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.

Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go

We don’t have to try very hard to find signs that the holidays are fast approaching. Stores are putting up their decorations, many radio stations are playing holiday music and people are already starting to make their holiday “to-do” lists. Read from Kristi Stangeland, the importance of balance and intention in the holidays.

For many of us, these signs of the season are sure-fire stress triggers. Instead of sugar plums, they conjure up visions of lists dancing in their heads: the baking list, the shopping list, the card list, etc.

Do you have a laundry list of things you think you need to do in order to make the holidays “perfect?” For those of us who are guilty of list-overload, I suggest we rethink our holidays.

What would happen if we didn’t:

  • Send holiday cards to people we haven’t seen in 20 years…
  • Try to replicate the picture-perfect centerpiece from that glossy home magazine…
  • Bake 10 different kinds of holiday cookies…
  • Wrap every gift with shiny paper and bows…
  • Host a holiday open house a week before Christmas…

This year I suggest we adopt a Feng Shui approach to the holidays. In an effort to find more serenity in our lives we can do more than de-clutter and re-organize our physical environments. We can also re-evaluate how we manage our time.

Here is a specific technique to help de-clutter our holiday “to-do” lists so we can focus on the things that actually bring us the greatest joy at this time of year.

  • Set aside 30 minutes of time when you will not be interrupted.
  • Take nine minutes to write down all the items on your holiday “to-do” list. You know what I’m talking about: cooking, shopping, wrapping, baking, hosting, etc.
  • Take three deep breaths to clear your mind.  Then set a timer for six minutes and sit in silence, with your eyes downcast or closed. Let your thoughts come and go.
  • When the six minutes are up, review your list with “fresh eyes.” Ask yourself: Does anyone care if this happens? How could I do this differently and with less effort? Can someone else take on this task?
  • Then make a commitment to cross off the items that feel heavy and no longer serve you. Focus instead on those tasks that you truly enjoy.

This kind of mental organizing and decluttering can be very energizing. When we allow ourselves to let go of unrealistic or stressful obligations, we’re apt to discover that those “to dos” that we actually do undertake will be more enjoyable, because we can focus more time on them.

So if you’d rather tap into your inner artist and make your cookies your canvas, then pass on hosting the holiday dinner for 20. Chances are your cookies will be a bigger hit than the green bean casserole anyway.

Here’s to a clutter free holiday. Cheers!

 

Kristi Stangeland is the founder of Feng Shui Consulting Service.  She holds a certificate from the BTB Feng Shui™ Masters Training Program, begun by Professor Thomas Lin Yun. Read more about Kristi.

 

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.

 

 

Fame and Reputation Gua – A Case Study

Thinking about how the world sees you – your reputation in the world – the growth of your business – your name and visibility? Then consider the Feng Shui gua of Fame and Reputation.  Enhance anytime you want to boost this energy and build your credentials and personal strength. Read a case study, by Feng Shui professional, Carmel Malone-Quane.

The fame and reputation sector of the ba gua is located in the back center of the home. (facing the home at the front door, laying out a tic-tac-toe grid on your building.  Click here to read more about the ba gua.)  It has to do with being your authentic self in the world. When this gua is activated, one can live with clarity and integrity and thus truly live their best life. It is associated with the element of fire, animal energy, the number 9 and triangular shapes.

The Case Study…Fame and Reputation with Windows , by Carmel Malone-Quane

Carmel Malone-Quane had a client who wanted to attract new windows and also mentioned her eyes were gritty. Carmel immediately recognized this was an issue with the Fame gua, as it relates to the eyes, and windows represent our vision.

The Fame and Reputation gua of the home included a bathroom. Fame is represented by the fire element; whereas the bathroom is a strong water element, so having a bathroom here was a bit of a challenge. The client was on a fixed income and didn’t expect any new windows anytime soon. She needed to apply for a grant and had previously received funds, so had little hope she would get new windows. Believing the money will come once the right intentions are places, Carmel suggested to her client to place intentions to get the money for the windows.

Specific recommendations included:

  • Clean her current windows as they were a little dusty.
  • Place some earth elements in the bathroom to dam the water, she liked shells and stones.
  • Add a plant in a red pot, which represents the Wood Element, to feed the fire element of this gua.
  • Bring in some red color, here we added a lovely red floral blind.
  • The client reinforced her intent and the let go of any attachment to the outcome.

All of the adjustments worked seamlessly with her design and were easy to implement.

The Results…

Approximately two months later the client received a letter, out-of-the-blue, stating she was getting new windows.

Her eyes improved almost immediately.

Fame and Reputation Case Study, Carmel Malone-Quane

This is the power of our intent and adding some feng shui adjustments to our space to attract what we want.

 

Carmel Malone-Quane is a feng shui consultant and wellness coach who works with women to transform their physical environment to create more time and freedom. She is an entrepreneur and mom herself with a background in nursing, so she knows how challenging it can be for women who are juggling it all.  She is also on the IFSG Board of Directors.  Read more about Carmel.  

Energize Self-Knowledge Area to Receive New Insights and Life Guidance

It’s back-to-school time. Get back into learning by activating your knowledge and self-cultivation gua!

Self Knowledge reflection, image by Katy Belcher
The self-knowledge area in the front left corner of the home (facing it from the outside) deepens clarity and insight about life purpose. If balanced, its energy allows for wisdom and insight to flow into life. It also encourages contemplation, which is vital in today’s hectic world. The element of this area is Earth since it brings nourishment as well as grounding into our lives. A specific symbol is mountain as a place where people have been going for ages to still their minds and seek wisdom.

Some easy ways to enhance this gua include:

  1. Remove all clutter from the desk (living room), closet and dresser (bedroom). Things you do not use reduce your clarity in life and might create stagnation or even blockages.
  2. Install a wall light above the desk. Lights are great energizers both in reality as well as symbolically.
  3. Place a fresh planted orchid in a blue pot – a fresh plant brings new vitality and chi into this area. An orchid in particular with its rich blossoms symbolically represents rich and blossoming wisdom and insight. A blue color is associated with the Self-Knowledge and if possible should be prominent in this area.
  4. Knowledge and Self Cultivation, Kelly Brito image sourceDisplay a few inspirational books on a desk – books are great symbols of wisdom. Preferably, display only books which are personally meaningful to you and which you regularly read and/or refer to.
  5. Display photo(s) of a wise person in a blue frame – typical wise people displayed are Buddha, Dalai Lama, Gandhi, motivational speakers as well as grandparents. Ideally on a desk or above the desk.
  6. Display artwork showing an image of a beach and/or water lily – the beach is a symbol of a quiet place and water lilies represent awakening wisdom. Both of these images are great for Self-Knowledge Area.

 

Blanka Vun Kannon is an Advanced Practitioner of Interior Alignment® the Feng Shui and Space Clearing School founded by Denise Linn. She is owner of Blanka Vun Kannon Feng Shui and founded The School of Harmony in her home country of Czech Republic.  Read more about Blanka.

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