Change your space, improve your life!

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!”

 

Advertisements

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!!

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!   

I still love my daughter’s paintings from elementary school which were given to me as a gift.

The art in your home is always talking to you.  What is it saying?  This includes hanging artwork, photos, sculptures, ceramic pieces, or a vignette combining several items.

There is a reason why you chose what is on display in your home.   If you  have recently acquired a piece, or have had it for years, take another look and really see what it’s saying to and about you.  You might discover that it  may not be making that positive statement  it once did.  To find out, ask yourself these questions:

When I look at it, how does it make me feel?  Does it lift my spirit, drag me down or not affect me at all?

How did I acquire it?   If it was a gift, how do I feel about the person who gave it to me?

Does it conjure up any specific memories?  If so, how do they make me feel now?

Does it represent or support a positive aspect of who I am or who I am striving to become?

If you answer any of these questions with a negative response, chances are it has outlived its benefit to you.   

When I do feng shui consultations, I always ask about the significance of the art in my clients’ rooms.  What surrounds you holds a strong clue into what may be triggering unhappiness, anxiety, sadness or an inability to move forward out of a stuck situation. Look at those items as outdated energy in your space and your life.

Don’t underestimate the power visual cues have on you.  We have conditioned ourselves to adapt to almost any situation and numb ourselves to our emotion,  but over time, it does have an affect on us.  Every day you receive a hit of negative energy that drains you little by little.  Are you holding on to something from your ex, even though you went through a nasty divorce several years ago?  When you see it, does it still give you a pang of regret, sadness or even anger?  Do you have an heirloom family portrait, or landscape painting done by Aunt Esther, that you didn’t want but felt obligated to take?  Every time you walk past it, you may feel some resentment towards the person who gave it to you for invading your private space.

Negative feelings related to things in your home cause stagnant energy and an inability to move out of the past.  It is especially important to understand this if you are currently going through a rough time, such as divorce or a major family conflict.  I’m not saying that you should just chuck it all out of the house, but I do suggest that you remove what may be holding less than positive, happy feelings from your space and see if you notice a shift in your energy level.  Here are a few guidelines to follow to help clear your space:

1.  Pack it away for 6 months, away from your location, and see if you miss it in your space.

2. Can you return it to the person who gave it to you?  Tell them it no longer works in your home.  Who knows, they may want it back or suggest someone else who would love to have it.

3.  If you truly don’t want the item, sell, donate or give it to a family member or friend who really does like it.  This occurs frequently with family heirlooms that are handed down.  The recipient may not like the piece, but another family member would love to have it.  Holding onto something in your home out of guilt is one of the worst energies you can have around you.  You have given your power away, in your own home, to someone else.  This can hold you back from stepping fully into your present life.

My parents have both passed (my dad 6 years ago, my mom 2 years ago).  They had collected a lot of unique pieces during our international travels as a military family.  In the trust disbursement, my parents listed some things they thought each of us wanted. It ended up being different than what we wanted, so we re-negotiated with each other.  In the end, we each received what meant the most to us, and it all worked out.  We did draw straws when we divided up jewelry, but the rest was either sold to an auction dealer or donated.  We received what we loved and honored as family mementos and would use or display  in our homes.  I feel our parents would have been proud of the way we honored the process of dividing their possessions.

Be conscious of where certain art pieces are displayed in your home.  The dining room or kitchen (where people gather to share food and visit) may not be the best location to display that war mask you bought as a souvenir from your travels. The energy it represents could instigate arguments.  A better place may be in a den or library, where it can ward off unwanted interruptions.

I’ve  mentioned before that family photos and religious artwork or statues are best removed from the master bedroom, unless you like all of them watching while you are engaged in other activities in bed besides sleeping!    If you are wanting a relationship, having artwork displaying lonely, single people in your personal space sends a contradictory message to the Universe.  Pieces should reflect being in a pair, preferably an equal pair.

