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Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Articles

Desk Feng Shui: Clear it off

by Lisa Janusz

When you walk into your office, or head to your desk, how do you feel? Whatever is happening there is likely affecting your body’s response. Many years ago, I started clearing off my desk each night. After I did that, I no longer felt overwhelmed. I had “room” to sit down and make a plan for my day.

In Feng Shui, your desk has to do with opportunities, career and vision. So, it would make sense that what’s happening on your desk right now might be related to what’s going on in your life. Here are some desk considerations.

For the top of your desk:

Clear it off. This is symbolic of your vision – a clear desk gives you ample opportunity to see what’s ahead and plan for what’s important. It also allows you to enter your office and feel relaxed. You’re not immediately influenced by a stack of papers, folders, projects, and “to dos.” Create a system that works for you.

  • I put everything I’m still working on at the end of the day in a decorative box; I sort through it in the morning after I’ve made my daily plan.
  • I file or recycle anything I can before the end of the day.

Apply the bagua. If you know the bagua, you can place things on your desk using this system. Where you sit is typically the career area (middle area). You could place a photo of you and your partner in the back right corner (relationship) and put your business cards in the middle farthest from you (fame).

Other desk considerations:

Make it solid. A solid wood desk gives you support and helps you feel grounded. A glass desk doesn’t offer that stability. If you have a glass desk, cover it with fabric to see if that changes anything for you.

Make it fit. This is going to be different for everyone. Your desk should be a good size for you, and appropriate for how you use it. If you are just paying bills, a small desk is fine. But if you’re trying to start a business, upgrade to one that presents the image that aligns with that.

Your desk can be a very supportive element to help align with your future goals. Think about what you want and get started. It’s okay to start small – like taking 9 minutes a day to sort through papers. But do start.

On the road again: Feng Shui when you’re not at home

road-691124_1920by Carole Hyder

There’s no argument that Feng Shui applies itself well in residential spaces.  Historically Feng Shui principles were applied to the land, but now it’s mostly used in homes, condos, apartments or rooms.  The goal is to arrange a space so that it supports its occupant.

But what if you travel?  What if you’re in a hotel room or spending days in the car?  What if you’re staying in your elderly cousin’s basement?  What happens to your Feng Shui intentions then?

There are ways to bring your Feng Shui with you regardless of where you go. And it can be an easy yet meaningful way to do so.  Here are some suggestions you can try:

Bring a reminder of your home with you.  This could be a photo of someone you’ve left behind—–your spouse, your children, your cat, etc.  A small photo set up in the darkest circumstances can shed some light your way.  Place it on a dresser or nightstand so you can easily see it and benefit from its positive energy.

If you love gemstones and rocks, bring one from home and put it in your pocket.  By having it on your body, it will be a constant reminder that all the intentions you’ve created in your home are still with you.

Flowers are always a good enhancement.  Picking up a few flowers when you’ve arrived at your destination can be a great temporary Feng Shui adjustment, particularly if there’s a connection back to your home.  A bunch of tulips may remind you of the tulips currently growing in your yard.  Or perhaps you’ve always had a fondness for daisies which can lift your spirits when you’re in a foreign place.

Write down intention words for the trip.  Decide what the optimal outcome would be for the trip you’re about to take.  It could be Family Connection, Successful Business, Self-Reflection, Relaxation.  Write it down on a piece of paper and place it in a red envelope.  Place the envelope where you will see it every day.

Some people thrive on the thrill, excitement and challenges of traveling; others find it tiring and daunting.  Either way, bringing a reminder of a place that is familiar and safe can make your travels more enjoyable.

Be sure to check out Lisa Janusz’ article about maintaining good Feng Shui in your car.

Feng Shui Weddings

wedding cropped

by Lisa Janusz

June, August and September are three of the most popular months to get married. It’s no wonder with summer vacations and warmer weather. Those reasons definitely contributed to why we got married in August. Even though we had a pretty traditional wedding (Church, reception at a venue afterwards), Feng Shui was part of my lifestyle then (as it is now). I was very thoughtful in representing that part of me in subtle ways throughout the day.

Here are a few of the ways I included Feng Shui – and you can, too.

Incorporate the 5 Elements

I wrote an article several years ago about how I did that through my wedding day “look,” the flowers and the centerpieces. Essentially, it’s about including each element through a color, representation or the element itself to create balance. I used a combination of all of those to make it happen.

