The truth is I live in two different worlds right now because I am Ukrainian
I started trying to write this newsletter several times and whatever I was writing, none of it felt right. The truth is I live in two different worlds right now because I am Ukrainian. I immigrated to the United States almost 30 years ago. America is my home and I love it. But I hadn’t realized until now how strongly I am still connected with Ukraine. The brutality and horror of what people are going through right now rips my heart into pieces.
Waves of grief, fear, anger, and love are coming through all at once. I wake up at night and see the faces of people I know there. I would like to take a family of refugees into my home, but the administration is not yet accepting Ukrainian refugees into the US. It is disheartening because the whole world has opened its borders and its arms to the Ukrainian people. I am hopeful because I can see how much people here want to help. It is humbling and reassuring to see how much kindness, compassion and love this war has opened up in people’s hearts all over the globe. It is absolutely empowering to see how the Light keeps growing in response to such darkness!
People in Ukraine are leaving their homes and everything they own. They often only have a few minutes or hours to pack. Women and children cross the border with a single suitcase. I ask myself—what would I try to take if this happened to me? What are the things that would I cherish? What is most important? I talk to friends and relatives who have crossed the border into Poland. They talk about the people, not the things that they have left behind. And they are deeply moved by all the help they are receiving every day from complete strangers. It’s these extreme situations that show us how human warmth, compassion and love matter most, not the material things.
For years, I have been observing the amount of stuff we have in our American homes. Quite often it’s overwhelming. And too often, we lose a sense of freedom and joy trying to take care of all this stuff. It makes us overburdened, drained and even sick—so let us spend less of our time shopping and collecting! Let us focus on what’s meaningful and precious—cultivating and deepening our bonds with family and friends.
This may be a strange thing to hear from a Feng Shui designer because, in my work, I deal with furniture, accessories and décor. But I also deal with energy. The energy in our homes must support and nourish our own energy, and this cannot be achieved when our homes are packed. I am writing a book called The Soulful Home and one of the main themes is surrounding ourselves only with things that are useful, meaningful and give us joy. Everything else is clutter! Energy flows so much better when our space is filled with fewer things, and more of it becomes available to nourish us. A space that’s free of clutter feels lighter and healthier, and it can uplift and inspire us.
Spring is here and it always feels good to clean and lighten up our home this time of the year. I hope these seven clutter-clearing tips are useful to you.
Seven things you may want to get rid of this spring
- Old food in the fridge and pantry
Get rid of any old expired food and physically clean the fridge. If you feel ambitious, do the same with the pantry. You’ll feel awesome if there is space in the fridge and pantry so you can see everything and find things easily. You may even discover things that you forgot you had.
- Unused kitchen appliances attachments
If you go through your kitchen cabinets, you will find things that you don’t use any more like cups, cookware and attachments for various appliances. Some of these appliances might even be gone by now. There will be things that you won’t even remember that you had. If you let them go, you will enjoy a sense of clarity. It will be useful knowing what you have in the back of your kitchen cabinets and having free space just feels great.
- Worn out winter clothing
There are some pieces of clothing, that fit so well and we love so much, that we wear until they start to fall apart. It’s hard to let them go so we keep them in the dresser, thinking “I can get rid of it in a couple of years.” Why not now? It makes such a difference to have the extra room.
- Sticky notes on your desk
Some of you may have many old sticky notes on the desk, fridge and other places. Some of them won’t even make sense to you anymore! Getting rid of them will feel like clearing out responsibilities and things to do. You will feel less pressure and more freedom as a result.
- Dying plants
It’s very hard to let go of a plant that’s been with us for several years. But it’s not good for us, or for the plant, to keep it in an unhealthy condition. If it doesn’t respond to your efforts at caring for it any more, it’s time to let it go. I always feel that a partially dried-out plant is suffering. Get a new one instead and try to take better care of it.
Every piece of art we own will trigger some emotional response from us. It can be positive, negative or neutral. It’s not wise to hold on to a piece of art that evokes a negative emotion or memory, or doesn’t represent you anymore. Replace it with something that gives you joy!
- Clean up your night stands
Our energy is open and vulnerable when we sleep and having too many things on our nightstands creates restless and chaotic energy. Nightstands tend to collect books and medicines. These things accumulate dust and that may trigger allergies and inflammation. Having fewer things in the bedroom, especially around our heads, helps us get better and deeper sleep.
Happy spring and happy clearing!
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