Q&A Sunday: Colors and Elemental Energy in Feng Shui

Colors and Elemental Energy in Feng Shui.jpg

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!

Mindful Design Feng Shui: Simple Feng Shui Tips for the Winter Blues

Listen in for tips from Mindful Design on battling the winter blues!

Are you dreading a long, cold Winter?

Let’s start by understanding the energy of Winter.

For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, the energy of the seasons is shifting from Fall to Winter on December 21st. In Feng Shui, Autumn is connected to the metal element, the energy of inward movement, completion, and contraction. Leaves fall to the ground and the nutrients return to the soil. Trees become dormant and draw their energy inward and down to the roots. As we shift into Winter, the soil cools and hardens.

…read full post

If you’d like to learn more about feng shui check out the Mindful Design Feng Shui certification program. Laura Morris and I launched our program in September 2018. 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: Inviting Plants Into Your Home

Inviting Plants Into Your Home.jpg

What plants can I invite to my home to eliminate stagnation? My rooms seem to be so cluttered. No matter how much I clean and clean and clean, there is still so much stuff.

Lauren A. 

Hi Lauren, 

Thanks so much for your question! It looks like there are really two parts to the question here. First, what plants can you invite into your home to eliminate stagnation? The second part is about clutter and feeling a bit stuck. This is interesting, because they seem to be connected. You feel a bit stuck, which, in turn, is manifesting in your home as clutter, and you'd like to invite plants to eliminate this clutter. 

We do have some blog posts about different types of plants. You can check those out here. First, though, if your space is really cluttered, it might not be a great idea to add anything. Even bringing in plants is adding more things to your home, and caring for a plant is not easy! You have to take care of plants, prune them, there is upkeep and they need attention! So, you may actually add more clutter and stress to your life by including plants in your space. I do understand the sentiment, since, in general, plants invite growth and help eliminate the feeling of stagnation. In this situation however, this may not be the best move for you. 

You say you "clean and clean and clean"... it sounds like you may feel a bit overwhelmed! May I suggest a few different options? First, you can eliminate nine things each day. If this seems like too much, you can reduce it to nine items per week. This will help get the energy moving and help with your feelings of being stuck. If you do want to add something, you can add fresh flowers. Fresh flowers can lift and open things up, especially if you're feeling stuck and overwhelmed. I love the idea of fresh-cut flowers, because they represent nowness, are cheerful and have a short lifespan. They uplift your space, but the upkeep is minimal, since you'll just need to change the water. And when they expire, you can let them go.

Another way to break up this stagnation is to ask for help. It's great that you've asked me for help, but is there someone in your space that can help out as well? Are there others in the home that can help you clean? You could even hire a cleaning person to help reduce the overwhelm. If you're having trouble thinking of someone to ask for help, try activating the Benefactors area of your home or bedroom. This might actually be a good place for the fresh flowers!

Finally, you can also cut through some of the clutter and stagnation using sounds, like a gong or tingsha. You can even sing! Go around your home, starting at the front door and moving clockwise, and circumambulate the space. I really recommend the metal bells, since that will welcome Metal energy to cut through the sluggishness and get things moving. I suggest using this in combination with activating the Benefactors area and adding fresh flowers. 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!

Holistic Spaces Podcast, Episode 055: Sound Healing with Julius Betila








Autumn Is Finally (Actually) Here!

New York City isn't usually associated with warm fall weather, but this year the sunshine stuck around a bit longer than usual. Some of us (me!) enjoyed it, and others waited patiently for real autumn temperatures. They're finally starting to drop down, so I'd thought I'd share my favorite blog posts from over the years to help us all get adjusted to fall, no matter how late it showed up!

Make Room for Metal and Clarity with the Autumnal Equinox

Make Room for Metal and Clarity with the Autumnal Equinox.jpg

I can't believe it's already time to say goodbye to summer! In two days, we will experience this year's Autumnal Equinox and feel the shift from long, warm summer days to shorter, crisper fall days before we head into winter. Many of our friends have shared incredible ways to adjust to the new season and welcome the equinox. Be sure to check those posts out! We've also pulled together a few tips for this year to make autumn your best season yet!

What is the Autumnal Equinox?