Create a sacred space

We write about this a lot – ensuring you have a sacred space that supports YOU somewhere in your home. We often emphasize this during holidays because that seems to be a high-stress time. Weddings are similar. Even though they are joyful, they can be challenging when managing family expectations. I am lucky to live in a house I love, but I was especially diligent leading up to the day to take time to just “be” in one of my favorite places within my home. Taking a few minutes to get centered and breathe was extremely helpful.

Be true to yourself

I got some advice that surprised me a little: be true to yourself during the process. There were a lot of opinions about what to wear and what to plan, but I reminded myself about that and kept us in the forefront of planning. I focused on what was important to us. I even had someone tell me to look like “myself” so when looking back at photos I would see me. (She did her hair and makeup so differently that day when looking back she said she hardly recognized herself.). Although I did get some “flack” for it, I followed her advice. I wore a look similar to my every day for the occasion – hair, makeup and nails – and I’m glad I did. In Feng Shui, when we look at a space, we consider the individual. We want their space to align with their goals – because what works for one person might have a different implication for someone else.

As you embark upon this season, whether you are planning, helping or just attending, we hope that you feel the joy of the occasion.

By Lisa Janusz

Booked on Feng Shui: Your Books Speak Volumes

by Carole Hyder

Most everyone I know owns books.  Some people have skads of them—so many, in fact, that they’re stored in boxes in the basement.  Others wouldn’t think of keeping them in boxes—so they’re stacked in various corners waiting for the right place to call home.

book-stack-books-education-51342Setting up a library or reading area is always a good plan for someone who owns a lot of books.  The extra bedroom could become a quiet reading spot.  An unused dining room may convert beautifully to a library, complete with floor-to-ceiling shelves and a rolling ladder to access the most remote volume.

Because books represent the opinions and stories of others, they do need Feng Shui consideration for proper integration. Here are some ideas of where books can be appropriately placed and where to avoid putting them.

  1. Books should be maintained in an upright and/or horizontal position.  Since books come in different sizes and colors, they can easily turn into a haphazard display.  I’ve taken to storing the books I have in my office according to color—–it works for me! I’ve seen books arranged according to size, which definitely adds an element of intentional placement to a large bookcase.
  2. Never store books in your bedroom nor under your bed.  Books represent the voice/opinion of the author and therefore bring with them a lot of “noise” and vibration.  Other than the book or two you may be reading at night, store the rest of them elsewhere.
  3. Having a nice arrangement of books near the front door sends a positive message to those who come to visit that you are studious, well-read and intellectual.
  4. Arrange your bookshelves with an artful eye by adding photos, plants, sculpture or mementos.  It will break up the intensity ofthe books and add some eye candy.
  5. When all else fails, use shelves with doors so that the doors can be closed on all the book clutter. It doesn’t solve the underlying problem of too many books or scattered energy, but it does lessen the problem.

Books are our friends, so you want to treat them respectfully and with care.  Sometimes we just need to let them go. Libraries are always looking for used books, as well as used book stores. If it’s no longer being read or appreciated, it may be time to turn the page on your books and bring them to a happy ending.

Feng Shui and Art: Placing Art with Intention

by Julie Ann Segal

We place art in our spaces for many different reasons – because it’s beautiful, inspirational, or because it makes a statement about who we are or what we believe in.

With Feng Shui, the placement of art can go one step further, and actually support our intentions – to create a sense of harmony, attract more wealth, support us in our careers, or enhance a relationship, for example.

When I first moved into my apartment after getting divorced, I needed to use Feng Shui to boost my energy. I was starting a new life. I left with no furniture, and only my favorite art and accessories. Low on resources, and recovering emotionally, I knew art would inspire me in work and to be happy.

Red flower JA Segal

Hanging this brightly- colored piece of blooming flowers was one of the first things I did. I placed it in my Wealth area. It has a lot of good energy and movement, which is just what I needed in my own life. In just a short time, my business grew significantly, and I began to feel joy again.

Changes like these are what I have seen many times as a Feng Shui practitioner, in my own life and with my clients.

With Feng Shui, you have the power to create your own life experience according to your intentions.

Looking to boost your Wealth energy? 
Based on the Feng Shui bagua (or life map), the Wealth area is located in the back left corner of your home. First, make sure to fix anything that’s broken and clear any clutter. Then try adding art with one of the following:
* Color: something purple
* Element: flowing water

* Energy: something that feels vibrant

This two-section painting by Carole Hyder would work well in the Wealth area not only due to its color purple but also the message of “doubling” your money.


