|Now on DVD-ROM|
Basically, I stole my mom's Xmas present. I know, sounds awful--but I gave it back eventually and I had my reasons! Namely, spending Xmas in the house I grew up in--the house my parents and grandparents lived in with four generations of stuff crowded into one family's space. Some of it was worth keeping (they really don't make hand tools like they used to), but some of it belonged at Good Will (no one needs that many "spare" blankets) or at the county recycling center (back issues of National Geographic, anyone?). Growing up, I never knew if I'd be able to find my piano music in time for my lesson--let alone in time to practice beforehand. When I moved into my first apartment in college, I didn't have to buy any dishes or kitchen utensils because there was already three or four of everything I needed in my parents' basement.
So it was not entirely surprising that my brother gave our mom a book called Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui for Xmas. What surprised me was wanting to read it. At the time I knew nothing about feng shui and had no interest in finding out. And after wading through disorganized guides to getting organized and 400-page tomes on how to simplify your life, I'd had it with self-help books. But this one practiced what it preached: it was compact, concise, spare, and straightforward--in other words, uncluttered!
When I opened it to a random page on organizing your closet by color (as opposed to by category, with all your shirts together, pants together, etc.) my immediate reaction was: That'll never work! Followed immediately by: I've gotta try it! Opening my closet door to a rainbow of color instead of a confusing jumble was irresistible enough for me to ignore the stubborn part of my mind insisting it was impossible because clothes of different lengths wouldn't clear the stuff on my closet floor if they were mixed together. Turning off that voice of habit masquerading as the voice of reason allowed me to hear the more creative, more experimental--and ultimately, more reasonable--voice hinting I could also move that stuff on the floor around if necessary, or even move it out of my closet altogether.
Just as my inner skeptic predicted, some of my clothes did not fit into the new color system. But these turned out to be clothes that didn't fit me either. They were the wrong size, or shades that made me looked jaundiced, or unflattering styles I no longer wore. You can see where this is heading, right? By the time I got all my clothes rearranged by color, I'd cleaned out my whole closet without even realizing it, because I was having so much fun throughout the process.
Wait--did I just have fun cleaning out my closet? If that's feng shui, then sign me up! My mom's (temporarily) stolen Xmas present turned out to be the gift that kept on giving. Now it's a pleasure--instead of a pain--to open my closet door, and I can find my clothes much faster than before. How come? Our minds may think in categories, but we look into closets with our eyes, not our minds--and our eyes see colors, not categories. By opening my eyes to color, feng shui opened my mind to possibility.
Stay tuned for more in future posts about re-thinking how you think...
Next post: What feng shui isn't. What this blog isn't.