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Cooking Up Abundance: Feng Shui for Your Stove

stoveBy Lisa Janusz

Happy New Year! We’re officially in it now – both the Chinese Solar and Lunar New Year’s have passed and a new energy has arrived. I’ve been basking in this slower energy of the Sheep. The days have been less hectic and I’m finding myself more relaxed doing the things I enjoy – like cooking.

In terms of Feng Shui, the stove is a very significant feature in a home. It embodies the fire element (gas or electric – think heat!) because it cooks food. It also has a connection to wealth. By traditional standards, if you had enough good food to cook, then you were considered wealthy. This connection has not been lost with modern times.

If you want to capture that intention of wealth, here are a few things you can do to make sure your stove is in good Feng Shui order.

  1. Make sure all burners work. If one or more aren’t working properly, then you aren’t getting the full potential of wealth available to you.
  2. Use all of the burners. This is a tough one even for me. But the reasoning behind this is that each is getting an opportunity to work for you. If one is stagnant, again, you aren’t utilizing its full potential.
  3. Keep the stove clean. Remember it’s a symbol of wealth. Think about this direct link to your prosperity and treat it as such.
  4. Use it for its intended purpose. That would be cooking. Don’t use it as storage. Even if you eat out all the time, it still needs to be kept in a condition that it could be used if the occasion strikes.
  5. Don’t stand with your back to the door. This is a challenge for many kitchens. The theory is that if a cook is startled that feeling gets “cooked” in the food. You don’t want to serve that to your family or friends! Place a mirror or mirrored object to reflect behind you to correct for it.

I hope this new year is cookin’ along well for you! Now, go forth, make good meals and prosper.

Herding the Sheep: What Does 2015 Have in Store for You?

sheep_webBy Carole Hyder

The Chinese calendar is comprised of a 12-year cycle with each year assigned an animal. There are a few stories of how these exact animals were selected. One of the legends says that Buddha summoned all of the animals of the earth to come visit him before he died. In appreciation for those who showed up, the Buddha named a year after each of them, given out in the order they arrived. The Horse was the 7th animal to show up which corresponds to last year (2014); the Sheep arrived right after the Horse so is the 8th in the 12-cycle line-up. The Monkey came in 9th so will be the animal representing 2016.

A lot of people are happy to cut the reins on the Year of the Horse—-it was a challenging year for many. Some people had plenty of good things happen during the course of the year but it became almost unmanageable; others ran into difficulties like a string of pearls—–one after the other. The difficulties were not specific to one area of life but across the board—-health, financial, relationships, job.

However, we’re moving toward a softer year as 2015 approaches. Just from an outward perspective, Sheep are gentle animals—–they move slow, their coat is soft, they’re rather small—–they are by far less intimidating than Horses. The Year of the Sheep can also be called the Year of the Goat or the Ram which does bring some feistiness and spunk with it as opposed to the ever-docile Sheep. That said, this will be all-round a less frenzied year.

The Year of the Sheep begins on Tuesday, February 3rd at 5:20 PM (Central time). Although this is not the big New Year’s celebration that the Chinese celebrate (their New Year festival will take place on February 18th at 4:47 PM Central), this is the date that Feng Shui adjustments are made.

So in anticipation of a year that will more than likely exude a slower tempo, don’t let yourself get stuck or mired down, which can be the downside to the Year of the Sheep. It will be important to keep some of that Horse energy from 2014 so you can still scale those mountains, but at a slower pace.

Being Resolute

By Lisa Janusz

2015 calendarYes, it’s that time of year – when we have to remember to change the last number from “4” to “5” for the year. That one number change encompasses a lot in terms of timing.

It’s about what’s happened over the last 365 days. Most of us are taking (or have taken) time to reflect on what we accomplished…and what we did not accomplish. With the Western New Year already behind us, some of us may have written down, yet again, resolutions for the next 365 days. Did you?

The two of the primary definitions of resolutions include: 1) a firm decision to do or not to do something or 2) the action of solving a problem.

They are each about moving forward and committing to do something different. They are about making a plan and putting some intention around it.

