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Posts Tagged Feng Shui

How Does Their Garden Grow? Principles of Traditional Chinese Gardens

Painting 3By Carole Hyder

Chinese gardens are a big draw for people traveling to the Middle Kingdom. Many of the Chinese tours that my husband and I led over the years often focused on gardens in southern China. Walking through these gardens where every item was intentionally positioned is a very tactile Feng Shui experience.

Each garden was planned to be a microcosm of a natural setting: rocks represented mountains, plants represented trees, a stream stood for the river. No vegetables or flowers were used in these gardens since the gardeners did not want to be perceived as peddlers, selling what they grew. Instead they nurtured their gardens and then painted them as though they were real-life settings. Many gardeners actually became famous as painters, when their real passion was gardening.

Rocks around pond

Perhaps the biggest difference between the gardens we construct today and traditional Chinese gardens is that theirs were laid out before any buildings were planned. After the garden was designed, the houses, pavilions, guest houses were placed accordingly. Unlike our process where we fit the garden around our homes, the Chinese built their gardens, dedicating only about 30% to buildings. People, in effect, lived in their gardens.

Here are some specific features a Chinese garden would include:

Water – which revives the spirit, washes away evil, and reflects without distortion, needed to move AND it needed to be reflective. Fountains were not used since a fountain would force water to behave in ways it wouldn’t normally.

Rocks – represented mountains which, in Chinese culture, had supernatural powers. The more interesting the rock, the better. It could stimulate the imagination and provoke meditative moments.

In-Motion Viewing – necessitates a path to provide a self-directed way to see the garden.

In-Position Viewing – offers a place to sit and ponder the garden.

A Secret – provides something unexpected—-a gazebo hidden in the corner, a tea house tucked behind a tree—and keeps interest alive while visiting the garden.

Reflecting water

Although man-made, the Chinese gardens have become legendary. They beautifully exemplify the Taoist belief that the relationship between man and nature is the most important. We can all learn about our own relationship to nature from the intentional, aesthetically thoughtful, and powerful Chinese gardens—-whether we have our own garden or not.

If the Car Fits…that’s a Feng Shui Win

house and carBy Lisa Janusz

We’re often asked about garages in Feng Shui. People want to know if they count and what can be done about them. They do, indeed, count! And if you are familiar with the bagua, sometimes they take up several guas.

Regardless if they are attached or not, you still need to pay attention to them. They are part of your overall space and, if you are parking in there, are affecting you on a daily basis. Here are some things to keep in mind to make sure your Feng Shui is revved up (see what I did there?)!

Ensure your car can fit. We like spaces that function for their intended purpose. A garage is meant to house a car, so we want a car to fit in there.

Be knowledgeable and organized with your storage. If you store things in the garage, that’s okay! There is an issue when you don’t know what’s there and can’t get to it. So as long as you are organized, know what you have and can access it, store away. However, do release things you are just storing and not using.

Make it pleasant to come home. You can decorate your garage! You don’t have to go overboard (you can if you want to). This is your first “welcome home” (especially if it’s attached), so have something there that evokes positive feelings.

On the flip side, here are some things to avoid.

Don’t compete with the front door. If your garage can be seen from the street, make sure your front door is more prominent. Down play your garage and put the spotlight on the main door.

Use your front door! If your garage is attached OR if it’s not but you enter through a side/back door, switch it up occasionally and go through the front. That keeps your chi flowing through this key area.

Don’t make it something it’s not. I get it, you need more space. But try to carve it out somewhere else. Garages do not make good converted bedrooms (people usually don’t sleep well) and are tough to spend time in.

Remember that every piece of your space has an effect on your overall Feng Shui. Garages are no exception. They can be another positive, pleasant experience in your daily routine. Make it worth the drive.

Feng Shui for Anxiety

anxietyBy Sharon Witt

We all have our moments of anxiety —- a looming deadline, public speaking, or walking down a dark, unfamiliar street. These are all normal reactions to potentially risky situations.

As a Feng Shui Consultant having worked in community mental health for many years, I am especially interested in how Feng Shui can help people with the most common of all mental health issues: a prolonged sense of anxiety.

The faster everyone’s lives run, the less directly they communicate, the more technology they use, the more their nervous systems go into overdrive. Serious anxiety disorders are the number one diagnosed mental health condition in America.

