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Posts Tagged New Year

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.

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.

Don’t Forget; Feng Shui is about YOU

candle-and-heartBy Lisa Janusz

There is a lot of turbulence in the world right now. With the recent election results, people are either elated or terrified. Without getting into political debate here, I think we can all agree that there is quite a bit of uncertainty facing us as we head into 2017. That is why, no matter where you stand on the subject, this will be a vital year to make sure you are taking care of YOU.

Two ways to support yourself in these high emotion times are by creating a sacred space and ensuring you have a meditation/relaxation practice.

There are entire books written about these topics, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Create a sacred space

  • This should be a place you can retreat to relax, possibly meditate and find inspiration
  • Choose a space that you are comfortable (like a favorite room/or place to sit)
  • Make it yours by adding personal photos or other mementos or special items
  • Make it useful with a table, pen and paper for journaling
  • Make it inviting with a comfy chair and a blanket or scarf
  • Make the “scenery” supportive by being aware of what you are looking at when sitting there (e.g. looking out a window versus looking at a work desk)
  • Adjust it until it feels right. Trust yourself that you will know
  • Utilize this space in the months to come whenever you feel unbalanced

Begin a meditation practice

  • You can do a quick web search and find out the many benefits to meditation. This is another area you can start with a simple process
  • Pick a spot to be reflective; maybe it’s your sacred space if it’s a quiet area
  • Schedule time during the day (at least in the beginning) to practice
  • Set a timer (e.g. for 5 min to start) so you don’t have to track and your mind can relax
  • Find a mantra you like or sit in silence. Visualize a broom sweeping your mind to remove the mental clutter
  • Focus on your breath and just “be” for those few minutes

Now that we’re officially in the Western New Year and the upcoming Chinese New Year (Fire Rooster) is coming quickly, this is a great time to renew. Make a commitment to yourself for the coming year to figure out how you will support yourself. In times like these, we must focus within to support our outer selves.

Chinese New Year of the Monkey

Chinese New YearBy Carole Hyder

The Chinese New Year begins on the second new moon after winter solstice—-this year that date is February 8. If you celebrated the western New Year, this could be a time for you to recommit to or revise your resolutions for 2016.

The Chinese put as much effort into the preparation of the New Year as they do to the actual celebration. You might find some of these helpful in your own New Year rituals.

  1. On days preceding the New Year, Chinese families give their homes a thorough cleaning. It is believed cleaning sweeps away any remaining bad luck from the year before and makes their home ready for good luck. The brooms and dust bins are put out of sight on New Year’s Day so that the newly arrived luck isn’t accidentally swept away.
  2. Painters do a booming business right before New Year, painting doors and window-frames with a new coat of red paint. Homes are often decorated with a set of couplets written on long strips of red paper (one on each side of the door) upon which have been calligraphy-ed a poem or a good luck saying.
  3. Purchasing new clothing and shoes is encouraged to symbolize new beginnings.
  4. Any haircuts are done before the New Year. The Chinese word for hair (fa) is also the word for prosperity so no one wants to cut short their prosperity.
  5. Businesses try to pay off all outstanding debts, and they send gifts to close business associates and family members.

On New Year’s Day there is often a lion dance to symbolize protection. In addition, people give out red envelopes to spread further good wishes for the New Year, which contains a coin for wealth, a piece of candy for life’s sweetness, and a wish for continued good luck and success.

However you may decide to bring in the New Year of the Monkey, make it a special and intentional celebration.

Happy New Year Chinese Characters
Xin Nian Kuai Le – Happy New Year

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.

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.

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.

New Year Intention

hand holding compassBy Lisa Janusz

Who will you be in 2014? I love the quote by George Bernard Shaw, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” What a wonderful quote – both empowering and full of possibilities.

Now with the New Year upon us, many people are thinking about the past year. We review the opportunities, challenges, successes and regrets. We think about where we’ve been and where we want to go. Hopefully we’re taking that a step further and thinking about the direction involved.

Intention is a key component of Feng Shui work. If you’ve done adjustments at home, you know it’s not just about moving something or placing something that is the most important. It is the reasoning and process behind it; the “why?” That’s when it becomes powerful.

So this year, instead of making several resolutions, how about creating one intention for your entire year? One resolution that speaks to the person you want to create. If that appeals, here are a few ideas to get you moving in that direction.

Write it out. Don’t just think about it. There’s something powerful about committing it to paper. This can also help you clarify your goal.

Be specific. Go farther than something broad like “get healthy.” Think about 2-3 actions that will make that happen (eat at least 2 healthy meals every day, exercise at least 4 times a week, avoid sugary drinks, etc.).

