Well, it’s certainly spring. In fact, judging by my sunburn, it may even be summer. Anyway, you’ll probably be very surprised to learn that this weekend I have been…..spring cleaning!
Now, don’t be too shocked. I still managed to spend a good deal of time lazing in the garden with a book. But it is the particular book in question that’s responsible for my uncharacteristic domestic spree. And the book is (as you’ve probably guessed by the large book cover above…) Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston.
Despite it’s unprepossessing cover, this book is an absolute gem. I love it because it delves into the psychology of clutter and how clutter affects us on all levels; mentally, emotionally, physically, even spiritually. Karen links these effects with the traditional feng shui tool – The Bagua, to illustrate precisely which area of your life that ‘harmless’ pile of magazines is infiltrating. This alone is quite a powerful motivator to get busy.
Yet, the book contains a good deal more advice beyond the influence of feng shui. In fact, it could be one of the most comprehensive self-help books I’ve ever come across. Karen covers the whole gamut of human issues; health, happiness, potential, relationships, spirituality, forgiveness, life priorities and body clutter. (The colon-cleansing section was particularly eye-opening and prompted a considerable spending spree at my favourite organic apothecary).
All this information makes for a really motivating read. I found that I couldn’t read more than a couple of pages at a time without feeling an urge to go and sort or tidy somewhere. Powerful stuff! This weekend has seen several bags of superfluous ‘stuff’ leave the premises and I’m becoming very popular over on freecycle.org. (One woman’s junk….)
I’ll be doing a full review over on Just Good Reads (children willing…) but in the meantime, let me share with you some of my favourite nuggets from the book. I challenge you to read the following without being inspired to bust some clutter!
Each small area you clear releases energy for you to do more.
The speed at which the positive changes will appear in your life is relative to the gusto and decisiveness with which your clutter is cleared.
Most people carry some form of emotional baggage. It prematurely ages us and gets in the way of everything we want to do.
An ordered home means an ordered mind. Whatever your personal situation, it is important to get organised so that the mundane level of your life supports you.
In lab experiments, animals given control over their environment live longer, have higher antibody counts and less ulcers. Your choice.
It is safe to let go.
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For all the joy and magic of this festive season, there’s no doubt that Christmas brings with it a good deal of extra work and things to do. There are the parties and visits to and from friends and family… Then there’s all that present planning and buying, wrapping and giving… There’s all that extra food shopping and cooking and baking… And on top of all that, there’s also a considerable seasonal serving of extra housework.
Now, before I get all Ebenezer on you, let me just stress that I am a huge fan of Christmas. I absolutely love it. I think I enjoy it even more now than I did when I was a child. Having two small children of my own definitely adds to the magic and sense of excitement and wonder, but even in the quiet moments of planning and organising, the Christmas season always makes me smile.
This is in spite of the extra work, though, rather than because of it.
So, in my attempt to get maximum enjoyment from the festivities with minimum amounts of stress and frantic frenzies, I have a few ideas for a Calmer Christmas Karma. These are lessons I’ve learnt about what makes for a happier time for all concerned – not least, myself. (And why not, Christmas is for grown-ups, too!)
Much as I love the summer, and much as I love my children, I have been known to feel the strain of the summer school holidays. I take my hat off to all the mums who manage to enjoy, rather than endure, the long break. However, I will admit, it does have its perks – my favourite being: time to read.
I’m a big reader all year but I seem to get through more books than usual during those endless summer days. So I thought I would share with you some of the valuable things I learned this summer, as I tried to escape the mess, noise and chaos surrounding me and saught sanctuary in my books….
Possibly the most effective read of the summer was Karen Rauch Carter’s, Move your stuff, change your life. It’s a guide to the Black Hat school of Feng Shui.
I am a big reader of business manuals and success books and I’d like to share one of the common threads that feature in the great majority, which I think can be safely summed up as follows:
It’s a simple idea; you focus on what you are good at, your natural talents and abilities, then you seek out ways to delegate the things that you struggle with or resent or do very, very badly.
Can you see where I’m going with this…?
…to help with the housework!
I recently wrote a chapter about motivation in the domestic realm, for my new book, Housework Blues.
It lead to the following spin-off idea which I think you may find very useful and effective. The idea is to utilise a powerful technique that deploys your subconscious mind – requiring less conscious (and begrudging) effort from you.
And you’ve just tidied it!
There are few greater tests of love than keeping your temper when family members unravel your hard work – before your very eyes. Now that’s tough. But then that’s life, full of challenges.
Of course, being human, some days we won’t manage to keep a lid on our simmering fury. However, if we can manage our anger on just a few of these testing occasions, so much the better for all within earshot – not least ourselves. And as the wise Lemony Snicket puts it,
“Temper tantrums, however fun they may be to throw, rarely solve whatever problem is causing them.”
So learning to diffuse our vexation is useful because, let’s face it – this particular problem isn’t likely to be a one-off. If your family are anything like mine, they will view a tidy room or clean surface as an irresistible magnet for clothes, toys, papers and other such debris. So until we discover how to retrain them successfully, we need an antidote to the temptation to explode.