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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!

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The Lucky Bamboo

Bamboo is being used more and more in our western society in building products, such as flooring and cabinets.  We are also seeing sheets and clothing made out of this readily renewable resource.  To welcome in Spring,  I wanted to talk about the benefits of using Lucky Bamboo in your home, as a way of energizing growth and abundance into your spaces.  Imagine my surprise when I did my research on the plant and found out that it is not actually in the bamboo family.

The Lucky Bamboo is a Dracaena sanderiana, and is a species of the genus Dracaena.  It is a member of the lily family that grows in the dark, tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia and Africa.  It has become popular as a household plant because it can survive in many indoor conditions and requires little regular maintenance.  Keeping it in indirect light is best as direct sunlight can cause the leaves to turn yellow and burn.  Lucky Bamboo also does very well when its roots are kept in clean, de-chlorinated water.  For more information on the care of lucky bamboo, check out this article: http://www.flowershopnetwork.com/blog/newsletter-july-2003/

Although not a true bamboo, in Feng Shui, the resilient Lucky Bamboo  represents the Wood and Water elements, which relate to growth, success and prosperity, yet also demonstrate flexibility.  If you add a red ribbon tied around the stalks, you have added the Fire element, and further increase the positive flow of energy or chi in the room. Other ways to add Fire is to use a red pot or one with an animal motif.  You can find many Asian stores selling Lucky Bamboo in pots decorated with frogs, turtles, elephants and dragons.  When planted in a round (Metal), ceramic (Earth) pot, you have incorporated all five Feng Shui elements – a perfect addition to any space for elemental balance.

Lucky Bamboo is a wonderful addition in most areas of a home, particularly in the Health & Family and Wealth & Prosperity guas.  I have several Lucky Bamboo plants throughout my home.  The plant, pictured below, is in the Health & Family area of our dining room.  It is in a place of honor, along with two beloved family heirlooms – the hand-carved wooden bar it is sitting on, which my mother won playing Bingo when we were stationed in the Philippines, and the porcelain Buddha on the right, which was a gift to my dad that symbolized our family (my dad was bald and there are five kids in our family). The other Buddha was a gift to me from my mother.  Having the Lucky Bamboo there brings a wonderful balanced energy to those memories, now that both of my parents have passed.

There are many good locations for a Lucky Bamboo because it brings in nature and a balance to most spaces. Living and family rooms are great locations.  Consider placing one on your office desk – in the Wealth & Prosperity area (the far left corner), with the intent to bring in more financial success to your business, or in the Health & Family area (left side in the center), to bring in new growth and opportunities.  Just be careful not to go crazy and place them everywhere, or you may become overwhelmed with too much new activity all at once!  Intentionally place one and see how the energy responds.  The one room I wouldn’t suggest putting a plant in is a bedroom.  It could produce more yang energy than you want for sleep, especially when near the bed or in a small size bedroom.

A Lucky Bamboo plant makes a great gift.  Offer it with the intention of it bringing wonderful new energy, growth and success to the recipient’s life – perfect for a housewarming or birthday!  You can also give one to someone who is recovering from an illness, surgery or accident, with the intention that it represents healing and new strength.  Be sure the one you purchase is healthy, has room for water in the pot, and that the roots aren’t dry.  I recently went to a large home improvement store and found that the pot was too small and the rocks on top were actually glued together so you couldn’t water the plant – not good Feng Shui for the poor plant!  Just because they sell Lucky Bamboo does not mean that they are treated well.  A florist shop or grocery store may have the healthiest ones around.

If you don’t own a Lucky Bamboo yet, buy one.  If you honor it by treating it well, you will be blessed with many years of beauty and wonderful energy!

A Romantic, Restful Bedroom

To honor Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be a great time to talk about the importance of Feng Shuing your bedroom to promote not only romantic love, but also to love and honor yourself.  Whether you are looking for that one perfect partner, re-vitalizing an existing relationship, or creating an oasis of serenity & support for yourself, having a calm and inviting bedroom is the first step.  Of course, using Feng Shui is only part of the equation – you need to set your intention on what it is you want in a relationship, then do your part to develop that relationship.  I can, at least, help you set the stage!

For your bedroom to support a secure and intimate relationship, everything you see, feel, smell and touch in the room should promote relaxation, security and intimacy.  Yin energy should be dominant in the room to create the coziness and comfort, while the addition of yang energy (see yin/yang for more info) adds the heat for amorous activities.   If it is too bright with too much to capture your attention (TV, computer, work desk or exercise equipment), you will have too many distractions to focus on intimacy or sleep.  Below are some Feng Shui suggestions to create balance and harmony for both to co-exist in the bedroom.

♥ Remove all clutter in the room.   This includes under the bed and in the closets.  It all counts because clutter causes stress in the form of confusion, irritation, overwhelm and frustration, which does not bode well for romance or a good night’s sleep.  Ignoring clutter does not mean it doesn’t affect you.  If you absolutely have to use your bedroom for storage, keep things neat and protected in containers made for storage.  Cardboard boxes and laundry baskets don’t count!  Keeping items under the bed should be the last resort, because beneficial energy (ch’i) cannot circulate freely around the bed.  It is difficult to get a good night’s sleep with stagnant energy around you!

