Daily Archives: March 12, 2009

WINDOW TREATMENT

"Blue Hill Bay, Remembered" (c) Katy Allgeyer

"Blue Hill Bay, Remembered" (c) Katy Allgeyer

“Friends are like windows through which you see out into the world
and back into yourself… If you don’t have friends you see much
less than you otherwise might.” ~ Merle Shain

WINDOWS ON THE WORLD
Windows are such an integral part of all architecture that sometimes we hardly notice them
unless our space doesn’t have any at all. When we don’t have any windows, we notice
their absence immediately. We may feel closed in without windows to provide a connection
to the outside world.

* Windows let in light to dark places.

* Windows provide us with a view to other spaces, generally outside, but not always.

* If they open, windows give us a means to circulate fresh air into our space.

* Well designed windows add a focal point to any room.

* Windows can create moods and uplift our ch’i (energy).

In feng shui terms, windows are generally a good thing for all of the functional
reasons mentioned above. There are instances where too much of a good thing can
be harmful and needs to be balanced with some feng shui cures.

POISON ARROWS
Do an inspection of your home. If you have windows lined up at the front of your home
that allow you to see clear through your home to the backyard, you have a situation known
as a “poison arrow”. Being able to see through the entire home leaves you vulnerable and
feeling unprotected. Anyone passing by from the street (especially at night when your interior
is lit) can see right through your home and capture a glimpse of your backyard.
Best to keep the windows at the front of the house covered for privacy.
You can do that a variety of ways. It could be done with outdoor landscaping or interior
window treatments (as simple as roller blinds) or a combination of both.

GLASS WALLS
Windows are made of glass and glass is equivalent to the element of Water. Many contemporary
buildings have floor to ceiling walls made of glass. While this can be great at home when you
want to enjoy the view from your dining area, at work you will want a solid wall behind you
as you are seated at your desk. If it’s too late and you already work in an office where there is
a glass wall directly behind you, you must take steps to counterbalance the “fishbowl” effect.
Through use of window coverings, frosted glass, screen systems, or creative use of plants, you
can modify the wall of glass to strengthen your position and make working a lot easier.

FAUX WINDOWS
If we leave windowless walls barren of any decoration, the feng shui can feel very stagnant.
Sometimes we need to add the look and feel of a window where there is none. Mirrors
are good substitutes. In fact, I’ve even seen some mirrors that are designed to look like
paned glass windows. Mirrors can bounce the light back from an existing window, or, they might
reflect a scene from an existing window to make a room look double the size.

Another illusion of a window can be created through placement of art. Whether the art
is painted to actually appear to be an outdoor scene or not, sometimes a well chosen piece
will make us feel that we have a portal to another world. So, look at your rooms and see
where you have too many windows, or, not enough. Work on bringing balance and beauty
to your home or office. And remember, keep those windows clean! ūüôā

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MIRROR, MIRROR

objects-in-rear-view-mirror-appear-to-be-losing

“Speech is the mirror of the soul.” ~ Publilius Syrus (1st Century BC)

Mirrors are one of the most common Feng Shui cures.They work well in both home and office spaces. Let’s take a look at your office. Imagine a dark, cramped, dingy space. The size of the space confines and constricts you. It’s difficult to breathe and that makes it difficult to concentrate. There might not even be any windows. At worst it sounds like Alcatraz, at best it is the closet under the staircase where you used to play hide and seek. Does this depressing space motivate you, inspire you, and energize you? Not likely! But this might be the office you are working in now.

 Before you jump out that window you don’t even have,let me share a simple feng shui solution that can help you transform your dark hole into an uplifting work area. The solution is to consider installing some mirrors.Mirrors enhance a space tremendously by adding more reflected light. Whether your light source is natural or not, mirrors bounce it back into the room. A well placed framed mirror can serve as a great substitute for a window.

In addition, mirrors give the illusion of expanding a cramped space so that it appears much larger than it is. A full length mirrored wall, for example, can virtually double the size of any room.When a room feels larger and brighter, you feel less nervous and more energized. That’s far more conducive to doing your best work and getting the job done with less effort.

Another way mirrors are used in feng shui is to correct¬†poor desk placement. The optimum situation is to place your desk in the ‚ÄúCommand Position‚ÄĚ. The¬†‚ÄúCommand Position‚Ä̬†¬†is located deep inside the room,

with your back against a preferably solid wall and has¬†an unobstructed view of the entire room, especially the entry door to the office. If you are forced to configure your desk so that your¬†back is facing the entry point, this position keeps you subliminally ‘on alert’¬†¬†because you are vulnerable to¬†people approaching you and surprising you. You can‚Äôt work if you‚Äôre constantly being startled or expecting to be. ¬†Put a rear view mirror on your desk or computer so that¬†you can see who is entering your space.

