Clutter, identity and your digital life

Photo of flower with clutter quote

Best quote about clutter ever ! It absolutely holds you back, in surprising ways. Clutter can be in a variety of forms..for example, digital clutter..the latest frontier. Have you considered the 5000 emails and 1000 photos on your phone are a type of clutter? They can make you anxious every time you open the phone or at the very least are a reminder of things you need to deal with.

On a deeper level, they can also represent aspects of yourself that are no longer relevant. For example, employment contracts for places that take up space in the filing cabinet or the lingering work or professional emails that are no longer “you”. They can keep you in a past identity.

It is definitely more comfortable to hold on to digital clutter because it appears to take up no real room now our device memory is so large. But it is are taking up energetic space!

So another way to shake yourself loose when you are feeling stuck is to get into the inbox and delete the emails. Even the archived ones and the ones you once thought were crucial! Especially if you recognise that you are not that person anymore or that you don’t want to be associated with that identity. See how it feels! Is this something you could imagine doing? I’d love to know.

There’s a Buddha in my Bathroom.

Statue of Buddha

I have a Buddha statue near my fave lounge spot. A friend commented on its position, and I explained I like to think he loves it cause this is where we meditate. When not being assaulted by the cats or the smell of coffee in the morning.

It got me thinking about the placement of religious statues. I had a friend who had a beautiful Buddha in her bathroom. I was secretly a bit horrified. But let’s be honest, lots of people put Buddha everywhere as a decorator item. It was very ‘in’ for a while. Maybe I just thought we were exempt because my partner had been a member of a Buddhist order and obtained the statue then. I think I had a slight case of “the holier than thou”.

So, should I use religious icons in decorating?

There are a few different thoughts on this. If I am not religious or spiritual should I take icons, like statues of Jesus, those cool ‘day of the dead’ crosses, or a Hindu Ganesh and use them as I want to?

Some die-hard followers are like ‘No way, Jose, get your own icon’! That was a bit like me with the Buddha, but you know, I am not actually a Buddhist. Just someone with mega respect for the dude. I now believe there is a place for anything in your home that inspires you. For whatever reason. Ticking bombs or things that are offensive to your housemates might be the exception. It may be that pictures of Mother Mary really float your boat, even though you have never set foot in a church. Or like me, Hopi Indian Kachina statues are your thing, also though I am clearly not a Hopi Indian – at least not this time around.

Areas of the home that will feel the vibes

In Feng Shui, there are a couple of areas of the house dedicated to remembering influences that help you. These are the Knowledge and Wisdom, and the Helpful people and Travel zones (or ‘guas”) generally found on the front left and the front right third of your house respectively. Both are significant areas to have images that have higher wisdom or helpful energy about them. I think this is the case even if you don’t feel a strong pull to that icon. Think of it this way, probably millions of people have imbued these figures with love and devotion and related to them as sacred. I do think some of that comes with the item whether it is made from gold or is a cheap knock off from Bali.

Times are a-changing, and quickly. People are searching for meaning, love and comfort at home. And images can bring us that even if we are not overtly religious or spiritual. Even when we don’t understand why we just know, they look or feel right. There are some bonus vibes there.

So, if you want to put a Buddha in your bathroom – go right ahead.

No judgement here!

Love to hear your thoughts. Does a Buddha in the bathroom float your boat, or a cross on the wall bring you peace?

Let me know – where have you have used icons in your decorating?

The mouth of chi – or how to make a good first impression when energy comes a knocking

Woman welcoming at front door

I loved writing that. The Mouth of Chi. It sounds like something from that completely mental TV show Monkey, that used to be on in the 1970s. Back then I didn’t know the difference between whacky Japanese TV and ancient Chinese philosophy.

