Thursday, March 21, 2019

6 Strategies to Tackle Clutter at Home

When it comes to Feng Shui, I am a fan of the traditional teachings.  But, I must admit, there is one aspect of Western Feng Shui I am on board with: clearing clutter from living and work spaces. 

Disorganization and clutter can be tiring. It nags at your subconscious to "deal with it". Having to function in it wastes your personal energy. Can't find what you are looking at the moment it's needed? Need to step out of your way to get to something important? It's time to pitch the clutter!

Clutter can be in plain sight, or hidden behind a door.  It may be disguised as a "collection" of stuff gathered over the years (furniture, books, etc.). Or perhaps it's a hobby that has become an addiction (collecting sports cards, shot glasses, magazines, toys, etc.).  We all have clutter that needs to be dealt with at some point.

1. Schedule a day, time and manageable space to get in the mood. Starting with a manageable space gives you the chance to experience the feeling of accomplishment. Unclutter a staircase, hallway, bookshelf or office desk as a good start. It can give you the energy and motivation to tackle the next space. Once complete, schedule the date and space to keep the momentum going.

2. Prioritize a space that creates daily chaos. What is the ROI in Time (Return on Investment) for cleaning the space.  Where do you waste most of your time in looking for stuff? Is it the kitchen, living area, bedroom or a closet? Pick a spot where you immediately benefit from clearing the space.

3. Deal with fear-based clutter. More often then not we have a fear of letting go. People hold on to stuff because of the memories (good and bad), or guilt. Maybe you inherited stuff you really don't want, but feel guilty if you get rid of it.  Fluffy died two years ago, but you still have her bed? Holding on to painful memories can make us stuck in the misery of that pain. Letting go is a way to heal those wounds and move on in life.

Some fears are embedded at an early age. My Mom grew up in the Great Depression. She held on to everything believing some day she might need it. After years this kind of clutter fills garages, attics, basements and storage units. Re-purposing can be a great way to save money in sparse times, but often it just a reason for holding on to things we never use. Holding on to something because one day you might use it is borderline selfish.

Someone less fortunate could make use of stored furniture, clothes or electronics.  When my Mom downsized her home she had to get rid of a lot of old clothes, furniture, and inherited pieces. She told her parish priest she was not happy about getting rid of her stuff. He reminded her she couldn't take a U-Haul to heaven. That's great advice. If you no longer use it, LOSE IT!

4. Get rid of organized clutter. Lean manufacturing has a phrase "just in case equals waste". If the excuse to keep stuff is "just in case" then it's likely clutter.  A friend of mine  has a highly organized closet. Her arrangement included ensembles of multiple different sizes.  She vacuum-sealed very expensive shirts, dresses and suits. She had lost and gained weight multiple times over the years. She kept them to wear again once she lost weight.

But, the reality is she would never wear them again for two reasons. First, the clothes were out of style.  Second, they did not motivate her to lose weight. They were a painful reminder of a life-long struggle with weight. They represented the hard work, commitment and time it would take to lose multiple dress sizes. The clothes became a mountain-sized obstacle to losing weight. But, after donating her clothes, she felt energized and empowered. It was enough to start taking small steps to a healthier lifestyle. Clearing clutter can be therapeutic.

5. If you can't tackle it alone, recruit a friend or relative. But choose wisely. Getting an objective view helps us in the process of letting go. It's hard to see the forest when you live among the trees. Only recruit someone that lives in an organized, clutter-free space. The last thing you need is another clutter-bug to justify keeping your crap. Or, having them adopt your crap for their own cluttered space. Clutter-free people know how to get it done, and get a thrill from helping others do the same. They can help you get the extra energy boost you need to tackle an overwhelming space.

6.  Consider a therapist if it's really out of control. Some people suffer from hoarding disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association:  "People with hoarding disorder excessively save items that others may view as worthless. They have persistent difficulty getting rid of or parting with possessions, leading to clutter that disrupts their ability to use their living or work spaces. Hoarding disorder can cause problems in relationships, social and work activities and other important areas of functioning." It can become a health and safety problem for the occupants.

Less than 6% of the population have a hoarding disorder, so chances are you can tackle the clutter without a psychiatrist. But do not rule out therapy if it helps you deal with letting go of the clutter.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Every House Has An Energy Blueprint

Traditional Feng Shui has four overarching themes to determine the quality of energy in a building. The quality determines the influence on the occupants. Specifically, the influence on health, relationships and finances. The home's sitting direction and year constructed determines this pattern.

