Feng Shui To The Rescue Ezine
From My Feng Shui Window
Stress-Free Homes without "Swear" Rooms
There ought to be a room in every house to swear in.
If I had a nickel for every time a client asked if we could ignore the garage because it was such a mess I would start a foundation for the prevention of "screwed-up-ness." That's not my word, it was coined by a client when she described how the world was stressing her out and her house reflected it. The good and bad news answer is that no, we can't ignore the garage because all rooms count in reducing stress and achieving Feng Shui balance and harmony. That's why I did a major clean up of my own garage this month (see the Blog section).
When you draw the floor plan of your home and lay the
over it, you see how every area relates to some aspect of your life. That means if your garage is in the typical placement in front of your house, it could occupy the Knowledge/Wisdom area of the home like mine does. Junk in the trunk, so to speak, would affect your peace and security. If you move those junky things to the room in the upper right hand corner of your home (the Love Area), your relationship could be troubled. If you move the mess to the room in the upper left area of your home, you'll send a message of neglect in the Wealth Area. Sorry folks, I don't make this stuff up, I see these relationships all the time.
You may not need to set up a room to swear in like Mark Twain suggested, but you certainly need to pay attention to every part of your home to keep your stress under control.
And speaking of stress, I'm getting so many requests for consultations to help create areas of sanctuary at home that I'm putting together a workshop with a colleague on how you can use Feng Shui and art to reduce stress. So this month I'm giving you a sneak preview of something the workshop will cover, the three critical areas where simple changes will help reduce anxiety. Check out the "Feng Shui to the Rescue" section.
Years ago in the dark ages before the Internet, I started a service called "Written Results" where I wrote complaint letters for clients. Like today, swearing and getting angry at customer service reps doesn't work, but back then, carefully chosen written words did. The service appealed to my need to correct injustice, and I loved when people got the refunds and corrections they deserved. So when I recently discovered a Wall Street Journal article about better ways to complain it brought me back to my roots and I knew I had to include it this month. Plus I've included some organizing tips for people who work at "hot desks." This has nothing to do with temperature, but it's the
business practice of using a shared office desk system. Just thinking about that system makes me want to go to my swear room, but it's the "in" trend now and I wanted to offer some help to people working in shared spaces.
Happy March! Despite all the March Madness, I hope your month is a stress- and swear-free one.
Feng Shui Master Practitioner
Feng Shui For All Seasons
March Tip: Reducing Stress with Feng Shui
"Screwed-up-ness," that's how my client described what's going on in the world when she asked for tips to turn her home into a
refuge from stress and anxiety. I'm also hearing more traditional words like "serenity," "security," "peace," "harmony," and "balance" from my clients these days.
colors, furniture, and art you choose affect what you attract into your life, and the right Feng Shui combinations will help reduce stress.
All rooms and areas of your home are important when it comes to achieving Feng Shui balance, but you'll benefit most from a Feng Shui makeover in these three:
The front door is called the "Mouth of Chi" where all positive energy enters a home, and the foyer should spread that energy to the other rooms. Clutter in this area will make you feel like you can't settle down - it sends the message that you have so much work to do at home that you're running behind. It's especially important to avoid piling shoes near the door, because this represent "walking away" from a peaceful life in the home. If you have to keep backpacks, briefcases, and totes in the foyer, keep them in the closet or add closed storage options so you can keep them out of sight. Avoid locating a mirror directly across from the front door where it sends all the soothing positive chi right back out of your home. Choose artwork for this area that makes you feel grounded and happy to be home. If you enter your home through the garage you need to treat it the same as the foyer. Decorate your garage and keep it clean and clutter-free.
2. Master Bedroom
. The master bedroom should be reserved for "rest and romance" only. Since it's the room where we transition from public to private life - that is, from hectic to peaceful - it's especially important to keep all work-related items out of your bedroom. If your home is small and you must have a work area in your bedroom, screen it off at night with a standing screen or tall plants. Keep your bedroom as free from electronics as possible. If your cell phone is your alarm clock, at least avoid checking email or Twitter right before you go to sleep!
The best wall color for a bedroom is a skin tone - from almond to chocolate and anything in between. Place your bed against a solid wall for security and grounding, and add a headboard to support you. Avoid keeping anything under your bed so the chi can circulate around you for an undisturbed sleep. If you must store things there, choose only soft things like out of season clothes or linens. Don't store your exercise equipment under the bed or you'll feel like you are "running away" from peaceful sleep.
