The #animal world can teach us so much about good and bad feng shui. Most animals have an innate sense of what’s good and what’s not. (here’s short video I did about our four legged feng shui masters..http://goo.gl/WV1nAH) But a friend posted a visual essay which shows just how masterful the world of #owls are at disguise. In their case, it is the same a Joe Remington and his #camouflage suit going out to hunt elk or deer – you don’t want to be seen so you can capture what you are hunting.http://goo.gl/NnxSQ8 Owls do us one better, they can flight without making any sound, which means they can hear mice under ground or in the grass and theme can’t hear them! http://goo.gl/rQq6pq What’s the lesson here? What do you want to do with the energy in a room, or a business? Up it? Calm it? Quiet it? Make it more lively? You can do it all using some of the subtle tools of feng shui. And the result doesn’t need to look like Chow Fun’s carryout! Not sure how to get there? Give Sugeet a call (541 488-1777) and leave a message. The conversation will explore what might need to happen to get you what you want!
As I study Feng Shui, the tradition, rules, and guidelines that have come down to us in the West, I have questions. Sometimes trying to figure out how particular ‘cure’ should be applied. Sometimes the poetic nature of the base principle becomes downright confusing as how to use it. The entire scheme of Feng Shui is steeped in a culture most of us here in the west find foreign – we don’t have the context. The poetic way it is expressed doesn’t fit our love of specificity.
The wisdom of Feng Shui made me wonder, what was here in the West that could also be called “feng shui”? Surely there had to be things that have been developed here that reflected the wisdom of the East but rooted in the West.
Our local paper, Sneak Preview, just published a notice that a Permaculture Design Course would be offered beginning in February. Many of the principles contained in Permaculture includes what a sustainable or regenerative lifestyle looks like.
This is NOT a Western middle class style. Permaculture incorporates what happens as climate change takes it’s toll.
The article defines Permaculture at “a system of land use planning and a design protocol for creating human habitations that embody three ethical foundations: care of the Earth, care of people, and the reinvestment of surplus to support those ethics.” It’s basis is positive approach to see our place in nature – not as dominators and controllers – but as an intelligent contributing part. If successful, is that not also the results of successful Feng Shui?
I’ve been invited to talk Saturday, Feb 27, at the Chinese New Year’s celebration in Jacksonville. I will tease out some of permaculture practices that I term Western Feng Shui and how we can use them now. I will demonstrate the interconnections between Fng Shui and Permaculture. Of course, many will say that Feng Shui is about the placement of items INSIDE the house. Originally it was used to site the grave sites of the ancestors. Hardly inside stuff! We can use it when siting a house, deciding whether or not to buy certain land, how to lay out an effective landscape. For those who feel Feng Shui is only for how to paint the wall and where to put the couch, I doubt that the talk will have any interest, but for others, I hope you will make it. The talk will be in the Old Jail in Jacksonville.
I will be giving two talks that day. You can make sure this will be a good use of your time if you will write me a note and tell me what you would like to know by attending. use <firstname.lastname@example.org> to send me what you’d like to take away.
In my November note, I said there would be a piece on my new stand desk. Why did I do it? Fad? Physics? Productivity? Let me take you on a short journey…
My old office arrangement, even when I had cleared most of the clutter still looked, well . . .
– – cluttered.
I had recently finished working with a couple who worked from home. She had build a rigid standing desk and loved it. He was building one for himself. They were both enthusiastic for them. They had many positive things to say about them. I became curious.
I saw a Kickstarter campaign to build a reasonably price standing desk that could be both – a sitting desk and a standing one. The campaign was very convincing – lots of studies extolling the benefits of a standing desk.
Research was needed.
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Sitting is the new smoking.
What began as a curiosity has provoked a great deal of studious inquiry. Results?
• Reduced risk of obesity
• Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic problems
• Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
• Reduced risk for many kinds of cancer
Wow! And that’s just what the Smithsonian Magazine reported. (March 26, 2014)
Sitting six hours a day ups he death rate by 20% for men, 40% for women!
That’s scary while some other research says otherwise, but the consensus indicates we should be standing/walking at least 2 hours a day and then work up to 4.
OK – I got into the Kickstarter campaign and got my desk a couple of months ago.
I had to rearrange my office.
Time to declutter.
Pounds and pounds of files into the trash, Scan others.
4 file drawers to 2.
Fewer printers, fewer everything.
And the result?
What a difference! Take a look just at the top:
No, I don’t stand all the time, but I’m standing more and more and sitting less and less. I find not only has the simplification made me more focused, but much more productive. I love the top – it’s bamboo, my favorite building material.
