Christmas and the New Year celebrations are over for another year and despite the best of intentions I have managed to gain a few pounds in weight. Although I eat a healthy and balanced for much of the year I always find that if I spend time with family and friends for any length of time then I just can’t help but indulge. This year we spent several days with various friends as we did a tour around the UK catching up with people we hadn’t seen for a while. It was great to see people but it did mean that every day brought with it another celebratory meal to enjoy.
As my clothes were starting to feel a little tight even before 2012 disappeared in to the memory bank, I thought I would resist getting on the scales until well in to January when I had given my body the opportunity to lose the excess weight. Against my better judgement however I jumped on the scales when I returned home to discover that I had managed to gain 5lbs over the two week period. Not horrendous by any stretch of the imagination, but with a lot to do this year I really didn’t want to start the year feeling sluggish and uncomfortable in my clothes. With the need to give my body a bit of a boost and the desire to shift the excess pounds I am therefore embarking on a few days of dieting to lose the 5lbs and with any luck I may well lose a few extra pounds as well.
As a rule I am not a fan of crash diets. I don’t think they do the body any good at all especially as most of them mean that in some way you are restricting your body of certain foods. If you eat a healthy diet for most of the year then you shouldn’t ever have to crash diet. There are times though when a few days of dieting can work wonders especially if you want to kick start a healthy eating plan, or if you have over indulged (like I have) and with only a few pounds to lose want to get down to normal weight relatively quickly.
If I need to lose a few pounds quickly I cut out what I class as extreme yin and extreme yang foods for just a few days. The healthy eating plan that I follow for much of the year follows the principles of yin and yang which means that I eat a balanced diet most of the time. Yin and Yang are the two opposing forces of energy which are everywhere around us in the universe and so it should come as no surprise that the food that we eat can also be divided in to food that is yin and food that is yang. A healthy diet is one that includes a balance of yin food and yang food and is not focused on one more than the other.
There are some relatively easy principles that you can follow when you are trying to determine whether food is yin or yang. Whether food is filled with yin energy or yang energy really depends on three things, the taste, how it has been produced and how it has been cooked. Yin food on the whole is mild flavoured and/or sweet where yang food is strong and/or spicy. Yin food includes most vegetables and fruit, bread, pasta and rice. Yang food on the other hand includes most processed foods, dairy products and meat. Yin food is food that is eaten raw, poached or steamed, yang food is food that is roasted, baked or fried. There are of course exceptions which are too numerous to go in to in a blog post, for example tangy citrus fruit is yang whilst other fruits are yin, fish is yin whilst all other meat is yang. However a diet that strikes a balance between food which is yin and food which is yang is on the whole a healthy balanced diet and providing you exercise portion control it is unlikely that you will gain weight.
If you want to lose weight however you need to think about the amount of yin and yang energy in your food. Eating too much food that is yin will make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst too much yang food can make you feel frazzled and irritable. To lose weight your body needs to be calm and flow in perfect harmony with the universe. Some foods are low yin such as vegetables , fruit and fish whilst others are high yin such as bread or pasta. Low yang foods are white meats and milk and cream whereas foods that contain high yang are citrus fruit and spices. At the real extremes of yin are alcohol, caffeine and refined sugars (contained in white bread, cakes and pastries) whilst the extreme yang foods are red meat and cheese. These are the foods that you should avoid if you want to lose weight and are the ones that I will be cutting out for the next few days. I expect to feel healthier and slimmer as a result.
If you are currently having self doubt or worries, feeling down in general or want to improve your confidence levels and self esteem, the summer solstice is an excellent time to perform a fire energy enhancement.
Performing a fire enhancement on the day of the summer solstice can give you a much needed boost and provide you with an influx of powerful and uplifting energy. It can have the effect of immediately lifting your mood and helping you feel more positive about yourself. If like me you won’t be at home on the 21st June the enhancement can be done on another day that is close by, yang energy is at its strongest for several weeks either side of the summer solstice.
A fire energy enhancement can be done either inside the home or in the garden. If it is a lovely day, which at midsummer we all hope it is, then my personal preference is to go in to the garden. Go to the area of your home or garden that is situated in the fire area. To perform the fire energy enhancement place a candle, preferably a tall one in a secure holder or dish. Place the candle on a flat piece of ground or a table ensuring that it is not going to fall over. Sit on the floor facing the sun and light the candle. Place your hands together to form a steeple or pyramid shape and raising your hands so that the tips of your fingers rest on your face just above your nose, close your eyes. Think about everything that is good in your life. Hold those thoughts while breathing deeply.
Now think about what you want from your life. Picture yourself walking down a path that is bathed in sunlight living the life that you dream of. Take deep breaths letting the confidence that will enable you do those things enter your body. Now open your eyes and stretch your arms wide towards the sun saying in a loud voice “I am ready”. Sit quietly for a few minutes watching the candle burn and enjoying the feeling of the sun on your face. When you feel ready to move, blow the candle out but leave it in position. Now you are ready to live your dreams.
If you would like more tips on how to decorate your home using the fire element, please look at my blog post on the fire element which can be found under the category Feng Shui Elements in the menu bar.
The Living Room represents the heart of a house, a place for relaxation, meeting friends and acquaintances and having conversation with members of your family. This is one of the most important rooms in the house as it is one of the rooms in which you spend most of your time and because of this it is important that it reflects your personality. Out of all the different rooms in your home this is the one which more than any other should clearly shout out, “this is me”!
Ideally as it is the heart of the home it should be one of the very first rooms that you enter as you walk in to your home. If it isn’t then you should try and create a clearly defined path to lead in to the living room from your front door. This can easily be achieved by creating a natural welcoming pathway with plants or candles that leads to the room, or by placing just outside the entrance to the living room a beautiful object or picture that draws the eye. These will provide an effective signpost to your living room ensuring people will automatically walk towards this area of your home.
The living room should be a warm and inviting room with furniture grouped together and arranged in clusters to encourage talk and interaction. Chi should always be able to flow easily around the furniture so it is preferable to arrange it in a way so it is not next to walls or in corners.The living room should be decorated in the colours that correspond with its bagua position in the house. As the living room represents the family area of the home and your own personality it is however perfectly acceptable and often productive to enhance it with colours and essences from the family area. If possible introduce cushions and ornaments of greens, blues or silver, photographs of loved ones which should be prominently displayed and ensure that your favourite object is situated in this room.
I hope that this section has given you some ideas as to how you can decorate the living room in your home. For more tips on how to decorate other rooms in your home please visit my weekly blog which is published every Sunday or check out the other sections on this site.
I always think it is both useful and important to think of the front of your house as the face of your home. By looking at the front or face of a house you can tell a huge amount about that people that live there.
Is it well cared for with windows and doors in good repair, stonework freshly painted and hanging baskets filled with cheerful, colourful blooms?
Is it neglected with broken shutters, peeling paint on the front door and dead plants lining the pathway?
Like the words of the well known song suggest no matter how you are feeling inside you should “put on a happy face” and the same principle applies to your home. For you to attract the positive energy and good fortune you deserve you should let your home promote a positive and happy image, after all it is virtually impossible to feel sad and unhappy if you are smiling.
If the front of your house is the face of your home, then your front door is one of the most important elements in Feng Shui. As well as being the entrance to your home it also acts as the mouth of your home where positive energy enters. It is therefore very important that this area is kept as warm and welcoming as possible with the door kept freshly painted and well maintained, the path clean, neat and clear of any obstacles and plants and borders well trimmed and weeded.
If you have a path to your door it is best if it is wide enough for two people to walk side by side. If possible this should be distinct from any driveway or pathway that runs past your home. If this is not possible, for example if your doorway opens direct from the pavement or street then try and create a barrier of some sort, small bushes planted at either side of the doorway, hanging baskets filled with flowers or a row of multi coloured pebbles in front of the door all work. If you do have a path it is best if this allows energy to meander to your door rather than travel in a straight line and again you can create the illusion of a winding path by planting shrubs, using different coloured paving or creating different surfaces by using a mix of stones, paving slabs and grass.
