My work with feng shui has always been about helping people to design their dream lives, and every dream life is creative. Doing feng shui in Hollywood, 100 percent of my clients are artists and most of them find me because in one way or another they are blocked or unfulfilled. Endlessly, in addition to working on their home design, I ask them to read and do the exercises in the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In twelve weeks you learn simple tools to help get you out of your own way and start living a fuller and more artful life no matter what your profession or passion may be. Soon, I started leading online groups working through the book and blogging each experience. It’s an endless learning process: I have been through the process myself seven times, each different and each incredible.
When I was eleven years old I was gifted an oil painting kit. My family went out for the day and I set up a studio in my living room in a dramatic flourish, choking on fumes and mesmerized by the process while I made this painting:
That was the first and last painting I ever made. Once the kit was gone, so was my fuel. Living in a New Jersey town where art was something you bought at the shopping mall, I had no way to find more of what I wanted and needed and had no one to help me with it. So, the painting, and my excitement, migrated to the garage for 20 years.
I grew up to become someone who worked for artists in one capacity or another for years. My own creative work sat on shelves collecting dust. I had become what Julia Cameron calls a “shadow artist”. It happens to the best of us- we are in a great groove and then someone or something stops up in our tracks, and over time, we stop ourselves in our tracks. Instead, we work for and date and befriend a zillion artists who DO take their creative endeavors seriously. Does this sound familiar to you?
Now…how does a creativity book affect your home? The quick answer is: “In every way possible!” Feng shui -- especially in my day to day application -- is all about forging a personal connection to your environment, using the energy present in your space support your actions and desires. When your home is more personal and aligned in design with your truth, your life changes. So… without further ado, here are five doable ways to enhance your creative quotient in your home:
1. Keep space for inspiration and exploration. We all need to restock our creative resources. Julia calls it, “filling the well.” In your house, allow a space for “creative mess”-- papers, songs, images, photos, sketches, magazine tear sheets, whatever it may be that you find and toss into a pile. Think of it as an intelligent, cool “junk drawer.” Rifle through it occasionally and you might find a good idea. Another idea that has worked for my clients is a giant table -- as big as you can fit -- designed to work like a massive organizational space for creative projects. Piles and books and images can stack endlessly and move fluidly and will stare you in the face when you are looking for them! Contrary to what you might think, a creative space you use, no matter how stacked it may be, is not clutter!
2. Live through your senses even more. Our entire life is experienced through our sensory perception. Adding extra sensory layers to a space can be as simple as a few drops of neroli oil sprinkled on a cotton bandana or piece of unglazed pottery, or even in a diffuser in your office or in the space where you rehearse or read or draw or whatever you create at home or in your office. Leonardo da Vinci used neroli to help access his inspiration! Other fun space-amping tricks to try can be as simple as a white noise machine from the drugstore that has plays sound of nature, painting something (even a piece of furniture past its prime) in your favorite color, throwing a furry rug under your desk, baking cookies or even self-graffiti a wall with your own poetry.
3. When you feel blocked, CLEAN HOUSE! Most people, when blocked or frustrated, would rather drink a bottle of wine than Windex their windows. I am aware of this. But it’s the scrubbing, polishing, dusting and washing that will really make you feel better. Plus, the metal energy (speaking in Chinese elemental terms) that you raise in your home will help you to focus and curate your thoughts.
4. Build confidence! Julia Cameron confirms what we know from the world of reality television quite vividly: audacity is often more valuable than talent in creating a life of acclaim. How DID some of these people get in movies, galleries, etc? They were CONFIDENT and they made others feel confident in what they were creating. Of course, it’s natural for everyone to doubt themselves… but not to the point that it is paralyzing! Confidence in a home is visually displayed in vibrant colors, super-sized artworks, and other statement-making bits of décor. Now, if you are not able to procure something large or colorful or splashy or unique that you love at this moment, try strengthening the “Fame” area of your house, located in the area at the farthest point across your home from your entrance door. It’s a great place to put fiery colors, or even to frame or display your accomplishments. At the very least, if that area is a mess, take care of it, stat!
5. Play games and design for fun!! The most fun space I have been in lately epitomizes the way the child inside of you needs to be fed. There are games on the table, a Rubix cube, and (my favorite, I grew up with one at home!) a Ms PacMan machine in the office! There are signed basketballs and fun movie posters on the walls. Everywhere you look, there is a sense of play. Setting a chess set out on a table, a deck of cards on your coffee table… even having a puppy running around with toys or buying a few groovy kitchen gadgets can make your space that much more engaging!
I hope you all, of you, one day, will grab a copy of The Artists Way and go on an adventure with it.
For now, I leave you with my favorite of quotes from this incredible book: “Expect the universe to support your dream. It will.” Julia Cameron is a hero and a gift to humanity!!!