Thursday, June 2, 2011

Selling Your Home? Is The Energy Of Your Home Helping Or Hurting Your Home Sale?

Using Feng Shui techniques to help sell your home is worth the time and investment. Doing so means being able to see your home with a little different perspective and being able to feel the energy of your home -- doing all that you can to raise the energy and welcome it's new homeowners.

Many home staging companies recommend depersonalizing your home, simplifying the decor and using neutral colors -- all of which will give you long strides toward meeting your goal of a home sale. But you know what? Many homes for sale are doing the same thing you are. So what will set you apart?

Beyond staging your home, take a moment to feel the energy of your home. How? Start by looking at your home from a buyers perspective. A lot of energy has already begun to build as they have viewed your home on the internet and now are physically prepared to visit your home in person. What will you do to keep them interested?

Look at the house from the outside in.  How will the buyers see it as they slowly approach their potential new home for the first time? The energy at this point is slow and the idea here is to keep it like that. You want them to stay and not rush off.

At what point will they see their new home? From the car, for sure, perhaps from a few houses down. Does their home stand out? Is the mailbox and house number clearly visible? Does the entrance guide and welcome them in?

Invest in landscaping. Avoid straight lines in the landscape design. Curves and pots and organic yard ornaments are best. The idea is to welcome them visually -- help them remember how good it feels to be there. When the new homeowners pull into the driveway and get out of the car, what will they see?  How will they feel? The walk to the front door should feel more like a stroll. Let the new homeowners meander and be visually pleased.

Remove mirrors in the foyer. That's right, remove the mirror -- especially if you have a small foyer. The energy is slow and you want the prospective buyer to stay around. Replace the mirror with art. Something you think is beautiful (it should look costly but it doesn't have to be costly) -- just something you feel is ultra beautiful. Does it represent warmth? Does the art make you feel good? The prospective buyer is feeling pretty good about the outside, their first impression in the foyer should be, "WOW." No crazy colors on the walls -- simple, clutter free decor and the one piece of art that looks beautiful. To keep the slow and happy energy going, the prospective buyer is intrigued and now desires to see the rest of their home with excitement. They feel good!

Keep the principle rooms of your home feeling good and feeling "rich." A king is out looking for a new castle! A Feng Shui practitioner will help you with specific techniques for each room in your home, explain the energy flow and help you welcome the kind of energy you want for your home to sell.  

Most important, many of the Feng Shui techniques will also help you (if you are presently living in your home while it is for sale) lift your own energy.  This will only enhance the overall good feeling you want your home to have.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Energy Shift Through Feng Shui

The positive responses I get from people who try some of the most simple techniques and suggestions I give them is a true testament as to how Feng Shui can play such an intimate role in your positive energy shift.  I want to share one such experience with you.

I was hired for a full Feng Shui consultation for a client who had purchased a newly constructed home.  I recall going into her beautiful home which she had already begun tastefully decorating.   She shared with me that she was hoping to get inspired with more ideas during our time together.  As we walked from room to room, we discussed in detail how to improve, remove, re-arrange, welcome positive and supportive chi (energy). We were having a great time together.  As we approached the dining room, she grabbed my arm to stop me with a "warning."  She told me that the painting on the dining room wall was NOT her taste but that she had to keep it up because her mother-in-law painted it and it was a gift.

WOW!! Before even going into the dining room, the effort and energy she poured out to stop me with this explanation was a clear sign that this room and painting had to be seriously discussed.

EVERYTHING in your home should be items you love.  EVERYTHING in your home should have a home. Over-stuffing closets and drawers is (while hidden) still clutter.  Hanging paintings and decorating with items you dislike is also, in a sense, clutter, which results in lower and unsupportive energy, also known in Feng Shui terms as sha chi.

For the record, the painting was nice.  I probably would't have picked it for my home, but hey -- we all have different tastes -- it's what makes the world go around!  Because of her reaction, however, I had to gently pursue the idea of removing the painting if she didn't like it.

As our conversation continued I learned that her mother-in-law adored my client's husband and the grandchildren, but didn't really appreciate my client at all.  She felt she had to keep the painting up to "keep the peace."

