A Letter to my Younger Self

Hindsight is brilliant.  We can see so clearly what we shoulda/coulda/woulda done differently. 

That being said, consider that if you hadn’t gone through your experiences and your journey, would you really be who you are today?  Simply: No. 

The ups and downs, mistakes and triumphs have shaped who you are today and how you approach the world.  It’s how you approach your work, your passions, your relationships.  It’s even how Feng Shui came into your world.

We take those lessons and we acknowledge them. We embrace them. We share them so others can gain from our experience.  And we live with gratitude for those who have gone before.

We asked our members to share:  what would you tell your younger self (as related to Feng Shui or your business)?

And we love what they gave. How they shared of themselves.  We love who they are.

Prepare to learn and be inspired, to celebrate and grow in your own personal journey.  A special thank you to those who shared your story. 

Someday you will be introduced to Feng Shui.  As you explore its origins, purpose and power, you will find an approach that will guide your choices. It will also help you help others to do the same by applying this discipline, whether it is for healing, reaching intentions, increasing prosperity and open doors to opportunities. You will guide everyone you touch with feng shui, to team with others to change the world to a better place.

Charmaine Buskas
Five Elements Feng Shui

I would say to her worry less about the future. All the things I worried about like money and jobs were wasted energy. The money for things will come. Focus on experiences, and what you are feeling. Don’t override your instincts because you want to please others. Listen to your intuition about people, places, jobs and everything. Take up a meditation practice and stick with it.

  • Keep learning! In both feng shui and business.
  • Also don’t give up! Feng shui isn’t known in some parts of the western world. Look at it as a chance to increase awareness.
  • Be proud! Don’t be shy to talk about what you know and how excited you are to be doing it.

I’d tell my younger self to let go of a corporate career that no longer honored my talents, interests, and soul; and to take the plunge into my Feng Shui professional career much earlier. Being able to help others is so rewarding and fulfilling. Love what you “do” and success will follow.

Trust your instinct and don’t rush the process, for both feng shui and business.

I’d counsel my younger self to ask more questions; no matter who tells you to shut up and sit down! Seek out a mentor early and find out more about the universe. Life can be a long road of lessons. It’s much easier to walk with someone else than travel alone.

I’d say, don’t expect to go from 0-60 in this journey/career. Give yourself time to breathe and learn. Experience and building confidence are everything.

I would tell her to trust her intuition and feelings about a space – regardless of what it appears like on the surface.

I would also say filter less and say more. Again, following intuition about what to share, even if it seems strange to say it because this is usually what the client most needs to hear (or addresses an unspoken question or need).

When I was young, I was told by everyone what I COULDN’T DO.  I was told over and over that my childhood dream of being a pilot was “impossible.” Indeed it was, for the people in that time and place where I grew up.  It wasn’t until I was an adult and living in Canada that I realized the opposite was true.  That I could be whatever I dreamt of.  That’s when my wings grew so that I could fly.  

Long afterwards, it gave me the courage to study and practice Feng Shui. I could still live in a culture where things are considered dubious, but I have learnt to live my passion and my truth.

Three Feng Shui Design Ideas to Boost your Career

Feng shui is a practice that can be seamlessly integrated into the overall decorating and design of your home.  You can add feng shui adjustments in creative ways by incorporating colours, shapes, and objects that activate specific energies and movement.

Your career path in life can also be impacted by feng shui. In fact, feng shui practitioners have many tools and techniques that focus on enhancing careers, boosting job prospects, and for finding direction, and getting clients on a clear path.

