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Fall Cleaning And A Lesson From My Dyson

front door photo 1

It’s the first week of October and time for my Fall Cleaning ritual.  As we head into the mostly yin (colder, darker, cocooning, inward energy) part of the year (Fall and Winter), I find that giving our home a good dose of yang (brighter, active, expanding) energy gets me better prepared to face less daylight hours and more time spent indoors.  

Whenever we give our home a thorough cleaning, there is an automatic lifting of our spirits.  I feel more at ease and relaxed.  It is as if my home is smiling and saying Thank You!  This is not to say that I look forward to the tasks, and I even procrastinate starting cleaning projects.  But today, I discovered that there is one chore I now enjoy as a meditative activity.

This morning, while vacuuming our family room, moving forward and back, forward and back, forward and back, I looked down at the clear canister of my Dyson and saw an amazing amount of dirt, fur and debris swirling around.  How could this be? I made only three passes at a section of the room, and the carpet didn’t look that dirty!  After completing the room, I had the urge to re-vacuum and see if there was anything left to pick up.   I did and…There was!  From this seemingly boring act of vacuuming, I fully realized how much debris we become clueless to in our homes. Even seasoned Feng Shui consultants cannot always see what is lurking in their own spaces!  

My Teacher

My Teacher

In Feng Shui, what you don’t see still affects you. Most of the time, the reason we feel stuck in our lives is because we have this residual gunk hanging around.  It needs to be cleaned up to continue moving forward. If it hangs around too long, it will likely cause dis-ease in the forms of anxiety, frustration, depression, weight gain, and general malaise.  After having our carpets professionally deep cleaned today, I felt lighter and happier. This has given me the inspiration to get to the rest of my projects!

Doing a deep Fall cleaning of your home gives you a fresh perspective on life and renews your energy for the upcoming months.  From a Feng Shui perspective, I have listed the priority areas that I focus on first.  

The Front Entrance.  This is where ch’i (or life energy) enters your home. Welcome it in with a clean and clear pathway (leaves and weeds be-gone). Make sure all windows are sparkling, inside and out.  Clear all cobwebs, dead bugs and clutter from the front door.  Have a beautiful Welcome mat out.  Make sure the door handle and doorbell are in good working order and that the address numbers are visible for ch’i (and visitors) to find you.  The door needs to open fully with no obstructions.

The Kitchen.  The stove is the most important appliance in your home.  It represents wealth and abundance in Feng Shui.  Keep it clean at all times.  Have all burners in good working order and use all of them regularly. This sets the intention that prosperity and abundance continuously flows and won’t become stagnant. Treat the refrigerator with the same respect.  After all, this is where a large portion of your abundance is stored!  Toss outdated food, wash down the shelves and drawers and organize what is left.  Only purchase what you know will be consumed in a short period of time.  Bulk purchasing of perishables often wastes more of your money than it saves.

Clean the kitchen floors and wiped down cabinets.  Give your countertops a thorough cleaning and simplify what you have on display.  Cull the excess appliances and gadgets in your cabinets as well.  Only keep what you regularly use and love.  If you don’t use the waffle maker, now that you’re on a gluten-free diet, donate it.   If you still have the cookie press you received as a gift, but have never used it, donate or give it away.  A clean kitchen gives you room to breathe in a place that is meant to nourish and revitalize the body and spirit. 

The floors, window coverings and furniture.  These take the most abuse throughout the year and fabric holds in more dust, grime and negative energy than hard surfaces.  Clean carpets and window coverings make a significant shift in a room’s feel.  This is especially true if it has been closed up or the occupants have recently gone through a hardship.  You can actually feel how much happier the space feels!  If professional upholstery cleaning is not feasible, a good vacuuming will also do wonders.

