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What can you do to improve your feng shui in 2011? Here are a few simple sorting tips from Feng Shui By Fishgirl that will have a big impact. You don’t have to tackle all of them at once. Babysteps is okay. How about tackling one thing per day? You can stimulate your good ch’i (energy) via altruistic donations or alternative income ideas.

1) Sort through your reading material. Take a look at the piles of newspapers, magazines, and paperback books around your home or office. After you’ve figured out what you want to keep and what you don’t need anymore, organize the keepers. Then recycle newspapers. The magazines and paperbacks can be passed on to friends, to hospitals or nursing homes, etc. You may even want to keep the magazines as “source material” for collages and vision boards (see point 9 below). Alternate moneymaking idea: sell your books through a yard sale or sell/trade online via sites such as Book Mooch.

2) Sort through your closet. This might take longer than one day. You can arrange your closet via color hanging all reds together for example. Or you can arrange by style hanging all pants together, all blouses, etc. Once you have that done you will quickly be able to see what you have available to you to wear. Don’t be surprised if you discover some items you forgot you even had at the back of the rack! Now you’re ready for the next step: sorting through each piece to determine what fits, what you like, and what you want to discard. There are plenty of places to donate your hand-me-downs. Alternate moneymaking idea: you might have some vintage or valuable clothing in good condition to sell via Etsy or a local consignment shop.

3) Sort through your medicine cabinet. For safety and for good health in the new decade, make sure your meds are not well beyond their expiration dates. Even some cough & cold over the counter drugs lose their potency. Ditto old nail polish and makeup. Dispose of properly and make a note of what you need to replace. If you or a loved one recently went through some health issues and you now have unused/unopened medical supplies you can put them to good use via a donation to Med-Eq.

4) Sort through your pantry. Your fridge and kitchen cupboards hold lots of stuff you need to discard. Get rid of spoiled food and food that is well beyond expiration dates, frozen foods beyond 6 months, and anything “suspect”. If you’re changing your diet and have unopened canned goods that are still okay, you might want to consider donating to your local food bank.

6) Sort through your plants. If you keep houseplants, make sure they are thriving and in good health as plants are a direct reflection of good feng shui energy in your space. Toss any stragglers if your thumb ain’t green enough to revive the thrive! Consider buying some abundant green round leaved plants if you don’t already have some.

7) Sort through your address books. Whether you still keep a rolodex like I do, or have your addresses in a database on your computer, hand-held, etc…taking the time to update and discard contacts will serve you well throughout the year.

8) Sort through your receipts. Get ready for tax time. Many of us get overwhelmed by tax season. By going through your pile now, organizing into separate piles of categories, you can then take some of the stress out of preparing your return a couple of months from now.

9) Sort through your goals for 2011. Some might call these new year’s resolutions. I call it a review of what you want to manifest and attract to you. Once you are clear about what your goals are, it’s time to put those ideas into action. One excellent way of doing this is creating a personalized tool known as a vision board or a treasure map. Click the link to the left to go to the guest post by astrologer Tracy Abbot Cook on the treasure mapping process.



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Filed under Feng Shui, Feng Shui Home, Getting Organized


The following is a guest post written by friend and colleague Tracy Cook. You were first introduced to Tracy in my post “Personal Feng Shui Treasure Map, Part I: Preparation”. April 14 is this week and that is the optimum day to map out your goals. The following article tells both why and how to get started. Thanks, Tracy!


By Tracy Cook

It is spring and I am once again excited. The green buds on the sycamores are starting to pop out, shoots are appearing on my neighborhood jacaranda trees, squirrels are running around in circles going nuts —Yes, spring is definitely around me. But that is not the reason why I am excited. I am excited because in less than a week I will begin my favorite annual practice—“Treasure Mapping”.

Treasure Mapping began (for me) in 1996 while I was a regular participant in astrologer Robert Buz Meyers New Moon Workshops. I learned about Buz in 1989 when my good friend Margaret Wendt who had been his student for many years suggested I listen to his tape series. She thought that I would enjoy his lectures and she was absolutely correct. Buz was an incredibly deft, talented astrologer and I learned much astrology from him in particular the eight phases of the moon. Now, you have to understand, this is saying a lot considering my mother, grandmother and great grandmother all knew astrology. I literally grew up with the twelve signs, ten planets, asteroids and aspects all around me! To me Leo the Lion was not a sign, it was a sibling! And still with that background, Buz’s information was very knowledgeable and he absolutely shared it brilliantly.

During the early 1990’s I received Buz’s monthly tapes and because Margaret was so busy with her three children and her television career I took it upon myself to give her the Cliffs Notes on Buz’s lecture and share with her the one or two tapes that I thought would really ring her bell. And so it was when in March of 1996, Buz recorded his set of tapes for the upcoming Aries new moon. When I received those tapes I knew that my notes would not be enough. So, I called Margaret and our mutual friend Ann and said, “Let’s meet at Margaret’s house on Aries New Moon, I’m bringing some stuff and the Buz tapes. I want you guys to hear this one.”

