housework. She wants to de-clutter her house so cleaning is easy and she can get on with her life.
Another lives in a big old farmhouse and says she loves simplicity. Her life is already simple, but she’s always looking for more ideas.
I could identify with the first one, whose house needs de-cluttering. And I certainly envied the second who already had achieved simplicity.
For years, I have been very interested in the art of feng shui. I have a shelf of books on the subject and have tried to arrange my house according to its principles.
For me, feng shui is not an obsession but a guideline. I like the openness. I like the emphasis on light and water, and on plants and trees. I like the elimination of clutter that feng shui calls for.
Let’s begin with light and water. Feng shui requires you to open your drapes wide in the morning, and light dark places in your house and your heart. And it’s nice if you can have some moving water—a waterfall, a fountain, a fish tank, or even a percolator of coffee.
What’s more important is plenty of healthy plants and trees. According to Nancilee Wydra, author of “Designing Your Happiness: A Contemporary Look at Feng Shui,” the Chinese revere old trees much like they revere a venerable sage.
“Even when it doesn’t make economic sense, roadways are often routed around old trees,” writes Wydra. “Cutting down an ancient tree without replacing it by planting others elsewhere is an ominous action that invites disaster.”
Feng shui is all about creating life energy, which the Chinese call “chi.” And anything that creates clutter creates blocks in the flow of chi.
So Melinda Smith, our teacher, recommended starting with one space and making it more functional. Do you have a dining room table that’s piled high with papers? Start by clearing it off so it can be set for dinner.
Then gradually progress through your house, picking up clutter and increasing the flow of chi. Place things where they should be, eliminate objects that have negative feelings attached to them, and fix or get rid of broken items.
This side of 60, many of us begin to think about down-sizing. What a wonderful opportunity to simplify. Even if you aren’t moving into a smaller home, sorting through and organizing your things will help increase your life energy.
So remember the principles of feng shui as you look around your house. Can you increase the light and add flowing water or healthy plants? Then, as you eliminate clutter, think about the wonderful life you are creating.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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