As discussed in part one of the relationship fen shui series: defining and redefining a healthy sense of space and self starts with taking steps to identify and itemize a clear cut plan to cleanse.
Here is a simple seven step plan to inspire your progress:
(consequently and serendipitously post writing this, I discovered the number seven in feng shui is related to solitude, inner wisdom, contemplation, sanctuary, dreams, visions; universally of course we associate it with luck)
Step one: Defining the sacred to weed out the toxic.
In a world of excess, take stock of what is important to your wellness by process of elimination. Make a gratitude journal. There is so much to be appreciated in life that I could fill a thousand pages a day with the wonders of the world.
However, important is deliberate detailing of our own unique appreciation, learning to harness and wield gratitude in our lives is an irreplaceable, powerful weapon to add to our Nourished Warrior arsenal. This elemental step in the many-part plot to feng shui your universe, is crucial to the overall journey, so consider everything in your journaling, that adds value and thanks to your life.
Engaging the proverbial lo-pan (lo-pan = a feng shui compass that is used to define the bagua or energy map of a home):
In this case we are pointing this proverbial compass at the relationship corner of our ‘houses.’ In feng shui terms this is the furthest right room, consequently engaging our right-brain to craft this list engages right brain energies—intuition and the (w)holistic view of things.
-Start by meditating on your life as an overall and consider all the things that create the mosaic of your world. Make determined and specific notations of each and every thing you are grateful for—a deeply reflective process that carries so much underrated reward.
-Strive for 40 items per day. If you are struggling through the process, worry not. The list will create itself once you ignite the power of intention.
-Do this every day for 40 days (40 is the magic number) while you are engaging in your feng shui cleanse.
Although in feng shui the number four can represent stability and groundedness, death or transformation, 40 of course is significant in a host of spiritual tradition. 0 = first cause; manifesting into existence from the unmanifest void. 4 = cycles of the natural world; 4 elements; body-mind-spirit-soul. 40 days time to bring a vision into existence. 40 represents order, harmony and systems. 40 days = symbolic, a benchmark for transformation, the death of oneself and the rebirth alike.
According to a french astrologer, “it is the achievement of a cycle in the world, the rhythm of the cyclic repetitions in the Universe”.
Deliberate determination of all of the things for which we are grateful will allow prioritization of what is truly important. It’s a multi-tasking method for taking stock of the stuff in our lives, that will bring clarity to the shit that deserves to stay and the ‘stuff’ that needs to be banished.
Step two: Anything conspicuously missing several days in a row from your gratitude glossary needs to be identified and put into a pile.
Tip: When we think we are done doing cleaning duty, cross reference to ensure there are not lagging ‘items’ that need to be flushed.
Step three: Make sure you have those items (relations/associations/connections/people) that make it into the baggage pile clearly identified, and know why it is they belong in the proverbial shitter.
Be honest, otherwise this whole exercise is useless. But also be gentle with yourself as you may be particularly vulnerable right about now and it’s important to nurture yourself through this process. Be a fierce warrior, yes, but don’t forget about pausing to reflect as you write your intentions to release.
It may require some clarity around what belongs here in the shit pile. More than a simple process of elimination of what one is not consistently grateful for, but indeed a full-scale inventory of the mind, heart and soul. Inclusive of relationships to self, to suffering, to each aspect of living that connects us in the world.
In addition to toxic people, we very often support toxic relationships to self and to aspects of our life. For example, one of the associations I chose for my shit list was my relationship to money—specifically as it relates to my own value. By cleansing my relationship to money, I in turn allow for easeful abundance in my life. Other peeps may require cleansing of their relationship to responsibility, to failure, to success, to food or to source itself.
Connections very often have deeper rooted issues behind them, and thus sometimes what seems as if it is our relationship to success for example, that is toxic. It actually is a fear of failure and thus our relationship to fear of failure. The same applies across the board in the interconnected quilt of our lives. My relationship to money may be toxic, but perhaps underneath that, is my relationship to self worth and thus it is that association that needs cleansing.
Coming at this from another perspective is that there is a lot to be considered in the arena of partnerships. Those people who have had serial relationship issues, may very well need to cleanse many aspects of their approach and their stance on love.
For example, a woman creating her relationship shit list has included her penchant for ‘bad boys’ for cheaters or comittment-phobes. It’s great to burn up this blockage, but at the same time mindful consideration of what is behind these patterns is essential.
As related to specific ‘types’ of romantic relationships my advice is: Seek the root of what attracts you to those types of men. (hint: it’s often your own counterpoint in some measure) Include that on your shit-list. ie: comittment-phobes= insecurity/relationship to self image/cheaters = relationship to trust/self worth issues/Bad boys = relationship to your own sense of rebellion and security.
The second part of the third step requires some introspection.
Meditate on the shit list you’ve compiled and determine if you have accurately identified each core issue/relationship. Please remember very often fundamental emotional issues or habits and addictions are personified when someone is in an unhealthy love relationship. Therefore carefully consider you aren’t presuming too much toxicity when in fact once you leave that toxic or abusive relationship much of your relationship to self and to life will begin to heal on its own.
If any of the connections are especially harmful they may require additional detox in order for us to fully be liberated from them, however the third step is simply identifying the shit pile and preparing to flush it.
Tip: it may seem harsh to consider ‘people,’ connections and relationships ‘shit that needs flushing’ but if we have been taking stock of our ‘whys’ and the reality of these relationships as related to our overall wellness, this feeling should disappear quite quickly.
If we need an affirmation in order to make it through making this list, we can try this:
“I only have space in my life for healthy, positive, mutually supportive connections that inspire me to thrive.”
Step four: Take that shit list and burn it.
