Recognizing Gaia: Connecting to Mother Earth

“Living in harmony with the earth brings good fortune.” – Taoist proverb

Learn more about connections, harmony, and how you can strengthen your bond with earth and it’s energy, and nature and trees, from Feng Shui expert and educator, Maureen Calamia.

Recognizing Gaia: Connecting to Mother Earth, Nature, and TreesFirst, I must start with a question: Are we living in harmony with the earth? Thought you’d say that. Then it follows that we aren’t destined for good fortune, as a species.

We are more and more disconnected to the rhythms of nature. Research shows that we spend roughly 90 percent of our time inside. We pay more attention to the Dow than the Tao.

As a species, we’ve lost the ability to communicate and understand nature as we once did. We do not understand the impact of our modern lives on Her. And She is in pain and despair.

But although we cannot change our species, we can certainly change how we, as individuals, interact with the earth.

Good feng shui is more than what we see
In feng shui, we know that the land is the most important aspect of good feng shui. It is the land that provides fresh water and fertile soil for crops, hills for protection and gentle winds. These are the physical attributes of the land, but there are invisible attributes as well.

Vibrant land emanates a strong, positive energy that, if we could see it, would be a rainbow of translucent, bright full-spectrum light. When we see land like this, we “experience” it with all of our senses.

On the other hand, we also quickly identify places that are damaged and neglected, not just with our visual sense. These places project a dull, dark aura that drains or even threatens our sense of vitality.

There is so much more to the earth than our eyes can see and if we pay attention, we can feel it.

Talking to trees
Recognizing Gaia: Connecting to Mother Earth, Nature and TreesHave you ever been drawn to a tree? Like most people, when we were children the trees were part of our play. We climbed that huge oak in our yard. We snuggled between its branches. We even talked to our tree. Our lives were surrounded with magic!

Being feng shui practitioners and enthusiasts, we tend to be more sensitive than the general population. We know how it feels when a neighbor cuts down a tree. Perhaps a local wooded lot has been bull-dozed. It’s painful because we feel the pain.

In his book, The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from a Secret World, Peter Wohlleben says, “When you know that trees experience pain and have memories and that tree parents live together with their children, then you can no longer just chop them down and disrupt their lives with larger machines.”

The consciousness of nature speaks to us through the nature spirits and elementals within the landscape, the trees, the flowers, even mountains and rocks. We can connect, feel and learn.

So, when is the last time you connected?
If you are like me, you have regular communication with nature, with trees, which is sometimes through words, but often through images and feelings.

If you don’t, then here are some words of advice: get out there and start now. You will be amazed at the connection and guidance you receive.

Below is some guidance on how to start:

  1. If you have a tree that you are drawn to, then go to it. If not, scan the landscape and feel your way to a tree.
  2. As you approach, ask for permission to connect and wait for a sign. You may get an image in your mind, a feeling in your heart, or perhaps you will hear a bird start singing. If you get a clear no, then honor it and find another tree or come back another day.
  3. If you get a yes, then approach the tree. Sensitize your palms by rubbing them together and then lay your hands close to the tree, hovering just an inch or two from the bark. (Some people prefer to lay their hands on the tree. Others lay their backs against the trunk. Whatever feels right to you).
  4. Be still, quiet and observe. You may ask a question in your heart. It can be a personal question or even a question about the tree, the surrounding area, the habitat.
  5. When you are done, give gratitude to the tree, perhaps a hug!

There is so much to gain when we look beyond the physical. We gain a greater depth and perspective to our lives and the life of Gaia. Our individual acts move us all closer to understanding and respect for Her. And life is magical again!

Recognizing Gaia: Connecting to Mother Earth, Nature and Trees

 

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

Summer time Feng Shui

Summer time is the perfect season to ‘Feng Shui’ your home and garden.

According to Essential Feng Shui®, being in Nature, up close and personal, turns UP the supply of energy that sustains your vitality, loving relationships, and an overall sense of well-being. Essential Feng Shui® also gleans wisdom from Chinese Medicine, relating summer time with laughter and heart-centered activities. Tis the season for projects that are fun and collaborative, and that deepen your connection with Nature.

Summertime Feng Shui with Terah Kathryn Collins

Community Garden by Carolyn Kates

A COMFORTING EMBRACE
A great place to start is to assess how your home is situated on the land. Feng Shui, literally translated as “wind and water,” focuses on your safety, comfort, and happiness. To assure these qualities are literally held in place, homes are ideally located where the elements of wind and the water are not too close and not too far away. These ‘just right’ sites include a protective embrace of natural features such as mountains, hills, or trees around the back and sides, and a beautiful view of water from the front. Open your Feng Shui eyes and take a look at how your location corresponds with these guidelines.

Clearly, the location of most homes doesn’t fit this description. You may live on the edge of a cliff, atop a hill or mountain, or in a canyon or lowland. It may be the opposite of an ideal Feng Shui configuration, with a big hill in the front that blocks incoming Ch’i and a pool in the back that offers little protection. Relax. The good news is there are many ways you can capture the essence of an ideal location. And, the more your projects are fun for you and your kids, family members, friends, and neighbors, the better!

