That was one of the questions I was asked recently by Byron Woodman, the founder of Questions For Living – a online resource that explores how the quality of our questions inform and shape the quality of our lives.
It turns out that Byron not only lives in my hometown of Concord, MA, but he lived in MY house when he was four years old! How is that for divine serendipity? I knew right then that I needed to do this interview – which ended up revealing stories and reflections that I didn’t even know I had inside me!
Below is an excerpt of the interview we did (which is available in its entirety on QuestionsforLiving.com here):
Stephanie Bennett Vogt: Generally it began with remembering that I’ve always loved creating home spaces that feel good and nourish people. Even as a little kid I was always creating sanctuaries for myself… my dolls, my friends next door – you name it. I could make a cardboard box into a palace.
There were two pivotal experiences in my adult life, however, that prompted me to pursue a path in space clearing.
The first one is that I got sick. I spent a whole month in bed. It was nothing life-threatening, but bad enough to wake me up to the realization that after teaching high school for twenty years I was completely burned out. In the thirty days that I spent thrashing feverishly in bed, despairing over how sick I felt – all I could think of was “What is happening to me?” And more to the point “How can I fix this…like now!?”
What I didn’t know to ask at the time, but I backed into out of sheer exhaustion was “How do I surrender to the healing that is already taking place?” When I finally could let go of my need to understand (what was going on with my body and my life), to fix, and do something, that is when (surprise, surprise), I began to get well.
The second thing that led to my professional reinvention was series of strange personal occurences and “wonder questions” that I had been having at the time: “How do our homes affect us, reflect us, and support us?” And “Why do they not support us sometimes?”
Every time I visited my uncle’s house in Texas, for example, I would come down with something that resembled the flu. Every single time. As soon as I returned home to New England I would feel all better again. The last time it happened, I remember thinking on the plane back, “Is this physical unpleasantness even mine?”
Something about his house and the energy in his house was disturbing me. After experiencing similar effects in other people’s spaces I began to think that maybe there is such a thing as a “sick house.” Even before I began to study space clearing full time, I developed an awareness of how energies in a space might impact one’s health and well being.
Needless to say, this was just the beginning of a long quest for me, which included years of self-inquiry and training with some of the world’s best teachers. I pursued a more intuitive branch of feng shui (and little-known field at the time) called space clearing. That was over fifteen years ago and I’ve been evolving with it ever since.
It’s funny how things work out. I feel like I’ve come back full circle to the two things I love most: creating home spaces that feel good and nourish people, and teaching others how they can do it too…in ways that easy, fun, and lasting!
p.s. Byron Woodman has interviewed many visionaries and thought leaders over the years, including Dan Millman, Judith Orloff, Stephen M.R. Covey, just to name a few. You can visit his Web site at: Questionsforliving.com.