You can jerry-rig a standing desk for yourself and try it. I like mine because I can take it up or down, and stop it any place that suites me or my arms or my chair (all at the touch of a button.) A programmer friend just bought himself one that uses counterweights to go up or down. He has a bit of a weight problem, so this is going to be good for him as well! And a major client I just worked with we designed his office so not only could he have a standing desk, but combine it with a treadmill!
If you want to see the one I bought, (also because I support new companies) go to
If you do try one, or have one, what about sharing? Post a comment. And I’ll stand for it!
Oh – Happy holidays too!
At a time when there is so much to do, so many little things to be taken care of, and solitude time, I wanted to pass along this wonderful poem from another Clutter Cleaner Coach (how’ you like that onomatopoeia?) Samantha Bennet. There’s a link to her site after the poem. Enjoy. And, of course, comments are welcome!
Because you forgot to allow time to park
And the elevator was slow
And you left 10 minutes late to begin with
With your shoes that pinch
And your pants that are a little too small
Since you started eating white bread again
And as you paw through your bag
Looking for the suite number
That you’re not sure you wrote down to begin with
Let us now praise you.
You, the untidy.
You, the careless.
You, the easily distracted by sparkly things.
The money you spend on late fees alone
Could feed a family in Africa – Which reminds you that you meant to send in the kids’ Unicef money and
And that despite your best efforts,
You rarely eat a square meal,
You almost never get enough sleep
And exercise seems like a word that magazines have developed
Just to make you feel bad about yourself.
You, flying by the seat of your pants
Making it work
Putting out fires
Saying your prayers
And dancing your dance of now and later and maybe and
As innocent as each morning’s sunrise,
You are a fount of good intentions.
Your good humor is as graceful as a baby giraffe,
Even if that joke you were trying to make to the hotel clerk fell flat
And your toast at the wedding came out sounding a little…funny.
You have the strength to bend in the wind
You have the joyful spirit that loves a good belly laugh,
You have the wisdom to understand that everything will all come out all right in the end and
You have the faith to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.
That is, if you could find the book of matches from that romantic restaurant that you went to for your anniversary but since you didn’t have a reservation they made you wait at the bar for half an hour during which you had two appletinis and the rest of the night is a bit of a blur.
So much for the overpriced lingerie.
You are beautiful.
You are beautiful.
Frazzled and overworked and underpaid
You are the one who forgot your wallet
And forgot your receipt for the dry cleaners
And forgot your keys which you just set down five seconds ago, so where could they possibly have gone?
But you never forget to say, “I love you”
And you never forget to give a big smile to that nice parking guy
And you never fail to show endless patience when the
Too-tightly wrapped and overly-conscientious start to offer their
Oh-so-helpful suggestions about how you might feel better if you would just learn to alphabetize your spice rack.
So, wear the lingerie on Monday for no reason.
And why not just refuse to participate in the bake sale this year?
And give yourself a compliment for something you did well today.
Because you are the most beautiful person I’ve ever known.
© 2014 Samantha Bennett http://TheOrganizedArtistCompany.com
May you get through this holiday season flying high and filled with gratitude!
Much of Feng Shui comes from studying the way Nature works and utilizing the lessons learned. So what does Fall tell us? I want to suggest several things you can apply to your own life.
First, Nature is slowing down. She is bestowing her bounty on us during harvest. Lessons: First, slow down. We are so overloaded in a culture that pushes us to speed up faster and faster. You are a human being, not a human doing. You’ve heard that many times, but have you tried it for yourself?
Second: take gifts from the sumner and preserve them for the winter. Review your business. Take a look at your finances, especially your income and out expenses. Are they in balance? Make lists of things that need to be renovated, repaired or redecorated during the quiet time of winter. Get the items needed for your favorite hobby, i.e. scrapbooking. What about reviewing your photos with an idea of giving photo books for Holliday gifts?
More from Nature: Leaves are turning the most gorgeous colors. Rich and deep. Earth colors and rich metal colors of gold.. In Feng Shui, we use the Earth colors for grounding, and the golds speak of multidimensional wealth. What are the portions of your life that are grounded, rich and vibrant? This is a time too look, reflect and evaluate such things both in your personal and your business life.
For me, fall has a bittersweet quality to it. I’m sad to see Summer pass. I’m reminded that change is the only constant in our world. Things are dying, and it’s time to let go. It’s time to slow down and reflect and meditate. What are you holding onto that can be let go?