3. Home Office/Workspace
. Whether you run a business from your home office, only pay bills there, or anything in between, you'll reduce stress by keeping office clutter to a minimum. That means filing things out of sight rather than piling them on every surface. Place your desk or work table in the Power Position, which is where your back is against a solid wall, preferably on an angle to the door. Avoid sitting with your back to the door where you can be "caught off guard" by things that go on behind you. You can reduce stress in a home office by creating a balance between yin and yang, the two opposing forces in Feng Shui, and among the Five Elements. For example, a home office with too much yang - brightness, angles, electronics - can create a stressful environment. Similarly, when you have too much of the Fire Element - fiery red colors and triangular shapes - can make you feel overwhelmed by your work. Place a living plant within 3 feet of your computer to absorb some of the electromagnetic energy it generates.
I'm planning a workshop on "Feng Shui, Art, and Stress Reduction." Click the link below to be placed on the list to receive information about the date and location.
Handling Clutter at "Hot Desks"
The terms "hot desks" and "hot desking" have nothing to do with temperature, but rather it's the business practice of using a shared office desk system. No employee has a permanent desk, and instead the company provides a pool of equipped desks that employees occupy as required. Some people call it "hoteling," but it's not quite the same thing. A business can save money by hot desking because it doesn't have to maintain unused space, But, it's a Feng Shui-unfriendly practice because employees have limited ability to personalize their space, and that leads to clutter. Workers in hot desk offices tend to pick up their work and stuff it into their backpack, briefcase, or tote without thought to organization.
If you work at a hot desk, you'll need to organize yourself and your belongings a bit differently, especially if your office doesn't have lockers for personal belongings. The blog Unclutterer offers suggestions for organizing what you carry around in a hot desk situation, and I've added a few that are strictly Feng Shui. Long-time readers will be able to pick out the Feng Shui tips!
A grid-type storage system will help keep your computer cables and other items organized and easy to find. Even though your office may provide supplies, a plastic container with dividers is useful for keeping a small stash of paperclips, staples, etc., close at hand.
Clean the arms of the chair, telephone, and any other items touched frequently by multiple people. As a courtesy to the next person, use the wipes again before you leave your current desk.
Carry a sweater or shawl to deal with cold office locations; if you tend to get warm in an office, carry a small clip-on fan.
: If you're more productive when it is quiet, use earmuff-type noise cancelling headphones rather than the smaller ear buds. If your co-workers can see you're wearing headphones, they will interrupt you only for important matters.
Since employees change desks frequently, get a simple nameplate to display at your hot desk. Not only will this help personalize your surroundings, but your co-workers will know where to find you.
You never know when you'll be hot desking with someone who works out or smokes during breaks, so carry a small spray bottle of freshener to use on your chair, desk, or even walls if you're in a cube. Your clip-on fan is also good for this purpose.
Lighting: New versions of LED desk lamps are slim, fold up to a compact size, and have charging port for your phone. The variable light settings help modify the affects of overhead fluorescents.
Carry your personal favorite pens and similar work items in one, and your personal things like lip balm, tissues, and snack bars in another. Include some empty bags for all the "stuff" that you can't predict you will have to take with you as you move among desks.
Some offices let you reserve a desk for a certain length of time, and in that case you can bring a small plant, like philodendron that grows well under artificial light and has heart-shaped leaves that promote a friendly environment with coworkers. Place it within 3 feet of your computer to balance negative electromagnetic activity.
Photos: Carry a small framed photo of family, partner, friends, and/or pets to help you feel connected as you move from desk to desk.
Feng Shui For a Quick Home Sale
Erica and Michael were moving out of town because of a job change and needed to sell their house quickly for full price, so they called me to see how Feng Shui could help. They had done all the usual things their Realtor recommended, including repainting, freshening up the landscaping, and de-cluttering the closets and garage, but they had no offers.
One of their main issues was that the front door lined up directly with the back door and then out to the pool, symbolizing prosperity flowing out of the house. I recommended a few simple Feng Shui changes.
Here's what they wrote:
understood what you meant when you said buyers couldn't tell which of our double front doors was the one to enter, so we placed a fresh, earthy color doormat in front of the main door and a pair of clay pots with red geraniums on both sides of the doors to act as a welcoming greeter to buyer
s. We replaced those house number written in unreadable script that couldn't be seen from the street with large black numerals. We boxed up our very personal modern art collection as a symbol that we were ready and willing to move, and replaced
it with inexpensive, colorful posters with happy family themes as you recommended. We removed the runner between the front and back doors that was acting like an arrow directing the chi out of the house, and placed large evergreen trees in red planters outside on the pool deck keep prosperity from dumping into the pool. Within a week of making these simple changes we got a contract for full price! Yes, Feng Shui made the difference!