Honor it. Take your intention and place it somewhere special. If you are familiar with the bagua, place in the corresponding area. If you aren’t sure, you could pick one of these three areas: 1) by your front door (where opportunities “knock”), 2) your bedroom (especially if it supports a dream) or 3) in the center of your home (that area influences all others).

You could also take time to make a vision card and put it somewhere prominent that reminds you of your intention (and the possibilities!) daily.

Support it. Make yourself accountable to achieving steps in that direction. Celebrate your successes. If it’s engaging in a new hobby – buy a book, take a class, ask a friend for help.

Enjoy the journey. Most stories of success are not a straight line. That aligns well with Feng Shui; we like things to “flow.” Sometimes it’s that bend in the road that helps you see a better path.

As you think about 2014, I hope you’re excited. That’s great energy to take into the year ahead. It’s a year of potential for creating YOU. Whatever your goal is, I hope you take the time to plan a route. And I hope you use intention as a driving force.

Revving Up Your New Year’s Resolutions with Feng Shui

loose changeBy Carole J. Hyder

Since Feng Shui is based on a direct relationship between your space and your life, you can enlist your space to help you with your New Year’s resolutions. By placing a symbol that represents your resolution, you will have a trigger that will remind you to stay on track. What you’re doing is making a change in your space to mirror a change you want in your life.

Here are some ideas for using your space to support your New Year’s resolutions:

  1. If your resolution involves earning more money, then place a covered container near the front door, in which each day you will deposit all your change. This container may be a decorative box or a piggy bank. It’s important that it be covered so that your resolution remains confidential as well as to prevent you or anyone else from easily grabbing some of the money on the way out the door, thereby diminishing your savings.
  2. If your resolution has to do with health, like working out more, or eating better, or losing weight, or getting to the bottom of a particular condition, then place a round bowl, ceramic or porcelain is best, in the kitchen. Fill it with fruit or nuts or leave it completely empty, symbolic of receiving a new perspective on health.
  3. When aspiring to new goals around your career, place a plant on your desk to represent growth in this area. Keep the plant watered and fertilized; if that’s a problem, use a beautiful artificial one.
  4. If your resolution is about improving your relationship, select a photo or memento from a happy time in that relationship, like a wedding picture, or a fun vacation taken together, or a photo taken on an anniversary. Place this photo somewhere in the bedroom where it will be obviously seen.

Keep in mind that if you let your outward symbol get kicked around, or pushed to the side, or left to die (like the plant), this will be an opportunity for you to look at how you really feel about making the change it represents. Your dedication to the care and upkeep of the object will tell you how sincere and serious you are about the upkeep of your resolution.

From the Wild Dragon to the Meandering Snake

Snake 4Many of us are grateful that the Dragon year is over.  Although exciting, it wasn’t without its moments of frenzy and upheaval.  The Snake energy arrives according to the Chinese solar calendar on February 4th and according to the lunar calendar on February 10th.

The year of the Snake will be a gentler and kinder year than we just experienced from the Dragon.  The Snake, by nature, moves slower than the Dragon and, of course, doesn’t breathe fire!  Although the body shape and texture (scales) between the two zodiac animals is similar, the Snake will reduce the energy considerably since it’s lacking feet.

According to the Chinese calendar, 2013 is made up of water and fire (snake).  Because fire and water are at odds we can expect continued conflicts and violence around the world.  The water, however, is yin which means the encounter between the two elements is less turbulent than if the water was stronger in nature.  This is a patient easy-going form of water which could forecast intelligent and innovative reforms and ideas.  On the other hand, it also could prophesy secret plots and deceptive attacks.

The fire element of the Snake is the driving force of all things financial so we could expect improvements in the economic world and the stock market.  From a financial viewpoint, there is a potential for a confidence and optimism.

The animals that will be in harmony with the Snake are the Monkey, the Rooster, the Horse and the Ox.  The Pig will be challenged as will the Snake who, oddly enough, will be challenged in its own year.  The antidote for challenges coming your way during the year of the Snake is the Monkey.  Having a figurine, a poster or a picture of a Monkey will ease any difficulties that may arise between you and the Snake.  Place it where you will see if often.  You do not have to be challenged by the Snake this year to benefit from the presence of a Monkey.

Continue to de-clutter your home and office, and find an appropriate blessing or clearing to do in your space on the eve of February 4th or February 10th.  This would be the time to reflect on any resolutions you made around the time of the western New Year or, if you didn’t make any, to do so now.  One way to assure you are not negatively influenced by the Snake is to do one good deed a day.  This good karma will bless you with a pleasant and memorable year ahead.

CH-15-twitterBy Carole Hyder

Wind & Water School of Feng Shui Founder, Faculty and International Feng Shui Expert

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