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Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Articles

Feng Shui for the Garage: A Space You Don’t Want to Overlook

HouseAlthough often treated as though it has little impact on a family’s life, in Feng Shui the garage can have an enormous influence. From money and relationships, to health and well-being, the garage may affect in positive or negative ways. Even if the garage is detached from the house, it can still be instrumental in making a person or family feel welcome or feel disconnected.

Feng Shui is based on the principle that your space reflects your life. Since the garage is typically the first place you see when you come home, its condition can significantly influence how you feel about your home in general and correspondingly about your life.

It goes without saying that the condition of the garage and the experience you have driving into it can influence how you feel overall. Even if your garage is detached from the house, it can still be critical in making you feel welcome or making you feel discouraged.

The first step is removing clutter. This is especially important if you aren’t using the garage its intended purpose – to park your car.

Here are some additional tips for enhancing your experience with your garage. . .

  1. hardware-tools-ladderDeal with the floor. At the very least, sweep out the garage once a year. Hosing it down is better. It may be time to consider painting the floor or adding an epoxy coating for a nicer, cleaner look – not to mention it will make sweeping it out a whole lot easier.
  2. Have a system for storage. The garage can certainly be used for storage but there should be a system. Shelving works; cupboards work; plastic bins with covers are also an option. Make sure you know what it is you’re storing and that it doesn’t impede the experience of getting out of your car.
  3. Be inspired. Have something fun in the garage to lift your spirits when you come home. This might be a banner or a poster. Change it up from time to time to keep your interest level high.

Your goal is to make the garage the best garage that it can be. You don’t have to convert it to an office or a bedroom – that is never an easy conversion anyway. You don’t have to wallpaper or carpet the floor. You only need to make it an enjoyable experience. Pretend you were your car – would you want to live there?

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

Getting to Sold! Feng Shui Tips for Selling Your Home

Sold HouseThis is a busy time of year for real estate agents. The weather is nice and the timing is right for house buying and selling.

I bought my first house during late summer and years later would sell it to buy another (with my husband) during the same time period. I pulled out all the feng shui tools I had to sell. And even though the market wasn’t “favorable” at the time, we sold both our houses in a short time frame.

Here are three tips that you can use if you are selling your house, or share with someone else on the market:

  • Depersonalize. Real estate agents will tell you the same thing. It helps people see themselves in your space. It also helps you begin to detach energetically from the space and open up to someone new.
  • Declutter. More advice we share with agents. The space shows better when it is clutter free, in addition to feeling larger. From our perspective it also calms the space. Too much clutter creates a feeling of being overwhelmed for both seller and buyer.
  • Detach. Hopefully if you are selling your house it has been your decision. Otherwise this becomes more challenging. Either way, you will want to start separating yourself from the space. Start with depersonalizing. Then think about writing your house a “thank you” letter to provide the closure you need.

Some houses sit on the market for months while others sell within hours. Even though I hear “location, location, location!,” I also believe energy has a big impact. If a house has been loved and people are moving for positive reasons (better job, bigger family), the house can’t help but project that type of energy. It welcomes a new owner with that sense of supporting them and their dreams.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

How Does Your Garden Flow? Feng Shui Tips to Create an Intentional Garden

Whether gardening in a large space or a small patio, there are some elements to consider if you want to be able to call it a Feng Shui garden. Size does not matter, but intention and layout does. The first consideration in a Feng Shui garden is to determine the overall feeling or theme you want to express. Do you want to use the garden for quiet-time or to be inspired? Is it your intention to create an outdoor space where friends and family can gather? Even if your gardening efforts are confined to a very small spot on the deck, think about what you want to create. Fairy gardens are intended to be small but that doesn’t make them less engaging.

Here are some additional elements to consider whether you’re designing a large back-yard or a small pot.