Inside your front door you should keep the area free from clutter and barriers. If your door opens on to a wall, hang a picture of a view so that when someone enters the home it gives the impression of space. Entrances often become storage areas for coats, shoes, boots and scarves and rather than hanging these on pegs or leaving them in a pile on the floor, build or create some storage areas so that they can be shut away. If your door opens on to a long hallway, and especially if this hallway leads to a back door, you will need to harness the energy so that it doesn’t rush in to the home and straight back out again. If this is like your home hang a curtain just inside the door or place large ornaments or plants on the floor against the wall so that a straight hallway is turned in to a winding, curved space.
I hope this section has given you some useful information on how you can keep the entrance to your home, both inside and out, welcoming, attractive and free of clutter. For more hints and tips on how you can enable positive chi to flow gracefully in to and around your home please check out my weekly blog or book to attend one of my many training courses.
I returned home to France this week to discover that somebody had plans for me. Unfortunately the plans did not include a nice restful few days which is what I had hoped for, nor did they include a weekend away in a nice hotel in Paris. No the plans were much more mundane and involved decorating our five guest bedrooms.
I can’t really complain too much, although I must admit a trip to Paris would have been nice. I used to hate decorating but since moving out to France have actually found I quite enjoy it. It provides me with a huge amount of thinking time as I slap paint on the walls. As I painted the walls of each bedroom I found that I was automatically redrafting the chapters of the new book I was intending to start writing this week. Admittedly I kept having to leave the decorating to make a few notes but at least the bedroom walls got painted eventually which has hopefully bought me a few bonus credits this week.
We like our bedrooms to look fresh and crisp, a restful haven that people can retire to at the end of a days training and so the predominant colour is white with just one feature wall and the cushions, furnishings and pictures adding a splash of colour. Our guest bedrooms face south east, south and south west and so the colours we have chosen have been (yes you have guessed it) turquoise, red, beige and brown and we both have our favourite rooms. I love the dark red colour scheme of bedroom 3 whilst Jason prefers bedroom 4 which now has a pale turquoise wall. In saying that they are all beautiful in their own right.
When decorating bedrooms you need to ensure that you get a balance of yin and yang, with slightly more emphasis on the yin as you want bedrooms to be calm and peaceful environments which promote a restful night’s sleep. If your bedroom is in a yin area of the home it is always best to decorate these rooms in dark or pale colours as opposed to bright colours . If the bedrooms are, like most of ours, in a yang area of your home then it is perfectly OK to add a splash of bright colour but ensure that you restrict the splash of colour to just one feature wall. If you feel after you have repainted the room that the energy in the room has changed to more yang than yin then add in some softer, lighter furnishings to achieve a more equal balance.
Next week I am in the UK delivering my last two courses of the year and after that I will be turning my attention to my book. I am determined to have the first draft completed by the end of this year but find that there is always work to be done at Le Plantis which keeps getting in the way. Not that I am worried though, it is written in my destiny that my book will be published in 2012.
It’s hard to believe but I have been writing my Feng Shui blog for over a year now. I didn’t realise this until I started to make some changes to my website (more on this later), but it was over a year ago since I decided to start to download all of my Feng Shui knowledge on to the web. The reason I started this website was so that as many people as possible had access to accurate and free information on Feng Shui. And it was a really positive step that I took. Not only have I enjoyed updating the website but I know that many people have enjoyed reading it, in the last year almost 1000 people have taken the time to provide me with feedback, comments, ask questions or just say thank you. This level of interaction was something that I didn’t quite expect and has made me realise how much people want to know about Feng Shui. It has also enabled me to communicate with people who I wouldn’t have otherwise, people who want to know the basics of Feng Shui but don’t want to, or can’t afford to pay for in depth knowledge. As I said in my blog post of a few weeks ago there are two levels of Feng Shui and for many people knowing the basics is sufficient, after all it is often the smallest changes that have the biggest impact.
This week we saw the last full moon of Autumn. I always think that the end of Autumn offers us the chance to mentally prepare for the coming of winter and the new year that this brings. For anyone who wants to structure their thoughts to bring about positive change to their life this week I am going to offer you some free tips based on the steps I cover in my Life Goals workshop. I hope that you find the steps useful and they allow you to really focus on your dreams and the positive steps that you can take to move towards them in the new year.
Step 1 – Identify your life Goals
Take some quiet “me” time to think about what you really want out of the coming year. What will make you happy? Remember that this journey that we are on is the only chance we will ever have to walk down this particular path.
Step 2 - Understand your Four Pillars of Destiny
Find your personal life code. What does this tell you about your journey through life? Analysing your four pillars of destiny will show you the stages that you will pass through on the journey down your life path. Will the next year be a lucky year for you when making changes are likely to have the best chance of success? Do you need to make some fundamental changes to your personal energy and the energy around you to ensure the positive change that you desire will occur next year? Or is it best to wait, to strengthen the energy around you now so that at some point in the future you will be in the best possible position to grab hold of the opportunities that come your way?
Step 3 - Assess your Environment
Once you have identified what you want from the coming year, and where you are on your personal journey, walk through every room in your home. Have you got an equal balance between yin and yang? Are the five elements working together or against each other? Does every room in your home feel balanced and free of clutter or do you have neglected spaces or rooms that are unloved? Look at your home with a fresh pair of eyes. What is helping you on your journey through life and what is hindering you?
Step 4 – Identify the adjustments that you need to make to your home
If you are to achieve your goals for the coming year what do you need to change? Pay special attention to the areas that represent the changes that you are wanting to make. Where you are on your path through life will make a difference to how big the adjustments need to be. If you are in a lucky phase and want to start a new career for example,then small changes such as adding crystals to your career and knowledge areas will be sufficient. However if you are in phase of your journey where your personal energy is not as fortunate then more fundamental changes will need to be made to ensure the energy in your home is as strong as possible.
Step 5 – Make a positive statement
Once you have made the changes visualize the change you want to happen and state your life goal out loud. Do this every day to keep you focused on what you want to achieve. Make a note of any positive changes that happen to you as you enter the new year and ensure that the energy in your home is constantly refreshed to ensure the best possible chance of success.
If you would like more details on my Life Goals Workshop please contact me at email@example.com
I took the opportunity this week to take a few days off work and recharge my batteries. Naturally I returned to France and the feeling of calm and happiness that entered my body the moment I stepped through the front door made me realise firstly how much I miss my home when I am away and secondly how right our decision was to move our home to France a few years ago.
One of the things that I noticed as I walked through the front door was that the door was in need of some tender loving care. The front door of the home is the mouth of the home through which chi enters and it is therefore important that it is kept well maintained, clean, polished and freshly painted. Because of this I am very conscious of how our door looks and whilst not looking exactly shabby, this big old oak door of ours was certainly looking a bit sun ravaged. The varnish, which gives it it a deep rich look was starting to fade and there is no way it can go through another summer without being rubbed down and given a new coat. Definitely a job for April when we can be sure of a few days of unbroken dry weather.
Ensuring your door is kept in good repair is not the only thing you need to be conscious of with Feng Shui. It is also important that the front door is in proportion to the rest of the house. Our front door is very large and balances the whole front of the house which is a substantial double fronted two storey structure. A door that is too large for the property may cause energy to enter the home too quickly, on the other side a door that is to small may give the effect of energy being squeezed so that it enters the home in short sharp bursts. You can easily tell if your door is in proportion by standing across the street and looking at the front of the house. Does the door look and feel right in relation to the rest of the house, or does it look out of proportion?
If your front door does look as though it is out of proportion, hang a crystal on a red ribbon just inside the door. It needs to be far enough away from the door not to hit it when it opens but should be clearly visible from the doorway as soon as you enter the house. I love using crystals as cures, as well as bringing a number of benefits and enhancements to the home they are highly decorative pieces in their own right. Some people however do not like using crystals in a room even though they may understand the benefits these bring. Suspending crystals from a ceiling can give the impression that they are there for a particular reason and some people feel that they can have the effect of focusing the mind on the problem rather than the cure.
