Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for a Small Office with Windows

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Hey Anjie! I don’t know if this would be a good question for your blog, but I was just put in a small office with two other people. It has floor to ceiling windows on one side. Is there one item you’d recommend putting in a small office that would help with the feng shui? Here is the floor plan. Thanks so much! 

Mandy T., Livermore, CA

Hi Mandy!

For the readers, Mandy is one of my oldest friends! We used to make lots of trouble together as teenagers into our early twenties. But we turned out ok! So thank you for this question! 

Based on your photos, it looks like you have the floor to ceiling windows on the wall opposite the office door. This sort of design detail where there are floor to ceiling windows is not ideal feng shui-wise, however it’s fairly common in modern buildings. The floor to ceiling windows create less ground, and the qi can rush out, rather than gather in the space. In your case, there are two suggestions I’ll offer.

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First, you can strategically place a feng shui crystal ball as shown with the red star here. I recommend a crystal ball that is 40mm in diameter (or larger), and you use a red string to hang it halfway between the window and the door. The crystal should be centered on the door and hang from a red string (Holistic Spaces feng shui crystal balls come with a red string!). Ideally the ball will hang so that it’s the same height as the top of the door, but make sure the door does not hit the ball. The feng shui faceted crystal ball can take any qi that comes in from the door and disperse it into the room, rather than having it rush out the window.

Finally, I would also recommend that you ask if you can apply a frosted solar film to the bottom half of the windows. This will also help to keep the qi in the office and create more groundedness. If that’s not possible, you can try to arrange the furniture so that it blocks the bottom half of the window. There’s also a practical purpose: the people outside the window won’t be able to see up your skirt if your desk is up to the window! 

Hope this helps! I’d also be curious to hear about the two other people that you work with in there. I could offer suggestions on how to locate people and furniture with feng shui in mind for the most harmonious working relationships!

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 launched our program in September 2018. 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!

Mindful Design Feng Shui: Improve Productivity with Desk Feng Shui

Check out our feng shui show & tell series! We should you how we have set up our own workspaces and desks.

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: 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!

Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for an Office with No Windows

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What are some feng shui considerations for a psychotherapist’s office with no windows?

Erin H., Mountainview, CA

Hi Erin, 

Thank you for your question: what some feng shui considerations are for your office, since it has no windows. I think the answer for this question may be helpful to many people in windowless offices. 

It's ideal to have at least one window in any space, as having natural light and fresh air is vital to human beings. Everything living grows towards the light. When I work with my private architecture and feng shui clients, one of the main desires across the board is maximizing light. Light is so important, and without it, we can feel claustrophobic, suffer from health issues and even become depressed. As an architect, for any habitable space, there are actually light and air requirements. We need air circulation and light, and it's difficult if we don't have them both.

In feng shui, the windows represent the eyes of the inhabitants and can symbolize how we see the world around us. If it's not possible to change offices, I recommend including some artwork that feels like a window. This doesn't mean finding pictures of windows. Instead, look for images of landscapes or other settings where you're bringing the outdoors in. Hanging this kind of art on the wall can give the impression of having a window, even when there isn't physically one there. 

There are also seasonal affective disorder lamps, which simulate natural daylight, that may help. These can be used in any space, especially one without sufficient natural light, to counteract the negative effects of lack of sunlight. They are often recommended by therapists during the colder, darker seasons. In fact, as a psychotherapist, you may already be familiar with them!

Finally, you could also bring nature into your space with fresh flowers or green plants. It's true that most plants need natural sunlight to grow, but you can opt for a low-light plant or even add a fake plant to your space. If possible, aim for a real plant, as this can help out with indoor air quality as well. Fresh flowers are also an incredible way to bring in nature energy and connect you with the outdoors. Take a look at some of our posts on flowers for ideas on which blooms to select for your space!

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: A Kickstart for My Kickstarter

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How can I expand the mouth of qi for my Kickstarter? Anything, actually, to make it more successful!

Christy P., West Tisbury, MA

Hi Christy,

Thank you for your question about how to make your Kickstarter more successful. Kudos to you for using some feng shui terminology! The mouth of qi is the front door, or a portal, to a space and is an entry for energy to come into your life or home, or in this case, your Kickstarter. So really, this is a question of how to get more energy for your Kickstarter and make it more successful. 

