Finding Joy in the flow of Creative Chaos

As a floral designer I do my best creating when I'm in the middle of active chaos.  When I have buckets of flowers around me, lively upbeat music playing and whenever possible the studio doors open so more sunshine filters in and views of nature can lift my spirits.  It feels good starting off a morning with a tidy work table, a swept floor, sharp tools and clean vases ready to be filled.  Giving me a sense of fresh beginnings for the project at hand.  It's my starting point to creating that gorgeous arrangement for a customer and it fills my heart with joy doing what I love, designing with flowers.  Once the first stem is cut the creative chaos begins.  I don't try to be neat and make sure my cut stems and leafs go straight into the trash, no they land where they land and by the time I finish the design there will be stems everywhere.  Not in a neat pile at my feet but all across the studio floor, in my pockets and probably one at the bottom of my coffee cup.  This creative active chaos is the fun part of my cycle of life as a designer.  You may not be a floral designer but you too experience this type of chaos on a regular bases in your day to day living. When you cook a delicious meal for example you are engaging with the energies of active chaos.  When you paint a picture, or how about when your working on a class presentation.  Whatever it is you engage in the Ch'i  that vital life energy sings and dances, moving about as our new creations take form. 

As I design with flowers there are moments in the process that my heart races, my excitement and new sense of wonder and curiosities piques my interest to try something new in the design I'm engaged in creating.  Many times I feel a connection with the flowers, or with the person sending and those receiving them.  I follow my intuition on flower choices and design styles that I feel will best express what the sender intended to say with flowers.   It's this active chaos energy that bring about the birth of my floral designs.  My husband often comments "did you follow a photo for that?"  I reply "No, it just came to me".  I like not being confined to following a photo, being able to let the design organically come together is much more my style.   

There is a key to keeping this chaos active and alive, that helps to reinvigorate my own inner energy for next order.  The key is this:  Once the design is completed I need to clean up my mess and reorganize my materials before the next order is started.  Not That I put all the flowers away and get them back out, but I may pull out some different blossoms from the cooler and put others back in.  I clear my work space off and sweep up stems to create a clear space to stand again.  It's like getting out a blank canvas and fresh paints and clean water for painting a new picture.    We all engage throughout the day with this type of energy and when we make it a habit especially when we aren't feeling like it to clean up our mess when we are done, it will automatically create a pause, a space for the next wave of creativity to come forth from within us.

There is another type of chaos that many of us are experiencing  throughout our day, it is called passive chaos. If I leave my floral studio with it all a mess of cut stems, spilled water, snippets of ribbon then passive chaos energies begin to grow.  I admit this does happens to me once in awhile.  I will leave to make a delivery or tend to a phone call, and not get everything put away.  I will tell myself I'm just going to set these vases here for a minute, this pile of ribbons I will put away soon as I take care of whatever it is my attention is now on.  But then I get busy on something else and there they sit, waiting, unattended, and seemingly multiplying in a cluttery mess.  I swear they grow on their own into a big messy mountain that drains and eats away at my inspirational creative energies.  There are times it gets so cluttered in my vase and ribbon area that I don't even want to go in there. This passive chaos is rather annoying but still very real.   It can be sneaky and make us feel  disinterested, drained and even exhausted.  It stops our desire to move back into creative action pushing us away and distracting our thoughts to other things, making it even more challenging for us to get focused and turn it around. 

When we find this happening we can look for ways to transform that passive chaos back into active creative chaos.  I personally find the following tips help me most.  1.   I count to five backwards slowly and start off by telling myself "Sue, time to clear it out and clean it up!"   2.  I usually will tell myself, "give it 15 minutes, just get started on reorganizing and putting things away and you can do more tomorrow".  But by the time 15 minutes has passed I'm feeling better and want to keep at it.  I'm seeing progress and feeling my energy rising.   3. If needed,  I  will ask myself some of the 7 questions I'm listing below for you.  They help, and it doesn't take long for me to back up feeling fabulous once again.

