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How Does Your Garden Grow? Elements of a Feng Shui Garden

FS Garden 2 By Carole Hyder

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.

Before starting, it is important you determine the overall intention or theme you want to express.

FS Garden 5

  • Do you want to use the garden for quiet-time?
  • Do you want to amble through your flowers to get inspired?
  • Is it your intention to create a space where friends and family can gather?
  • Do you want the area to be kid-friendly?

FS Garden 3

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 when you’re designing your garden—-large or small:

FS Garden 61) Water. 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. A bird-bath is also an option. Japanese gardens use rocks to give the illusion of water.

2) Place to sit. This doesn’t have to be complicated—-a rock or tree stump, a bench or hammock would work. You want a place from which you can absorb the energy of the garden.

FS Garden 13) Curvy Path. Your Feng Shui garden should provide an effortless direction of where to go—–a path of flagstones, chips, or round pavers or a foot-worn path where others have walked before. Making it curvy implies a slower pace where ambling and lingering are appropriate. If you garden is small, create a path that the eye will follow.

 

 

 

 

 

FS Garden 44) Ornamentals. The way to personalize and create a unique garden is with your ornamentals. Although this can easily move into the arena of clutter, a few carefully positioned objects around the garden will offer variety and interest.

These photos are all from our garden. Its exquisite beauty and strength come solely from the labor of my master gardener husband. It goes without saying that sitting in this garden has provided us hours of enjoyment and healing, which were the original intentions with which he guided this project.

Living Room Feng Shui – Bring New Life to Your Living Room

Living RoomBy Jessica Hoelzel

What room in our homes do we not “live in”? All rooms are for living, right?

Ironically, living rooms can be one of the rooms with the least life. The living room, and formal living rooms in particular, have gone out of favor. With an inclination for casual lifestyle and entertainment, families have gravitated towards family rooms and rec rooms – places to watch TV, movies, or play games.

Living rooms have come to feel “stuffy” and go unused. With more space of high value to homeowners, leaving an entire room neglected does not seem wise. From a feng shui perspective, having a room in your home with no life is not wise either. Depending on where that room falls in your home’s bagua, the lack of life (or chi) could be having adverse effects on your life. And especially if it’s the first thing seen upon walking in the door.

If you’re not using your living room, the question is, why? Could it be a place you’d enjoy spending time in? If so, it’s well worth the effort to make it a place that calls you in.

Here are some ways to make the living room more inviting and functional:

  • Create a good flow. Place a table behind the sofa if it backs up to the entrance.
  • Make it homey. Add softness with rugs, throws blankets and pillows.
  • Add some personality. Display artwork and things with special meaning.
  • Bring life to it. Have plants, and décor with lively patterns for visual interest.
  • Create a reason to go in. Lay out magazines or stacks of interesting books; add music.
  • Make it suitable for entertaining. Add a coffee table with a purposeful tray, or a handy bar cart.
  • Set the stage for conversation. Group furniture at 90 degree angles, or around the fireplace.

If, after careful consideration, you’ve determined that a living room is just not a space that makes sense for your family’s lifestyle, is there something else you’re in dire need of? Maybe it would make sense to transform it into something new. With intention, it could go from unused (dead) space to a place of energy and life. Maybe a home office, playroom, music room, or library? You decide.

Ready, Set, GOAL! Feng Shui for Your New Year’s Goals

Happy New Year 2016

By Lisa Janusz

As we embark upon the start of 2016, many of us are in forward-looking state of mind. This is the time to set goals for the year ahead – and I encourage you to do so.

 

 

As you set your 2016 goals:

  • Make them SMART – Specific (and simple), Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-limited.
    Write them down or share them with someone.
  • Watch self-talk: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” –Henry Ford
  • Remember that there isn’t “failure” – just more information. “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” –Thomas Edison
  • Push yourself. “If you hit the target every time, the target is too near or too big.” –Tom Hirshfield

Be open to adjusting your goals as the year goes on. It’s not to let yourself “off the hook,” but rather allow yourself to change course when it’s appropriate.

From a Feng Shui perspective you can support those goals by paying attention and seeing what’s happening in these areas:

  • The related area of the bagua (if you know it). For example the career area of your home if you are looking for a new opportunity.
  • The room or place that “holds” the energy around your goal. For example, the front door (where opportunities knock) for a new job or the kitchen for health.
  • Your bedroom since this is place to focus on rest and rejuvenation to keep your chi up.
  • Your sacred space. This could be a meditation area, your favorite place to sit or even a vision board (any size – even an index card!).

All of these will help you support your journey for the next year.

