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. 

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.

Feng Shui is More Relevant Today Than Ever Before

Feng shui is the ancient practice of arranging our environments to welcome good energy to our spaces for health and well-being.  With the industrial age and huge advancements in the last decades, how does Feng Shui even relate to where we are now?  It does. Find out why by Maureen Calamia, Re-Nature Feng Shui.

Nature, Maureen Calamia

Wise men observed the natural world and developed “truths” that became the foundations of this practice of feng shui. They developed this concept of “chi” or life force energy, that animates everything in creation. They understood that chi flows through everything in the universe, just like water or wind flows through the land. Chi, as water and wind, shapes everything in its path – bringing supportive, life-giving qualities, or negative influences.

They realized that there is a balance of complementary opposites, of which you cannot comprehend one without the other. They named this “yin and yang” to describe the relative opposites of dark and light, soft and hard, quiet and loud. They understood that yin and yang served to provide a necessary tension in the universe, which allows for change.

They observed change being accomplished in what they called the five transformations of energy, aka the Five Natural Elements. Each of these elements, consisting of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water, represent a quality of energy found in all of nature.

Although its principles were developed thousands of years ago, and influenced all of the Eastern arts, including traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts, feng shui is more relevant than ever in today’s world. Why is that?

There are three main reasons why I believe this to be true.

# 1 – Location
When feng shui was developed the most important evaluation was of the land. The location of your home or village meant everything. There were two primary requirements for determining the best location: healthy, flowing water to irrigate the crops and the presence of mountains or hills to protect from harsh winds.

Location continues to be the primary driver for property values even today. However, given the rising population and limited open space, not everyone can have the best location. We build on land that has the least desirable feng shui, too. And principles of feng shui can be applied to help in those locations as well.

#2 – Technology
With the development of electricity, and other technologies, we no longer live with the natural rhythms of sunlight or the seasons. We work throughout all times of the day, eat bananas in northern climates, and we go tanning in the winter months.

In addition, we have immersed ourselves in a technological haze consisting of electromagnetic fields (both wired and wi-fi) that are not in-synch with the human body’s natural energy.

#3 – A Toxic Soup
The average American spends 90% of their day indoors, limiting their access to nature. And within these indoor work spaces and homes, over the last century, are built and furnished with hundreds, if not thousands of manmade materials. Toxins from paint, adhesives, manmade fabrics and materials contribute to poor indoor air quality and a further separation from the natural world.

These three forces converge to the detriment of our society. Now we are learning that, our physical bodies pay the price, as well as our mental, emotional and spiritual selves.

Wisdom of Feng Shui
It is no wonder that, as civilization has gone to one extreme, the opposite ideologies raise their head. This demonstrates the concept of yin and yang. The current state of the global culture has swung very deeply into a “yang” (Western thought) state – as seeds of the “yin” (Eastern thought) become a growing popular topic for education and practice.

Globalization has allowed this to occur, as never could have been done before. With the popularization of meditation in the 1960’s, yoga, and now Ayurveda healing practices, other Eastern arts have grown as well – interest in the martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, calligraphy, cooking, architecture, and feng shui.

The wisdom that feng shui can provide, is a wonderful counterbalance to the modern world. We need to build in locations that are less desirable, we will continue to advance in technology and work indoors, and can benefit in many ways from the ability to create manmade materials. Feng shui gives us the wisdom to acknowledge all of that, and yet, bring more yin into our lives – more nourishment for body, mind, and spirit.

 

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 long time past IFSG board member. Read more about Maureen.

 

Article/Image Source: Feng Shui is More Relevant Today Than Ever Before on naturopathicnewyorker.com

Feng Shui, The 5 Elements and You

The 5 Elements comprise one of the basic pieces of Feng Shui.  Learning more about elemental influences and components can help you add layers to your personal Feng Shui understanding.  Enjoy this thoughtful and knowledgeable article by Lois Kramer-Perez in “Feng Shui, The 5 Elements, and You.”

5 Elements, Lois Kramer-PerezThe principles of Feng Shui have been around for thousands of years, that tells me there must be something to this! The universal aspect of Feng Shui which appears in all applications, based on the cycles of nature is 5 element theory.

Each element has layers of information: a season, time of day, direction, family member archetype, color, shape, and characteristic which relates to an expression in human nature. In my practice, where I “feng shui people” before we address their space, one of the systems I use is called the 9 Star Ki. This system is based on the 9 cycles in nature; each cycle has its own nature and characteristics. Each cycle is connected with one of the 5 elements in nature: water, tree, fire, earth and metal. Aligning the 5 elements with the 9 cycles, 3 of the elements are refined further; there are 2 tree energies, 2 metal energies and 3 earth energies. Hence the relation to the name of the system – star referring to cycle – ki referring to energy – 9 cycles of energy= “9 Star Ki.”

Using this 9 Star Ki system, each person has the potential for 3 elemental influences in their nature based on their year, month and day of birth. The position of these elements will also have an influence on how the characteristics are expressed. The most powerful aspect of this information is the behavior we express based on our elemental nature. The more we understand what makes us tick, the more we can create a lifestyle that supports us and have a better understanding of the people in our lives, creating more harmonious relationships.

Here are a few examples:

Metal ElementControl, Order, Precision  A person who has an aspect of metal energy in their nature will be more comfortable when the situation is under control (usually their control) and their environment is neat and orderly, all things in their proper place.