This active/passive chaos cycle is felt in every area of my personal life. From home with tending to cooking, cleaning, gardening to my Feng Shui and Floral Businesses.   I find joy is sharing Feng Shui principles and helping people see their environments and experiences through their own Feng Shui glasses, as well as creating beautiful floral designs for weddings and events.  I love being in the flow of creative energy but I also struggle once in a while with the passive chaos that sets up blocks to my creative flow so I make it a habit to take time during at least one day each week to pick some area of home or work space and clear/clean it out.  It may be putting all my ribbons back in order, organizing vases and supplies or like today it was my kitchen drawers and cupboards.   I always choose to do it with the intention that I am creating a clear space for either more support in what I'm doing or for something new to be experienced in that area of my life.  Cleaning, clearing, reorganizing helps to create room for that which will better support who we are today.

I want to share with you 7 "clear the way" questions you can ask yourself when you feel the passive chaos setting in to your life and taking over and robbing you of joy.  I share these from one of my resources written by Terah Kathryn Collins in her book Feng Shui A-Z.  It's full of wonderful information to help you experience more of what you desire in life as you learn to understand and apply the principles of Feng Shui.  Some of these you probably have heard before but others may be new to you.  They can be helpful as you take back control of chaos energies in your life.  Here's what she shares.  "1. Do I love it?  2. Do I need it?  3. Does it support who I am now in my life? 4. Does it act as an environmental affirmation for me?  5. What positive and/or negative thoughts, memories or emotions do I associate with it?  6. Does it need to be fixed or repaired, and am I willing to do so now?  7. If it's time to let it go, am I going to sell, lend, or give it away, and when?  

May you embrace the creative chaos in your life and enjoy the birthing of your own beautiful new creations.  And may you be a brave heart and face the passive chaos with determination and focus to clear it from your day so that creative energies will continue to flow freely for you as you go about doing what you love in your life.

Start The New Year Off With African Violets

I am excited about Pantone's 2018 color of the year being Ultra Violet.  I look forward to using the ultra violet colors in my designs this year as a florist as well as offering their benefits in tangible ways to those in my Feng Shui circle.  One of my favorite resources I use when I'm designing a message bouquet for a customer is Doreen Virtue and Robert Reeves book Flower Therapy.  It is by far my favorite to refer to for some of the meanings and benefits we receive from flowers.  As you probably know the African Violet comes in a wide array of colors, many of her shades are in the purple and ultra violet spectrum. Since this ultra violet color centers around visionary thinking, ingenuity and originality it works well with those of us who take time at the beginning of a new year to think about changes we'd like to create in our lives.  I thought I'd share with you a couple ways the charming little African Violet plant may be a support for you when brought into your home or office.  

According to Doreen's Flower Therapy the African Violet message is "I'll cleanse away the old and give life to the new."   Known for their ability to help with purification and transmuting energy from a lower to higher vibration they help clear the energy in the environments we live and work in.   In my Feng Shui Consulting business I encourage clients to bring fresh flowers into their homes/offices as an excellent Chi enhancer.  African violets are perfect additions for us to add to our bedrooms.  One small plant is all that is needed  when placed by your bedside they help to  gently clear out negativity while you are sleeping.   In a bedroom, when it comes to flowers less is more.  A single rose is a better choice than a dozen.  Flowers hold an active fire energy and we want our bedrooms to be a safe, cozy, and relaxing space where we can experience rest and rejuvenation.  An African Violet is the perfect size for a bedroom and along with helping to remove negativity they also support increasing our sense of peacefulness and love.   Another place the violet can support you in your home is any room where you may of been experiencing conflict.  Say your home office space is often a place you and your spouse argue about finances.  Or a child's bedroom where you argue about doing homework or picking up laundry.  Spaces like this can also benefit from an African violets ability to restore the space to a state of increased faithfulness and loving connections. 

They do like to soak up some sunshine at least once a week but will do fine in an area without filtered sun for the remainder of the time if they have to.  Be sure to water them from the bottom, they don't like to have their leafs wet it will cause damage to them.    Careful that you don't let them sit for days in water nor do they like their roots to totally dry out.  I find watering them once a week is about perfect for my violets to thrive.  I do feed them fertilizer about once a month and I pinch off the blossom stems as they fade which encourages them to continue to put out new ones.  May your admiration and appreciate for this little ultra violet beauty grow. And may you enjoy renewed joy and calmness by having her in your home.