  1. Caroles Garden Dry BedWater. In line with the concept of “wind and water,” having water in a garden is a natural.  If a pond doesn’t seem like the right fit or feels like it would be too much work, a fountain could be integrated into your garden or a bird-bath. If having water is out ofCaroles Garden Rocker the question, then a dry bed may be the right answer.
  2. Place to sit. The point of having a place to sit is so you can absorb the energy of the garden, relish the view and assess the next leg of the journey. A rock or tree stump could provide this element or a bench or hammock would also work.
  3. Curvy Path. In your Feng Shui garden you should provide an effortless and enticing indication of where to go.  A path of flagstones, chips, or round pavers will work as will a foot-worn path. Making it curvy implies a slower pace where ambling and lingering are appropriate. If your garden is small, you can still create a path that the eye will follow.

These photoCaroles Garden Clematiss are all from our garden. Its exquisite beauty and strength come solely from the labor of my husband Tom who is a master gardener. His efforts have paid off since he was selected to be part of the Hennepin Co. Master Gardener Tour on July 13.  If you want to come see his masterwork and the work of others, register here.

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

5 Elements for Weddings

Weddings 3“Wedding season” is quickly approaching. There is something about the summer that makes it a prime time for saying vows. It could be that travel plans are more flexible with kids out of school. Or that the warmer weather is a nice background for strapless dresses and beautiful flowers. Whatever it is that brings that energy, it totally encapsulates us for months at a time.

With all the razzle-dazzle, it can necessitate a yearning for balance. In Feng Shui, one of the ways we try to capture that feeling is through the Chinese five elements – water, wood, fire, earth and metal. Look outside and you will see how one element does not exist without the others. This is why people feel so peaceful in a natural setting.

Whether you are planning on getting married or attending a wedding, you can use the five elements to keep your personal chi (energy) or the event chi balanced.

3 Ways to Incorporate the 5 Elements

  1. Color: black for water, green for wood, red for fire, brown for earth and silver or gold for metal.
  2. Shape: wavy for water, columnar for wood, triangular for fire, square for earth and circular for metal.
  3. Themselves: water, wood (trees, plants, flowers), fire (fireplace, candle, heat lamp), earth (soil, ceramic vases or pots) and metal (jewelry, vases).

Weddings 2For my own wedding several years ago, the five elements were subtly – yet significantly – present. There were a few of us who knew, but for most people they were just added details. I wore all 5 elements that day – from the wave of my hair, to the metal of jewelry and the structure of my dress. Each bouquet and boutonniere included all five elements through flower colors and added ribbons.

Even the centerpieces comprised all five elements with their nourishing water, wood plants, bird cutouts (animals are traditionally “fire” energy), earthy soil and metal ribbon.

Weddings 1You can use them as a mix – a black ribbon here (color representing water), a candle there (fire itself)…whatever works for you! Use as much or as little as you like. I used them quite a bit – incorporating in several details for the day. But you could also just concentrate on a presence – like your flowers. Or if you are a guest – colors in your outfit. Even carrying a purse with colored ribbons tucked inside will do.

No matter how you decide to surround yourself with the 5 elements, you will experience their harmonious and comforting balance.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

Seeing Red? Feeling Blue? Tickled Pink? Feng Shui Color Suggestions

white chair red wallPerhaps one of the questions I get asked more than any other is “What color should I paint the (fill in name of room here)?” It goes without saying that a person who is integrating Feng Shui into their space is already on board with energy and intention, as well as the basics of Feng Shui principles. They want to get it right in terms of setting up their space to reflect their ideal life. That includes their choice of colors.

