"Affirmations are statements going beyond the reality of the present into the creation of the future through the words you use in the now." ~ Louise Hay

We know that repeated words can become ideas, which become beliefs, which create our worldview, our emotions, and our reality. We try using positive statements, in the present tense, to replace all the negative ones that come to us all the time, from everywhere. We call them affirmations, statements that affirm -- describe, validate, confirm, assert, and uphold -- the creation of what we want and the dissolution of what we don't want. Louise Hay called a positive affirmation "a beginning point on the path to change." We change our thoughts before we can change ourselves and our lives. Psychologists understand that statements made to us in childhood and beyond can become deeply rooted in our minds, consequently affecting our beliefs, behaviors, and lives, but you don't have to be a psychologist to see that this only makes sense. Whatever you think about a lot, you are affirming. For example, someone who thinks, "I can't do this," will have a very hard time succeeding until after they replace that belief with one that allows for the possibility of success.

Words can have the power to change our minds,

and therefore, our lives, by what they affirm.

When I walk into the spa where I have my nails done, I am immediately greeted by a lovely sign that reads, "Time to relax." Seeing this statement sets me up for a break in my day that will be a calming, peaceful experience. It tells my mind that this is a place different from the world outside. Beyond that sign, I also see that the whole place is designed in harmony with its affirmation. I am surrounded by soft colors, shapes, scents, and sounds that affirm quiet relaxation. Each room is small, with subdued lighting. The feeling is very yin. I know I am not the only client who may occasionally doze off in the pedicure chair or on a massage table. I could have my nails done somewhere else, somewhere filled with bright lights, loud music or TVs, and plenty of chatter, but that's not what I want. I've never checked, but I wouldn't be surprised if my blood pressure lowered whenever I am there. Conversely, when I walk into my grandson's preschool classroom, my eyes are treated to an array of bright primary colors, large open areas, cheerful messes, and the noisy bustle of children engaged in all kinds of academic and artistic projects. Clearly, the atmosphere there is very much yang -- exciting, stimulating, and active.

Spaces and everything in them are also affirmations.

The only question is, what are they affirming?

Objects in your home already affirms something, for good or not-so-good. They may signify an event from your past, something you're passionate about, something painful to recall, or something you don't care about at all. They may represent a relationship with someone you love or someone who has had some kind of negative impact on you. High-quality art might hang on your walls, but if it depicts violence, war, sorrow, or lack, those energies are being affirmed in your home environment. The things you surround yourself with at home may reflect your fears or your wishes, your joys or deep wounds. They may symbolize a scarcity consciousness or a strong belief in success and abundance. They may offer a feeling of peacefulness, safety, comfort, or amusement. It might be something you find beautiful or ugly. Perhaps they reminds you of aspects of yourself -- your intellect, artistic ability, curiosity, happiness, adventurousness, power, anger, resilience, fearfulness, anxiety, or doubt. Everything in your home is a reflection of something inside you and needs to grow along with you, to affirm who you are right now and who you want to become.

When we apply Feng Shui principles to our home environments, we first declutter and open up the pathways that allow energy to flow freely throughout. Then we turn to the energy of physical objects. We balance yin and yang and the Five Elements using colors, shapes, and materials. But each home is unique, because the people living in them are unique. Everything in your home should affirm what you love, who you are right now, and what you want to have, be, and do. Your home should be filled with things that make you feel happy, safe, and loved. It should be a place that calms and encourages you, supports you, and reflect your highest, best self and life. If you share your home with your partner or family, it should offer those things for each of you and for you as a couple or group. These are environmental affirmations, things that give your word affirmations a physical form.

Vision boards, creation boxes, or signs, artwork, calendars, and pillows with writing on them are some of the more obvious examples of turning word affirmations into something physical. But there are many other ways to bring into your home symbols of positive affirmations that have meaning for you. For example, let's say you've always wanted to go to Paris, but haven't done it yet. You can place artwork, photos, and/or replicas of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, or any other item that says "Paris" to you around your home, not only in the Travel area of your home's bagua (although you might try for the Travel area of each room). This keeps the energy of your trip to Paris activated in your home environment. If, on the other hand, you are taking a professional course or are enrolled in college or graduate school, you can place items around that make you think of graduation, such as a teddy bear wearing a mortar board hat or holding a diploma, or something symbolizing the pinnacle of your field of study, perhaps in the Knowledge and Wisdom area of each room. If you are longing for more financial abundance, think hard about what you want the money for, and use symbols of those things, experiences, or feelings. If your heart's desire is to be able to pay for your children's education, symbolize that; if you're dying for a certain car, house, boat, or trip, use items that affirm those things. Being specific activates the energy around those things coming to you, rather than just wanting more money. Also remember to include the ability to comfortably practice generosity when you affirm abundance for yourself.

