by Christina Grant
Illness, violence, arguments, drug-use, thoughts, and moods influence the energy of a place. When you enter someone’s home or office, part of you automatically notes how it feels. Conscious or not, this awareness seems to be a survival mechanism, keeping you alert for protection and safety.
Sometimes I meander through our neighborhood “open houses” to satisfy a curiosity about what type of home is selling for what price. These homes all speak to me about their dwellers. In some of the homes, the energy is such that it’s hard to breathe. If realtors were aware of how this energy affects the unconscious of potential buyers, they would clear the home energy first, before putting it on the market.
Clearing a place serves to reset the energy. Just as you would clean dirty floors in a new home, it’s important to clean the energy. If you can’t see this energy, that doesn’t mean it’s not there. Before you bring anything into your new home or office, clear the space. Otherwise, you’re living in someone else’s energetic dirt, which can affect you.
I once toured a famous historic home near Boston. Our small group was told about the home’s original owners – folks who lived there when the first shot “heard ‘round the world” occurred. It was one of those places I had trouble breathing in, which was one sign the energy was stagnant. When we entered an upstairs bedroom, I could not only feel illness in the air, I could smell it. I said, “Someone had a long illness, probably died in this room.” The tour guide and the others looked at me as if I’d grown a second head. The guide then confirmed that an older woman had died there. I knew part of her was still hanging around.
The energy of folks doesn’t go out the door when they leave. It clings to walls, drapery, furniture, carpet, and the air. When I have moved, I’ve tried to find out what was going on with the former tenants. How was their relationship? Their finances? Their mood?
This coincides with the ancient practice of Feng Shui, which advises us to know the history of the home and its inhabitants before moving in. For example, if someone was ill, or if they fell upon desperate times, financially or otherwise, it’s unadvisable to move in behind them because the same thing can touch you. This can work positively as well. In one home I lived in, a two-story duplex, each of the tenants downstairs began as a single woman and moved out newly-wed.
We aren’t always going to know what happened in a place before we move in. This is why I would clear any home or building as a rule. Clean thoroughly, wipe down walls, shampoo carpets and floors, and let fresh air blow through each and every room. Bring in as much natural light as possible. Sounds, chanting, singing, living plants, fresh flowers, and certain crystals are also helpful in moving and transforming energy.
In tougher cases where something seems strange or you know there was negativity or death, use additional clearing techniques. The main one I use comes from the Native American tradition. This technique was explained to me years ago by a Native American medicine man in the hills near Lake Arrowhead. A friend had just bought a fixer nearby which had a dreadful energy, to the point we didn’t want to enter one of the rooms at all. We wanted the medicine man to come to the house, but he said it wasn’t a good day for him and we could do it ourselves.
Of course, he said to use the Native American herb white sage, wrapped into a tight bundle (sometimes called a smudge stick or sage wand). Open all the windows or just crack them if it’s windy. Open cabinets and closet doors. Light the tips of the sage with a match and extinguish the flame so the wand lightly smokes. Walk counterclockwise around the home, into each room. Allow each corner, cupboard, and closet to receive the smoke. When finished, pass by again in a clockwise direction.
Sage alone creates a void, so it’s advisable to use another herb blended with it such as lavender or sweet grass. This pulls in a more positive energy as the older, stagnant energy exits. If you just have straight sage, use your intention to bring in higher, more positive energy. Our medicine man also advised us to throw sea salt in the corners of the house for good measure and leave white candles burning (with supervision).
There are many different variations on how to clear a space. I’ve found a thorough cleaning combined with the simple use of sage is usually enough. Ongoing, sage can be used to reset the energy of a place after there has been any sort of upset.
For more information, to contact me, schedule a session, sign up to receive my newsletter, or to read my blog, see www.christinagrant.com.
by Paul Harrison (AIA)
Light is energy, giving life as it travels millions of miles from the Sun. Without it very few things on Earth-ourselves included-could thrive. No wonder light has such an important role to play in giving life to the spaces in our homes. It makes us feel vibrant and energized. Dark spaces are dreary, nullifying to our visual senses, and often they lead to “sick” spaces in our homes, offices, and apartments. To the contrary, we know on an instinctual level when we feel the vibrancy and energy of a properly lit space. We just feel good there.
