Feng Shui Tips

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Monday, July 18, 2005

Wabi-Sabi, Feng Shui Killer?

Scotsman.com News - Features - It's not shabby ... it's wabi-sabi: "It's not shabby ... it's wabi-sabi


IS IT A MARTIAL art? Is it a new type of exotic food? It certainly sounds like it, but no, wabi-sabi is in fact the latest interior designer craze to hit Britain. Touted as 'the new feng shui', this ancient Japanese philosophy is about to turn decorating on its head.

While there is no strict definition for the word (even the Japanese have difficulty explaining it) the phrase is a combination of the word 'wabi' meaning 'humble,' and 'sabi', which can be translated as 'the bloom of time'. It is the art of finding beauty in things that are imperfect. It reveres the authentic, the original and the natural.

But what does this actually mean for our homes? Well, it's out with the hi-tech kitchen appliances and IKEA flat-packs, and in with hand-made clay mugs and second-hand furniture. Rustic is good, polished is bad. New is pass�, old is in.

Ever since celebrity gossip bible People magazine listed wabi-sabi on its list of hot trends in 2003, the great and good of Hollywood have been flocking to flea markets and antique stores. But it's not just for A-listers. Robyn Griggs Lawrence has brought wabi-sabi to the masses with her book The Wabi Sabi House. The editor in chief of America's glossy Natural Home & Gardens magazine, Griggs Lawrence's book helps Westerners apply the concept to their own homes, containing as it does a helpful wabi-sabi check list: Wabi-sabi is bare branches, wabi-sabi isn't floral arrangements. Wabi-sabi is crumbling stone, wabi-sabi isn't marble.

There is more to wabi-sabi than a set of interior design rules, however. Influenced by Zen Buddhism with its rejection of the need for material wealth and its appreciation of the simple things in life, wabi-sabi is more concept-driven than its predecessors. Rather than rushing to install a fish tank, or moving around their bedroom furniture, followers simply subscribe to the general principles.

"It is not about rules, it is a mind set," explains Griggs Lawrence. "Wabi-sabi contains ideas we seem to long for today: Slow down. Take the time to find beauty in what seems ordinary - and to turn the 'ordinary' into something beautiful."

It has come at a good time. This year Brits are turning their backs on designer boutiques in favour of the cheap and cheerful Primark brand, and are more likely to stay at home rather than hang out in trendy wine bars. The frugality and restraint of wabi-sabi is hitting the right notes with consumers looking to lead a less conspicuous lifestyle. It is also a welcome change from the stainless steel homogeneity of the 1990s.

"Wabi-sabi is all about letting go of the need to live in a show home and being happy with the way it is," she says. "In today's society the house has become a burden not a joy. Weekends are spent doing chores and there is this feeling that if you don't have the perfect dining set you're not measuring up. But your home should be a haven. Wabi-sabi can help you turn your home into a happy and nurturing environment where you can feel at peace."

So if you are tired of the manufactured and mass-produced, it's time to embrace the chipped, the cracked and the crumbling. Take Griggs Lawrence's advice on how to inject some wabi-sabi into your home.

1 Look on the bright side

It is easy to focus on the bad paint job in the living room or the cracks in the ceiling, but this is all part of the individual make-up of your house and should be accepted as such. Remember wabi-sabi is all about appreciating the authentic and not longing for perfection.

"As long as we dwell on our home's negative aspects, we will never find peace," says Griggs Lawrence in her book. "The first step in creating a wabi-sabi home that nurtures the soul is simply an attitude adjustment. Instead of focusing on all that's wrong in your home make a serious attempt to find everything's that's good. You can even go so far as making a list of all your home's positive points; I suspect you'll be surprised to find that they far outweigh its detriments."

2 Enjoy some peace and quiet

In wabi-sabi silence is golden and Griggs Lawrence encourages home-owners to give their houses the 'wabi-sabi quiet treatment'.

"We pay so much attention to aesthetics in the home that we forget the importance of calm and peace in our lives," she says. "Wabi-sabi has a more holistic perspective and focuses on what we hear as well as what we see. We don't realise how noisy our lives are."

To introduce the sound of silence into everyday life lay rugs over wooden floors, hang heavy curtains and put up book shelves. These minimise the noise reverberating around each room so you no longer struggle to hear your thoughts above the din.

3 Get some space

"Do you have a space in your home you can call your own?" asks Griggs Lawrence. If the answer is 'no' she argues that it is essential to find one.

"You need to have space to go and hide," she says. "You need to spend time being still and quiet every day. By doing this you will learn how to relate to yourself and your surroundings. You will become clam and more focused throughout your day and appreciate the smaller things in life rather than rushing around manically."

4 Drink tea wabi-sabi style

Few people have four hours in their day to recreate the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, but turning the routine into an art form and finding beauty in the mundane is worth learning. Griggs Lawrence says it is time to stop drinking out of crappy corporate-sponsored mugs and sipping your tea on the run. Instead sit down and enjoy your brew in a cup that brings you pleasure.

"A home-made mug has a solidity to it that feels good in your hands," she says. "Appreciate the mug and the work that went into it. Be conscious of what you are drinking. This will open up your sensitivity to everything around you."