♥ Use flesh-toned colors on your bedroom walls.   There is a wide-range of skin colors from people around the world including cream, pink, peach, yellow, lavender, beige, caramel, coral, raspberry, gold, terra-cotta and brown.  The general response to these colors is friendly, which is important in a room where you let your guard down.   Blue or green walls have more yang energy, since they represent the Wood element (the element for growth and activity).  White, gray, or even black walls tend to make the room feel cooler and less cozy.  If you do have white walls and cannot repaint, balance them with flesh tones in bed covers & linens, art, pillows, area rugs, and other decor.

♥ Keep the bed as the focal point of the room.   Giving the TV a commanding position in your bedroom can cause a definite drop in intimacy.  If you absolutely must have a TV in the room, put it behind closed doors at night, or cover it with a beautiful piece of cloth before going to bed – you don’t need this big black eye watching you while you sleep, or are otherwise engaged.  This also applies to computers, work desks, exercise equipment and all forms of paperwork and laundry.  These are all constant reminders of work, not rest, and do not belong in the bedroom at all!

The bed itself is important.  A good mattress is critical because if it doesn’t support your back, you will not feel supported in your life.  And as much as we think bigger beds are better, king size beds can leave too much space between people and reduce closeness for most couples.

Bed positioning is important to creating a safe haven for the most vulnerable time you spend in this room – during sleep.  Good quality sleep is critical for a good quality of life and great relationships. You should have the largest view of the room and see the entrance door from where you lie in bed, without being in direct line with the door.  If this is not possible, place a mirror on the opposite wall from the door to see it better from the bed. If the head of your bed is under a window, add a headboard or window treatments.  If the foot of the bed can only be positioned to face the door, add a footboard or chest there for a feeling of protection from the incoming energy of the hallway.

If your desire is to have a long-term relationship:  Be able to get out of bed on both sides and avoid having just one night stand next to the bed – use two.  Keep some closet space open, and remove stuffed animals and excess pillows.  All of these signal the universe that there is no room for another in your space – your space is already filled!

♥ Remove or cover all mirrors at night.   In Feng Shui, mirrors reflect yang activity.  The bigger and the closer a mirror is to the bed, the more it will disturb your sleep.  It is better to have no mirrors, or one that is not facing the bed (such as mentioned above).  The other option is to cover them with a beautiful cloth at night.  Our home in California had mirrored closet doors that reflected the entire length of the bed on my side.  Not long after we installed a curtain rod and curtains to cover them (which we opened during the day and closed at night),  the quality of my sleep improved and I fell back asleep quicker if I awoke during the night.  Eventually, we replaced the mirrored doors with louvered ones and eliminated the situation altogether.

♥ Use good quality bed linens.  Splurge on the best you can afford.  Considering how much of your time is spent in bed, a higher thread count and luxurious fabrics really do make a difference.  Textures, patterns and darker colors  promote more yin energy.  There are new fabrics out there that have an amazing sensual feel to them and are reasonably priced.

♥ Display photos and decor that honor your personal relationship.   You, as a couple, are the focus, rather than you as parents or part of a community.  Religious, family & group photos serve you better in other areas of the house.  Just remember…all eyes are on you while you sleep and enjoy other activities – do you really want everyone watching?!  Place your happy couple photos throughout the bedroom, especially in the Love & Relationship Bagua area of the room (far right corner from the door).  Items that you received as gifts from your loved one, or to honor your relationship, are wonderful to display anywhere in the room.  On our dresser, we have our framed wedding announcement (which was given to us as a gift) next to a wedding photo and a vacation photo we took in Hawaii.   I pass by the dresser each morning and am reminded of how lucky I am to have such a wonderful relationship!

If you are not yet in a relationship, in lieu of photos, use any objects that represent an equal pair – two flowers, two candles (red or pink are great color choices), statues of 2 birds (preferably facing each other or relating positively) or even 2 crystals or stones of equal size (to represent a rock solid pairing).  Equal proportion supports the idea of a balanced relationship.  Choosing 2 items that are disproportionate to each other can bring you a relationship where one person is dominant over the other.  Having photos or other artwork depicting a single person creates the energy of ‘one’, which is counterproductive to a couple status so watch what you display in your bedroom.  The Universe tends to take things literally!

Treat your sense of smell.  Years ago, I read that the scent of vanilla is a sensual scent for men (I guess it relates to: “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”).  Vanilla is used in a lot of desserts, and desserts are the epitome of decadence and comfort.  If vanilla doesn’t do it for you or your partner, find a scent that does and use it in subtle ways with candles or essential oils.  Lavender creates a relaxing atmosphere condusive for sleep and general well-being.  Keeping bowls of potpourri around does not promote positive energy.  Potpourri is made out of dried, dead items.

♥  Spark Passion with Red and Pink.    Red and pink are the colors that represent love & marriage, so feel free to accessorize with whatever shades you love.  Be careful not to go crazy with red everything in the bedroom though, because too much Fire can trigger arguments or cause restless sleep.  When you walk into the room, your eyes should be able to quickly pick out those pops of Fire, not be burned by it.

♥  Strengthen all of the Love & Relationship areas of your home.  If your master bedroom is located in the far right corner of your home, then you’re off to a great start!  If not, focus on cleaning up this area of all rooms in the house (all floors).  You can add paired items in these rooms to support the couple vibe.  The important thing is to get rid of clutter and unnecessary items!

Wishing you a Happy and Romantic Valentine’s Day!

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!

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