These overarching themes define the strength or weakness of the building.  The following describes the four types, in order of Best (1) to worse (4)

1. An energy blueprint good for wealth and health of the occupants.
2. An energy blueprint good for health, but weak for wealth.
3. An energy blueprint good for wealth, but weak for health.
4. An energy blueprint weak for health and wealth.

Fortunately, if the home falls into outcomes 2, 3, or 4 there are methods to create balance.   This is typically done by introducing new elements outside the home. Sometimes the elements naturally exist and nothing needs to be done. But, when a balance is needed, a practitioner may add a water element to the back to support wealth. Examples would be a fountain with flowing water.   A meandering stream on the backside may be a natural solution for water.

Or, they may add a mountain element to the front to support health for the occupants. It sounds mysterious, but a 'mountain' element may exist already. An example is a house across the street, large trees, and of course real mountains.

The difficulty (imho) is specific Feng Shui advice varies by Masters. The differing opinions are whether the pattern warrants correction. Some teach the pattern doesn't matter if a specific trigger is missing from the environment. Others recommend correcting it regardless of surrounding elements. Despite this discrepancy, they tend to have common solutions to balance the building.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Yes, the Force IS with you. It's called Chi and a bunch of other Names Skeptics Hate.

Most people are familiar with the character Yoda from the movie series Star Wars. Yoda wisely told his young apprentice that the "force" is in everything, and it flows through everything, including his apprentice. Imagine the "force" being the energy that connects us all. It is everywhere and part of everything. Yoda was a fictional character, but science confirms everything is made of energy.

Various cultures call it Chi, Ki, Qi (chee) Prana, Virya, etc.  Perhaps science will be able to label these as subatomic particles at some point in our lifetime. But right now loosely defined "energy" is the bridge between the esoteric practices like Feng Shui, Reiki, Law of Attraction, etc. and modern science.

Will Scientists Discover the Nature of  Chi?

When the academic egos are set aside good things happens in science. It seems there are more professionals (scientists, psychologists, physicists, researchers, etc.) willing to share opinion, theories and results from experiments on taboo subjects. Or perhaps, the internet and television are exploding with new media channels creating the illusion of interest from more professionals.

Personally, I am willing to accept overwhelming amount of credible people having experiences as proof enough.  Even if it is currently not possible to prove how it works and why. And this is where science needs to be willing to take it to the next level. Get rid of the fear of academic ridicule. After all, the point of scientific advancement should be discovery, not maintaining we know everything through our current view of the world.

The CERN lab is a great example of being open-minded.The BELIEF in theoretical physics was compelling enough to invest over 13 billion dollars to discover a single particle - the Higgs-boson. And it was just as possible the results would debunk Higgs-boson and particle theory! Imagine...billions of dollars with the risk to wipe out an entire field of academic study, and decades of work. That is a big risk for a group of scientists. But, it proves some are willing to take the risk for discovery. And that is good news.

Are there Scientific Discoveries Hidden in the Ancient Sciences?

It is safe to say with certainty our environment is made of energy. Humans are made of energy. We interact with our environment. Theoretically, Feng Shui teaches that interaction has an influence on us if we are around it long enough. Sometimes the environmental influence is not observable. Results are measured through observation, which have been collected over many, many years.

So why not explore ancient sciences?   Removing the cultural beliefs or religious symbols embedded into old teachings may reveal familiarity with current science. Feng Shui (traditional version) has a connection to binary codes, magnetic energy, and space/time theories and it dates back thousands of years.

It was a way for ancient science to explain nature at work without the advantage of modern technology.

Sometimes we have to pursue what we can't see. Theory, observation and circumstantial evidence has to be good enough until we can begin to even formulate how to prove it. We can't see a radio wave, but we know they exist. The belief, led to discovery, which lead to inventions like radio, television, mobile phones, remote controls, microwave, etc.

History is riddled with unpopular scientific theories that were proven accurate. The likes of Copernicus and Galileo were considered crazy heretics. Once there was compelling evidence to create momentum, belief changed to scientific fact.

Today, we have a particle collider and massive computers to observe the once non-observable in nature. Data is providing a whole new look on the nature of the universe. So perhaps, even by accident, the nature of chi will be defined as a particle, or a group of interacting particles.