Tag Archives: bagua

Happy Summer Solstice!

FlowersHappy Summer Solstice! I love this time of year especially because the days are long, the sunsets are beautiful and my garden is in bloom! I know that sounds odd; after all, hasn’t most of the country been experiencing spring blooms since the Spring Equinox in March? Growing up in Texas, I was accustomed to bluebonnets blooming in April. I was to later learn that Minnesotans were looking at piles of snow in April! And to add insult to injury, several years ago Minnesota was subjected to a snowstorm May 2. Yikes! Actually Minnesotans have seen snow as late as June, but that was back in 1935! So I’m feeling confident; the odds of a snowstorm are zero and my garden is blooming!

‘Just living is not enough,’ said the butterfly.
‘One must have sunshine, freedom,
and a little flower.’
Hans Christian Andersen 

 The Summer Solstice, also known as “Midsummer,” is the longest day of the year, the day when the Sun is at its highest point. Solstice comes from the Latin term solstitium (“sun stands still). The date of the Summer Solstice is always somewhere between June 20 and 22 and signals life at its most expansive.

The solstice serves as a reminder of the reverence and understanding that early people had for the sky. Ancient cultures knew that the sun’s path across the sky, the length of daylight, and the location of the sunrise and sunset all shifted in a regular way throughout the year; these were used  as markers to determine when to plant and harvest crops.

StonehengeSome 5,000 years ago, people placed huge stones, or megaliths, in a circle on a broad plain in what is now England, aligning them with the June solstice sunrise. It is believed that this unique stone circle, called Stonehenge, was erected to establish the date of the Summer Solstice. Some historians point to Stonehenge as evidence that ancient humans used the June Solstice as a way to organize their calendars. Viewed from its center, the sun rises at a particular point on the horizon on the day of the June Solstice, suggesting that the builders of Stonehenge may have used the solstice as a starting-point to count the days of the year.

While we may never comprehend the full significance of Stonehenge, we do know that this knowledge wasn’t limited to just one part of the world. Around the same time Stonehenge was being constructed in England, two great pyramids and then the Sphinx were built on Egyptian sands. Standing at the Sphinx on the summer solstice and gazing toward the two pyramids, you will see the sun set exactly between them.

And while these ancient peoples built monuments to follow the sun’s yearly progress, today we know that the solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and its motion in orbit around the sun.

Celebrations surrounding this time also have a time-honored history. Northern European countriesmidsummer pole like Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland acknowledge the earth’s fertility with bonfires; they decorate their homes with flower garlands, greenery, and tree branches. In Sweden and many parts of Finland, people dance around Maypoles. In the United States, the Summer Solstice is often celebrated by local festivals and gatherings with family and friends.

From a Feng Shui perspective, the Summer Solstice signifies the shift from the Wood energy of spring to the Fire energy of summer. Represented by the sun, the Fire Element reflects warmth, brilliance and vitality. In humans, it represents excitement, enthusiasm and generosity.

BaguaLtr04aa01RRRIn the Feng Shui Bagua, this vital life force is found in the Fame and Reputation sector. This area signifies the public aspect of your life – your reputation, your integrity, how you are perceived and what people say about you. The color red  holds the highest vibrational energy of any of the colors and represents the Fire Element. This Element reflects warmth, brilliance and vitality. In humans, it represents excitement, enthusiasm and generosity.

As we enjoy the beauty and bounty brought by the energy of the Summer Solstice, it is an auspicious time to focus on the Fame and Reputation area of your home. Energetically enhanced, it can provide extra support in this area of your life during this time. Consider adding a vase of red flowers in that gua with the intention of supporting personal growth and expansion. Use this powerful Fire energy to help you reflect on what it is you want to bring to the world and what you would like to be known and remembered for.

One way of celebrating the Solstice is to consider it a sacred time of reflection,
release, restoration and renewal.
Sarah Ban Breathnach

Outhouse Feng Shui

Several years ago, I came across an article on Outhouse Feng Shui. It was a fun concept and unique application of Feng Shui.

For anyone who has ever gone camping, the outhouse is a welcome essential. While I appreciate their function, I also find them gross so – quick in, quick out! There’s really no need to “Feng Shui” an outhouse in that situation, or is there? Something to think about in your spare time! In the meantime, I actually experienced an outhouse with good Feng Shui!

But let me start at the beginning. In the practice of Feng Shui, every room in your home has a specific function (or should have). There are also clear Feng Shui guidelines for enhancing positive energy (Chi) and mitigating any negative energy in each room, depending on its function and location in the Bagua of your home.

Bathrooms are especially challenging. Their primary function is elimination and, while we certainly wouldn’t want to live without them, by their very nature they drain Chi (energy). Sinks, bathtubs, showers and toilets have yin water energy and it is a draining energy that depletes our personal energy. The practice of Feng Shui advises that bathrooms also diminish your luck in the area where the bathroom is located; if in partnership, for example, it can decrease relationship luck. If a bathroom is located somewhere in the wealth area of your Bagua, it has the potential of draining your prosperity.

Bagua2aaTake a look at the Bagua of your home. Locate your bathroom(s). Do you have a bathroom in the health (center) area of your Bagua? Does your bathroom or toilet share a wall with your bed or your stove? Are you able to see into the bathroom from your bed? All of these are considered problems in the practice of Feng Shui and require specific adjustments (suggestions for mitigating the negative energy generated by these proximities).

Generally, if you’ve heard some Feng Shui “rules,” you might know that one rule is to keep the toilet lids down. I am amazed at how many people keep their toilet lid up; not only does it allow energy to drain away, but it feels unsanitary to me! Who likes walking into a bathroom with an open toilet? Your home toilet is not a public bathroom.

If you are feeling “drained” in any way, after identifying where your bathrooms are located in your Bagua, assess the condition of those bathrooms. Any dripping faucets? Leaking toilets? You know what to do!

The flush toilet was invented in 1596, but didn’t become widespread until 1851. Before bathrooms, the “toilet” was a collection of communal outhouses, chamber pots and holes in the ground. As people settled on the Great Plains, a need for sanitary facilities arose. In order to meet this need, outhouses were constructed using lumber or bricks. They were a type of “folk architecture” and soon became commonplace.

While outhouses are one of the humbler elements of our sanitation systems, they have received a 38705105 - old outhousesurprising amount of design attention and even public affection. They were a considerable advance over many older disposal methods in the United States (open trenches, cesspits), and the U.S. government actively encouraged their use in rural areas in the 1930s and 40s.

Location, location, location! Feng Shui tenets include practicality and function: Outhouses were located in backyards, placed a distance away from the house, yet close enough for easy access. They were also situated away from wells to minimize risk of ground water pollution, contamination, and disease. Sometimes the structures were placed near the family’s wood pile, so users, on their way back to the house, could pick up and carry in an armload of wood, so there would always be wood to feed the stove. And in Colonial times, when few people could read, a crescent moon cutout on the outhouse door was the symbol for women while the star cutout was for men.

My experience with outhouse Feng Shui was at a time in my life when, unhappy with my job, I decided to go on a week-long silent retreat in an attempt to gain clarity and perspective. I called and reserved a tiny one-room hermitage for a week in the middle of January. I was not deterred when I learned it had no running water and an outhouse!

And what an outhouse! It sat about 8 feet outside the door of my cottage on an elevated platform. The door to the outhouse faced away from the door to my little cabin. There was a window, with a lace curtain, and the floor was carpeted. A toilet paper holder, a rack with magazines and a couple of pictures on the walls completed the interior. While I knew nothing of Feng Shui at the time of this experience, I was impressed at the attempt to create a welcoming and comfortable environment in, of all things, an outhouse!

In the article about Outhouse Feng Shui, the author took an historical perspective, honoring the heritage of the outhouse that sat on her property. She also intentionally took a Feng Shui approach by first removing clutter, including dust, cobwebs and weeds. She repaired any deteriorating wood, made sure the door hinge worked, planted flowers around it and even considered bricking the pathway to it. She gave it a fresh coat of outdoor paint and painted the inside a bright, cheery color. I appreciate her nostalgia, and application of Feng Shui by creating function, cleanliness and beauty. I would have loved seeing before and after pictures of her outhouse.

The outhouse, a subject of photography books and posters, certainly seems to have an enduring place in the public imagination . If you just happen to have an outhouse on your property, consider revitalizing it as a delightful, and historical, focal point. It’s good Feng Shui!

Also good Feng Shui are the following suggestions for our modern bathrooms:

Keep the bathroom door closed, especially if it adjoins the kitchen or bedroom.

Keep the toilet lid down.

Replace any leaky faucets (energetically preventing them from flushing away personal energy and money energy).

And, of course, keep everything clean and in good repair.

 Life is like a movie, since there aren’t any commercial breaks, you have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of it. Garry Trudeau

Twenty Seven Notebooks

I counted them and was amazed to discover the number was 27!  Twenty-seven notebooks. In Feng Shui practice, the number 27 is an auspicious number, which adds up to nine, representing accomplishment and completion.This month, during my annual New Year ritual of cleaning, sorting and organizing, I gathered notebooks from a variety of places in my home. I had decided to locate them in one spot with the intention of going through them to determine which to keep and which to discard. Wait! Not so fast!

HNY2When I was a child, my initial awareness of New Year’s rituals was receiving the fun noisemakers and hats our parents brought my sister and me from their New Year’s Eve parties each year. When I was old enough to start school however, I came to know August, not January, as my New Year’s Eve ritual. It was the day my parents took me to get supplies for the new school year. And the first day of school became the first day of my New Year.

I don’t recall setting specific intentions or even particularly thinking about how High angle view of spiral formula in digital tablet by noptebook and school supplies on wooden tablemy school year would go. I simply felt exhilaration at holding those new 50-cent spiral notebooks, with their promise of a clean slate and a fresh start!

New notebooks remained symbolic for me all through school and into college and graduate school. But, after I got my first job, the notebooks of my youth were replaced with different ways to re-evaluate my goals and ambitions for a new beginning. I added New Year’s Eve celebrations and resolutions. When I became a Feng Shui Practitioner, Chinese New Year rituals and intention setting became part of my traditions, as well.

bagua3Keep in mind, any time of year is a good time to hit a restart button – clean out the garage, clean off your desk, clean out a closet, re-organize a drawer. Any of these activities represent a shift in energy and reinforce the Feng Shui Principle: Your Space Reflects Your Life. We all have moments, for example, when we open that junk drawer, closet, or cabinet and suddenly think: Enough! I have to clean this out! In this moment, your home is communicating to you! Are you listening? Note where that junk drawer, closet or cabinet is located in your home’s Bagua. Then take a moment to consider what is happening in that area of your life! It’s a message to take notice of something that needs your attention! You may not understand it immediately, but by focusing your awareness, it will reveal itself over time.

Now, back to those 27 notebooks. What’s the message here? They were scattered over several rooms and, of course, filled with information – notes from classes, webinars and workshops. Perhaps it’s suggesting my mind is scattered with bits of information that need to congeal into something more tangible for the coming year. Right now, however, it seems daunting and exhausting to go through them. And then there is that auspicious number 27, a number of completion. Perhaps the message is to just toss them and start the year with a clean slate. I’m uncertain at this writing which direction to go. I’m waiting for a clearer message. Stay tuned!

Unplanned De-Cluttering

My unplanned de-cluttering began with an email. The Feng Shui Institute of the Midwest was organizing a fundraiser in memory of two spouses and one member who had passed from cancer. All members were invited to bring any Feng Shui books and related items no longer wanted to exchange for donations to cancer research.

Spring de-cluttering had not yet entered my mind and, if it had, my home office bookcase would not have been on the list! Interesting how quickly one’s attention can be focused where it had not before. I took a look at the bookcase housing my Feng Shui books and decided to dig in – one shelf at a time!

Because, like many of us, I’m not one who is able to casually discard an item – clothing, household goods, books, etc. I find the Feng Shui method of approaching clutter clearing tremendously helpful! First, review its function in your life, discerning if it continues to have a valid purpose: Does it still fit? Do you still use it? Does it continue to bring you pleasure? Books are tough! They are old friends! So, I sat on the floor with my old friends piled around me. As I picked up each one, lovingly looking at its cover before slowly flipping through the pages, memories flooded back of my excitement when I first began the study of Feng Shui! It was an incredibly rich time in my life – access to “new” ancient knowledge and the formation of new lifelong friendships!

Many of the books were filled with underlining and notes in the margins, as I was voraciously trying to absorb all I was learning at the time. And now, 20 years later, the time had come to bless and release. I don’t know how many Feng Shui books I have, but, suffice it to say, my bookcase remains mostly full after saying farewell to 38 of them!

TibetanAltar02aIt was fun to attend the fundraiser and see what each person had brought. There were lots of books and other wonderful Feng Shui related items! While tempting, I stayed true to my intention of not bringing anything home. Oh, except for one – a beautiful pop-up book of Tibetan Buddhist Altars! Thank you to the person who released it!

 If you keep something that you’re not using…then no one else can use it, either. Author unknown

After returning home, I spent the remainder of the day organizing that particular bookcase. IBookcase01 cleaned and re-arranged the remaining books.The next day, I purchased a new floor lamp which I placed next to the bookcase. Clearing out releases old energy and allows clarity to the area in question. In fact, my Feng Shui bookcase sits, intentionally, in the Knowledge, Wisdom and Self-Improvement area of my office. Clutter in this area of the Bagua can limit your ability to learn, make wise decisions, and improve yourself. That must have needed attention, thus the FSIM email!

Clutter is a weight that has built on top of you so gradually, you don’t even realize anymore that it is holding you down. Mary Johanson, maryorganizes.com

I wasn’t done! That office project led to another interesting area of de-cluttering – my computer emails. During the time of my injury, my ability to be on my computer for any length of time was severely restricted for the better part of a year. As a result, emails accumulated – 16,400 of them! Talk about electronic clutter! So I decided to tackle the unseen clutter in my computer, which is located in the Family and Community area of my office. This area represents our family of origin: parents, ancestors and siblings. It also represents any group that comes together for a common cause: people with whom you work, your church, a book club, etc. Clutter here can cause problems with superiors, authority figures and parents, as well as within your family or community as a whole. While I’m not experiencing any difficulties in this realm of my life, as so often is the case in Feng Shui, attention to this area may have prevented any potential complications.

I am happy to report I brought those 16,400 emails down to zero! Part of this huge undertaking included unsubscribing to resources that provide instruction and support for spiritual enlightenment. In my ongoing quest for spiritual growth, I had been accumulating them for years. Again, I applied the Feng Shui process of reviewing whether these resources still have purpose in my life and discerning if they continue to provide meaningful information for my continuing personal growth and development. These questions speak to a seldom-identified subliminal reason for clutter: Identity. We often hold on to items that remind us of who we used to be. The important question, of course, is “Am I still that same person?”

 Self-reflection is the first step to decluttering because it’s not about the stuff. Author unknown

 Perhaps clearing the energy in my area of self-wisdom and adding additional light enabled me toDancer recognize and own the wisdom I have gained through the years. This recognition freed me to bless and unsubscribe from many of those sites, making space for other higher conscious information to show up! Now, when I look at my emails, I see four or five rather than thousands! A huge weight has been lifted! My Chi is significantly lighter! We never know what might show up to motivate a shift in our energy. A casual email invitation turned out to be a powerful motivator for unplanned de-cluttering!

A Wake-Up Year

Rooster01blogJanuary 28 ushers in the Year of the Rooster, a wake-up year! The only bird included in the Chinese zodiac, the Rooster is number ten of the twelve animals. Roosters wake up early in the morning to rouse everyone into action with their enthusiasm – not just for one person but everyone – so the call to action is for a group effort. Collaboration, Precision and Clarity are fundamental characteristics of a Rooster year.

Those born in the Year of the Rooster have many exemplary characteristics, including honesty, ambition, and intelligence. Rooster people make loyal and devoted friends. They are communicative and independent and don’t like to rely on others. While enthusiastic about new things, Rooster people can soon become indifferent. This means they need to practice faith, perseverance and patience to follow through with their plans. People born in the Year of the Rooster are deep thinkers and very observant. They tend to see things in black and white – which can make them perfectionists and, thus, appear arrogant.

In this Rooster Year – no matter which Chinese animal you are – you can benefit by tapping into these Rooster traits: precision, clarity, independence, capability, warm-heartedness, self-respect, and quick mindedness. However, you must also avoid its weaknesses: impatience, criticism, eccentricity, narrow-mindedness and selfishness.

2017 is the year to create yourself! It has never been more critical to follow the perennial wisdom that life is not about discovering yourself, it’s really about creating yourself! To that end, it is important to use this wake-up year energy to clarify what it is you want to manifest in 2017.

We usually begin by creating specific intentions/resolutions. For example: “I will go to the gym three times a week!” The pitfall, unfortunately, is that the resolution typically becomes a command to which our inner voice tends to resist: “How I’m going to work THAT into my schedule!” Or the intention begins with enthusiasm but loses momentum in the third month and the excuses and self-sabotaging begin! I recently read an interesting article presenting research proposing it’s better to ask yourself a question instead of telling yourself to change your behavior to achieve a goal.  “Will I exercise in 2017? If the answer is “Yes” then ask, “How can I make that happen?” “Well, maybe I can start by signing up for a yoga class, or an aerobics class once a week.” “Will I sign up this week?” “Yes!” And so on. You now have begun a respectful dialogue with yourself that can lead to reasonable and realistic outcomes.

bagua3Using the Feng Shui Bagua map as a guide to create your vision board for 2017 brings greater focus. Write your intentions or find images that represent them and then find their locations on the Bagua. If your intent is to have a loving relationship, for example, then that written intention or symbolic image can be placed in the upper right hand corner of the vision board, which represents love and relationships. If it’s about traveling more, than an image of a dream destination can be placed in the lower right hand corner, the area representing helpful people and travel; going to the gym is symbolized by the Health area, and so on. Because the Bagua embodies all areas of our lives, it is a powerful and intentional tool for setting intentions!

The Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar, rich in traditions, folklore and rituals. It is not exaggerating to say that its importance is equivalent to our Western Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year holidays combined. Preparations begin a month before when people start cleaning, buying presents, decorations, specific foods and new clothing.

Special foods represent happiness, good luck, prosperity, and long life: fish to increase prosperity,66086531 - tasty chinese spring rolls with yellow noodles. selective focus. dumplings and/or spring rolls for wealth, sweet rice balls for family togetherness, and long noodles for happiness and longevity. It is an auspicious time!

And there is much meaning and preparation associated with the energy of each Chinese New Year in the practice of Feng Shui, as well. In Feng Shui philosophy, cleaning one’s home is considered a ritual that honors our sacred space and its inhabitants. Cleaning metaphorically clears out any negative energy or bad luck that found its way in during the year and makes way for incoming good luck. This is cleaning with intention!

My wish for you is that this wake-up year brings new reasons to celebrate, exciting adventures to explore and the ability to embrace any challenges! It is a year to crow with clarity, conviction and creativity!

44848936 - 2017 new year with chinese symbol of  rooster.year of rooster

A Month of Reunions

To my surprise, August turned out to be a month of reunions with old friends.

In Feng Shui, an energy template or map (grid) called the Bagua (meaning eight sided) is used to analyze the layout of any space you occupy. It determines where different areas in your home, office or business are connected to specific areas of your life: Career, Knowledge, Family, Abundance, Recognition, Partnership, Children and Creativity, Helpful People and Health.

bagua3Friends are represented in two of those life areas: the first is Family. While this gua designates your family of origin – parents, ancestors, and siblings –­­ it also represents any group that comes together for a common cause (work, church, book club, etc.). The second area is Helpful People, which symbolizes anyone who supports you financially, spiritually, and/or emotionally; it also represents anyone who is helpful in any way in your day-to-day life. In our particular floor plan, the Family area falls in a part of our garage and Helpful People is located in the lower right area of our living room.

In July I cleaned out the area in the garage that represents Family; I also put a new plant in the living room in the area of Helpful People. While I did not engage in these activities with any specific intentions other than to de-clutter and decorate, the energetic shifts appeared to have created an opportunity for special friends from my past to show up!

 I pay attention to who and what shows up in my life so this sudden spate of reunions focused my attention on the meaning of friendship, old and new.

Synonyms for Friendship include attachment, an emotional bond; relationship, the way in which two or more people are connected; association, an organization of people with a common purpose; bond, a common emotion or interest; and link, a factor that connects one person to another.

 And we know, like life, there is an ebb and flow to our friendships. Not all standpeople the test of time. But we also know there are long lasting attachments we have with some of those people, regardless of time and distance. We can’t exactly put our finger on why, but we know we are “connected.”

Paul Hudson, in his insightful article on 7 Reasons Why You Should Reconnect With Old Friends, gives us a comprehensive overview of the purpose of friends in our lives. He has this to say about friendships:

“Life wouldn’t be nearly as interesting, exciting or emotional without friends along for the ride. Friends are there to teach us about how other people work – they are our window to the world outside ourselves and our family life. They introduce us to the diversity of human nature as well as teach us how difficult it can be to get along.

“Friends serve a very important role in our development as individuals. They also function as a support team when life gets a bit overwhelming – which, at one point or another, it always does. As we grow older, we create new friendships and allow older ones to die out.”

When I began my career, my colleagues became my immediate new friends. When I became a newlywed, my husband’s work colleagues were added and our list of friends grew. We bought a home and neighbors became friends by reason of proximity. The list grew when our children started school and their friendships brought other parents into our lives.

And then a defining moment happened. I got divorced! It was amazing to experience how quickly the number of my friends dropped out of my life! I must confess it took me by surprise! In this situation, the unexpected loss of friends was a huge life lesson in grief, not to mention the already gut wrenching loss of a marriage and family unit as I knew it.

The friends who remained, propped me up and kept me going. I returned to work and made additional friends who also became my best friends for the past 30 years.

And there are those special people you meet with whom you don’t necessarily become “best friends” but with whom you share times in your life. I think of them as “peripheral friends,” and in my opinion, they are vital links in our tapestry of life. They connect the little memories with the big ones. And really, in the big picture, all are friends and all are treasured!

So, it has been with great, unexpected delight that August became a month of reunions with dear friends from different times in my life. They have enriched me in ways they will never know!

There were immense feelings of joyfulness and gratitude and much laughter as we reminisced over shared experiences. My heart was full!

36268308 - sharing love with you

 

Creating Space for Love, Part 2

I could never have anticipated that events I experienced during the summer of 2003 were energetically creating space for love. Nor could I have imagined these series of happenings were conspiring to bring me to the auspicious day when I would meet my life partner.

The strange combination of symptoms I began experiencing that summer persisted. I had completed a variety of routine medical tests, the results of which, thankfully, came back negative. It was now August and my doctor had scheduled electromyography and a nerve conduction study in an ongoing attempt to identify a cause for the weakness in my arms and legs.

HandsPrior to that, however, I attended my professional workshop and coincidentally met the woman who was to become my acupuncturist. I called her the following week to make an appointment. My new acupuncturist’s credentials met my standards. She had L.Ac. – Licensed Acupuncturist – and M.A.O.M. – Masters of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine – behind her name. Another important aspect: my personality resonated with hers. As with any person caring for your body, mind and spirit, trust, confidence and rapport are essential!

The final “test” was to experience the energy of her office. It is so important to pay attention to the Waitenergy of a person’s office or treatment space. Any place you enter to do business must feel good. You want to walk in and feel welcome, comfortable and energized or relaxed, depending on the purpose of the visit. This applies whether it’s the office of your physician, massage therapist or tax accountant!

I was pleased her offices were well appointed, uncluttered and peaceful. And this is the BEST of all: My symptoms disappeared after that first appointment! I know! Whatever Chi was blocked was just waiting for the right treatment to “un-block” it.

I value Western medicine, having worked in a major hospital for over twenty years; however, there are times when Eastern medicine is appropriate. I believe our health benefits from a combination of both, and the knowledge to know when to utilize one or the other or both in combination. Though my symptoms disappeared, I continued regular acupuncture treatment with my new intention of maintaining general over-all good health and a feeling of well being. I happily cancelled the electromyography test!

During this time, of course, I continued to work on my answers to the BIG questions: Did I really want to create space, both physically and emotionally, for a partner and, if so, was I ready? I didn’t take this process lightly and when I finally gave my answer to my Feng Shui friends, the best I could come up with was, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” That was good enough for them – they were ecstatic! While still a bit reluctant, once I said the words, I was committed to follow through and see where this journey led.

We scheduled a Feng Shui appointment (yes, we schedule these among ourselves just as we do for clients). Like everyone, we sometimes find ourselves too close to a situation. Likewise, familiarity with our own space occasionally clouds our ability to objectively assess the energy(s) that may be blocking progress. When this happens, we call in the troops – our Feng Shui colleagues. And there are no holds barred!

Our appointment was scheduled for an evening in October, 2003. They spent close to three hours going through my home, focusing particularly on my bedroom. They moved my bed to a new position, which required moving every other piece of furniture there! They made sure I had “pairs” of items in my bedroom, placed “special” items in the bagua of my bed between my mattress and box spring, created a lovely table setting for two in my small breakfast room, and much, much more. The most surprising finding, however, was their identifying over 80 female images in my home! If anyone had asked, I would have been surprised by the question and answered about a dozen. Talk about not seeing what is in your space!

PaintingWhen I divorced and moved into my town home, I was single for the first time in twenty years. I was feeling empowered as a single woman starting over. As I began to decorate my new home with art, I found myself drawn to images of single women. Of course, I wasn’t thinking, “There is a painting of single women I must have,” I simply resonated with the “art.” Oh, those blind spots we have! Leave it to the Feng Shui Divas to do their job!

