Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for a New Floor Plan

I’m looking for a second home and was wondering if you could give me a general idea of whether this layout would be accommodating for my husband and myself.

Diane R., Phoenix, AZ

Hi Diane,

Thanks for sending in your floor plan on this prospective home. I work with clients often when they are shopping for homes, so this is a good idea to check out the feng shui before you purchase. And yes, there are a few issues with this home, but all houses have problems.

Feng Shui for a New Floor Plan - Floor Plan.jpeg

The feng shui I practice (BTB feng shui) is actually mostly remedial! If you really love this house, you can work with it. We very rarely tell someone that a house is bad for them, because our intention is not to define things as good or bad, but to figure out how to make things workable. So, how can we make this home work for you if you do purchase it? 

First, there may be some concern about the master bath being in the Abundance area. But again, it's doable! You can hang a mirror on the outside door of the bathroom to correct that.

I also see some issues with the garage, which is in the Relationship area. It looks like the garage is part of the bagua, since it’s under the same roof as the rest of the house. In this case, because the Relationship area is in the garage, it may indicate that you and/or your husband travel a lot, so there are things you can do in this room to create a bit more stability in your relationship. It's best to work with a feng shui consultant on this, however, even using earthy colors can be stabilizing.

My major concern here is that the Knowledge and Path in Life areas are missing. You can bring these areas back into the bagua energetically with landscaping or other feng shui cures.

I also note there is a lot of water (kitchen and guest bath) in Recognition. To work with this you could add plants or wood element (dark green, for example) to transform that water energy into fuel for the fire energy, which would balance water

Anyhow, if you keep looking for the perfect feng shui house...well, you might look forever! Sometimes we are attracted to homes that have some feng shui that corresponds to areas in our life we need to work on :)

If you're interested in this house, and you love it, I think it's feasible!

by Anjie Cho

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. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.

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: Beach Holidays and the Five Elements

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Hi Anjie. I would appreciate some Feng Shui tips for a beach holiday in terms of balancing the seaside environment, which seems to me water, earth (sand, pebbles) and fire (sun). I wondered if one should add the missing elements in order not to be too exhausted and overwhelmed.

Giuliana G., France

Hi Giuliana,

Thank you so much for always sending such wonderful questions! I previously answered this question on this blog post, but you sent me a follow-up and clarified that you were more curious about the five elements. A beach holiday can be at any time of year--a lot of times we go on beach holidays in the summer, but we often go during the winter as well because we want to go somewhere warm for a bit.

So what do we do to balance elements in a seaside environment? First, it’s really important to be in touch with what resonates with you. You can look at your Four Pillars or your Bazi, which is your Chinese astrology. You can see what your Day Master is, if it’s weak or strong, and what element you’re supported by. For instance, I’m a weak yin wood. Since my Day Master is wood, having water around me is really great. I’ve always lived near water; I grew up in Los Angeles, I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I lived right on the water in New York City. Because water is really supportive for me, I don’t really need to balance things when I’m by the seaside.

If you don’t know anything about Four Pillars or Bazi, we have some information on the website about how to figure out your Nine Stars. If you look at the Nine Stars and you’re a wood element, for instance, it may mean that the seaside environment is supportive for you.

But what if you are not supported by water? That’s what it sounds like, because your question implies that you become exhausted, overwhelmed, or depleted near the seaside. That’s the main thing to pay attention to; you can look at numerology and astrology, but it’s important to see what you’re personally attracted to. For instance, as I mentioned, I’m always really drawn to the water, whereas my husband is more drawn to the forest and the country. For me, going to the country is neutral, and if I was going to the country, I’d want to be by a lake or another body of water. You usually know yourself, so if you close your eyes and think about your ideal vacation, that would be a good indication of what element you need. If being by the seaside makes you feel exhausted and overwhelmed, and your ideal vacation is in the country, that’s the number one indication that you may not need more water.

You mentioned that at the beach the main element is water, and you also mentioned earth (sand) and fire (sun), so what’s missing is metal and wood. Metal actually creates more water, so if you’re feeling depleted, metal isn’t the best thing to bring in. And if you think about it practically, metal gets hot very easily, so I would recommend you bring more wood into the situation. That could be as simple as carrying more wood-colored things around you. For instance, you could bring blue or green clothing, or a blue or green beach towel or bathing suit. You also see the color blue in the water, so it may be very comforting to look at the water if it’s not too bright. You can also bring the wood element into the place that you’re staying. The wood element is also living green plants, so you may want to bring those into the place where you are staying.

