Change your space, improve your life!

Archive for the ‘children’ Category

Celebrating Life During the Holidays, After Loss

Autumn leaves

November is the beginning of the holiday season when we make more of an effort to be with family and friends. We reminisce about past family gatherings, and even joke about events that didn’t seem so funny back when they happened.  New memories are made while old ones are shared with the next generation. Traditions continue and new ones begin.

For some, however, these upcoming holidays may be sad or bittersweet.   Those of you who have lost a family member, or close friend recently, may not feel like celebrating or may even feel guilty about being happy during this time.

My husband and I have lost both of our parents, my mom being the most recent three years ago.  During the holiday season, I do feel sad that our two kids no longer have grandparents to send ‘Merry Christmas’ cards to, or to call them up on Christmas morning to hear their voices and tell them how much they love them.  As I put up our tree and pull out stockings and special handmade decorations each year, I am reminded of past holidays with both of my parents.

For several years, my husband, our two kids and I would pack up our minivan and drive ten hours to spend a few days with my parents for Christmas.  On Christmas Eve, we would all pile into the van and drive around neighborhoods looking at the lights and decorations, then come home and drink hot chocolate topped with lots of whipped cream! Another tradition, I vividly remember, was my dad banging on all of our bedroom doors early in the morning yelling “Merry Christmas!  I’m Up…Everybody Up!!”   Recalling these memories now still cause me to tear up, because I know they will never happen again.  But, then I remind myself that I’d rather have those happy memories than to never have had them at all.  These are the memories that shaped the traditions we now share in our own home.  We still drive around on Christmas Eve, looking at holiday lights, and come home to hot chocolate topped with lots of whipped cream. And, when we can wake up before our kids do, we bang on their bedroom doors too!

Grieving is a necessary and natural process, and I am not at all suggesting that this be done quickly.  I just wanted to offer a few suggestions, that helped me through the first Christmas after my mom passed, that may help lighten your heart a bit during these upcoming holidays.

I believe that celebrating life is the best way to honor our departed loved ones. And, knowing my parents the way I did,  I feel they would want to see me happy and smiling when I think of them, especially during this time of the year.  I still shed a few tears, especially on my November birthday, but the happy feelings I have when I remember them now outweigh the heavy heart I used to have.

Display feel good photos of your loved ones.  These represent the best of who they were in the physical, and what a wonderful way to include them in your current life happenings.  As time passes, children often worry that they will forget what their loved ones looked like.  Keeping their positive energy in a photo, displayed in the family or main living area, is a perfect way to have all of you still feel connected. Keep stoic or stern looking photos packed away (or even toss them).  I believe that only happy expressions are worth honoring.

I love this picture of my parents, sitting in front of our Christmas tree, from back in the 1970’s.  This is how I think of them every Christmas.  I smile whenever I look at this photo, and feel them close to me as our family celebrates together.

Howard & Clem Humphrey 1970's 001

My parents, Howard & Clem Humphrey

Honor the family traditions that you loved doing together.  If your family had a tradition of going to the movies on Christmas Day, then go to the movies on Christmas Day.  If you used to drive around looking at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve, drive around and look at Christmas lights on Christmas Eve. Traditions give a sense of continuity and offer comfort.  They honor what was important to you in the past.  You will feel a stronger connection during the holidays by celebrating those traditions you enjoyed together.  You may even find a new tradition to honor their memory.

Bring more light into your space.  The inward Yin energy of Winter can increase feelings of lethargy and depression.  We spend more time indoors and lose the benefit of sunlight to boost our Vitamin D levels, which contribute to our sense of well-being.   Expose yourself to brighter Yang energy by allowing as much light into your house as possible each day, or bundle up and go outside, even if for only 20-30 minutes.  If neither of these options work, invest in a light box or lamp for your home, which simulates sunlight.  These have been used successfully to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as well.

Keep clutter to a minimum to allow for more breathing space for you and your home, and deep breathing is one of the best ways I know to relax your mind and body.  If you need an energy boost, try removing at least 9 things from your home.  I modified an old feng shui cure for shifting energy (which recommends moving 27 things) because I didn’t want to just move things, I wanted to release some stuff. By starting with just 9 items, I felt better and was inspired to release more unwanted energy out of my personal space, which helped me feel not only physically, but emotionally lighter.  

Add pops of a favorite bright color to your Winter decor.  Earth colors such as brown, tan and rust, tend to be the general choice for creating a cocooning effect, but if overused can significantly drop the energy of the home’s residents.  Brighter colors, such as orange and yellow, can do wonders to lift spirits.  Consider using these friendly colors in small doses with candles, a throw or toss pillows.  Adding metallics such as silver or gold, will also do the same to boost your energy quotient. 

Bring nature inside. This is a simple and inexpensive way to feel connected to the outside world.  Special rocks, interesting looking bare branches, sprigs of greenery and pinecones all work, just make sure they are clean and bug free before bringing them indoors.  Artificial also counts if you cannot readily find the real deal. 