"Does your mother-in-law live nearby?" I asked.  No.  (I was told she lived about 8 hours away, but visited several times a year).

"Does your husband insist on the painting being up?"  He has never really said anything about it.

After talking with her more, I learned about the dislike she felt that her mother-in-law had for her.  I found out that in order to avoid awkward interactions, when her mother-in-law visited, she and her husband would travel or go out and leave the kids with Grandma.  (Personally, I don't think either one of these ladies had any real bad intentions -- in fact, it was probably just a case of simple misunderstanding about each other).  I had the opportunity to spend time with my client (both professionally and socially) and all I ever experienced was joy on each occasion. To me, it sounded more as though this mother-in-law loved her son and frankly, no matter what woman he chose to marry -- she wasn't going to be good enough for her boy.

In my most gentle way, I suggested removing the painting.  "NO WAY," She responded firmly, "there could be big problems if I do."  I could sense her anxiety over this idea.  I jokingly said that I merely suggested removing it, not throwing it into a bon fire. Simply take it off the wall for a few days and see how you feel. Lean it against the wall where it is out of sight during your normal days around the house.  It's just an experiment for yourself.  I explained that even though she felt she was doing something positive by keeping a painting up to "keep the peace," in actuality, it may be fueling a huge argument in the future (about anything).  You see, the location of the dining room and the wall in which this particular painting hung, was in direct view from where "everyday" living happened.  So even if they weren't using the dining room, the painting was visible.  It was visible when you came downstairs in the morning to get to the kitchen, it was visible when you came home after work and again when you were on your way upstairs for the evening. Her mother-in-law, in a sense, was "in her face" all the time whether she realized it or not.  So the feelings about her mother-in-law (which weren't too positive at that time) were subconsciously being fed (and not in a good way) by this painting.

A few days after our appointment, I received a call from her.  She took down the painting for the experiment. She said her daughter approached her asking why she had taken Grandma's painting down.  She told her it was a little experiment.  Her daughter quickly asked if she could have the painting for her bedroom.  This was a perfect new location for the painting!

The Energy Shift

My client explained that while she accepted that she and her mother-in-law were not going to be best friends, she did realize there was something she truly appreciated about her.  Her mother-in-law adores the children (just like she adores her son).  That is a lot of love.  So what if she didn't receive that same kind of love and attention -- her children did receive it and she wanted to nurture that special relationship.  She was great at being a Grandma!  Not only that, upon each visit her mother-in-law made to their home, she got the opportunity to go out with her husband, take short over-night trips, reconnect and enjoy the comfort that her children were perfectly loved and safe.  One painting hung in the dining room with the purpose of "keeping the peace" really was not and in fact -- was doing the opposite.  One simple action opened the pathway and changed her perception of this relationship toward improvement and appreciation. This painting is now hung in her daughter's room. The painting now magnifies the love and support energy her children receive from Grandma.  It has a new and positive purpose.

One final note:  As it turned out, my client's husband didn't care much about the painting at all!  We got a good laugh out of that.  So much fuss over one painting.  One positive action welcomed a truer sense of peace into their home.

This is my favorite painting in my home.  It welcomes me every morning when I come down the stairs.
It's bright and happy and lifts my spirits.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Top 3 Favorite (and Easy) Chi Enhancers For Any Room

You know that eating dark leafy green vegetables is good for you.  All of the nutrition facts may not be at your immediate disposal, you simply know it's good for you...and so you work them into your diet...and there isn't much more thought about it after that, right?  So, you keep your house clean and everything looks pretty, why use chi enhancers?  The chi enhancer is the boost or the "vitamins" that nourish you and your energy through your environment.

Have you ever heard, "You are a product of your environment?"  So....what is your environment doing for you? Is it nourishing you?  Feng Shui is a magnificent way to usher in a positive flow of energy assisting you in manifesting your desired quality of life.  Even if you aren't really sure about what you want, using basic Feng Shui techniques and chi enhancers can open up avenues for you to explore --it's just good for you like dark leafy green vegetables.