Not sure ”goals” is the right focus this year? Maybe a different type of thinking will resonate more with you. See our past blog posts about being resolute and setting an intention for the year.

Whatever you decide to do: know that we are a community that supports you. As we all keep growing and moving forward, we bring out the best in ourselves, and that of others.

Best Moving-In Practices: Feng Shui Tips for Your New Home

family in yardBy Carole Hyder

Most people would agree that moving is chaotic. No matter how organized or how long the move has been planned, there typically comes a time when frenzy and confusion rule the day. This is not how you want to introduce yourself to your new place. Feng Shui can help make your move more meaningful.

Before leaving your old residence, make sure you did some kind of closure. In other words, say “good-bye.” Whether you liked the old place or not, it deserves a farewell whatever form that might take. I’ve assisted some people who loved their home, providing a beautiful closing ceremony the morning they were leaving. I also know some who couldn’t stand their space and choked out a “thanks” while closing the door. It’s important to close one door before opening another—–in this case that would be a literal action.

Once at the new place, here are some specific things to do the first day you’re there, and other actions that are more long-lasting…

  1. Get your personal bedrooms set up first. Since the bedrooms provide you a safe place to sleep and rejuvenate, they need to be your first and foremost focus. If you’re planning to repaint the walls, re-carpet or remodel in anyway, try to get this done before you actually move in.
  2. Eat in your home the first night. Bringing in food is just fine, since cooking would probably be difficult. But it’s important that you make this commitment to the space by having a meal there. Granted, you may be eating on the floor or sitting on boxes, but that’s no problem—-the house is grateful for your inclusive gesture.
  3. Ring the doorbell for the first few days, every time you walk into your new home. It establishes your presence and your ownership. Since the doorbell is typically by the front door, you’ll be activating that important entry on a regular basis. Plus, you’ll soon learn whether the doorbell works or not.

Making your move intentional and meaningful using a Feng Shui approach will establish a strong relationship with your new home—whether it’s a house, an apartment, a condo or a single room. Then, this new home can help you come home to yourself.

Feng Shui is for the Dogs…and Cats and Other Animals!

Ella -Then

Then

Ella

and Now

By Lisa Janusz

It surprised me to realize just recently that my little princess is turning 10 next month! I am so grateful for all that she has brought into my life. Of course I feel that she is quite a special dog.
(FYI – Carole agrees!)

All animals are very good Feng Shui (you knew that was where this was going, didn’t you?). Anything from the smallest fish to the biggest horse can help activate energy. They represent the Fire Element by bringing a life force to your space. This activity can really support a house, in addition to the people living there.

framed postcardI know for me Feng Shui had a huge impact on Ella’s arrival. I had placed an oversize postcard in my Children & Creativity area shortly after I purchased my home (based on the bagua – the middle right of your space). I hadn’t thought much about it at the time…

Through unusual circumstances, I ended up adopting a puppy from another state (that essentially someone else had picked out for me). Later one of my friends would ask me if it was Ella in the picture – and that’s when the dots connected.

postcard dogAlthough not exact, I could definitely see a resemblance.

Seems my intention of getting a dog after moving into the house gathered some momentum early on.

So this month, instead of several Feng Shui “tips” for you, I have just one: remember that the smallest (and inexpensive) change in your space can support an underlying intention.

Ella 2If you have something you are hoping for – really take a look at your space. If you know the bagua, pay attention to the area that it represents. Then think about how you might add something – like a photo or an object – to help you represent that dream. This goes for houses and offices.

Then be open to what arrives. In my case, a postcard purchased in Europe years prior ended up bringing me a spark of furry love that I’ve enjoyed for almost a decade.

Using Musical Instruments to Adjust Feng Shui

musical instrumentBy Carole Hyder

A musical instrument can be a very effective and inspiring Feng Shui adjustment if used with intention. Certainly if someone is a musician, their instrument will hold a lot of meaning for them and remind them of the joy and creative satisfaction they get from playing. Having a reminder of a skill, talent, and/or fascination with a particular aspect of music can go a long way in supporting creativity.

However, whether you know how to play an instrument or not, it could still be a unique and effective Feng Shui adjustment. Think about what you want to bring into your life and see if any of these metaphors resonate appropriately and then, either hang the actual instrument or a poster or picture of it in a place where you’ll see it.

  • You want to feel lighter and less weighted down, perhaps alleviating some tendencies toward depression. Flutes or recorders can offer a lilting reminder of this intention.
  • You feel the need to be more grounded and centered. A picture of a bass drum or a tuba or a taiku drum will speak to that core value.
  • You want to get some forward momentum in your life. Every marching band is inspired by sounds from the brass section—-trumpets, trombones, coronets would all work to create the fast movement you may be searching for.
  • You want more stability and peace in your life. A stringed instrument can provide the kind of soothing qualities you need, most specifically a harp.

