Our spaces and environments can tell us a lot about a person. Our guest this week is Tamra Fleming and she’s gifted and skill at bringing her clients’ visions front and center so that they can reach their highest energy and best selves while transforming the space they live in.
At its core, this type of work is about creating a relationship with the client in order to create change in the client’s thinking and perspectives so a space can be created based on the vision they have for their life. Learning how to read a space gives Tamra the information to be inquisitive and guide the client towards the transformation they’re seeking within themselves and in their space.
Listen to this episode because we’ll get to deep dive into Tamra’s coaching process and how she’s able to change her clients’ lives one home at a time.
[3:14] - Tamra’s exploration of the relationship between people and their spaces
[8:00] - The power of space and energy
[10:43] - How space coaching works and the stories that are revealed
[15:10] - Reaching your best and highest energy
[23:01] - Understanding the cultural importance of space
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Welcome back to the show. This is Episode 21. In the last episode, you heard Tamra Fleming interview me. And now it's my turn to interview her. And to get her thoughts on what matters for her in her life and her work. I found that every time I interview, a friend and colleague, I get to know that person on a much deeper level. I feel that in this episode, Tamra shares so much of the deep work that she's done in her life and her work, that you're going to end up feeling like you know her as a friend, once you're done listening. In this interview, Tamra shares her story of personal healing and development, and how she used that personal journey and wove that into her professional work so that she could help others make the same kind of healing and development journey. The starting point for her in her work is her clients space and home. But the process and the end outcomes that she creates with our clients are dramatic. She helps her clients to realize what they're really hoping for and wanting and how they really want to live. Let's go listen to this beautiful soul and woman teach us about the meaning of space. Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li, and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they could begin working to their potential. In this podcast if you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together, so that you can focus on what's really important, and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the make time for success podcast. Hi, everyone. Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming my friend and colleague, Tamra Fleming, to the show. Tamra and I met a couple of years ago, in the very last minutes of a conference in California. And I think we clicked immediately and we knew that our areas of interest were going to be in alignment with each other Tamra, helps people to clear their space, and also to match that with their life vision as well. And I'm so excited to get to know her better on this interview and to have you all get to know her too. Tamra, welcome to the show.
Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here.
So could you please give us an introduction into who you are? And how you got to love working with people and their spaces?
Yeah, absolutely. I have been interested in the relationship between people and spaces, since probably I was a small child. And really what that was about is I used to go inside of my room in my space. And I would go with cleaning supplies and everything. And I would clean my room and redecorate and reorder everything. And then I would open for a showing. So I started this work really young. And that was a really interesting thing. Because you have to ask yourself, Well, why is this child so interested in how their space feels and looks and so fast forward to the world that I work in now, with my work in meaning of space. The whole idea is that we're in relationship with our environment. And I say that there are three skins, there is yourself, your skin skin, your clothing and your space. And so I'll talk about that as we get rolling here. But my background, I was trained as a life coach in the late 90s. And then I got very interested in spaces and so I was trained in Fung Shui I was trained in the five element theory, also space clearing and color theory other things that I could get my hands on, that really explained the energy that was happening with people in their spaces. And what I realized as I began to do work in people's homes as a life coach, which was kind of irregular because normally life coaches work, you know, on the phone or on video, but I would go into people's homes and as I was doing the work that looked like it might be fun sway I was started to notice that there were these patterns between the emotions and the psyche. Have people and what was mirrored in their spaces. And it became somewhat predictable, actually. So I like to say there is kind of a general Dictionary of things that you can see in someone's home that equate to an emotional state or something that they're going through internally. So you're a psychologist, you know that this is really what I consider the psychology of space. And so it's the relationship between people. And I became so fascinated with it, I started digging into where else did this work live. And it's a very esoteric body of work. And of course, this was in the early 2000s. And I found a few I found Carl Young's work on archetypes, I found some really interesting architects at Berkeley, I found a few books in environmental psychology that sort of talked about it, but not at the depth of what I was seeing. And so I became fascinated by it. And I studied it as I had clients and went into their homes, and help them go through transformation. And so the outcome of the work that I do is actually you can transform your space, to change what's going on inside of you to change your thinking, to change your perspectives, to change your values, to change your relationships, to change your state of being. And so it's easier sometimes to move furniture than it is to sit down on a couch and be analyzed psychology. So I say, move your sofa, or get rid of your sofa and see what happens in your life. You know, there are a lot of ways to go about it. But that is what happened. So it's been a 20 year exploration for me of this relationship. And there definitely are patterns. And there definitely are ways to help people make subtle changes in their space to change their life, to change their thinking, to change their way of being and to change their relationships. I actually started this work with my first book, it's still in the works, which was called merge, which was how to help couples move in together and cohabitate. Because if we live with varying styles, we have challenges. And so there are millions of ways you can look at this work, but it's all about helping you improve your life.
