Feng Shui to the Rescue Newsletter
From My Feng Shui Window
I took my first photo of spring flowers in Central Park this weekend. Tulips are really my favorites, but this early in the spring I was happy to settle for these cheerful daffodils. If you follow my Feng Shui page on Facebook, you're about to see loads of tulip pictures, because once they start popping up, I can't stop taking photos of them.
Maybe that's why I decided to write about office plants for the main article this month. When the weather turns warm and the bulbs start to explode in color, nobody wants to feel trapped in their workspace. Adding living plants to your workspace is one way you can connect with the living world outside your window. Or, should I have said the window you wish you had?
When I first launched my Feng Shui consulting practice more than 20 years ago (how is that number possible?), I planned to focus on commercial consultations. I had worked in so many awful offices that I wanted to go out and rid the world of them. It was a time when offices were filled with too much of what I called "Heavy Metal Elements": gray metal desks, even-grayer vinyl floors, bulky computers in that nondescript whitish color, harsh fluorescent lights stabbing down on you, and clunky landline phones. Surely, there was a Feng Shui way to help soften these harsh environments. I was going to give windows to everyone, or at least prints of windows with sunny views to hang on their walls. Sadly, it took longer than I expected for office designers to realize how the work environment can have a negative affect on productivity and well-being. At least now, people with "desk jobs" are encouraged to get out of their spaces, whether it's by telecommuting occasionally from their own more-comfortable homes, or meeting up in huddle spaces with (hopefully) comfy chairs, or simply by taking a break from staring at their screen and going for a walk.
I've included an article about restaurant noise in the Beyond Feng Shui section, because I think noise is a big part of the issue of how our interior environment can negatively affect our well-being.
How would you describe your own office or work situation? Are you still stuck with too much Metal Element energy stabbing away at you all day long? Or do you work in a space that supports you? Share your thoughts and I'll post them in a future issue. In the meantime, I hope you have a happy spring, and take time to stop and smell the daffodils. And, of course, don't forget the tulips!
Feng Shui Master Practitioner
Feng Shui For All Seasons
Tip for April: Grow Your Career with Office Plants and Flowers
Plants and flowers are one of the 9 Tools of Feng Shui, and they're a great way to help attract positive energy into your workplace surroundings. There are five main ways to use living things in your workspace:
- Counteract negative energy. Locate a plant within three feet of your computer to filter any negative energy that your electronic devices generate.
Connect with the living world. Plants soften the straight lines and angles in your office and simulate the feeling of being in nature, where everything curves and flows. Choose plants with round leaves or flowers with round shapes, rather than those with spikes or thorns.
- Lower your stress level. A plant or flowers on your desk will always remind you of nature, which naturally lowers blood pressure. A study at Texas A&M found that being around a plant, even looking at a photo of a plant, can lower blood pressure and increase positive feelings.
- Advance your career. Choose a plant that grows outward or upward to symbolize career advancement. Make sure you re-pot the plant if it becomes pot-bound, as a symbol that your career has has room to expand.
- Add inspiration. If you're feeling blocked, uninspired, or just plain stuck for ideas, a flowering plant can be a symbol for taking action. .
Whichever plants you prefer, choose lush, healthy plants and remember to quickly remove dying plants or flowers before they turn into negative energy. If your light is too limited to grow healthy plants, or if you simply have a "brown thumb," silk plants are an acceptable Feng Shui alternative because they are made from a living fiber. However, you do need to dust them on a regular basis, and replace them when they start to fade. Avoid dried flowers because they represent stagnant energy. If you simply can't give up your dried arrangements, be sure to dust them frequently and replace them seasonally. You can add a plant to your workspace at any time, but the most auspicious time is at the beginning of a new month or at the new year, when it symbolizes a healthy beginning for you and advancement for your career.
Here are 10 Feng Shui-friendly plants, with the first few being especially easy to grow in an office setting:
This plant grows well under artificial light and produces white flowers.
This plant grow well under natural and artificial light and its heart-shaped leaves represent the Fire Element, which can add emotion to a cold area.
A large ficus can serve as an office divider or symbolically lift a low ceiling. This plant can also help remove formaldehyde, benzene, and ammonia from the air.
This plant is easy to grow in water or soil, and it doesn't require a lot of sunlight.
A palm can be used as a room divider, especially when placed in a colorful planter to activate any missing Feng Shui Elements in an office. Palms remove xylene and formaldehyde from carpeting.
These plants are especially auspicious when placed in the Wealth Area of your workplace, because the round leaves symbolize good fortune, abundance, and prosperity.
