Feng Shui to the Rescue Newsletter
From My Feng Shui Window
See You in September
Is it starting to feel like summer where you are? The spring has been uncharacteristically mild around here, but I know the summer heat is coming. When I first moved to the DC area, I was told there were only two seasons: Triple D and Triple H. That would be dreary/damp/dismal and hazy/hot/humid for those of you who haven't had the dubious pleasure of experiencing those seasons. While the truth was the area did get some lovely springs and summers, I never adjusted to those Triple H days. Now you know why I lived in the high dessert of Santa Fe for so many years after leaving DC. I'm living in Manhattan now, and while it's not as humid as DC, I know it's going to hit me soon.
So, I'm headed west to Santa Fe again for the summer. I'll be spending time taking a hard look at all those things I stuck in a storage unit when we sold our home and moved back east. Time to practice what I preach about clutter control. Let's see what still "sparks joy," as Marie Kondo puts it, when I open up the storage unit after so many months. That's a subject I'll write about when I get back.
My next book, Feng Shui to the Rescue, is with the interior and cover designer, so hopefully I'll have good news to report about the publication date when I get back.
For those of you who are staying home so you can relax with a cold drink in your backyard and enjoy the summer color around you, the main article in this issue is all about Feng Shui for your garden. If you're traveling, check out the article "Feng Shui for You Hotel Room" on my website. There's also the guest post "Take a Vacation with Feng Shui" I wrote for the BellaOnline Feng Shui site. You can also check out my 10-minute clutter clearing tips for summer in the article "Seasonal Clutter Clearing."
One quick thing before I sign off for the summer: Recently, some email providers, especially AOL and Yahoo, made security changes that may be keeping you from receiving my emails. To make matters worse, Google flagged my domains as spam/phishing and blocked mail from them. It's been a nightmare. My intrepid web-email guys seem to have worked it out for the most part, but it may still be affecting emails that come from my domains. Can I ask you to white list carol@FengShuiForRealLife.com, or add it to your approved or safe senders list? Please also do the same for my personal email address if I've already given that to you because it's linked to one of my domains. Thanks!
Happy summer! I look forward to sharing more Feng Shui tips with you in the fall.
Feng Shui Master Practitioner
Feng Shui For All Seasons
Tip for Summer: Feng Shui Garden Harmony
Jump-start the geraniums and dial up the dahlias! It's time to use Feng Shui to create harmony in your garden. Whether the garden view you see from your home is a lush paradise or a simple hanging plant, you can create harmony by using the right colors, shapes, and decorations in the ideal location. In Feng Shui, colors and shapes are called the Five Elements, and when you place these Elements in the most auspicious locations you can transform any garden space into a tranquil oasis. The Five Elements are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood.
The shapes you choose for your garden also affect what flows into your life, especially harmony. When you plant your garden in Feng Shui colors and shapes, you activate the specific energy of each. For example, flowers and garden ornaments in reds, oranges, and yellows increase your active energy, while those in tones of blues and purples can calm you.
The Feng Shui bagua will help you decide where to place each color. You can download a bagua from my website, then hold it in front of you when you look into your garden from its main entrance. Choose plants and decorations for your garden to match the colors and shapes recommended for each area. For example, in the Wealth area (upper left hand corner of your garden), grow red geraniums, purple salvia, or other plants with hot colors or triangular shapes to increase your abundance and prosperity. Plant fruit trees in this area and your wealth will be "fruitful."
If you live in an apartment or condo, you can still have a garden on your balcony or patio. Even though the space is small, use the bagua to map out your outdoor space, then decorate accordingly with flowers, plants, and garden ornaments.
Here are some ways you can add a bit of pizzazz to your garden as you activate your Feng Shui garden harmony:
Fire Element: Plant flowers in red, orange, and purple shades, or add an outdoor fire pit and garden lanterns.
Earth Element: Plant yellow flowers, and arrange rocks and clay pots around them.
Metal Element: Plant white flowers and decorate your garden with metal sculptures and flowing wind chimes.
Water Element: Plant blue and purple flowers, and also create a water feature like a pond, fountain, or bird bath.
Wood Element: Plant green shrubs and trees, then place wooden benches, chairs, or a trellis in your backyard.