That is amazing. We are on video with each other and Tamra can see me beaming from erard here, listening to the kinds of things that she loves and has studied and has helped people with because I hear as a psychologist, if there's a simple way to help people to transform their feelings about themselves. I'm all on board. I'm all game to learn. So I'm going to ask my very first question from my curiosity, which was when you were that child, clearing your space and presenting it to everyone. Did you know back then about the energy of your space? Do you feel like you have always been in touch with energy around you?
Yes, I would consider myself an empath. So I was sensitive, but I'm gonna expose something that I don't normally start out talking about. But I had experienced childhood sexual abuse. So I think that my energy and my psyche became very protective of my surroundings. And really, I think that added on with being an empath created my empathy, it was my environment, to stay safe. And I think that most of us want to live in our environments, and feel safe, feel good inside of who we are, and feel safe. If we live with other people, we want to feel safe. And so we start using our space to control that dynamic. And it's a very interesting thing, because like, for instance, if I worked in a teenager's room, that might be having some challenges in school, or self esteem challenges or whatever, it's very sacred space, you know, they have their own dynamic their own space. And a lot of times parents want to override, you know, tell a kid to clean up their room or do those kinds of things. And I'm actually the one that coaches the parent to stop doing that. Because what we really need to understand is what's going on that's causing that particular child to do what they're doing. So it's really, in that case, giving parents a tool to be able to ask their child what's happening for them in their life to create a little bit deeper intimacy. And this is a whole topic here. But this is just one of the realms that you can fall into when you start dealing with that mirror between you and your space. It's very powerful. It's very meaningful. And if you learn how to read your space, in a way that gives you information back and you understand, you're a curious person, then you're going to start as like a coach would. Asking questions. That's what coaches do is we ask Questions to elicit the answers out of a person. So if you're using space to elicit the questions, it's so amazing how much easier it is for people to talk about a thing than it is to talk about what's going on inside of them. But that thing is actually mirroring what's going on inside of them. And you know, in my work as it I'm also an intuitive and as an intuitive, I'm picking up on the clues and the things that are subtle, that somebody might not be able to see themselves and bringing those out into the conversation as well.