Make deliberate and conscious decisions when you buy artwork for your home.  The feeling you get when you look at it is literally what it will be saying to you for a long time to come.  Make sure you are having a wonderful conversation, but also revisit that relationship when changes occur in your life.

A transformed bedroom in our California home.

My first introduction to Feng Shui was over 12 years ago, because I was stressed and frustrated.  I always figured my life was chaotic because of my Type A personality – my mind was always going in 5 different directions, and always thinking 3 steps ahead (OK, so I still do that on occasion).  It wasn’t until I read an article about Feng Shui in a local paper that I understood the real reason for my stressful lifestyle.  My mind and physical surroundings were full of clutter, which caused me to have chaotic life energy (ch’i).  My personal ch’i and the ch’i in my physical environment needed help.  We can discuss mental clutter another time, but this post addresses the physical clutter.

Living with clutter was costing me time,  money and peace of mind.  I was always searching for the car keys, getting angry when I had to pay a late fee on a bill I had misplaced, or purchasing a duplicate of something because I couldn’t find it when I needed it.  When we had company over, I would have the whole family scrambling to pick up and hide all the stuff lying around.  We used to joke that having people over was the only time the house ever looked clean.  In reality, it was no laughing matter. 

Feng Shui is all about consciously arranging your physical environment to enhance the quality of your life.  I came to the realization that I couldn’t arrange all of the stuff we had because we had too much!  My urge to purge was awakened. The process became less painful and more enlightening  when I learned to ask some basic Feng Shui questions as I held or looked at each item.    

1.  Do I love it? 

2.  Do I need it? 

3.  Does it reflect who I am now in my life? 

4.  Does it act as an environmental affirmation to me? 

5.  What positive and/or negative thoughts, memories, or emotions do I associate with it? 

6.  Does it need to be fixed or repaired, and am I willing to do so now? 

7.  If I moved tomorrow, would I choose to take it with me? 

8.  If it is time to let it go, am I going to sell, lend or give it away, and when? 

As my husband, two kids and I went through our stuff, I couldn’t believe how easy it was to sell, donate or toss the things that no longer worked or served a purpose in our current lives – old dishes given to us by my husband’s late mother (we never used them and never would, so why not give someone else a chance to enjoy them?); the entire set of our wedding glassware (it was too ornate for our current tastes); broken items that could not be repaired; clothes that were outdated or didn’t fit anymore; craft supplies for projects that would never be completed; furniture we didn’t have room for; kids’ clothes and toys that weren’t used – the list went on and on. 

Everything was now in its place.

After going through this process, what remained were the items we really loved and wanted.  Clearing out the clutter really did re-energize my spirit.  I felt lighter and happier immediately!  We loved and used what we kept and could now honor it in our home.    Everything in the kitchen had its own spot where it could be found when needed, and returned after  using.  Our decor was simplified, calming and beautiful now.  Stuff was no longer crammed into our small 1200 sq.ft. home.  We finally had some breathing room. When friends came over, they would comment on how relaxing the house felt and asked me to help them with their homes.  That was the beginning of my Feng Shui career and I now look at spaces all the time through Feng Shui eyes.

We now live in Georgia and what an adventure it has been moving across the country and setting up another home.  We just recently moved again, so I am still re-arranging.   Each house has its own energy and special challenges, but we take our time and see what works and feels right, then go through our evaluation questions again.  We’ve released older furniture and purchased new pieces that are a better fit.  We always keep in mind that everything should be honored and have its own place.

Our new home is a new energy.

Now, I’m not saying that we always have a well-organized and calming home (paper clutter is still my challenge), but I can say that I love living in an energetically uplifting house.  That energy comes from letting go of the things that no longer work, consciously decorating with things that do, and staying on top of the accumulation of more stuff.

Life is good when you love what surrounds you!

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!

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately:   How can I use Feng Shui to bring a new relationship into my life?   Well, here are a few  suggestions to get you going!  Remember…Feng Shui addresses both the seen and unseen aspects of your environment.

