Energy management has the power to transform our lives. Peace, balance and happiness are the keys to living without stress, and to overcoming any obstacles that present themselves. In the first part of this blog, we talked about how the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui can be used to smooth the flow of energy (AKA “chi”) in your home and your body. Here, I’ll offer some personal advice on how to support this vital flow in your work… and in your wallet.
Feng Shui in the workplace
Chi is everywhere. Even in your stuffy little cubicle. And considering you spend almost as much time here as you do in your own home, maximizing the flow of that chi is extremely vital to your wellbeing. While I don’t recommend that you take it upon yourself to Feng Shui the entire office (especially if you’re the new kid on the block), how you organize your own space can have a profound impact on the energy you cultivate between nine and five.
When it comes to an office setting, small changes are the key. And don’t let the word “small” fool you – these subtle alterations can have a major effect. First and foremost: organize. Tidying up will create space for vital energy and new ideas to flow. Once the clutter is gone and the dust has cleared, bring in a plant for your desk. It’s a simple, decorative way to add some fresh oxygen to even the stalest area. I recommend that you choose a plant that requires limited light, especially if your office has no windows.
Next, tap into those high school “locker decorating” vibes and bring in a small mirror to hang above your desk. As we learned in part 1 of this blog, mirrors brighten up small spaces and have a calming influence. They also reflect positive energy and repel negative energy when positioned correctly, and who couldn’t use a little less negativity in the workplace?
Thirdly, add some colour! Even if it’s just a picture frame or a vibrant mug – bring some life to your grey space. Choose objects in different hues that will allow creativity to flourish such as a knickknack that reminds you of home, or stylish framed quote about success. Every object in your proximity has an effect on you, so make sure it’s a positive one!
I keep a few colourful healing stones at my desk, which serves multiple purposes. There are hundreds of different healing stones available that all have their own benefits – stress relief, compassion, productivity, etc. – so find the ones that will serve you the most. They’re convenient, colourful and more beneficial to your health than you might think. Please note that this particular energy cultivating practice might turn a few heads and prompt a few questions from puzzled co-workers but, unfortunately, being happy sometimes comes at the cost of mockery.
Keep in mind that while the flow of energy in your workspace can be improved with physical changes, true balance can only be cultivated within. Feeling frustrated? Stressed? Overworked? Take a deep breath and allow tension to drop from your shoulders. Tell yourself that you’re good enough; that you’re doing the best you can. And never underestimate the power of taking a day off! Self-care is important, so grant yourself a guilt-free “wellness” day when it all becomes too much.
Feng Shui in your wallet
Let’s talk money. I used to allow money – or lack thereof – to cause me a great deal of stress. This is common, I’m sure, for anyone who isn’t at a stable financial point in their life. But it’s important to note (and I can’t emphasize this enough) – worrying about money does not make money appear. So let go of those financial burdens and focus on balancing your energy, because where there is a steady flow of energy, there will be a steady flow of money. Yes, it’s that easy.
An exchange of money is simply an exchange of energy. You expend your energy (work) to cultivate a different form of energy (money) so that you can acquire the energy you need to survive (food). In essence, it’s really no more complicated than that. But in the western world, we’re taught that this pattern, this energy exchange that centers on money, is the be-all and end-all. And in my opinion, it’s why so many people today are unhappy.
There are many ways you can use Feng Shui to attract money into your life, but I don’t want to focus on that here. Instead, I think it’s important to concentrate on how to change your outlook about money in order to transform where it stands in your world. In other words, if money is the driving force behind every single thing you do, something needs to change. If you find that 90% of your thoughts are about your finances and how you can maximize your monetary wealth, a shift of some sort needs to happen. Energy is limited, and that means it’s not in your best interest to be spending it all on something so superficial.
Stop looking at the world through green-coloured lenses
One piece of advice I can offer you is to accept the fact that money is inevitably and continually going to flow in and out of your life. There will be times when you have less, and there will be times when you have more. During the times when you have less, you’ll need to adjust your lifestyle. But less money doesn’t have to mean less happiness. More difficulty? Maybe. Less comfort? Sure. But the saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” rings very true here.
My outlook has changed in this particular regard. I used to read that quote and think, actually, money buys nice things and delicious food and fun activities which does make me happy. And there’s nothing false about that statement. So I think looking at this famous adage a different way will make it a bit clearer: “money doesn’t control happiness”. Some of the poorest people I’ve ever met are some of the happiest. Because they cultivate balance and energy from within, not from without.
Cultivate energy from within
Most of you may find that a lot of your financial stress is rooted in the future, not in the present. Chances are, your anxiety is founded on a situation that hasn’t even happened yet. If this is the case, I invite you to try and understand the freedom that comes with being in the moment. And I don’t mean “today”. I mean this very moment. This single second in which you’re existing right now. Try it: close your eyes and be here. You might start to notice your financial stress melting away. Because right here, right now, you have nothing to worry about. Money is worthless. Your wellbeing is a state of mind, not an external condition.
I think sometimes having nothing is the best way to learn this important lesson, which explains why those among us who live in the poorest of countries are still able to wake up and find joy in the world’s beauty. It’s not something many of us can understand or even empathise with, because even low-income families in our society are able to eat and travel and buy clothes. But class division aside, everyone can learn the art of letting go. Everyone, poor or rich, can cultivate the profound power of living in the now.
Try this: rather than expending all your energy on worrying about money, use it as a tool to attract money. Mindfully start to withdraw from negative feelings of dissatisfaction as you begin to draw in feelings of gratitude for everything that you have. Focus on what life has given you, not on what it hasn’t. Redirect your energy, recondition your outlook, repair your mind. Practice this act of control from within, and eventually you’ll start to notice money flowing more freely around you.
Put it into perspective
Next time you’re low on cash, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I dead?
- Am I dying?
If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then unfortunately you need to seek advice from someone more qualified than myself. But if the answer to either of these questions is no, then all is well. So what if you have less savings sitting in the bank? One day you’ll have more. And for now, you don’t need it.
There may be some of you out there reading this article clenching your fists in anger thinking, this girl has never known suffering. First of all, if Oprah Magazine can publish an article on how to cope with financial stress, so can I. Secondly, what you’re thinking is actually false. I know the struggle of having negative funds in your bank account, the feeling of utter dread when you don’t have enough money to pay rent. I understand what it’s like to eat rice for dinner and skip breakfast because the only alternative is to eat the brown banana that’s been sitting in the fruit bowl for six weeks. In these cases, day-to-day life is stressful and sad and terrifying.
But if you take away anything from my words here today, folks, let it be these: when the going gets tough, happiness is still free.