So each room in each space has a whole story for you, even before you've probably spoken to the person it sounds like
Yes, yeah, this is a way to explain how it works. So if I were hired by a person or a couple, in the days of going into people's homes, I do this virtually now. But you go into the home, and I go in with blinders on because I don't want to see the space, the space will taint my picture of what's going on. And I go in, you know, sit on the sofa, or whatever with the person or the couple and do a visioning interview, and the visioning interview, the reason that you begin with that without looking at the space is to determine where the person really wants to go, what do they really want in their life? What are they ready to let go of? What is it that's important to them, I'm trained in a style of visioning, that's energy based. So I'm looking for when a person lights up, and where that thread is for them that they may, let me stop here for a second. If I was doing a couple and I'm interviewing one of the partners for a vision, a lot of times what we find is that one or the other partner has never heard the dream that's sitting inside that person that they really want to experience, they haven't really shared it, believe it or not, it takes a coach sometimes to draw that out. And then when we draw the vision out of each person, and we see what they really want, now we have a roadmap. And that roadmap is you know really about manifestation and creating the life that you want. And then so let's say that takes two hours or so then we get up and we walk through the environment from literally I've done driveways in through gates and doorways of houses, and then through the entire house, with the people who live there talking about how their vision matches or mismatches, what's happening in the house, it makes a really amazing, easy roadmap for change. So now we know as we walk through, we know what needs to change. But something else happens in that period of time. They go through. I can't I don't know how to say this easily, but they go through the client goes through major transformational shifts just by having the physical environment as an anchor to look at or see or understand. And then a choice to make the change. It's very empowering, actually. So one of my tricks is nightstands, meaning that I like to look at a couple's nightstands. And each nightstand tells a story about the person. And if that relationship is out of balance that will actually get revealed in a nightstand. And so if we just use nightstands as a tool, and I can point out what I see and ask if that's true. How does that feel? And what do you want to create that's more in alignment with your vision, then, right there and then saying this as if I'm standing at the foot of the bed, because that's often how I've done coaching. So one person on one side, one person on the other, and I'm in the middle? What do you want to do about this? And then they make a choice about what that looks like. So maybe you know this is getting intimate, but maybe they want more intimacy in their life? Well, what are their nightstand saying that I can bring out that they can become aware of that they can choose differently if they want to create a different result in their relationship. That's how it works.
That is fascinating, and beautiful. And I can feel the energy of your technique. And I want to thank you for sharing the roots of your room and your childhood sexual abuse experience that you were able to use and protect your energy and to stay connected to yourself through activity and through being the master of your space. And that makes me think about the different ways that people can get disconnected from their vision and from what they want and from their feelings and then their stuff. Could you talk about disconnection because just listening to you speak I can hear how connected you are to your clients to the energy to this space is and how much you care to really help people to reach their best energy.
So it's your best selves? Yeah. Well, this connection is interesting because we already begin this process with our spaces as feeling disconnected and separate. You know, and this is where I get on a pretty big bandwagon about decorating decorating is not really decorating decorating is embellishing in my world is embellishing your home, with your dreams with what you love, and what's important to you in your life. In my program, one of the first things we start with is your house history. How did you grow up as a child? What kinds of dynamics Did you have as a child in your house? How does that inform how you live today, and a lot of times we're disconnected from understanding that story. So we might decorate or we might think we're decorating, or have a home that looks kind of like our mom or dad's home. And we don't really know why that is, well, it's cultural underpinnings cultural values, or it could be that we've never explored who we actually really are. So we're disconnected from who we actually really are. And if you create an environment, that's totally you, then the journey becomes not just your vision of what you want to create, but it becomes who you want to express yourself as in the world. And one of the elements that I work in is called personal symbology. So personal symbology replaces decorating, because you can follow good decorating theory, and you can follow good decorating ways of doing things. But if that is empty, and void of you, then it's just somebody else's decor. There's always a place for beautiful environments, and using good design elements, there's always a place for that, however, without the meaning they are truly empty. So your space becomes this connection, or this reconnection or new connection with yourself in having your space actually mirror back to you, who you are and who you are becoming like my space. If you walked around in my home, you'd see all kinds of things to ask me about, you'd see things from my travels, you see things from my vision, things that I've created, or paintings that I've done, or rewards that you'd really get a contextual view of who I believe I am as a person. And the deeper that we'd go for that the deeper we take that the more in relationship and I will say ultimately in self love with ourselves that we are, you know, really honoring who we are by the reflection of our space.
That's beautiful. I want to hear about your travels too. But before we go there, I have another question, which is, do you have to sometimes convince people to make these changes that you have to somehow ease their resistance? and make them believe that they can do this? Mm hmm. That's a great question.