It doesn’t take much to bring that natural feeling into a home, just recognition of two key aspects of a “healthy” space. One is light and the other is natural energy from nature along with the energy flow that is derived from it in the home. Without this simple connection we feel cut off from our source of energy, cut off from our Zen. But by controlling how natural light is admitted and used within a space, a concept known as “daylighting,” balance can be achieved and serenity enhanced. Each home or personal space is different, though, so each solution will be a bit different too, depending on your needs and budget. Light, like water and plants, is a component of nature, so a home filled with natural light is a healthy space that rejuvenates the mind and spirit.
Here are my top ten recommendations to help create a healthy vibrant space for you and your family to enjoy:
- Look at your windows and note their orientation. Northern windows need little covering, if any, while southern and western windows need to be looked at to balance heat gain and light. Blinds work better than drapes as you can reflect the light to the ceiling-dark blinds if the windows are exposed to full sun, lighter or white blinds if the sun is blocked by trees, buildings, or large overhangs.
- Check your screens. If screens are dirty or excessively thick, they reduce the amount of light entering your home significantly. When I changed my screens to a dog-proof variety the light was cut significantly (but since Kokoa my Boxer has issues with screens it’s a tradeoff I can live with, no longer replacing screens every month or so).
- Use paint to reflect more light into the space, depending on the orientation of the windows. The higher the reflectivity of the paint, the more light will dance around the room. One of my personal favorites is a Dunn-Edwards color called “Sunseeker;” it has no black in the mix ratio, which is different than most off-whites that contain black. Its reflectivity nearly equals white but has a pleasant yellow tint and literally changes hue depending on the lighting in the space. I have used it in many homes I designed and built. Also, always remember that white ceilings reflect the maximum amount of light into the space. Reflected ceiling light is how the light travels deeper into a space.
- Be mindful of how the light moves through the space from morning to evening and throughout the year. In winter you’ll receive less light as the Sun’s path is lower in the southern sky while in summer it is higher and has a longer path of travel. Trim trees outside your windows if needed so the light can at least partially make it through the trees. (But remember, don’t cut the trees; trim them so you can still see parts through the window. Maintaining a connection to nature is so important to creating a positive space.)
- If there is not much hope of channeling more daylight, then think of investing in some lighting. In an apartment years ago, I bought two very inexpensive 8 foot track lights with halogen bulbs and put them up myself, adjusted the spotlights to light the dark spaces and pointed some other spotlights at colorful decorative items. It was a significant difference and an extremely easy fix. Put dimmers in and you have full control of the mood of the room. As for fluorescents, only use full spectrum daylight bulbs.
- Indoor plants that can take direct sun-like Ficus Benjamina-can be used to screen southern windows and then in the winter they can be moved to allow more light in. The plants also add a feeling of nature to the space. Buy larger plants 5-6 feet tall for corners, especially to shield corners that “cut” a space in two. In Feng Shui, outside corners are considered “daggers” which split the energy and make the space less comfortable. No one wants to be facing an outside corner square in the face.
- Corners and edges from adjacent buildings can split the energy also and you should cover the windows that face these hard edges with a plant (hanging works well) if possible or partially drape a portion of each edge of the window to shield them from the indoor space. In Feng Shui, you should be careful with exposed book shelves near where you sleep, as books can act as blades slicing energy and creating negative places in the room. Point the book spines away from the bed. Also make sure toilets do not point towards a bedroom or workspace-if so keep the bathroom door closed with a spring-loaded hinge.
- Skylights, if used incorrectly, can overheat a space and cause bright wash-outs of light producing glare. Solartubes can be better in dark hallways or rooms as they have less heat gain and can diffuse the light in the space without harsh bright spots. If your walls are lifeless, you can throw up a colorful backdrop like a tapestry or curtain hanging behind a bed which gives the wall color and texture.
- If a window is closely adjacent to another wall, that is, close to a corner, then leave the adjacent wall lighter to reflect. Again this depends on the orientation of the window; south will be brighter than a north facing window.
- If the carpets are dark and you cannot change them, you can use a colorful throw carpet that should be brighter and colorful. Put it a little under the bed or couch, this adds a lot of charm to the space. Colorful bright runners serve the same purpose in long dark hallways and look great, especially if you have an old place with wood floors.
Paul Harrison is a Los Angeles-based architect (AIA) with projects on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade as well as a hotel at Houston’s Hobby Airport. He is also a Zen master and author of the books “Where’s My Zen?” and “The Ten Paradoxes: The Science of Where’s My Zen?”
by Jami Lin
For the third time since 1900, Valentine’s Day falls on the same day as the Chinese New Year. This event won’t happen again until after 2030.