Here are 3 basic feng shui design ideas you can play with in your own home to add a little feng shui to your career:

  1. Make space for new things: Doing a review of your space once every few months to remove clutter such as old papers, broken, and redundant items. Old and unwanted items create blockages and stuck energy in your home. Energy should flow through the home like water in a river. Ridding your home of objects that block this flow of energy keeps the qi (energy) moving freely through out your space.
  1.  Place a mirror in your entryway. Mirrors can do many magical things. They can expand and open a narrow space, reduce negative qi by absorbing it, or contained it. A well-placed mirror can reduce disruptive floor plan issues such as an entrance with a ‘brick wall’ effect, it creates space and allows qi to flow more smoothly.
  1. Add water energy to specific areas of your home. Through design elements, you can intentionally add the energy of water to specific areas of your home. You can choose how much or little you would like to add: a piece of art, a piece of sculpture, a vase…

What are the five elements: they are the basic elements of life: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. In the ancient practice of feng shui, we understand these elements to be more than actual flames, or dirt, or pieces of wood. These elements are universal energetic essences, each with their own characteristics and qualities.

The five elements can be represented in a space through colour, shape, or material. Here are some ways you can manifest the energy of water:


  • The colour black or very dark blue (and gray)
  • Undulating and wavy shapes and patterns
  • A fountain or other container of water i.e. fish bowl
Feng Shui Design for your Career

Paint: the velvety, soft black Baby Seal by Benjamin Moore

Feng Shui Design for your Career

Matte black vases from William Sonoma

Feng Shui Design for your Career

Artwork: Water Up Close and In Motion by Linda Vorderer

Pro tip: Finding your career area using the bagua 

The five elements are a fundamental part of feng shui (The five elements are: water, wood, fire, earth, metal) and the element that is associated with career is water. Water represents your wisdom, the things that flow to you, and how you flow through life. You can activate the career area (Kan), by using the water element. 


What is the bagua? The bagua is an energetic grid that feng shui practitioners use to map a space. Typically, the space being mapped is a house; it can also be a single room, or it can even be a whole plot of land. The bagua is a three-by-three grid with nine areas (called guas) in it. The center of the grid is the tai chi (unity/well-being) and then each of the eight surrounding areas relate to a different part of your life. 

Laying the bagua: Find the main door to your home or better yet try starting with a room (see the example above); you will line the main door of the room with the red line. As you can see in the illustration, there are three areas along what we refer to as the Kan line, and the career area is in the center.

Laura MorrisArticle contributed by Laura Morris, IFSG Board Chair
Laura Morris – founder of Morris Feng Shui and co-founder of Mindful Design Feng Shui School – is a certified Feng Shui consultant, designer, and artist. Through her articles, workshops, videos, TV appearances, and consultations, Laura has guided thousands of people to shift their energy and revitalize their living spaces.  Read more about Laura.



Missing Gua in the Bagua – A Case Study

When the bagua maps the space perfectly, making a feng shui assessment is straight forward. However, when a gua is missing, things can become more complicated. In this blog, Kristi Stangeland discusses how she worked with a client who was missing a key gua.

I was contacted by a woman who had left her corporate job to start her own company focused on bringing mindfulness and social innovation into large companies, but she was struggling to find clients.

When I met with her, I noticed that she was missing the Kan (earth) area in one part of her home since the entrance featured an inner courtyard that was surrounded by the Gen (mountains) and Qian (heaven) areas. This courtyard was not well maintained and included large pieces of driftwood, sprouts of grass and a desolate, barren area around the front door. We discussed how to enhance this area with new plantings and a fresh coat of paint on the front door. I suggested removing the driftwood and tending to the grass to improve its health and appearance. I also recommended hanging a wind chime near the door. Finally, I taught her the Black Sect tradition of blessing the items on auspicious days.

Approximately one month later she informed me that a large corporation had asked her to join their staff to integrate revenue opportunities with social innovation She was in disbelief that she would be able to do this work as an employee and not have to deal with the stress of running her own business. The outcome was even better than what she had imagined!

Kristi Stangeland, Bagua and a Missing Gua Case Study


Kristi StangelandKristi Stangeland is the founder of FSC, a company dedicated to helping corporate and private clients realize their goals using Feng Shui practices. Kristi holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a CPA license and trained as a Feng Shui practitioner with the BTB Feng Shui Masters Training Program. She is also IFSG Board Treasurer. Read more about Kristi.