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SYNCHRONICITY

SYNCHRONICITY AT PLAY

“She says we are ALL connected!” ~ Jim Carroll (from his song, “Sisters”)

Peel away the masks, we are all connected.

Peel away the masks, we are all connected.   

    When asked what Feng Shui is, I often explain that Feng Shui is not a religion nor is it a form of magic. Feng Shui is a practical method of assessing and improving the quality of our lives through observations and analysis of our home and office
environments. That being said, Feng Shui can–and often does– have “magical”¬†results. Focusing our hearts and minds on high intentions for our greatest¬†good is one principle discipline of Feng Shui. When we decide to live our lives¬†with what I call “Intentional Success”, we create an atomosphere of willingness ¬†to open ourselves to the best things in life, the little magical daily events that remind¬†us that we are all connected.¬†

Those amazing little coincidences are also called synchronicity. Once we begin paying attention to them, and honoring them for the little miracles that they are, we might notice that they begin to happen more frequently or with greater impact on our lives.

Here’s an example from my own life. In December 2005, a new client¬†approached me about consulting on her house.¬†There were several little¬†things that happened leading up to the appointment¬†that almost made me cancel or reschedule. But, my intuition said to show up.¬†Unbeknownst to me, she was really a reporter acting¬†as an undercover agent in order to review my feng shui services for The Wall Street¬†Journal. Even after I worked with this client, I was not told of the upcoming article.¬†

A few weeks later, I was at LAX picking my boyfriend up from a trip he made to the¬†east coast. He greeted me by saying, “Guess who is in The Wall Street Journal?!” and¬†handing me a stack of extra newspaper copies. I thought HE was in it. But as it turned¬†out, he was referring to the feature article that my client had contributed to. It was¬†very exciting to be one of only five feng shui experts chosen world-wide for this¬†wonderful piece.¬†

Another five weeks or so passed. I attended a friend’s art opening party several¬†towns over from where I live. Several things were happening in my life at the time,but, once again I felt my intuition tell me it was important to show up.It was an event that I especially wanted to show up for, to support my good friend¬†in the last show she would have at this particular gallery. A little while after I got there,I spied a man wearing a colorful jacket that had unusual cross-stitch embroidery¬†on it. It caught my eye because back in December I had cut up an old skirt I had¬†from the same type of embroidered cloth and transformed it into a pillow. I made ¬†the pillow for my boyfriend as a Christmas present and thought he would enjoy it¬†since he is an avid textile collector, and, as I mentioned before this textile was¬†quite special. I didn’t know it’s provenance so I decided to approach the man at¬†the party to see if he knew where his jacket originated.¬†

He did. It was from Chiang Mai, Thailand. With that mystery solved, we continued to converse. Turns out he was an ex-New Yorker like me. He invited me and my boyfriend to a weekly salon type party that happens in downtown LA where I live. We spoke of what we did for a living and I mentioned that I was both a fine artist and a feng shui consultant. What happened next was classic synchronicity: he told me he was very interested in feng shui and his good friend who first invited him to this salon party downtown is a reporter who recently wrote an article for The Wall Street Journal. Imagine his delight and surprise to learn that his friend and my client are one and the same person! We have since become friends and this has widened my circle
of opportunity for abundance and good ch’i (energy).¬†

Much has been made of the ‘six degrees of separation’ that connects all of us to¬†one another. I can only offer my own experience as proof of this concept. More¬†importantly, I think a point can be made about how much we gain by “showing up”.
With our busy lives, we have so many choices of where to spend our time and our money. We are often too tired to go anywhere after a long day of working hard. When I think about the opportunities that have come to me by following my intuition and showing up, it inspires me to continue to do so and muster the energy when it feels important to do so. And, to pay attention to the little synchronicities along the way that are life-affirming gifts. 

When we pay attention to synchronicity, we strengthen our intuition. We invite more¬†‘magic’ into our routine lives. With a stronger intuition, we are able to set higher¬†intentions for ourselves about what we wish to attract into our lives. This is key¬†to good feng shui.

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PERFECT BALANCE

 

An LA loft with good feng shui.

An LA loft with good feng shui.

 

A LONG NARROW LOFT WITH HIGH CEILING

Can you spot the feng shui solutions I used in this space? 

The large wood oval shaped dining table represents yin energy (feminine) and is balanced by the square backed chairs that are yang energy. The orangey red color of the chairs represents fire and enhances the Fame & Reputation location where they are situated in this room. The square backs of the chairs balance the table’s curves. Rounded leaf green plants and a tree are in the Wealth area, notice how they are also placed up high to balance out the 14′ ceilings. Orchid plant in full bloom balances the stone countertop. A mobile made of metal in the form of buffalo represents ‘prayer and abundance’ and is well placed in the Wealth power point, lifting chi energy and recirculating it throughout the space. Since I am also a fine artist, I wanted one of my paintings to be displayed in the Wealth area–this one has colors red and green in it which also activates wealth. The elements of wood, water (glass bowl on table, window out of view),metal, fire, and earth are all represented here.