I worked with a doctor who was assigned a new office and wanted to make it a balanced space. In the course of our conversation he mentioned that he used to play trumpet—-he even showed me pictures of himself as a young man playing in a band. He was proud of this time in his life but had happily relegated his trumpet-playing to occasional moments in the privacy of his home. I suggested he find some way to represent that aspect of himself. He found a large abstract oil painting of a trumpet, hung it in his office and was inspired every single day. Plus it offered up some great conversations with patients and staff.

Musical instruments can definitely be used as a Feng Shui adjustment, however, as with any Feng Shui adjustment, the instrument needs to speak to you in a positive, creative and intentional way.

Dine in Feng Shui Style

dining roomBy Lisa Jansusz

We entertain a fair amount. During my single days, I hosted regular “ladies nights” with appetizers (and wine!), but these days are more about sit down meals. We do host informal gatherings, but for the most part, our meals are eaten at the table.

Since the houses I’ve lived in did not have eat-in kitchens, we eat in our dining room. (Yes, 3x a day on the weekends.) Within the Feng Shui realm, this room is related to health and wealth, no matter where it’s located in your bagua. Health because it’s where you receive nutrients from eating, and wealth because if you had food for your family, you were considered wealthy.

So the question becomes; how is your dining room looking? If you think it needs some ramping up, here are some Feng Shui considerations.

  • Use it if you aren’t already. With eat-in kitchens, the dining room might be gathering dust. That is leaving a lot of unrealized opportunity. Energize the room by eating in it every once in a while – don’t wait for a special occasion.
  • Enhance it. I have an ever-changing centerpiece on our table that is switched out with the seasons, the holidays and just on a whim. Bring in fresh flowers or something you love (anything will do – statue, bowl, other accessory) that will give it a boost of feel-good energy.
  • Keep it ready. Dining rooms can become magnets for clutter (mail, boxes, office papers, etc.) if they aren’t used regularly. Even if it’s not a regularly-used room, you still need to keep a handle on what’s happening there.
  • Distract the eye from it if it’s near the front door. That can be a message about people eating and running or can contribute to weight gain (first message you get is food). Add some other “eye candy” to direct the eye away so it’s the first thing you see versus the dining room.
  • Change its purpose. Although we do like to see rooms used as they are intended, we also balance that with wanting rooms to be used. I know several people who converted their dining rooms to offices, play areas and libraries because they were used more.

Whether you entertain or not, remember that your dining room is still a reflection of what’s happening in your life. Make sure yours is sending your intended message.

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.

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.

Year of the Horse – 2014

year-of-horse-greenBy Carole Hyder

The format of the Chinese calendar is comprised of two components:  an animal and an element from the 5 Chinese Element system. Each year there’s a new animal and every other year a new Element.The year 2014 is symbolized by the Horse and by Wood. The Horse itself has its own Element which is that of Fire so, in theory, this year is represented by Fire and Wood. These two Elements are related in a constructive way since Wood feeds Fire so typically the expectations could be that this would be a harmonious year.

However, this year, the Wood is strong, stubborn and opinionated; the Horse is powerful, charismatic and quick. This is going to be one of those years when you will need to hang onto the reins. Some of this high energy will be exhilarating and some of it will be explosive.

According to Feng Shui Master Raymond Lo, the Wood Horse year is a symbol of optimism and enthusiasm for new innovations and progress. This is definitely a recipe for rebirth and growth—-a time when you won’t want to hesitate with your plans and decisions because everything is going to happen very quickly. That said, this kind of energy can be a set-up for international conflicts, squelching any idea that we might be moving into a time of peace.

For some this Wood Horse energy can be a welcome change after the wishy-washy, vacillating energy of the Snake in 2013.  Debra Duneier, in her article published in the Huffington Post, says that the Horse “will bring you fast successes, exciting journeys and unexpected passion and romance.  This is a lucky year when hard work and determination bring triumph”. I say, just don’t get swept away by the mesmerizing gallop of this magical Horse. It’s a good time to welcome in transformation and move in a new direction, but it always pays to proceed with caution.

When the lunar New Year arrives on January 31 (solar on February 4), it will be a good time to release the old and welcome the new.  To enhance the energy of the Wood Horse, make sure your intentions for 2014 are clear and focused. Place a healthy green plant on your desk to be a reminder to you of all that you want to accomplish.

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