Updated: Dec 25, 2022
I am lucky to have had strong female influences all my life. Two, in particular, influenced my love of interior decorating and design. As a little girl, my aunt, a decorator, would take me with her when she worked with clients. I got to hear conversations on how groupings should be made, floorscapes designed, and other tidbits like, “Burn the candles ladies, they’re not that expensive…” My mother, an artistic magician, could make something out of nothing. I have watched her literally take two tiny sticks and a piece of string, lovingly paint them on a piece of paper, and throw in a dab of glitter, Boom, art! While both of them were using their creativity and imaginations differently, they both had the same purpose, to use their energy in making where they lived look and feel like home.
Later, as an adult working on my degree, I researched the connection between our living and work spaces and the brain, and then put what I learned to work by redecorating and organizing the principal’s office and teachers’ lounge. I dove into things like The Broken Glass Theory which suggests signs of civil disorder (broken windows, overgrown brush, and graffiti) breeds more civil unrest and antisocial behavior. I read how living in a high rise can impact mental health and well-being and studied how we as people perceive ourselves to be at the center of the universe, no matter where we are, which is why we stake out our space wherever we go. An example of this is when we walk into a meeting and place our “stuff” around a chair or table. This action creates our space, our boundaries, for others not to cross. It’s also why we see so many fenced in yards…we’re protecting the projection of our energy.
Later still, I discovered clients and realty agents readily discuss the “feel of the place,” and if a home has “good energy” when buying a new home. Some clients will ask if a home is "haunted." They will seek information on why people are moving and the history of the property to see if anything “bad” has happened there. These are people from all faiths and all different backgrounds most definitely aware that the energy in a space impacts us and what we are willing to live in.
Now, having a better idea of energy and what it means to our well-being, I believe all of these things have to do with how the space in which we live and work is influenced by the energy from those within it. Much like we can feel the difference between the energy of a place of worship versus that of a gymnasium, there is most definitely a difference in the energy of our spaces and it’s up to us to balance and clear it.
To do this, we first must clean it.
Walking around with burning sage or singing bowls isn’t going to help if there is 6 inches of dust on the table, a stack of open mail in the corner, and a pile of clothes -going to Good Will someday- on the floor. Why are we keeping that computer that doesn’t work, but we could use the parts, on a hidden shelf that “no one sees?” Our “stuff” also holds energy. There are emotions attached to items that either bring us happiness and warmth or feelings of sadness or indifference.
I know someone whose mother died and left her a few items to take home. Weirdly, or maybe not so weirdly, the items all ended up broken, cracked, or didn’t work and she ended up getting rid of them. Her mother lived a life shrouded in negativity, so it was no coincidence her stuff ended up in ruins. Our "stuff" can be a mirror of our energy. Marie Kondo writes about “tidying up” and how to embrace the items that bring us joy. She tells her readers to touch the items and take note of how they make them feel. Not feeling it? Get rid of it. I love this and couldn’t agree more. If it doesn’t bring us joy, why keep it? If it’s from someone who brought us misery in life, why would we keep it in death? Now, admittedly, my lawn mower doesn’t bring me joy. But it does bring me gratitude for shorter grass that I can comfortably walk on. So I will keep it, cleaned and well appreciated, along with the other stuff that brings me joy.
Second, music and sound is vibrational and what we listen to impacts the energy of the environment and our inner selves. How I feel when listening to Tibetan singing bowls is a lot different than when I’m at a concert listening to a live Shinedown performance. Both are energetic. Both have an impact. To clear the energy of our space, it’s a good idea to use sound that resonates positive vibes. Starting at the center of the room, play sound working your way out to the corners of the room and out the door. Open the windows, if possible, and using the intention to clear the space, ring a bell or chimes, or use a quartz singing bowl to play the sound. If you don’t have any of these things, try tapping something you do have, like drinking glasses or other household items. The trick is to listen to the tone and how it changes or how you feel in the space to know when it is clear.
Third, much like incense is used in places of worship to bring homage to a ceremony or bless a space, sage has been used to do the same, for centuries. Sage has medicinal properties that may improve depression and brain health and is considered to be sacred in its use. Because of its sacred purpose, unless the area needs a deep clearing of troubling energy, I would use Florida water to clear the energy from a space instead. I am not referring to water taken out of a tap in Florida; this is a special water with added essential oils and is used in spiritual practices. And it smells great! You can buy it in spray bottle form or simply put it in a spray bottle. You can also make your own (Google can lead you to various recipes). With intention to clear your space, walk the area using the spray as you would with the bells, open the windows, and usher out the stale energy.
Like all practices, there are many variations and ideas related to energy clearing; these are just a few of my favorites. The practice of Feng Shui has techniques to use and there are many books and Googleable thoughts available at our fingertips. I think how we do it is up to us, but the point is to be aware of the need in the first place. My son came home one day and announced, “Mom, the energy in here is all wrong.” I’m not sure if he was talking about me or the space, but that was my cue to clear it out and raise my awareness of what was being projected and absorbed. Raising our awareness helps others to do so too, thereby keeping our spaces positive and clear.