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: Chinese Astrology for a Horse in a Rooster Year

This year of the Fire Rooster has been really tough for me so far. Big snow making getting to work difficult, 3 squirrel infestations in my new Nissan Rogue (wires chewed...in shop three times). I'm a Wood Horse. Please advise me how to improve my luck. Maybe a dragon in the entryway?

Shauna R., Abbotsford , British Columbia, Canada

Hi Shauna

I’m so very sorry that you have been having such a challenging year. It’s actually been a quite challenging year for many others as well. As far as the relationship between Horse and Rooster, it’s actually neutral. It may be useful for you to consult directly with a Chinese Astrology expert as it sounds like this is where your interests lie, and there are great astrologers I can recommend. Beth Grace, Doris Ingber and Yasha Jampolsky are all Chinese Astrologers you can hire. They can look at your specific natal chart, based on the time of your birth, in relationship with the energies of this specific year. Without seeing your actual birth information, there’s not much more I can advise in terms of your astrology.

As far the feng shui aspects to improve your luck, the founder of BTB feng shui, H.H. Professor Lin Yun always advised to first take of the mundane issues. That simply means what are the practical things you can do to improve the situation. Luckily the winter has passed, but as far as the squirrels, is there something you can do to prevent this happening again in the future? Then, I have a sense that you should start with the most basic feng shui adjustment of making sure your bed, desk and stove are in the commanding position. You can find more information about that here, here and here.

As far as the car damage, you can look at the feng shui of your car. It represents how you connect to the world, right? And the electrical wires are akin to your blood and nervous system. It maybe helpful for you to check that out. It might be interesting to also look at symbology of the squirrel. The squirrel is associated with playfulness but also preparation. The presence of so many squirrels may be a sign to take life a little less seriously and have more fun. However, it can also be a note to take a look at your preparations in life and ensure they are all in place. On a less obvious level, the squirrel can also be a reminder to remain mindful. Squirrels only find 10% of the nuts they hide for winter, but all of these unfound nuts do develop into larger plants and trees. So be mindful of what you "plant", because it will inevitably come back up!

Since the damage was carried out by nature, you can also create a shrine to invite the nature spirits to appease them. You can create a special place, ideally outdoors, where you make a humble offering to the nature spirits so they are happy and feel invited into your home. This would include water, liquor, rice and a small rock or statue. Do this to dedicate a small space for magic from the universe in your life, and be sure to ask nature to visit your home! There's more on that here

Finally, you inquired about a dragon in the entryway. I’m assuming you’re suggesting this because the Dragon is the best friend of the Rooster. In BTB feng shui we advise you carry on your body a three-dimensional dragon in the Year of the Rooster. So this is the adjustment, to carry it on you. It’s not the same to have it in the entryway. If you had another reason, let us know so we can comment on it. You can purchase the charm in the Holistic Spaces shop, and it will definitely help you have a more auspicious year. Since the Dragon is the best friend of the Rooster, the Rooster will see the dragon charm and bestow good luck and protection. 

Thank you for submitting your question, and I hope the rest of your year improves! 

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!


Your Guide to Spring Flowers

Spring is in full swing, and we're finally starting to see pops of color in nature. In fact, spring's various flowers may be one of the best parts of the season! Whether you're fortunate enough to have an outdoor garden, looking to add some new houseplants or just searching for the perfect fresh bouquet to bring a little nature indoors, spring flowers are the perfect way to welcome the change in weather and spend some time with nature. 

Of course, there are tons of blooms that make their appearances in spring, so how is one to choose which beautiful blossoms to add to a holistic space? These are a few of our favorite options for getting your hands dirty or bringing that perfect cutting to the dining room table. 

Peonies

Peonies are perennials that bloom primarily in spring, last through summer, and are able to survive the winter as well. In Chinese culture, the peony is known as the "King of Flowers" and represents richness and honor. Peonies are hardy flowers that can be found in shades of red, white and yellow, and they can be grown outside in sunlight and well-drained soil or coaxed to grow indoors in clay pots near sunny windows. 

Tulips

Tulips are one of the most popular symbols of spring, as they represent new and eternal life. They made our Mother's Day list too! Tulips are mid-spring blooms, primarily from April to May, and come in a range of different colors and styles. There are over 3,000 registered varieties of tulips, all of which make beautiful fresh flower arrangements! Whether you're planting outdoors or in your apartment with clay pots, tulips do need a "winter" season, so be sure to plant before winter or use a chilling treatment inside.

Lilies of the Valley

This white, bell-shaped flower is a late-spring, highly fragrant bloom that makes a lovely addition to a fresh flower bouquet or a beautiful potted plant. As a note, Lily of the Valley is poisonous, so keep out of reach of children and pets (especially adorable chihuahuas!). Outdoors or inside, lilies of the valley need well-draining soil and light to moderate shade. Or you can bring nature indoors as cuttings and show them off in a beautiful vase! 

Daffodils

Another mid-spring bloom that grows in many colors (yellow, white, orange, pink), daffodils are a spring staple for bringing in the season. These common flowers are often the first sign to many that spring has sprung, and they're beautiful outdoors, potted indoors or cut for bouquets and posies. Plant them outdoors before winter, spaced apart with moist, but well-drained soil, or coax them out indoors in a deep pot with cold treatment. 

Hyacinth

Let's not forget the beautiful hyacinth and grape hyacinth, early-spring blooms that also symbolize the birth of a new season. Greek legend has that hyacinth first grew from the blood of a Greek named Hyakinthos. Jealous that Apollo was teaching Hyakinthos, whom they both admired, to throw a discus, Zephyr blew the discus back at Hyakinthos, killing him. Even with a deadly story, these flowers bloom beautifully in shades of white, peach, salmon, orange, yellow, pink, red, purple, lavender and blue. Plant them outdoors in the fall or bring indoors as coaxed houseplants or gorgeous flower arrangements

There are, naturally, almost as many spring flowers as there are regions of the world. If our favorites don't spark joy for you, also try pansies, anemones, hibiscus, hydrangea, birds of paradise, freesias, amaryllis or any other flower that makes an appearance during the spring season. No matter which blossoms you choose, remember to bring a little nature, and a pop of color, into your holistic space this spring!

by Anjie Cho


My Favorite Things: 5 Ways to Bring Wood Into Your Space

Welcome to My Favorite Things! Each month (every few weeks during the Five Elements podcast series), we highlight products to help you create a holistic lifestyle that inspires and nurtures you, so that you can be happier and feel supported.

This month's favorite things center around the Wood element and how to keep it balanced in your holistic spaces. Be sure to listen in to the newest podcast, Feng Shui and the Wood Element, for a more in-depth look at the Wood element and how it relates to us and our spaces. The Wood element relates to kindness, life, human heartedness and the ability to be flexible, so it's very important to maintain harmony with this element. Here are my favorite ways. 


Tolomeo Floor Lamp

The Wood element is represented by tall, columnar shapes, so a floor lamp like this one is a perfect adjustment to balance Wood in your space.

This Tolomeo lamp is one of my favorites. I even have one in my office, next to my desk! Not only does it add the Wood element through shape, it provides light, which adds life energy and the Fire element, and it's made of metal, which adds a bit of the Metal element. Three elements in one!

Bonus, you can even make this adjustment eco-friendly by using an LED bulb! 

Available at: Design Within Reach

 

 


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Green Plants

Adding living green plants to a space is one of the easiest, and healthiest, ways to add the Wood element. I love this video interview with plant stylist, Satoshi Kawamoto. One of my clients hired him to add more plants and life energy to her space, and he is so knowledgable and in tune with the Wood element.

Not only does adding a green plant bring the Wood element and nature into your space, which has been proven to increase health, many plants are also excellent absorbers of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These toxic fumes can cause serious health issues and come from many of the products we use every day in our homes. With green plants, you can breathe easier and balance your wood element!

Available at: Green Fingers


Ketu Mandala for Spirituality and Healing

If you're dedicated to or experiencing personal, internal growth or healing in any way, this mandala is the one for you. 

The Wood element symbolizes growth, and the Ketu mandala is great for encouraging and facilitating personal growth. This mandala also features shades of green, which relates directly to the Wood element as well! 

This mandala is very close to my heart, because it represents my Vedic psychic number. Keep an ear out for an upcoming podcast on how to calculate yours! 

Available at: Holistic Spaces


Images of Nature

As you'll hear in the podcast, bringing images of nature into your home can also help balance the Wood element. 

Framed or hanging images are great additions, but I love these wall murals depicting trees and other beautiful aspects of the Wood element. 

There are tons of available images of nature that you can get in mural size, but remember that the Wood element is represented by trees, tall, columnar shapes and the colors green and blue. 

As a note, you can also look for darker colors, as they add the water element, which feeds wood. 

Available at: Wallsauce.com


Green or Blue Drapes

I love these full length drapes. They're so elegant and add a touch of color to any room. 

What's more, they're a great way to symbolically add the Wood element into your space, especially if you don't think you can keep a living plant alive

Since these drapes are columnar in shape and come in shades of blue and green, they're perfect representations of the Wood element and beautiful design pieces as well! This specific color blue is an ideal color for balancing the Wood element, so head to your local drapery store and ask about options in this shade.

Available at: Your favorite drapery store.