You know, yes or no, this work is so direct and so powerful that all I have to do is have a conversation with you. You're already I can guarantee you in your head, you're already looking around your house in your head, aren't you? Yeah. Right. So in just a conversation like this, you start to wake up to what's going on around you, and you start to be curious about it. So curiosity replaces resistance, and not knowing when I first started doing the work, it was under the guise of Fung Shui, and you know, Fung Shui is a over 5000 year old practice, very much honor it. But I also realize that we live in western homes with Western culture. The Bagua map that's using funks way is actually based on the design of a Chinese house, and how they lived in their culture. And so we're always as Americans, we're always looking for ways to kind of copy or emulate so that we can improve our lives. But I'm saying no, stop doing that. And start leaning into who you are and what you want and what your dream is and what you want to express yourself to be. And when you do that, this process becomes very powerful and very easy to execute. One example is, most of the time if I do couples, the woman will hire me and the man is tagging along because his wife hired me. So there's resistance in that scenario, for instance. And yet I know from all my experiences that the minute that we get into the physical environment and what it means men have a tendency to understand it extremely quickly, and they look and they look around, and they can start reading the space really quickly. And they get very curious about it. And the reason I think that is, is because number one, men in particular have not been enculturated to home interiors women have. And men have a way in now, they never had an open door in to the home interior, they, you know, in culture, they deferred to the, their female partner or their partner to handle it, right. So what happens is they see what's going on. And they are very visual, generally, because the physical is very telltale. And they can read the physical. So when you read the physical, like, you know, you as a psychologist, you can appreciate this, I would love to work side by side. With a psychologist, I have worked with therapists in the past, but because what's going on in the conversation is showing up in the physical and if they can see it, they can make the change, they can choose, you know, emotionally, we are detached from our emotions, a lot of time, we don't know how we feel, or we don't even stop and feel how we feel or tune in to how we feel. And you know, there are a lot of people I won't say just men, because it's not men, it's women, it's a lot. It's people, that when we start to have a way, a tool to tune in to how we're feeling and what's really going on in our lives. And we can actually make a change that makes an alteration in our lives in 10 minutes or less, which you can do with this work. You can do it. And you go What is this? And that's the most prominent comment that I get, whenever I would do a four hour meeting in someone's home, they said, We had no idea that that's what this was. But I went in under the guise of helping them improve their space and helping them get more of what they want in their life. So it doesn't have to be fancy language or secret code. Because all reveal all that it can just be what do you want in your life and do you want your life better. So I would get drawn into house remodels, they maybe they want to sell a home or they want to let go of the home. But they don't know how and they want to buy a new home. Or they just want to re fresh their house or create a different relationship. Or maybe they've changed jobs or you know, there's a million things you know, in life that we do in our transitions that can be supported this way.
I love it. I love that you're kind of the Comforter and the coach and the energy guide all at once that you're just saying it's safe to do this, and that we can do this quickly. And it's all in alignment with what you want. It's not your vision for them. It's their vision right for them. I am curious about your global travels and how they informed your sense of designing lives that we want. Have you seen in other cultures that is easier that it's bigger that it's more complex? What were your impressions?
I could talk to you for hours on this note, but here's some of the things that I realized. So what I did is I actually, when I started this trip, I did a one year trip around the world I cashed out on my material life, I sold my home in Bellevue, Washington, sold my car, sold most of my belongings and put a backpack on and then traveled the world. And I bought in around the world ticket at the time. And I didn't know if I'd ever come back, I was really ready for a life change. And I just had always wanted to travel. And I did. So to answer your question about travel. Every culture has a different way of living and being inside their homes. They value different things. Anywhere from I was in extreme situations like in the desert in India, in a home there, what do they have, you know, on their dirt floor and their dirt, mud walls? What's hanging on their walls? And what kitchen utensils do they use? And what do they sit on? And how do they do their homework and all these things? You know, yeah, we live completely differently to a hut in Africa to a high rise in Spain. I mean, it's just it's amazing how we live. And our environment, shapes who we are. You could live in a hut in Africa. And then let's say at 20 years old, you move to America and move into New York City and live in a condo or a