If You’re Gonna Feng Shui Your House, Better Feng Shui Your Head, Too

On Saturday night I found myself in Ms. Chick‘s bedroom.

Wait. That didn’t come out right.

See, she’s been having a dry spell with dating, and I wanted to see if I could help her out.

That still didn’t come out right. Or my mind is just constantly in the gutter.

Some background: several years ago, T-Wizzle turned me on to feng shui, the Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment. She had met and worked with Karen Rauch Carter, author of Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life, a practical, easy-to-use feng shui guide for people who don’t want to be bothered remembering a lot of details about what belongs where. I bought a copy of the book, figured out how the bagua aligned with my current apartment, and started moving my crap around. I had been having serious issues in different areas of my life and wanted to do something physical that might help change things.

feng shui, bagua, Black Hat feng shui
Basic bagua layout for your home. Image courtesy feng-shui-tips-for-wealth.com

And my life did change. I started dating, my relationships with family members improved, I made some great new friends. I found a new home for Angel, my cat who was aggressive and miserable living with me and my other cat, Mossimo. I bought a new car that I absolutely loved. I gave feng shui a lot of credit.

But the truth is, I had been feng shui-ing my head as well. I had started using affirmations and other techniques to help reset my brain to stop being so negative and cynical and nasty and being more open and compassionate and fun. And it made a huge difference. Because I’ve learned that there’s no way changes can take place in the real world until you change the way you think about the things that bother you.

I can’t sum up everything I did to feng shui my head in one blog post. But here are my basic suggestions:

  • Write down on a piece of paper what’s not working in your life. I have an old list that reads: “My love life is nonexistent. My new friendships are not as nurturing as I would like. I don’t feel motivated to write or be creative.”
  • Write down on another piece of paper what IS working. Love your job? Have a great bunch of friends? Car running beautifully? Write ’em down.
  • Go back to the first piece of paper and consider what attitudes are behind those not-working items. The key is to make sure you stay focused on yourself. For me, my love life was nonexistent because deep down I believed I was unattractive and undesirable because I am fat. It had nothing to do with the men I was interested in or had dated in the past. It was all about me.
  • Install mental updates. Your internal self-esteem software obviously needs a bug fix, so it’s time to fix that. Write some affirmations about your inner and outer beauty, make peace with your inner child, get a close friend to help you work out your shit. I spent a lot of hours on the phone with T-Wizzle working out my shit – and in turn I helped her work out her own.
  • While you’re working on these affirmations and feeling super positive about yourself, start moving stuff around in your home. Carter’s book is a great starting point. Some folks may need a professional consult, which can be expensive but if you have the money it’s well worth it.

Back to Ms. Chick and her bedroom. She had an empty laundry basket in the Love & Relationships section. I pointed at it and said, “That needs to go, unless you want to continue having nothing happen with your lovelife.” (If it had been full of dirty laundry I still would have said she needed to move it, because then she’d be dealing with – you guessed it – guys with a lot of dirty laundry.) She moved the basket and according to a tweet I got from her tonight, things have already started shifting. But I’m willing to bet she started shifting her attitude about dating, too.

When It’s Time to Demand a Do-Over

Earlier this week I stumbled upon a Washington Post article about Maryland’s constitution being eligible for a voter-requested rewrite.  These paragraphs from the article caught my attention:

Maryland is one of 14 states with a constitutional requirement designed to make voters decide at least once a generation whether to start over. The protection goes back to the Founding Fathers and the thinking that, every now and then in a healthy democracy, the People probably have to shake things up.

The question that Free State voters will face — whether to seat a constitutional convention next year in the State House, where George Washington resigned as commander of the Continental Army — is a direct challenge from the grave of Thomas Jefferson. In an era of much shorter life expectancy, Jefferson pegged the shelf life of a democratic charter at no more than 20 years.

“The earth belongs always to the living generation,” Jefferson wrote to James Madison, pondering the forces behind the French Revolution. “Every constitution, then, and every law, naturally expires at the end of 19 years. If it be enforced longer, it is an act of force and not of right.”

Can you imagine all the work involved in rewriting the Old Line State‘s constitution? The article discusses the arduous process and says it’s not just about getting Maryland voters to read through an archaic, sometimes confusing, document. It’s also about addressing hot topics such as abortion and the death penalty in a new constitution. I can’t even fathom how long it would take to reach a consensus on how to handle these issues.

The concept of rewriting a fundamental document got me thinking about my own fundamental beliefs. If I were to write down everything I’ve believed in since I was born, how many of those beliefs would still apply to my life? I used to believe some pretty ridiculous things related to socioeconomic class. For example, I determined that dark chocolate was for the upper class, while white chocolate was for poor people. (Milk chocolate was for middle class folk, in case you were wondering.)

Other beliefs have stood up to rigorous personal testing. Even though I’ve tried peas in various dishes and cuisines, I still hate them. In my view, peas are tiny orbs of pure evil. And I have yet to be convinced otherwise.

Over the last ten years I’ve come to adopt beliefs others consider to be controversial or questionable. Having been raised in a religious community, I had a lot of beliefs drilled into me about God, faith and prayer that didn’t always fit with my own personal experience. Once I gave myself permission to investigate those beliefs, I finally found the peace of mind that had eluded me for many years. Finding that peace has lead me to proselytize on many occasions. In some instances, my preaching dissolved relationships or caused hurt feelings. I’m still learning to not make others wrong for not agreeing with my personal belief system.

I do think it’s a good idea, however, to present people with new concepts and challenge them to test their own theories – and we don’t need to wait 19 years to do it. By sharing our truths clearly and succinctly, and allowing others to do the same without fear of judgment, we all get the chance to be heard. We get the opportunity to expand our understanding of the world and how it works. We can check to see if our personal laws have, in fact, expired, and if so, create new ones.

Come November, I’ll be very interested to see if Maryland voters demand a do-over on their constitution. As for more individual, personal do-overs, well, you’ll just have to keep me posted.

What beliefs of yours have expired?

Do those expired beliefs need to be reinforced, retired or replaced?