Children and Creativity Gua – A Classroom Case Study

Learning is a lifelong journey but to enhance a child’s creativity is extra important to ensure that they will always enjoy learning especially in the classroom. IFSG member Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski outlines how she enhanced the Children and Creativity gua for a client with favorable results.


Children and Creativity in the Classroom, Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski


Julie’s client was a returning young middle-school reading teacher who was filled with angst about the upcoming school year. She wanted assistance with arranging her classroom for positive chi flow and support for both herself and the students. She identified three issues:

  1. administrative pressure to return students’ work in a timely manner;
  2. distracted students in the classroom unable to focus and prematurely approaching her desk with questions related to the assignment;
  3. stress over difficult students with known behavioral concerns joining the class.

During the visit it was clear that her client had many challenges for the upcoming school year. The focus was primarily on the placement and location of the furniture. We discussed the color scheme and “decorations/art work” in the room and trying to separate yin and yang space; yin space for the students to learn, and yang space for the students to grow.

First, the client’s desk was moved the front corner facing the students to behind the students. She could now watch the students from the back of the room. They created a wide path from her desk to the front of the room, where the blackboard was located. This solved the issue of uninterrupted time to correct papers and return the students’ school work. When students were assigned quiet work, the environment encouraged students to stay on task decreasing the amount of time students were at the teacher’s desk. Lastly, the desk was intentionally placed in the Children and Creativity gua and specific students’ desks in the most helpful and supportive gua; children with family issues in the family gua, students with learning issues in the skills and knowledge gua, and students with health concerns in the center of the room.

The result was quite positive and came quite quickly after implementing the changes. Her client particularly noticed that using the ba gua proved to psychologically/emotionally beneficial. And by keeping a clear walkway to this new “safe area” (desk area), and she retreated there periodically, the students remained calm and most of them stayed on-task.

Children and Creativity in the Classroom, Julie Pelletier-Rutkowski

Julie Pelletier-RutkowskiJulie Pelletier-Rutkowski, MS, RN, is owner and principal consultant for Feng Shui Services of New England. She writes, educates and consults about balance and harmony using the Western principles of Feng Shui. Julie has been called the “home care nurse” because she works to heal homes, offices, and workplaces.  Read more about Julie.

The Impact of a Stand Desk

From Portland, Oregon based Feng Shui professional and clutter expert, Sugeet talks about his journey toward a stand desk.  Why did he do it?  Fad? Physics? Productivity? 

My old office arrangement, even when I had cleared most of the clutter still looked, well . . .

A Stand Desk, by Sugeet

– – cluttered.

I had recently finished working with a couple who worked from home. She had build a rigid standing desk and loved it. He was building one for himself. They were both enthusiastic for them. They had many positive things to say about them. I became curious.

I saw a Kickstarter campaign to build a reasonably price standing desk that could be both – a sitting desk and a standing one. The campaign was very convincing – lots of studies extolling the benefits of a standing desk.

Research was needed.

A Stand Desk by SugeetSitting is the new smoking.

What began as a curiosity has provoked a great deal of studious inquiry. Results?

  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic problems
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk for many kinds of cancer

Wow! And that’s just what the Smithsonian Magazine reported. (March 26, 2014)

Sitting six hours a day ups he death rate by 20% for men, 40% for women!

That’s scary while some other research says otherwise, but the consensus indicates we should be standing/walking at least 2 hours a day and then work up to 4.

OK – I got into the Kickstarter campaign and got my desk a couple of months ago.

I had to rearrange my office.

Time to declutter.

Pounds and pounds of files into the trash, Scan others.

4 file drawers to 2.

Fewer printers, fewer everything.

And the result?

A Stand Desk by Sugeet

What a difference! Take a look just at the top:

A Stand Desk by Sugeet

No, I don’t stand all the time, but I’m standing more and more and sitting less and less. I find not only has the simplification made me more focused, but much more productive. I love the top – it’s bamboo, my favorite building material.