There are some Feng Shui “rules” that determine a color that should be used in a room or an area based on that room’s position in the overall layout. This can be a help to those who want to assure a Feng Shui alignment on this level:

  • Partnership area – Pink
  • Creativity & Children area – White
  • Helpful People area – Gray
  • Career area – Black
  • Knowledge area – Blue
  • Family area – Green
  • Wealth area – Purple
  • Fame & Reputation area – Red

red candlesThe suggested colors come with a fair amount of lee-way because there is no specific tone or intensity required. For instance, if the area in question is in the Family area where the color green is recommended, this could be a very soft green, a dark forest green, something in the mint tone or have a more sage feel to it. There is no one right green. Likewise, the Fame & Reputation area could be enhanced with a dark red, a blue-red, something with more purple or jewel tones in it. Personal preference is the guiding choice.

Additionally, there could be a small representation of the color and it would still be an effective Feng Shui adjustment. If your intention was to activate your Career area, a small black pillow might be all you want in this area. Or perhaps you would add some artwork with a small amount of black in it or with a black frame to address your career issues. If the specified color isn’t one of your favorites, adding a small amount may be the way to address the problem.

That said, you may still object to having the smallest hint of a color, let alone painting an entire area the designated color, because you simply don’t like it. It may not align with the other decorative items you have in that space. Well, then, here’s the new rule: Use whatever color you love. It’s pretty simple—-check in with your own preferences, find a color that makes your heart sing, and your Feng Shui will be right in line with your goals. Use the rules as a guide first and adjust accordingly if need be. This is, after all, your home and you want it to show your true colors.

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

A Complement of Energies

I am sitting heAroma Therapy Bowl of Flowersre at my desk looking out the window at the snow that still covers our lawn. Weather can affect so much about our day. It can be both beautiful and challenging at the same time. A pretty snowfall can be so peaceful, while still creating hazardous driving conditions. Like most things in life there is a yin and yang. They need each other to create balance.

Besides Taoism, yin and yang is one of the earliest concepts associated with Feng Shui and many other modalities (I-Ching, Chinese Medicine, yoga, martial arts). No doubt you are familiar with the tai chi symbol. The circle comprised of black and white tear-drop shapes intricately connected, yet, visibly different. They flow into one another making it difficult to tell where one begins or the other ends. Each has a center of the opposite. Even in the darkest space there is some light; and in the lightest space some dark.

Yin is considered the feminine energy often described as inward and receptive. Yang is considered the masculine energy often described as outward, dynamic and expressive. Most things have a yin and a yang. Hot and cold, night and day, rough and smooth are all examples. At first they might appear to be opposites, but upon further reflection we see that they are complementary.

Each provides its own advantages and at times may enable you to look more positively at the other. Too much heat might make you long for some refreshing cooler air. The energy of the day can keep you motivated, but the stillness of night is what helps you rejuvenate. Together they create harmony.

In Feng Shui we use the yin and yang concept to look at spaces from a balanced perspective. A space that is overly one or the other often lacks a sense of stability and comfort.

Look around your space to see if you have a balance of yin (curvy, round, asymmetrical, soft, sentimental, reflective) and yang (straight, square/columnar, symmetrical, productive). Look at paint colors; are they dark and saturated or light and bright? Look at your furniture; is it soft and comfy or do you have more hard lines? Those are two areas that you can start to think about how to balance with the complementary. Places to start include adding soft colors to a dark room, or adding round pillows/tables to a room that has more square furniture, for example.

I know that soon the white carpet that has captured a tiny boot print from my son and a larger paw print from my dog will melt and fade away. The yin of the winter will start to transition into the yang energy that captures spring and summer. And when the timing is right we will complement the memory of snow by capturing our footprints in the grass.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

From the Wild Dragon to the Meandering Snake

Snake 4Many of us are grateful that the Dragon year is over.  Although exciting, it wasn’t without its moments of frenzy and upheaval.  The Snake energy arrives according to the Chinese solar calendar on February 4th and according to the lunar calendar on February 10th.