house or an apartment. And it will change your physiology, how you look how you talk, what you believe in, it will change you. So Joe dispenza, Britt, Bruce Lipton, all of these people that are now talking about DNA and genetics and all of those things. They say this is the deeper scientific side of the work. They say that your environment will shape your way of being your thinking. So what environment are you in? In addition, you can take control of that which is part of why I do visioning because you might be living, I'm skipping around a little bit. But you might be living in a home or a situation that you can't move out of right now, you know, we're in the pandemic. So you might be having to stay put. But what you can do is change your thinking, you can begin dreaming, you can move your furniture around in different arrangements, you can, like, let it all go and have a little table in the middle of your living room with pillows, you can do all kinds of things to change your thinking. When you don't use your environment to do that you stay stuck, you can stay in a pattern, you can stay in a way of thinking. And I always, really am curious, when I see out, we'll come back to the world travels, but curious to see when I see a home where the people have lived in the house the same way for 30 or 40 years, and the chairs and the furniture are all in the same exact place. Those are very traditional people, they find comfort in everything being the same. Then there are other people like me who like I'm going to travel the world and go into all these different, you know, environments and places and see how people live. And it's extraordinary. And one of the most memorable things I think about people in houses that I remember on my trip was I was hanging out with some people in Uganda, in their compound, because they have houses with that are surrounded by a wall, and then they have a big gate. And everybody comes in and all the doors inside that house are usually wide open. There's hardly any privacy at all. There's like lots of people coming and going. And it's a big community. It's a village. And so I was like, Oh my God, this would drive me crazy as an empath. And as a as a person who needs my own space, you know, but that's a belief that I grew up with, right? And so one of my friends from Uganda came over to America. And he was here for the first couple of weeks. And I said, What is it that you notice about the American culture? The most like anything? What do you mean? And he said, we lock ourselves in our houses and cut ourselves off from each other? And I've never forgotten that. And it's true. Why do we do that? You know, why do we do that? It's because we're afraid we're afraid of intimacy, we're afraid of somebody knowing too much about us, we're afraid of, you know, danger we're afraid of, if we've invited people into our home, they'd know what we have. And they might judge us or they might steal from us. Or they might, you know, on and on and on and on. And you see these track homes in America. And you can guarantee that in most of those neighborhoods, they don't know each other. They don't even know their close next door neighbor, they might wave at them, but they don't know their name, what their history is where they can't, there's no intimacy. So in our country, coming back, I really went through some huge cultural shifts when I came back, because I was gone for so long. In mostly third world countries. I was in India and Thailand and Africa and, and Indonesia and different places. When I came back into America, I had an experience where I walked into a grocery store like Safeway, but it's wasn't Safeway, it was q FC, and I walked in, and I'm like, Oh, my God, why do we need you know, 50 brands of noodles? Why do we need you know, what is this about? And it was like, overconsumption. And to tell you the truth, I went into what they call a little bit of agoraphobia, where I couldn't go outside. Because I was overwhelmed by the stuff that we have access to in this country. It is absurd. And we've created you know, it's happening now and in a lot of other countries, but it is absurd. And so you know, you have the one extreme where you have minimalism, and the guy who invented Joshua. Well, let's see Joshua Becker's big part of minimalism. There's that extreme on the end, but the real deep desire is that we right size, and my work isn't about minimalism, or they have a new maximalism, there's that's another trend, where you have, you know, all these things, it's about right sizing to who you are as a person to how you want to live right now with your life goals. And when you do that, you feel a sense of psychic alignment. And alignment means you're happy, you're enjoy. So a lot of people want to tag me as a clutter clearing coach. And that's not it at all. I start there. That's one of the symptoms that we're dealing with. But even when I go over into organizing, organizing isn't organizing because I don't believe you should run out and buy these organizing containers, then try to figure out what to do with them and then find out three months later that they don't work and then they're sitting in your garage sale. No. What you need is to understand your living system, which is how you come in the door? Where do you hang your purse? Where do you put your keys? Where do you put your groceries? You know, what kind of groceries Do you buy? What kinds of containers fit in your refrigerator the best. Those are the underlying elements of that, right. And then there's personal symbology, which is having a home that's really reflective, it takes a little bit of