What is Chi?

Chi is energy.  Chi is the universal energy all around us and within us.  So, even if you keep your home clean and clutter free, there comes a time when your environment (the chi that surrounds you) becomes un-noticeable.  Chi becomes stagnant. Chi enhancers awaken you and gently nudge you out of basic routine in a subtle and loving way -- like a good vitamin.  There are many ways to revitalize chi:  water features, chimes, colors, flags, art, crystals.

My Top Three Favorite Chi Enhancers:

Uplights connected to a timer and placed under a plant.
 I use it under a Ficus Tree (see picture).  This is simple and so beautiful.  The uplights set to automatically turn on in the early evening really gives off good Chi.  It's simple and can be used nearly anywhere in your home.  This is a great solution to corners where chi can become stagnant.  The ambience is soft and the shadows it casts upwards on the walls is interesting--you'll notice your mood change instantly.

Decorative glass hurricanes.  Decorate them about 1/3 of the way with sand, pebbles, dry beans (I use coffee beans) and place a candle in it.  I love this because it surrounds you with a pleasant scent, it is visually pleasing and it keeps the candle safe (should you accidentally forget about it).  A hurricane is easy and can be placed in any room!

Rearrange.  Easy, inexpensive and totally doable!  Some simple rearranging of what you already have re-awakens your senses. For example, I often re-arrange the career area of my home (located at my front entrance).  Many times, I'm not sure what it is I'm looking to achieve, but I'm appreciative about the work I'm doing, I love the healing arts and therefore, my intention is simply about allowing more of that.  Each occasion I've done this something opens up: speaking engagements, new clients, connecting and learning from other professionals in my field, or I get inspired ideas like obtaining my Reiki Master certification, designing workshops and even starting this blog! Using chi enhancers in my career area is one example of how it has truly enhanced my work in ways I never thought possible...and it continues to nourish me.

Can something this simple really usher in a positive flow of energy?  My answer is an emphatic, Yes!  What are your favorite things to do in your home that awaken your senses?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Feng Shui For Your Health (Beyond The Vision Board)

I got a question last week asking me for Feng Shui tips for better health. What a great question!  Healthy living is one of the principles that is (in my opinion) a foundation of Feng Shui.  Your physical and emotional health is important because it allows you to function and experience all areas of your life more harmoniously (marriage, love, career, family, etc...)

There is no plant, crystal or water feature that can help you achieve better health unless you tackle one basic thing, first.  Clutter.

If you are focusing on better health, removing clutter from your home in general is crucial.  But we can break this project down even more for a better understanding:

The Bagua Map
In accordance with the Feng Shui Bagua Map, the mid-east area of your home is the "health area" of your home (if you are walking in the front door of your home, as you are looking in--it is located in the far mid-left area of your home (see diagram on right).

The Bagua Map works for the home and for each mid-east area in every room of your home.  The mid-left area of every room in your home is a health area based on the main entrance of that room (the entrance you always use).

Removal of clutter in these areas first, is an excellent start to better health!

The Clutter is Gone.  Now You're Ready For Chi (Energy) Enhancers in the Health Area
  • Water features are excellent chi enhancers when placed in health areas of your home. Keep them clean.  If you don't want a water feature, use artwork that shows a water feature or body of water.
  • Healthy plants (keep them dust free and healthy looking).
  • Use inspirational artwork that say things like, "Live Well" or "Be Happy, Be Healthy" (there are many choices out there).
  • Use shades of green in your health area as part of your decoration.  Use green in your clothing, too! Yes, Feng Shui yourself.
  • How about the air?  Is it clean and pleasant? Open the windows and usher stagnant energy out of the room or use air purifiers.
  • Use uplights to highlight plants or furniture.  Light pointing upward lifts your eye to the beautiful shadows and dimensions up toward the ceiling--representing a lift, expansion, personal growth and exceptional health beyond the actual furniture or plant you originally placed. If your mind is caught up on limiting thoughts, a feature like this is a subtle reminder that there is so much more.

