We’ve adjusted to a new normal over here, but let me tell you, it’s not pretty. My youngest can’t find his shoes. I’ve become air traffic control for all things Zoom, and I’ve watched as my sons drop things on the floor only feet away from where they belong as if in slow motion. All to say it’s getting sticky over here.
So much change. We negotiate a new normal, then that changes too. It’s easy for all of us to find ourselves reacting to the limitations of sheltering in place even as restrictions begin to lift. Maybe we’re facing discomfort, recognizing our part in maintaining the status quo, or grieving the collective suffering of ourselves and the people we love. Many of us are regularly moving into our version of the big three: fight, flight, or freeze. Old patterns – the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors we thought we’d already decluttered – show up. Those habit grooves sometimes feel wide and deep.
Luckily, achieving some sort of static perfection is impossible, so we can let that go. Instead, we can see how quickly we can meet our fear and resistance and come back to equilibrium. Feng shui isn’t going to stop us from feeling our frustration, anxiety, or ennui. But, it can help to remember that our inner and outer worlds often mirror each other. And that is when feng shui becomes a very useful set of tools. We can shape our physical environment to find as much ease as possible within the constraints of life, even when sheltering in place or challenging old beliefs and grievances. And, right now, I’m all about creating some ease. Let me show you what I’m doing for each of the big three.
I can tell you exactly when I’ll fall right into my frustration groove: 3:30pm on Thursday afternoons. I’ll be done with wrangling kids and loading dishes and pushing up against the general resistance to bedtime and tooth brushing. I’ll be done with feeling helpless to solve all the things happening out there and in here. Usually, I sneak into our home office, have a good angry cry, and then re-emerge to tackle a few of these:
Channel the fire. We can stay in a mental groove where anger compounds, or, we can do something beneficial with its energy. There are plenty of things that need our encouragement to change. Write a letter or make a donation or a call. Considering the state of things, you might want to set up a small writing area with envelopes, a handful of favorite pens, and a few stamps. Don’t let perfectly good indignation go to waste; let it move through you.
Cool it. Grab a glass of water to drink, splash some cold water on your face and pulse points, spend a few minutes gazing out a window or at an aquarium, focus on deep, watery colors in your home or wardrobe, or add a glass vase with fresh flowers or a few sculptural leaves.
Think yin. Create at least one place for yourself to find physical, emotional, and visual rest. Emphasize the yin qualities of soft, still, dark, horizontal, and flat. Think soft textures, dim lighting, and clear, flat spaces such as counters, tables, and beds.
Take a screen break. Screens and electronic devices are associated with the fire element. If you’re feeling hot under the collar regularly, commit to a short break. Try to find a balance between staying informed and feeling overwhelmed.
Fix a splinter. A feng shui splinter is anything that feels like a paper cut every time you pass by, small, energy vampires that add up over time. Maybe it’s time to put a hamper in the bathroom to catch the clothes your kids cast off, oil a squeaky door hinge, or move that table you bump into every day.
Here, we’ve noticed two flight patterns when things get rough. Sometimes, it looks like actual flight, clearing out and jumping on a bike or into the car and getting away for a bit. Other times, flight looks like dissociation, mentally vacating the premises. Either way, these are a few feng shui go-to’s for staying present and accounted for:
Get grounded. Focus on the earth element by repotting plants in fresh potting soil. Bonus points for ceramic or terracotta containers. Plants don’t need repotting? Get outside and weed, mulch, rake, or mow.
Clear out space. When you’ve got a lot on your mind, visual clutter can feel oppressive and make you want to make a run for it. Set a timer for 15 minutes and create some space. Empty a sink of dishes, clean out a drawer, or clear a desk or table surface.
Swab the decks. The earth element is wide, flat, horizontal. That means your floors are an expanse of earth element. Vacuum, sweep, or mop to reconnect to the horizons within your home. Take the broom to your outside spaces too.
Take the power position. If fear or anxiety is on the rise, use the feng shui power position. Sit, lay, or stand so that you can see the door to the room you’re in. If you are working from home, sit facing the door and put something supportive behind your back, like a plant or photograph you love.
This groove can feel deep. It’s the vacant look in my bored kids’ eyes and the days none of us want to go through the motions, the days we realize it’s 2pm and we are all still in our pjs. Step one: peel yourself out of the pajamas. Then, depending on the energy you can summon, try one of these:
Add movement. Turn on a fan, hang a windchime or mobile, light a candle and watch the flame flicker, or turn on a tabletop foundation. Adding something that moves can get the ball rolling, so to speak, creating an environmental affirmation that says it’s okay to flow.
Refresh your bed. Strip the bed linens and send through the wash, plump the pillows, dust the bed frame, and air out the mattress. We’re looking to freshen up anything that feels heavy or lethargic.
Clean the windows. Want to see things more clearly or shift perspective? Get out the squeegee. Clean windows are the equivalent of clear eyes.
Shake it up. There are lots of good reasons to move things around, but when you are feeling stuck and stagnant, it’s time to give that sleepy chi a nudge. Move a few pieces of furniture, change where you drink your morning coffee, or change a few photographs or decorative objects around.
Many have reached out to me for support, wanting to add feng shui to their self-care toolbox. Since I can’t come home with you yet, Breathe Together Yoga is bringing the next best thing. We’re taking the conversation online with an 8-week course in feng shui basics. Join me from anywhere! I’ll be teaching you how to use the tools of feng shui to develop your own plan and create a home you love, that loves you back. We’ll gather via Zoom. Recordings will be available so that the timing flexes to your schedule. For additional support in applying what you learn, there will be an optional private Facebook group. Class begins June 18th and I cannot wait to support you and your home. Register here.
Originally published at Breathe Together Online.