Hopefully this will help you for your seaside beach holiday at any time of year. Thank you so much!

by Anjie Cho

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. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.

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: Colors and Elemental Energy in Feng Shui

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Hi, I’m redecorating. I’m doing two walls green and the other two walls grey. The colours are called jade jewel and subtle stone. Do the colours green for wood and grey for metal still stand or can I count them as earth colours, as they represent wonderful shades of crystals/stone? (in the context of the bagua). Am I making sense? Thanks in advance. PS I like crystals ;)

Thomas C.

Hi Thomas,

Thanks for your question. You submitted this on our feng shui Facebook group: Your Feng Shui Journey. I encourage any other readers who would like to join. Your Feng Shui Journey is managed by my partner, Laura Morris, and I, as an extension of the Mindful Design Feng Shui School. Thomas, you asked about colors and how they relate to the five elements, or if the specific shades you’re using are connected. This is actually a really good question, so thanks for asking!

Colors are an important part of feng shui, because people are very visual, so color is something we notice immediately. There is a quote I like on color from His Holiness Master Lin Yun, who started BTB feng shui:

“How does color influence our life-world? First, color defines for us what exists and what does not exist. Second, color discloses the status of one's health and fortunes... Third, color inspires emotion.”

Colors are one of the most powerful ways to work with your feng shui. There are lot of ways to look at color, and you’ve touched upon two of them here. One is the relationship to the five elements, and another is your personal relationship to colors, for example your reference to the crystals and stones you love. Your own personal conditioning is important, as are cultural associations and the relation of certain colors to nature. So to answer your question, you can use the colors in the way that makes the most sense for you. If you want to use them based on the five elements, you are correct that the color green is related to Wood and the color grey is related to Metal. If you want to associate the colors with the meanings of the crystals and stones, that’s possible too! However, in feng shui, we would not use the colors you mentioned to represent the Earth element. In the five element system, Earth colors are brown, orange, yellow and other colors that would be considered “earthy.”

If you want to think of the shades you’ve chosen as colors that you love, of course go ahead and use them with this connotation! I would not recommend using them to represent the Earth element, however, because they don’t in our system. You want to make sure to keep the element systems straight.

I’d also like to share something a teacher of mine always said. When clients asked him what color to paint their walls, his first question was “Well, what color do you like?”. The most important thing here is to use colors you love and follow your heart and intuition. From there, if you want to follow a system like the five elements, aim to do so with precision and not muddle the colors.

by Anjie Cho

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. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.

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!

The Healing Powers of Crystals and Gemstones

my Super 7 pendant

my Super 7 pendant

I met Rosie Stars, from Super 7 Healers a few years ago at the Awaken Fair in NYC. Rosie creates beautiful jewelry with beautiful and healing crystals and gemstones.

I purchased a "Super 7" pendant that activates all seven chakras. It "facilitates spiritual growth on all levels of being, gives access to subconscious mind to remember one’s purpose & how to live it. Contains all 7 mineral characteristics in every stone whether they are visible or not and synergistically creates a higher frequency that heals". And I wear it everyday. The results have been amazing, and it's gorgeous.

Rosie was kind enough to let me interview her about the healing properties of crystals and gemstones.

AC: Please tell us about the healing properties of gemstones, minerals and crystals.

RS: Every stone has different healing properties based on its origination, mineral content and color. Most stones can be used to balance specific chakras based on color, or you can wear stones that are effective on all chakras. For instance, a stone like Larimar is a rare, beautiful blue which looks like water in the Caribbean. It was created through volcanic activity when the island of the Dominican Republic was formed, making it a water AND fire stone. Because of this, it is a great stone to balance hot flashes and swings of emotion. It helps us speak our truth without being overly emotional as it is a throat chakra stone. It's very good for all women and especially great for managers, lawyers, mothers, anyone hitting their 40-50's to wear!

What are your favorite gemstones, their properties, and why are they your favorites?

I don't have a favorite. I consider stones more like sacred tools, medicine or helpers - so I honor them all. But I personally need to work with certain stones 24/7. Sugilite is a rare purple "violet flame" stone from South Africa that I must wear as it helps shield me from other peoples energy. I pick up other people's pain/negativity otherwise. It works with the 6th through 14th chakras so it is very protective and purifying from negative energies and disharmony. I wear a choker and ring on my receiving hand at all times. I also have a bracelet of covellite on my right (sending) hand. It is a stone that is sensitive to the changing energy patterns of the Earth...and it alters its vibration to stay in harmony. I don't know if you are familiar with String Theory or Quantum Physics but I'm very conscious of my emotions and the vibes I am putting out and receiving. I only want to create positive experience these days, so I wear Covellite on my sending hand to make sure I only send balanced energy out to the world.