1.  Let go of any past regrets, anger or guilt.  So a prior relationship didn’t work out – how much of that do you want to carry into a new one?  People grow and change, but not always at the same speed.  Bless it, accept that you learned what you do and do not want moving forward, and…….Let It Go!  This includes old photos, cards, memorabilia, etc.  If you keep it, you will be still holding space for this old, dead-end relationship in your life, which prevents something new from coming along.  This is especially important if there was a lot of energy invested, such as with a marriage.  If you still feel a pang of emotion when you look at something, it’s time to release it out of your environment.

2.  Set your intention on what you want and be specific.  What do you really want in a successful, long-term relationship?   The Law of Attraction works to bring you what you are vibrationally sending out, so raise your vibration!!   Write your intentions down on paper and state you’d like this or something even better to come along.  Give the Universe some wiggle room.  When making your list, consider that what most of us really want is to feel loved, respected and supported.  Physical features are fine to list, but are there certain interests, personality traits, and habits you desire above all else?’  Have fun putting in this order – put thought into your must-haves.

3. Place your intention in the Love/Relationship gua of your bedroom or your home (the far right corner from the entrance).  You can wrap it up with a 9 inch red ribbon, to give it more FIRE energy and place it next to a pair of anything that evokes romance to you:  a pair of red, pink or white candles,  two pink quartz crystals or stones of equal size, two red roses (silk ones work well so they won’t wither) in a vase – you get the picture.  The symbolism is literal, so keep it positive and of equal size as best you can.  I’m sure most people would not wish to have one person in the relationship overpowering the other.  You can also use any other symbolism you connect with.  I love this abundant heart bouquet card I found (pictured above).  It is currently on display in the Relationship area of a table in our bedroom.

4.  Check all Love & Relationship areas in your home.   Again, this is the far right corner of your house or apartment and in each room  (https://feelgoodinyourspace.com/bagua-map/) .  Go from room to room and see what’s keeping romance away.  Do you see dirt bunnies, empty boxes, dirty laundry or just basic clutter in those areas?  Move it out and clean it up, and yes – closets do count!!  If you have a bedroom closet or food pantry in this corner, get it organized.  If you find that you are actually missing the right corner of your home (it may be cut out of your building, or where an outside stairway is located),  hiring a feng shui consultant would be beneficial.  A missing area can be problematic if you find that the corresponding area of your life is having negative issues.

5.  Create a romantic and relaxing bedroom.   Please refer to my February 2012 blog post where I covered this in detail.

6.  Make sure your artwork isn’t counterproductive to your goal.  You want to see yourself in a relationship, so remove any photos you have of yourself, alone, from all areas of your space, especially the bedroom!   Move all family and religious photos out of the bedroom as well.  Nothing can dampen the feeling of intimacy with another more than having others staring at you, especially your children.   I also suggest you look through your entire home to see if you are displaying other lonely images (a lone animal, a picture of one flower, one person vignettes, etc).  These items may have been appealing to you while you were going through another phase of your life, but they don’t support your current goal of sharing your life (and space) with someone else.  Peruse stores, boutiques and galleries for inspiring, affordable, romantic artwork.  Why not design something yourself?  Pick a pair of something you enjoy and go with it!

7.  Keep your home entrance open to new opportunities.  If your home entrance is cluttered, or the door can’t open fully, ch’i (life energy) won’t be able to come in and circulate around you.  Place a beautiful welcome mat out and invite the positive ch’i in (and also that someone special).

8.  Keep yourself in good repair!  It’s not just your physical space that needs to feel renewed and open.  Do some Feng Shui on your physical self.  Eat healthy, get plenty of good quality sleep, spend time out in nature, and focus on things in your life that you feel grateful and happy about!  The best relationship you can have is the one with yourself first.  Once that is going well, it will be easier for that wonderful someone  to find you.

As with all things Feng Shui,  perform these intentions, clearings and enhancements with a light and positive heart.  Be patient and let things come to you once you’ve laid the welcome mat out!

%d bloggers like this: