Q&A Sunday: Water-Themed Art in the Bedroom

Water-Themed Art in the Bedroom.jpg

I read somewhere that paintings of water were bad feng shui. Is this true?

Magalie R., Los Angeles, CA

I have been taught that there are no feng shui issues with having images of water in the bedroom. Actually, I personally have a photograph of water in my bedroom above my bed. I am a water person and love being near and seeing water. It is calming. In four pillars I am yin wood, so water also nourishes me in five element theory.

I have been taught that water elements like fountains and fish aquariums are not ideal in the bedroom. Perhaps this is where the question comes from. The moving water may be too active for some people, and a bedroom is a yin space where we seek out rest and relaxation.

As with most objects in the bedroom, be thoughtful about what the images represent. If you have trouble sleeping, a painting of a rushing river or surfers riding waves might not be so calming. Use your intuition to determine if that piece of art is appropriate for the type of mood you want for your bedroom. A bedroom is there to support and nourish you while you sleep in a passive yin state.

If there is a particular piece of art you are looking to add to your bedroom, please feel free to submit it for Q&A Sunday!

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!


Healing Properties of the Four Elements

Healing Properties of the Four Elements.jpg

As many of you know, in feng shui, we work with the Chinese five element theory. These elements include earth, fire, water, wood and metal. However, in other modalities, like Native American culture, Vedic or even Tibetan practices, there are many variations of the element system, sometimes including five elements and other times only four. In each of these approaches, the ultimate goal is to find balance with nature and the world around us, just like with feng shui! I often receive questions about the four elements, so this week we’ll connect these theories and view how to use feng shui and the four elements to find ways to heal your spaces.

Air

Air relates to the intellect and to space. In the Tibetan system, air is the color white and is related to what's called the "Buddha" family, so it has that similar open quality of accepting and loving ourselves just as we are. Without the breath, we have no life. In our spaces, it's the quality of openness and the ultimate idea of minimalism. You can activate the air element and clear some space in your home by removing nine items, since nine is an auspicious number in feng shui. I also love this idea of air because it reminds us that nothing ever has to happen; we can just be. We don't have to fill up our mental, emotional, and physical spaces with clutter, food, negative thoughts...we can just be with the magic in the world. 

Water 

In Western and Asian systems, water is connected to deep wisdom, emotions, connections and the flow of energy around us. In feng shui, we relate water to the colors of black and dark blues. Even the sound of water can be healing, as it connects us to nature. This is why fountains are such great additions to holistic spaces! Check out more of my favorite ways to add water to your home!

Earth

Earth connects and grounds us. It's about self-nourishment and self-care in Asian systems, and earthy colors create this healing for us. Surrounding ourselves with plants, soil and trees also heals and nurtures us. Think about Mother Earth: she's always there under our feet to support us, and she gives us a place to stand that is stable and dependable. You can bring some Earth energy into your life by getting your hands dirty (maybe with a small garden) or bringing a plant into your holistic space! Be sure to use pots that you love and take care of your plants!

Fire

Fire can be very healing in many ways. It is one of the five elements and is essential to leading a balanced life. Fire creates and invokes passion and inspiration, and affects how the world sees us. Fire can be used in the home symbolically with color (reds, fiery oranges) or shapes (triangles), or using lighting or candles, or even real fire. In the home, fire is especially healing when there's pain, dullness, or loss of spirit in your life. Last weekend, I was upstate with friends and family. We gathered around a fire pit and sang songs, and we couldn’t take our eyes off the fire... it was very healing. Singing even activates the fire element and touches your heart. Fire is also amazing because it creates both heat (transformation) and light (clarify and illumination)! :)

How can you use the four elements to bring some healing to your holistic spaces?

by Anjie Cho


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. Visit us at mindfuldesignschool.com.


Q&A Sunday: Beach Holidays and the Five Elements

Beach Holidays and the Five Elements.jpg

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: Beach Holiday Feng Shui

Beach Holiday Feng Shui.jpg

I would appreciate some Feng Shui tips for a beach holiday (accommodation, beach tote, and so on). Thanks in advance.

Giuliana G., France

Hi Giuliana,

Nice to hear from you again! You always come up with such interesting questions. 🙂 Thank you!

My first thought was…"well I’m not sure if I can answer this one." But, upon reflection, this is very similar to just feng shui travel tips. And I also did take a work vacation to a Greek island in June (I was at teacher a dharma art retreat). I travel quite a bit, especially this year. So, maybe I do have something to share!

For the travel part, whether it be a train, car or especially a plane, there are a few things that I always travel with. First, a hydrating spray. My favorite is Alaska essences Travel Ease, which has essential oils, flower and gem essences to ease with the jet lag. Another wonderful travel aid are hydration tablets. Nuum is currently my favorite. I also carry a feng shui talisman I received from Catherine Woo that is unfortunately unavailable anywhere that I know of…I’ll ask my mentors about it. I always travel with Lotus Wei's Radiant Energy, which works to expand your presence after computer use and travel. It's a MUST for restful sleep while traveling.

When I arrive at my destination, the first thing I do is unpack and make myself at home. Putting your belongings away in a drawer creates a feeling of ownership and relaxation, rather than the chaos of literally living out of a suitcase. Then I tuck the suitcase away. For me, it makes me feel at home and spacious. Your belongings also deserve to stretch out a bit after a long day of traveling. :)

Next, I clear the space, because there can be residual energies from the people who have stayed there before, or just from the people you’re staying with. I think over the holidays, or when you're traveling, you can easily feel sensitive to space as well as foreign energy. By clearing the space, you’re just giving the place a little perk to provide a restful and spacious sleeping situation while traveling. I suggest carrying some space clearing tools with you whenever you travel, such as palo santo, white sage or orange essential oil spray. I prefer room sprays when traveling, because you’re not burning anything. My store sells travel-friendly bottles of each of these.

The beach tote is an intriguing question and can be feng shui relevant. There’s something called fashion feng shui, and if you haven’t heard of it, basically we can use feng shui colors to support and produce the type of qi we want to cultivate. So, you can coordinate your beach tote (or suit or towel…) with the kind of energy you want to embody on your trip. For instance, green if you want some healing vibrant energy. Purple to attract abundance and success. Earthy colors if you want to take care of yourself and do some self-care. Pink if you want to attract a partner. Red if you want to be really seen and noticed. Dark blue if you want to work on self cultivation, like maybe at a yoga retreat. 

Finally, since you specifically asked about a beach holiday, we can touch upon the water element. In feng shui, moving bodies of water like the ocean and rivers, provide a natural element that can offer your intentions to the universe. If there’s something you want to give up to the world, perhaps your worries about something or a negative energy, you can let it go into the water. Let the water carry it away. One way to do that would be to write it on a red piece of paper, burn it and offer the ashes into the water that’s moving away from you. Then just leave it up to the universe.

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 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! 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!


Visit the Holistic Spaces Store

5 Green Living Changes for Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, and the start of Earth Week. I encourage each of you to incorporate one green living change into your daily life. Below are five simple, yet impactful changes you can make.

5 Green Living Changes for Earth Day - 1.jpg

1.  Adopt or Donate an Indoor Plant

I have a Golden Pothos from when I first moved to New York City in 2003. I can't even remember who gave it to me, but it was a housewarming gift. This plant is so hardy, it's survived and flourished through weeks of forgetful watering and even a dark ground floor apartment. In feng shui, house plants bring life energy into a indoor space. They can create a softer and more vibrant energy in a home or office.  Living plants are wonderful for improving overall indoor air quality. The Goldon Pothos is said to be particularly good for removing formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.  

What I love about the Golden Pothos is that they are easy to propagate. Simply cut off a 3" or longer piece, just below a leaf or a node (or joint). I like to take cuttings and place them in a glass of water. Alternatively, you can plant them, or you can wrap them in a wet paper towel and give them as gifts.

Orchids are also very common houseplants. What most people don't know is that after the flowers die, the remaining plant is still alive! The plant is dormant, and you can keep it. It's such a reward to see my orchids bloom every year.  

5 Green Living Changes for Earth Day - 2.jpg

2.  Switch to a Renewable Energy Provider

An easy way to minimize your carbon footprint is to switch to a renewable energy provider. There are many different companies, and it really depends on where you live. It can be overwhelming to weed through all the companies, but it's worth it. The EPA gives some information on where you can find renewable energy companies for residential and commercial locations.  

Switching to Green Power does not typically mean that you need to install solar panels or a windmill on your roof. Although that is sometimes an option, in most urban areas this simply means that you can call your electricity provider and request you switch to a Green or Renewable energy source. In New York City, there are a handful of Energy Supply Companies (ESCOs) that provide a green option. You may see a small increase in your monthly bill, but in my experience it's very minimal. Probably around $10/month for a one bedroom apartment. You can also look into Renewable Energy Certificates RECS to offset your DIRTY electricity usage.

5 Green Living Changes for Earth Day - 3.jpg

3.  Reduce Bottled Water Usage

Contrary to popular belief, the National Resources Defense Council NRDC says that bottled water is “subject to less rigorous testing and purity standards than those which apply to city tap water.”  If health is a concern, plastics are terrible to eat and drink from.  There may be Bisphenol A (BPA)s or other toxic chemicals and substances in plastic containers that will affect water quality.

In New York City, we have excellent quality tap water. I recommend those outside of NYC use a high quality water filter and drink tap water whenever possible. I use reusable glass bottles and my Soda Stream seltzer machine as much as possible at home.

5 Green Living Changes for Earth Day - 4.jpg

4.  Buy Post Consumer Recycled Products

Most of us know by now, we need to recycle.  Reduce, reuse and recycle!  Note, recycle is last on that list.  

We put our glass bottles, metal cans, plastic bottles and paper/cardboard in the bins and out on the curb.  But what happens when we recycle? Sadly, not everything gets recycled. The recycling carter or your municipal recycler picks up the waste-- but if no one wants to buy the recyclables, they can put the unsellable material into the landfill. Glass, metals, cardboard and paper are typically easy to recycle. There is a market for these materials. Plastic is another story. Not all plastics are recyclable. The plastics that can be recycled have a shorter lifecycle, require more energy to recycle, and are not as valuable.

So.. what can we do? Purchase more Post Consumer Recycled products! "Recycled" typically means that the content is made from pre-consumer materials, such as the leftover waste from manufacturing. It's good, but not the same as Post Consumer. "Post Consumer Recycled" indicates that the recycled portion is from the recycled waste that you and I have put into our recycling bins. If we make an effort to purchase more post consumer recycled plastics, we in turn create a demand for the recyclable plastics. This will also cut down the creation of new plastics. 

5 Green Living Changes for Earth Day - 5.jpg

5.  DIY Water Saving Toilet

My final tip is for those of us with a tank toilet. This is a toilet where there is a tank behind, rather than in the wall or with a flush-o-meter. It's super simple to make your own water saving toilet. Take an old plastic bottle (the ones you're no longer using!), and fill it up with water. Open the toilet tank cover, and place the plastic bottle inside. Be sure to avoid and not obstruct the toilet flap, ball, handles, etc., inside the tank. Voila! The water filled bottle will displace water in the toilet tank and reduce the water usage each time you flush.

As a final feng shui tip - be sure to keep your toilet bowl cover shut. The bathroom is a place where water is always coming in and out of the home. In feng shui, water represents wealth and money flow. Make sure you keep the toilet seat closed, as well as the bathroom door. This will keep the wealth from flowing away from you!

by Anjie Cho