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.

Life Lessons and Solitaire

Lately I’ve been playing a lot of solitaire on my iPhone. I have a free app called Sol Free that has six different solitaire games. There’s Baker’s Game, which is particularly difficult at times, and Demon, which I often have better luck with but sometimes it kicks my ass. Spiderette is very similar to the Spider Solitaire found on computers running Windows, but it’s much easier on my iPhone app than it’s ever been on Windows.

This morning as I was playing Spiderette, it occurred to me that in order to win at solitaire, whether it was Demon or Baker’s or whatever, I had to let go of the logical, methodical approach. With Baker’s, you can only stack the cards and move them in suited, sequential order – none of this “put the 9 of Clubs on the 10 of Diamonds.” Trying to get to the nearest Ace so I can start building up a suit doesn’t always lead to me winning the game. Nor does it help to tackle one suit in one fell swoop. Just because it’s easy to access the 4 through the 9 of Hearts doesn’t mean that’s going to be the key to winning the game. No, it might be better to stack the 9 and the 8 first, then see what other cards – and suits – I have access to as a result of that move.

Everyone knows I love a good analogy, so here it comes: I think approaching life’s challenges is very similar. Sometimes logic just doesn’t work. Sometimes methodically plugging away at a task, a relationship, or a job doesn’t reap the reward you want or need. Sometimes you have to look at your cards and decide that even though Plan A makes a lot of sense intellectually, it doesn’t make sense emotionally, and therefore Plan B is the best course of action.

Life doesn’t offer an Undo button, like my iPhone app does. But as long as you keep playing, there’s always a chance to start over.

Back in the Blogging Groove – Well, for an Hour, Anyway

It’s been about a month since I updated the blog with any news on my life, and people are starting to ask questions. Now that I’m comfortably ensconced at Starbucks with a vanilla latte and a company laptop (more on that in a moment), I feel inspired to post again.

Work: I am still enjoying my job immensely, even when it makes me nutty. The drama that comes up is manageable and often quite humorous. One of my clients is about to launch a website, and setting up demos and interviews has been fun yet challenging. In the process I’ve learned a lot from my boss about the art of delicately negotiating coverage and handling excitable clients who want results yesterday.

I now have an account coordinator that reports to me. Learning how to be middle management without being a micromanaging tool has also been challenging. For years I wanted to be a manager and now that I’m in that role, I find management to be way overrated. Not only do I have to do my work, I have to make sure that she’s keeping busy, understands her tasks and deadlines, etc. It’s more than a notion.

Several of my colleagues read the blog now, and I’m realizing even more how I need to be very clear on what I’m willing to blog and what I need to keep to myself. It’s in my nature to be an open book, so self-editing feels somewhat unnatural. I keep reminding myself that if I can’t say it out loud, I’m not allowed to blog about it.

That being said, there’s a lot of venting and bitching I’d like to do publicly but I don’t want to offend anyone or get myself into trouble. Mainly my venting has to do with generational differences in work ethic, attitude and overall outlook on life. I remember behaving the same way as my younger colleagues not so long ago, so it’s easier to be empathetic and realize they will have to get some hard knocks before it’s clear as to what behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. At times, though, I want to call up former employers and supervisors and apologize for being such an arrogant little shit.

Life: My long commute and work hours sometimes render me comatose. Yesterday it wasn’t until 7 p.m. that I finally got showered and dressed. I’m recognizing more and more the necessity of work/life balance, and I’m looking more into what technology I can use to help me achieve some balance (more on that in a minute). I also have an order in for some liquid vitamin supplement thingy so that may help too. I try to get out and socialize with friends and attend Meetups as much as I can without overtaxing myself, and I’ve been forcing myself to get away from my desk for at least 30 minutes at lunchtime, just so I have a chance to clear my head and decompress.

Love: For the past few months, I’ve been spending time with Peter*, a warm, funny, kind man who has been very patient with me and my occasional bouts of mistrust and panic over “where is this going???” He reads the blog and provides commentary to me, and questions the need for blogs in general. Sometimes that makes my head explode, but for the most part I am amused by his comments. I enjoy his company and do my best to respect his privacy, so you won’t see much about him on the blog.

Technology: As part of my ongoing attempt to feel balanced between life and work, I’m embracing a bit more convergence in my technology. I’m borrowing a laptop from work – an IBM Thinkpad that is actually quite fast and uses XP, thank god – and I just bought a first-generation iPhone from a friend who upgraded to the 3G model. I’ve set up accounts with I Want Sandy, the virtual personal assistant who sends you email, text message and Twitter reminders when you have crap to get done; Zenbe, a web-based email aggregator; and FriendFeed, a service that makes it easy to track all my social networks. I just picked up a new SIM card from AT&T prior to coming to Starbucks, so here’s hoping that the process of getting the iPhone fired up and working goes smoothly. I do need to update the Technology/Moxie scoreboard as there have been some amusing incidents recently.

I’ve got a few web things in the works…a new blog, an upgrade to Girl with Moxie, and some other fun stuff. So stay tuned and follow me on Twitter if you’re so inclined.

Living Your Best Life

Sometimes people say things so clearly, there’s no need for me to reinvent it. Check out this list. Then get to work on living your best life!