Mindful Design Feng Shui: Behind the Scenes - Feng Shui Design Altars

We turn the cameras around to talk about our own feng shui, homes, offices and design ideas. See how we have set up our own homes...

Sacred Space & Altars
- what is an altar?
- what do you have on it?
- Why do you use one?
- What we have on ours !!!

We chat about how to set up an altar and the show you our altars and shrines and what elements we have used.


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Small Spaces

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I am trying to use more basic Feng Shui tips to make my medium-sized bedroom into a sort of mini convertible studio. During the day I would fold my bed up into a mini couch and have much more open space to do yoga and other activities. Then during the night I would unfold my bed and use ceiling curtains to separate my office area from the bed area (with balanced elements on both sides of the bed). Oh and the bed lays on the ground, which I personally find most comforting. What do you think about this setup in terms of Feng Shui? I really need to have a sanctuary at home from all the intense things going on in my life.

Tenzin C., Easthampton, MA

Hi Tenzin,

Thank you for sending in your question! Your description is careful and thorough, so I can only imagine that your bedroom is laid out with as much attention. 

I’m guessing that you live in a roommate situation, so your bedroom is where you find your personal space. It sounds like your daily ritual of transforming your bed into a sofa is beneficial. Not only do you have more space for your daily activities, but you have also created a separate “daytime” space for more active applications that goes hand in hand with daytime. The visual separation with curtains of your bed from the office is also wonderful, so that active yang energy will transition into the yin sleepy time when it’s appropriate. Plus you don’t have a bed in the daytime - which can prove difficult in a studio apartment setting. Seeing the bed while working can affect your attention and motivation. Also, good job on the balanced bed elements, probably nightstands and lights

The only thing I may comment on is the bed on the ground. In feng shui, it’s ideal to have the bed off the ground, on a stable bed frame with headboard so that the air and qi can flow around you while you’re sleeping. This is good for your health. Also, if you’re prone to depression, the proximity to the floor may correspond to the low mood. However, you have described you find the bed on the ground “comforting”, so pay attention that that. If it feels correct for you, then it’s okay. Especially if you don’t have a tendency towards depression.

You mentioned that there are intense things going on in your life. I don’t know the details, but I can suggest a feng shui adjustment to lighten things up! It can be very simple, but I’ll offer two suggestions. First, bringing fresh cut flowers into the bedroom. You can collect them yourself, or get some from the store. But fresh flowers uplift the qi and bring joy. Second, purchasing a new lamp where the light shines up. A Torchiere like this one works wonderfully. Again, this lifts the energy and can balance the low bed.  

Overall, I think that you’ve done a wonderful job of creating a feng shui studio sanctuary in your bedroom. All the attention to the details and the ritual aspect provide a lot of positive energy in the space. 

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design feng shui cerfication program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-do business boosters for soulpreneurs and wellness practitioners”  coming up, too! check us out at www.mindfuldesignschool.com

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our a unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Illnesses

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My husband has leukemia and I would love some feng shui suggestions.

Mary P., New York, NY

Dear Mary,

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband’s illness. While feng shui is not the most important factor, it is absolutely beneficial to incorporate with the mundane directions given by medical professionals. My teachers always reminded me that the everyday practical details are more important than the transcendental adjustments. 

I have two suggestions for you. First is to activate the center of the home, which corresponds to the Health area of the feng shui bagua map. You can activate it in different ways, but my first thought is with the sound or song. A bell, a chime or a Tibetan singing bowl like this one will do. You can ring the bowl nine times every day if you can. Or better yet, you and your husband can sing together. Sound and song can be very healing in a gentle way. 

Second thing, please check your plumbing and electrical systems for any defects, and correct any problems. These relate to the blood vessels and nervous systems of the body. 

There are more complicated feng shui suggestions that require a consultation, but these two feng shui adjustments are wonderful to start with.

You can also learn more if you study feng shui. I’m starting a feng shui certification program this fall and encourage you to take a look at the details below. 

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: Best Feng Shui Location for an Altar or Shrine

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I read your "9 Feng Shui Things in Bedroom" and find it helpful. I'm currently remodeling my whole home. My question that I've tried to find an answer to in my books and online: Where is the best position to place an altar...what direction, and is the bedroom not a good place to have it? I am a single woman and my bedroom is in the front right section of the bagua map. 

