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Posts tagged ‘physical spaces’

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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Feng Shui And Your Vehicle Part I

License plate brackets can be good Feng Shui!

License plate brackets can be good Feng Shui!

You can improve the energy flow of any space using Feng Shui principles, and that includes the vehicles you drive.  

Now that summertime travel is upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to address a space where we spend a lot of time  – our motor vehicles.  I have lived, and driven, in two of the most auto populated areas in the US:  Los Angeles and Atlanta.  I can honestly say that having good Feng Shui in and around my cars has kept me safe and (mostly) calm in both areas as I drive!  Hopefully my suggestions will be helpful to you as well.

1.  Keep it Clean!  What applies to your home applies to your car.   Empty water bottles or coffee cups, fast food bags, dried french fries, loose Cheerios on the floor, or papers strewn across the back seat does nothing to help you feel confident and in control of your driving (or your life).  If you unexpectedly need to drive a friend, relative or co-worker somewhere, you won’t need to fumble around to clean a place off for them to sit, let alone have to apologize for the mess.  I’ve been there, done that, and it is embarrassing!  

In addition, keeping a messy car sends a signal to the Universe that you do not appreciate and respect what you have.  You may collect more dings and dents, have more technical problems or even tend to drive more disrespectfully around others.  You won’t have the tendency to feel envious of others if you keep your vehicle clean inside and out.  This does not mean you cannot admire newer, sexier vehicles –  just remember who you are driving home at the end of the day! 

2.  Have a positive reminder in view.  This can be a guardian angel charm, a small item given to you by someone special, a written affirmation posted on the dashboard, a window decal or photo.  I always get a kick out of the dash vase the newer VW bugs have.  OK, it’s a bit too cutesy for most, but I love the idea!  It’s about having something uplifting in a space where you spend a lot of time.  I have clear window clings with the words JOY and GRATITUDE on the bottom of each side of my windshield.  It is my reminder to be thankful for having a great vehicle to take me where I want and need to go.  Our son’s car has one that says PROTECTION.  Our daughter has a Guardian Angel medallion on her dash.  It doesn’t need to be big –  just a visual reminder to start your drive on a positive note. 

3.  Send out a Blessing before you drive.  Yes, I believe in angels and especially my driving angels!  I ask them to watch over me, my car, and everyone else I am around every time I get behind the wheel.  I visualize a protective white light surrounding me and whatever vehicle I am driving.  If I’m running late, which occurs much less now, I ask that I arrive at my destination safely and on time.  I then take a deep breath, relax and trust the traffic will cooperate.  I can honestly say that I find I do arrive in time or there were delays on the other end which kept me from being the late one.  I drive in the faster moving lane, get mostly green lights, and avoid erratic drivers the majority of the time.  

I don’t leave home without sending my blessing out!  On long trips, I repeat my blessing every time I stop for food or fuel.  I do the same for friends and family members that I know are driving home late or long distances.  

4.  Utilize the Fame/Reputation and Career areas of your vehicle.

The front license plate bracket is in the Fame/Reputation and the back bracket is in the Career guas of the Bagua.  These are great locations to advertise your business contact information or something else that represents you!  On the front of my minivan, I have the Yin/Yang symbol and my rear license bracket has a reference to Feng Shui.  I have energized both of these brackets with the intention that they send out positive energy while I drive.  The rear window and back of the vehicle work well too, so long as it doesn’t look cluttered or obstruct your view.  

Be conscious about displaying anything that may irritate or cause another driver to be distracted around you, such as highly reflective finishes or derogatory stickers. If that is your intent, however, be prepared to attract drivers around you that are irritated or distracted.  

5.  Regular Maintenance = A Happier Car  

My dad always told me that if I keep my car looking good and running well, I will keep it longer and enjoy it more, plus save money and headaches.  How right he was!  We currently own 4 vehicles and three of them have over 135k miles each.   They all receive regular oil changes, and get the necessary repairs which have been minor given their use.  Our mechanic shared with me that most people do not keep up with regular oil changes and check-ups, which cause most of the mechanical problems he sees.  If something breaks, do what you can to repair it as soon as possible.  As with your home, so with your vehicle – a grateful heart for what you have is always good Feng Shui!

6.  Motorcycles need good Feng Shui too!

My husband is back riding a motorcycle after a 25 year hiatus while raising our kids. As with most bikers, I know there is no problem with keeping them clean and in good repair – I wish my car was babied as much as his bike is!  

Because motorcycles can get easily lost in a blind spot, Wes also visualizes a protective white light around him every time he rides.  His bike has the traditional Guardian Bell attached to the bottom of the bike chassis, to protect against road ‘gremlins’ (aka hazards).  He also keeps a piece of Hematite, a wonderful grounding stone, in his front bike pouch to help him stay grounded and focused while riding.  As with all Feng Shui enhancements, the intention behind them gives them energy and power.  Medallions, crosses and the like can do the same thing.

To some, all of this may sound Hokey or too ritualistic, which is OK by me.  I know I am calmer and more relaxed when I drive and worry less about others.  I keep sending my blessings out to all the drivers around me and hope they will feel as calm and relaxed as I am. 

Look for Part II of Feng Shui and Your Vehicle, where I will share my insights on car colors.

Safe Travels Everyone!

Your Art Speaks Volumes

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.

Clutter and Its Affect on Ch’i

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!

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