Remember to keep your garden fresh, natural, and flowing. Deadhead flowers when they fade, but avoid over-pruning your trees and shrubs into tight shapes.
Whether you can walk through your garden or just gaze at it through your windows, a little Feng Shui goes a long way.
Clear Out Kitchen Clutter
A clean kitchen filled with fresh food is a symbol of health and prosperity in Feng Shui. This is especially important in the summer when there is such a bounty of local fruits and vegetables to choose. Summer is a good time to clear out the old, stale energy from your kitchen cabinets, pantry, and refrigerator. Here are a few quick things you can do to clear kitchen clutter and make room for new energy:
- Throw out anything in your refrigerator and freezer that is old or that is congealed, crystallized, or fuzzy.
- Get rid of any dried spices that are more than six months old, or that you no longer use.
- Remove everything from your pantry, wipe the shelves, and only return items that you purchased within the last year.
- Update the old photos, take-out menus, and shopping lists on the refrigerator door.
- Buy a new pair of oven mitts or potholders to replace the burnt ones.
- Refill storage containers or canisters with fresh flour, sugar, rice, coffee, and tea.
After you've cleared the negative energy from your kitchen storage, get out a broom and thoroughly sweep the kitchen floor. Sweep toward the door rather than into the room to symbolically get rid of negative energy and to make room for more good health and well-being to find you. Then, display a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter - especially oranges or apples - as a symbol that you will always have enough to eat.
Martha Makes Feng Shui Fixes for Growth
I've written before about Martha Brettschneider, who I first met as a client and has since become a friend and colleague. Martha often chronicles her Feng Shui journey through her writing and photography. Her blog, "Fixed Up for Spring Growth" describes how she devoted a month to her Feng Shui "fixes" by cleaning out all the cabinets and drawers in her bathrooms, and then moved on to her closet.
Her post is itself a Success Story, and with Martha's permission, I'm reprinting a shortened version below.
Here's what Martha wrote:
February was devoted to cleaning out all the cupboards and drawers in our bathrooms. Along with clearing out all the outdated medicine and accumulated detritus (see garbage bags below), I replaced weird light bulbs that had been out for years (bad Feng Shui right there!). I even got my husband to repaint the guest bathroom, transforming the annoying bandaid touch ups into a soothing, welcoming atmosphere.
My bathroom cabinet clean-out unearthed this little sewing kit with needles already threaded in various colors (somehow the eyes of needles have gotten much smaller in recent years) and a container of spare buttons collected over a couple of decades. When I came across a blouse that I wanted to keep that was missing a button, I actually found the spare button and sewed it back on!
The positive impact on my spirit was so palpable that I continued on with my clothes. I emptied everything from my half of the closet and gave each item individual attention (keep, donate, or consign), trying on each article of clothing to make sure I loved it. I took excess hangers to the dry cleaner for recycling. I made donations, and went to the consignment store - a first for me - to resell newer pieces that just didn't bring me joy when I put them on. Now, I feel like I'm floating on air when I walk into my closet. Fresh air, light coming in, positive GROWTH energy!
In a bad luck or good luck story, our garbage disposal broke during this process. The repair forced me to empty and clean out the messy space under the kitchen sink as well (a real life example of "all that plus the kitchen sink"). I took coins from an overflowing jar under the sink to the bank, only to learn that the bank had removed the coin-counting machine. Had to roll the coins myself for the bank to take them back. Good incentive to not let change pile up anymore.
|Ask the Feng Shui Maven
Q: Bad luck or good luck? I was sitting on the bathroom floor sorting some things as I cleaned out the bathroom vanity, when out of the blue the mirror over the sink fell off the w
all. I was surrounded by sharp, shattered glass. I remembered my grandmother saying something about broken mirrors being bad luck, bu
t I came through without a scratch! What does Feng Shui say about mirrors breaking?
Keeping a mirror that's broken or cracked is definitely considered negative energy, because mirror fragments will make you feel like you're "broken up." Also, the spider web-like cracks in a mirror represent being held back and unable to move forward. Sometimes, things just
happen; objects do fall off the wall because of vibrations or other causes, and there's no Feng Shui symbolism. The important thing is that you weren't hurt. That's definitely good Feng Shui!
