Thursday, January 16, 2014

Resolutions & Intentions

We are now 2 weeks into the new year - how are your resolutions coming along?

Are you losing that weight? getting in shape? finally getting organized?

If you haven't been keeping up with your resolutions don't worry, neither have I!  That's because I didn't make any and don't plan to.  I am setting intentions instead.

Every year when the Christmas tree comes down and the decorations are put away I am seized by the urge to get rid of things and pare down.  I am not sure why this happens but I suspect it is the natural consequence of trying to put away Christmas gifts into already crowded spaces.  The simple act of putting the new sweater on the shelf brings to my attention the sweater (or 3) that I just don't wear or let's be honest that I don't even like.  This realization ends with the offending sweater (or sweaters) in the donation pile. 

Occasionally, this "put-away" process leads to a large scale clean out and purge.  This always feels good - out with the old and in with the new.

From a Feng Shui perspective this is the perfect way to start the new year.  I tell my clients that if we want to invite something new into our lives we must first make room for it.  By letting go of what no longer serves us we open up space for the things we do want to come to us.  Maybe this is why so many resolutions fail - we don't make room for them.

Instead of making a resolution in January I spend the month clearing out and making space instead.  In taking my time to clear out the old I can see with greater clarity the something new that I want to manifest in the upcoming year.  Then I set an intention which I ring in with the Chinese New Year.

So, if you are feeling like you need a New Year's resolution do-over, don't worry.  You still have two weeks to clear a path toward your goal and make the year of the wood horse a great one!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Geomancy & Tree Wisdom

When most people think of Feng Shui they think of moving furniture or otherwise manipulating the internal workings of a home.  While that can be part of the process, what is often overlooked is the fact that Feng Shui practitioners are Geomancers, or individuals trained to read the signs of the earth.  By interpreting these signs we are able to help our clients align and cooperate with local energies or make adjustments that bring them into harmony with the spirit of the place where they live.

There are many schools and approaches to Feng Shui, but my training is in Form School which is rooted in the earliest origins of Feng Shui.  The form school practitioner is one who looks first at land formations and applies those guiding principles to both the exterior and interior of a home.

You may think that what is going on outside the home is irrelevant but it is the first place I look to asses the situation.  A Feng Shui practitioner can learn a great deal about what may be happening inside the home by looking at the land form where the house is sited and by the type and quality of the vegetation that surrounds it.

Some of the most helpful signs are those given by trees.  Different trees prefer different types of energies, seeing what kinds of trees thrive or fail to thrive can tell me what is happening in the earth that could effect the dwelling.  Oak trees could indicate Geopathic Stress, Willow trees thrive in wet soil and could indicate a wet basement or mold problems.  Multiple burls or "tree cancers" or trees that are growing in odd ways can again indicate Geopahtic stress or other electromagnetic stress.  Correcting the underlying energetic problems are a critical foundation for any subsequent adjustments that need to be made and without them the other adjustments or "cures" will be less effective.

By dowsing I can confirm these presence of these energies but the trees are always offer great insight into the energy of the land.  Of course newer construction areas where all of the trees have been cut down make this much harder. So, take care of our green friends because they made hold the clues that will in turn help us!

Below are a few examples of what trees can tell us:

This is a very large, old, Weeping Willow tree, one of my favorites.  It is thriving because there is a great deal of water in the ground around it, the presence of multiple large tree cancers or burls also indicates the presence of Geopathic Stress.

The oddly curved trees shown among this group of trees shows the negative effects of electromagnetic fields and are growing below large power lines.

This tree in the foreground is growing away from geopathic stress because it does not like this type of energy, you can see the oak tree behind it thrives in these conditions and is straight, tall and strong.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Getting Back to Nature

It's vacation time.  This is the time of year we take advantage of the long, warm days and get away.

If you stop to think about it, most vacations involve a journey to our favorite places in nature; the beach, a lake, a mountain or forest.  At an intuitive level we all know that spending time reconnecting with nature is good for us body and soul.  Nothing de-stresses and soothes us faster than unplugging from electronics and putting our feet in the sand, our toes in the water and taking a breath of fresh air.

Feng Shui recognizes how important our connection to nature is.  In fact, the guiding principles that govern Feng Shui such as the balance of yin & yang and the 5 elements are all reflections of the way nature works.  Most important is the understanding that we as living beings are also a part of nature and to thrive we should have nature around us - especially in our indoor spaces.

This summer while you are on your travels be sure to bring the spirit of nature home with you and incorporate it into your "everyday" environment.  Take photos of your favorite natural locals, bring back a beautiful shell or stone.  When you find you can't get outside take a deep breath, connect to these little reminders and take a mini get away.

A little bit of nature everyday is good Feng Shui!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Geopathic Stress and the Garden

Geopathic Stress literally means sick-making Earth and refers to the non-beneficial effects this type of Earth energy has on human beings and other mammals.  As a Feng Shui consultant, my primary concern is making sure my clients are not sleeping over or spending a great deal of time exposed to this energy.  While one might think of Geopathic Stress as "bad"it isn't detrimental for all living organisms and is in fact an integral part of the natural order.  Geopathic Stress is simply a naturally occurring energy that is Yin in nature and beneficial for insects, certain kinds of plants and the ideal energy to help your compost pile break down.

Once identified, one can remedy the effects of Geopathic Stress in the home and also use it to advantage in the garden.  How might one identify these lines?  Aside from dowsing, one can look at nature to get some clues.  Often this will manifest as the dead spot in the hedge row where the bushes won't grow properly or in the cancerous growths on certain trees. Areas of Geopathic Stress are also havens for fungi, mold and insects - large ant hills or bees nests are often found there.

When I first moved into my home I dowsed to locate the lines of Geopathic Stress (GS) on my property and where they continued into the house and marked them with survey flags.  It was not surprising to find an enormous oak within these lines as Oak trees love this type of energy.  You can see from the photos the two lines coming from the back of the property intersecting under the oak and continuing on toward and into the house.

Once spring arrived, the bed behind the house (shown in the photo on the right) was cleared of overgrown bushes and a new herb garden was planned.  Since this is primarily a culinary and healing herb garden, having vibrant, healthy plants was of vital importance.  Knowing where the line of Geopathic Stress was allowed me to work with this energy instead of against it to create the optimal growing conditions and hopefully happier plants.  The line of GS that runs through the garden is marked in the photo with orange flags.

The list of plants that prefer or dislike GS that I received from my teacher was not terribly long and many of the herbs I planned to include were not listed.  Therefore, a little experimentation was in order.  I knew from the list that nightshades prefer GS so the tomatoes and peppers were easy to situate.  All of the others were dowsed to determine their location and some were sited based on pre-planting growth rate observations.  One exception was the rhubarb of which I had 3 small seedlings.  I decided to put two within the Geopathic Stress zone and one outside to see what happened.  Well it turns out that Rhubab (as my dowser friend Lee confirmed) likes GS.

This is the Rhubarb plant that was planted outside of the Geopathic Stress zone.  
You can see it is growing but rather thin and spindly.

This is one of the two seedlings planted within the Geopathic Stress zone.  You can see how much larger the leaves are and how much more full it is in general.

Below is a bird's eye view of the same plants.

 Below are all three are in a row, the smallest is furthest away near the pedestal.
The enormous Comfrey plants are in the foreground.

By observing the plants growing in the Geopathic Stress zone I have added the following to my list of plants that either thrive/tolerate GS and those that don't.  I hope to compile a comprehensive list as my garden and experience expands and will list a few more as the season progresses.
Mondarda Didyma (Bee Balm): Thrives/Prefers GS (based on some pre-planting observations of growth rate both within and without GS)
Matricaria Chamomilla (Chamomile): Thrives/Tolerates GS
Angelica Archangelica: Thrives/Tolerates GS
Melissa Officinalis (Lemon Balm): Does Not like GS (also based on pre-planting growth rate observations)
Symphytum (Comfrey): Thrives/Tolerates GS (these plants have grown more quickly than any other in the garden)
Calendula: Thrives/Tolerates GS

Geopathic Stress can either harm you or help you, the key is knowing where it is and what to do with it.  If we listen and observe, Mother Nature will give us clues on how best to work with her.  It has been great fun for me to work with the Earth to co-create a garden that is in harmony with the energies and spirit of this place.  So far the results have already been quite remarkable!

Monday, June 17, 2013

American Society of Dowsers Annual Convention - Reflections

One week ago today I returned from the American Society of Dowsers annual convention in beautiful Vermont.  It has taken me a whole week to process and begin to digest all of my experiences from such an amazing gathering.   It was a wonderful opportunity for me to deepen my knowledge, particularly for water dowsing, and to connect with others who are using dowsing in Feng Shui and Space Clearing.

Wait a minute, you may ask, what is dowsing?  It is an ancient method of using tools to tap into our intuition to locate things or gain information not available in conventional ways.  Most people are familiar with dowsing as it relates to finding underground water often referred to as "Water Witching".