So, what is ‘chi’ (pronounced ‘chee’, not ‘chai’ like that delicious beverage)?
Chi is the energy inherent in all things. Think of it as life force, something that flows through everything including inanimate objects. Which makes it definitely something you want to keep flowing to you in your body, life and home. Feng Shui is the art of aligning your home with this energy and understanding its flow to bring good fortune and health.

Chi and your home

I was recently asked for my thoughts on how you can make sure your home has good energy that flows throughout the house. One way is to get the energy into your home in the first place. Wanting to attract more positive vibes and opportunities, especially some job opportunities, I decided to really look into the Feng Shui concept of the Mouth of Chi (pun intended) and see what it had to offer.

In Feng Shui, the MOUTH of Chi is the entrance to your home, especially the door. Which kind of makes sense. The front door or doors in my case are like a big old mouth ready to take you into the body of the home. Therefore, the Chinese are really keen on making it a grand entrance. The more welcoming it, the more likely you will experience great opportunities.

The first thing I did was check for just a few of the well-recognised problems.

1. Can people actually see the front door and entrance?
Well no. I realised it had become so utterly overgrown with large bushes and a tree that I could no longer see people in the driveway 10 metres away let alone the street. Some rash and impulsive pruning ensued, and it really made a difference. And I have to say that we felt an immediate difference. Everything was lighter and brighter. I don’t think your home needs to be totally exposed to the street, we bought this home because of its hedging and private feeling, but at some point, you probably need to weigh up the balance. If people cannot find your house then they literally won’t see you, energy will pass you by, so making some compromises is essential. On that note, our 2-metre hedges will soon be back to 1 metre again!

2. Is the pathway clear to the home and is it kind of meandering?
The ancient Chinese loved a good meander. The theory being that energy slows on the approach and wends and winds, rather than rushes along straight-arrow type paths. This was actually Ok in my case. The drive and path are relatively straight but taken as a whole they are softened by planting on either side giving it more of a flowing feel. I am still considering adding something to one sharp corner to make the whole thing look and feel more appealing. We had already completed a big clean-up of the driveway from leaf litter, and so it was already feeling better. It reminded me though of how easy it is to let those things build up, quite literally our leaf litter in autumn could cover a small child. This type of garden build-up can be deterring to energy (and people) who might want to drop by.

3. Are the front doors solid and free from crap?
Feng Shui puts great emphasis on front doors. They are literally the mouth, so they need clean teeth if you like. My front verandah was overtaken with daddy long legs and cobwebs, so the teeth required a really good clean! We also have doors with glass in them. This is not recommended for safety and security reasons. A lot of Feng Shui reflects our human emotions and psychology, so that makes sense. Yes, I do feel exposed when the mailman comes to the front door, and I am still in my PJs at 9.30am, and he can see straight in. I knew this was an issue and had spoken to my Feng Shui teacher and she suggested I keep the blinds down on both doors. Loving the light, I hadn’t been doing this, but I have made a commitment to do this all the time for a month to see how it feels.

Making some changes to make the front entrance more welcoming

So, what’s changed?

Feng Shui is really about good design principles. The changes I made were often just common sense. It is also always focussing firstly on what you can remove. People get deterred by the additions and cures recommended by Feng Shui practitioners such as wind chimes and bamboo flutes but before it ever gets to that the first thing is to remove clutter, debris and renew and reenergise. Often this is all that is needed to turn a situation around.

One thing I found interesting is that as I had let things become more overgrown outside with the spring and summer growth, I was really feeling stagnated particularly in the job space. No interesting opportunities seemed to be coming, or they were not panning out. Our front doors enter into the career zone of my home (and part of my front veranda is there as well). I will write more about the concept of zones (or Guas in Feng Shui) in another blog but suffice to say it as an area I wanted zinging.

I am pleased to say that since the changes last week I have already had 1 person contact me about an opportunity. I may not take it, but the energy of being sought out is very different to what was happening! My intention is starting to manifest with the energy of my home supporting it.

I ‘d love to know if any of you have had similar experiences with making changes to the entry to your house?

