Feng Shui Yourself: Clean Up Your Past–Update the files

Courtesy of J. Woodrush

Courtesy of J. Wondrusch

Many of you are still walking around with grudges and hang ups about old loves, shameful high school or college behavior, and untrue beliefs about who you are.

A lot of you claim that you want better relationships. You want to feel more fulfilled and impactful in the world. You want to have deep connections with women and others. You want to be less hard on yourself. You want to feel more free.

If any of these ring true, an important step in developing yourself as a man is to clean up your past and update the files.

Most guys have a database full of old junk in their hard drive and they leave it there, thinking it will just go away. But like a computer, it just slows down the RAM. It clogs up the efficiency of your system. Then, when you are in your late 40’s or 50’s your system begins to break down.

When many men have the balls to work on themselves, one of the first discoveries they make is they have a lot of unprocessed stuff in their psyche. Call it baggage. Call it dirty laundry. Call it a busy desk top full of old crap. Basically it is like an old garage full of cobwebs, garbage, and boxes that are filled with stuff you’re hanging onto or stuff you are too lazy to get rid of.

If you can relate….

You might want to consider feng shuiing yourself. Fung what?  What is feng shui? Without getting too new agey on you, it is a process of having a clean and clear environment so you can move more freely in your space.

Think of your work desk having piles and piles of paper, junk mail, and old crap on it. Then think of a clean desk with nothing on it but a laptop and a clean sheet of white paper. Which is more conducive to getting things done?

So, stop keeping your past at bay. Stop pretending that it isn’t there. It’s with you in each moment and believe it or not, it affects all of your relationships.

Contrary to popular beliefs, you don’t have to “dig up the past” and feel like shit. What I am talking about here, is acknowledging the places that still haunt you. Places inside your being that bug you, gnaw at you, and trip you up in present-time situations. If there is something from your past that does not cause you or another person any suffering, then leave it be.

But how do I get my Feng Shui on?

1. Start by making the following commitment:

Commitment 2 (of the 10 commitments of manhood)

I commit to engaging in my shadow and blind spots. I commit to receiving ongoing feedback about whatever is unconscious in me and using practices that help bring it into the light. At the same time, I will also no longer “bury” my past and pretend I’m over it. If something from the past is lingering, I will address it.  I will “update” the files on myself and others.

2. Then, be willing to go into the dark corners of the garage in your psyche. Focus on the areas that trip you up.

3. In the 12-step world, they call this process “making amends” It involves step 8, 9 & 10.

4. Do a life inventory and see if this helps you get clear about what areas to focus on.

5. Learn from my example. Here is one corner of my life where I hurt others in a big way. Read about how I began to clean it up here.

6. Take full responsibility for where you caused harm to others or to yourself. Acknowledge this with another person or in a men’s group.

7. Review any limiting beliefs you may have about yourself and update those old bullshit tapes.

8. Take note of all the times you have betrayed your own integrity and make a commitment to stop doing that.

Report back.

Notice if the quality of your day to day routine changes as you start to clean out the old crap. Notice what it is like to have a clean and clear head space. How does this impact your relationship to yourself and to others?


  • Ken

    Reply Reply October 18, 2009

    Nice article Jayson. I actually started some of this process a little bit ago through Debbie Ford’s work. She focuses embracing our dark side. Another approach I’ve found really awesome is Albert Ellis’ work on unconditional acceptance and getting rid of shame. His audio “How to Stubbornly Refuse to Be Ashamed of Anything” was unbelievably helpful for me.

    You have great insights and I really enjoy seeing your approach to the issues you bring up. Thanks for that.


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