Specific Rooms Represent Health, Too (No Matter Where They Are Located In Your Home)
Aside from cleaning and clearing the clutter from the physical health areas according to the Bagua, other areas of your home also represent and promote health, like the kitchen.  Clear the clutter of foods that are outdated and unhealthy. Replace foods with healthier choices.   Display foods like art--like a bowl full of fresh and colorful fruit.  Make sure the pantry, refrigerator and cabinets are clean and organized.  Make sure foods and cooking utensils can be easily identified and are easily accessible.  Organize, clean and decorate your kitchen so that it is a pleasure to prepare healthy meals.  Combine this time of clearing clutter in the kitchen with a healthy new habit:  adding more greens in your diet or meditation or any exercise plan....even a body cleanse if you're inclined to clear out the clutter from within yourself, too (check with your doctor, of course).

Another important area is the bedroom  Ensure a good night sleep by clearing clutter and decorating it in a way that promotes a sense of relaxation and ease.

Beyond Physical Health
Notice that the Bagua Map refers to the mid-east area as Health and Family.  Healthy, meaningful, supportive and stress-free relationships between family members (immediate and extended) also promotes good health. In my practice, I include special friendships, too.  They are people you have welcomed into your home and have included them as part of your family.

To welcome and strengthen this kind of supportive energy, another beautiful Chi enhancer for the health area of your home (if the health area is an area shared by all members of your family like a bathroom, dining room, living room, etc...) is photos.  Open the gates to healthy relationships by adding framed photos that conjure up loving and joyful memories.  If you can, use photos of family and close friends in healthy environments--at the beach, hiking, biking, skiing, sports, etc...

The beauty of Feng Shui is that it surrounds you automatically with the intentions you set.  A vision board that includes better health pictures or phrases is an awesome asset, but it may not always be with you.  In Feng Shui you are incorporating intention in your living space--physically creating and maintaining the energy you desire in a more constant way.  You have created the energy flow you desire and (whether you are thinking about it or not) you are taking that energy with becomes a part of you.

More questions about this or any other aspect of Feng Shui?  Drop me a note....your question may just be the next blog post!  Wishing you healthy and joyful living!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Cleaning or Feng Shui Decluttering: Either Way, Your Energy Shift Is Waiting For You To Act

On occasion, when people find out I practice Feng Shui, almost immediately I hear something like, "I know it means I have to get rid of clutter, right?" Followed by (and I'm sure it's done lovingly) rolling eyes. Hey...different strokes, right?

I gather if you're reading this blog, it's because you are already in touch with the benefits of Feng Shui or some form of healing art.  Understanding and nurturing your essence, what makes you the best you, is key to continued personal growth and living life fully, abundantly and with joy.

What does your essence have to do with Feng Shui?  Well, bluntly, whatever is going on inside (your essence) is reflected externally (your surroundings).  This is why we all have different tastes in furniture, colors, fragrances, style.  So, if this is the case, have you taken a good hard look at your surroundings?  Is it reflecting how you feel or who you want to be?  If there is clutter around you, what you see probably doesn't match how you want to feel.

In Feng Shui, everything living and not living has energy. Yes, the "stuff" in your house has energy and it is either nourishing you or depleting you.  This article is about clutter so I'll just cut to the chase now--clutter is not nourishing you.

How To Approach Clutter:

Whether your entire house is full of clutter or simply a room or a closet, I want you, at this moment, to honor yourself and congratulate yourself for acknowledging that some work around the house could use your TLC. It's ok.  Clutter is not permanent.  To avoid the sense of being overwhelmed here are some ideas to consider:

Decide Where To Begin.  Start with the spot that irritates you most or run into most.  For example, Do you enter your home through your garage or kitchen or mud room every day? Are they cluttered?  If they are, in a very subconscious way, it is an irritant to see on a daily basis.  It is an energy that you unintentionally add to your energy flow.

Assess.  You've identified what you would like to tackle, now decide if this is a one day job, or a week, or a month.  Set a deadline for yourself.  Is it a simple clean up job or are you planning to clear, clean, paint and redo?