What does does dowsing have to do with Feng Shui you ask? Everything!  The earliest Feng Shui masters were employed to locate optimal sites for dwellings of the living and the dead.  Dwellings for the living need access to good drinking water but should not be located on negative earth energy lines - or what the ancient Chinese referred to as Dragon Lines.  You may not be able to see these energies but like the waves of energy that send a text to your cell phone, they do have an effect.  With public water supplies and a scarcity of land, particularly in urban and suburban areas, locating underground water or negative earth energies are no longer part of the usual home siting process.  These issues are however are of great importance to Feng Shui practitioners and locating them by dowsing is an integral part of the way I work.

The convention offered talks on an array of subjects but what was striking to me was that talks on Feng Shui and Space Clearing were filled to capacity and some beyond capacity.  One popular topic of discussion at the convention for both speakers and audience members was the prevalence man-made energies like EMF and Radar in our homes and their effect on us.  There seems to be a real hunger for this information - people want to know if their homes could be harming their health and more importantly what to do about it.

I am grateful that so many at the convention addressed these issues not by way of fear but from the view point that knowledge is power and once identified we can be instruments of change.

A beautifully decorated home rife with detrimental energies is like getting dressed for the party without taking a shower.  By identifying and correcting these energies you set a solid foundation for great Feng Shui and grace-filled design!  If you want your home evaluated either as part of a Feng Shui consultation or as a Space Clearing please contact me for more information.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Farrow & Ball Alternatives

I must first begin this post by saying that I am a huge fan of Farrow & Ball's colors.  I often recommend their paints to clients and the results are always beautiful.  There is not a bad color in their edited collection and the hues are sophisticated and nuanced.  They are truly one of a kind.

That said, sometimes using Farrow & Ball is not an option either because they are not available or not in the budget.  In those cases the same look can be achieved with a close alternative color.

Even before I closed on my new house I knew that I had to have a Brinjal bedroom.  This Farrow & Ball color #222, is a deep, velvety aubergine with hints of wine and chocolate (no wonder it is such a fabulous color).  For months I have had piece of cardboard painted with the test color next to my bed imagining the whole room that cozy.

The time has now come to paint but since I have splurged on new silk drapes and window hardware, I need to save some money elsewhere.  So, I have chosen a Benjamin Moore's Dark Walnut.  It is not an exact match for Brinjal, no other color would be, but it is extremely close with just a hint more chocolate which I love.  Also, if you want VOC free paint, which I always recommend, but don't want to splurge on Benjamin Moore's Natura paint you can have your color made up in Ultra Spec 500 which is a less expensive VOC option.

Farrow & Ball, Brinjal, Modern Emulsion, $80/gallon

Benjamin Moore Dark Walnut, VOC Free Ultra Spec 500, $30/gallon

I am thrilled with the results and since I needed 2 gallons for two coats of paint, I saved $100.  I will be offering some other F&B alternatives in future posts so stay tuned!

Happy Painting!

The color on the wall is Benjamin Moores' Dark Walnut, the Farrow & Ball Brinjal is painted on the cardboard below it.   You can see that the Dark Walnut is slightly more red and slightly more chocolate which I actually prefer.

Here is the finished color, the rest of the room is still in progress, room shots coming soon.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Light of Day

When I woke yesterday the ground was silver with the first frost of the season.

As the weather grows colder and the days shorter, we are spending more time indoors and receiving a lot less natural light.  Seasonal Affective Disorder, or depression caused by a lack of sunlight, has received a great deal of media attention but even without depression you too are affected by less sunlight.

Blue/green light found in full spectrum light like sunlight causes serotonin levels to rise making us feel alert and active.  Red/Orange light, found in most of our indoor lighting, causes melatonin levels to rise making us feel more relaxed.

Perhaps you notice that you are more tired or sluggish these days - you may have even chalked it up to the busier schedule that follows summer vacation.  The problem may not be your schedule but your lighting.

Consider the areas where you spend most of your waking hours during the day, especially where you work, and check your lightbulbs.  If you find that you are using incandescent bulbs here simply replace them with full spectrum bulbs.  Likewise consider the lighting next to your bed or places where you like to unwind before sleeping, if you have full spectrum or fluorescent lighting in these areas consider switching to incandescent bulbs here.

Make the switch and see how you feel, you may still miss summer but it may make the colder months more bearable.

Proper lighting is good design and good health!