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LOVE IT OR SHOVE IT

The Feng Shui By Fishgirl Challenge

“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” ~ William Morris

 

This month’s quote is from William Morris. And no, I am not talking about the legendary Hollywood talent agent, I am referring to the other guy, England’s most famous designer / craftsman who inspired the Arts & Crafts Movement, mid 1800’s. (Find out more about his work and download some free desktop wallpaper at¬†The William Morris Gallery http://www.lbwf.gov.uk/wmg/about.htm).¬†¬†Think about what he said: “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” Whether he knew it or not, William Morris was practicing Feng Shui.

 

One of the first things we learn when studying Feng Shui is to get rid of anything that is broken or that isn’t working. A clock that sits on your mantelpiece that no longer tells time may be a beautiful antique, but if it is in disrepair it is not helping your ch’i. And if it isn’t helping, it is most likely hurting.¬†¬†It may be the reason why your romance has stalled. Or your business contacts have dried up. Or your diet isn’t working. The mischief it is causing for you would depend on exactly what area of your home that your broken clock is located in. I would recommend that you take your broken clocks to an horologist immediately (look in your yellow pages, not your bordello).¬†¬†

 

I love a good challenge, don’t you? So, let me give you The Feng Shui By Fishgirl Challenge…this is an exercise not for the weak of heart. You must be willing to go the distance. To evaluate with brutal honesty. To discard with ruthless abandon. To commit to paying for routine maintenance on anything broken that you have decided is worth keeping. I want to challenge you to go through your home room by room and make a list (or a pile) of everything in it that falls into the William Morris categories of either [1] Not Useful, or,¬†¬†[2] Not Beautiful. Let me give you some examples of both.

 

If It Ain’t Broken

 

Remember the old adage,’ if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it ‘? Well, I’m telling you if it IS broken: FIX IT! If it can’t be fixed, junk it or give it away to the Salvation Army. Some of the “Not Useful” things I have seen in client’s homes, which you may also have in yours, are:

 

Clothing that doesn’t fit, or is stained or ripped.

Stacks of old stereo equipment that doesn’t work anymore.

Dead plants, or plants with just a sickly little stem poking out of a huge pot.

The aforementioned broken clock, or watch, that no longer keeps time.

Books…. i.e.: toss out the old computer manuals at the same time you upgrade your computer.

Broken/cracked glass still in picture frames or mirrors.

Newspaper bundles waiting to be read or recycled.

Lamps needing light bulbs.

Curtain rods dangling.

Candles that are melted beyond use and no longer pretty.

Various electrical appliances and small gadgets that no longer work.

Bath towels that are tattered beyond belief.

Wallpaper peeling down.

Faucets dripping.

Doorbells that don’t ring.

 

If You Don’t Love It, Shove It

 

There is always some example of something that is not beautiful, yet, it is cherished and we love it so we will keep it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We love something, it becomes beautiful because we love it. So, do not think I am asking you to throw away anything that is not “good looking”. Or conversely, to keep things only because they are beautiful.

 

If you do not believe it to be beautiful, it doesn’t belong in your house. That means, if you don’t love it: shove it! We’ve spoken in past newsletters about how we imbue either positive or negative ch’i onto objects and spaces. Think about all the negative ch’i buildup being created by that Limoges nut dish your Aunt Bessie gave you last Christmas. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Limoges¬†¬†(and hopefully, there’s nothing wrong with your Aunt Bessie!). And chances are, she spent too much for it. This tends to add to the guilt we feel if we don’t really like it and don’t want it in our home.¬†¬†However, if your crib is furnished in 1950’s Modern, the fancy Limoges nut dish looks totally out of place; you probably do not like it but feel some obligation to keep it, right?

 

We all have a version of the nut dish. It’s time for all of us to let go of our attachment to keeping anything in our sacred home space that we aren’t absolutely in love with, or at the very least, anything that doesn’t please us. I hereby give you permission to remove those items from your home today!

 

Some examples of things that people hang on to that fall into this category:

 

Gifts (especially given by family members).

Inherited objects (furniture, paintings, etc) that aren’t your taste.

Plants that aren’t flourishing.

Expensive things (we have a harder time letting go of things we paid a lot of money for even if we hate the piece after we’ve bought it).

Things that connect us to our past and who we once were, but that no longer represent who we are now and where we are going.

 

By the way, if you now have a pile of unwanted things in your space, be sure to donate them to charity or have a yard sale. If you have a pile of things you intend to repair, make sure you take care of it quickly. If you must leave the pile there for a while, you want to be sure your pile is in a benign area of your home. The last thing you want to do is gather up all of your broken down items and stack them in your Health Area, your Love & Relationship Area or your Wealth Area until you get around to it. As always, if you are unsure of where these areas are located within your home, be sure to contact a Feng Shui expert for assistance.

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