The Perfectly Imperfect Feng Shui Life

As I headed outside this morning to try to get the mowing done before impending weekend storms hampered any outdoor clean up, I mentally was going through my long checklist of things to get done.  Emails to send, contacts to make, updates and web pages…phew, you get the gist.  I was actually kind of cursing having to mow. “I have too much to do!”

Then, I rounded the corner to the front of the house where part of our career gua is outside in the yard.  [GASP, I know.  But some of us bought our house decades ago, before we even had a glint of what Feng Shui is all about.]

Checking that mental “work-to-do list,” I looked over and noticed the weeds first.

In. My. Career. Flower bed.

And then, the bird bath.  Crap; empty and dirty.

Was good career Feng Shui going to happen by leaving that and dashing inside for those all-important-emails?  Or was it better to take the time to “tend my own garden” so to speak.

 

It got me thinking of a conversation from a few days ago, with a dear friend who is also a practitioner and lover of Feng Shui…she felt one of the troubles of our industry, is that none of us want to share our own spaces.  It’s not personal enough; we don’t share enough of ourselves for fear of competition. [Duh, it’s Feng Shui people; stop that!]  Many popular bloggers or instagramers are sharing everything they do in their own house and that’s what makes them so relatable and sharable and watchable [I’m not even sure those are all words, but you get what I am talking about].  How many of us in Feng Shui do that?  Not many.

We seem to be all about: watching the other person, the client, imparting wisdom, and the dang perfect photo or quote to share – the perfect Instagram shot that’s been filtered and lightened and juiced up.  But we aren’t about ourselves.

Afraid to show that you might have something wrong in your space and need to fix it, that sometimes your own Feng Shui eyes get clouded and you need a fresh look…does that mean a potential client might not hire you. Gosh, I hope not. I believe there is an abundance of clients and we all resonate with those who are meant to find us.  [That being said, this is still a business, so get yourself out there and get cracking on your business goals.  It doesn’t happen by sitting on your bum simply loving the magic of Feng Shui.] 

I have thought about this conversation with my friend for a few days, and I actually take it one step further.  And maybe I will shoot myself in the foot and you will all think, “wow, she’s a mess.”  But, here’s where my mind goes…

Maybe it’s also about sharing our vulnerabilities. 

That we are good at what we do BECAUSE of [not in spite of] the things we have going (or not going) in our own “proverbial house.”  So………here’s me:

I tend to think of Feng Shui as not having a lot of shoulds – EXCEPT THE TOILET.  CLOSE THE LID FOR GOODNESS SAKE.  That’s a should. My training at the Western School of Feng Shui taught me a concept that works for me – there aren’t really any bad spaces; just less-than-excellent spaces.  So, I use that phrase a lot.

Yep, my career gua is partially in the yard.  I’ve got a flower bed with bird bath, flowers and evergreens, and a wind chime.  We have plans for some other enhancements in the future.

My wealth gua contains a bathroom.  [Don’t email me.  I know.  Less-than-excellent.  But as a Feng Shui practitioner, I know there are things I can do; and moving this bathroom would be a huge pain and maybe even stupid. And I am not going to move over it.]

Are there beautiful things I would love to have in my house?  Had my eye on a natural crystal or two?  Yes. But I also live with small clumsy people [cough cough kids] so sometimes practicality has to factor in.  How else can I do it?  You gotta be creative sometimes.

I have networking friends who have talked about meditation being really great first thing in the morning.  But with a feisty 6th grader who needs to get on the bus, that’s probably not going to happen at this stage of my life.  But sometime.

Would I love to have a rectangular house to make the bagua that much easier?  You bet.  But I don’t. I can still embrace where I live.

Do I wish the projects in my house were all done. Oh yeah.  But they aren’t…Yet.  It’s a work in progress.

For me, I love my 2 acres.  I love the nature that comes to my door such as deer (my spirit animal), birds, rabbits and squirrels; and just recently, I saw a bald eagle on the lake as I was driving down the block from my house out of the neighborhood.  Swoon. These things make me happy. 

