People often tell me about their physical aches and pains, especially if they haven’t been able to find a concrete explanation for them. This may be because I’ve spent a number of years frequenting healers (both Eastern and Western) myself, or perhaps because the body interests me and I’m willing to listen. Inevitably, as these conversations wander, something will come up about the person’s living arrangements. “I move all the time,” or “Things are always breaking in my house,” or “I wish I had more space to myself.” In my practice I’ve discovered there is often a deep connection between one’s physical health and the health of their environment, and that connection often contains a spiritual component.
Of course, all sorts of environmental toxins can affect your physical health. If your living space is dirty or dusty and not well ventilated, you may have more respiratory related illnesses. Even if your space is clean, your new furniture may be the culprit for your headache. Some people can develop what is called sick house syndrome, which leads to a variety of unpleasant symptoms. Obviously, if there are clear offenders in your living space right now, take care of them!
The less obvious influence on your physical health can sometimes be spiritual in nature. Our energy influences the space that we live in and conversely our energy is influenced by our environments too.
One of the most striking examples of this was when I first began consulting with people to improve their homes. I had a client who wanted help with her home office. She shared the space with her husband and they had set their desks side by side and then created a shared space in the rest of the room. The client and her husband were very different. He was very organized and kept his desk looking symmetrical and clean. My client was very creative, and her desk was a splash of inspirations taped to the wall and messy piles overflowing with ideas. She told me she liked to work at her husband’s desk because it was clean, but often felt guilty about her own, disheveled space.
As we discussed the shared office, she talked more about her desire to create art, and to have a space dedicated to her craft. I recommended that instead of having side-by-side desks and a shared space, that maybe she and her husband should consider having separate sides in the room. That one whole side could be reserved for her husband and that the other side could be reserved for her. That way, she could have more space to create, and more separation from the space that made her feel guilty.
After the consult, as she walked me to the door, she put her hand on her hip and started to smile. She told me she had hip problems and her hip often felt tight and immobile, but now, it was feeling free and loose. She said something like “I think you’re organizing just healed my hip.”
How could our organizing have created such a shift in her body?
Think of the body as a house. In dream interpretation, a house represents the soul and the various rooms represent different aspects of the self. If we accept that there is a link between the energy outside ourselves and inside, we can begin to see that “working” on my client’s creative space was like “working” on her creative center, her second chakra, which is also related to hip and pelvis issues.
Continuing this metaphor, there would be corresponding areas of a house that would connect to the body. Clients who find that they move a lot or have difficulty putting down roots often complain of ankle and knee pain, areas of the body both related to the first chakra and “root” issues. A cold kitchen–dark colors and sterile features–might manifest as difficulty connecting with others or the self, and be related to issues of the heart. Even too much of one color, like purple, can signify that you’re spending too much time in your head, an imbalance that might lead to literal headaches.
So, what to do with this information? If you find that you have both an unusual physical pain and a discomfort with your living space, consider that these things may be connected. The path to feeling better might lead to your own front door.