In many parts of the US, there is an ‘Indian Summer’ a time when nights are cool, days are perfect. It often shows up after a cold spell and is sort of a seasonal curtain call of summer passing. That brings me back to the bittersweet quality of Fall.
What is the shape that sums this all up? The symbol we see that even predates the Bagua energy map? It is the Tai Chi – the Ying Yan symbol where dark gives way to light giving way to dark. When it would appear that light is to become complete, a speck of darkness appears. And as the change continues, the dark begins to take over. We see this in the natural world, where there is never a sharp delineation of dark or light. Rather one edges the other out only to have the reverse happen. Can you see this happening in your own life? Your own career?
And the takeaway? Harvest all the good things that have happened this year, and write them down. See how they contain the seeds for your future growth, future prosperity, further happiness. Nurture these during the coming months and be ready to plant them in new, fertile ground next spring.
It’s amazing how much light affects us, yet most people have little awareness about this important element. Surprisingly, light is not included as one of the 5 elements in Feng Shui, yet it’s affects on us can be just as significant as the other elements. So here are 5 tips to make light work for you.
2) Don’t place lights sources in back of you. Often kitchens and offices just have overhead lights and people stand at a surface casting a shadow on their work. Under-counter lights to correct this. The less you strain your eyes, the less likely your eyesight will diminish with age.
3) Visible light comes in a full color spectrum. Though most of us can’t recognize the different between a 2500K light source and a 5K source, it affects the colors we see and how we feel about them. Many people say “use daylight, or full spectrum lights. That’s fine, but the light feels cold and impersonal. It can do the same thing to many colors, making warm color feel cold. We are used to a warmer light. So before you replace bulbs (anywhere!) go to a dealer who has a series flight boxes with the same photo in each. You’ll quickly see which one looks the best to you. That’s the amount of Kelvin you want to get. [Kelvin is the measurement of the light wave length.)
4) If you’re converting to LEDs you are being kind to the environment and using electricity wisely. But make sure you know what you’re getting. Ever notice some new cars have piercingly blue/white headlights? You don’t want that inside. Look for warm white LEDs for inside use.
5) Want to draw attention to something? Put lots of light on it. If you’re in business, you’d be surprised how that can bring people into a store. Likewise, if you want your party to be mellow and casual, keep the lighting soft.
One fellow I know made his entire lucrative business lighting restaurants so that women look really good. He laughed all the way to the bank while his cynics thought he was cracked. How and were you use light is more important than you think.
Want to solve a situation with light? Call Sugeet. He’s not only a Feng Shui expert, he also was an art gallery director for 12 years. Talk about lighting!
Make the #bathroom alive! Go wild with color/colors. It’s a #smallspace so you can get away with outrageous things you would never do in a bigger room. I painted the ceiling and floor of one bathroom parrot green. When I woke up in the am, I woke up! No need to be timid. Express yourself and have some fun. RU #renter? Do it with repeelable decals, paper and the like. The landlord need never know!.
Too often I hear people disparaging wind chimes as just another gewgaw to annoy the neighbors. Beg to differ. Here’s a brief story to help you understand how the ancient art and science of Feng Shui uses wind chimes.
A client loved her new home, but soon realized that she was unable to relax and recharge. The home had a beautiful view of the valley, had lots of light, was room, and not cluttered. She called her Feng Shui practitioner wanting it fixed.
Here was a home that welcomed you, inviting you in. Yet once in the front door, all the energy zoomed out those gorgeous picture windows overlooking the valley. As far as the energy went, you could have had 3 or 4 big fans making wind in the home. No wonder she couldn’t relax!
The fix was to use strategically placed wind chimes to disperse and slow the energy. A visual metaphor is possibly a better illustration of what a good wind chime can do.
Picture a tray or plate with sand mounded on it. When wind meets the sand, it picks up grains of and takes them where the wind goes. This is the situation when the home’s chi is lost – right out the beautiful picture windows. Now quietly vibrate that same tray and what happens? The mound dissipates and the sand becomes flat, level. The chi enters the home, gets dissipated by the wind chime and only later leaves.
Choosing the right wind chime is critical. We’ve all been on vacation where every craft shop and garden center has many, many to choose from. Some are crafts gone mad. Come are downright clever. Others cute. You need none of these. Look for a wind chime that produces a positive effect on YOUR mood. A good wind chime is a pleasing sound one you won’t mind hearing when the wind moves it.
Some of the better ones are tuned to certain musical keys. You’ll resonate with one over the others. That’s the one for you.