Let's cover the important bases, first. Just what is the equinox, and why is it so important? The September equinox, also referred to as the Autumnal Equinox, marks the point in the year when the sun crosses the celestial equator, a sort of extension of the earth's equator that "sits" above the planet, from north to south. So essentially, the sun is crossing the earth's equator.

The term "equinox" comes from Latin roots "aequus" and "nox", meaning "equal night," which corresponds to the belief that, on an equinox, night and day are equal length. As it turns out, daylight still typically lasts longer than night. The center of the sun sets 12 hours after rising on this day, but each half of the sun still has to travel through the sky, so day and night times will vary. In fact, the equinox is not an all-day event, but the specific moment when the center of the sun reaches this point. This year, in Eastern time, that will happen at 4:02 pm on September 22. 

For everyday purposes, the equinox most notably represents the change from summer to autumn. As some of our holistic experts have noted, this is the time to move from yang energy, high activity and cool foods to more inward, yin energy, self-care and a warming, nourishing diet. And, based on the feng shui bagua map and five elements, autumn is a season of Metal.

Autumn and the Metal Element

In feng shui and the five elements theory, the autumn season corresponds to the Metal element and the Completion area of the bagua, which relates to the color white, the number seven and the element of joy. Metal is also associated with clarity, which is one of my focus words for this year!

If you're looking to update your space for the new season, you might think you should add more Metal. But in fact, for the most part, because this season carries more of this element, there can be an overabundance of Metal. Metal relates to metallic colors (think gold, silver) and the colors white and grey, as well as to joy and the mouth, and governs order and beauty. It's associated with efficiency and organization, circular shapes and a general turning inward. So what does an overabundance of Metal mean? Metal out of balance can be rigid and inflexible, stuck on having everything perfect. Since Metal is related to the mouth and speech, individuals with an excess of this element often speak without precision and boundaries. If this describes you in fall, you may have too much Metal!

Some ways to adjust a Metal imbalance: add Water, which drains Metal, or Wood, which dulls and softens the Metal element. For more Water, try enjoying walks along the water, bringing wavy patterns into your space or incorporating the sound of water into your home, like with music or a fountain. If you'd rather add Wood, add blue and green tones or plants to your space! Check out our My Favorite Things series for more insight on adding Water and Wood

Get Clarity with Metal 

Autumn is also the time for harvest, both in agriculture and metaphorically in life. The planting season is ending, so maybe it's good to look at this in terms of your life and space. What no longer serves you in your home? It could be as literal as summer clothes you haven't worn in three years or letting go of old food in the fridge and composting it. Think about things or people in your life that are no longer serving you, as well. Metal element can also be like a sharp sword, cutting through what's unnecessary. It's time to harvest what's come to fruition, look at why some things didn't grow and think about planning for the next year. 

Take some time as we transition to fall and consider how your "harvest" has turned out. And what do kind of energies do we want invite the next time around?

by Anjie Cho

Holistic Spaces Podcast, Episode 042: Clutter and Five Elements with Katherine Metz, Part 1








Here's What To Put On Your Walls To Be In A Good Mood Every Damn Day

featured this week on MindBodyGreen by Emma Loewe

image credit: Stocksy via  MindBodyGreen

image credit: Stocksy via MindBodyGreen

While a minimalist mentality will probably never go out of style, we're noticing a new trend in home design: one that's less stark and more showy, less uniform and more flexible. Color has found its way into the muted, hushed feeds of popular design blogs, and the homes we visit for dinner parties are starting to look like people actually live in them.

Instead of keeping the house incredibly tidy and organized, we're starting to encourage a little mess—granted, thoughtful mess. Spaces that are curated with items of personal significance are becoming the norm, and possibilities for creativity abound.

4. Add an element of sound.

In feng shui, metal represents clarity and freshness. Architect and feng shui expert Anjie Cho recommends working metal accessories like bells or wind chimes into your design to pull in some of this joyful energy. "Be sure to select metal accessories that make sounds that are pleasing to you and hang them slightly off the wall so they can actually make some noise when a breeze comes by," she adds. "You can also sing along to some uplifting music while you decorate to really imprint your intention into this new accent wall."

...read full article

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