Monday, January 21, 2013

The Flow of Life

Why in Feng Shui do we look at the flow of energy in a home? On the surface it is because the energy of our spaces affects how we feel while we sit in our favorite chairs, eat our meals and sleep in the comfort of our beds. On a deeper level, the flow reflects much more. It mirrors our inner world -- our emotions, our ideas, our hopes, our challenges.

When taken in this context, the clutter in one room becomes more than a mess that weighs on you every time you see it, but a symbol of a block to achieving your dreams you are facing within yourself.

Clutter,while just one Feng Shui challenge, is one of the most prevalent. Everyone has clutter, whether a basement full of boxes or a desk full of papers. It's also one of the most noticeable and greatest blockers of chi flow. Often the less noticeable chi influencers, the ones that we live with day in and day out without even realizing them to be an issue (e.g., empty walls, prevalent colors, large windows -- the list goes on), are the ones that can have the greatest impact on changing the flow of a space. Before making any changes though, it's important to understand how in fact you do get the energy to flow better.

First let's determine how the energy should flow. A river is a good metaphor for this. Consider a fast flowing river with many rapids, and hence rocks, to navigate. While this may be a kayaker's dream, if you had this kind of energy in your home, you may enjoy an initial adrenaline rush when you first arrive, but after a while it can wear you down. On the opposite spectrum is a river that barely flows at all. Sure it's good for a leisurely row on a sunny afternoon, but soon you'll find you haven't gotten very far, and a lethargic feeling may settle in so you don't feel like doing much of anything, much less focusing on your goals and aspirations.  

What you want to create is a flow somewhere in between. The chi should flow like a gentle meandering river, constantly flowing, not too fast and too slow.

How do you translate this to your home? The flow of energy can be initially determined by what attracts your attention. For instance, if you walk into your home and there is no immediate focal point, the energy can remain stagnant. The same goes for each room.

Once you have the initial focal point, what else attracts your attention? Is it many small objects throughout the room that don't seem to have a clear connection to one another? This can scatter the chi, sending it off in many directions while also speeding it up because there is no clear single focus. Perhaps there is a large piece of furniture that takes over the room. This can significantly slow the chi in a room.

The goal would be to have the energy in a room and a home circulate, always having something to draw its attention to keep the energy flowing. Hanging artwork or pictures on walls is a great way to keep the energy flowing. This doesn't mean a wall needs to be full to create great chi -- one beautiful piece you love is enough.

There are also many subtle ways to direct the chi, for instance through textures and colors. A wall painted in earth tones will typically slow down the energy of a space while bright colors will increase the energy. Consider the textures in the room -- a silver coffee table would support a smoother and quicker flow versus a shag carpet, which can be more grounding and slow the energy.

Feng Shui offers many options, all of which cannot be covered in a single blog post, for manipulating the flow of chi. Begin by looking around your home to identify chi blockers or other chi influencers. This small bit of detective work will help you to understand whether the chi is flowing like river rapids or a stagnant creek. Once you establish good chi flow in your home, you'll begin to see it reflected in your life.

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