The Bedrooms.  You function better in your life when you sleep well, especially during the potentially stressful holiday season. Open the windows and bring fresh air in.  Give the bed a good airing as well.  I won’t get into the details that most of us have heard, about the importance of having a good quality mattress, but make sure it is clean and in good condition.  Refresh your decor by changing out anything that you no longer absolutely love.  Resist the urge to decorate your bedroom for the holidays.  Too many add-ins, especially greenery (real or artificial), Santas or other figurines, increases the activity energy in the room and most likely will affect your sleep.   It is better to keep the holiday decor in more active areas of your home.  

Keep the holiday decorations in active areas of your home

Keep the holiday decorations in active areas of your home, such as the front entry.

Well, it’s time to give my kitchen some love and well deserved re-energizing.  What area in your home will be first on your Fall Cleaning list?

Happy October!

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2013, The Year of the Water Snake

HAPPY NEW YEAR (Again)!  

February 10th marks the official beginning of the Chinese New Year (the second new moon after the Winter Solstice).  We are getting ready to enter the Year of the Water Snake – another year of changes and transitions.

Year of the Snake 2013 clip art 003

In the Chinese culture, the snake represents wisdom and knowledge – not quite the same frame of reference we have for the snake in our Western society.  The snake is all about shedding its skin and starting fresh.  What a great focus to have this year as a lot of us continue to shed old habits, attitudes, situations and beliefs that no longer serve us.  

What have you decided to release from your life this year?  What new choices are you making?   Consider all areas of your life – financial, health, relationships, business/career, spiritual.  This is the year to finally clear things up and let things go.

Here are a few suggestions to implement before February 10th, in order to fully enjoy this second New Year:

Take time to get focused and develop a plan.  Be cautious and deliberate, rather than impulsive, about your choices this year.  Water Snake energy brings with it deep, personal reflection and transformation.  It is time to be still and really listen to your intuition, and then follow it.

Get your house in order.  Wash, dust and vacuum old, stale energy away (or any bad luck energy from the prior year), so you can welcome in fresh, new vibrant energy.  Pay particular attention to your kitchen, which is the heart of your home’s prosperity, and where your family receives its nourishment.   Make sure all burners are clean, working well, and ALL are used regularly.  Keep counter tops clean and uncluttered.  Check your refrigerator and toss or use up all leftovers (including the last bits of condiments and salad dressings), then  give it a good cleaning.  

All areas of your home count in the organizing process. True, it may not be seen often, but clutter is clutter and closets, garages, attics and basements do affect your energy flow.  Release the excess or it will continue to drag you down in 2013!

Energize your front entrance and kitchen.  Place a new colorful WELCOME mat outside the front door.  Put out a bowl of fresh oranges or tangerines on your kitchen table or counter – these hold the energy of  prosperity since the Chinese words for orange and tangerine sound like wealth and luck, respectively.  Place a fresh bouquet of a combination of white, orange and yellow flowers on your dining table, a living display of all 5 elements in Feng Shui.  Keep them only as long as they look fresh and healthy.

Energize your personal finances.  Every New Year, I change out my old wallet for a new red or purple one.  A fresh, new wallet re-energizes the thought of financial prosperity.  This is a wonderful tradition I have shared with clients and friends with positive results!  This year, you can add gold to the choices – a color that always represents wealth – and the Metal element supports Water!  As an additional affirmation of abundance – keep a $20, $50 or $100 bill tucked away in your new wallet, as a reminder that you always have extra funds.  Use the highest denomination possible and if it happens to get used, replace it quickly. 

Consider the Chinese New Year a do-over bonus!   If you’re frustrated because you’ve already fallen down on your January 1st New Year’s resolution(s), re-focus, re-energize and consider this your second chance.  You still have a whole new year ahead of you! 

 

Gung Hey Fat Choy!       “Wishing you Prosperity and Wealth!”

 

New Year, New Energy, New Life!