Q: Hi, I'm a reader in Australia. I'm concerned about the two bedrooms in my hallway where the doors ar
e directly across from each other. I read that this is bad Feng Shui.
The situation in your hall is called "clashing doors," because the doors symbolically confront each other. This situation can lead to hostility between the occupants of these two rooms. The solution is to hang a red drapery tassel on the outside doorknob of each door to lessen any potential antagonism.
I have a question regarding direction. Using the BTB school bagua grid, are yo
u saying that when the bagua is oriented from the front entrance, the southwest gua would be
he "Love/Relationship" gua, BUT, this gua may actually be the actual northeast compass direction? The reason I asked this is that for my house, the Love/Relationship gua is the southwest actua
l compass direction, matching perfectly with the bagua. But, for my neighbors across the street, their Love & Relationship gua is
in their northeast compass direction. I've never
quite understood this directional concept!
The simple answer is that you're combining different approaches to Feng Shui, which doesn't work. BTB uses one set of assumptions about bagua areas and Compass School
another. I chose to study and get certified in the more contemporary approach called "Weste
rn" Feng Shui. In this approach, we orient the bagua from the architectural front door looking into
your home, e
ven if you enter through a garage or other door. We draw the shape of the house and the
n divide it i
nto the nine bagua ar
eas (see Chapter 6 in my book and in the "Basics" section of my website). As you figured out, the directions on a Feng Shui compass are opposite of what we're familiar with on a regular compass. That's one of the reasons I chose to practice this more contemporary approach rather than Compass or BTB. My suggestion is to find the approach that resonates with you and stick with that one. It's personal preference. When you start to mix and match, you run the risk of getting get more confused and less gu
ided toward the right adjustments. In the Feng Shui For Real Life approach, the Love/Relationship area in your house is in the upper right hand area as you stand at your front door looking into your home, holding the bagua in front of you. Your neighbors across the street would do the same thing to find that area in their home.
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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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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.
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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
Why Do We Yawn?
We yawn when we're tired, but we also yawn when we wake from a good night's sleep. We yawn when we're bored, but also when we're anxious, hungry, or about to start a new activity. Yawning is so contagious that we often start yawning the minute someone near us starts. Even reading about yawning can make us yawn.
There are may triggers for yawning. Skydivers say they yawn before ju
ng. Some police officers say they yawn before they enter a difficult situation. But, the physiological purpose of a yawn remains a mystery. "The real answer so far is we don't really know why we yawn," said Adrian Guggisberg, a professor of clinical neuroscience at the University o
f Geneva. "No physiological effect of yawning has been observed so far, and that's why we speculate. It's possible yawning doesn't really have a physiological effect."
Until about 30 years ago, scientists explained yawning as a way for the body to take in a large amount of air in order to increase oxygen levels in the blood in response to oxygen deprivation, but this hypothesis was disproved by research in 1987. One current theory holds that yawning is a brain-cooling mechanism "that functions to promote arousal and alertness," according to Andrew Gallup, an assistant professor of psychology at the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute in Utica. "When our body temperature is warmer," Dr. Gallup says, "we feel more tired and sleepy, and it could be that evening yawns are triggered to try to antagonize sleep onset, so we yawn at night in an attempt to maintain some state of arousal or alertness." Sleep triggers a steep reduction in brain and body temperature, he said, so it is also possible we yawn to further facilitate the change from waking to sleeping.
We know one thing for certain: yawning is contagious. One person's yawn can trigger yawning among an entire group. People who are more empathic may be more easily influenced by others' yawns. Dogs yawn in response to seeing their owners yawn, and other animals also yawn.
The spread of yawning could potentially serve to "promote coordinated arousal among members of the group, synchronizing their mental state, potentially protecting it by alerting it to external threats more rapidly than it would be otherwise, " Dr. Gallup said.
I know you're yawning now!
F Y I
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If you would like to set up a home, office, or business consultation, or schedule a customized workshop, contact:
Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA
Feng Shui Master Practitioner
Carol M. Olmstead, FSIA,
was certified by the
Feng Shui Institute of America
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