Remember – Feng Shui works in metaphors. What will you change in your space, to change your life?

Julie Ann Segal is an Interior Designer, Certified Feng Shui Consultant, Art Specialist and President of Metro Interiors.  To design homes and businesses of client’s dreams, she infuses elements of Feng Shui into all design endeavors, revealing environments rich in comfort, beauty, balance, and harmony.

Welcoming the Year of the Dog

by Carole Hyder

Now that our January New Years commitments and resolutions are put into place, we have the opportunity to review, revise, and re-commit to them by observing the Chinese New Year. The Year of the Dog begins on February 4—-or February 16 if you want to observe the lunar celebration.

Each year the Chinese calendar assigns one of twelve animals to oversee the upcoming events. The Dog is our token animal in 2018.

I think we can all agree that Dogs are friendly, helpful, tail-wagging happy, trainable, forgiving, and loving. For a Dog, everything is new every single day. They love to go places, they love to stay home, they love to eat, they love treats, they pretty much love life. And we all know Dogs are our best friends.

Except when they move into fear. Or when they are trapped into a corner. Or when they have been abused. Then the Dog shows its other side and suddenly our friendly Fido becomes a fierce fiend. Life isn’t so happy anymore for the Dog. It’s possible we will see both sides of the canine this year—the happy one and the ferocious one.

However, the Dog is paired with the element of Earth this year which adds nurturance and protection to the party and could help balance out potential drama. The issue with Earth is it could also slow things down—-which means we may feel like we’re in a rut or we may feel buried (to use Earth metaphors).

Despite these predictions, it will be up to us to figure out how to become the eager and happy version. What the Dog year brings is only the potential external stuff—–we can create our own experience and begin again with a new perspective for 2018.

If you want more specifics about the Year of the Dog, check out the free webinar Lisa Janusz and I did on this very topic.

2018 Will Be a Milestone Year

By Lisa Janusz

This month our article is going to be a little different. Although I’m still going to give you some Feng Shui tips; I’m going to start by letting you in on some plans that we have in the works for the upcoming year.

20 YearsFirst (you may want to sit down for this), in September of this year the Wind & Water School of Feng Shui will celebrate our 20th anniversary! Can you believe it? For some of you that’s no surprise – you were in Carole’s very first training class.

The class of 1998 flourished (thankfully) and Carole kept moving forward honing her material and approach. And 20 years later the School is still certifying people that want to help other people create balanced spaces. (Our next program starts in March, for those of you interested.)

That’s a huge milestone and one that we’ll be celebrating. Yes, you’ll all be invited! You can expect to see some details on that mid-year.

We’ve also got some other exciting plans in store. One being beefing up our online offerings. We’ve had such great feedback from Set Sail that we’ll use that general format to offer more virtual, on-demand short courses. Stay tuned.

Those are our two biggies for 2018, but rest assured there are other ideas percolating. If there’s something you’d like us to consider, drop me a line to let me know.

While we prep over here to make a splash in 2018, we hope you do the same. And (as promised), here are some quick Feng Shui tips to help you do just that:

  • Clear off one horizontal surface (desk, table, dresser, etc.)  in your house for at least 9 days. It encourages opportunities and can facilitate clarity.
  • Create a sacred space and start a meditation practice. Give yourself a gift of a calm place to reflect and give your mind the time to do so.
  • Clear the clutter to open some physical – and metaphorical – space. Start in an area that you want change (healthier lifestyle – kitchen, more opportunities – office, more downtime – bedroom). Overwhelmed? Try doing something for 9 minutes a day for 9 days.
  • Write an intention for the year and keep it somewhere where you’ll see it – and celebrate it – day after day.

Blessings to you and 2018,


Purge for the New Year – Begin with a Fresh Start

clutter free kitchenBy Jessica Hoelzel

Clutter: it drags us down, holds us back and blocks new opportunities from coming into our lives. Knowing Feng Shui, we know this – but inevitably – clutter accumulates.

Being on the brink of the new year offers a chance to shift the energy in our homes, and our lives, in alignment with new possibilities. But we’ve got to get the old out of the way first.

No doubt, this is a busy time of year with the holidays. Who has the time to clear clutter? What if you could both prep for the new year, and prep your home for the holidays? You can!

Here are four quick clutter-clearing tasks that (bonus!) help you get ready for holiday guests:

1. Purge the Entry

Make the entranceway for chi open and inviting by clearing off tables and benches, and purging anything worn out from the closet. Create space for guests’ things and add some extra hangers.