So, today, I’m doing Feng Shui my way.

I am taking a few minutes [after mowing – sigh – and before the emails begin] to clean out that bird bath and weed my career.  I am going to fill the bird feeders that sit outside my Fame and Reputation that I see from my desk; wildlife and animals are terrific fire element enhancements.    And that’s ok.  I will do what I can and what is best for ME and my career, right now, today.

That is good Feng Shui. To me and for me.

Different than yours?  Maybe.

But that’s ok.  It really is.

 

 

 Change happens. Embrace it or move with it finding ways to adapt.

Weeds do grow (faster than should be allowed). Pull them out.

Things break. Fix them.

Being vulnerable and messy is ok.

It’s not a one and done…remind your clients of this too! Feng Shui is a living, breathing love of our lives.  You gotta keep working it.

Above all…

Give yourself grace.  Showing your scars demonstrates that you know what you are talking about.  You’ve lived it.  You live it.  You love it.  Tell your story.

 

Deb Dermyer Lamb is a wife, mother, feng shui practitioner, and still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.  She’s been the office administrator for the IFSG since 2007 and loves, loves, loves that part of her life.  IFSG members are everything to her.  She’s also the current IFSG CEO, since 2017, and previously served on the Board of Directors from 2006 through 2011.

Give her a shout if you have questions about the IFSG, or want to share your messes.

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilic design: a strange term. Hmmmm, just like feng shui!

So What is Biophilic Design?

And they are related in another way, too. They both are about connecting humanity to the natural world.

First, the word biophilia was a term coined by psychologist Erich Fromm in the 1960’s (and later explored by biologist E.O. Wilson in the 1980’s). It refers to our love of life.

We feel good in nature and many architects and designers started taking note that growing mental illness in modern society may be linked somehow to our soulless modern buildings and environments.

But rather than studying the ancient principles of feng shui, they created a new discipline.

But that’s okay, I’m not that frustrated (smile).

As long as the end goal is the same: that we create environments that not only look good, but feel good!

Biophilic design is backed up by environmental psychology, which studies the impact buildings have on human behavior.

It has been found that healthy human development (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual) is contingent upon access to the natural world.

Now, many buildings and communities are being built with biophilic design principles. Hotels, healthcare facilities, even corporate offices and housing developments have incorporated elements of nature into the design of their spaces.

So even if they don’t call it “feng shui”, that’s okay, as long as we are being nourished in our spaces and respect Mother Earth!

Since I’ve been studying biophilic design, I’ve created my own list of principles connected to each of the Five Elements of nature: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. I wrote about this in my book, Creating Luminous Spaces.

 

Additional reads if you want to learn more:

  • Biophilia Hypothesis, by E.O. Wilson
  • Biophilic Design: The Theory, Science, and Practice of Bringing Buildings to Life, by Stephen Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, Martin Mador

Photo credits: Pixabay.com, WikiImages – Yale University’s Kroon Hall, built with biophilic design and LEED

 

Maureen Calamia is author of Creating Luminous Spaces: Use the Five Elements for Balance and Harmony in Your Home and in Your Life (Conari Press). She is also founder of the Re-Nature philosophy based on the premise that we need to restore nature back into our lives, our homes, and spirits.

 

 

How to Beat Data Addiction with Feng Shui

If I were to tell you that you are an addict, would you agree? Probably not, but the fact is that most Americans (in fact, most Western people) are either addicted or in the process of becoming addicted to data overload.  Find out more about this developing issue in the western world and how Feng Shui can help, by Alex Stark.

Whether from your cell phone, or through social media, or even when innocently surfing for information on the web, our brain’s synapses are becoming more and more reliant on a steady stream of information delivered through the internet. Data, the actual packets of digital information, has become like a virus, capable of interfering with our productivity, our sleep, our health, and even our sex lives. This addiction is becoming so pervasive that psychologists have given it a clinical name: electronic screen syndrome.