What I love about celebrating a New Year is that we can celebrate it twice!  There is January 1st, from the Gregorian calendar, which we use here in the West.  Then there is the Chinese New Year, the first New Moon of the year, which will be February 10th in 2013.  I especially love celebrating the Chinese New Year because, energetically, it connects us to our physical surroundings.  Since we focus on changes we want to make in our lives in the coming year, it is important we also clean up our personal spaces to support these changes.

If your goal is to eat healthier, then your kitchen should support those choices.  After giving the kitchen a good cleaning, remove what does not support your goals, such as the deep fryer and the highly processed snacks, and replace them with maybe a juicer and fresh fruits and vegetables.  If you want to improve the success of your home business, create a successful and organized office area with a desk facing the door so you can see opportunities coming.   Although these seem like small changes to make, the positive shift you will feel in your home will inspire you to keep your focus.

What changes do you want to make in your life for 2013?  What improvements can you make in your home to support those changes?

Happy New Year!!

Preparing for Thanksgiving Guests

Can it be the middle of November already?  It seems like yesterday when we were enjoying the hot Summer weather.  The temperature outside has dropped into the 40’s and the trees are showing off their last bold colors before going to sleep for the Winter.  It is now time to plan for Thanksgiving.

While many of us are doing major house cleaning, food planning and decorating in anticipation of big family gatherings, I’d like to share some Feng Shui tips to help fill your home with more gratitude and balanced energy and less frustration and drama.

Set your intention for everyone to have a wonderful time.  True, you can’t control how anyone else acts or reacts while visiting, but you can set the tone for your own energy and attitude.  Write down a blessing or affirmation on a piece of paper, such as: “May all who dine here be blessed with good health, happy and loving hearts and prosperity in all areas of their lives.”  Place this blessing in the room where you will be dining, either under a beloved piece of china in the hutch or on the buffet, or under the tablecloth or runner.  No one else needs to know it’s there.  Remembering this blessing will lighten your energy and spread out to the others.  You could also choose to place this blessing in your entryway and re-word it to ‘all who enter’.   

See your home as a guest would.  Is the path leading up to your front door well lit and free of all dried leaves and debris?  Is your front door welcoming?  I love keeping things simple.  A brightly colored Welcome mat and colorful wreath on the door, decorated with Fire and Earth colors (reds, oranges, yellows) invites not only visitors, but vital Ch’i energy into your home.   Another excellent choice is to flank pots of cheerful chrysanthemums on either side of the door.  If your front door is already painted red, decorate with greenery and yellows, browns and dark tones to balance all of the Fire energy.  Make sure your doorbell is working, the door handles are tight, and squeaky hinges are oiled.  You want your front door to be strong, secure and ready to greet your guests!

During the Fall season, I love welcoming guests with sunflowers on the door!

When you enter your home, is it clear of any clutter, especially on the floor?  If you can smell food cooking when you enter, you have included a wonderful sense of smell to the atmosphere, or you can light a mildly scented, seasonal candle near the entrance.  This is where I love to use the small votive or tealite candles rather than larger scented pillars or jar candles, which can be overwhelming to guests with sensitive noses.  I also burn one in each bathroom as well.  Tealites add more ambiance than using plug-in fresheners.   Festive music, playing quietly in the background, will add a pleasant sound without being a distraction to conversation. 

Set the stage for dining.  Although a round or oval dining room table is the ideal shape for equal conversation, most of us probably have either a square or rectangular table that gets extended for large gatherings.  The preferred, command position is the chair that is farthest from the entrance of the room yet facing it, usually with a solid wall behind it.  The weakest energy position is the chair with its back to the room’s entrance.  We can talk about power positioning (the host usually sits in the command position) , but I’d rather talk about making everyone feel as comfortable as possible.  A tablecloth that drapes over all corners of a square or rectangular table reduces the sharpness of the edges and softens the overall feel of the room.  You can soften edges of a hutch or sideboard, that may be  pointing towards someone, by draping greenery over the corners.  Find this out, in advance, by sitting in each dining chair.       