Here are three ways to help you with your current resolutions, or to help you as you think about creating some, for the year ahead:

  1. Limit yourself to three or less resolutions. You start to lose motivation the longer your list. One is enough, two or three are doable. Keep the number small to keep your focus.
  2. Resolve it in writing. Don’t just write the overall resolution – think about and commit to your plan around it. This will help you clarify what your goal is and take accountability. There is a huge difference between:
    • “Lose weight” and “Lose weight by cutting out soda, no snacking, eating 6 servings of fruits and veggies each day…etc.”
    • “Get out of debt” and “Get out of debt by making a budget, paying only in cash, saving at least 10% of income each week…etc.”
  3. Hold yourself accountable. Do a monthly or quarterly check-in with yourself. Schedule it on your calendar. That is a powerful statement about its importance. Be honest with how you are doing and if you need to revise or change course – do so. It’s not a time to berate yourself; it’s a time to motivate yourself.

There is a lot of opportunity in the year ahead. Be kind to yourself; commit to a change and let your intention help you through.

What’s on YOUR Walls? The Art of Feng Shui

Frames of rooster placed above the fireplaceBy Carole Hyder

Everything in your environment—-home or office—-can have an impact on your outlook whether you may be conscious of its effect or not. It goes without saying that the artwork you hang on your walls is not exempt from providing this same influence.

There are some definite Feng Shui guidelines when placing artwork in your space that can empower both you and your art. It’s obvious you should love the artwork you display and you should continue to be inspired by its presence. If not, remove it, sell it or give it away. If you and your partner/spouse cannot agree on a piece of art that is jointly owned (one loves it; the other does not), take steps to place the artwork where the one who loves it can truly enjoy its message and the other doesn’t have to see it on a regular basis.

Here are some other Feng Shui “rules” for assessing your artwork:

  1. Have restful art in the bedroom (florals, pastoral landscapes, calming colors);
  2. Have food-related or farm-related art in the kitchen and eating areas (fruit, farming scenes, agricultural themes). Images or colors that support health are appropriate here.
  3. Your daring, innovative and controversial art is nicely positioned in public spaces such as the living room or family room.
  4. Scenes that depict warring factions, such as those depicted in mythology, must be carefully positioned so their conflict doesn’t play out in some way in your life.

Whatever artwork you may have on your walls, make sure it still inspires you and speaks to who you are. More importantly, make sure it reflects where you are heading; otherwise, it’s holding you back. If you’ve had the same artwork on your walls for many years, ask yourself if you still love it and if it still fits with your goals. Or perhaps it’s time for a new vision. Let your space help you move forward in perceptive, subtle and artful ways.

Getting to CEO: Feng Shui for Your Office

By Lisa Janusz

Lisas Office Before

My Office – Before

Right before I started my own business, I had Carole over. I remember telling her about my vision. As Carole started to ask me questions – leading questions – it “clicked.” As she was talking, I realized my home office did not reflect where I intended to go.

About the only thing that stayed was the desk. Other than that, there was a folding chair (sad, but true story), haphazard bookshelves and other random furniture. I knew I had to make some serious changes.

This is where Feng Shui transcends just moving furniture. Sure, I could have bought some new stuff, but that wouldn’t have gotten me where I wanted to go. I had to put more intention
around it. I had to make my vision a reality.

If you are contemplating changes in your office, here are some Feng Shui considerations:

  1. Get clear about the purpose. If it’s important – then commit to it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a home business office or hobby room.
  2. Have it reflect your intention. That means having it look like a place you could meet clients – even if you never will. Or displaying your crafts. This isn’t the time for a multi-purpose room.
  3. Have at least one clean horizontal surface. It reflects your vision and enables you to get “clear.” I have a nice box where everything goes at the end of the day that isn’t ready to be filed. I come in to a clear desk every morning.
  4. Get a high back chair. This directly relates to getting support. A flimsy chair doesn’t have the same effect.
  5. Have a system. Clutter is a problem here, just like other areas. Be diligent about filing, tossing and releasing items that don’t fit.
Lisas Office

My Office – After

Shortly after Carole’s visit, I bought a nice high-back executive chair, a file cabinet, a bookshelf and a table for my printer. I also painted my office a lovely color and added some custom accessories.

Even though I didn’t expect to have clients visit me there; it was finally an appropriate place to do so. Which was good, since it did end up hosting clients after all.

Money Miracles Using Feng Shui

money in bagBy Carole Hyder

Whether it’s the economy, the way the stars are aligned, or a generally high-anxiety/high-stress time, a LOT of people are struggling with money. The majority of my advice these days has to do with how someone can improve their money situation.