Spend some private time with your feelings.  This can be during prayer, meditation, a visit to a memorial site or favorite place, or just a walk out in nature. However you feel connected with your loved one and God, Universal Spirit, or another name you may use to address the eternal life energy, spend time with your feelings.  Talk with your loved one, in your thoughts or out loud, and say what is in your heart.  Be honest and don’t judge how you respond.  Sometimes, we need to sob, vent, curse or apologize to express how we feel, and get it out into the light of day so healing can begin.  Afterwards, take a very deep breath (or two or five), and continue on with your day.  This will allow you to release some of the pain and remember more of the joy and love.

Blessings and Happy Thanksgiving!  ♥

Advertisements

A Feng Shui’d College Bedroom

Inspiration on the walls

Inspiration on the walls

Two weeks ago, our daughter, Kim, returned to college to begin her junior year.  She was excited to get back, and enjoy the experience of sharing her campus apartment with three new roommates.  Although her apartment looks identical to the one she had last year, it does have different energy.  It is in the same building, but on the second floor, instead of the third as was last year’s.  There was also a different student living in that space for the past 12 months, which meant her energy imprint still lingered.  No matter whether this energy was positive or not, it was important that Kim’s bedroom space be cleared so she could start fresh.  I am so proud of my daughter for doing this on her own, with only a few texts and phone calls to her mom for support!  This is what she did to create a new space to begin a new year:

Energy Clearing  – Kim space cleared her bedroom, with the door open, by playing her favorite music while burning incense and a favorite scented candle.  She used a feather to circulate the energy throughout the room, with the intent of dissipating the old energy and welcoming positive energy into the space.  Space clearing works because of the intention behind the actions, no matter how you choose to do it.  Kim felt lighter and happier afterwards, so the clearing was a success!

Decorating with Intention Everyone should have something wonderful to see upon awakening, and before going to sleep. Respecting the contraints of a student’s budget, (and no nails allowed), Kim chose a favorite scarf  (the dark blue color was deliberate –  to bring in the Water element of her Career area), and pinned it on the wall in front of her bed, then placed index cards with clothes pins on vertical strings on either side.  On each of these cards she wrote a positive or inspirational statement.  Her favorite has always been from Ghandi:  Be The Change You Wish To See In The World.  You can see in the photo above, she also has a wall hanging of this quote, which she placed next to her desk.

A view from the bed with a favorite scarf and inspiring words!

It is important for students to use the desk as the place to study, which is included in all college abodes, .  As comfortable as the bed seems for reading and doing homework, all of the stress from studying for exams and pulling late night cram sessions accumulates and energizes the bed too much for a good night’s sleep.  It also is terrible for your back!  

Once Kim understood this, she was committed to having her desk be a comfortable and inspiring study spot.  She surrounded herself with her vision boards, a handmade quilt from a favorite aunt, a clean desk top and, of course, a picture of her longtime fantasy crush, Leonardo DiCaprio, (hey, a girl’s gotta have something nice to rest her eyes upon occasionally)!   Although her desk did not have an ideal feng shui location, she is next to the only window in the room and can look out onto the grass courtyard below, to give her energy a lift.  She is also able to see her door to the side (but it is not in direct line with the chair).  When she is ready for bed, Kim can drape a blanket over it, to cover any unfinished homework assignments, her laptop and her printer.  Out of sight, out of mind!

kim's room

An inspirational study area

Kim’s bed was already in the power position of the room – she can see her door, but is not in line with it.  Above her bed, she hung favorite pictures she has been collecting over the past few years.  Her bed is dressed in yellow sheets and a comfy duvee cover, to keep her feeling cozy and grounded while she sleeps.  A Himilayan salt lamp stays on during the day, to help cleanse the air near her bed, and her dreamcatcher hangs nearby, to collect any bad dreams.  The next step in her process is to find another beautiful scarf, or piece of fabric, to cover the bookshelf contents while sleeping.

Kim's Fame and Reputation area with bed

My daughter’s decor is a wonderful reflection of her ingenuity, intuition and style, and she is proud of what she has accomplished on her own.    

Here’s to an AWESOME school year, Sweetie!  

In the Heat of the Summer

Summer has officially arrived!

Most of us here in The States will have extremely hot weather to deal with sometime during the next few months.

Being outside gives you freedom, fun, and connection to community and to nature…….all of which improve the quality of our lives.  We also get more natural Vitamin D from the sun, which decreases feelings of depression.

We are a ‘Goldilocks’ species.  We want things just right…..not too hot, not too cold, not too bright, not too dark, not too hard, not too soft, etc.  So, when we get too much of a good thing, in this case very yang sun and heat, we naturally follow the Feng Shui principle of balancing those with the following yin energies:

1.  Cool It Down –  How great does an ice-cold drink taste when you’ve been out in the sun!  It cools the body down quickly, without causing cramping.  Add a cold compress on the back of the neck and you have another quick way to cool off.  Other avenues of using the yin quality of cold…..fans & air conditioning.  Right now, it is 104 degrees here in metro Atlanta, GA, and believe me….those two  are lifesavers!  And let’s not forget the popsicle.  Yes, ice cream works well too, but popsicles are the ultimate traditional summer cooler.

