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Posts Tagged Holidays

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.

Wintertime Feng Shui

wintertimeBy Carole Hyder

Every year we face the inevitable change of seasons. We are moving into the most yin time of year—-dark, cold, black, dormancy, introspection. Better known as winter. As part of the yin-yang cycle, we are experiencing a time when things feel, well, dead. And, as part of the natural flow of this yin energy, we also tend to stay inside, even hibernate.

The thing to realize is that despite the overt expression of completion (leaves coming off trees, flowers shriveling, longer days and darker nights), winter brings with it a latent movement, an underlying development that is preparing itself for an eruption in spring. So although all may seem quiet and deserted now, there is plenty of action brewing for later.

It’s no wonder we celebrate holidays during this time—-it’s a direct contrast to the stark silence in the universe. It breaks up the sometimes overwhelming stillness that comes in the winter. To that end, it is important to be aware that winter does require specific Feng Shui considerations around the house. Read our blog post about appropriate winterizing tips.

Keep in mind that this yin time serves a very important purpose: as the seeds in the ground are arranging themselves to break through with all their glory in the spring, we, too, can take advantage of this inner time to plant our own seeds and appear in our own blaze of glory.

Creating Calm During the Holidays: A Feng Shui Guide

Christmas Table DecorationBy Lisa Janusz

It always throws me off to see holiday decorations out so early. I am one of those that longs for the days of yore when they didn’t come out until the day after Thanksgiving. Now stores are stocking them before Halloween! It seems to push the frantic-ness of the season forward – resulting in energy that impacts us longer.

Even if it’s your “favorite time of year,” the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming. Luckily Feng Shui can help with that! You can use some basic principles to guide your décor this holiday season.

  • Use decorations you love. No matter what time of the year it is, the principle is the same: if you don’t love it or use it, release it. Every year I go through my decorations. In addition to veering away from red and green, I’ve also seen my tastes change over the years. Of course I still keep some sentimental decorations, but I’ve gotten pretty ruthless in letting things go.
  • Use decorations that align with the “feeling” that you want around you. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that people start adding fire-y décor (candles, lights, the color red) to their spaces, in addition to adding MORE stuff, and they start to feel overwhelmed. What surrounds us affects us. This year start by asking, “How do I want my home to feel?” To calm your space, think about paring down what you put on display. Also try adding a few unsaturated colors to balance the saturation of the reds, greens, and blues that typically dominate.
  • Lastly – and maybe most importantly – create a sacred space to support you. Keep one or more rooms (like your bedroom) free of seasonal decorations. Set up a place that is just for you to relax. This could be away from the décor, or it might within it. I like sitting in our living room with the only sources of light being the Christmas tree and a few candles. The active energy of those is nicely balanced by the darkness and quietness of the night. It becomes a time to reflect, relax, enjoy and be grateful.

The holidays can bring with them a range of emotions – uplifting and challenging. So…go forth, take charge and create a space to help you through what may (or may not) be your “favorite time of year.”

Looking for more holiday decorating tips? Listen to our recorded call from last year. Just register here to get access.

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

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Phone: (612) 823-5093
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