Is this something you might try?
And would anyone be interested in hearing about the Yin and Yang energy related to home entries?
Annette xx

Review – “Tidying up with Marie Kondo” Netflix series

Marie Kondo

CLUTTER- It’s modern day challenge. I can’t imagine too many cave people stressing about the state of the cave. If you had too much wildebeest in storage and Santa had brought everybody, including nana, a new club or axe, it was probably a welcome problem and time to move caves.

In fact, in the form of Feng Shui, I was trained in decluttering is a fairly recent addition as a first step in the process of renewing a home’s energy. Again the ancient Chinese were probably not wall to wall with drawers of Ikea Allen keys, manuals for toasters you no longer own and photos of their cats (or maybe they had their equivalent).

So Marie Kondo’s new series on Netflix is timely (and no doubt deliberately timed). It’s New year- we all want our caves to feel organised, peaceful and supportive of our goals for 2019.

I have watched quite a few episodes (running time around 40+ mins each) and what I like is that if you are not familiar with her work, you still get the basics of her method which is all about tidying in categories through a staged process. Once complete you feel liberated and are more likely to be able to maintain the home in its super organised state. Or at least find a pair of socks in under a minute. And with fewer belongings in your road. Of course, you need to commit to bringing less in again. So you still need to make that fundamental mind shift in how you view your home and possessions and this is where I think this series shines.

I’m sure it feels a bit strange to some to hear Marie talking about the importance of the energy in belongings and the home itself. Although I have read she doesn’t attribute it as a direct influence she was an attendant maiden in a Shinto Shrine for 5 years. Shinto credits everything with a life force – animals, rocks, people, places and objects. This is the crux of her method and why I have a bit of a crush on this organisational Guru.

Marie’s focus is much gentler and kinder than the other recent Netflix decluttering offering, “Consumed” where you feel people are being forced into realisations about themselves. Although both shows end up with piles of belongings on the floor to emphasise the amount of crap the participants have, Marie takes her people through a process of finding those objects they want to KEEP and CHERISH because well, they SPARK JOY. Unlike “Consumed” where people feel embarrassed, full of self-loathing and are asked to get rid of stuff they may find hard to part with. Even when the tower of Tupperware threatens to topple and kill them, this is still too big an ask for some. In that particular episode of Consumed, the woman actually ended up storing it in her in-law’s garage at the end of the process!

“Tidying Up” gives credence to the idea our house is our sanctuary and a place to be creative. We want to be surrounded by things that give us great pleasure. And for those who find it difficult to figure that out there is usually some light bulb moment, like the episode with Frank and Matt where eventually one of them (sorry can’t remember which one! – it’s Marie Kondo blur in my mind), recognised he had moved from being emotionally closed and completely in the dark about which items of clothing gave him any joy, to be able to share more with his partner. Sorting your crap out individually and together definitely can move relationships.

One of the most moving bits of seeing her in action is her ritual of introducing herself to the house, where she kneels in a spot and takes a moment to connect, gently patting the floor. She asks the homeowners to sit quietly and envision what they want from their house-what their intention is for their home. People are so surprised and moved by their own response to this moment. It is a moment that connects everyone to the energy present in people, places and belongings. I LOVE that she is conveying that message across in such an authentic way.

Setting an intention is so important as a first step. If you are not clear on what you want to achieve – whether it’s feeling peace, joy, inspired or just plain mentally healthier in your home, you run the risk of just stopping midstream and losing focus – potentially with a pile of kitchen utensils in the middle of the floor. Yeah, so from my experience don’t skip that bit!

So, if you are a Netflix subscriber and want a bit of New year motivation to get into the junk room, (I will be doing a whole blog post on this soon), I recommend it as 40 mins well spent. You can even peruse the episode descriptions and find the one that seems most relevant to you such as empty nesters, the family with young children, etc.

Until next time – Happy New year and Happy Tidying!