THE MOUTH OF CHI – or how to make a good first impression when energy comes a knocking

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 is getting into everyone’s drawers with her new series on Netflix.

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!

CHRISTMAS COLOURS – What do they mean?

We associate some colours, (red, gold and green), with Xmas and once a year we act as though possessed running around streaming anything that doesn’t move (and some things that do – see the slideshow below) with gold bead chains and fake ivy. Or is that just me?

So I was fascinated to find out a bit more about the history of the colours and their meaning more generally.

RED: A fave Xmas colour of mine! While it can traditionally represent the blood of Christ, it can also symbolise the red heart and the teaching of love. That is the spirit of the season to me!

Red was also the colour of Saint Nicholas’s robes – hence translating to Santa’s cool and highly practical pant suit.

Red generally symbolisies love, passion, strength and joy. During the rest of the year it can be a good colour to use where you want to promote these feelings. Possibly in moderation – depending on exactly where that area is in your home and it’s function. Some people can find it too stimulating.

GREEN: Very much related to the northern hemisphere history of Xmas, evergreen branches symbolised..’hang on, it WILL get better and lighter and we will soon be drinking beer on the beach and surfing again’. Or planting stuff.

Holly grows anywhere and in very difficult situations, just like how ivy threatens to take over my back fence here in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. It symbolised Christ’s birth in difficult circumstances. In the middle ages when people couldn’t read, Paradise plays were performed with a Pine tree with red apples representing Adam and Eve’s story. Hence the modern Xmas tree.

Green symbolises fertility, renewal, spring and can restore depleted energies. It is associated with certain areas of the home in Feng Shui and at some point I will do a post on this too.

GOLD: Is the colour of giving. It appears in many different religions (Gold Buddhas, Gold Menorah). It was one of the gifts the three wise men gave in the Christmas story. It is light, warmth, the sun and the stars. All very important in northern hemisphere winter Xmas. It became associated with the Star followed by the three wise men and has traditionally been used as the tree topper star.

Gold symbolises illumination, love, compassion, magic and wisdom. It is precious as in the metal gold. And for many it is a sacred colour, used as adornment in their homes. It is associated with luxury too. Sometimes it’s good to incorporate some into areas of the home where you want to feel abundant, like a study or office. Or wherever you want to feel any of things described above.

I do feel this is a colour to use in moderation though. I went through a gold phase where I had a lot of gold things and quickly felt overwhelmed by the energy of it. While it is a colour of confidence it can become overbearing – just like some overly confident people can!

I would love to hear about your Xmas…. -💞 What colours do you use and why?
💞 Are you a traditionalist?
💞 Or do you like a really unique or contemporary look?

The Colours of Xmas

Acknowledgements- Photos in the slideshow come from Upslash – Toni Cuenca – Aaron Burden – Freestocks.org – Jakob Owens – Rawpixel – Erin Walker.

The art of feeling good.

“I could totally – get fit, solve the world’s problems, figure out my next career move, or at least finish a book, INSERT YOURS – if I had some ME time!”

I hear this a lot from my friends. Beautiful women in their 30’s, 40s, 50’s and beyond who are talented, committed and courageous all longing for a bit of ME time and space.

“Just some time out from my hectic schedule and everyone else’s expectations.”

 

There isn’t any one answer to this issue – we can’t bend time (yet)! But what I know is that taking the time to get clear on how you want to feel everyday (not just what you want someday) is not a selfish act. It deserves you carving out some ME time. When you know how you want to feel everyday you can give to yourself and others more easily and with more grace. And less surly face (ok, maybe that’s just me).

 

Things flow easier. You become more productive in all areas of your life. The truth is that a constant connection with the feelings you have deliberately chosen to feel acts like a guide. For me everything is easier. Because I have made “ease” one of my core desired feelings it is a litmus test. When I have a big decision that needs to be made I ask “Is this going to create ease?”  If no, well forget it then. That doesn’t mean I avoid challenges. Challenge and ease can definitely be friends. It just means that I do not want to encourage and make room for struggle in everything I do. Struggle may find me, but it is easier to give it up than it used to be. I am fully conscious and on board with ease.

 

How do you frame your life this way? I spend a few moments every morning consciously bringing my core desired feelings into my awareness. I let myself feel them – even if the cat has just vomited and I need to be out of the door in 10 mins – I take time to feel ease in my body (unless the cat vomit is on my shoes, in which case I attend to that first). How does ‘ease’ feel for example? Well to me it is kind of slow and relaxed and like a Sunday morning lie in. It feels like everything going well for me that day with minimum stress. It isn’t me in control mode like a mad thing running here and there trying to make all the bits fit like a giant Jenga puzzle. That analogy comes easily to me because it is what my life used to feel like.

 

We all risk depletion in this hectic, crazy world we live in. The information age is well and truly upon us and we can feel overloaded and overwhelmed with possibilities, choices and demands. Being clear on how we want to feel is a way forward, whether you call yourself a seeker (just trying to be more of who you could be) or a goal setter (wanting to achieve it all this time around on the off chance reincarnation doesn’t exist).  It is a grounding practice that creates a daily sanctuary and some lights on the pathway ahead. I can’t see the future, but I can feel my way to my next step and trust my feelings to guide me further.

 

If you want to learn more about the process for discovering your own Core Desire Feelings please visit my Desire Map workshop events at http://www.annetterudd.com/events/