Mirrors multiply the abundance of food, which represents wealth and abundance in Feng Shui.  Prop a large mirror up behind the buffet, place them under serving dishes or use as a runner down the center of the table.  

If your dining room is painted red or burgundy (which is common here in the South), hold back from adding too much fire, which will  increase the chance of heated arguments.  Also be sparing with wood elements, since most rooms already have a lot of wood furniture and Wood feeds the Fire energy.  Instead, put the focus on glassware, light colored plates and metallics.  

Thanksgiving reminds us to express gratitude and appreciation for what we have and who we have in our lives.  Decorate your home with gratitude, prepare your meals with love and welcome all who enter with appreciation, and this holiday will bring you joy and peace.    

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!   

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!

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”

Preparing To Ring In The New!

New Year’s Day 2012 is only a hop, skip and jump away (can you detect the movement of energy?) and many of us are preparing to start at least one, and usually more, New Year’s resolutions.  The problem most of us have with resolutions is that our ‘resolve’ is short-lived.  Were we really serious about committing to a successful outcome, or were they just wishful thoughts?  I believe that we all have the best intentions of having them come true, but maybe we didn’t surround ourselves with the correct support to see them through.  Here are a few suggestions to help support your 2012 goals:

1.  State your desire in the positive, rather than the negative.  For example, probably the most popular New Year’s resolution is losing weight –  I want to lose 20 lbs. in the next 3 months.  In this statement, you”re wanting to lose something, rather than gain something.  Rewording your desire by stating it as a positive affirmation, such as – I am becoming fit and healthy everyday by eating healthy foods and keeping active  can give you the feeling of adding to your life rather than losing something through sacrifice.  Post your positive affirmation where you see it daily, such as a bathroom mirror or refrigerator, and you will be reminded of your intentions on a regular basis.   Repetition, over time, creates a habit!

2.  Clear the clutter to make room for the new to come into your life.  This cannot be overstated!  Clutter can include physical, emotional, computer or people clutter.  An old Chinese proverb states that you can change the energy around you quickly by moving 27 things in your home.  This re-energizes the life force (ch’i) around you.  One way to do this is to replace or remove pictures, art work or other decor that does not make you happy.  Only keep items in your space that brings you a positive feeling.

You can also clear out items in your closet that you truly do not love to wear (rationalizing about its cost or that you might wear it someday is holding stagnant energy in place).  Be grateful for the time you did enjoy it, then donate or sell it so someone else who needs it will find it!  Most of us only wear 10 – 20% of what’s hanging in our closet anyway!  If you haven’t worn something in a full year, you probably won’t.

Go through your computer files and e-mails to delete what is no longer needed.  This is one of my 2012 goals – keep only what’s important to keep.   You will allow more room for new information and opportunities to come along!   Are you holding on to emotional baggage from past situations that no longer serve you?  Maybe this is the year to learn a new technique or find help to allow you to release the hold it has on you.

3.  Use physical affirmations in your space to support your goals.  If one of your resolutions is to become more fit and healthy, give your refrigerator and pantry a good cleaning and re-stock with foods that will support healthier eating.  The kitchen represents abundance & prosperity, so keep it clean & clear of clutter.  It’s where the body is nourished.   If you want to become more active, have your workout clothes and gear more accessible so you can grab them and go.   If you want to write more, keep your desk clear with writing materials out and available – maybe even purchase a beautiful new pen and journal to write with.

Another great physical affirmation is a Vision Board.  It is a dream board made up of words, pictures and drawings representing what you want in your life.  This can be made out of almost anything, but poster board is the most common.  You can create an amazing visual using old magazines, photos, colored pencils, markers, glue sticks or tape you can create an amazing  visual.  A Vision Board get-together with a few friends can be just the ticket to bring additional positive energy to its creation!   Make sure you place it where you see it daily.

We believe each new year offers the opportunity to make positive changes to our lives.  Whatever you desire to have in the coming year, I wish you the best success!

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