Bit by bit, load by load, Hubby and I are moving our stuff from storage into our house. Yesterday, we brought home some of our artwork, hanging a couple of pieces and arranging others.
I was happy to hang a painting of sunflowers that was in my childhood home and somehow became mine. It was like seeing an old friend again.
I also placed my Grandpa Jens’ painting on the mantle above one of our fireplaces. Another old friend I was glad to see.
As our artwork gets put into place, Hubby said our new house is now feeling like our home.
I’ve been thinking about what makes a house feel like a home from the first moment we moved in. As we have made decisions about what to put where and what colors to paint in which rooms, I have consulted the feng shui (pronounced fung shway) book I bought years ago, “Move your Stuff, Change Your Life” by Karen Rauch Carter. The tenants of feng shui are meant to enhance the chi of your living space so that your home supports your life.
While some of the suggestions for improving chi might feel a bit “out there,” most of them are based on common sense. Clearing out clutter is a big one. Clutter leads to stagnant chi because the mess of it takes up unnecessary physical and mental space. Arrow chi is another thing to watch out for. Arrow chi is caused by sharp corners jutting into your space. If you hip-check one of these corners, you’re going to feel the results of arrow chi.
In practicing feng shui, you overlay the floorplan of your house onto an 8-sided bagua to figure out which areas of your house align with 9 different aspects of life. Various colors, elements, and shapes are associated with each of the 9 aspects. There’s a great bagua map at this link: https://architectureideas.info/2010/05/feng-shui-bagua/
I’ve had a tendency to want to do everything “right” in terms of arranging my space in keeping with feng shui. In order to make my house as chi-enhanced as possible, I am inclined to paint each area the correct color and use the most supportive shapes and elements for those areas. Take it from my experience, that way lies unease.
I was falling into that unease again as I read through my feng shui book and tried to figure out how to arrange our new house.
And then, as we first moved in, I started to clean. (Cleaning is one of those activities that brings clarity to the mind.)
The former owners of our house had left stuff behind and some areas weren’t particularly clean, so there was a lot to do. As I cleared out stuff, washed cupboards and toilets and sinks, and vacuumed floors, it dawned on me. Not only was I erasing evidence of the former owners, I was already changing the chi of the space.
Aside from cleaning, one of the first improvements Hubby and I made was to install new LED lights in the garage that brightened the space ten-fold. Light is considered a chi enhancer in feng shui, but we didn’t need a book to tell us that the garage was too dark.
Just by living in the house, bringing in our own items and arranging them the way we wanted, scrubbing floors, painting walls, and hanging art, we were automatically creating a space to support our lives.
This was the closing point Karen Rauch Carter made in her book in the section, “OK, I Moved My Stuff–Has My Life Changed Yet?” She said, “I wanted to make this final note hit home with the power it deserves. The answer to the question above is undoubtedly yes. Your life has changed because you have willed it to. Everything you do affects your future, so by merely reading this book (even without moving your stuff) you have ever so slightly propelled yourself further along your path in an ever so slightly different direction.” (page 232)
That feng shui insight finally hit home (pun intended) for me.