In feng shui, we use the bagua map, and there are three different areas that can help create a more successful Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is a place for you to attract Benefactors, so this would be one area for you to work on and improve: your Benefactors area. Next is the Recognition area, so that people know the Kickstarter even exists. And if you look at the bagua map above, we can create a triad (a triangle) including the areas of Benefactors, Recognition and Knowledge. These are the three ideal bagua areas for you to focus on. We actually refer to this as the Three Harmonies of Fire, and it can create a lot of recognition and fire for support. 

In order to get helpful people to support this project, you, of course, need to attract more people, but to do this, you need to be seen, which is where Recognition, Fame and fire come in. The last area is Knowledge, which includes skills and self-cultivation. Here, I encourage you to consider if you've done enough research and looked into ways to get your Kickstarter noticed. There is a lot of help available through feng shui, but my teachers have always said that the mundane solution is more important than the transcendental solution. So the magic will work, but you also need to do some heavy lifting yourself. 

Start with researching how to improve your Kickstarter (which you may have already done! But do it thoroughly). That, in correlation with the feng shui adjustments, can create success for you. Feng shui-wise, you can create more recognition by activating the three harmonies of fire in your office and/or on your desk. It can be as simple as, in the whole office space, adding a green plant. A living green plant can add fuel to the fire. If you're working with your desk and there isn't room for plants, you can use instead one nine-inch red ribbon in each of the three areas to activate them. The desk and/or office are spaces that connect to your career and business. 

Your product, electronic cases that protect us from EMFs, seems to be really interesting, and I hope that making these adjustments draws more attention to your campaign so that we can see these come to fruition!

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: Interior Doors - Should They Open Out or In?

I'm looking at an office space where the door opens out, rather than into the space. I have the option to change the door swing. But someone told me once that if the door opens it is "bad feng shui". It is confusing to me! Also, is it ok that the doors of office 1 and 2 (on my plan) are facing each other?

Teri G., New York, NY

Hi Teri, 

This is a great question. It all depends on the person and their floor plan, but in general it is better feng shui to have the door swing into your office. 

In feng shui, doors represent the "mouth of qi", where the life force energy comes into the space. If the door swings into your space, the flow of qi is smoother. For an office or business this is important, because you want clients and opportunities to be attracted and easily connect with you. When you open the door towards you as you walk into any room, there is a feeling of pulling back rather than a natural movement forward.

In your case, since you have the option, DEFINITELY change the door swings of the neighbor and #2. Besides attracting more clients and opportunities, you have a situation where your doors are hitting each other. When the doors hit in this situtaion, it may cause or exacerbate possible conflict between you and your neighbor. And we don't want that if we can help it. Based on your floor plan, if you can put the hinge opposite side even better (so when you open the door it covers the closet).

It's actually not as easy as it would seem to reverse the door swing of an existing door. It is always best if you can change the door swing, so I would recommend talking to a contractor. If this is not possible for whatever reason, unfortunately it's not really correctable. It's best just to accept the door as is with its faults and work with a feng shui consultant to compensate for this and improve the feng shui in other ways. Again though, if possible change the door swing!

Finally, the doors of office 1 and 2 are aligned but that's not a problem. Let us know how it goes!!!

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 Business

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my inquiry. I am a Rooster, born on August 18, 1981. My house faces the east (my front door faces the east). My kitchen is in the NE, guest room is in the east and my son's bedroom is in the SE. Master's bedroom is in the SW, while living room/grand dining room is in the NW. In the west is our bathroom. I just started my business. However, I am having difficulty selling out my products. I am selling fashion bag charms / bag accessories. This is the first time the styles I have are sold in the U.S. I want to be a successful business owner, but I didn't expect it to be this difficult. Can you help me? What should I do?

Avvy C., Cleveland, MS


Hi Avvy,

Thanks for listening to the podcast and your question. First I wanted to explain that there are many schools of feng shui - dozens. The feng shui that I practice is BTB feng shui, and we do not use the compass directions in our analytics. If you’re interested in that, you can try a compass, flying star or classical feng shui consultant. My good friend, Beth Grace, may be a good option. She’s featured regularly on my new podcast mini-series “Astrology and Feng Shui”. Check out the podcast and Beth!