2.  Get Wet –  Swimming or relaxing in a cool body of water, or at least having the spray of water on you, is the most fun way to cool off.  Did you have a Slip ‘N Slide growing up or remember running through the sprinklers?  What a quick & inexpensive way to cool off a bunch of hot kids (OK, adults too)!

3.  Go to the Dark Side – Shade is a welcoming yin element, whether poolside, on the deck or front porch, or with an umbrella strolling down the street.  Were you ever told to close the drapes and keep the lights turned off to keep the house cool?  Growing up in a house without A/C, this was a mantra used by my parents.  Darker areas are a welcomed relief from the brightness and heat outside.

4.  Nap Time –  This is my favorite yin remedy and encompasses a whole lot of yin for your buck – a quiet location, soft chair, bed or hammock, more horizontally positioned, in a shaded area with a cool breeze, and maybe a cold drink at the ready…sheer perfection!

So, the next time the heat of Summer gets to be a bit too yang for you, decide what yin qualities you want to add to your spaces to keep you balanced and happy.  I think I’m going to go take a nap!

2012 – The Year of The Dragon

2012 - The Year of The Dragon

January 23, 2012 begins the Year of The Dragon (more specifically the Year of The Water Dragon).  The dragon is the mightiest of all the Chinese zodiac signs and the only mythical one.  Originally, the dragon represented the emperor & power.  In modern times, it is the ultimate auspicious symbol signifying success & happiness!   This year holds the potential to breathe life-shaping fire into it – a year full of energy & vitality, which may prove to invigorate some and be a bit exhausting to others.  Lots of continued changes are in store!  Have you made room in your home to welcome in this auspicious energy yet?   Yes, we are getting back to the discussion of getting rid of clutter – the unnecessary stuff in your life right now!

Clutter is the biggest obstacle to achieving ANYTHING positive in a person’s life.  I love Feng Shui guru & Soul Coach, Denise Linn‘s description of clutter as being ‘an accumulation of things that impede the flow of energy in your home’.   Positive intention is also an important part of achieving what you want, so be aware of your mental and emotional clutter as well.  Negative self-talk, feelings of scarcity, living in the past, or holding onto resentment toward someone all count!

You can use the Bagua map to find out where stuck or stagnant energy may be in your home (thereby affecting you) by choosing an area in your life you would like to improve and checking for clutter in the corresponding area of the bagua.  For example, the wealth/prosperity area of your home footprint is located in the rear left corner as you walk in the front door.  If this area is cluttered or dirty, it is a good bet that you are having financial challenges as well.  By clearing out and cleaning up those spaces, you should have a clearer vision of your finances. You may even get ideas flowing to you of how to improve them!  Another suggestions is to also check each room individually (line each room’s door up to the bottom of the bagua map).  Do you see any clutter claiming the far left corners?  If you do…..clear it out and clean it up.  Everything counts in Feng Shui – every nook & cranny!

After  clutter clearing, you can decorate your home with symbols of good fortune to usher in the Chinese New Year such as:

– Adding bright colors such as red (happiness) or gold/orange (wealth/happiness).     Note: Chinese brides wear red.

– Putting fruit out such as oranges and tangerines (good health/long life); tangerines with attached leaves (long lasting friendships that are fruitful and multiply as in having children); and persimmons (happiness/wealth)

– Displaying a circular candy tray (candy is the sweet and circular signifies togetherness)

– Putting out a bouquet of flowers (tradition states that if the flowers bloom on New Year’s Day, it will be a prosperous year!  Just make sure you dispose of them as soon as they start losing their freshness.

Starting the Year of The Dragon off with clean and clear spaces decorated with happiness and prosperity in mind will allow wonderful new opportunities and things (such as money) into your life this year!

Gung Hey Fat Choy!     translation:   “Wishing You Prosperity and Wealth”

Welcome to Feel Good In Your Space!

Do you love your home – every room, every space?  Do you feel comfortable spending time in each room?  Do you feel welcomed walking into your home at the end of the day?  Does it feel like your safe haven – a place to rest, rejuvenate and re-energize yourself?   Is your life going well in all areas (your health, love life, creative endeavors, family relations, financially, reputation-wise, and spiritually)?  If you answered YES to all of these questions, then this blog may not interest you.  If you answered NO to any or all of them, information and suggestions offered here can help change your answers to Yes!

The art & science of Feng Shui has been around for thousands of years, but our western society is just now understanding the relationship of our physical environment to the quality of our lives.   Feng Shui is not a religion or a cult, but a way of looking at your world using a recipe book, if you will.  These recipes include the use of color, furniture arrangement, specific intention, clutter clearing and placement of items in your space that support your lifestyle and dreams.

Take this journey with me and see if changing your space will change your life!

%d bloggers like this: