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: Are Fake Plants Good Feng Shui?


 

Are fake plants good feng shui?

DeeJay A., Brooklyn, NY

Hi DeeJay, thanks for your question!

Green plants are used for many feng shui adjustments. They represent growth and new beginning and cultivate human kindness and compassion. They are related to the wood element and the area of New Beginnings on the feng shui bagua map.

While it is preferable to use living green plants for feng shui applications, my teachers have taught me that faux green plants are also acceptable. The faux plants should be of high quality and as realistic as possible. It is fairly easy now to find good looking fake plants. I believe it is much better to have a realistic fake plant over a dying real one. There are often locations where a plant could improve the feng shui of a space, however the natural light is lacking. In this case, I think it is good feng shui to use a fake plant.

On the other hand, a friend recently asked me about getting some colored orbs for her kitchen. She wanted to know what color was better feng shui-wise. We discussed her intentions, and then I suggested real fruit rather than orbs. She said it was too much of a hassle because fruit spoils and needs frequent replacement. That seems very practical, but you can also be mindful that if the intention for the colored orbs is to add more growth and wood element for example, then it would be all the more powerful to use something like real fruit that needs refreshing. The attention and care involved in replenishing fresh fruit, or caring for a living green plant, cultivates the desired qualities and only strengthens the intention and effects of the feng shui adjustment.

That said, a fake plant is okay for low light locations or for seriously black thumbs. But, there is something to gain from the care and nurturing you give to a living green plant that makes your feng shui adjustment more effective.

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 One Room Where You Shouldn't Keep Tons of Plants, According to Feng Shui

featured this week on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

  image credit: Sophia Hsin via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Sophia Hsin via MindBodyGreen

Who doesn't love a good houseplant? With their toxin-bustinghappiness-inducing properties, plants are an amazing vehicle for ushering some of nature's healing power indoors. And these days, it seems like the more you have, the better. Instagram's most enviable homes feature rooms draped in greenery, and some of the world's most influential offices (Amazon, anyone?) are transforming into urban jungles.

But one design philosophy is saying not so fast. Here, leading feng shui experts explain why the bedroom may not be the best place for all of your plant pals:

But if you already have them, it's totally OK.

If you have a bedroom full of plants and sleep like a baby, you don't need to change a thing. Most feng shui pros, including Maureen Calamia of Luminous Spaces, agree that, depending on the room, a few plants can be beneficial, especially when placed in the wealth corner to promote green of another kind.

Architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho adds that some schools of feng shui, like the more Western BTB philosophy, think that woodsy elements in the bedroom can actually help some people thrive. "The wood element adds qualities like flexibility, kindness, growth, and healing into your life," she says. "For a very lethargic or depressed person, it may even be good to have some uplifting energy to raise your chi. I personally have plants in my bedroom and found that they brighten and perk up the space."

...read full article


Power Houseplants: Peace Lily

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So far, we've gotten to know the Golden Pothos and the Dracaena, also known as Janet Craig, both of which are incredible additions to any holistic space. But what if you prefer flowering plants? Good news! Fourteen of the 50 top plants for homes and indoor spaces include flowers! The most helpful of these options is the Peace Lily, part of the Top 10 list of purifying plants. 

The Peace Lily is one of my favorite plants and is actually something of a superstar in the world of indoor plants. Only a few plants meet or exceed the Peace Lily's ability to remove VOCs from indoor air and improve air quality through transpiration, and it is noted as one of the only plants that will reliably bloom indoors. In fact, Dr. B.C. Wolverton touts the Peace Lily as a plant that "should always be included when seeking a variety of indoor plants." 

The Peace Lily features sturdy stalks and white flowers which can even be trimmed to avoid pollen, if allergies are an issue. As with many houseplants, there are a number of varieties, including the Cleavelandii and the Mauna Loa, which can reach two and three feet, respectively. It is worth noting that the Peace Lily is poisonous to humans and animals if ingested, so it's important to take care if you have pets or children! If you can place the plant out of reach, do so. If you are not confident your pets will leave the Peace Lily alone, take a look at some of our other favorites here

This plant is relatively easy to care for and resistant to insects, so as long as you can commit to regular watering and a little light, a Peace Lily is the way to go! 

To Grow Successfully:

- Place your plant in semi-sun or semi-shade. Not too much of either!
- Maintain a daytime temperature of 60 - 75 degrees and a night temperature of 55 - 68. 
- Keep the soil evenly moist and wash leaves occasionally to ward off insects. 
- Hold off a bit on the watering during winter!

Is there somewhere in your home or office you can add a Peace Lily for a little Wood element, healing and fresh air?

by Anjie Cho


Power Houseplants: The Golden Pothos

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Adding plants to your space is one of the easiest, most common feng shui adjustments. Plants of all types can be added for many reasons, whether it be to bring more Wood element into a home, provide a healing atmosphere, welcome prosperity, improve air quality or more. There are thousands of types of houseplants and indoor trees, but some are more symbolic than others, and some are more effective at accomplishing certain goals.

The Golden Pothos is one of the most popular of all houseplants and is easily a great choice. I recently mentioned Dr. B.C. Wolverton's book, How to Grow Fresh Airand the Golden Pothos is one of the top 50% in his list of houseplants for purifying air. Not only does it remove a large amount of chemicals and vapors due to its high transpiration rate, it is also very resistant to insects and is arguably the easiest plant to grow and maintain. 

This plant is actually a vine, with heart-shaped leaves that range in color from golden (thus the name) to lush green and maintain color even when low on sunlight. Though the Golden Pothos is a vine and can be trained to climb, it is often grown in hanging pots (like this one) and can actually be cultivated in almost any potting medium. It's a great plant for cuttings, as these take root easily in water, and overall, it's an ideal houseplant for beginners or those with forgetful watering tendencies. I have a Golden Pothos I was given when I moved to the city over a decade ago! It's survived through basement apartments, cold winters and much more. 

To Grow Successfully:

- Maintain temperatures between 65 - 75 degrees, and do not let it get cooler than 50 degrees.
- Let the soil dry slightly between watering.
- If possible, feed your plant weekly during its growing season.
- Clean the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth. 

Keep an eye on the blog, as I'll be sharing some of the best options for houseplants, one by one!

by Anjie Cho


Holistic Spaces Podcast, Episode 051: Creativity and Feng Shui with Laura Morris

VISIT:

HOLISTICSPACES.COM/PODCAST 

 

AVAILABLE ON ITUNES

 

TUNE IN OCTOBER 9 FOR THE NEXT HOLISTIC SPACES PODCAST


BE SURE TO ALSO LISTEN IN OCTOBER 1 FOR OUR EIGHTH EPISODE OF THE MINI-SERIES, ASTROLOGY & FENG SHUI!

Q&A Sunday: Being Overlooked at Work

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I find I get overlooked at work. Can you suggest a feng shui cure for this?

Giuliana G., Lille, France

Hi Giuliana

Thank you for your wonderful questions and support. I'm so sorry to hear you're feeling this way!

Nobody likes to feel overlooked, especially in the workplace. But you're in luck! There are many many ways to approach this concern from the feng shui perspective. The fame and Recognition area is the feng shui bagua map area for you! I think this area came up for you before in a previous Q&A

But before we work on the fame and Recognition area, it's helpful for you to look more closely at why you are feeling overlooked. We can give clarity to a problem by looking at it more carefully in light of the other feng shui bagua areas. Who is doing the overlooking? Why is it happening? Are there ways to work with it? Can you gain more skills and knowledge? Is there a relationship that can be improved? etc etc.

I challenge you to really look closely at that. If this were a consultation, I would of course like to know much more about the situation.

Now getting back to the Recognition and fame area, this would be the best area to address feng shui wise to receive more credit and acknowledgment. My intuition tells me it would be best for you to place a new green plant in the Recognition area of your desk at work, the same area of your desk at home and in the same area of your entire home. Use matching black pots with a red ribbon tied around the pot or plant. The plant adds Wood to feed the fire of Recognition. The color combination creates a powerful feng shui cure as Water (black pot) manifests the Wood (green plant) and culminates with Fire (red ribbon).

You can check out some of our posts on green plants and the Wood element for insight on what kind of plants to choose based on feng shui, indoor air quality and much more. Please keep us updated and feel free to share photos of your new green friends!

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!


Holistic Spaces Podcast, Episode 043: Clutter and Five Elements with Katherine Metz, Part 2

VISIT:

HOLISTICSPACES.COM/PODCAST 

 

AVAILABLE ON ITUNES

 

TUNE IN JUNE 12 FOR THE NEXT HOLISTIC SPACES PODCAST


BE SURE TO ALSO LISTEN IN JUNE 5 FOR OUR FOURTH EPISODE OF THE MINI-SERIES, ASTROLOGY & FENG SHUI!

6 Trees to Plant Indoors for Earth Day

Earth Day is Saturday, and as always, we're excited to celebrate the greatness that is our planet and express gratitude to the universe and Mother Earth for supporting us. One of the most popular ways to honor the Earth and help counter environmental damage is to plant trees. If you own your property or have a yard, planting a tree is easy. Just be sure to care for it after planting! If you're in a New York City apartment, planting a tree yourself may be a bit more difficult. In honor of Earth Day, you can donate to Trees for the Earth or the Canopy Project, or you can choose an indoor tree for your holistic space! We've got a few suggestions. 

Fiddle Leaf Fig

The Fiddle Leaf Fig is enjoying plenty of time in the spotlight right now and for good reason. They're easy to care for, bright and look fantastic in practically any space. The Fiddle Leaf Fig enjoys bright light, isn't so fond of drafts and needs water when its soil feels dry. It's also a good idea to keep an eye out for whiteflies or aphids! Our friends at The Sill have beautiful figs for delivery in NYC. 

Fishtail Palm

If you're craving a tropical touch, the Fishtail Palm is the perfect addition to your holistic space! These trees grow best in bright, indoor light and warmer temperatures (like the temp inside your home), which makes them ideal houseplants. Just be sure to keep a spray bottle nearby for misting, because these tropical trees need lots of humidity!

Madagascar Dragon Tree

The Madagascar Dragon tree gets extra points for being a well-known air-purifying plant. So not only does it brighten your space, it helps remove some of the harmful chemicals we bring into our homes. Like the Fishtail Palm, the Madagascar Dragon tree thrives in average home temperatures and enjoys bright, filtered light. You'll want to keep the soil slightly moist and keep pets away, since the Madagascar Dragon Tree is poisonous! 

Money Tree

This indoor plant gets extra points too, since it is associated with wealth and prosperity in feng shui! Take a look at your bagua and find your Abundance gua, then add your Money Tree to let the universe know you'd appreciate some prosperity! Keep your tree watered regularly, give it bright light and avoid placing it in the bathroom (as water can drain the wealth), the Relationships gua or the Knowledge gua. 

Norfolk Pine

The Norfolk Pine tree is another popular indoor tree with the flexibility to add nature and the Wood element to any room. Like most indoor plants, the Norfolk Pine just wants medium to bright light and water, enough to keep it moist but not soggy. Easy enough!

Rubber Tree

Add some glossy dark green to your space with a rubber tree. These trees grow quickly, especially with bright, filtered light, regular water and well-drained soil, so it may be necessary to repot your Rubber Tree on a yearly basis until it's the perfect size for your holistic space. It's also a good idea to slip your Rubber Tree some weak liquid fertilizer during growing season. 

There are so many more than six trees that make amazing additions to our indoor spaces, and adding a tree anywhere is a great way to thank Mother Earth for keeping us alive all these years! Not to mention, many trees, like other indoor plants, are excellent absorbers of excess carbon dioxide and harmful chemicals that start in our homes and often make their way outside. If you're looking for easy-to-love trees and all-star air purifiers, also check out the Parlor Palm, Ponytail Palm and the Dracaena anita. Then send us pics of your new Earth Day trees!

by Anjie Cho