Feng Shui offers a unique perspective that removes the focus from the problem itself and instead turns it toward ways of changing how you feel about the issue. So by making improvements in your space you will see improvements in your attitude and therefore improvements in the problem.

Here are three tips for making changes in your space that can jump-start an improvement in your money situation:

Tip #1:  Declutter. I know this seems to be the mantra of most Feng Shui consultants, but that should underscore how important it is. Since how you do one thing is how you do everything, taking care of your things will translate into taking care of your money.

Tip #2:  Use your proper entry. Your proper entry is your front door. It holds the symbolic importance of representing opportunities that may be knocking. If you don’t use it, it means you come into your space sideways or from the back. Use the front door as often as you can to make sure money can find its way in. If you already use your door (thumbs up) then enhance it in some way—-a beautiful welcome mat, a wreath on the door, a color you love, etc.

Tip #3:  Officiate in your office. In the majority of cases, the way you make your money comes from a place of business. If you’re not feeling as though you’re at your best when seated at your desk, get a high-back chair to lend support and authority. Keep those tall bookshelves from overwhelming you by keeping them in order and interspersing the books and folders with eye candy.

Making these small changes in your space can give you the energy and the clarity to find ways to bring in the abundance you want and deserve. If you feel rich, you will become so.

Storage Wars….with Yourself?

couple moving boxes2By Lisa Janusz

Some people think that Feng Shui consultants are against storage. Not true. We know it’s useful and necessary (like seasonal decor). The key is knowing – and using – what you have so that your time, energy, space – and possibly money – isn’t being directed to things of no value to you. This is especially important for people who are paying for off-site storage. You are keeping your energy extended with your things, so they need to be important.

Since your space reflects your life, a build-up of storage in your basement (the past), attic (the future) or garage (where your car should live), can be a message to you.

Here are 5 tips for dealing with storage situations:

  1. Use it or release it. Be realistic with yourself on whether you really use the item.
    • Don’t keep things out of guilt (it was a present!) or sentimentality (it was my grandmother’s!). There is someone out there who will give it new energy by being thrilled to use it.
    • Don’t keep things for “someday.” If you are saving something for later, think about the timing. If it will be happening within a couple of years, that might make sense. But if it’s been over 5 years or is that far away, then think about it carefully. Will you really want those hand-me-downs in your new dream house? Will your kids want them when they go off to college or have a house of their own?
  2. Know it. Boxes should be labeled with what is in them. If you have a bunch of mystery boxes, then either go through them to see what is in there OR simply label them with the date. If you don’t use it within 6 months – don’t even take another look. Assume you don’t need it and let it go.
  3. Access it. Keep things organized using whatever system works for you. Don’t keep things that are so buried they are too much trouble to reach.
  4. Love it. Don’t store things that “will do.” If you are going to spend time and energy storing it, focus on items that have meaning and bring you joy.
  5. Release it. This is a hard one for us all (yes, me too!). Really take a look and think, “how long has it been since I’ve used this?” Even if you still like it, if you haven’t used it in years, let it go. Give it new life.

Remember, you are investing your energy in all the things that you own/are surrounded by (even if they are “off-site”). It’s important to make sure that they are supporting you. Take another look and maybe make some hard decisions. Opening up and clearing out can only benefit you. Each time we release, we allow – opportunities, health, relationships and more.

Car Shui: What is Your Car Saying About Your Life?

By Carole Hyder

Woman with Car Trouble on Her Cell PhoneOne of the main principles of Feng Shui is that “your space mirrors what’s happening in your life.” Most of us spend a lot of time in our cars, either commuting to and from work or selling out on the road. It would follow then that your car can have as much influence on your life as your home or office. Therefore, the state of your automobile can impact dramatically the state of your well-being and productivity.

Since cars are an important part of most everyone’s life, it’s important to see how this mobile space may be impacting your life.

