roomHave you ever walked into a place that just felt right and wondered what makes that room, house or apartment feel so good?

The myriad books on Feng Shui, clutter and awareness of sacred space offer part of the answer. But after all the bubbling water fountains have lost their appeal, and the wealth corner cures have grown dusty, what is it about a space that continues to makes it work? One approach is to consider three layers of focus for designing an environment.

The first is the sense of order and how the space is used. What is this room about and does it support the activity that happens in it? Can you see the counter to cook a meal, for example?

The second layer is that of spatial layout. This is the realm that is addressed by the basics of Feng Shui. On the simplest level it looks at furniture layout, color, and arrangement. It also represents another layer of subtlety, and includes energy.

The third layer of focus is the purely energetic.

Unfortunately, most people today are either too busy too tackle the job, or simply don’t have the skills to create the effect they want. It does not seem to boil down easily to a prescribed set of instructions or formulas! However there is a way for each of us to start making positive changes in our environments.

The key to designing spaces that truly support you is awareness. Enhancing awareness can be approached by addressing the three layers of focus described above: Order, Spatial Layout and Energy.

Order: Start by simply noticing how you live NOW. How many knick knacks make a home, how many pairs of shoes signify prosperity? Until you really examine your personal sense of order and attachment to possessions and the ways you live amongst them, no change will be lasting.

Another important part of the process is to understand HOW you use your space and belongings. Are you rushed in the morning and habitually spend time looking for the same things over and over? Are you holding on to objects that no longer validate who you are?

Being willing to question your reasons and stories is a crucial component to letting go of clutter that accumulates. This awareness is the cornerstone of making new decisions about the stuff in your environment.

After any practical changes are made, the donation van is called and order restored, the next layer of focus comes into play.

Spatial Layout: The position of your furnishings and the arrangements of art, books, and personal treasure has been the subject of many books. Using the skills of a recommended professional can be the answer. Another option is to recruit the advice of friends with spaces that you enjoy. Ask yourself what you appreciate about the way that do things and consider inviting them to share their take on your newly ordered rooms. Sometimes another set of eyes will reveal options that you had not considered.

Remember that spatial design is not an inborn skill in all people. Just as some of us don’t relate to cooking or gardening, many people simply need some help with seeing how space works.

Energy: We exist in a world filled with energy, which can be seen simply as information. Animals tap into this field of data before storms, and take shelter. No one argues with the existence of radio waves! Most of us accept that information can be stored in ways that we can’t see or perceive without training or instruments. Awareness of energetic fields existing in the environment and generated by living organisms is no different. This information and its effects are there to be perceived, recognized and understood.

Whether generated in nature, originating in electronic equipment or left by human experiences, energetic disturbances can affect our health and well being.

The process of clearing and rebalancing these pattern starts, again, with awareness. Begin by recognizing what you are feeling in a room, and maintaining a grounded sense of your own boundaries. We unknowingly hold these patterns in place with our attitudes and reactions to them. The change in a disturbing charge is brought about by consciously giving awareness to what is experienced, without judgment, fear or sense of ownership. Conscious design combined with simple, personalized organization and balanced energy can turn any room into a place you love to call your own – one that supports you rather than drains you.

© Rebecca Ross, The Composed Domain

Fascinated by the built environment, Rebecca grew up wanting to know why some houses felt better than others, and how stairways could pull her up without her feet moving. So naturally, she decided to become an architect. After 20 years in that profession and an exploration of Feng Shui, she founded her company The Composed Domain in 2000. It is a melding of her architecture background, an understanding of spatial energy and the organization of things and information.

Her blend of practical organizing skills, personal warmth and humor supports her clients in creating balanced nurturing environments in which to live and work. As a practitioner of meditation and Tai Chi; Rebecca is able to balance energy and stillness in body and mind, as well as in her surroundings. She has become “an architect of another kind”, turning her sensitivity to the subtler aspects of how spaces affect people.

Rebecca offers a range of services in the Seattle area including personal in-home organizing and time management coaching. She also help those facing chronic disorganization and hoarding, teaches classes at several local community colleges and is available for speaking engagements. 

You can reach Rebecca by email You can also sign up for her monthly newsletter at her website The Composed Domain

declutterAnd if you’d like more ideas to help you find balance in your space you will want to access the Get a Plan! Guide® to De-clutter & De-stress: A Dozen Ways to Decrease Your Clutter and Decrease Your Stress.  This Get a Plan! Guide® will help you learn a dozen specific ways to start dealing deliberately with your clutter – and then experiencing a reduction in your stress.





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