Ask the Feng Shui Maven
Q: I was wondering, is it possible to improve the success or love for your children with Feng Shui? I have two sons. One son doesn't live with us anymore but I want to help with his love life but he doesn't believe in Feng Shui. Can I do it in my home for him?
Also, another son still lives with us but going to college next year. Can I do anything in his room to help him with luck and success, but without him knowing what I did?
A: Making Feng Shui changes is all about setting intentions for what you want to flow into your life. It's not possible to make adjustments in your own home on behalf of someone else's home. These adjustments would need to be made by your son in his own home. You can make changes in your home that will have an affect on the son who is stilling living with you, but he would have to be a willing participant in those adjustments.
We live in a house that has a street aimed at us, which I have heard is bad Feng Shui. What should we do?
A: When you live at the intersection of a T-junction, the chi hitting your home is harsh, like an arrow aimed at a target. To cure this situation, add landscaping (trees, bushes, potted plants) in front of your home to create a barrier between you and the street which will cushion the effect of the harsh chi. Additionally, you could hang a mirror facing toward the street to push the negativity of the traffic coming at the house. If you hang the mirror
outside of the house you can use a bagua-shaped mirror (8-sided). If you choose to hang the mirror in an
inside window facing out, choose a round mirror, since the energy from a bagua-shaped mirror can be too strong when hung inside the house.
After remodeling some areas of the house and opening up the floor plan to an open kitchen, I noticed this article about the front door and a direct line to a back door or window. So now, when we walk in to the house through the front door we have a straight shot to a window and at an angle with the back door. What are your suggestions to stop this runaway Chi? Please help!
The situation you describe is called a "poison arrow" because the chi comes in the front door and runs straight through the house and out the window instead of filling up the home. The general Feng Shui recommendation is to place things between the front door and back window so the chi has to slow down and meander in a more "wind and water" way (that's the translation of the words "Feng Shui"). Depending on your layout, this might be a small rug, a hall table, or artwork hung on the walls at different levels.
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Find out how my Feng Shui consultations can help you rearrange your space, shift energy, and
transform your life. I offer both on-site consulting at your space and off-site options:
I will visit your home, office, or business and help rearrange your space, shift energy, and transform your life. During the session I will teach you Feng Shui basics, then we'll go through your space and I'll make suggestions for changing the placement of furniture and objects and dealing with color, moving what we can at the time. All sessions include 30 days of free Feng Shui coaching by phone and email to help you continue to make changes and move forward.
When an on-site consultation isn't possible, I offer off-site and remote Feng Shui consulting by phone, Skype, and FaceTime for homes, offices, and businesses in the US and internationally. Off-site consulting packages include:
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People Are Talking About Carol's Feng Shui Consultations:
I followed your suggestions and cleared out everything that didn't remind me of success. Thank you for helping me to enjoy going to work again and for helping me to triple my income. --JP
Yesterday, a person came who worked for me a couple of years ago. When she walked in, she said, "Your house feels so good. It always was lovely, but it feels even better now." How about that? I have only started to make the Feng Shui changes you recommended during the consultation and already everything feels so much better! --SD
Just wanted you to know the open house at my store was a huge success with the help of the changes you suggested at our consultation. Thanks again for all of your help. --JW
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Bring one of my Feng Shui workshops, lectures, or seminars to your city. I will create a custom presentation for your group to help you make simple changes to attract wealth, harmony, love, and much more. From keynote speeches, to "munch and learn" workshops, to half-day or full-day seminars, my interactive sessions are full of practical advice, tips, and fun. Feng Shui workshops make great fundraisers and marketing events because they always sell out.
People Are Talking About Carol's Workshops:
My three sisters and I attended your workshop, and I wanted to tell you how much we enjoyed it. It was packed full with such great information and the fact that you helped each individual at the workshop was incredible! The three hours went by so fast that everyone in the workshop thought you were just taking a break and we were all shocked to realize the workshop was over. We all purchased your book and got several copies for family members that could not attend because we love it.
Thank you for the terrific workshop. I learned so much about Feng Shui, and I especially loved that you shared success stories from your clients. Your workshop attracted such a great group of people.