Of course, Feng Shui is about creating harmony and one aspect of that is to bring balance to an environment. Here comes the critically important Yin Yang theory again: everything contains yin and yang, which are mutually exclusive yet interdependent and complementary. The goal is to maintain a balance between the two. That’s why we love a fire (yang) in winter (yin). It creates compatible balance. I had unwittingly created an imbalance with a predominance of Yin energy. Not to fear! My Feng Shui Team of Love Divas “balanced” every one of those 80 female images with male images. A powerful partnership of energies was created!

At that time, two of the women were dating men with the name “Tom.” Our Feng Shui teacher’s husband is Tom. In the course of the evening, I casually said, “I guess I need to call in a Tom!” None of us gave the comment a second thought.

 

To be continued. . .

The Year of the Free Spirited Horse

This is the year of the free spirited Horse. The Horse came galloping in on the lunar Chinese New Year at midnight, January 30, 2014. The seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac, the Horse, a Fire Element, loves life and adventure, is charming, smart and popular. Quick in all he does, he is wise and talented with a cheerful disposition and a gregarious nature. He can also be very headstrong, stubborn and quick to anger.

HorsesThe Chinese Element in this Horse year is Wood. Wood fuels Fire so we can expect the energy to be more intense, willful and independent. What does this mean for each of us? While characteristics of our Chinese animal have their own specific interactions with the horse, no one is exempt from this fast paced and active year. Will this energetic year serve to increase our already perceived busyness or might it support a greater sense of free spiritedness?  Since I’m voting for free spirited, I decided to explore what that actually means. With horses, we might think wild and independent. When attributed to people, definitions are many and include: unconventional, independent or uninhibited; those with highly individual or unique attitudes, lifestyles or imaginations; nonconformists. Perhaps, in all of that, free spirited is being true to yourself.

What do you consider free spirited? I immediately think of the playful, uninhibited energy  of Kidschildren. Does being a free spirit exempt you from the burden and cares of everyday life? I think of a friend who quit her job to follow her passion. Are free spirits risk takers? If so, they are certainly not exempt from responsibilities and worries. Maybe its an attitude!

Attitude decides the size of our dreams and influences our determination when we are faced with new challenges. Jim Rohn

While continuing to explore the concept of what it is to be or become a free spirit, I found several articles that shared a variety of perspectives on the subject. The following is a compilation of some of those thoughts; a few may be surprise you. They may also raise awareness of any stereotypical thinking that stands in the way of our stepping out of the comfortable, predefined roles in which we tend to live. Additionally, these viewpoints might reinforce how difficult it is for most of us to live the life of a free spirit, even for occasional moments, in a culture that rewards conformity.

  1. Free Spirits dream and dream big. They have the courage to follow those dreams. FreeSpirit
  2. They identify barriers that may be standing in their way and then find solutions for moving past them.
  3. Free Spirits live in the moment. In our day-to-day lives, with our schedules and deadlines, living in the moment can seem almost impossible. However, noticing the moments in which we live seems attainable.
  4. Free Spirits keep their self-importance in check. It has been said that ego is the death of authenticity.
  5. Free Spirits honor other people’s freedom. As we seek our own personal freedom, it is critical to remember to be generous with others who are also seeking theirs.
  6. Free Spirits get to know not only themselves but the world around them.
  7. Free Spirits laugh, especially at themselves.
  8. They put a high value on free choice. Everyone else seems to have an opinion of how we should live our lives. A free spirited person does what he or she thinks is right, not what others tell them is right. 
  9. Free Spirits develop their own unique vision of life and the world, while remaining open to discussion and compromise.
  10. They have the courage to try things that other people think are impossible, unimportant, or impractical.
  11. Free Spirits trust themselves and trust in the natural flow of life; they trust in the unknown.

DancerUse the energy of this year of the Horse to get in touch with your own free spirit. I hope above list is helpful. You can also begin by applying the Feng Shui Bagua to assess the Children and Creativity area of your home. While this area represents your own children and any other children in your life you are close to, it also represents your inner child. How often do we visit the creative playfulness of our inner child? Locate that area in your home. How is it used? Any clutter or stagnant energy there? Once you’ve evaluated and made the necessary adjustments, set an intention about how you will embrace your free spirit this year. Let your inner child be your guide. A free spirit is easily recognized by his or her vitality, warmth, and openness. Do whatever allows you to get in touch with your aliveness. I plan to join you in that endeavor. Welcome to 2014!