time to do this part. But it's the fun part. It's like I have on my floor right now about five different empty frames waiting for pictures that I'm going to print that go in those frames to start embellishing my walls because you ask yourself the question, do I want on my walls? Something from wayfair? Or do I you know, from a from a store? That's just a nice piece of this? Or that? Or do I want something on the wall that has meaning? Do I want to buy something that's cool and trendy? Or do I want to buy something that's useful to me and beautiful. And, you know, we've talked about this, but I have my quiz, which is it goes into the five different styles that you can be. And what has gone into that quiz is a lot. The five elements have gone into that quiz. But it's psychology of color psychology of the nature of a kind of person. And it's mostly geared towards people who live in Western culture. But when you understand your style, you understand that you have a right to live in your space in a way that serves you. And then the trick is to look at who else lives in your space and figure out how to blend that, you know, so I just want to say that that it's not rocket science, we aren't that complicated. We are individual, but we're not like super individual, we do kind of classify into certain kinds of personalities. And that's what's fun when you can learn a little bit more about your personality, to tell you a little bit about what to do with your space, to make it more you and to make it more. Let me just say this, this is so important. When you feel good in your home, when you feel safe, when you feel secure when you feel seen, when you feel loved. You can contribute in your relationships and in the world in a way that's glorious and empowering. Most human beings really want that. But we sometimes get lost to figure out how to get there. Right? We want self love.
That was beautiful. I absolutely agree. This is a deep, deep wish of myself as someone who struggles with clutter and with figuring out her space. And you've just given me so much inspiration, both specific and general, and international, to start making more significant changes where I can feel the impact instead of just pushing things around and pretending that they're not really as negative an impact in my life as they have been. So thank you for that. And thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience so generously today. Could you tell us how we can access that quiz?
Mm hmm. It's very simple. Go to meaning of space.com forward slash quiz, meaning of space comm forward slash quiz. And that'll give you I do a reply. So you get an immediate reply, I have a video of me talking about it. And a lot of printed information so that you can understand that. And we're just working on right now where we're going to take that because as you can imagine, it's complex in a way to create a personality quiz, and then have Training and Information. But if you come into my Facebook community that's free, I do weekly lives there and give a lot of information as we go. So it's a dynamic and as rich as we are as human beings, the life space relationship is extremely, extraordinarily rich. So I try to give every week insights into everything from how to clear clutter, to, you know, the fact that your chair actually can speak to you if you allow it to that your chair has a personality. And if you sit in different kinds of chairs, it's going to change your thinking, you know, so I go into the psychology of it, as well as kind of the mechanics of things like clutter clearing because that's where most of us like to begin. But I want to say this to the work that I do is about learning how to not judge and criticize yourself in the process of seeing your space for what it is right now. And knowing that you can make small tiny changes that make you feel happy and This is key because a lot of people, especially if people are clutters, they feel bad all the time. They feel bad about themselves and they don't feel equipped to be able to manage it. Well, that self judgment, we throw out the window in my community, because everybody has clutter somewhere. Even me, which if you saw mine, and I don't hide it is, you know, we're all working with our psyches and our growing and our changes and everything. And so it's really about self love in the end. So using your space as a way to love yourself back and to stop criticizing yourself. And when that happens, people get healthier, happier, they lose weight, they start to invite people into their homes, and have a happy life. So that's the goal.
I love it. I think that's a beautiful way to end this conversation in the alignment with ourselves and with happiness and joy. Thank you so much, Tamra, this has been a beautiful experience. Thanks for having me, Christina. It's really, really great. Bye. Bye. Thank you for listening to this episode of The make time for success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website make time for success podcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. Talk to you soon.
CEO of Meaning of Space and Personal Coach
Tamra Fleming is the creator of a transformational personal growth process that comes from aligning peoples’ physical living spaces to the vision they have for their life. She has been fascinated by the relationship between life and space for more than 20 years and developed the Meaning of Space™ philosophy over this time from her training in the powerful practices of energy coaching, Feng Shui, the Chinese Five Element Theory, space clearing and color theory and exploring living environments across the world.