This year of the tiger is suggested to be filled with passion and capable of great love. Take advantage of both holidays falling on the same day to attract new people, express love to family and friends or even deepen love with spouses or partners. Even if you are not Chinese, the day can be full of celebration, fun, love, and fresh starts with broken New Years’ resolutions such as losing those few extra pounds.
Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day are filled with the same intentions.
It’s a time for forgiveness, sharing love and good fortune. Good business is rooted in relationships; bring extra heart and celebration into the office too.
Set the momentum for more love and better relationships all year long with the color red, which is associated with both Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Years.
I’ve studied the meaning of colors and their influence on the body and emotions for more than 20 years. I’ve presented color workshops worldwide and taught color classes at Miami-Dade Community College and for many professional associations such as ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). I am an expert on color and personal growth. I have practiced all aspects of design for more than thirty years, including Chinese Feng Shui, and with my new award-winning ColorAlchemy book, I have many motivating ideas that people can use to improve all aspects of their life.
Prepare for new love and fortune with Chinese New Year traditions. Clean your house with the intentions of sweeping away any misfortune, which also makes room for good luck.
Since February 14th is on a Sunday, prepare breakfast in bed for your special love or a romantic brunch. Remember chocolate-covered strawberries and two red roses, one rose for each of you, nestled together in a single vase.
Invite your family over for a special meal featuring red tableware, flowers, and delights such as red-velvet cake. Get the children involved in festive preparation. Make heart-shaped cookies decorated with red icing and red sprinkles. While dining, share sentiments with each other with candied, conversation hearts and Chinese fortune cookies used to decorate the table.
Looking for a new love or to reignite new passions, find a pair of tigers and put one on each nightstand in your bedroom on this marriage of Valentines and Chinese New Year. The pair of tigers will act as guardians, protecting your loving relationship all year long.
Express love by wearing red lingerie or matching, his and hers red T-shirts. Place the red, Chinese double happiness symbol (easily found on the web) under each pillow them. Sprinkle red rose petals on bed and light the red candles for added romance. Surprise your love a special poem written with red ink.
Here’s a Chinese secret if looking for love. With red ink, on red paper, or placed in a red envelop, make a list of all the physical and personality traits desired in a partner. While concentrating on your perfect love, burn the list in a safe place such as a fireplace or ceremonial bowl so that heaven can hear your thoughts and bring your perfect love to you.
About Jami Lin:
In addition to her award-winning book on color, she has published six books on Feng Shui and Interior Design, several which became Book-of-the-Month Club selections. Her websites include: JamiLin.com and Feng-Shui-Interior-Design.com.
from ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD
This holiday, use Feng Shui to ensure a warm, happy and positive
environment for you and your guests. Following are simple tips from
ChicagoHealers.com Practitioner Dr. Andie Pearson, DMD:
* Clean and Clear: No matter what the occasion, the first step in Feng Shui
is clearing clutter and cleaning the area.
* Analyze: After you have cleared, cleaned and organized the area where you
will be entertaining, you need to decided on themes, purpose, how many
people will be invited, who will be there, and what activities and foods
will you have. This should help you with the rest of your planning.
* Color It Warm: Plan the decorations with warm relaxing colors. Use
goldenrod, earthy greens, tans, amber, deep rich reds or maroons etc. You
want a color scheme that will be both relaxing and welcoming. Fall and
Winter colors lend themselves to this very well.
* Traffic Flow – Create a good flow of traffic thru out. Ask yourself – Are
you having an actual sit down event , buffet or cocktails with appetizers ?
o If you are having a formal dinner, have that room separate from the rest
of the party, allowing the rest of the party area to be designated as the
place for social gathering.
o For a buffet-style meal, have an area for the food and a section for
drinks. You will also need to have seating scattered about in organized
fashion that doesn’t block flow of traffic.
o A holiday party that is just snacks, appetizers and cocktails has a bit
of free flow. You can arrange several areas for food and drinks scattered
through out the room so that people can stroll from place to place and
* Minimalist – Decorations should be pleasing to the eye, but kept to a
minimum. Overly large or overwhelming items or too much clutter can create
an environment of anxiety. The stimulation will be too much and will make it
hard to relax into the party. Flower arrangements on the table or through
out the room should be conservative and moderate to short. Anything big or
tall will not allow for conversion across the table. Because people will be
visiting and talking, music would be very nice, but needs to be low and soft
so that it doesn’t compete with everyone there.
If you stick to the basics of Feng Shui, your party will be a success. So
remember, clear and clean, plan in detail, go low and conservative on
decorations, and allow for good social flow patterns through out the party