Feng Shui - An online definition of this commonly referred to but just as commonly discounted discipline is as follows:
Feng shui (pronounced "fung shway") is the ancient Chinese practice of placement and arrangement of space to achieve harmony with the environment. Feng shui is a discrete Chinese belief system involving a mix of geographical, religious, philosophical, mathematical, and aesthetic ideas.
The way a room is set up really makes a difference in how I feel when I am in the room and what I feel like doing when I walk through the door. This was on my mind this morning specifically because I spent eight hours yesterday cleaning, rearranging, and settling the room that I have slept in for the past five months. It has been a wild a crazy five months and that is the reason that I have only slept in the room. I didn't read or write or want to really spend time doing much there because if I did I was constantly reminded about how much there was to do to make it an actual livable space. So I just didn't. My office was the same way by the end of last week.
Because my bedroom and my office are the two places that I start the respective aspects of my daily life, personal and professional, they have been a predictor of and a testament to how my day and life has felt recently. The clutter on my nightstand and under my desk was not there because I liked it being there but because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it. The unanswered emails (sorry if that was you) in my inbox were not unanswered because I didn't like the sender but because I didn't know whether to respond in the negative or the affirmative or just didn't make the time to decide.
So this weekend I spent three hours in my office cleaning and arranging and setting myself up for the next week. I spent eight hours the next day on my bedroom. The time spent making a dent and making a visible difference in the arrangement of my space was encouraging and therapeutic. I love working on projects that you can see the results as you go.
The thought also came to me about what does this look like applied to my thoughts and my relationships, as it always seems to when I am writing a blog....
A guest speaker in one of my classes my senior year at Texas A&M made the comment that each of us need to operate in this life under the principle of the airline oxygen mask. When the flight attendants are going through the 'review of the safety features of our aircraft today' and I am not paying attention because I am intently trying to solve the 'American Way' sudoku before we take off, they say something about oxygen masks. They hold one in their hand, act like it is dropping down from the ceiling and then they pull it to their face. The next comment that is made over the intercom is to 'please secure your mask first and make sure that the air is flowing before assisting others.' It sounds a bit selfish, but upon further reflection it is a truth that I believe applies to each of our relationships.
If I did not first put my mask on and make sure that I could breath, but instead tried to help others close by, I'd become incapacitated and completely useless before I could assist all those around me. Taking time to take care of yourself is a necessary part of being the best that you can be. When I don't have some solid 'Andy time' and I am consistently going and giving and interacting with others I become more and more drained and have less to offer. But if I take the time to slow down and recharge my battery, to sharpen my axe, to make sure that my oxygen is flowing, that is when I have the good Feng Shui in life and can make the biggest difference.