Anxiety and its accompanying physical and emotional symptoms comes from an imbalance of water and fire. A person with a deficiency in fire will tend to feel heart palpitations, cold hands/feet, insomnia, disturbed sleep, nervousness, circular thoughts, and/or lack of joy in life. A person with excess in water will feel extreme fear, feel like they are stuck or frozen, and will be isolated from people and activities they enjoy.

From a Feng Shui perspective, here is what I’d suggest:

1) Add fire in its most gentle form for warmth, and 2) relax fear due to too much water. Start by focusing on two areas of the home – the Health (or center) area and their Bedroom. When giving options for adjustments, keep them to a minimum (2 for each area). Any more will only add to their anxiety.

Bring Warmth to the Health Area

  • A yellow candle, red object, or red flowers to stimulate the heart, which is ruled by fire.
  • A crystal in the center to balance the energy of the home and client.
  • Light, especially a torchiere lamp, if the area is dimly lit.
  • Art or a picture that depicts a warm, sunny place.

Create a Calm, Peaceful Bedroom

  • A sturdy headboard for support.
  • Limit electronics: TVs, cell phones, and computers are stimulating and heighten anxiety. If TV is a must, cover with fabric before sleep.
  • Remove or cover mirrors for a more restful sleep. Mirrors can contribute to an excess of water.

Working with someone over time, I’d take a layered approach, adding one or two adjustments at a time.

Prolonged and serious anxiety is challenging, yet the impact of introducing Feng Shui principles can be profound for those clients willing to take a step or two toward a more satisfying life.

Sharon WittSharon Witt is a Wind & Water School Certified Graduate and the owner of Sharon Witt Feng Shui.

Contact Sharon

Selling a House with Feng Shui

Open HouseBy Lisa Janusz

Springtime is upon us and that usually means an increase in the real estate market. It’s a prime time to buy and sell. The weather is getting nicer and as we move into the wood element of spring, it’s a great time to start something new.

Selling a house can often be a sweet – or bittersweet – time. Whether you are selling to move forward on your next chapter, or aren’t ready (or don’t want) to leave, both come with their own benefits and challenges.

However you are feeling, if you are in a position that your house is going on the market, use these tips to get started. They can help you gain clarity and make the process smoother.

  1. “Lift the anchor.” Start to clean out the basement. Go through what’s there and release (toss or donate) things that you don’t need to take with you. This helps metaphorically start to lift the energy of the house, while also being practical in getting you prepared.
  2. Depersonalize. Remove photos of you, your family and friends, and other items that are personal mementos. If people walk in feeling like they are in “your” space, they can’t connect with the house and picture themselves there.
  3. Declutter. This not only lifts the energy in the house, but it also allows people to see the potential of the space. It appears larger and open, and won’t overwhelm.
  4. Communicate with the house. Write a letter letting the house know what’s happening, what you hope for it and thanking it for all the support it’s given you. Even if you don’t feel on great terms with the space, still thank it for what you can – like providing a roof and a place to sleep.

You don’t have to make your space stark. And you shouldn’t. Even with staging the purpose is to provide some eye candy for people to look at and see the potential. It’s similar to relationships. You start to “see” yourself more with someone that’s available and that energy is apparent. It’s the same with a space; people can feel it. Make it a welcoming and inviting energy.

New Beginnings in the Year of the Rooster

By Carole Hyder

Lao Tzu said,

“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

Year of the Rooster (2)For many of us, the Year of the Monkey can be done already. But rather than shaking off the monkey pranks of this past 12 months, perhaps we could look at how they’re defining the upcoming 12 months.

The Year of the Rooster began February 3rd at 11:49 PM, but its influence was being felt some weeks before that. The Rooster is just plain more predictable. There’s less drama and fewer surprises with the Rooster—for which I think I can safely say we’re all pretty much relieved about that.

The Rooster energy stays close to the ground (although a Rooster has wings it doesn’t really take to the skies), pays attention to details (pecking around for food requires a keen eye), and is image-conscious (no argument that their feathers are quite beautiful).

There aren’t too many people I know who haven’t been stretched this past year—-personally, professionally as well as politically. The monkey-shenanigans have been tiresome, cruel even, but they’ve taught us about being resilient and about being vigilant.

It’s a perfect lead-in to the time of this Rooster—-a fire Rooster. Bringing the Fire element to the Rooster is going to sustain the need for resilience and vigilance but without as much wild drama we’ve just endured. We’re a practiced bunch in how to ride through the tempest so we’ve got this going forward.