The year of the Snake will be a gentler and kinder year than we just experienced from the Dragon.  The Snake, by nature, moves slower than the Dragon and, of course, doesn’t breathe fire!  Although the body shape and texture (scales) between the two zodiac animals is similar, the Snake will reduce the energy considerably since it’s lacking feet.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2013 is made up of water and fire (snake).  Because fire and water are at odds we can expect continued conflicts and violence around the world.  The water, however, is yin which means the encounter between the two elements is less turbulent than if the water was stronger in nature.  This is a patient easy-going form of water which could forecast intelligent and innovative reforms and ideas.  On the other hand, it also could prophesy secret plots and deceptive attacks.

The fire element of the Snake is the driving force of all things financial so we could expect improvements in the economic world and the stock market.  From a financial viewpoint, there is a potential for a confidence and optimism.

The animals that will be in harmony with the Snake are the Monkey, the Rooster, the Horse and the Ox.  The Pig will be challenged as will the Snake who, oddly enough, will be challenged in its own year.  The antidote for challenges coming your way during the year of the Snake is the Monkey.  Having a figurine, a poster or a picture of a Monkey will ease any difficulties that may arise between you and the Snake.  Place it where you will see if often.  You do not have to be challenged by the Snake this year to benefit from the presence of a Monkey.

Continue to de-clutter your home and office, and find an appropriate blessing or clearing to do in your space on the eve of February 4th or February 10th.  This would be the time to reflect on any resolutions you made around the time of the western New Year or, if you didn’t make any, to do so now.  One way to assure you are not negatively influenced by the Snake is to do one good deed a day.  This good karma will bless you with a pleasant and memorable year ahead.

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

Clearing Clutter & Preparing for the New Year

Garbage bagHappy New Year! Many of us celebrated the Western New Year on January 1, welcoming in 2013. You probably did a mental review of your last year and a mental “to do” for the year coming up. If clearing clutter is one to-do, this is a great time to start. Making progress now will help you feel more prepared to usher in the Chinese Solar New Year on February 4.

Clearing clutter and releasing your “stuff” can seem overwhelming. The ironic (?) piece is that having too much clutter can make you feel overwhelmed! So, the good news is that even small progress can really make a big impact.

3 simple tips to break through clutter in the new year:

  1. Start small. Break it down into a few smaller projects so that you can keep on task. Maybe there is a drawer you can tackle one day. Mail the next. Or if you know the bagua, maybe you prioritize using that. For example, start by looking at the prosperity area in each room (one at a time of course!).
  2. Make it routine. Clearing clutter is ongoing process. It can get the best of any of us. That’s why making it part of your daily/weekly/monthly routine will help. Maybe it’s something you schedule to do 9 minutes every day. You can start by having a permanent “donation” bag in your house. Then when you come across something you don’t need you immediately know where to put it. Donate it when it’s full.
  3. Remember the bottom line. If you don’t love it or use it, then let it go. Yes, it bears repeating: give new life to something by releasing it to someone who will appreciate it. You can start now with holiday decorations! Then move forward with other items around the house. If you are following tip #2, you’ll always have somewhere for it to go so you can take action right away. This goes for family heirlooms and antiques as well. Don’t hold on to something for guilt. If you aren’t enjoying it, offer it to another family member or thrift it. Someone else will look at it with fresh, new, excited eyes.

Following these tips allows your space the ability to breathe and helps you focus on the goals you have for the upcoming year. It also aligns nicely with the traditional activity of cleaning your house to welcome the Chinese New Year. There’s nothing like a fresh house to renew the energy inside. And that can mean your house, as well as yourself. Hopefully that is one of your “resolutions” this year too:  you.

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

The Season of Goodwill

Christmas Lights Decorating Columns in Front of HouseHolidays could be a study in contradictions. They bring a rush of emotions that can be both positive and challenging. This roller-coaster can cause chaos to your personal – as well as your home – chi.

Chi is energy, the life force, within and outside of us. Personal chi is related to how you feel. Home chi is related to how your home feels.