This can be either ritualistic, ceremonial or the list can simply be read and released.
To add a bit of auspiciousness and symbolic empowerment to this action, one can stand facing south, tie a red thread ’round the list before it is quite literally, lit up. (red thread is an auspicious and sacred symbol, used as a tool of protection for centuries; thought to have supernatural powers, which protect, bring blessings, good fortune, love and abundance and aid in manifesting destiny.)
The thing about fire, is that it cannot be stored. It must be created in order to destroy and thus is its primordial power to achieve the release. In feng shui fire represents regret from loss of love, and disappointment in relationships.
Take that shit list and burn it.
Yep. Watch it smoke and flame and feel the release from all of the suffering that you have been carrying and the weight that is lifted. Once it has been burned, scatter the ashes somewhere beautiful or simply add the fact that you have been liberated from baggage to a daily gratitude journal. Keeping this perpetually in mind, and expressing continual gratitude for the ability to release that which no longer serves you will protect and empower your capacities for carrying no further baggage on the journey.
Step five: (bonus option) a prayer to release baggage.
If there were particularly stubborn items/connections/circumstances and relations on that shit list, they require a more potent prescription for relief. What we may wish to do is say the ‘ Ho’oponopono’ mantra on them. I first learned this from a Mayan Shaman my first time in Tulum. (of course I realize that many modern spiritual ‘teachers’ have incorporated this concept into their teachings as well.)
Maria the Shaman prescribed this ancient Hawaiian mantra as a daily meditation, used to cut old ties, patterns of behaviour, residual energy from past relationships, and as a way to move forward and manifest new love. My interpretation: it is a prayer to release baggage.
Visualize what it is, who it is, where it is that needs cleansing, renewal, and release. A pair of scissors in the left hand and a torch in the other and then see yourself cutting the ties with the left, applying fire with the right.
Hold the visualization in your awareness while speaking the Ho’oponopono mantra:
‘I am sorry forgive me I love you and I thank you.’ I’m sorry. Forgive me. I love you. Thank you. I’m sorry. Forgive me. I love you. Thank you.
Say this once a day for 40 days. At the end of 40 days the energetic residue ought to be entirely cleansed leaving only new space for positive growth.
You may wish to also add affirmations (which is a volume of this feng shui series, unto itself) to empower each step of your process. There are so many powerful ones out there and we can of course create our own.
But if we are seeking something simple, straightforward check out, the Zen Warrior Affirmations app, warrior-wisdom developed to deliver you the right words at the right time.
Step six: find a replacement connection—with yourself.
They say it takes 40 days to break a habit, detox from an addiction, or change a pattern of behaviour and while this is no 12 step program, the sixth step is just as important as the first through fifth. In order to heal from unhealthy patterns of behaviour or rid oneself of a habit or relationship one no longer wishes to engage with, it often helps to replace that ‘thing’ with another (more healthy) ‘thing.’
Unfortunately in love and relationships, many times this results in ‘rebound relationships’ and that is most certainly not what I am suggesting. However the concept is empowering, so I suggest finding a replacement connection—with yourself.
Whatever it was that was keeping you tied to that previous toxic circumstance was rooted in a need deep inside. Getting in touch with that need and actualizing its presence by recognizing how it has shaped the path you may have taken is key to keeping the toxic pattern broken and collecting no further baggage by burying it within.
My hope is that you identify this ‘thing’ within, that has driven you to collect shit for your shit list and set your intentions on healing it.
Seal your liberation by setting new intentions for yourself. Replacing old, worn out shit, with shiny, healthy inspirational new shit is the key to maintaining the healthy balance that is brought back into life by the act of feng shui. Intention based healing is something I have been working with for several years and each time I am striving to manifest something. Each time I wish to make a promise to myself or set a goal or even remind myself of important values I wish to harness or harvest, I tie on an intention bracelet. This is something that is part of my ritual and doesn’t have to be a part of yours,
However should we choose to realize or symbolize our intention setting in a physical way with something that will remind us of our promise to ourselves, or a shiny new way of being, or to celebrate the ability to feng shui out our relationship baggage, we can use objects to remind ourselves of these intentions.
step 7: Compiling a book of ‘lessons learned’
Realistically, relationship detox isn’t always as simple as a six step process that includes burning a piece of paper, saying a few prayers and tying on some string. There are real emotional issues that often come alongside the cessation of any connection. It is incredibly important to honor the process of this, and like any passing, allow yourself to grieve.
Nourish ourselves as we Warrior through that process and feel no shame about mourning the connections that we are severing for greater good. As important as freeing ourselves from the baggage of an unhealthy relationship, is taking time to reflect on what the relationship taught us. What lessons it brought with it to enrich our lives by the light of, and what was it that was mirrored in that (or those) connections, as every relationship acts mirror to something.
Compiling a ‘lessons learned’ book of sorts by which we can document the outcome of each growth experience can be an incredibly rewarding and empowering experience in addition to the wisdom it imparts to our hearts. Just a simple experience bible by which to document each important relationship, and what lessons have been harvested or what truths have been reflected by the reality of that connection in our lives.
Once we have identified what it was that we were meant to learn from something we are freed from the often torturous sense of wondering what went wrong, why it failed, or what we were thinking. Because that shit no longer matters. The wisdom has been taught to our hearts regardless of whether the conscious mind has caught up, and crafting our list of lessons is not only deeply honouring to each relationship, but it honors our own hearts, and grants them liberation from the feelings of failure or guilt. This transforms each and every relationship experience into something to add to our gratitude glossary.
Because in the end, what we take with us is not always baggage.
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Ed: Dana Gornall
Photo Credit: Rachelle Webb