Trailing vines of ivy help soften any "poison arrows" that point at you where you work. Ivy removes benzene found in plastics, and it helps control formaldehyde from carpets and paint.
Use this hanging plant to fill up a corner or as a welcoming greeter at the entrance to a workspace.
This plant filters carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and xylene, and can be hung in an office window to block poison arrows aimed at your office.
The rounded leaves of this plant resemble coins and therefore symbolize wealth, and it is best placed in the Wealth Area of the office.
What to Do with Old Journals
I have to admit, I don't keep a journal on a regular basis. For a while, I did write the "morning pages" that Julia Cameron suggests in The Artist's Way and found them helpful. But, as useful as it was to get all that "stuff" out in print, I stopped journaling because I didn't want all that writing to be found when I wasn't around to help put it in perspective. I chose each journal with care and had a collection of beautiful books, some given to me by dear friends. So in addition to privacy issues, my dilemma was where to store all of those journals.
That's why I'm sharing these suggestions from Erin Doland, founder of Unclutterer, about deciding whether to keep or dump your journals. Ultimately, says Doland, your decision to keep or dump your journals should be based on your answer to the following question: Why did I write the journals?
Once you figure out why you wrote the journals, Doland suggests you can decide what to do with them in the future by answering these four questions:
- Did I write the journal for therapeutic reasons, to work through problems? If your answer is yes, burn or shred and recycle them.
- Did I write them to vent my frustrations? If yes, burn or shred and recycle them.
- Did I write the journal as a message to my future self? If yes, keep them.
- Did I write them as a record that I was alive in that moment? If yes, keep them.
For the journals you decide to get rid of, Doland suggests you do it with a purpose. For example, if you plan to burn them, first read some of your favorite entries, then toss the journals in the fire and don't look back.
If you want to shred and recycle them, turn the event into a "party" or celebration of what you wrote about and the progress and changes you made. If it's the writing from the journal you want to preserve, not the book itself, scan the pages you want to keep, then toss the journal volumes themselves.
For the journals you choose to keep, Doland recommends putting them on a shelf in a low-traffic area of your home and reading them occasionally when the mood strikes. She advises against keeping them hidden away in an inaccessible location, because choosing to keep an object means that you're choosing to have the object be a part of your life.
Your Feng Shui changes don't always need to be major, and consequently, your success stories can be small but rewarding. Here are a few examples of small changes and victories:
My husband came home early and went out to walk the dog. On the walk, he found a brand-new $20 bill. After he came home he went to pick up his car from the service department and found yet another $20 bill in his car! What I haven't told you is that yesterday I went to the plant store and bought five lucky bamboo stems to replace the ones that were dying. Of course, they make their home in front of the mirror in my hallway, so double luck came our way!
When you did the Feng Shui analysis of my home, I didn't have a job at the time. You said, "Do you want to go to Hawaii?" I was taken aback, but you were looking at a statue of Pele that my brother brought back from Hawaii. I said sure. So, I put Pele in the travel/helpful people corner as you advised. I got a new job several months later, and that job sent met to Hawaii for a two-week work trip. I ended up staying at a 5-star hotel - where a princess and her entourage stayed when I was there.
I read the "let your books go" piece in your newsletter. I needed something to motivate me out of my inertia on my book removal project (uh oh, I originally typed book removal PROBLEM). I guess the message is clear.
I loved your Modern Coping Skills for Women Workshop.
I have been de-cluttering since I have been home. Yesterday my sweet husband and I tackled the storage shed and old tax papers. Not only did it allow for more space at all levels it brought us to a place where we felt like having some pleasurable experiences together. Apparently, cleaning up is a turn-on.
|Ask the Feng Shui Maven
Q: I am elated because I just found your Feng Shui page. I have been trying to change my home to have positive energy. Is the wealth corner of my home always the far left corner as I enter each or any room? Thanks for your help
Yes, the Wealth area is always located in the upper left hand corner of your home as you stand at the front door looking in. To find the Wealth corner of an individual room, you stand at the main entrance of that room and find the upper-left corner. It's most important to first make changes to activate the Wealth area of the entire home. After that, you can make changes in the Wealth area of each room as well.
Q: I'm a new real estate agent. What are a few of your favorite, simple things my clients and I can do to help sell their house? I would like to include this in a newsletter I'm starting to send to my clients.
A: Ask your clients to find five of their most treasured possessions and pack them up and seal them in a moving box as a sign they are ready, willing, and able to move. Next, place the for sale sign to the right of the property. If you display sales materials in the home, place these in upright racks rather than flat on the table where they are symbolically "lying down" on the job. Encourage your clients to get rid of as much clutter as they can before the house goes on the market. Help your clients depersonalize the house by removing photos, personalized items, and anything specific like sports trophies and items with their college logo. Good luck with your new career!
