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Striving Towards Minimalism

by Stephanie Casher on April 18, 2006

One of the most-read books in my home is Feng Shui Your Life by Jayme Barrett. I pull it out and read it every Spring because it re-orients me towards conscious living while powering me through my annual Spring Cleaning ritual. Granted, I did things a little backwards this time, lol. I painted first, then clutter-cleaned, and now I’m sitting down and re-reading the book. Total inversion. But strangely enough, it’s still an important read, and the book is inspiring me to purge my life even more than I already have. There is still work to do.

Jayme Barrett writes:
In the same way that blood and oxygen must flow freely and purposefully in your body, so must energy and life force circulate throughout your daily environments. The rooms and spaces you inhabit influence your well being and opportunities in life. Feng Shui provides practical methods to strengthen the positive energy in your surroundings and to create beauty. (introduction)

She then outlines some general Feng Shui principles:
~ Clearing clutter is a logical step to accomplish your goals. Keeping your home and workplace clean and organized promotes happiness, efficiency, and peace of mind.
~ Finding room for new things in your life requires you to get rid of things you don’t use, want, or need.
~ Adding sunlight to an environment lifts your spirit and expands your vision; darkness inhibits life force and can be depressing.
~ Bringing nature indoors adds harmony and healing to the surroundings.
~ Using different colors can influence your mood.
~ Working in the bedroom is not a good idea. The bedroom is the place for rest and connection.
(as I sit in bed with my laptop and type this, lol, whoops)
~ Displaying pictures of you and your loved ones looking happy, healthy, and confident will bring a smile to your face.
(p. 19)

One of the things I like most about this book is it emphasizes the need for balance. She doesn’t just talk about the changes you should make in your environment, but the changes you simultaneously need to make within yourself to maximize the effects. Personal engagement is definitely a part of this process.

Becoming clear about your dreams and goals for health, love, happiness, and success and using symbols for them within your environment is essential. When your intention for your life surrounds you, it tends to materialize in a better and faster way. (p. 22)

The law of manifestation tells us that a thought you hold repeatedly with conviction tends to manifest. The stronger your intention, the faster your goals will materialize. If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll have a hard time getting there. Your intention is your compass. (p. 57)

I started “practicing” feng shui a few years ago, and I definitely find it useful in my life. I try very hard to stay away from things that are “bad feng shui,” but being a reformed pack rat, my biggest challenge has always been the number one impediment to good feng shui — clutter.

Clutter creates stagnant energy that keeps you trapped in every way imaginable… If you cannot move through your home without being obstructed by clutter, you can be certain that subtle energy will not be able to flow either. When energy stops flowing, life stops progressing. (p. 65)

My new tenant made the comment that we have a tendency to fill up our space. I can see that, and I definitely fill every inch of mine. I can become very attached to things. But they’re only “things,” and the book is reminding me of that. I know people who survive with very little, some with only what they can carry on their backs. I want to embrace this kind of minimalism – how lovely that must be… I am hereby declaring war on all forms of clutter in my life.

I challenge each and every one of you to do the same.

I highly recommend picking up Jayme Barrett’s book – it just might change your life.

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