My feelings about objects changed when I started studying Feng Shui, a concept which explains the relationship between the way your stuff is arranged in your space and the events that occur in your life. Colors and locations are significant: red and purple objects bring money, pink decor fosters romance and black accents boost a career, but only if strategically placed in the proper part of the house. While I was always a bit skeptical about putting a red lava lamp in the southeastern corner of my home to create a flow of prosperity, I do fully subscribe to a couple of Feng Shui rules that make sense to me. The first one relates to clutter.
Every Feng Shui book I have picked up has a chapter dedicated to the positive benefits of de-cluttering your space in order to clean up your life. This advice always speaks to me, because I feel better when my space is simplified, and am enormously depressed when it is not. There is a psychological heaviness that occurs when I approach a room that is busy with objects. It drains me with the same feeling I get when I talk to an overly chatty person who is obsessed with trivial thoughts and has no coherent manner to express them all. I want to bring things down to the lowest common denominator: what is really important here?
Which brings us to the second Angela Feng Shui rule: keeping important possessions in prominent places of display. These belongings inherently bring good fortune to my life, not because of their color or location, but because of their sentimental value and how they make me feel when I see them. The trick, of course, is knowing which objects have the greatest meaning.
If you question what items you value most, ask yourself which possessions you would save if your house was on fire. Clearly, anything you can purchase is easily left behind for the flames. The most valuable objects are the ones you cannot replace, the ones with the most powerful memories. If I could only save one thing on my way out of a burning house, it would be the wood box my Father-in-law made for me and Kevin for our wedding. It is a lock box to save a bottle of wine, so that we can open the box and drink the wine on our 5th anniversary. (see my blog about wine https://angelamaskey.com/2011/12/03/wine-stories .)
The wedding was a powerfully emotional time for me, after waiting decades to find the right person. The box is symbolic of that happiness. It is the material item I cherish the most, even more than my wedding ring. My Father-in-law, gifted with a scroll saw, custom-built the box and etched our names and the date on the front. When I look at it, I think of that moment in the ceremony after we put the wine in it, when Judge Sheryl Jolly introduced us to the guests as Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Maskey. My friend Crystal tells me that I was so happy, I was actually jumping up and down. I’m sure she is exaggerating and that I was actually quite composed, but it makes for a good story.
Based on the good fortune I have enjoyed in my life, I have to think there is some merit to the Angela way of Feng Shui: de-clutter your space and give your cherished objects the prime real estate in your home. If our wine box was jammed into a closet or mixed in with less important stuff in a drawer, then it wouldn’t have the power to bring good fortune to my thoughts, and therefore my life. The box sits on a table next to our framed wedding picture. No clutter around, nothing else, just simply the frame and the box. Atop the box is the place-card from my seat at the reception lunch, the card my niece had hand-written for me. It says Angie Maskey. It is a powerful display for a meaningful object. This is Feng Shui, Angela-style.