“Is what you're holding onto holding you back?”
Introducing Debbie Bowie, Certified Professional Organizer®
It was my remarkable good fortune, while attending my 40th college reunion at Randolph College in Lynchburg, VA (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College), to sit in on a lecture by fellow alumna Debbie Bowie entitled, “Using Feng Shui to Clear Your Clutter and Create Prosperity.” The appeal of her topic was demonstrated by the packed room of both men and women. I imagine I was not the only person in the room who felt she was speaking directly to them.
The high points of her message — and the message in her excellent little book called Rock Scissors Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Your Performance on a Daily Basis — were these:
- Everything has energy (chi), positive or negative.
- Energy talks to you.
- Everything is connected (so any small part of your life in disorder can disrupt other parts of your life).
- Like attracts like (so if you surround yourself with broken, ugly, or negative things, you'll attract more of these into your life).
- You should surround yourself only with things that you love or that you use: “Love it, Use it, or Lose it!”
- Her definition of clutter is “chaos in physical form” and she suggests that it is a manifestation of stress – certainly it can cause stress.
- She quoted Barbara Hemphill who said, “Clutter is postponed decisions.”
- Feng Shui (Feng – “wind” and Shui = “water”), in its simplest form, is the practice of learning to balance energies of a space to assure the health and good fortune of those inhabiting that space.
My de-cluttering rampage
Perhaps the most powerful testimony to the impact of Debbie's presentation is what happened when I got home. I sat quietly in my home office — the space where I was finding myself more and more unhappy — yet a space I need to do my work. I thought for awhile about what was absolutely necessary or absolutely treasured in that space. Then, I went on a rampage. I proceeded to rearrange and purge, removing the things I had piled in front of the windows that blocked the light, getting rid of anything that wasn't being used or enjoyed. I took boxes to our local thrift shop and my sweet husband hauled nine black lawn and leaf bags to the dump. I brought in plants that reminded me of special people and places and found that bringing Nature into my workspace brought me calm and joy. I removed an old, faded rug and brought in a smaller one with colors I found energizing and appealing.
Now when I enter my office, I find it welcoming and attractive. I am more productive and inspired while I'm here. I no longer feel the need to drag my laptop to another part of the house to avoid the messiness of my old office. The result? There is less of my work scattered throughout the house, and when I leave the office, I can relax more in other parts of the house, because I have left my work behind. I've got a whole new room without paying either a remodeler or a decorator!
I have been so impressed with the results of Debbie's message that I've invited her to contribute a guest post. Her teaching offers ways to strengthen two of our keys to a Heartspoken life: Self Knowledge and Nature. Implementing her ideas will be a productive excavation towards finding what most makes your heart sing. She espouses connecting with Nature as an important part of creating healthy, happy spaces.
Here's a short presentation and story she told about the life-changing power of decluttering:
As you're doing your own decluttering, remember clutter can be both physical and psychological. Make a clean sweep of those things that separate you from your best self — those things that block your creativity and your happiness. Please share your successes and tips you learn along the way.
Debbie Bowie is a veteran speaker, Certified Professional Organizer®, feng shui practitioner and author of Rock Scissors Paper: Understanding How Environment Affects Your Performance on a Daily Basis and From Cluttered To Clear In Just One Year. Her website is filled with ideas and inspiration for organizing and decluttering.. Debbie practices feng shui organizing, an approach to organizing that combines organizing principles with the wisdom of feng shui to help clients clear a path to getting more of what they really want from life. I recommend buying her book and, if you live in the Richmond, Virginia, area, you can retain her for consulting or to speak at your next event.
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