Sometimes, your goals and dreams are more intangible than a sports car or a move to another city or country. Sometimes, what you want is a change in how you feel. You may wish for greater happiness or light-heartedness, more calmness and peacefulness, more energy or vitality, less anxiety or worry, or the feeling of success, no matter what your endeavors. Maybe you're nursing a broken heart or recovering from an illness or injury. For example, when you are newly single, you might surround yourself with items and images of single things -- a tree growing tall and strong with no other trees around it, a bird soaring by itself, or a a single, long-stemmed rose in a vase -- affirming that you are resilient, independent, and can make it on your own. Later, when you have healed more, you can surround yourself with pictures and items in pairs, affirming that you are ready for a new relationship.If you just want to feel that you have a cushion of wealth beyond paying your regular bills, think about what that would truly feel like and find items that remind you of that feeling.

Your environmental affirmations might include lush, healthy plants, images of sunrises and other symbols of new beginnings, pictures of happy people, butterflies, lions, heart shapes, rainbows, angels, or dragons, depending on what you want to affirm. Feng Shui traditionally uses many Chinese symbols for wealth, love, and good fortune of all kinds (such as foo dogs, Mandarin ducks, koi fish, money plants, waving cats, and gold coins), but if they don't resonate with you, you can use whatever works better for your modern, Western lifestyle. The important thing is that these symbolic items and images hold significance for you. They should make you feel and be mindful of what you want to feel and be mindful of.

For instance, I have some crystals hanging in my windows, and in the morning, when the rising sun hits them, they create rainbows all over the walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture in my home. It never fails to make me smile, make me remember the beauty and magic of the world and of life, make me feel hopeful, happy, and childlike in wonder, joy, and optimism. It makes me think of the scene in Pollyanna, when they remove all the prisms from a big chandelier and hang them in the window, creating rainbows all over the room. Rainbows have always held great significance for me, showing up in my life whenever I have felt defeated, to remind me that even though there is rain, the sun is always there, too.

Environmental affirmations can also include scents or sounds. Using scented candles, incense, or aromatherapy oils and sprays can send signals to your brain, telling it when you're at home (as opposed to being "out there" in the world), when you're working or studying, relaxing, meditating, entertaining, or in a romantic mood. The aromas of baking or cooking your favorite foods can affirm you in many ways, perhaps evoking happy memories. When I gave up eating breads and other wheat flour foods -- cakes, cookies, rolls, muffins, pancakes, toast -- I didn't miss the foods nearly as much as I missed smelling them baking. The spa I go to always plays soft nature sounds mixed with gentle flute, piano, harp, and synthesizer music designed specifically to induce relaxation. If you're craving that trip to Paris, you can play French music, eat croissants or macarons, and bake baguette (for the aroma, but also to eat!).

At home, sounds -- including various kinds of music, nature sounds (like rain, waterfalls, bubbling brooks, ocean waves, or birdsong), and even "white noise"-- can affirm joy, peacefulness, excitement, or time for sleep. For example, an artist or writer might only use one particular scent or play one kind of music when working at home. Years ago, my family and I played The Commitments soundtrack -- loudly -- all through a weekend we spent painting some rooms in our house. Ever since then, we always play it the whole time we do any interior painting. It tells us that it's painting time, keeps us in an good mood and affirms that the project will go smoothly and we will be pleased with the results. Sometimes, when you are feeling low, you can start out with one kind of music that matches your mood, and then change the sounds to guide you to another, more upbeat feeling.

When you walk into your home, you should feel welcomed, loved, safe, and comforted. You should be able to relax there like nowhere else. It should be the place where you can heal, restore, and refresh. Your home environment should offer your every sense -- seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching -- positive affirmations of your worth, your safety, your success, your happiness, and your health. Surround yourself with items, images, sounds, scents, flavors, and textures you love. Make sure the whole environment affirms what you want to focus on and create in your life. Remember that everything has energy, so see this as one more way to choose the energy in your home for your highest good.

Everything in your home affirms something.

Choose items that affirm who you are now and what you truly want to be, have, and do.

• What's the first thing you see when you walk into your home? What does it affirm? Does it feel right to you? Do you like it, love it, or want to change it? Stand at the entrance to each room in your home. Close your eyes. Take a long, deep breath. Open your eyes. What do you see when you walk into each room? What feels affirmed in this space? What do you want to change? Make the changes.

• What are the problem areas in your life? Is there anything in your home that affirms this problem? For example, if you want more abundance, don't affirm lack; if you are seeking a committed, loving, healthy relationship, don't affirm loneliness; if you want more vitality, don't affirm tiredness.

• Choose one tangible thing you want. Find items and images that represent it and place them in the corresponding area of your home's bagua and in that area of each room (placing the bagua based on the room's entrance). Choose one intangible thing -- a feeling or quality -- that you love and want more of in yourself or your life. Find pictures and words to cut out of magazines, draw, or write, and place them in an Affirmation Box. Look at the things in this box often and add to it.

• When you declutter, ask yourself of each item, "What does this affirm?" Use this to help you decide what to keep and what you no longer need to hang onto.

©2018 by This Feng Shui Life.