For instance, throw a potluck party with close friends and plant evergreen plants in your back yard together. Eat, drink, and make memories while adding a natural backbone of protection to your home. Create your own little ‘barn raising’ by inviting the neighbors over to help install side yard foliage or fencing, followed by a barbeque. Neighborly collaboration increases a comforting embrace around your home in more ways than one. Involve your children in choosing and planting ornamental or fruit trees to define a property line. The fruit and flowers of your labors will nurture your family and enhance your sense of safety, comfort, and beauty throughout every season.

Don’t have any land to play with? There’s still plenty of things you can do to enhance your location. Houseplants, screens, art depicting Nature, and window treatments can be arranged to promote your sense of security, comfort, and beauty indoors.

Summertime Feng Shui with Terah Kathryn Collins

Photographer: Unknown

A WATER VIEW
Water is classically located in front of a house to increase the energy flow into your home. When you don’t already have a water feature in your front yard, you can add one via a birdbath, fountain, urn, pond, stream, pool, or waterfall.

When choosing a fountain, select one that flows 360 degrees around, like many fountains in plazas and courtyards. Or, install a waterfall or fountain to face toward your front door, directing the flow of Ch’i into your home. Most kids love water, making it a fun Summer project to find and install the water feature with them.

No front yard? Consider placing a small water feature or aquarium in your foyer or entry area. When there is space for it, create your own mini-garden by including plants or flowers in your design.

Please note that any water feature requires maintenance. While a bird bath or fountain takes a few minutes to maintain each week, a stream, pool, pond, or aquarium may require hours. When choosing a water feature that’s right for you, consider the time that you or a hired professional will need to keep it fresh and beautiful. Once you’ve made a choice, enjoy your water view, knowing that it is a timeless Ch’i enhancement, prized for uplifting and nurturing all aspects of your life.

Looking for more ‘fun shui’ Summer projects? Here are 9 more ways to enjoy yourself:

  1. Grow food! Integrate veggies and fruit trees into your garden design; fill planters with edibles; and team up with neighbors to grow and harvest food together.
  2. Include bird feeders, plants having berries and flowers that birds and butterflies love, and other enhancements that encourage helpful creatures to visit your garden.
  3. Design an gracious path to your front door that includes points of interest, such as statuary, wind chimes, a water feature, or seating.
  4. Create a fabulous view outside every window and door. Be creative!
  5. Design curvy meandering pathways, patios, and borders to compliment the straight lines of your home’s architecture.
  6. Create aesthetically pleasing and organized storage areas for trash cans, tools, and garden supplies.
  7. Plant protective landscaping in the front of your home when it’s located on a busy street, at the end of a cul-de-sac, or at a T-junction.
  8. Include very comfortable outdoor seating where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings.
  9. Install plenty of lovely lighting to enhance the safety and enjoyment of your handiwork. 

Summertime Feng Shui with Terah Kathryn Collins

Photo by Amy Chini

Remember, the fun, laughter, and camaraderie you enjoy sows Good Ch’i into everything you do. May your Summer time projects remind you of great times with lovely people for years to come!

 

Terah Kathryn Collins is a best-selling author and the founder of the Western School of Feng Shui®. She is also the originator of Essential Feng Shui®, which focuses on the many valuable applications Feng Shui has in our Western culture while honoring the essence of its Eastern heritage.  Read more about Terah.

 

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

Yin and Yang: How do they Relate to Your Property

Yin and yang is an eastern idea that has to do with complementary opposites. It’s all about balance. Yin and yang are present in everything in the universe and their dynamic balance creates harmony and well-being. Learn about how yin and yang affect your property from educator and consultant, Maureen Calamia.

Yin Yang of the Property by Maureen CalamiaA feng-shui home will have yin and yang in balance. The front of the home should be more yang energy, attracting opportunities from the “river” (or roadway) flowing by. The back of our homes should be more yin energy.

Let me explain:

A yang environment will be one that is more vibrant, containing movement and light. It will facilitate the flow of chi from the roadway to the “mouth of chi” of the home, aka the front door. However, a front yard can be too yang energy which could be harmful to the occupants of the home; for example, a house on a T-intersection or one a fast-moving road.

If the front yard is too yin, it will not attract positive energy and will have an affect on all areas of the occupants life, including career, finances, health and relationships. Environments that are too yin would include a house set back from the road with a narrow driveway and lots of over-grown landscaping obscuring the view of the house; another example is a house across from a cemetery (yikes!)

A yin environment in the backyard will provide security and protection of the family; fences and landscaping usually does the trick. A yin yard will provide a safe haven from the exterior world and privacy from strangers, including the noise level.

A yard that is too yang can be uncomfortable for the family and can create anxiety, depending on the energy of the space. A yard that is very narrow (on top of a neighbor), no visual separation between your yard and neighbors or adjacent to industry can cause stress.