Sugilite image via  Crystal Cure

Sugilite image via Crystal Cure

Covellite image via Cochise College

Covellite image via Cochise College

I love your tagline "to heal the earth heal your self". Tell us more about that!

Metaphysically we are all connected. Our vibration/energy affects every aspect of our experience. People have a tendency to see "saving/healing the world" as an external process that one has to go out and physically do, when in reality every thought and emotion (e-motion = energy in motion) is what we are sending out into the world. The vibration or frequency of those thoughts and e-motions then attracts a similar frequency/vibration. If we watch movies or TV, we are bombarded with fear mongering, anger, greed, resentment so THAT energy is what we internalize, which shows up on the planet as dolphins being killed en mass, the tar sands, terrorism, war, etc. If each one of us raises our energy/vibration and sees the people around us with love and appreciation, we then send out that energy to attract our life experience. Every person we encounter then gets the benefit of our positive energy and that energy exponentially goes out to affect others around the world. It all starts with us. Very simple...but not easy! 

Thank you so much for all your knowledge, Rosie! And for creating the amazing piece of jewelry I am wearing right now!

by Anjie Cho

Super 7, Sacred 7, Melody’s Stone

Super 7, Sacred 7, Melody’s Stone

Rosie Stars of Super 7 Healers is an ordained Metaphysical Minister with Metaphysical Universal Ministries. She studied Life Coaching at Inner Visions Institute for Spiritual Development with Iyanla Vansant and is an certified instructor/practitioner of Quantum Touch (an energy healing process similar to Reiki.) Rosie has been working with stone energies for a couple of decades and is now in the process of developing a workshop to help people understand how our thoughts, emotions and thus our vibrations create our lives and experience (including serious illness), how to use stones to shift our vibrations and other simple techniques that make healing our selves less of a mystery.  

Contact her at:  super7healers@yahoo.com

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.

Welcome the Summer Solstice with Feng Shui

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Happy Summer Solstice! Tomorrow is the first day of summer, finally!

What is the summer solstice? A solstice is one of two points at which the path of the sun is either the furthest north or the furthest south it can be during the Earth’s rotation around it. As a solstice causes a change in the amount of daylight we see on Earth, both solstices (summer and winter) are associated with the beginning of a new season, respectively, in the top half of the planet.

During the summer solstice, the sun travels its longest path through our sky all year, which results not only in longer daylight hours, but also warmer weather in our hemisphere due to the direct angle of the sun’s rays. Thus, the name “summer solstice.” Every year, the summer solstice falls on June 21, and its effects will last until mid-September, when we experience the autumnal equinox, thus beginning fall.

What does this mean in terms of feng shui? This means that we are shifting from wood yang energy into a time of more explosive yang fire energy. We will naturally hold more heat in our bodies and be more active. At this time it’s helpful to balance the hot yang energy of fire with cooling water or earth energies. You could add cooler blues, greens, pinks and grays into your home accents and fashion choices. Also take care to eat cooling, raw foods such as melons and salads.

I also just put away my winter clothing and made way for summer clothes. When going through your clothes, make sure to take time and see what items still work for you. If it has not been worn in three years it is time to donate that piece of clothing. If there is a piece that needs mending, make a decision to get it repaired or let it go. Finally, if it does not fit… again, it is time to let it go.

This is my favorite time of year! Be sure to enjoy it! 

by Anjie Cho

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: Herbal Plants

I am interested in purchasing herb plants to put in my window sill, which is sort of in between Prosperity and Health guas. My local farmer's market sells them in small round plant pots. I also have another window sill located in my prosperity corner. Would you suggest plants instead? If the herb plants are ok, could you offer suggestions on which ones I should buy? Also, what is the minimum or maximum should I place on the window sill, which is 42 in. L and 5 in. W?

Cynthia H., Chicago, IL

Dear Cynthia,

What a lovely idea to have edible plants as a feng shui adjustment! I think herbs from the local farmer’s market are great.

I would select the herbs that you would most likely use, and that will survive with the natural light that’s available. You can also look at the meanings behind the plants and see what is most relevant to you.

Basil: Good wishes

Rosemary: Remembrance 

Thyme: Courage, Strength

Italian parsley: Festivity

Mint: Virtue

Chives: Usefulness

From http://www.almanac.com/content/meaning-flowers

For the size of your windows, I would suggest 3 on one sill and 2 on the other, for a total of 5. And 5 is a great number because it relates to the five elements!