Carolyn K., 

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you for your question, and I’m so glad you like the MindBodyGreen article, “9 Things That Should Be in Your Bedroom (According to a Feng Shui Healer)”.

Wonderful that you have an altar (or shrine) in your home. My first response would be to ask what’s most appropriate from your teachers and spiritual lineage. If there’s no specific place required, the next suggestion would be to locate it where you will use it. I’m assuming this is where you would practice meditation, so it’s a good idea to have it placed so that it works for you functionally. 

When I created my first altar, it was after I started studying and practicing BTB feng shui. My teachers taught me that, if we’d like, we could create an altar in the BTB feng shui tradition to honor the teachings and as a focal point for our attention. We were even encouraged to assemble “altar committees” in class so that we could have a special sacred place in the classroom. Here we offered an image of the teacher (a Buddha and/or Professor Lin Yun), a musical instrument, a red ribbon on a stick, saffron water, rice, and a mirror in a rice bowl.

Since I live in a small New York City apartment, I have my shrine in the living room. I’ve even included a photo of it here. If I had more space, I would like to have a separate shrine room near the rear of the home. It’s ideal if the shrine can be in a more private space. I’ve been told that the bedroom traditionally is not great, as it’s seen as disrespectful for the Buddha’s image to gaze upon our romantic activities. But remember, the mundane and functional is as important as the spiritual and transcendental. It’s up to you and your specific situation. I can only share guidelines.

I have a spiritual Buddhist shrine, but there are also secular altars that you can create. Laura Morris (together we founded the Mindful Design Feng Shui school) has a blog post about more secular altars. An image of a deity is not required... you can even have a vision board or beautiful inspiration piece of art, like from my talented friend Amy T Won. On my shrine I also have a manifestation list and my ikebana cutters. The cutters are there to remind me to "cut my thoughts" and a tool of my contemplative art practice.

Since I practice BTB feng shui, the direction is not important. However, my shrine is located in the commanding position of the living room. And when I sit to meditate, I face the shrine, so I’ve also placed a small convex mirror so that when I’m sitting, I can see behind me as well. This corrects and places me in command as I meditate. But the Buddha holds the leading seat - the seat that’s most in command.

On a final note, wherever your altar ends up, you can see what area of the feng shui bagua maps it corresponds with. Or alternatively, if you have total flexibility, you could choose the feng shui bagua map location based on your intention. For instance, the Knowledge (dark blue) area would be wonderful if you seek to deepen your self-cultivation. The center area of your home, or the Health area, would be useful to have your altar become the central focal point of your life. A shrine in the New Beginnings area might give you a sense of freshness and nowness every time you sit to practice.

As with so many aspects of BTB feng shui, the optimal placement of your altar does depend on you and your preferences. Of course it helps to observe any feng shui guidance, so I would encourage you to consider the feng shui bagua and the energy of the area when selecting your altar space. Don't forget to arrange your altar with intention as well!

by Anjie Cho


If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I are launching our program in September 2018. We have a free webinar “Five Feng Shui Tools Revealed: Must-Do Business Boosters for Soulpreneurs and Wellness Practitioners” coming up, too! To get on the list about it, sign up at: www.mindfuldesignschool.com.

Mindful Design is a new way to learn feng shui. Our unique training program takes an holistic approach to learning the art of feng shui design. Mindful design is about becoming aware, and attentive, to the energy around you: both inner and outer qi. It is about promoting a better way of living and creating sacred spaces that support, and nourish.


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

On Meditation with Joseph Mauricio of Shambhala Center

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As an architect and feng shui practitioner, I help my clients create holistic home and work spaces. One of the most important aspects of the feng shui work includes meditation and visualization. I had the honor of taking one of Joseph Mauricio's meditation classes at the Shambhala Center in NYC. His teachings are very approachable and digestable. I believe it is incredibly beneficial to include meditation in everyday life.

AC:  How did you get involved in meditation and with the Shambhala Center -- what's your story?

JM:  I used to run a comedy club years ago in New York, I was a comedian, an actor and that was an exciting lifestyle but it was a little heavy and I was looking for something to help me balance out the pressure. Then I came across meditation. I had always known about Jack Kerouac, the Dharma Bums and Naropa University, founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche (also founder of Shambhala Center) along with Allen Ginsberg, Ram Dass and a number of people back in the ‘70s. So it was kind of legendary in my mind, the beat poets. They were an influence in my work as a performing artist. I ended up going in to a Shambhala Center and finding out there was this whole connection. I decided to drop out of the comedy club, moved to a dharma center up in the woods, then ended up at Rocky Mountain Shambhala Center at 8,000 feet in the middle of winter -- which was crazy. I went from being an actor in New York to a cabin with no heat. I met my teacher there, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, and I ended up studying with him.

I became intrigued by the mind (my own mind) and the idea that I’d (maybe all of us) create the limitations and disabilities in our own world because of the way we think and the way we perceive the world. So I became really fascinated with that concept. It’s not something that you just pick up and put down, and I gave up my whole life and career to study. I studied in India, Mexico, a number of places for number of years. I was actually studying personally with Sakyong Mipham in 2003 when he suggested I move back to New York and go back to doing performance, which just shocked me. I didn’t expect that at all. I thought I would just be a yogi. I moved back and that’s when I started teaching at the Shambhala Center. I found my calling putting meditation together with performance and comedy. I’m also a life coach, motivating people towards a more healthy balance vision themselves.

So for other people, the way I recommend meditation is not that they drop out of their careers like I did for 17 years, but that they incorporate it in the same way with a good instructor. They study and go to classes and let meditation actually bring stability into their life. I recommend everybody read Sakyong Mipham’s books, particularly The Shambhala Principle. He teaches practical meditation, and it is not particularly religious. I study and teach meditation and training people of all backgrounds. I go in to jails and you can’t even mention Buddhism or any kind of religion. You just teach straight mindfulness training and it helps people. I’m a real believer that meditation can bring a lot of stability and clarity to people, to their lives.

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How would you describe meditation to someone who's not familiar with the concept?  

I would say that it’s a tool whereby you sit in an upright posture, which helps you to wake up and gain confidence. There are tests and studies showing the mind can change brain chemistry in only two minutes when you sit up straight. It starts to lower cortisol and raise testosterone levels. In short, you begin to feel more confident just by sitting in an upright posture. And relaxing down into the earth allows us to open up our heart and begin to feel our feelings and our sense of things. The upright meditation posture is very powerful in re-training the mind into believing that life is possible, that life is workable.

How is meditation helpful in everyday life?

Any given meditation session could be wonderful; maybe they feel very clear or calm. Or maybe their back hurts the whole time. But the real power of meditation comes from consistent practice. I recommend that people practice as little as 10 minutes a day, if that keeps them practicing every day. It’s more powerful than just an hour every few days. But to practice at the same time every day, you develop a consistency that brings stability to life. It becomes like a reference point. Every morning you get up, seat yourself up, recharge your confidence, open your heart and face yourself. It can be very powerful to do that in a few minutes.

Obviously, as time goes on, with longer sessions we can go deeper. I’m a believer in consistent practice even if the practice isn’t very long or arduous. I teach that practice doesn’t have to be perfect, great, or good, and not to be hard on themselves. If they’re on a cushion consistently, slowly and in time lengthen their practice up to 20-30 minutes, and settle in to their practice, they will see a profound difference in their life. But as I said, for beginners, I stress that consistent process.

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Now for my holistic space question:  Where do you like to meditate and what makes it sacred to you?

I have a number of altars. When I was single it was really embarrassing! I have one in my kitchen, and my room is basically a huge shrine. But that’s me and that’s not what I recommend for other people, I’m just obsessive and very devoted. And that’s why I teach it, it’s my living, it’s my life. But for other people, according to my teacher Sakyong Mipham, meditation should support your life, not be a burden to it. So I think if people are creeped out by a shrine, they don’t need a shrine.

I do think meditation in their house is helpful because it actually settles the energy of the space. If you start to feel open and calm in your own house, then that really makes you feel open and calm when you come home. A focal point is also helpful.

Meditation with community is good in a different way. If you just meditate at home, you tend to not have the same level of motivation as when you show up in room full of people. You’re not going to slump as readily. So I do recommend both for people. But I do think some kind of a meditation area in the house really empowers the home. And for some of the hardcore meditators, we have that instead of a television…Often the television is the central part of the home, that’s great and that’s fine, but what kind of energy does that create? So I think to balance that, a meditation area is wonderful, especially in New York apartments, where you can’t have the fireplace or a big beautiful kitchen and stove, the kinds of things that bring more warmth and life in to your house.

I think a little meditation area kind of does that, they can. I do also believe that the meditation changes the energy. If you go into a meditation center, it’s easy to meditate because people have been doing it there for years. That starts to happen in your house and it starts to feel a little more contemplative and meditative because of the practice.

I absolutely agree! Thanks Joe!

Read my other blog post where Joe shares his tips for beginning meditators here.

by Anjie Cho


Joseph Mauricio is a speaker, teacher, workshop presenter, and meditation instructor in academic, business and private sectors. A senior teacher in the Shambhala Buddhist Tradition, Joseph began teaching twenty years ago at Karma Choling Buddhist Meditation Center in Vermont, and has subsequently taught in meditation centers, schools, businesses and community centers throughout North America, Canada and Europe. He has served as the Director of Public Programs and Outreach at the Shambhala Meditation Center of New York, and has recently become the Executive Director of the Baltimore Shambhala Meditation Center.

Joseph is a close student of Meditation Master, Sakyong Mipham, Rinpoche, the Head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage. He has studied with renowned teacher and author, Pema Chodren, and many prominent teachers in the meditation and yogic traditions in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Asia. He has completed dozens of solitary and group retreats, including three month-long meditation retreats, two month-long solitary retreats, an eight week silent group retreat, numerous shorter group retreats and years of advanced study. Joseph is a graduate of the Shambhala School of Buddhist studies and advanced meditation instructor and teacher trainings in the Shambhala Tradition.

www.josephmauricio.com


Q&A Sunday: Five Common Feng Shui Mistakes

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What are five common mistakes people make with feng shui?

Jacqueline R., Cleveland, OH

1.  There are mistakes in feng shui! 

I would not necessarily call these mistakes, but rather misinterpretations of feng shui. And sometimes the misinterpretations lead you to what you really needed! My point is: everything you do is right and correct if you do it with the best intentions. But this is a great question, because I always like to share with my clients the meaning and reason for the feng shui concept. If possible, we should strive to do things in the proper way. But mistakes happen and sometimes for a good reason!

2.  Feng shui is simply about moving furniture around

Feng shui is not just about moving furniture around! It’s about creating harmony in our lives by unifying our inner and outer environments. The inner and outer are not separate, because everything that we do to our spaces – positive and negative – affects our daily experience. In BTB feng shui we incorporate many personal chi adjustments (meditations and rituals to change your personal energy), adjusting objects to your space (such as adding plants, mirrors, or crystals), in addition to re-arranging your furniture.

3.  Using items made out of wood for the wood element

The wood element is about new beginnings, family and kindness in feng shui. Sometimes people misinterpret wood as the dead material of wood, like a wood desk. But in fact, objects made of wood do not embody the wood element. To add wood element you can add green plants or objects that are green/teal or tall and expansive. Brown wood objects are actually earth element!

4.  Fountains flowing wealth away from the home

Fountains can be used as feng shui adjustments to bring more wealth into the home. The best way to do this is to position the fountain so that the water flows into the home, rather than right out the door. So just turn that fountain around.

5.  What direction your door faces is very important

In BTB feng shui, it is not critical if your door faces north, south, east or west. We look at the relationship of the space to the formal entry to the room, home or property. We call this the “mouth of chi,” where the energy comes into the space. There are other schools of feng shui that use the compass directions. The other schools are as valid and equal to BTB feng shui. But the feng shui I practice does not follow this particular discipline. We care more about where the energy enters the environment, and how to look at the flow of chi. 

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Q&A Sunday: Sun Moon Mirror

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I am very interested in purchasing your Sun Moon Mirror; however, I was hoping you could provide me with a few more examples of how I may use it. I have been trying to research it a bit on the Internet but have not found any valuable information on the topic. I appreciate any assistance that you can provide regarding the item.

Teneale S., Alberta, Canada

Hi Teneale,

Thanks for your interest in the Sun Moon Mirror.

Sun Moon Mirrors are sacred ritual objects used for many purposes in BTB Feng Shui. Mirrors are quite useful in feng shui adjustments, but these Sun Moon Mirrors can be used as a more powerful version in most feng shui cures that require mirrors. They are double sided and are powerful because the sun side of a Sun Moon Mirror has been exposed to 24 hours of sunlight and the moon side to 24 hours of moonlight. They’re a challenge to make, because your attention to the process is important, and can also take a great deal of time, as cloudy days are not effective for empowering the mirror(s). You don’t want the sun side to accidentally receive energy from moon or vice versa. The Sun Moon Mirrors that we sell at Holistic Spaces have been created by my feng shui teacher, Katherine Metz

There is a wide variety of uses for a Sun Moon Mirror, but you won’t find them on the Internet. This list is something you receive when appropriate from a feng shui consultant or a teacher. The teachings are traditionally most effective when transmitted orally and at just the right time and place. When you purchase the mirror through Holistic Spaces, you’ll receive a document that Katherine created listing over 20 ways to use this incredible feng shui ritual object. 

Some examples are:

  • You can carry this tool around at all times for protection. I carry one with me in my purse.
  • For clarity, you can place a Sun Moon Mirror in your pillow and sleep on it.
  • For clarity and focus in your career, fasten it on the ceiling above your head at your desk.
  • If you are making a feng shui adjustment using one of the feng shui mirrors we have, you can use this Sun Moon Mirror as a more powerful option. For example if there is a missing feng shui bagua area in your home, you can use the mirror to bring back the area energetically.

I'm excited to hear that you're interested in the Sun Moon Mirror. It is such a powerful feng shui tool, and I recommend it when possible. I would love to hear how you choose to use yours!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

Nine Star Ki for the Earth Dog Year 2018

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Happy Chinese New Year!

This Friday, we celebrate the Chinese New Year! I'll be at my local Shambhala Center celebrating our version, called Shambhala Day, which honors the Tibetan New Year (Losar). The traditions are similar and all welcome the year of the Earth Dog.

The energy has already begun to shift for the new year; the official transition was actually on February 4th. That means, it's time for yearly Nine Star Ki forecasts! Be sure to check out the blog post with Beth Grace for individual zodiac horoscopes, as well as what kind of energy to expect from the Year of the Dog. 

In combination with the Chinese zodiac astrology system, I also like to use the numerology of the Nine Star Ki to prepare for the coming year and stay energetically balanced. This practice was developed in ancient China, so it only makes sense that it goes so well with feng shui, and is based on a number system of nine rather than the animal system. It also closely aligns with the five element principles and the I-Ching. 

Holistic Spaces has worked with Andrea Giordano, from AromatheraChi, again this year to create custom aromatherapy blends for each Nine Star Ki number in the Year of the Dog. Each aromastick is created to provide support and enhance the energy for your individual number in the coming lunar year, and they can be used in conjunction with feng shui!

Now let's figure out your number and what's in store!

You can calculate your principle number by using your year of birth. Beware: this requires a little elementary math ;)

As an example, if you were born in 1986:

  • Add:  1+9+8+6 = 24
  • Reduce to a single digit:  2+4 = 6
  • Subtract from 11:  11-6 = 5

*if you were born between January 1 and February 4, subtract from 12:  12-6 = 6

If you were born in 1940:

  • Add:  1+9+4+0 = 14
  • Reduce to a single digit:  1+4 = 5
  • Subtract from 11:  11-5 = 6

*if you were born between January 1 and February 4, subtract from 12:  12-5 = 7

Here's what all that calculating means for the Year of the Earth Dog in 2018:

If your principle number is 1, in 2018 you will be in the year of Prosperity. This year will feel strong and prosperous. You will begin to feel confident and be recognized for your knowledge and skills. There will still be a lot of effort, but you shall finally be harvesting the fruits of your labor. As a 1 Water person, you will feel supported in this 6 Metal year. Make the most of it!

If your principle number is 2, in 2018 you will be in the year of Celebration. This year will feel celebratory and playful. It is a great time to relax and pat yourself on the back for all the hard work that you put in the last few years. Enjoy yourself, rejoice and have some fun. As a 2 earth person, you may feel depleted from time to time in this 7 metal year. Be sure to also take care of yourself so you don't get burnt out from too much partying!

If your principle number is 3, in 2018 you will be in the year of Stillness. This year will be much quieter than the last. It will be a time of stillness, like climbing up a mountain to meditate in isolation. This is a great time to focus inward and do some self-cultivation. As a 3 Wood person, you will feel a bit slowed down in this 8 Earth year. But remember, this is a time to ground yourself and go deep.

If your principle number is 4, in 2018 you will be in the year of Recognition. This year you will be in the house of fire, where you have the best opportunities to be seen and recognized by others. It is a great time to receive any promotions or any other projects that you want publicity for. Be careful, as all things, good or bad, may be unveiled to the public. As a 4 Wood person, you may be prone to burn out in this 9 Fire year. Add some water and go with the flow to tone down the flames.

If your principle number is 5, in 2018 you will be in the year of Planning. This year will feel quiet and is a time for planning. In the winter, it may appear that everything is dead on the surface, but underneath there is much life and activity. Similarly, it may feel slow, but take this time to reflect, review and plan for the future. As a 5 Earth person, you will may feel a little muddy in this 1 Water year. Take advantage of the quietness and rest up!

If your principle number is 6, in 2018 you will be in the year of Germination. This year will be the time to plant seeds. When you plant a garden, you germinate many more seeds than you need. Do the same this year. Put all your ideas out there into the universe and share them with others. Plant the seeds and see what comes up! As a 6 Metal person, you will feel supported in this 2 Earth year. Enjoy, and let this year take care of you.

If your principle number is 7, in 2018 you will be in the year of Sprouting. This year will be energetic and full of new beginnings as you catch sight of seeds that you planted last year begin to sprout and grow. Be open to new ideas and cultivate the projects that you start at this time. As a 7 Metal person, you may feel a little overwhelmed in this 3 Wood year. Remember that this is a time to sharpen and expand.

If your principle number is 8, in 2018 you will be in the year of Rapid Growth. This year will be a continuation of last year where you see your sprouts grow into strong, grounded trees. This year will be busy and active, so please take care of yourself and be careful not to get burnt out. As an 8 Earth person, you may sense some upheaval in this 4 Wood year, but remember that it's about creating movement and change for the better!

If your principle number is 9, in 2018 you will be in the year of Fluctuation. This year will feel a little chaotic, as this is a time of renewal and rebirth. You many need to reinvent yourself this year. It’s a great time to let things go that are no longer serving you. As a 9 Fire person, you may feel depleted in this 5 Earth year. Emphasize some self-love and care this year.

How is the coming year looking for you? Are you excited? If you're interested in learning more about Nine Star Ki, check out this Holistic Spaces podcast, and take a peek at the blog, too, for ideas on how to celebrate the Chinese New Year! No matter what your number or animal, don't forget to take care of yourself during the Year of the Earth Dog! One great way is to grab a three-dimensional rabbit charm to carry with you at all times for protection and support. Since the Rabbit is the Dog's best friend, carrying this charm will keep you in their good graces. :)

by Anjie Cho


Q&A Sunday: Encouraging Change in the Home

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Are there some simple things I can do to change the energy and encourage my dad to de-clutter the place?

Jane H., Bronx, NY

Hi Jane, 

Thank you so much for submitting your question to the Holistic Spaces blog. It's a great question! So, you're wondering if there are some simple things you can do to change the energy in your home and encourage your father to declutter the space. 

My first thought: If you've read or are familiar with Marie Kondo, in her book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, she actually suggests working on yourself first. Take a look at your own personal space, start with decluttering that area and, by example, you'll encourage others (your dad) to do the same. If your personal areas aren't particularly cluttered, you can even work on clearing out shared public areas, like the kitchen or living room. So, my first suggestion here is to work on changing the energy of the space for yourself.

My second recommendation is to move a few things around in your home. Moving nine things with intention in your space can help to change the energy in your home, not just for your father, but for you as well. These don't have to be big adjustments. They can actually be rather small, even a matter of inches. You could move a lamp nine inches in one direction or move your dishes from one cabinet to another. Or you could completely remove an item from one room or from the home completely. As long as you take the time to stir the energy in your space by moving these nine things with thoughtfulness, you will begin to create changes for you and your dad. 

Finally, use space clearing techniques to promote change and more peace in your home! Space clearing can shake up the energy in your space and clear out stagnant energy so positive qi has room to flow. And it's really easy to do! Check out our post on using orange peels to clear space, or you can use orange essential oil to make an orange spray. Alternatively, you can buy an orange mist or try palo santo, both of which we offer at the Holistic Spaces store. You could also grab a bottle of our white sage spray, which I love. In fact, my intuition here tells me that the white sage spray would be best for you, and I feel it would really help . If the sage spray isn't within your reach, you might try buying sage and smudging like you would with palo santo. As a note, if allergies are an issue, opt for one of the sprays or palo santo, as they tend to be less irritant.

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!