Two manufacturers of high quality chimes are Woodstock and Music of the Spheres. You can listen to them online. See how they affect you. (These are just suggestions, I have no affiliation with either.) Pick the one that draws you – that creates pleasure. Then hang that one where the Feng Shui Practitioner suggested.
Of the client? Her practitioner brought her a wonderful one (she later got 2 more!) and she feels 100% different.
Sound is one form of energy that Feng Shui works with. Used correctly, sound can change your life! (You get a ‘tune-up’ for your car…what about a tune up for yourself?)
And the last of the lessons learned when Dawn decided to simplify her life:
I had also been hanging on to a lot of books and notebooks filled to the brim from my graduate days in our basement even though I was no longer interested in continuing to pursue my Ph.D. or teaching. In looking through the notebooks and papers I had written, I remembered all the good times I had enjoyed while working on my degree. I had already put the bad times behind me and had chosen to forgive so getting rid of this stuff was the final thing I needed to do to let go. I kept my thesis work and a few writing samples and that was it. Upstairs, I kept sheet music, poetry I wrote, an art journal, Christian literature, my art books and a few special books from my childhood that I will pass on to our son, Hayden. Every book I own is now in one, medium-sized, clear, plastic storage container in our laundry/computer room. Since I seldom use even these books it felt right to put the bookshelf down in storage for our son, as he gets a bit older.
Our place looks so much better without all that surface-area clutter and requires much less dusting! I am putting together two 12 photo collages (one for pictures of my son, and one for family and friends) to go on the walls of the living and dining rooms and one 3 photo collage of our favorite wedding photos. This will greatly simplify the rooms and visual space. I am also looking forward to be able to look at all the people that truly enhance my life without needing to search through a lot of clutter.
Living simply for me also means not over committing my time, energy and money. I chose not to re-join a community choir because the rehearsal time is very inconvenient and I would rather spend that time with my family. Since I am fortunate to have the material things I need, I avoid shopping, especially looking at certain “trigger” sites online (something I used to really enjoy doing). That has been a hard thing for me to change but it saves money for our family and creates more time, which is better spent elsewhere.
Through my efforts to de-clutter and simplify, my husband was inspired to help me by pulling my stuff out of storage so I could go through it. As the chef of the house, he also went through all the kitchen gadgets and utensils. He even agreed with me to go paperless, as much as possible, with our files. My mom was inspired to go through her dreaded hall closet getting rid of many, many things. Although my husband still feels that there is no way that he would ever want to live in a tiny house, my decision and efforts to simplify have made a lot of progress for all of us.
So… you can live tinier and simplify your life without living in a tiny house. You don’t need to have everyone on board with you to make real progress both with your living space, your perspective, and your own personal growth. Your process will not look the same as mine as the journey you experience will be uniquely yours, and entirely worth it! Take care and live tinier. -Dawn Zimmerman
With thanks to www.TinyHouseBuild.com
With appreciation for Dawn Zimmerman’s post to www.TinyHouseBuild.org, here’s the second of three parts how one person decluttered their life.
As I was going through my knick-knacks and the like, I also went through my decent sized “collection” of art supplies. I had some top notch water color pencils I hadn’t even opened. Paints, drawing pencils, and the like were filling up a tall dresser. Beautiful materials I hadn’t used in over 10 years! I had even collected various other materials that were to be used for mixed media and sculpture pieces in a future that never happened, and wouldn’t happen. I realized as cool as it would be to create those pieces, I had lost interest in making them. I donated all the pill bottles I had been saving over the years to make a sculpture to some missionaries in the D. R. Congo that our church supports. They needed them because the hospital had nothing to put their patients’ medicine in. It amazed me that something so seemingly useless could make such a big difference for someone.
I only kept the supplies I had used here and there over the years. I gave away old artwork that I never looked at anymore to friends who liked the pieces for their walls. One art piece was donated. Both my easels went. It felt good. I even donated the old dresser that had held these art supplies as well as my childhood clothes, and even my dad’s stuff from when he was a boy. Now that dresser will hold someone else’s things and that makes me smile. I cannot tell you how much of a blessing it has been for me to give these things away to folks that will actually use it. When you think about it, for all those years, that tall dresser was storing up someone else’s opportunity to work toward their dreams. I now have most of my art things in two sets of small, plastic, three-drawer storage “dressers” that I already had on hand.
You may start to notice that as Dawn class out all the excess, her spirit and mental state begin to change as well. There are so many benefits to finding a class, hiring a coach, joining a like minded group. Don’t let your own excess stop you – there is help. If you’re wondering just what the best course is for you, drop me a line.