Video screens are now everywhere, including restaurants, bathrooms, and cars, not to mention our back pockets! Blue light from these devices has been proven to diminish sleep and concentration by interfering with our circadian rhythms. Businesses are now reporting losses in productivity equal to a whole day per week due to compulsive cellphone use. As if this was not enough, one in every four car accidents in the USA is caused by texting or phone use while driving–for a total of 1.6 million crashes a year!

In addition to all of this, there is still the concern generated by ANY electronic device, as all electrical tools emit electromagnetic radiation (EMF) that has been scientifically proven to be damaging to human tissues at certain frequencies and exposures. Although most research has failed to show conclusive evidence of causal relationships (except under very specific circumstances), cell phone use and body proximity to any electronic device continues to be studied for further clarification.

Data addition has powerful causes: from the feng shui perspective, data is a new but very powerful form of chi, one that is inherently unstable (it takes the equivalent of 8 nuclear power plants to run the internet in the US alone) and which has no built-in compassionate side. It is closely aligned with FIRE energy, but unlike traditional forms of FIRE (heat, lights) which provide service to all of nature, data is only interested in your attention and will demand it at all costs. Light and heat, natural forms of FIRE, exist independently of humans but data is entirely dependent on us using it. That is why I compare it to viruses and parasites, which require a host to exist. Most importantly, data creates addictive patterns that are very, very difficult to break. Despite the many advantages it has created, the internet has the power to create real danger and damage.

This problem is important for feng shui practitioners to consider because it is a new form of energetic interference that could undermine all other feng shui interventions. I have repeatedly seen clients whose condition refuses to improve or which stalls after a short while not because their feng shui is flawed, but because of behavioral patterns caused by their incessant connectivity through social media and use of screen devices at all hours of the day. Hence, I have come up with a set of guidelines that I recommend to most clients:

  1. Do not sleep with a cell phone next to the bed!
  2. In fact, do not sleep with a cell phone anywhere in the bedroom.
  3. If possible, turn off your cell phone entirely while you sleep or at least put it in airplane mode.
  4. Avoid using your phone as an alarm clock, and if you do, place it in the next room, not on the night stand.
  5. Limit use of all blue light screen devices (phone, TV, tablet) as much as possible, and avoid use for at least one hour before bedtime.
  6. Avoid a TV monitor in the bedroom, but if you have one, make sure it is completely turned off at night. Some monitors stay in silent but active mode all the time.
  7. Charge your cell phone or other devices far from the bedroom. In multi-floor buildings, make sure that is not below or above the bed. A bathroom is usually a good alternative.
  8. Avoid locating your wi-fi router in the bedroom, particularly near the bed. In multi-floor buildings, make sure it is not above or below your bed.
  9. Avoid locating your wi-fi router close to your desk in your home office.
  10. To avoid wi-fi radiation during sleep, I often recommend putting your wi-fi router on a timer to be turned off automatically during sleep and turned on in the morning when you need it. Electrical timers plug directly into a socket and will control when your wi-fi router turns on and off.
  11. To increase your productivity, place your cell phone or tablet in sleep or airplane mode when you have tasks to perform. Turn it back on when you are ready to dedicate a chunk of time to answering calls or email. This will help you avoid the temptation to keep checking for updates and will increase your productivity and success.
  12. Try socializing WITHOUT your cell phone. If you have to carry your phone to a social event, place it in silent mode and DO NOT place it on a table or anywhere visible. Keep it in a bag or in your jacket, as far from your body as possible.
  13. I even recommend doing the same during work meetings. Not having a phone visible enhances communication and improves performance. It also gives a good impression, as your clients or customers will sense your undivided attention.
  14. When writing an important document such as a speech or an article, write a rough outline first with paper and pen. Connecting your thoughts to your hand through writing has been shown to increase creativity and insight. When you have a good outline or a draft, it’s OK to complete it on a computer or tablet.
  15. If you are a team leader at work, consider instilling these same principles to your workforce: demand cell phones be silenced in order to increase communication and creative problem solving, particularly during meetings.
  16. If you have children, create simple but clear rules for cell phone use. This is particularly important at bed time. Needless to say, the younger the child, the more susceptible she or he will be to data addiction!