Send us a photo of how it turns out!

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: Feng Shui for Sensitive People

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Feng Shui cures for HSP/empaths. How can a very sensitive person create a haven of peace, calm and beauty to sooth his/her overwhelmed senses?

Giuliana G., Lille, France

Hi Giuliana,

Thank you for your question; it's a great one. Undeniably there are many different types of people, each with different tuning levels to their emotions and the emotions of others. Highly sensitive persons (HSPs), also known as empaths, are gifted with the ability to feel almost all emotions in their immediate surroundings, often picking up the energy of others as well, whether positive or negative. With a trait like this, settling down and finding calm can be a bit difficult, as spending time around others in any capacity often results in an overwhelming collection, and range, of emotion.

Thankfully, some aspects of feng shui are excellent for use in creating a safe, calming space for a HSP, and I can suggest a few simple cures for an overactive emotional field. One of the most important characteristics of feng shui is awareness of one’s environment, and this is especially necessary for empaths. While it may seem self-explanatory that HSPs are aware of their environments, this applies to the physical space surrounding them in addition to the emotions and energy they pick up from others.

Two major focal points for empaths when creating a personal healing area are neatness (lack of clutter) and privacy. Having a clutter-free space, as you may know, is important in any balanced home, but even more so for empaths, as they are already overwhelmed by emotional clutter. As you’re likely to pick up a wide variety of energies outside your personal space, it is especially vital that you create a clean personal space free of clutter and dedicated to positive energy.

One great way to do this is by regularly smudging the space in which you choose to relax. Whether you use your own separate space or the family den on off hours, take care to ensure that your area is clean of all energies so that you do not pick up any additional emotional sludge. You can use any of the methods I’ve discussed, palo santo, sage or orange oil to smudge a space.

Another way to make the most of your personal space as an empath is to incorporate daily meditation, even if only for a few moments. After being flooded with the energies of others, it is very important to spend some time alone to clear these energies and define your very own mood. Consider also including the elements Earth, Fire and Water in your space, as these elements are able to convert negative energies to something better.

Finally, look into healing crystals, stones and essential oils. These products are all very beneficial in balancing emotions and energies, and if you’re willing to take time to find the right stones and oils for you, they can be incredibly helpful in preventing overload for an empath.

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: Tips for Spiritual & Healing Providers

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What are some basic tips for people who provide spiritual or healing services to reflect a fun, sacred, zen-like atmosphere to spaces/venues that are already designed?

T.F, Stamford, CT

This is a situation that many face: how to create a holistic space with what you have. It’s a little like life, right? We come into this world with our cultural and environmental conditioning and limitations. My teachers would say that if you’re born a Honda you’ll never be a Mercedes, but you can be the best Honda you can be! Similarly, we can work with what we’re given. Most feng shui is remedial - we make adjustments after the fact. With my clients I actually incorporate feng shui into the architectural design. But not everyone has that luxury or foresight.

Space Clearing

My first suggestion is space clearing. In feng shui we use different rituals involving mantras, sometimes rice, sometimes oranges and others. If you want to do this yourself I recommend getting some orange essential oil and placing 9 drops in a bowl of water. With this bowl, walk around clockwise from the entrance sprinkling the essence throughout the space. Lately I’ve also been burning palo santo, a Peruvian wood used to smudge (or clear) a space. Remember when you clear a space, always put positive energy back in.

Commanding Position

Second, use the commanding position to layout the most important areas in your space. For a spiritual or healing provider, this may be your desk or the position in which a client receives your services. The commanding position locates us in an advantageous place so we can feel relaxed and in control of our environment. This position is that which is furthest back from the door, while not in line with or behind the swing of the door.

Five Elements

Third, use the five elements to create a balanced and harmonious space. Take a look at this previous Holistic Spaces blog article or explore our five elements series on the Holistic Spaces podcast.

Bring in Nature

Finally, for a healing and zen-like space be sure to have some green plants. Use non-toxic cleaning products and add fresh flowers when possible. The plants not only improve the indoor air quality, they add life energy to the space. Plants promote kindness and flexibility. Fragrant fresh flowers bring joy and improve energy flow.

There is also something my teachers call “method of minor additions” which involve the use of feng shui adjustment objects such as crystals, mirrors, windchimes, colors, etc. Unfortunately that’s where the feng shui expert comes in. This depends on the particular location, situation, and person.

Good luck with your space, and kudos to you for providing such beautiful services to help others.

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!