On April 17, 1996 the three of us met. I brought some glue bottles and scissors and poster board and they both were somewhat surprised but once they listened to the lecture it all made sense. What made this set of tapes so extraordinary was that the entire focus of the tape was Treasure Mapping.

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and it lines up with spring. And if you have ever been around Aries personalities you know that they are strong willed and forceful because like a spring flower bursting through permafrost they will do what they can to get to the sun. Aries know what they want but at the same time they need to see it. Aries rules sight.

Of course since it is the first sign of the zodiac it really is the true beginning of the New Year. And as Buz explained in the tape, now is the time when we must build our Treasure Map. To see where we are heading this year.

So, after we listened to the lecture we did exactly what Buz suggested. We walked up the street to the magazine stand and each of us bought several magazines. Then we returned to Margaret’s house and quickly thumbed through the images until we all found things that we wanted. Cutting and snipping our future outs from images of one magazine after another. Pasting them on the poster board and jotting thoughts and affirmations. It was a metaphysical craft session. It was also a lot of fun. There is something so rewarding sitting on the floor with close friends, snipping out a image and saying, “Who needs a BMW?” Of course many of our desires were far more important than nice cars.

At this time I was in a dating lull but I did want to move forward in this area of my life and I happily found an attractive photo from a Ralph Lauren ad of a guy on yacht. I liked the image and naturally since it was an ad, the model was on the young side. I didn’t give it much thought except that I liked it. In addition I put a photo of a heart and a baby. These were experiences I did not want to miss. I also wrote down words like “my own boss” “solid writing”. I also had things about good health and other images.

Buz indicated that we needed to build our maps during the new phase of the Aries moon, which meant the first 3.5 days of the New Moon for the most oomph. Although he did say that we could take the whole waxing moon if we needed. Margaret took to the exercise like a duck to water and she completed her map that night after Ann and I left for our homes. I needed the next two days to get my images exactly the way I wanted and Ann took even a few days longer than me. But we all did finish our maps and I remember staring at it in awe. It was a powerful moment to look at what I wanted for my life. It truly felt like a Treasure Map.

Now the magic of the Treasure Map is that if you build the map on Aries New Moon you will start to see results by Cancer new moon which is three months later. Even if areas of one’s life that have been completely moribund without a doubt they will start to grow if the images have been planted on the Aries new moon.

Margaret had her own results almost immediately. It was within two weeks that the direction of her life moved light years when she met a man who matched her own words on her map. By June she was already on the road with her new man and beginning an entirely new wonderful chapter of her life. I met my own man in late May and began my journey in June. I am now married to that man and we have a wonderful son. It did not all happen that first year but the seeds were definitely planted on my first Treasure Map. And the part of this that was so remarkable for me was that my husband comes from a long line of sailors and is indeed a member of a yacht club. Just like my image from the Ralph Lauren Ad. Also my husband is younger than me-again like my map. My work as a freelance writer grew stronger that year which lined up with my words “my own boss” and “solid writing” additionally I found myself getting pieces of my map all year.

For the next fourteen years the three of us have met together on Aries New Moons to build our maps. There have been some years that have been better than others. And one year we were all feeling a bit burned out and Margaret suggested that we abandon the traditional map and go back to the roots of the Treasure Maps from the late 80’s when she first went to the Buz workshops and he encouraged everyone to write affirmations on orange paper during Aries new moon. There was something organic about that process which I enjoyed greatly.

The allure in the Treasure Maps is not just the results but also the process of giving oneself the luxury of thinking “What do I want?” It is liberating thumbing through a magazine and saying, “Hmmm, I think my guy is really smart, where are some guys with glasses?” Or, “I really want to feel spiritually centered this year…can someone find me an image of Buddha?” Treasure Mapping is just a wonderful way to turn inward and ask, “What do I want?” while at the same time if you do it with good friends you will find yourself in welcoming womb of support. It is truly a birth experience.

Now as we begin our fourteenth year focusing on our Treasure Maps, my friends and I are as excited as we were our first year.

Want to make your own Treasure Map? Here’s a cheat sheet:


A treasure map is a collage made of photos, magazines pictures, words, pieces of things that make sense to you…whatever you want and you put them on a foam core board or just cardboard or just something strong that can handle the collage…you put them all together so you can look at it…it will be a MAP of what you want for the coming year.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “What do I want for the coming year?”

Exactly what it says. Do you want a new house, a new living room, better health, stronger marriage, reconnect with people, a bigger family, a bigger community? Do you want to write your book? Do you want a new car? What is it you want?
Do you even know what you want? If you are like many of us, you are so busy running around, taking care of everyone else that you might not have a fig of an idea what you want for your new year…that is the beauty of this process…you must sit down and figure it out…give yourself this time to do it. Be just that selfish..and dare to dream.

Why do we do it now and not January?

Treasure Maps are made during the Aries new moon. Aries new moon change from year to year and this year, it will take place on April 14, 2010 at 8:29am EDT.