If you prefer not to use a crystal then an alternative would be to hang something from the ceiling that incorporates crystals in the design, for example a light fitting or a mobile. When hanging light fittings with crystals it is important to remember that you do not want to overload the room with energy, especially if your entrance hall is a small space. In a small space a small crystal light fitting will achieve a much greater effect than a large chandelier. When adding any cure or enhancement to the home always ask yourself if it helps to balance the space and keep to the proportions of the room. If the answer is yes then it is likely that the enhancement will have the desired effect.
A new year is just around the corner and for many of you reading this it will probably already be 2011. I love the start of a new year, a time when we can focus on what we have achieved in the year that has just gone and set goals for the coming year. In this blog, my last of 2010 I am going to share with you my approach to goal setting. This approach is for me one of the cornerstones of my work with Feng Shui, when we know what we want to change and ultimately achieve we can then align the energies in our environment with our own internal energies.
Below is the five point plan that I share with people who attend my Life Goals course. It is an incredibly powerful action planning process and helps to focus our energies on making positive changes in our life. This 5 step process should be followed when we are embarking on any period of change and are wanting to set ourselves personal goals to achieve.
Identify your Goals
Focus on your goals. Take a few days to really identify what it is you want to achieve. Focus on the big picture rather than specific details as life can have a wonderful habit of presenting us with unexpected opportunities that we may have never considered. When you have identified your goals write them down and put them in a drawer, or on a shelf. Remember to specify a realistic timeframe so that you have a finite timeframe. Leave them for a couple of days and then reread them. Ask yourself if these goals are truly what you want to achieve. If the answer is yes then say the goals out loud, commit them to memory and spend a few moments visualizing what your life will be like once you have achieved your goals.
Assess your Environment
Once you have identified your goals you are now ready to assess your environment and identify the changes that you want to make. Walk to the area or areas of your home which represent the area of your life that you want to change. Walk around evaluating and assessing each part of this area. Write down what the strengths are, where positive energy is being promoted and then make a note of anything that may be disrupting the natural flow of energy. Ask yourself what you need to change. Once you have assessed this area, which I call the primary bagua area, walk in to each room of the house identifying changes that you can make in the area of each room that is representative of the area of your life that you want to focus on. These areas, which I call secondary areas, are often overlooked but can play a very positive supporting part in helping you achieve your goals. Write a list of where you can make the best changes in your environment to support you in your goals
This step is where you make changes to your home that will support the achievement of your goals. It is very important that any changes you make are made with intention, that is that you positively focus your own personal energy on bringing about the change that you want in your life. When implementing any change in your environment with the purpose of bringing about positive change in your life you should use the three secrets reinforcement, which is:
Visualize what your life will be like when you have achieved your goal.
State the reson for making the change loud and clear
Sit or stand in quiet contemplation to give the energy in your home the time and space to readjust
As time moves on, make a note of all the positive changes that happen in your life which support you in the achievement of your goals. Each time a positive change happens go to the area or areas of your home where you have made the changes and give a silent word of thanks. Write down all the positive changes and store them in a box in the primary bagua area relating to your goal. Every so often take these out and read them to yourself to remind you of all the positive changes that are happening in your life
Evaluate the Success
At the end of the period of time that you have set yourself for the changes to happen review the positive things that you have achieved. Celebrate the successes on the journey to your goal and offer thanks to the energy in your home for supporting you on this path. Treat yourself and your home to a present and place this in the primary bagua area relating to your goal. Tomorrow may be a day to set new goals, but today is a day to celebrate the old.
I hope you have found this process useful. If you would like more information on Goal Setting I run regular workshops. Please contact me for more details at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor
In this section I turn my attention to the home office or study, a room which many homes now have in these days of modern technology which allows people to work from home. Careful consideration always needs to be given to this room to ensure that you get the balance right between making the area an integral part of your home whilst seperating your work life from your home life. The following paragraphs will help you begin to get that balance right.
