the original kStyle blog.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Wednesday Writing Assignment

As I've completed my formal shiatsu studies (as if one ever completes learning about such a thing) and begun building a practice, I've found myself drawn to feng shui, another branch of the Asian energetic arts, the art of properly arranging space. And so, in my spare moments between work, shiatsu duties, cooking, and sleep, I've begun reading about feng shui and clearing out a little clutter every day.

In that self-starting spirit, please tell us about something you've been learning on your own--why you're studying it, what you get from it, or maybe some basic pointers for the rest of us.


Blogger kStyle said...

We had too many disharmonies with the neighbors, and, you may recall, in the desperate desperation of one insomniac night, I turned to feng shui for help.

While I researched solutions for neighbor noise (and other unsavory neighbors problems too complicated to disentangle here), I stumbled across some other useful information. A room's door, for example, should always be visible from the main living area of that room. You should be able, in other words, to see the door from your bed. The ideal arrangement is to have your bed parallel to the bedroom door on the opposite wall, in the opposite corner of the room. A similar arrangement works well for the couch. The person using bed or couch can then relax, relieved of subconscious caveman fear of attack from behind. Nor will the sleeper's energy leave the room, as it would were his feet aligned with the door.

My bedroom, I realized through insomniac haze, was arranged perfectly (except for the clutter). But the living room was not. The couch sits next to the door, making it hard to see the entryway. Moving the couch across the room wasn't really an option, as the TV was there, next to a scarce outlet.

The next morning, after a little fitful sleep, I took down the christmas tree at long last. (Too much Wood energy! Making Angry!) We make a trip to Pier 1 and picked up a pretty mirror--on sale! This we hung across from the main door, visible from he couch. We placed a chair (for which we'd never found a good location) below it.

Suddenly, the whole living room--really, the whole apartment--seems much, much bigger. The cats like it better, too. (One can tell these things.) I became hooked on feng shui.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Ann said...

I've been working my way through "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. It's another way of eliminating both physical and psychological clutter, by building a system to process information that includes filing, lists, and thinking--three of my favorite things in the whole world.

GTD (subtitle, "The Art of Stress-Free Productivity") has a sort of cult status. It appeals to me because it's methodical and requires serious organization. (It also provides great opportunities for building applications; I'm already desiging a database.)

GTD is all about putting your life in order. It claims that recurring thoughts about "open loops" in your life--chores, projects at work, trips you'd like to take one day, financial documents, phone calls you have to make, basically everything you want and have to do--clutters your brain and makes progress difficult if not impossible. It emphasizes the importance of "next actions," that is, the next specific thing that has to be done in order for you to finish a project. (For example, a project might be, "Get oil changed." A next action might be, "Check calendar to determine possible appointment dates," and after that ""Call oil change place for appointment.")

There's a particular process through which a proponent of GTD must go: Collect all open loops. Process what each one is. Organize them into a "trusted system." Review them on a regular basis. Do what needs to be done. The book goes into great depth on how to get to where you do this naturally with every new "loop" that comes into your life.

I have no idea how successful GTD has been for other people in the long run, but I'm trying it anyhow. "Getting my life in order" is something of an obsession of mine.

(Great writing assignment, k!)

12:27 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

sounds very interesting, Ann! Definitely an approach for a Myers-Briggs "Judgement" personaility rather than a "Pereception" personality. Please let us know how it works for you when you've been trying it for a while.

I'm glad you enjoyed the assignment.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Emma Goldman said...

Well, let's see. On my own I've been trying to come up with some recipes, but, given my recent training and the fact that I used to do that anyway, the only difference is that I have more tools available to me. Which really is a big difference--it's a difference in kind, not just a difference in amount, when you get down to it.

Years ago I taught myself to knit and to do needlepoint, though I much prefer the latter. Learning to play handball was kind of a self-teaching exercise, and, on some level, yoga is, too, even though one typically goes to classes. (I'd argue that the embodiment of the asanas is a self-teaching, not merely a teacher-teaching, thing.)

But the question of what I get from these things is much longer than this comment allows . . . might have to blog about it myself!

9:02 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

I'm a huge proponent of teaching oneself. Nearly everything I know about web design and development I learned from books and a lot of practice. I've acquired about 50% of my sewing, and 100% of my knitting, skills on my own. If I ever have the space for power tools, I want to learn basic carpentry.

I've discovered that a lot of things are much easier than they seem, once you try them--and once you divest yourself of the belief that the only real way to learn something is for someone to teach you. Sometimes making stuff up works out better than following instructions.

Classes are most helpful, I think, in identifying shortcuts and tricks and common problems; getting through more difficult or confusing aspects of whatever you're learning; providing tools and materials; and explaining basic things to beginners. I doubt, for example, I could learn to throw pots on my own.

12:21 PM  

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