Wow, what a great teleseminar this afternoon! You came across as poised, extremely knowledgeable, down to earth, warm, and your sense of humor sparkled throughout, too! And thoughtful answers to some really interesting questions. Encore, encore!!!! --LG
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Books, Videos, Classes, Podcasts
Feng Shui Quick Guide For Home and Office: Secrets For Attracting Wealth, Harmony, and Love
Winner, "Best How-To Book"
People Are Talking About Carol's Book:
Thank you for writing such a brilliant book. I have just finished reading it and thoroughly enjoyed every page. I am very much looking forward to trying out your tips. Although I am also a Feng Shui practitioner, I love that there is always more to learn and tips that I haven't seen or learned before. I will definitely recommend your book to my clients!
It's the first time in years that I carry a book with me just in case I can read another page or two at a stoplight or wherever! Best I read it at home, however, as I read a bit and then start scouting for places in our little loft that I can declutter!
If it weren't for you, I would have more coasters on my coffee table than I actually need, to name just one of dozens of changes in our place! --SE
I loved your book. Thank you for making it a practical approach. My husband and are clearing clutter and it feels great! --SK
Your book is my bible! I finished your amazing book and constantly refer to it. Currently I am listening to your video class, which I find extremely informative. --TN
"Grow Your Business with Feng Shui" Video Class
My 90-minute, self-paced course includes tips for activating the Career/Work bagua area, along with simple changes you can make in your home that will advance your career or business. It includes tips and advice for everything you need to succeed, from choosing a desk, to lighting, plants, and art. You'll learn six amazing tips that will help you create a space that supports you and your business. Watch as I use Feng Shui principles to conduct a hands-on transformation of a client's workplace and create a dynamic home office that gives more clarity, less clutter and distractions, and ultimately, more success.
Watch the class preview.
le Are Talking About Carol's Videos & Podcasts:
Carol, you're a rock star! I loved listening to the
of your interview with
"Law of Attraction Talk Radio with Jewels,"
so I took your class. You continue to be an inspiration to me and have forever changed the way I arrange each home I've lived in since I first heard you speak in 2012. Keep up the good work!
I took your class and watched several of your
. Excellent! You have an absolute warm and welcoming approach. No wonder you are so successful.
This video class is nothing short of a delicious treat for your career. I loved it! Great practical pieces of advice. Well-taught in a fun, inspiring way. --RW
Beyond Feng Shui
A Better Way to Complain
Modern life is giving us many things to complain about, but how many of us do a good job of complaining? In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Jennifer Breheny Wallace
research showing that communicating dissatisfaction isn't just a sign of tension, it can also serve a variety of positive social functions.
But, not all complaints are created equal, and researchers have identified two basic types.
Expressive Complaining - venting to get something off your chest - can provide a useful release of emotion, and can bring people together, like the solidarity felt by unhappy passengers over a flight delay or the validation provided by colleagues when grumbling about the boss. But, voicing too many expressive complaints can create a feedback loop of negative emotion.
Instrumental Complaining - aiming your protests at solving a problem - is more constructive. Researchers found that people with high self-esteem tend to be instrumental complainers, perhaps because they're more confident that voicing their complaint can improve things.
Here are some tips from the researchers for better grumbling:
Have a goal.
Effective complaints tend to be concise, fact-based, directed at the right person at the right time, and focused on a particular goal. For example, if you're frustrated by poor service at a hotel, be clear about what you want, whether it's a better room, a credit, or acknowledgment from the staff. Knowing what you want direct you to the person who has the power to fix it.
Write it down.
Instead of ranting immediately, which can worsen a problem, first write down your thoughts. This can diffuse emotions and help you articulate your case more clearly. Keeping a complaint journal can also help you be more effective, asking yourself whether your complaints expressive or instrumental, are important or trivial, and are directed at people who actually have the power to help.
Start your complaint with something positive, then turn to the complaint, focusing not on ancient history but on the issue at hand. Ending on a positive note will make the other person more motivated to resolve the issue.
Humor, particularly self-deprecation, can help. A customer-service rep is much more likely to take your side if you crack a joke about your own impatience than if you're yelling. Just make sure you don't come off as sarcastic.
Avoid being a "help-rejecting complainer;" that is, someone who repeatedly rejects well-intentioned advice or assistance. To keep yourself in check, pay attention to the other person's body language, specifically whether their arms are folded or if they looking away. If so, it may be time to stop the complaining and start listening instead.
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Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA,
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Feng Shui for Real Life, LLC, and the Feng Shui To The Rescue newsletter serve as a reference and guide for the principles of Feng Shui and as such bear no responsibility for results that a client or reader experiences. Individual results may vary based on the client's participation and intent.
©2017, Carol M. Olmstead
Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA
Feng Shui For Real Life, LLC