The home office should be a place that encourages career and work opportunities to come through the door. Because of this the ideal place to situate a home office is near the front of the house as this will give the impression that you are eager to attract new business. Alternatively if this is not possible and your career or helpful friends areas are at the back of the home, either of these two areas can be good areas in which to situate your office.
The home office should reflect success, confidence and an orderly mind. Often not much thought goes in to the decoration and style of an office. In many homes that I have been in I have seen home offices devoid of colour with a desk hidden in the corner, clutter on the shelves and all manner of household paraphernalia stored in corners and on top of cupboards. If a room isn’t allowed to focus on its intended purpose then healthy chi isn’t allowed to flow in a positive way and the energy can become sterile and dormant. Ensure your office is kept neat and tidy, ensure papers are filed away and ensure furniture and electrical equipment is well maintained and in good working order. If things are allowed to get neglected and in to disrepair then this can be reflected in your working life.
You should ensure that your furniture in your home office exudes a sense of wealth and success. Do not fall in to the trap of believing that for furniture and fabrics to look expensive they have to be expensive. Well polished antique style desks, comfy office chairs, beautiful pictures, thick curtains and plenty of lights can all give the impression that the owner of the room is successful in their career.
If you have not got a separate home office and instead have an area of another room that you use as your work space always make sure this is divided from the rest of the room. Chinese screens are perfect for dividing a room but if this is not practical strategically placed large plants or even items of furniture can work as an effective barrier. If you are working in a shared space always ensure your computer and other office equipement is put away or covered when not in use.
I hope this information has provided you with some useful information on how to decorate this often challenging area of the home. For more information on how to promote positive energy around your home check out the other pages on this site and visit my weekly blog.
Bedrooms are the areas of the house where we should feel most relaxed and at peace. They are the most intimate places of our home and we need to ensure that we turn them in to tranquil, stress free zones where we can rest, sleep and recharge our internal batteries. In these rooms, probably more than any other, energy should be encouraged to flow gently promoting wellness and healing,
To help support the natural flow of energy we must try and get an equal balance in the bedroom between yin and yang. If the room is too yin then the energy may stagnate when we sleep making us feel sluggish in a morning and making it difficult to get going. If the energy is too yang then we may have a disrupted, broken night’s sleep making us feel wide awake in a morning but leaving us feeling tired mid way through the day. If your bedroom is in one of the areas in the home that is very yang, try and balance this by bringing in some cool, muted tones. If your bedroom is in a yin area of the home place some bright objects such as bowls of highly coloured crystals or photographs of you and your loved one in shiny frames to balance out the energy.
When considering the decoration of your bedroom you should ensure that not only the colours and furnishings promote a positive and restful night’s sleep but the objects do as well. To this end mirrors should be used only where absolutely necessary, crystals should be used sparingly and ornaments and what my grandmother used to call tranclements should be kept to an absolute minimum and put away when not in use. TV’s and computers are in my mind definite no no’s in a bedroom, but as a friend laughingly told me when I mentioned this on one of my courses I have never lived through a scottish winter. If you really must have a TV or computer in your bedroom, cover it with a cloth, or place it in a cabinet out of sight when it is not in use.
The optimum place for a bedroom is behind the mid line of the house as this offers the occupant a feeling of greater security. In the past when houses were all on one level the bedrooms were always placed as the rooms furthest from the entrance to the house as this was the safest place for you to get rest. If your bedroom is at the front of the house you may find that you are often disturbed or wake up for no reason in the middle of the night. If this is a problem in your home this feeling of greater security can be achieved by placing mirrors on the wall outside the bedroom which will reflect images further back in to the house.
I hope this post has provided you with some useful information on how to promote positive energy in your bedroom to allow you to gain a relaxing night’s sleep each and every night. For more information on bedrooms including bed placement please check out my weekly blog. This is updated with useful information on Feng Shui every Friday