You can jerry-rig a standing desk for yourself and try it. I like mine because I can take it up or down, and stop it any place that suites me or my arms or my chair (all at the touch of a button.) A programmer friend just bought himself one that uses counterweights to go up or down. He has a bit of a weight problem, so this is going to be good for him as well! And a major client I just worked with we designed his office so not only could he have a standing desk, but combine it with a treadmill!

If you want to see the one I bought, (also because I support new companies) go to



SugeetAn expert in lighting and Feng Shui – Sugeet was a gallery art director for 12 years! Certified in both the basic and Advanced levels of BTB Feng Shui, Sugeet has been serving clients from Northern California to the Candian border since 1999. He has taught Feng Shui for the home, business and landscape design at Southern Oregon University; as well as private classes in Clutter elimination. Read more about Sugeet.


Article/Image Source: The Impact of a Stand Desk

4 Reasons Your Office Needs Plants

The notion of buildings that speak helps us to place
at the very center of our architectural conundrums
the question of the values we want to live by—
rather than merely of how we want things to look.

Find out how plants and Feng Shui can bring about greater health, happiness, and productivity in your office – by Carole Hyder

I love this quote by Alan deBotton from his book “The Architecture of Happiness.” It speaks to the primary Feng Shui premise about a space having influence on our purpose. A much-used translation of this statement is: Your space reflects your life. Although the philosophy of Feng Shui is centuries old, it is still in its infancy here in the west. Those of us who have studied this Asian philosophy know that, indeed, what you have in your space can help or hinder you on a daily basis.

Despite its enormous influence in your life, the beauty of Feng Shui is that often it doesn’t take much to make a huge difference. Sometimes, just the shift of a desk or a new paint color or the removal of some clutter, helps you move forward with clarity and efficiency. Your office (or cubicle) provides a great opportunity to symbolically remind you of your values, your goals, and/or your ideal path. The symbol must be relevant to you—in other words, you must truly connect and like what you’re using as a placeholder for your vision and guidance.


4 Reasons Your Office Needs Plants, Carole Hyder

One of the simplest suggestions I make to my clients as we are analyzing their office is to add a plant. This can be a silk plant if keeping one alive will be a challenge due to lack of light or lack of time. A plant is very symbolic on many levels for a career and having one in your office can be a steady reminder of reaching your goals. If you already have a plant(s) in your office, then you can overlay it with any of the Feng Shui intentions listed below.

  1. Using a plant that grows upward and outward can reflect to you the possibility of career advancement if you are looking for that to happen. A plant represents forward movement and action so make sure your plant has room to expand.
  2. A plant on your desk will always remind you of nature, whether that is a conscious or unconscious reminder. Connecting to nature automatically lowers blood pressure. Check out the work by Dr. Roger Ulrich, a professor at Texas A & M who did research in the 1990’s and into 2003 who determined that being around a plant, even looking at a photo of a plant, can lower blood pressure and increase positive feelings. It will be important to keep your plant alive and healthy obviously.
  3. If you’re feeling stuck and uninspired, a plant can be a symbol for taking action. A flowering plant will provide even more inspiration and creativity. Flowers can be a perfect substitute for this intention since they are colorful and vibrant, although not as long-lasting as a real plant.
  4. Finally, for health reasons alone, place a plant near your computer to provide balance from all the EMFs that you are exposed to during the day. The electronic energy you are exposed to can be offset by the natural energy of your special plant.Your responsibility is to keep your plant alive and healthy no matter what intention it’s holding for you. Even a silk one needs a regular dusting off from time to time. Let yourself be inspired and motivated as you watch your plant grow and expand and reach for the sky—–a wonderful mirror for whatever your intentions are. 

Carole HyderCarole Hyder has been a Feng Shui consultant since 1992, having studied with Professor Thomas Lin Yun and Roger Green. She is the owner and director of the Wind and Water School of Feng Shui and Feng Shui Institute of the Midwest. Read more about Carole.


Article/Photo Source: 4 Reasons Your Office Needs Plants

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