Alex Stark is an internationally recognized consultant, advisor, and teacher on issues of creativity, efficiency, and design. A graduate of the Yale University School of Architecture, he is a practitioner of Feng Shui and European Geomancy. 

Accentuate the Negatives

Did you know that there are some negatives which dynamically support your well being, and in fact are crucial for your survival? Did you know that some positives are actively comprising your health and well being right now? Please keep reading this article by EcoHarmonyFengShui(c) Biophilic Designer Alisa Rose Seidlitz, to learn how to accentuate the negatives and THRIVE!

 

Alisa Rose Seidlitz

  

“Accentuate the negative, eliminate the positive, don’t mess with Mr. Inbetween” – a turn-around take on that old 20th century tune re-framed for today’s world!

For the healthiest feng shui, flood your days and nights with certain essential negatives and minimize certain positives in your environments at home and at work. I’m referring here to the components of charged atoms called negative and positive ions.

Negative ions have an extra electron and positive ions are missing an electron.

Negative ions abound in Nature and make us feel good!

They lift our spirits, help us relax, help us think clearly and breath easily, and boost our overall physical health.

Spending ample time in negative-ion-rich outdoor spaces benefits every part of us!

Alisa Rose SeidlitzThe splashing water of oceans, rivers, streams, waterfalls and fountains creates them. Sunlight, rain and thunderstorms generate them. Trees and other plants constantly emit them. Negative also help clear particulate pollution from the air. All this gives us fresh and healthy air!

Indoors, houseplants, gently splashing fountains and natural furnishings help tip the balance in favor of the negatives ions.

Until the Industrial Revolution, negative ions infused all the places and spaces where people chose to live. Today, our world is literally chocking with positive ions, outdoors as well as indoors.

Concrete, asphalt, plastic and synthetic materials of all kinds, including but not limited to synthetic fabrics, lighting fixtures, paraben candles, mattresses, cosmetics, chemical-based “air fresheners”, all sorts of furnishings, building materials, cleaning products, as well as computers and ALL electronic devices, generate positive ions. Exhaust fumes and particulate pollution also generate massive amounts of positive ions.

Sadly, even hospital environments are packed with them.

Positive ions create the conditions which promote stress and illness.

Our bodies need to recover from being in positive-ion-dominant spaces.

On the other hand, negative ions promote excellent health. In fact, they’re necessary for developing and maintaining it.

For a truly complete Healthy Home Feng Shui Assessment, the balance of these ions in any given space should be addressed.

Some Personal Ways to Minimize the Positives & Accentuate the Negatives

~ Stop all pesticide use both indoors and outside.
~ Stop using synthetic “air fresheners.”
~ Clean with Nature’s “products” such as lemon, high quality essential oils, vinegar and baking soda or organic ready-made products, and wash with in natural laundry detergent.
~ Sleep on natural, untreated or organic bedding.
~ Make your next mattress an untreated, organic one.
~ Use organic, non-gmo, non-nanoized bodycare products and cosmetics.
~ Choose to wear natural, untreated fabrics such as linen, silk, wool, hemp and organic cotton.
~ Choose beeswax candles, which emit negative ions, instead of synthetic candles.
~ Take a shower. Let the water splash on and all around you, cleansing your body and clearing your aura.
Alisa Rose Seidlitz~ Take a walk in the woods. The longer and more often the better, but even a few short while can be hugely beneficial.
~ Walk or sit by splashing ocean waves or by a babbling brook.
~ Bring fresh-cut, untreated flowers into your spaces, along with potted plants.
~ Plant trees.
~ Make and/or tend a garden directly in the ground or in planting pots.
~ Use beeswax candles, which smell wonderful and emit negative ions, instead of ‘regular’ wax candles, which emit positive ions even when not burning.