We can expect some additional turmoil in 2017 but it’s nothing we can’t handle. The Rooster could bring some opportunities we might not ordinarily embrace and our new-found determination could propel many of us forward.

It’s not the time to hold back just because we came off a challenging year. Rather it’s a time to spread some wings, strut a bit and crow.

Happy Year of the Rooster everyone!

 
P.S. Want to know some specifics about the Year of the Rooster?

Check out a webinar Lisa Janusz and I did about this very topic.

Create a Feng Shui Office at Home

feng-shui-home-officeBy Carole Hyder

Because more and more people are working out of their homes, creating a home office that is efficient and productive is important.

Regardless of whether a client comes to the home or if the business is totally reliant on sales/emails/fax, requiring no physical interaction with clients, there are some important Feng Shui considerations to assure success and focus.

The biggest issue with a home office is that it is easy to relax its professional potential. This may be even more so when the office is housed in what used to be a bedroom or if it must share the space with sporadic guest accommodations. Sleeping and working are exclusive of one another.

The office color should be reflective of a business, not a color left-over from when it was a bedroom. You don’t want to look up and remember when your little boy played with his trucks in that room. Those memories, although precious and unforgettable, may not be inspiring to you in terms of getting work done.

Here are 3 additional tips to help you create a Feng Shui office at home…

  1. Use a high-backed chair. Making decisions, calling on clients, paying bills are all activities that can require you to feel like you need all the assistance you can get. A tall chair supports you.
  2. Sit so you can see the entry. To feel strong and empowered, sit in the office so that you can easily see anyone coming into the space. If you have your back to the door, you may be caught off-guard or be side-swiped by some unexpected event.
  3. Keep your work in your office. To set healthy boundaries, don’t make a habit of bringing your work into other parts of the house. Keep the door to your office closed when you’re not working and set business hours. Although you may love what you do, a balanced life is a more wholesome one.

Following these few ideas will help you on your path to being productive. If the office looks and feels professional, prosperous and productive, the business will align with that as well.

Feeling Grateful…and Adding It to a Jar

gratitude-jarBy Lisa Janusz

The season of giving thanks is here; we start with Thanksgiving and then move into Christmas. While this can be a time of activity (and stress), the basis of the season is to be grateful for what we have and show appreciation to others. I realize it doesn’t always work out that way…

Several years ago I was going through a rough period and I came across an article about gratitude jars. I decided to try it; maybe focusing on the good each day would help lift my chi.

And research supports it. In one Harvard study people were asked to write a few sentences each week about either being grateful, being irritated or just an event in general. The results: “After 10 weeks, those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. Surprisingly, they also exercised more and had fewer visits to physicians than those who focused on sources of aggravation.”

It helped. A lot. So I’m encouraging you to do the same. You know we’re all about energy with Feng Shui and a gratitude jar is a good way to do some reflection and remind yourself to be grateful.

It’s a simple set up. (And DO set it up so it’s easy to do.)

  • Grab any jar (not too small!) and decorate it (simple is fine)
  • Cut pieces of paper or buy a small pad
  • Add a pen or colored pencils
  • Commit to writing either every day, every other day or at a minimum every week
  • And those times when you need your chi lifted, write something for – or read something from – the jar

Some days were easy, while others were more of a challenge. But I did it and it made a difference. And I still add to it, just not as regularly.

So if you think you might need a little extra help remembering the reason for the season, think about adding a gratitude jar to your life. Rest assured, you all made it in mine -I’m grateful for YOU and this community.

Back to School Feng Shui Style

Back to School

By Lisa Janusz

It’s that time of the year: back to school! This is a time for families to transition from the ease of summer to the more structured time of the school year.

From a Feng Shui perspective, you can help your kids create a supportive environment at home to help them ease back into school and set them up for success.

  1. Clear the clutter. Look at every item in their room (toys, furniture, clothes). Reduce the “noise” by clearing out clothes that no longer fit, toys that are no longer relevant and furniture that is no longer needed.
  2. Look at decor. Is it age appropriate? Does it meet their needs? (For example, adding a desk for an older child.) Whatever changes do occur, be sure that they have significant input. It’s their room after all.
  3. Set up a system. Mornings can be hectic and can set the day off with challenging energy. Create places for things to go: a bin for papers (homework, permission slips), a hook for coats and backpacks, baskets for shoes, a place for sports equipment. Don’t get caught up in what others are doing – design one that works for your family. This will enable you all to start the day with a more relaxed, focused energy.
  4. A place for homework. Have a proper place for school work. If it’s in their room, try to set it up so they can see the door. If elsewhere, make it a place that promotes studying (large enough for books and papers). Designate a space that is quiet and has enough room to spread out while they are working. Also make it a daily habit to clear off that space to enhance their ability to have clear vision in the morning and each night as they sit down to work.