Otherwise, if you aren’t specifically looking for a particular school, BTB feng shui does, of course, give methods for improving your business. You did not mention an office in your home, so the first thing would probably be to look at the feng shui of your office. If you don’t have an office, that could be an issue. 

You also mention that you are selling something that is new to the U.S. When I work with a client, I ask a lot of questions at this point to pinpoint what the issue is. For instance, is the problem that you can’t get the business off the ground? Are there money issues? Are the products desirable; are they made well? Is it that people know about the product but don't want to buy? Or if only they knew about the product they would buy? And of course there are a slew of other questions; these are just a few.

In general, I would make sure you have an office space with a dedicated desk. Please make sure your desk is located in command of your space. There’s information in these articles about the command position. I also have a feeling that you need to work on the Recognition and Fame area, so that people know about your product. You can place something like a new green living plant in the Recognition area of your desk and home to add some fuel to fire up your recognition.

Hope that helps! Let us know and good luck with your new business!

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!

The Ins and Outs of Sick Building Syndrome

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Much of my work pertains to homes, apartments and other personal spaces, but the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ) relates to your working environment as well. In modern times, we spend a little less than 1/3 of our time at work on average. That's a lot of time in the same space! Unfortunately, these spaces are often poorly ventilated and filled with a host of other issues that lead to sick building syndrome, which is as gross as it sounds. 

Sick building syndrome is a collection of symptoms that seem to be caused directly by spending time in a certain building, often an office. These symptoms can include anything from headaches, dizziness and sensitivity to smell to asthma attacks, flu-like symptoms and even personality changes! Long term, they can even lead to cancer, pregnancy difficulties and other more serious issues. Not only do these issues cause us to feel poorly, they can also result in higher incidents of missing work and difficulty being productive when we do make it in. 

These effects can be caused by many factors, including:

  • external pollution (think car exhaust, radon, asbestos, lead paint) that leaks indoors through ventilation
  • VOCs off gassed by a number of office supplies like manufactured wood furniture, carpet, printers and more
  • Off gassing from clothing, fragrances and personal products
  • Insect or vermin droppings 
  • Mold and mildew
  • EMFs from small appliances like microwaves
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Ventilation issues

The good news is that there are ways to avoid sick building syndrome, and while many of them are reserved as actions for landlords and building owners, some of them we can do at our desks! If you own a building you suspect of making people sick, take care to use proper ventilation, remove and replace water stained carpet, upholstery and ceiling tiles, aim to use materials that do not off gas as much, and educate yourself as well as possible to help prevent sick building syndrome in your space. Changing out your air filters regularly with HEPA filters can be very effective as well! 

If you're an employee in a sick building, be sure to bring the problem to the attention of someone who can make changes, but you can also consider bringing in a small air purifier for your office and adding plants to your desk and office space that can help to absorb harmful VOCs. Check out our favorite options

Generally the symptoms of sick building syndrome are relieved when you leave the building, but if you leave one place and head to another polluted place, you're not doing much good! So work to make your home as holistic and green as possible to give yourself a safe place to rejuvenate and heal from a long day at the office!

by Anjie Cho

The Feng Shui Home Cleanse That Will Bring Your Intentions To Life

featured this week on MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

Whether you're an entrepreneur or work for a company, most of us have offices in our homes. Home offices can be a whole room, a desk at the end of the hall, or even sometimes the dining room table. In many cases, I've found that a home office comes with all sorts of challenges. The predicament that I hear most often as an interior architect and feng shui expert is "I can't get anything done! I get too distracted."

Well, there are things we can do to help with that. In feng shui, your home office is an important space, as it is a symbol of your career and affects how you succeed in the world. I'm so happy to share a few simple feng shui tips to create the perfect home office and transform how effective you are!

Location, location, location!

It's really quite important to have a spot for your home office away from the bedroom(s) and toward the front of the home. The bedroom area is about rest and relaxation. If you have trouble with focus in your home office, it's best to move the office out of the bedroom and closer to the front door. The rear of the home is more insular and more "yin," quiet and inward, whereas the front of the home is closer to the world and more "yang," outward and active. It's better to be alert and awake when you're working, especially when you have deadlines or need some motivation.

...read full article

by Anjie Cho