Simplify.  Tackle it in steps.  Begin with throwing away what is obvious trash.  Followed by sorting.  Does everything in that room belong in that room? Are garden tools in the mud room that belong in the garage? Toys that belong in the children's room?   Gather the family to help distribute items back where they belong.

Donate.  Are there items in that room simply because you don't know where else it should go?  Why are you holding on to them?  Do they represent who you are today?  Does it lift your spirits when you see it?  Is it a joy to clean and dust or an irritant?  Start a donation box.  If you are not sure how you will feel about donating a certain item, attempt placing the item into the donation box for a few days and experiment how you feel with it being gone (it's only in the box, you haven't taken it to a donation center, yet).  If you feel lifted, keep it in the donation box to give away at the end of the clean up.  If not, bring it back into the room.

Be Aware of Self-Talk.  Be mindful if you are giving yourself excuses about why every thing must stay. For example, "it costs too much when I bought it," or "I could use it in the future," or "it was a gift."  Don't let yourself get stuck.  If you are someone looking to move forward in life, looking for personal growth, then perhaps releasing some things you are "holding" may be a great benefit to you.  Some stuff is just "stuff" and some things are genuine "treasures."  Surely, not everything can be a treasure.

I love the healing arts.  Much of the healing arts tend to work from the "inside" (feelings, the mind, affirmations, etc...). What is different about Feng Shui is that it allows us to work on the outside to influence the inside (our essence) in a very positive way.  I am off to tackle the cabinets in my master bath to kick off my Spring...  

"Contrary to popular belief, a disciplined and organized life is actually a liberated life. With your discipline you're transmuting what was once chaotic and random into something organized and directed." --James Arthur Ray, Harmonic Wealth pg 119.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are You Getting All You Deserve From Your Bedroom? The Benefits Of Understanding Your Bedroom's Energy

Many Feng Shui Consultants consider the kitchen as one of the most important rooms in the house, I would agree and add that there are TWO very important rooms in the house, the kitchen and the bedroom.

The bedroom begins and ends your day.  It is the place where you relax and recharge for the next day.  Your body requires sleep to live.  To live well you must also sleep well.  However, the bedroom is so much more when we look at it from a Feng Shui perspective.

The bedroom is more than a place to sleep.  For the homeowner, the master bedroom symbolizes and empowers a sense of who you are, where you want to be, your romantic life, your career, your overall sense of well being.  There is a reason they call it the Master Suite, after all.  For the children, the bedroom is restful, safe, supportive and encourages the love and support and the values your family members provide.  Are you feeling this when you walk into your bedroom?  

Energy of the Bedroom
Even though we can't see energy, we do feel it.  Our furniture choice and placement and colors affect how we feel.  We are constantly giving and receiving energy--even when we sleep.  In fact, when we sleep our defenses are down and the Flow of Energy is freer.  Which begs the question, how do you feel when you walk into your room?  Do you yearn to get to your bedroom at the end of the day?  Do you enjoy being in your bedroom?  Do you merely walk into it and sleep without much thought or do you melt into your room and does it evoke an instant sense of relaxation?  How you feel in the bedroom when you are awake is a clue about how you are recharging when you are asleep.

Photography by Ximena Brunette

Some general guidelines to follow for the bedrooms:
  • Bed placement should allow a commanding view of the bedroom--ensuring you are never surprised when someone walks into your room.  Usually, the longest wall is the best placement for the bed.
  • A foot board or bench at the end of a bed slows the energy coming toward the bed.
  • Surround your bed with a strong and solid headboard, nightstands and a foot board or bench.  This gives you a sense of being "held" and supported.
  • Ensure that your room is quiet and dark at night to enhance good sleep.
  • Make the last thing you see before turning out the lights (and the first thing you see when you wake up) something beautiful.  
  • Remove the TV.  A television tends to give off negative energy (news, crime shows, commercials about depression and weight issues, etc...).  It invites too many virtual people into your bedroom.
  • Keep drawers shut and all doors closed.
  • Keep the bedroom clean and clutter free.  Nightstands should have minimal decor.  If you can, avoid storing items under your bed. 