There is usually so much enthusiasm at the beginning of the school year that this is a perfect time to create a space that supports their endeavors and is open for growth and possibilities.

How Feng Shui May Help You Sell Your Home

By Carole Hyder

home exteriorRealtors often use the term “curb appeal” when getting a home ready to sell. It means that the home should look attractive from the minute someone gets out of their car. The reason is that a good first impression can positively impact the rest of their experience with the home.

Yet from a Feng Shui standpoint, we want a home to have curb appeal all the time. It shouldn’t just be cleaned up for a quick sale but should have the following aspects in place at all times:

  1. The front door is visibly obvious. If a potential buyer (or visitor) has to assume where the door is located because they can’t actually see it, there is a potential for confusion that permeates throughout the rest of the property. If the door is tucked behind a garage or in an out-of-sight corner, place “signposts” that guide the visitor—-flowers, a bench, or windchime.
  2. The front door should stand out from the rest of the space. This isn’t just about being visible, but about being outstandingly so. A colored door, a wreath, or a flag are a few ways to make the front door the central focus.
  3. The walkway to front the door is inviting. The path to the door should be enticing and an experience all by itself—-no cracked pavement or pieces of sidewalk that could trip someone up. But an enjoyable jaunt leading to the entrance.
  4. All plants and flowers are thriving, especially those that are around the front door and the path leading to the door. If they’re not thriving, remove them.
  5. For those who ARE selling their home, place the “For Sale” sign in the Helpful People area of the lot (front right corner as you face the home). This area can elevate the possibilities of a helpful person coming along to buy the home. Put the sign here only if it makes sense and is visible from the street.

Obviously curb appeal is just the beginning of the sale. The same amount of care and consideration should occur once the potential buyer (or visitor) gets inside. Otherwise, the message is an inconsistent one which will leave the guest wondering why something doesn’t feel quite right.

Bereavement Organizing with Feng Shui

clothes closet (2)

By Su-Yoon Ko

On Sunday, Sarah and her husband went to the doctor since he had been under the weather for a while. “Pneumonia,” the doctor said, giving him some medication, “don’t go to work for a few days.” On Thursday, she called home from work to see how he was feeling. He didn’t answer. On her lunch break she went home to check on him. He was already dead.

When someone passes away, someone else inherits their belongings. In these kinds of situations, there are a lot of emotions, a lot of questions, and often, a lot of stuff. Bereavement organizing is helping with situations like this, helping the inheritor with the things they have received.

Personally, I’m comfortable with death in a way that not everyone is. My comfort with death, along with seeing the need within my own life, has made my work in bereavement organizing a natural fit for me.

In Feng Shui, an important principle is that everything is energy. I’ve come to understand that our things affect us energetically on a conscious and subconscious level.

A few months after the funeral, I visited Sarah. All of her husband’s belongings were exactly the way it had been the day he passed. She was still in shock, grieving. But when she was ready to deal with his things, she had a lot of questions: What do I keep for our young son, for me? What do I donate, sell, or just throw?

Bereavement Organizing Tips

  • Find a few things to save that you love – that really represent your loved one to you and have wonderful memories attached
  • Let go of things that have a bad memory for you (in Feng Shui, things with a negative memory attached can lower your energy, consciously or subconsciously)
  • Take a photo of an object to honor the person, their memory, or that of an event to help you let go of the physical object
  • Give yourself permission to let things go that you do not love or do not fit your life

These tips may help when organizing or decluttering a loved one’s belongings after their death, but know that there is no right or wrong way to do this – only what is best for you and your family. Honor the person and honor the process.

Su-Yoon KoSu-Yoon Ko is a WWC Feng Shui Master, professional organizer, and elemental jewelry maker based in the Twin Cities. As a professional organizer, she specializes in bereavement organizing, working with clients who are attending to belongings they have inherited when they’ve lost someone. More at www.declutteringkey.com

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