Spring Clearing

by Ana L. Palles

The Elements The subject of Sacred Space comes up often when we work with clients and during workshops. The concepts taught in Sacred Space workshops and Feng Shui practices are basic techniques that many of us already do but don't often stop to think just how profound these are and the difference they make in our homes on a variety of levels.

When we go through a house, opening windows, stripping beds and flipping over mattresses, we are very effectively clearing old energy out and resetting our space. Our bodies recognize it because we feel so good when we lay down on that crisply made bed and breathe deeply of the newly freshened air.

A friend of mine resets her space by vacuuming in a very conscious and focused way. She imagines all the irritations that have gone on, the bits and pieces of disagreements, stress or sadness being picked up by the vacuum, to be bundled up and taken out of the house into the trash bin.

Another friend not only opens the windows, but goes around the house wiping down doorknobs, phones, light switches, counters and baseboards to give her a sense of renewal. It's more than being a meticulous housekeeper, she imagines herself wiping away hard words and emotions so that it can clear and dissipate. Regardless of whether someone really believes this is happening or not, the important thing is the fact that it is her intent to renew her environment, and release.

Most of us understand the importance of clearing our home and our work environment, particularly when they begin to feel stagnant. However, we often forget the things that share the space in that environment. Our jewelry, our clothing, even our bed linens receive and often store our energy patterns. People that are good at psychometry have a knack for identifying the energy that objects carry.

Since our personal possessions are mostly our own energy, we often take it for granted that it’s ok as is. We forget that we change with the passage of time and sometimes the emotions and thought patterns that we are working with at a particular time may not be relevant several months or years later. If the feelings were positive ones, the need to clear them out may not be necessary. However, if the feelings were less than positive, such as disappointment, anger, grief or guilt, then a little clearing of the air may be in order.

It is easier to understand it if we use grief as an example. When we lose someone dear to us we often become aware that their energy lives in their belongings and in those which they gave to us as gifts. Ancient cultures would often bury the dead with their possessions, largely to help the dead on their travels through the spirit world, but also in part because the belongings of the deceased held onto parts of the deceased’s spirit. Some Native American cultures would no longer use the deceased person’s name after the year of mourning. They instead would refer to the person by their relationship, for example, the brother of my aunt’s friend.

Grieving rituals are designed to help both the mourner and the deceased move on. Many of us already perform some version of a grieving ritual when we go through and donate some of the deceased’s possessions, or when we set up the grave marker following a year of mourning, or when a widow stops wearing black. But don’t forget that grieving isn’t only a ritual for a physical death. Relationships that change over time and no longer hold life are often parted. The death of a friendship or of a marriage can be devastating even if appropriate in its time.

Where love has existed between two people, we have a difficult time parting with many belongings because they remind us so much of the bittersweet times with the person that we loved. Our memories link back to the object being used and like the scene select option on a DVD, we sometimes get stuck paging through the images of the loved one and happier times even if for only a few minutes.

While it is important to remember that we are starting a new chapter of our lives and gifting some of these belongings that tie us to the past is an important step in the healing process, there are times when it is either not appropriate or financially prudent to give these items away. Realize that we can still keep these items and reset some of the energy and feelings around them so that it is more in balance with our current needs.

There are many ways to do such clearing work. Often this involves using the elements for purification. Most of us are familiar with the traditional Western elements of Fire, Water, Air and Earth. Other traditions use five elements, such as a Chinese model that uses Fire, Water, Earth, Metal and Wood, or a Buddhist or Hindu model which uses Aether as the fifth element, likened to spirit or that force which unites all.

Water is used for washing away impurities, and deep cleansing breaths are used in order to expel pollutants. Sound vibration is also used as a purifying agent as with the Tibetan singing bowls, Sacred Chanting and the use of special bells. Fire, used in forges and for the tempering of steel, silver, and gold, burns away impurities in the metals and so too may burn away negativity surrounding other objects.

We often forget about using earth as a clearing element, but it is one of the more effective ones. The earth takes in unwanted waste each and every day, letting it go deep within and recycling it back. Streams often run through filtration beds which help to cleanse the water. Earth is solid, foundational and nurturing; it recycles waste matter and delivers us a fertile product we can use.

Depending on the object, you can use any one or a combination of the elements to help clear the energies which no longer serve you in the given object. For example, placing a piece of jewelry in the center of a singing bowl while playing the bowl can very effectively clear out energies. Sometimes, after using sound, I like to place the object on top of the soil in a potted plant to ground out the energy and absorb anything that is still falling away.

Paper products, things such as old cards and letters that contain a lot of emotional significance, are ideal candidates for using the fire element. But realize this is a more final method of clearing, of course, and make sure you are using a fireplace or other safe method before you start. Bless the items and ceremoniously offer them up as you place in them fire.

As with all things, approach the process of clearing space with sacred intent. It is to be done with veneration of the time spent together and in gratitude for the gift. The act of clearing is simply one of releasing the energies so that they are no longer tied to the object in question. The release is an act of celebration and gratitude, and is done with joy in the heart for the service and beauty granted. Going through the preparation of finding and acknowledging the gift that these energies provided you, even if they carried great pain, is the activating piece of any clearing activity. Remember that part of you would be tied up with that object and releasing this in joy provides the opening for you to re-access that part of your power again for your own use. 

As a final point, make sure to bring in some of the basic Feng Shui principles. Feng shui means wind and water. Although Feng Shui is very complex, we can think of it in simple terms as the art of designing your environment so that it is in harmony with nature and the life force.

Begin by removing clutter from rooms, making sure that there is good air circulation. Incorporate water and plants into the space. Some folks have fountains, terrariums and gold fish. These simple basics help us focus on supporting the lifeforce energy and establishing that free flow.

“In all that we do let us do it for love” – Chris Cotton

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