The Not-So-Busy Life: Back to Basics with Feng Shui


Remember the days when you went home from your job on Friday afternoon and didn’t think much about it until Monday morning? Remember when reading novels was a regular part of your life? Remember when the word “unplugged” was part of your vocabulary only when you were moving a lamp to another part of the room? Remember when a proposal or a check would slowly find its way to you through the mail while we patiently waited for its arrival? These days I feel like I’m ripping month pages off my calendar every week. It only took 12 weeks to go through 2010.

But it isn’t even the warp speed of life, it’s also the corresponding speed with which we connect to others that is leaving us breathless. I just bought a droid phone, making my blackberry look like ancient history. By the time I figure out how to use all the features and apps, something new will be available to ramp up my connection speed. And, all over, I hear my clients, my students, and my friends say how life is busy, complicated and, well, a blur.

Here’s a Feng Shui principle outlined in a simple mathematics formula:

  • Life = busy, complicated, a blur
  • Life = Space
  • Space = busy, complicated, a blur

I’m not saying your home or office has caused this hectic pace, but I am saying it could contribute. It’s also possible your own hectic-ness is being reflected in the time and care with which you’re tending to your home/office. In other words, your own frenetic pace is spilling over into your space. Either way, your home can help you find your way out of the frantic spin. By focusing in small ways on matters at home or work, you will start to see a new paradigm — one that is less busy, complicated and blurry.

You begin by asking yourself:

  • How is my home/office busy? If you look around your space and it just feels busy, determine what makes it feel that way. Usually, this leads to the issue of clutter. Again, another simple math formula: more stuff = more busy-ness.
    Recommendation: Each day in a simple way, clear out one item. You can start in your office, your bedroom, your book shelf. Just start.
  • How is my home/office complicated? Your space is complicated if things don’t work right. If you have to struggle with a closet door each time you want to open it because the hinges need oiling, the knob is loose, the sliding doors have come off the track, etc., then that complicates how you relate to it. If each time you try to enter your space, the key needs to be coaxed and jiggled into opening, that complicates your entry experience. Or you have to be careful going up and down the stairs because the railing is broken.
    Recommendation: Each week fix a problem. These can be small, but annoying, factors that complicate your space, and your life.
  • How is my home/office blurry? Your space should provide you a clear vision of where you’re heading in life. You may be blurry with regard to the future when you have old pieces of furniture left over from a previous relationship, when the artwork on the walls was left by the prior owners, when you tolerate a rug (or chair or sofa or anything) that you once liked but now you detest. All of these situations can be holding you back from achieving clarity around your next step.
    Recommendation: Place one item or take one action in your space that reminds you of a goal you may be working toward. If you’re wanting more money, place an item in a prominent spot that feels rich and luxurious to you. Having real flowers on the dining room table may not cost much but it could make you feel like a million dollars. If a more successful career is what you’re after, painting your office a beautiful green color may not cost much but makes you feel like the executive you want to be.

Although any of these recommendations don’t require much time or even much money, the accumulated effort will be effective. Keep in mind your space is your life, your life is your space. Change your space, change your life. By eliminating the busy-ness, complications, and blurred vision in your space, you have a great opportunity to see that reflected in your life.

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