I’m not too proud to beg. I know I need help. I drive a cluttered car. It makes frequent stops at garage sales. I’m surrounded by frisbees, granola bars, umbrellas, tape cassettes and an air freshener that lost its scent long ago. The clutter is not the kids’ fault because they usually travel with their dad in the van. Occasionally, I need to clear stuff off the seat so a passenger can jump in.
I had heard of the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui, literally meaning “wind” and “water”. It is a study of the ways in which environment, places, people, time and the energies of each interact. Feng Shui is the art of balance and its principles espouse that new opportunities can come to those who change the objects in their environment. Colours, sounds and tastes matter. By following the principles, one can create more positive opportunities.
I wondered if these principles could be adapted to help me create more peace and harmony in my life, starting with my car. My search for clarity led me to Erin May, Feng Shui practitioner and owner of Thunder Bay’s The Body Mind Centre.
I admitted to Erin that my cluttered car was driving me crazy. She listened and said that there was more to Feng Shui than decluttering, but that cleaning the junk out of the car would be a good start. “When you clean clutter from your car, you are really clearing out your mind,” she said. “The car symbolically represents our body and our body is the vehicle that gets us around. In our busy lives, taking a few minutes to clean our cars or homes gives us the spaciousness to take a nice, deep breath.”
Ah yes, remember to breathe. Just talking about this process is calming me down.
“Keeping the car free of clutter is similar to keeping the body in great shape,” said Erin May. “All car repairs have to be promptly taken care of. This is the practical aspect of Feng Shui. If a car is tuned up it runs better in the same way that our bodies usually perform more efficiently when they are in good shape.”
In Feng Shui, everything has its place. “Organization is important because it helps to keep the mind clear and it saves time not having to look for things. Having everything in its place can also help prevent accidents that might be caused when a driver is distracted by having to look for something.”
Applying the principles
If you want to adapt some Feng Shui priniciples for your car, try the following:
• Use mini garbage bags and empty them every day. Piled-up garbage creates “sha chi” (bad energy)
• Invest in car organizers or tote boxes to keep the car’s interior and trunk organized. By placing your items in boxes, you keep them safe because they don’t slide around.
• Edit and eliminate. Get rid of things that you or your passengers do not need. Keep maps of your city but eliminate the collection from your last vacation.
Clean windows, mirrors and dashboards
• All dashboards, rearview mirror and rear window should be kept clear to eliminate distractions. Clear spaces speak to clarity of mind.
• The windshield represents the clarity of how we see the world. Keep the windshield clean and repair cracks immediately. If you can see your world clearly, you are able to see new opportunities.
Flower Bud Vase
• Some new cars come equipped with a flower bud vase. If you have one, fill it with a single, fresh-cut flower. You do not want to create a distraction, so a simple flower is best. Live, positive force energy or “sheng chi” is important in the car.
• Schedule regular car check-ups.
Getting a consultation
I am just skimming the surface of what Feng Shui has to offer. If I participated in an individual consultation, I would be able to determine what kind and colour of car is best suited to me. This information would be based on my Gua number which is calculated using my birth date and year. Everyone is different, so a consultation would be conducted on an individual basis.
If your car is a mess, it indicates clutter in your mind. A car speaks volumes about the personality of the owner, so to maintain clarity, I can’t just clean up my car occasionally. I have to maintain a clean routine to stay on top of clutter in order to feel better and think more clearly. Thanks to a Feng Shui tune-up, I’m on the right road now.