They are made on Aries new moon, because that is the first sign of the zodiac. Aries is when you plant your seeds. It is the real beginning of the New Year. It should not be confused with the first day of spring, which is usually on March 19 or March 20. New moon means the sun and moon are in the same degree. For those who don’t know much about astrology (which is totally okay) Aries is the sign of SIGHT. So, that’s why it is so important to have pictures of what you want. You need to visualize it. Or if you don’t do photos/pictures.. Put up words. It is just important for you to SEE THEM.

So, I’m going to be busy on April 14th can I start it before the 14th?


Do I have to buy a bunch of magazines, I’m broke, can I just borrow some old ones from friends

Personally, when I started my treasure maps I always did them with fresh new magazines. And in the old days, (not married, no children) I spent a lot of dough on them..only because I wanted lots of choices. But with time, I ended up only getting a few magazines. I never borrowed other magazines from friends..but I know that there are people who did it in previous years and I think they were happy with their results. So, it really is your call.

What if I don’t want magazine photos, can I just use my own pictures.. like my husband, my baby etc?

Sure. I usually colored xerox them so that I would not wreck my originals.

You can also paint what you want. Again it is your call.

Do I only focus on things?

Heck no! I would also encourage you to focus on beliefs and environments. Affirmations like “I’m abundant” or “I am always feeling loved” “My health is vibrant.” “My partner and I are always growing closer and closer.”

Is there any pattern i have to use when i put the photos or the words on my board.

No you can do it anyway you want.

But I will say that my friend Ann suggested years ago that we use the Feng Shui Bagua and now that is the pattern I continue to use. Basically, break up the board into 9 areas. A grid like this:


7-self knowledge
9-helpful people, angels, travel.

If you use the feng shui bagua, you will naturally cover all most all areas of your life..as you can see it is all represented there.

If you look at the Treasure Map that I have put up you will see that all the Bagua sectors are represented. You can also use the corresponding colors for additional impact.

How much time do I have to build my map?

Ideally you should build your map during the new phase of Aries new moon which would take you from the April 14th 8:29am EDT until April 18th 1:40am EDT. But if you need more time, you can give yourself up until Full Moon (April 28th.). But ideally try to build it in the beginning.

Do I have to do it alone or can I do it with friends?

You can do it either way. I build mine with my 2 other friends. We are like sisters and it felt so right to do it with them. We started them together. I know that there are several people who have little parties where they invite those close to them over. I will say this, it is a lot of fun to do them with others..we would all pass around the magazines.. “Hey, I found a great beach bungalow does anyone need a beach vacation? Or it would be, “I have got to lose 10 pounds, any ideas what I should put on my map?” and low and behold someone will come up with a good suggestion.

Do i have to finish it all at one sitting?

No. Often I used to cut my stuff out with my friends. Maybe glue a little thing here or there and then take it home and finish it there over the course of a day or two.

Can my kids do it with me?

Yes! It is great for them to focus and think about what they want. Have them build their own maps. They also might give you their thoughts about what they think you should have in your life. Helps them to think beyond them, right?

Does it work?


Okay. I don’t want to sound like a spoilsport but I’m just not interested in building a collage, can I do something else?

Sure you can take a nice piece of orange paper and write down wishes during Treasure Map time. My wishes can sometimes feel like prayers and they are broader in my desires. But I will say this, I felt like I needed to switch to ‘less is more’ after several, several years of mapping. So, I had a lot under my belt. I would encourage new comers to make the actual maps. But if you really don’t feel the call then just write your desires down. I like orange paper. So, vibrant. So Aries.

Is it ok to have things continue over to the next year? Long-term, ongoing stuff that has progressed but needs to continue to progress?

Yes. Of course. But with a small caveat. My sense after doing these for years is that when something really takes time and doesn’t gel in the first year. My experience is that there is something still not in right yet. It might be something you are aware of…like one cyber friend shifted from her map from year one to year two by focusing on less things. That kind of energy is really important. What I mean.. is it is NOT important to put up less. It is important for you on the following year’s map to go into your gut and say what do I REALLY WANT.

You may need to shift something about your long range goals. My sense is that they need a wee bit refining or broadening. Just a thought. But definitely don’t give up on the dream.

I’m really excited is there anything I can do now before Treasure Map to help my map?

Yes, yes, yes…. I said this in previous years and I’ll remind everyone now. The period just before the Treasure Map is called the balsamic phase. Which is the end of the moon’s phase. This is the phase when we get rid of stuff. Get rid of clutter. Get rid of things that are bugging us. Get rid of ick. Try if you can to clear some space in your life so you can be ready for the treasure map. Remember, Einstein said, “NO TWO THINGS CAN OCCUPY THE SAME SPACE.” Read that several times… now ask yourself, do I have space in my house, my family, my time, my life in general for more? If the answer is no. Then start housecleaning!

Clear out the stuff between now and April 14th Now do you understand why it is important not to start your map before the new time?

By the way, I personally don’t buy any of my supplies before the New starts. But I know some of you can’t do that..so if you must buy before. Put it aside and don’t touch it until the new. Don’t thumb through magazines. Leave it all be.

Good luck and dream big!



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