Refined even further–
“6 Metal” energy relates to father’s energy: authority, being in control of everyone and everything
“7 Metal” energy is the most sensitive to the environment, from scents and the feel of fabrics on their skin, to the most important: energy – walking into a crowded room can be quite uncomfortable as this nature is so sensitive, they can feel everything going on around them.

Understanding the depth of how much this aspect is a part of a person can help them make better decisions on how to operate with their strengths on a daily basis.

Combining the 9 Star Ki with reading the physical aspects of a person, the information about the individual’s make-up becomes more unique. Our physical attributes are also connected with the 5 elements, for instance spiky hair and pointy nose adds the fire element. Shadows under the eyes or a dome forehead adds water element. These attributes may enhance an already present element or add an element not present in the birth year, month and day.

Feng Shui is brilliant because it is the one thing that ties us all together inside and out – who we are and how we relate to our environment. As we create an environment where we are most comfortable and supported (based on the nature of the elements we most identify with) we can express ourselves in a productive manner. We have a way to express our most inherent nature.

We also gain a clear understanding of the people in our lives. As we begin to understand their expressions through the 5 elements, there is no judgment. Knowing people are expressing their true nature allows compassion.

Here is a brief overview of the 5 elements, which do you resonate with? Take a look around you… does your space reflect your true nature?

Water “To Be” Helps Us Adapt and Express Our Feelings
Water depicts stillness and reflection, movement and flow.
The season of winter and time of midnight. Dream Dream Dream.
Fabrics that flow, irregular shapes, wavy fluid lines and a chaise to lounge, along with colors of turquoise blues and black, signify the energy of water.

Tree “To Do” The Start of New Beginnings
Tree energy depicts sprouting growth and new beginnings.
The season of spring and early morning. Let’s go go go!
Tall vertical shapes, rustic style, practical and leafy patterns with bright green colors, represent this active energy in nature.

Fire “To Live” Transformational, Playful and Passionate
Fire depicts expansive energy, inspiration, our passions, and illumination.
The season of summer and the time of high noon. Let’s have fun fun fun!
Angular, pyramid shapes, eclectic and dramatic style along with the hot colors of red, yellow, fuchsia and orange inspire.

Earth “To Nurture” Supports Feeling Grounded, Comfort, Safe and Secure
Earth depicts stability, grounding, and balance.
The time of pause between summer and autumn, that stillness in late afternoon. Contemplation.
Overstuffed pillows, square, or rectangle furniture. Cozy Comfortable & Collectibles.
Warm nurturing colors of sand, gold, clay, terra cotta, and chocolates.

Metal “To Refine” Focus, Precision, “Meticulous”
Metal depicts the inward contracting of energy, all things coming to completion.
The season of autumn and evening. Precise.
Minimal clean lines, with metal or shapes that are circular, oval, and more rounded.
Monochromatic colors of whites, pastels along with gold, bronze, copper and silver.

 

Lois Kramer PerezLois Kramer Perez is a published author and the Feng Shui Expert. She proudly served as a General Board Member of the IFSG (February 2013-September 2017).  Read more about Lois.

Home Sweet Home

The holiday season is upon us. Travel, gifts, shopping, family dinners, and more.  The time after the holidays can bring a much needed rejuventation for mind, body and soul.  You may be very happy to be at ‘home sweet home’ or already longing for your next holiday.  Both these feelings are very relevant from a Feng Shui point of view! What is your experience? Are you feeling at ‘home’ again? Read more by Wieke van Leeuwen

Wieke van Leeuwen - Home Sweet HomeYour house, your home, or “Your house reflects who you are”… You are so used to your own home, that looking at it objectively is quite difficult. Except… when you enter your home after a long holiday.! What are your first impressions?  Does the place make you feel welcome? Where there loving, caring people who watered your plants and left you flowers? Are you happy to dive into your favorite seat or was your holiday couch a better landing place?

When you want to apply Feng Shui it starts with being aware.  Sense where your home is not comfortable. Then, step by step, you can try and change things. Off course your home won’t miraculously move to the gorgeous location with an ocean view! And it will be difficult to have that outdoor feeling of camping in your 5th floor apartment!  What Feng Shui can do for you is emphasize the aspects of life that you value! Put up your holiday pictures of the mountains for example in the 6_metal Gua: The place in your home representing traveling…  Put your couch near the window instead of in front of your TV, so you can sit by the window and daydream like you did on holiday instead of  focusing on the TV. Or did you miss your friends and family when you where away?  Then it is a good idea to hang their pictures on the wall of 3_wood: the Gua for social connections and family!

Make use of ‘coming home again’ by being aware of your impressions of your own home! Evaluate what you like and don’t like about your house. And… act accordingly! When you think Feng Shui is still too ‘spiritual’, you can start with ‘ordinary’ things like: Repairing your jamming front door. Buying some extra pillows so your couch feels like a nice place to cuddle up in like the one at your holiday destination! And finally change the light-bulb that has been broken for far too long!

You don’t have to fix everything at once,  but keep in mind what went through your mind when returning to your home! Keep in mind what you want to change before you return to the rush of day-to-day life.  Because how you feel in your own home is essential for your wellbeing… In the end, only you are the one who is capable of changing that!

 

Wieke Van Leeuwen Feng ShuiWieke van Leeuwen is a professional Feng Shui consultant from the Netherlands who uses her skills through her work in primary education and healing.  Read more about Wieke.

 

Article/Photo Source: Home Sweet Home

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