Have you ever noticed that sense of airy ease in your home just after spring cleaning or giving your space a good decluttering, dusting and vacuuming. That's feng shui at work, rewarding your tidying with better and lighter energy flowing through your home. Pronounced 'fung shway,' according to the International Feng Shui Guild, it's an "art and a science, a study and a discipline, thousands of years old, of wind and water symbolism and energy focusing on one's home or personal space." While practitioners and masters study feng shui for many years, delving into the detailed interplay of natural elements and symbols, you can gather a number of feng shui shortcuts to improve the energy of your space now.
According to holistic health coach Kelly Christmas, owner of The Rock Box shop, where locals stock up on various good luck crystals, stones and feng shui items, many people display thoughtfully chosen crystals and stones in their homes as a simple first step to feng shui energy improvement. "Crystals have been known to promote balance in mind, body, and spirit, not only adding beauty to any environment, but they can also help to move energy and encourage prosperity in all areas of our lives," says Christmas. Different crystals are said to provide different protective or expansive energies such as releasing tension, attracting inspiration or boosting creativity.
Here are some additional, easy steps that help to feng shui your space into calmer energies:
1. Declutter. Creating order on the outside creates inner peace, as supported by feng shui. With junk mail removed from counters, shoes and laundry put away, packages stowed away and craft projects completed and stored, lighter energy can flow. Look to the #lessismore hashtag on social media to be inspired by and join a community of people jettisoning their clutter.
2. Use a bagua map. In feng shui, spaces are broken into zones or sectors, each symbolizing categories such as love and romance, health, helpful people and money. A bagua map lists for each block the ideal colors and items to use in your decor. For instance, display images related to wealth and opulence in your money corner to elicit supportive energy. Your bagua map may also recommend places where houseplants with more rounded petals may be set for good luck and positive energy. You'll find detailed bagua maps in feng shui books and as free images online.
3. Move furniture. Cramped spaces and too-close corners that slow down the energy of your flow can be unblocked by simply pushing a loveseat back and removing a slouchy ottoman. Open up the floor, and your space's energy can flow more freely. "We moved our coffee table to the other couch in our living room and moved an end table and lamp to the other end of the couch," says homeowner Darla Lyons. "It cost absolutely nothing and created an entirely new vibe in the room. We then went room-by-room, moving some things around, and even something as small as making it a habit to push in kitchen counter stools and dining room chairs make a difference."
4. Burn things. Candles, incense, and sage sticks help to balance your space's energy. "To burn is to consume fuel in such a way as to give off heat or energy and usually light," says Christmas. "We find burning candles, incense, smudge sticks or the like to be a way of lifting negative feelings and energy. By invoking your sense of smell, you can tap into another level of your emotions." Plus, "A flame makes a fantastic focal point for meditation and relaxation," Christmas says, so create space for candles and incense stick burning trays that help to clean and restore your space.
5. Use symbolic items. In feng shui, a decorative red envelope containing several coins may be placed in a good luck spot, such as in your money corner, to attract optimal conditions for healthy abundance. Consider lucky bamboo tabletop plants and other houseplants, smooth river stones and other 'lucky items' in a minimalist style to help avoid energy-blocking clutter.
6. Keep electronics out of the bedroom, to relax yourself and your space. Phones, laptops and televisions create noise and prevent you from disconnecting to the hectic energy of your day.
7. Display photos of bright times in your life, of travel and of loving, supportive people in your circle to honor that healthy energy in your space.
Be open to reading your space's feng shui energy, sensing if the energy flow feels airy, clean and mobile. As you practice, you will begin to feel any dull spots and slow energy flow that can remind you to clear away clutter and 'remedy' your feng shui methods. You might want a new crystal to energize a new need such as rest or patience, or you might just feel like moving some furniture to see what happens. It's all about flow and how you feel.