These tips are a good foundation for any bedroom.  There are more specific techniques depending on where you are in life.   For example, techniques for a master bedroom will be different than a child's room. Techniques for a master bedroom for a single person will be different than techniques for a couple.  A Feng Shui practitioner can help you with more specific techniques based on your life experiences and your desires.

Finally, because energy is rooted in feeling, if any guidelines don't feel right to you, you can easily not do them.  However, before you brush away what doesn't feel good, perhaps look into why it doesn't feel good.  Is the uncomfortable feeling a signal about something else?  I always recommend trying something for a few days to see how you feel (you can always put it back).  In many cases, you will be surprised about what you learn about yourself.   When you feel improvement, you know you are on the right path.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day And Loving Feng Shui

I'm so excited to post my first article about Feng Shui. Purposefully, I chose to release this in time for Valentine's that is my FAVORITE time of year.  I love Feng Shui. I am passionate about extending the loving techniques in my environment enhancing all the areas of my life.  And, I love teaching others how to use the techniques, as well.

Love is everything. Love of self being most important because when you love yourself fully, the love you attract becomes the icing on the cake. That energy you feel pours into everything you do in life and comes back to you in equal beautiful force: career, family, friends, and life partners...everything. Feng Shui is one magnificent way to open up this energy flow.

In Feng Shui, energy is ever-present, ever-flowing and never-ending.  Everything has a Flow of Energy--even your home.  The importance in knowing this empowers you to notice whether the energy is fluid and positive or low and stagnant. This is where specific Feng Shui techniques can assist you to align the energy positively and you are actively participating in making a positive energy shift. So, if you are using positive thoughts and daydreaming (or journaling) for a few minutes a day as a means to put the Law of Attraction into action, Feng Shui is another element where the techniques enhance this for you in a more constant way.

What Exactly Is Feng Shui?
Pronounced Fung Shway, it is literally translated as wind and water. It is the ancient Chinese art and philosophy of placement. The techniques used in Feng Shui bring about harmony, comfort, balance and abundance--first into your environment and then into your life.

I've been practicing this art since 1999. I have sought out teachers to help me learn this art. My journey has always brought me back to the very basics of Feng Shui.  The multitude of books and schools are essential to understanding the more than 17 different schools of Feng Shui, ancient philosophies and so much more--all beautiful--but not always necessary, in my humble opinion. I believe in removing the mystery and gadgetry out of Feng Shui and translating the beautiful techniques into our modern way of life.

Feng Shui can be practiced and looked at on a grand scale by understanding your home and property and how it aligns to all of the areas of life that Feng Shui philosophy explains to us as essential for a full and balanced life: Career, Knowledge and Self-Cultivation, Health and Family, Wealth and Prosperity, Center, Fame and Reputation, Love and Marriage, Children and Creativity, Helpful People and Travel.

I often give these examples of how the areas of life can feel unbalanced.  Have you:

  • known or observed couples with wealth beyond our imagination (ie: Hollywood couples), yet the marriages never last or are often deeply troubled? 
  • known someone who is highly intelligent--holding multiple degrees, yet have trouble accruing wealth?  Have trouble connecting with others?
  • known wonderful and dedicated mothers, who may have forgotten to love themselves?  Perhaps they may have forgotten about the importance of their romantic life?

The idea here is to use Feng Shui techniques so that you welcome all the positive energy from each area of life creating a wonderful, balanced and abundant life.

Feng Shui techniques can be used room by room. Feng Shui techniques can even be applied to the self and our clothing as we discover how Feng Shui specifically teaches us how to tap into the Flow of Energy we desire.

In the weeks and months ahead I will address the areas of life, tips for specific rooms...and yes, I will happily address your questions, just drop me an email.

Quick Tip
In the meantime, as we celebrate love this Valentine's Day, treat yourself with some fresh flowers and place them in your home where you will enjoy them most.  Make sure the area you choose is clean and free of clutter. Fresh flowers bring fresh and vibrant energy that you lovingly welcome into your sacred space, your home.  

More Things of Interest

If you see something that peeks your interest. Feel free to take a look.