Your personal chi can be affected by the hustle and bustle of the season. It can seem as if there are so many to-do’s and so little time. It can become both a month of rushing, stressing and feeling overwhelmed. And it can also be a time of joy, excitement and thanksgiving. Add in the other dynamics – like personal relationships and getting together for the holidays – and your personal chi can skyrocket in several directions – at once!

Then you’ve got your home chi. For many of us, even if you have a fairly “quiet” space, it is suddenly and dramatically awakened. Lights, other decorations and activities are added. When you look around you are surrounded by more stuff. It can become another example of contrast; reminding you of the magic of the season and increasing the energy (clutter?) around you leading to a sense of overwhelm.

It is important to take note of how you feel during the season. And then work on both your personal chi and home chi to bring balance.

Here are three reminders to keep your chi in check:

  1. Downsize. Release any items that don’t “fit” anymore. If you don’t love it and aren’t going to use it in your holiday décor, give it to charity. You give those items new life when you let them go and give someone else the opportunity to be excited about them.
  2. Visualize. If you are going into a situation that might be challenging (like a family get together), visualize the outcome you want. Whether it’s because of a personal relationship or exhaustion from the social interactions, first build up your chi so that you enter the situation with strength.
  3. Prioritize. Figure out the top 3-5 things that are most important and concentrate on those. Then give yourself permission to let the others go. Be confident in knowing that you can do it all, but this year choose not to.

Make maintaining your personal and home chi your number one priority this year. Create a holiday season that – while it still may hold some contradictions – is more about balance and joy. Because after all, a big part of the season of goodwill is you.

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Wind & Water School!

lisamccueBy Lisa Janusz

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Registrar and Faculty

The Buck Stops Here: Feng Shui and Money

Money TreeOne of the questions clients most frequently ask me is how Feng Shui can help them acquire more money. Sometimes they desperately need it and sometimes they simply want a safety net. Either way, the perception is that they’re not where they should be in their financial world.

The first approach is to examine the various Wealth areas of their space (back left corners), along with their front door (inside and out) and the center of their home. All of these spots can contribute to or challenge their state of abundance. Getting these areas de-cluttered, repaired and enhanced with an appropriate Feng Shui adjustment is crucial to re-aligning the energy around money. This is a very conventional approach when Wealth is the concern.

That said, there are times when none of this works—–when, despite careful decisions about what to release, how to repair, and what to add, their money situation simply doesn’t change. They’re still struggling except now their belief in the power of Feng Shui has been shaken as well.

I’ve discovered that in these cases the issue isn’t Feng Shui, but rather it’s related to the client’s beliefs about money. The best de-cluttering job can’t override a deep yet misguided belief that money is still the root of all evil and will only bring problems. A client who carefully paints his front door a beautiful color yet all his life has only heard how he’s never going to amount to anything will not be able to have stellar results using Feng Shui. Hanging a beautiful piece of artwork in the Wealth area can only do so much if the client truly feels she doesn’t deserve anything, financial or otherwise.

Getting to the bottom of these self-sabotaging beliefs and transforming them into something more positive may take professional assistance. Feng Shui intention can still support this process.

Here are a few ways to enhance your money mindset:

  • To get clear about an issue (money sabotage in this case), do a corresponding clearing in your space. One action supports the other. Clear out those old beliefs as your clear out those old magazines/clothes/books/etc.
  • Keep track of the money you have—-in your purse, in your checking account, in the sofa. If you pay attention with intention, your money will expand.
  • Each day wake up with a grateful heart no matter what lies ahead. Gratitude is an alchemist that will change anything negative into something positive.
  • Watch how you physically handle your money. Don’t crumple it into a pocket or throw it in the bottom of your purse.  Treat it with value and respect.

So clear out old beliefs about money, let your space support your process by reflecting the visual value of clearing out, and let your heart support your process by expressing gratitude for what you have.  By opening up to the possibilities of abundance, the buck will stop with you.


CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert


Minneapolis, MN
Phone: (612) 751-3828