Here are ways your car may be giving you an obvious metaphor for your life…

  1. Running on fumes or running on empty. We use this description when our car is low on gas and we use those same words when we’re depleted. Keeping your tank at half-full or more might help you eliminate describing yourself in such an exhausted way.
  2. Brakes are squealing. When your car decides to let you know in an audible way that your brakes need help, you need to see if you need a “break” job as well. Getting those brakes fixed might provide you a chance to have your own breaks fixed.
  3. Oil leak. As crucial fluids leak away from your car, you may also be experiencing some leakage of energy, time, money, or creativity in your life.
  4. No opportunities. If your passenger seat is so full of stuff that no one could ride with you, you may be closing off some great ideas or opportunities that would love to ride along with you.
  5. Name your car. It’s been a known fact that a car runs better when it has a name, probably because the owner relates to it on a personal basis and takes better care of it.

Making your car as enjoyable as possible is what this is all about. It’s important that you see your car as an extension of your living space and treat it as such. Just like your house, your automobile will take care of you if you take care of it.

Dorm Room Feng Shui

college student wavingBy Lisa Janusz

For many students who have graduated high school this year, this summer is a bittersweet time of enjoying the last months of home and excitement as they plan their next phase of life. Going to college is a big transition, and there are ways you can support it with Feng Shui.

As you know, Feng Shui is all about energy. Sometimes that gets more challenging if you are sharing a space with someone else. They might have different views of what should be occupying your shared “space” and may treat it differently. The key is to focus on what you have control over; even if it’s only a small section of the room.

Here are some tips to support your new adventure in higher education:

  1. If you know the bagua – use it and consider layering it. We usually put it over an entire house’s main floor or an individual room. You can do the same. If you share the room, then just place it over your section/half of the room. Or place it over your desk. For example, you could place your books in the lower left corner of your desk, which is the Skills & Knowledge gua.
  2. Take command of the room if possible. If you can alter the layout, make sure you can see the door when you are sleeping and when you are sitting at your desk. Also make sure you have a headboard to give you support at night. If you don’t, create one with fabric.
  3. Have the space reflect you. You might not have many choices in how the room is arranged, but you have choices in your bedding and accessories. Be sure to have things around you that inspire you and reflect who you are – or want to be. A few childhood/sentimental items are okay, but don’t go overboard with stuffed animals and other juvenile things. You don’t want to get “stuck” in the past.
  4. Keep an eye on clutter. This is especially important for dorm rooms that can be small. Clutter can make you feel overwhelmed, which some students are already feeling with being away from home. Keep your space as “quiet” as you can. Don’t overflow the space with posters and knick-knacks.
  5. Have a proper place for your books and place to study. If you have a desk, keep it open and clear. You shouldn’t have to clean it off every time you want to use it. If you don’t have a desk, or don’t study well in your room, still treat your books with respect. Have a shelf where they go and where you can access them easily.
  6. Have a reminder of home. Do add something special to your space that gives you comfort. This could be a favorite pillow or blanket, or even a family photo. Maybe it’s a scented candle, sachet or something else that has a familiar scent. Whatever gives you that sense of home, give it a special place in your room.

Going off to college is an exciting journey. We wish you all good luck in creating a space that supports you in your new adventure!

Feng Shui in the Closet: Getting the Skeletons Out

By Carole Hyder

clothes closetIn Feng Shui, closets hold as much importance as a living room or a bedroom. They are not hidden areas that can be ignored—-just because you can close the door on a closet, it doesn’t follow that they have no influence. A closet can be an asset or a detriment depending on its condition.

Along with taking up valuable space somewhere in your space (the money area, the relationship area, health, career), closets also represent the subconscious. By cleaning out or re-organizing a closet, whatever issue or aspect of your life that is stuck may suddenly come up for examination.

Here are three ways you can treat your closet for maximum support:

  1. Contain the closet energy – Have a door, curtain or screen in front of the closet opening. The distraction from the closet will be muted and will help you sleep better.
  2. Respect the items in your closet – Use the same kind of boxes for storage; label the boxes; use the same kind of hangers for clothes. When you open your closet door, you want to be inspired not besieged.
  3. Remove unused things systematically – By removing a certain number of clothing items each week or after each shopping trip, a habit forms that keeps your clothes up-to-date. Whether you dislike something or it’s reached its expiration date in your mind and you’re tired of it, make a regular practice of eliminating these clothes.

Closets are notorious for gathering clutter, so you need to keep a watchful eye. Make sure the light works if there is one; the door swings open easily or slides smoothly without coming off the track; the walls are a color you love; and the shelves are sturdy.  A closet is a holding place, not a junk room.

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