May 25, 2010

Tuesday Transformations: Feng Shui Your Mind

Our eyes do so much for us. They translate the perceptions of the outside world, to guide our inside thoughts. When we are in a state of chaos, it is usually no surprise that our surroundings usually reflect that state of chaos. How many times have you felt disorganized, then looked around and thought, “Man I need to clean this room…”

Why is it that our environments affect our internal states so profoundly? As Dana, a fellow Tumblr blogger puts it, it’s Feng Shui, and it’s bigger than just how to arrange your pictures on the wall. As famous Swiss psychologist, Carl G. Jung, said, “What we deny, fear or don’t address consciously will visit us as fate.”

Our environment and how chaotic, peaceful, or energizing it is, starts with our present state of mind. On the other hand, having a change of environment can change your state of mind just as influentially as a personal epiphany. It is a symbiotic relationship.

Are you having a difficult time reaching your greatest desires in your job, family life, or relationships? Take a look around your home first. You might notice certain parts of your home are disorganized, or make you feel uncomfortable to stay for long periods of time. Are there the remnants of a past relationship? Is one side of a room crowded with hanging photographs, while the other is barren?

Just like any part of our life, we are drawn to specific parts of a room or environment. Is it any secret as to why coffee shops arrange their stores the way they do? How about restaurants or your favorite clothing shop?

How do we take control of our minds, and our environments? As I wrote in my book, Pure Thoughts for Pure Results, we often hold onto specific thought patterns because we have set conditions on our happiness, and imagined the outcome to our problems already. When we set those conditions, and “know” the outcomes of our problems (which is regularly not self-serving), our thoughts will repeat over and over again in our mind. Then our minds will do everything in their power to actually make those thoughts become reality!

Which is why our houses begin to look like rat’s nests, or our offices go days while your mail piles up on your desk. We take our internal thoughts, and spew them out into our external actions!

Our first step to mental and environmental freedom? De-Clutter your home, your closet, your office, your car. It’s not easy to do this alone! We become so emotionally attached to physical items, placing sentimental value on them, as if they were people or experiences… But it is for this very reason that we have to de-clutter.

A prime example is a post-breakup de-cluttering of your belongings. You say you’re over your ex, but when you see the first outfit you ever wore to one of your dates, you tear up and can’t let it go. This is because of the warm memories you have of that day, not the outfit itself.

This is when we need to use the power of observation, as taught in Pure Thoughts for Pure Results. Step outside of the situation, and objectively look at the clothing. Will this memory go away if you get rid of the outfit? NO. Now ask yourself some questions of practicality… Is it outdated? When was the last time you wore it?

In fact, here is a list of questions to ask yourself as you are de-cluttering:

  • What is the purpose of this item? (Is that outfit a quality piece that you’d where again, or is it worn to the point of a dishrag?)
  • Do I use it anymore? When was the last time I used this item? (Be specific. 6 months ago, or 6 days ago? If it’s over the 6 month mark, it’s time to trash it.)
  • Is it significant to me? Why? (For instance, is it an heirloom, or is it the outfit above.)
  • Is it dangerous to keep it? (Old kitchen appliances would be a great example of this.)
  • Have I already replaced it? (We often replace items without knowing it.)

These same questions can be applied to your everyday thoughts! Is your thinking outdated, habitually negative, or based off of past experiences? You could be keeping yourself from the life of your dreams, because you’ve already determined it is impossible based off of XYZ. Write down your discoveries—you’ll be surprised how ridiculous some of your generalizations really are.

When we are ready to get rid of some of our stuff, we can ask ourselves these questions:

  • Can I give this item at a thrift store? (Really consider this. If the item is too worn, or dangerous to use, the answer is always a resounding NO.)
  • Can I gift this item to someone I know? (It’s always best to ask the person you’re considering, if they want it to begin with. If they already indicated a need, this is always a practical option.)
  • Can I recycle this item in my home? (If you’ve found that you use it sparingly, but it’s in good shape, think about other ways you can use it. If that outfit was a pretty dress with a vivid pattern, maybe you can use the fabric for colorful picnic napkins, or the covering to a storage box.)

Now think about your thought patterns. Can you learn from them? Or do you need to reform them altogether?

How do we implement this strategy? Repetition. The mind best responds to changes in behavior and patterns of thinking over a period of 30 days. Don’t just de-clutter the part of your home that needs the most attention. Make a firm goal of de-cluttering each area, regardless of what you believe the need is, by the end of 30 days. Every day, when your thoughts wonder to that negative outcome, or that condition on your happiness, take a moment to visualize your ideal outcome and life. No matter how ridiculous it seems, continue to envision that dream house, dream job, dream relationship. And then choose to be happy, over and over, and over again!

Having a goal gives our minds something to focus on. When we accomplish a goal, our bodies reward us with the happy hormones and chemicals associated with accomplishment. And reward is the greatest way to cement a pattern of behavior.

You’ll find that your life has significantly changed over the course of 30 days, and not just because your house is clean, rearranged, or colored differently. It’s because both your mind and your environment are at peace with one another, and you’re moving forward in life.

Looking for real life environmental feng shui ideas? Check out: Tao of Dana for every day feng shui problem solving. I also recommend The Psychology of Color.

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