Spiritual Spring Cleaning: Feng Shui Your Bedroom
Categories: Health & Healing
When it comes time for spring cleaning, it makes sense to attack the obvious messes—the hoard of random stuff that migrated its way under your bed, the dust bunnies beneath the couch, or those parts of the fridge that haven’t seen the light of day since longer than you’d like to remember. Needless to say, these tasks are incredibly necessary (and really satisfying when they’re finished).
But the less-explored side of all of this is spiritual spring cleaning: taking stock of what you want, what you need, and what things you can gently and compassionately let go of to make space for other, better things. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing thoughts about clearing your headspace, developing rituals of self-care and renewal, and taking other steps to reset your body, mind, and living spaces. Today, we’re giving you some ideas on how to reconfigure your bedroom to create a tranquil, restorative environment.
First things first: What is feng shui? Benebell Wen (Holistic Tarot and Tao of Craft) explains it beautifully as a “form of reconciliation between what you’re dealt with—i.e. the living space you’ve got—and what environment would be optimal for your personal wellness.” So, evaluate and reflect: What are you working with, what are you hoping to achieve, and what do you notice on an intuitive level that’s either lacking or working really well? William Spear, the author of Feng Shui Made Easy, developed a handy “first impressions” worksheet, which you can check out here, to help you get organized.
Next, prioritize and take stock. Wen notes that “the most simplistic, intuitive approach is just to take a step back, assess the layout, and go with your gut about how to rearrange that space in a way that brings you a sense of balance. Of course, feng shui is also approached as a science that must observe all sorts of theoretical rules and precise calculations. No matter which route you take, feng shui is going to be about the tempering of the metaphysical energies that physical matter represents toward the purpose of, shall we say, maintaining a nice, neutral metaphysical pH.”
Once you’ve gotten the lay of the land, think about “the metaphysical implications of physical structures” and arranging them in a balanced way, says Wen. “So when you look at a door, or a window, or a table, you don’t just see the physical matter through your eyes, you also see the energy body that it represents and it interacts with the flow of Qi that will come in contact with it.” If something isn’t right, you’ll know: “The feng shui of a given space is like a plant. Even if you know nothing about botany, everybody will have a sense of whether a plant is in full, healthy bloom or slowly rotting to its death. You’ll know if something’s not working because a knotty inner tension comes over you when you’re there, the space makes you feel agitated or brings on lethargy or fatigue; you can almost sense a dull gray hue being cast over that space; or if you find serious structural damage, or discover lots of random dead bugs.” So trust your gut if something doesn’t look or feel right.
In our plugged-in, nonstop world, the need for adequate sleep is a hot issue right now. To develop your best sleep hygiene, turning your bedroom into a true refuge is paramount—ideally, work shouldn’t be done there, and, as tempting as it can be to drag your laptop into bed to knock out a few emails before turning in for the night, your bed should be for sleeping and sex only. Spear recommends choosing artwork, colors, and objects that convey peace and tranquility, and says that “televisions, stereos, or entertainment areas are better placed far away from the bed—ideally in a different room.” Wen agrees, addressing potential reluctance: “You won’t like what I have to say. Get rid of all electronics and digital devices from the bedroom.”
“The main difficulty with feng shui is that there really is no one-size-fits-all arrangement,” she notes. Still, “try to keep the bed as far from doors and windows as you can. Headboards facing a window or feet to the door are not ideal. If possible, opt for a raised bed frame and keep the space underneath clean and clear, so rejuvenating energy can circulate here.”
Spear advises, “do not position a bed directly opposite the door, but rather slightly off to one side in order to increase the breadth of view and scope of the whole room. As little space as possible should be behind you.” He also reminds us that our room is the last thing we see before we go to sleep, when our brain processes, restores, and dreams. Decorate and align your room accordingly.
Creating a Relaxing Environment
Unfortunately, there’s no one magic solution: Each person reacts to factors like color and layout differently. So, the process of creating a relaxing, restorative, and stress-free environment will be highly personal. “You have to start with the individual in question and understand his or her energetic composition,” Wen explains. “Are you yin-dominant or yang-dominant? Which of the five phases or elements in Wu Xing are most prevalent to you?” (You can find out here and here, respectively.)
“A space that will reduce your stress is one that reduces what you have excess of, and amplifies or supports what you lack. When the environment is perfectly tailored to the individual so that, together, the two create temperance, then without a doubt that configuration will help to reduce stress.”
But how can you decide? First, trust yourself, and reflect on what promotes a sense of calm in your life. If you need a guide, check out this great introductory feng shui self-evaluation that Spear developed.
One key factor to consider is your lighting: According to Spear, indirect light is easier to control than overly bright, direct bulbs, and minimizes negative effects while promoting health and happiness. Along with lights, mirrors and crystals are classified as “bright objects” that can create positive, active energy—so consider adding a well-placed mirror or looking into crystals. Plants and flowers, too, bring auspicious energy, in addition to creating a healthier space by filtering air and pollutants.
“What underlies every space is the living energy all of us feel.” With that in mind, Spear says, living design should feel “the way homemade bread smells: warm, delicious, and irresistible.” Reflect on the energy you’d like to feel in your home; what images come to mind? Let that guide you. If you decide to take on a feng shui overhaul this weekend, let us know how it goes @NAtlanticBooks or on Facebook.
Tags: Feng Shui