2. Purge the Piles

These can crop up anywhere, but the unsightly things typically appear on counters, dressers and desktops, stairs, and tops of washers/dryers. Enlist everyone in the family to help put things where they go, or assign them a new home if they don’t have one. Shelve books and recycle old periodicals.

3. Purge the Papers

Paper can be the #1 contributor to piles piling up. Get control by doing a quick sort: Recycle, Shred, Keep. From there, sort further through the Keep pile if you have time. Get a jump start on tax prep by separating those doc’s. Label everything with bright-colored sticky notes so you know what’s what.

4. Purge the Kitchen

Clear some extra space in your cupboards and refrigerator for hosting holiday festivities. Toss expireds and donate multiples of canned goods to a food shelf. Give the front of the fridge a facelift by clearing notes/quotes/photos/artwork that have lost their vibrancy.

Clutter-clearing can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. Use these specifics to eliminate the burden and negative impacts of clutter, and enter the new year feeling free, energetic and optimistic.

Read more about clearing clutter and prepping for the new year here.

A Time for Thank You: Appreciating Your Home

Thank You NoteBy Carole Hyder

During this season of giving thanks for the beautiful and abundant life that we have, I remind students, clients, friends, and myself that it’s also the time to give thanks to your home.

If you have no issues with your home and have, in fact, had a nice connection with it, writing a thank-you will solidify this positive relationship.

Writing a thank-you to your home, however, can go a long way in bringing some relief to a troubled and ailing space.  It’s helpful when you’re unhappy with your home for whatever reason.  Rather than looking to move or harboring resentments, a cheaper and easier action to take is to write your home a thank-you note.

Here’s how to write a thank-you to your home:

  1. Use an actual thank-you note or special stationery to write your letter.  Due to the small size of a typical thank-you, you will have to keep your message short and succinct.
  2. Start with “Dear___________.”  If you have a name for your home, you can insert here.  If not “Dear Home” is fine.
  3. List two reasons you are thankful for your home.  Examples:  I want to thank you for making me feel safe.  I appreciate how you keep me warm all winter long.
  4. Outline two actions you will take regarding your home.  Examples:  I promise to get the back door fixed before winter.  I promise to finish painting the bathroom.  I promise to clear out the clutter in the basement.
  5. Sign off with your name.  Love, __________.  All the best, ___________.
  6. Place the thank-you note in a special place in your home—-in your nightstand drawer, under a plant near the front door, under your pillow.

Writing a thank-you does not take the place of cleaning your home or making needed repairs or beautifying it.  But perhaps coming from a grateful heart will make the actions to which you committed more meaningful and healing.

Security Design is Good Feng Shui

house exteriorBy Carol Martinson

The motivation for most people to integrate Feng Shui is because they want to feel good in their space. They want to feel an underlying order, a natural flow, a sense of beauty.

This all makes them feel empowered, confident and safe.  This last word, however, could have another meaning when it comes to protecting their home and themselves from intruders—–security.

In security design, there is a practice called Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). It has three basic tenants:  1) Natural Access Control, 2) Natural Surveillance, and 3) Territorial Reinforcement. The concept is that you can make intentional changes to space and impact behavior and reduce crime.

Sound familiar? Feng Shui is all about making intentional changes to our space to impact our lives, and many of its basic tenants are strikingly similar to the concepts of CPTED:

  1. Natural access control focuses on creating a well-defined entrance for users of the space that is clean, clear, and approachable. A great way for the Chi to find the entrance.
  2. Natural surveillance emphasizes visibility – being able to see in and out of a space knowing that you can approach a new space safely. The landscaping is not overgrown and there are not barriers or other design features of a home or business that turn you away from the space.
  3. Territorial reinforcement clearly defines the ownership of a space often done through layers of landscaping, fencing, signage, or pavement. It begins at the street and goes to the front door and beyond into the space. It helps you control your space and tells people that this is a good place to live, work, learn, or do business.

Whether working with a business, home, or school design team, these concepts meld together to create a space where people feel comfortable, safe and secure, and serene.  This is becoming increasingly apparent in the design of schools since it is so critical to build a safe and secure school, but also one that is open and provides the ultimate learning experience.

Applying the concepts of Feng Shui in concert with CPTED enhances the design and ultimate feel of any space.

Carol A. Martinson (2)Carol Martinson is a Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Certified Graduate and Master, and the President of Intentional Security Design, Inc.

Contact Carol


Minneapolis, MN
Phone: (612) 751-3828