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2014 Grateful 41

You know those plants you have in your living room, he asked, what do you call them?

Maud, Thelma, and Louise, I replied, wondering why he wanted to know.

I meant, what kind of plant are they?

They’re yuccas.

Did you buy them?

Nope. I sort of adopted them from a mate who moved to Dubai and needed someone look after his girls. The one to the left, Maud… she’s had eight kids that I’ve pawned off on other friends.

20140320_190212_resizedI was wondering where this was going. The Feng Shui lady said they were bad news – I should get rid of them because of their pointy leaves. Granted, this was back when Maud looked like a small forest all on her own. Since she birthed all those babies, she doesn’t take up nearly as much room. But her leaves are still pointy. I’d resisted all entreaties to get rid of all three ladies so far, and wasn’t quite able for another onslaught of well-intentioned advice. And, I’d grown quite fond of my girls. The place would be very quiet without them to talk to.

20140320_190221_resized

That’s good – good that you didn’t buy them. You’re not supposed to buy them. In Australia, they’re known as the happy plant – plants that you give to people. When they get too big, you lop a bit off and pass it on.

Well, was I ever grateful that I hadn’t gotten rid of them altogether. And, better still, apparently yuccas flower – big white flowers. They haven’t show anything but green all the years I’ve had them, but it’s nice to know that one day they might surprise me.

At the end of what was a cantankerous week, where I wasn’t in the best of form, I’m grateful for random moments like this one that illustrate so beautifully that there’s always more than one side to any story. It  also emphasised what I already know but all too often forget – I should trust my gut. Yes the experts might say one thing, and the books another, and friends and colleagues give different advice still, yet ultimately, that feeling in my gut won’t steer me wrong. The thing is to remember to listen to it and not to drown it the opinions and expectations of others.  Note to self.

Grateful 37

For the last ten days, I have shared my space with one, two, at times three men who were attempting to revive my aging woodwork and repair the damage I did to my walls when Feng Shui demanded that I rehang my pictures. For the most part, we got along just grand. I turned a blind eye to the dust and the dirt and gave thanks that they at least covered the furniture before starting work. I played musical beds as they moved from room to room and I got used to stepping over chairs and books and bags to get to my kettle. I told myself repeatedly that it would soon be over.

The work that I do to pay for this painting is rarely accomplished in one day. There are few finite tasks that I can start, work through, and finish in a day. Most are part of a continuous chain of events, just one link in what will develop into something tangible months down the road. It’s rare that I get that sense of satisfaction from completing something. So when I was presented with a mound of door handles and key plates to shine and polish, I was ecstatic. Completely engrossed in my work, I didn’t notice the hours go by. The satisfaction I got from seeing my face reflected in the surface was positively orgasmic (well, not quite, but nearly!)

So, instead of looking at the inches of dust that have accumulated over the last few days and screaming silently at the thoughts of making them disappear; instead of looking at tiles and parquet that need to be resusscitated and groaning at the back-breaking work that will involve; instead of dreading the loads and loads of laundry that lie ahead of me and the accompanying ironing, I’m actually looking forward to it all.

Now that might well say something about the state of my social life – but hand on my heart, this week, I’m grateful that my flat is a tip. I’m grateful that I will have two solid days of the kind of work that offers immense satisfaction. A begining, a middle, and an end. And no, I wouldn’t want to do this for a living – but every now and then it’s good to do something concrete – something where you can see the difference your work has made.

[Note: Post Grateful 52 explains the Grateful concept]

Desperate measures

I’ve been carrying SJ’s number in my phone for more than a year now. I’d never used it although I had thought about it plenty of times. But I was never quite that desperate. And then last week, devoid of energy, listless, restless, and on the verge of becoming soulless, I decided that the time had come to have my flat Feng Shui’d. Feel free to laugh or at the very least roll your eyes to heaven and wonder why is is that you’re surprised!

feng shui [ˈfʌŋ ˈʃweɪ] n (Spirituality, New Age, Astrology & Self-help / Alternative Belief Systems) the Chinese art of determining the most propitious design and placement of a grave, building, room, etc., so that the maximum harmony is achieved between the flow of chi of the environment and that of the user, believed to bring good fortune. [from Chinese feng wind + shui water]

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

I’d dabbled in it myself some time back – well, that’s a slight exaggeration. What I actually did was borrow a book from one friend and a compass from another in an effort to see if I could work it all out myself. [I’m embarrassed to say how long it took me to figure out which way was North – which explains quite a lot really, now that I think about it.] But so much appeared to be wrong in my flat that I hadn’t the heart to continue – Blue walls in the kitchen? Green walls in the bedroom? Yucca plants at the door? A long hallway? Short of knocking walls and repainting, I didn’t appear to have many options and as I wasn’t about to go there I chose simply not to believe.

But then I heard tales of the wonders SJ has wrought. She’s been practising in Hungary for 15 years and seems to know what she’s at. A resurfacing of old symptoms has me concerned – so concerned that as well as going down the traditional, well-trodden medical path, I am considering alternative ‘medicine’ of any kind…no matter how far-fetched it may seem. So I invited her in. She spent three hours doing calculations, walking the flat, taking notes, giving advice, explaining the whys and wherefores of what she was at. She moved furniture, suggested additions, and generally pointed out that according to the charts, the greatest space in my flat occupies the heart sector (mmmm… ) and the smallest part is in the money sector (double mmmmm…..). Pictures were taken done from the walls, some to find new homes in other rooms, some to emigrate completely. I have a beautiful hand-made Venetian mask, straight from a canal-side workshop…anyone interested?

To have her breeze through my home like a tornado – a home that has been painstakingly pieced together over the course of three years and tell me that the energy is wrong (be it chi, sha, or cutting chi) is a little disconcerting. To have her comment (in the nicest way, of course) that my dream of a gallery-type hallway had created a corridor of sha energy (not good) and would have to be reimagined, touched a chord. I found myself getting quite defensive at times and rather idiotically heard myself having an internal conversation peppered with ‘No, I bloody won’t!’ and then realising that I was paying good money for advice I was planning on ignoring. How stupid does that make me?

Her explanations of the energy left me rather muddled but I have decided to follow her instructions to the letter. I have chosen to believe. I look forward to massive changes in energy that are to come and to discovering the meaning of life sometime in the next three months. Watch this space.