Book Buzz: Find Yourself at Home

Find Yourself at Home: A Conscious Approach to Shaping Your Space and Your Life by Emily Grosvenor

Emily Grosvenor is a feng shui consultant, editor of Oregon Home magazine and author of “Find Yourself at Home: A Conscious Approach to Shaping Your Space and Your Life.” (Photo courtesy of Beth Olson Creative)

How would your life change if your concept of home was not as sanctuary, a place to get away from the outside world, but as a place to embody your deepest values and be reminded of who you aspire to be in the world? This is the question posed by Emily Grosvenor, feng shui consultant and Oregon Home magazine editor, in her latest book, “Find Yourself at Home: A Conscious Approach to Shaping Your Space and Your Life.”

In five unique sections each ending with a “Find Yourself” prompt for further reflection, Grosvenor invites readers to explore how the places they’ve lived have shaped them in the past — as well as the ways their current home subtly influences who they are in the world right now.

When studying the physical aspects of what makes a great home, Grosvenor turned to the work of environmental psychologists who point out the importance of strong structural foundations to give a feeling of stability, views of the natural world, use of natural materials and adequate daylight to regulate sleep/wake cycles.

A home can have all these structural elements in spades, but the items and your relationship to them may be holding you back, Grosvenor warns. If your home or life feels stagnant but you aren’t sure where to begin making changes, Grosvenor offers simple suggestions for how to get unstuck. Because the Chinese art of feng shui considers 27 to be a powerful number for changing stagnant energy patterns, one exercise suggests moving 27 things in your home, working with what is already there to change your perspective.

Other exercises prompt you to methodically consider your relationship to the objects in your home. Do they keep you stuck in the past or current status quo, or do the objects in your home create a sense of vibrant energy and possibility?

Inherited objects can be especially tricky. The presence of some inherited objects contributes to the longer story of who we are and where we came from. But if the inherited objects are kept only because they were meaningful to the relative or family member who passed them along and have no meaning personally, your home may begin to feel more like a museum.

Grosvenor identifies another type of object we collect which she labels “hopeful objects,” things that represent something we aspire to or want to change. Think clothes that don’t fit anymore, half-finished projects, never-read books. While cultivating hope is a good thing, if we are not willing to take the action that would bring the hope to fruition, Grosvenor suggests that it might be freeing to let these items go and move on from them.

For those who work at home, or simply use spaces in the home to work on projects, Grosvenor encourages evaluating your workspace to see if it supports doing deep work, lengthy periods of uninterrupted creative work (idea borrowed from the popular book “Deep Work” by Cal Newport). Is there adequate lighting to create the necessary sort of energy required for the work being done? If your workspace includes a desk, is it in the feng shui “command position” (facing the room, view of the door, wall behind you)? A desk that faces the wall might create a feeling of being proverbially “up against a wall” or “hitting your head on a wall” at work.

Curious for more ideas on creating meaning and purpose in your life by making spatial shifts and interior design choices in your home? Visit your local library to get “Find Yourself at Home” in print, eBook or eAudiobook.

Lisa Gresham is the collection services manager for the Whatcom County Library System.

(Originally published in Cascadia Daily News, Monday, March 25, 2024.)