AND, to make the world a more beautiful, healthier, happier place for everyone:

~ Work to stop pesticide use in your town or city.
~ Encourage your town or city to reduce paved areas and to Bring Nature Back!

Go outside and find a place to experience the Joy of Nature and Her Negatives for yourself!

Author’s Note: Beware of manufactured negative ions generators. They can emit toxic plastic fumes and significant background noise, and cause more problems than they solve. Make sure to do extensive due-diligence before purchasing, and it’s a good idea to make sure that what you buy is returnable.

 
Alisa Rose SeidlitzAlisa Rose Seidlitz is a longtime Ecological Garden Designer, Certified Green Building Professional, GreenAP for Interiors, Graceful Lifestyles Certified Interior Re-Designer, Flower Essence and Reiki Practitioner.  Read more about Alisa Rose. 

Photo Source: Alisa Rose Seidlitz

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

https://www.standdesk.co/

 

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

Feng Shui and Weight Loss Tips

Diets and weight loss plans are trendy – every few years there is a new one guaranteed to take the weight off. Weight loss is a hot topic whether you are setting new year goals or getting ready for a beach vacation. See these great tips to help with your weight loss goals and inspire a better you – inside and out – using Feng Shui concepts from Michelle Luongo

 

Feng Shui and Weight Loss Tips, Michelle LuongoTip #1: Eat food on square plates
In Feng Shui round shapes stand for curiosity and square shapes for contentment. So, if you eat your food on a square plate it reduces your craving for more food.

Tip #2: Use earthen colors
If you are serious about your weight loss program, paint your kitchen and dining room in earth tones. Brighter colors arouse your appetite, mellow shades offer contentment and reduces your food craving.

Tip#3 De-clutter!!!
One of the most common reasons that people continue to hold weight is that they are holding onto the past, and thus holding themselves back from change and growth. Do a major de-cluttering in the home. If you want to drop weight and feel more alive and vibrant, you must have clear energy around you. Once you have created room for new habits and positive energy to flow you have a much better chance for success.

Tip#4 Hide the Scale – No Judgment
Avoid judging yourself! If you have a bathroom scale in full view every time to enter the bathroom, it is a physical reminder that you have yet to meet your goals. Weigh yourself once a week, then store it out of sight.

Tip#5 The Power of Color
Avoid the fire colors of red or orange in the kitchen, as it encourages your appetite. Instead use colors of blue or black in place mats, dining linens and plates. Better yet, eat on black, square plates. Black makes food look less appealing, and there’s less contrast of a food’s color against a black plate. Black dampens your inner chi, whereas bright colors make you feel more energized, so you won’t feel like eating as much.

Tip#6 Visual Affirmations
Keep prescriptions & supplements out of sight. Having them on your bathroom vanity, reflecting in the vanity mirror will just magnify the health issue. Use a weekly pill organizer for your medication & supplements

Tip#7 Tien Yi
If you are having health concerns, you can tap into your “Tien Yi” (health) direction according to BaZhai compass formula to improve your health. Everyone has a health direction based on their year of birth and gender. To know your direction, you have to first find out your gua number.

Tip#8 East direction
Use a compass to identify the east corner of your home, which is the area of health and longevity. In this corner, remove clutter (which symbolizes heaviness and obstacles) and put images that represent your weight loss or fitness goals.

Tip#9 Bagua – Family & Health
Find the middle left side of the home. It is the Family & Health Gua of the Home. Add Wood Elements: Colors of green or blue, Plants & flowers, Pictures of flowers & landscapes, Floral or striped fabrics, items made out of wood, tall, column or pillar shapes.

Tip#10 The Kitchen
Avoid seeing the kitchen from the front door. If you have this situation, try to create an eye-catching view in another direction when entering the home or add doors or screens to block the view of the kitchen.

 

Michelle LuongoMichelle Luongo is a Feng Shui consultant and educator who is passionate about her work with clients, students, and the design community. Read more about Michelle.

 

 

Article/Photo Source:  Feng Shui and Weight Loss Tips

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