Q: We are redecorating. What are the best colors for the master bedroom?
The most restful colors for bedroom walls are skin tone shades ranging from ivory to mahogany Anything that feels like healthy skin will help you sleep better. The least restful colors are pure white, black, gray, and cool blues and greens because they will make the bedroom chilly and less inviting. Choose restful, romantic and sensual artwork, and hang only lightweight pieces over the bed. The view from your bed affects how you start your day, so make it a pleasant view that both partners enjoy.
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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!
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.
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Using art, personal energy, and Feng Shui
to find inner calm in a chaotic world.
Looking for calm in a chaotic world?
This workshop is for you!
Feng Shui Master Practitioner Carol Olmstead and Clinical Mental Health Counselor Nancy Olson will help you distance yourself from negativity, clear mental clutter, and achieve inner peace. The workshop takes place in a beautiful, healing setting, and includes a gourmet lunch option.
Your will learn how to:
... Identify your own "energy vampires"
... Distance yourself from negativity
... Reinvigorate your coping skills
... Use the support of friends and community
... Experience art as healing
... Create a Feng Shui home sanctuary
... Enjoy the power of place as relaxation
... Thrive despite troubled times
... Develop a positive world view
... Find guilt-free self-care strategies
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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! When I read it at home, I read a bit and then start scouting for places in our little loft that I can declutter!
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.
Video Class - Grow Your Business with Feng Shui
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. 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 opens the door to success.
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le Are Talking About Carol's Videos & Podcasts:
Carol, you're a rock star! I loved listening to the
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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
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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
How Restaurants Got So Loud, and How to Fight Back
Can you hear me now?
Unfortunately these days in too many restaurants, the answer is What did you say?
In my book, the Feng Shui Quick Guide For Home and Office, I use the description of a lovely, quiet restaurant versus a hard-surfaced noisy one to illustrate the principle of yin and yang. But, it's becoming harder to find real-life examples of the quiet ones. Today, restaurants are loud because architects don't design them to be quiet. Much of this shift in design is due to changing concepts of what makes a space seem upscale or luxurious. Right now, high-end surfaces in restaurants, like slate and wood, connote luxury, and that equates to noise.
According to Architectural Digest, mid-century modern and minimalism are both here to stay. That means sparse, modern decor; high, exposed ceilings; and almost no soft goods, such as curtains, upholstery, or carpets. These designs are a feast for the eyes, but a nightmare for the ears. No soft goods and tall ceilings mean nothing is absorbing sound energy, and a room full of hard surfaces serves as a big sonic mirror, reflecting sound around the room.
Writing in The Atlantic, Kate Wagner suggests that luxury didn't always mean loud, and there are lessons to be learned from the glamorous restaurants of the past.
Until the mid-1970s, fine dining was associated with ornate, plush fussiness, not stark minimalism. Since then, restaurants have become more casual, severing the link between luxurious interiors and highbrow taste.
The open kitchens of today's restaurants also greatly increase the loudness inside. This design used to be relegated to the lowly diner. Other design trends that increased the noise volume at eating establishments include the communal table and full-service bar dining.
As the bar and dining area began to occupy the same space, the result was a lot louder than either one alone.
Another reason for so many loud restaurants is that they are more profitable. Constructing interiors out of hard surfaces makes them easier (and cheaper) to clean. Forgoing ornate decor, linens, table settings, and dishware makes for fewer items to wash or replace. Reducing table service means fewer employees and thus lower overhead. And, loud restaurants also encourage profitable dining behavior.
Writing for Vox, Julia Belluz offers these simple things you can do to avoid loud restaurants or manage noise while you're out:
- Go early. Restaurants tend to be less heavily trafficked, and therefore quieter, before 7 o'clock.
- Request a quiet table. Request a quiet table in advance. If you're seated in what you think is a particularly loud spot, ask to move.
- Ask for the music to be turned down. If you feel the music is blaring in your ears, there's a good chance others do too. Ask for it to be turned down.
- Complain. If restaurant managers get enough complaints about the noise, they may make a change. Consider registering a complaint with management before you leave.
- Find your noise nirvana. If you know of a restaurant with decibel levels that please your ears, keep going. If you're having trouble finding your noise nirvana, find apps like SoundPrint to search restaurant venues by sound level.
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Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA
Feng Shui Master Practitioner
Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA,
was certified by the
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and earned Red Ribbon Professional Status from the
International Feng Shui Guild
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.
©2019, Carol M. Olmstead
Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA
Feng Shui For Real Life, LLC