Oprah has a saying, “Please take responsibility for the energy that you bring into this space.” I love this quote because it not only pertains to others that may come into our spaces (though I’m sure that was the intent), but it also relates to the objects and things we choose to have surround us.
Many times people ask me, “What color should I paint this room?”, “Can I have this or that picture displayed?”, “Do I need to have this or that trinket here?” These questions stem from the misunderstanding (often perpetuated by feng shui practitioners) that specific colors, photos, and objects possess some kind of magical powers to bring you more “luck”. First of all, this is NOT true. Specific colors, images, and objects are no more beneficial than any other. It is the meaning that we give these objects that determines their relevance in our surroundings.
My answer to the questions I just mentioned is always the same, “Well, what colors do you like?” “How does that image make you feel?” and “Does that object have any meaning to you?” The answers to those questions help the client determine what is or is not good feng shui for them. The main thing to remember is “If it feels good, it’s good feng shui”, and what makes one person happy is completely different than what pleases another. Feng Shui is highly subjective. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to feng shui. Rather it is a careful evaluation of what does, and does not feel good to you as an individual, despite what you may have read or heard. To help you decide what does, or does not feel good to you, I am providing you with five guidelines to get you started.
1. Live ONLY with things that you love! Too often clients tell me that they have this or that object, painting, piece of furniture that was given to them by someone that they didn’t like (relative, in-law, etc.) and feel that they HAVE to display it in their home. This is absolute nonsense! It’s your home and you have the absolute right to NOT keep or display anything that you either don’t like or that has an unpleasant association for you. Donate, re-gift, or toss anything you don’t love. If the person has the nerve to ask you why you don’t have it displayed you have every right to say that you didn’t feel it went with your decor. If they seem put out by that, that is THEIR problem, not yours!! If you don’t want to make waves (say with your mother-in-law). Then keep the item in a closet and display it when she visits. Problem solved.
2. Be mindful when gift giving. Think twice before you gift someone something that they are going to feel that they have to display in their home unless you are VERY sure that they will love it. Giving someone something to display in their home is along the lines with gifting a pet or even a plant. It puts the receiver in the awkward position of feeling like they need to display or “take care of” the object, whether they wanted it or not. Gift certificates are wonderful alternatives to giving the object itself. This way you will be sure that the person chose something they actually want with no hard feelings.
3. Update your home decor. Tastes change over time. Something that you just “had to have” for your living room ten years ago may not hold the same meaning today. Ask yourself if your home reflects the person you are today, or does it reflect the person you were ten years ago? Take a conscious walk-through of each room in your home. Do the mementos, photos, pieces of art and other objects still have meaning for you or are they simply taking up space? If you no longer love it, give it to someone who does or donate it to charity. This will give you the space you need to update your home to reflect the person you are today.
4. Your surroundings affect your life. Much like a visual affirmation, what we choose to surround ourselves with is a very clear reflection of our interests, tastes, and personality. Homes that are very sparsely decorated may reflect someone who likes to have a lot of control in their life. Someone with a lot of mementos and nick knacks may be someone who is a bit more sentimental and emotional. There is no right or wrong way to decorate you home. As long as you truly love your space and what is in it, that is what is “right” for you. That said, be sure that the items you display reflect not only who you are, but also what you want in your life. Single people frequently display images of single things in their spaces. If you’d like to be in a partnership, start pairing your items up and notice the difference in how you, and your space feel. If you want abundance in your life, luxurious fabrics, pillows, towels, artwork of lush scenery, all promote feelings of abundance.
5. If you no longer love it, need it, use it…then get rid of it! Out with the old and in with the new! One of the best ways to uplift the energy in a space is by getting rid of anything that no longer pleases you…yes, this includes people too! Your home is the place that is supposed to nurture, restore, and rejuvinate you. It is the space that provides you with security, sanctuary and support. Honor your space as you honor yourself.
Take responsibility for the energy you bring into your space and you will find that you’ve created a space that not only looks pleasing, but one that nurtures your body, mind, and spirit. After all, that’s good feng shui!