 

maureenkcalamia_RRMaureen is founder of the Re-Nature Feng Shui™ philosophy based on the fact that we need to restore nature back into our lives. Maureen brings her passion for Feng Shui to the greater community through her teaching and past experience as a long-time IFSG board member. Read more about Maureen.

 

Article/Image Source: Yin and Yang: How do they Relate to Your Property

This Feng Shui is for the Birds

Have you seen a bird today? Did you hear its song? Did you know that birdsong helps plants grow? The presence of birds and their songs lifts our spirits and raises the energy of our spaces. Keep reading to learn more about how to make your garden both feng shui and nature friendly by Alisa Rose Seidlitz.

You’ve probably heard that for good Feng Shui it is essential to get clutter cleared away, yes? Keeping clutter around usually drags us down. So you may be surprised to learn that sometimes, in some places, keeping “clutter” is literally essential for sustaining LIFE. Keeping it in our gardens and for the birds, that is!

As the seasons change, birds are migrating and clean-up is in full swing in the garden. However, did you know that leaving some clutter, some ‘mess’, greatly helps the birds?

Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose SeidlitzBirds feed on bugs and worms they find on plants, in healthy soil and mulch, on berries and other fruit, and on the seeds which form after flowers finish blooming.  What we consider messy areas needing clean-up are actually great foraging places for birds. In fact, birds depend on finding these sources of nourishment more than ever now.

Due to multiple factors, including urban expansion, drought or flooding, and use of pesticides, there’s much less available to feed upon in the wild. So our gardens become crucial habitat and food resources for birds, pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and other wildlife.

By doing less, by reframing what you consider mess, and by letting the ‘clutter’ stay awhile, you can truly help!

In urban environments and even in the suburbs, birds, like all living beings (including humans!) still need at least some ‘wildness’ to thrive!

A wide variety of plants provide seeds which birds need and enjoy.

  • Instead of deadheading (removing) spent flowers, leave the seed heads in place for birds to dine upon.
  • Instead of raking or sweeping away fallen leaves, let them stay on the ground, as birds love to forage there.
  • Leave thickets of plants, even dry-looking, with spent flowers and all, as shelter.
  • Dried flower stalks, too, offer great perches to keep birds safe, even during wintertime.

In addition to making meals, the ‘mess’ in your garden makes bird nests! They use dried grasses, twigs, plant stems, leaves, bits of bark, grass clippings and even animal hair to make their homes.

Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz     Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz    Birds and Nature, Alisa Rose Seidlitz

The above photos shown here were taken at Ashby Community Garden in Berkeley, California – a delightful, free-flowing, rustic and bountiful place, where food for humans grows, along with a smorgasbord of yummies for our fellow creatures. With soft and permeable sheet-mulched pathways and deep, healthy soil, this pollinator garden has continued to thrive despite the drought.  Birds, butterflies, native bees and others abound among various yarrows, salvias, scabiosa, yellow dock, echinacea, buddleia, feverfew, sunflower, asclepias, tithonia and lavender, to name just a few plants which have free and ‘messy’ range. At one point recently, scores of little birds (finches, perhaps?) sat on a dry fennel stalks, eating well and loudly singing out their gratitude!

During dry weather, in every season, please remember to put out a bit of water somewhere in your garden for birds and pollinators (yes, pollinators also need sustenance year ’round), and of course do lighten your load of clean-up chores by leaving it for the birds!

That’s the BEST Feng Shui!

  
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.

Creating a Feng Shui Garden: Metal Element

“I love incorporating the 5 natural elements into a Feng Shui garden setting. Metal is especially fun as it is a great hard scape material and is represented by round and oval shapes. Also, the colors of white, silver and gold are metal.” Find out more about the Feng Shui element of metal in your outdoor spaces by Maureen Calamia.

Metal represents refinement and boldness. A little goes a long way.  Especially in a Feng Shui garden.

What Not to Do!

Although this is metal and is somewhat round, no, you don’t wanted a rusted car in your garden! (Although my friend points out that she could plant a nice geranium bed in the engine!)

What to Do!

Metal can be incorporated with a beautiful, unique sculpture, such as this sculpture.

In fact, the symbolism of this sculpture is heaven on earth, represented by the circle (heaven) within the square (earth). A truly a dramatic way to incorporate metal in any garden.

Or it can be as simple (and much less expensive) as this – a gazing ball.

Metal lawn furniture, metal trellises, and fencing are more ways to incorporate metal into your yard.

 

Best Places for Metal

Metal is best in the West, Northwest and North areas of your property. The West is known for Completion and Creativity. The Northwest is known for Helpful People and Travel. The North is known for Life’s Journey, Opportunities and your Career.

 

maureenkcalamia_RRMaureen Calamia is founder of the Re-Nature Feng Shui™ philosophy based on the fact that we need to restore nature back into our lives. Maureen brings her passion for Feng Shui to the greater community as an educator and past long time IFSG board member.  Read more about Maureen.

 

Article/Image Source: Creating a Feng Shui Garden: Metal Element

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