5 Take a walk in the woods

Appreciate nature by bringing the outside in. Lawrence suggests placing a bunch of freshly picked flowers in your kitchen or putting a small branch in your hallway. Place them somewhere you will see them and admire them every day.

"This helps you to be aware of the natural world and be more conscious of the seasons. In our culture where children can identify logos more easily than they can types of trees we need to reconnect with nature."

6 Go to a flea market

Wabi-sabi places importance on items that have stood the test of time rather than the brand new, and celebrates the chips, the cracks and tarnish of an individual piece of furniture rather than the perfectly polished.

"Things that are truly old have a soul," says Griggs Lawrence. "In the East they say objects that have survived over time have a special vibration and give your home a nice feel."

In this way wabi-sabi takes time and patience or a wealthy stock of family heirlooms. However you can help the process by going to a flea market or second-hand shop. Mix and match styles and looks and buy only the things that you love. Griggs Lawrence advises shoppers to look out for antique wooden chests, old teapots, as well as pewter and pottery.

• The Wabi-sabi House by Robyn Griggs Lawrence (£13.10, Clarkson N Potter)"

Lost for words..... post your thoughts!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Feng Shui Your Home Office

Feng Shui Tips: Office Feng Shui Guidelines: "Office Feng Shui In A Home Office
Use office feng shui if you're working from home to maintain a professional approach to your business.

1. Use a separate entrance to your office if at all possible.

2. Otherwise, choose a room near the front or back door of the house or apartment.

3. Separate your office from living areas to keep your business and personal lives separate.

4. If your office space is part of another room, divide it from the rest of the room with a screen or large plants.

5. Take a short walk before entering your office to work each day and another one at the end of your working day. This separates the business and personal aspects of your life.

6. Place your desk on the corner diagonally opposite to the doorway.

7. Don't place your desk under a window, but let the light reflect on it from the side. Some people prefer to have their desks facing east.

8. Leave space between your furniture (bookshelves etc.) and the walls. Feng shui experts suggest leaving a 7-9 inch gap.

9. An important aspect of office feng shui is to keep your work space tidy to allow a free flow of energy throughout the room.

10. Differentiate between clutter and storage. Stored items don't have to be catalogued and labeled but they should be stacked neatly in a cupboard or in binders so as not to impede energy flow."

Today I'm posting a series of tips for the office. Of course whether you're the boss, or you just work there, or its a home office will make a difference in terms of what you are able to achieve with Feng Shui. To take a look at all three just click on the link above and go on through.

I hope you enjoy!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Feng Shui Your Office Or Cubicle

Feng Shui Tips: Office Feng Shui Guidelines: "Office Feng Shui In A Workplace Office

Whether you are an employee or a business owner with his or her own office, your first step is to stand at the doorway of your office or work space and map out the areas according to the bagua.

Your main focus will be your wealth and fame areas, although you should also pay attention to the other six areas and decorate them accordingly.

Here are some tips to keep the energy flowing in your office:

1. According to office feng shui guidelines, your desk should be placed at a diagonal to the doorway or directly facing it, rather than with your back to it.

2. If there's more than one desk, place two on a diagonal facing towards the door and any others on a diagonal facing into the center of the room. They should not be placed in rows in a traditional classroom layout or back to back.

3. If the doorways of offices that face each other across a hallway are not exactly aligned, place a mirror on the front of each door.

4. If you face a partial wall or partition when entering an office, place a mirror on the partition.

5. Soften jutting walls with plants.

6. Break up dull walls with mirrors or paintings.

The feng shui elements that are easiest to blend into an office decor are pictures and photographs. Look for pictures that represent the various aspects and display them in the appropriate areas. Very obvious feng shui symbols might invite unwelcome questions from visitors or co-workers."

Today I'm posting a series of tips for the office. Of course whether you're the boss, or you just work there, or its a home office will make a difference in terms of what you are able to achieve with Feng Shui. To take a look at all three just click on the link above and go on through.

I hope you enjoy!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Office Feng Shui When You're The Boss

Feng Shui Tips: Office Feng Shui Guidelines: "Office Feng Shui In Your Own Company
The exterior aspects of any building where your business is located are as important as the internal office feng shui.

1. When first setting up your business premises, choose an office or work space in a prosperous neighborhood.

2. Make sure the entrance to your building or premises looks inviting rather than nondescript. You may need to make some simple cosmetic changes to achieve this effect.

3. Avoid renting premises at the end of a T intersection. If you do, research the feng shui cures that counteract the resulting negative energy flow.

4. The best site for a building is on a corner, with the entrance on a diagonal to the corner itself.

5. Use the feng shui bagua to organize the interior layout of the premises. Then use the guidelines in the next section for each individual room as well."

Today I'm posting a series of tips for the office. Of course whether you're the boss, or you just work there, or its a home office will make a difference in terms of what you are able to achieve with Feng Shui. To take a look at all three just click on the link above and go on through.

I hope you enjoy!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Riddup! Feng Shui Wealth Toads

Heart Magic: "Feng Shui Wealth Toads Money Frogs
Feng Shui Wealth Toads Money Frogs: 'The Feng Shui Three Legged Money Toad will encourage wealth into your life. To activate the toad place him within view of your front door. Every morning place the I Ching Coin in his mouth to signify that he will always deliver prosperity to you. Remove the coin and turn him towards the interior in the evening to prevent him from becoming exhausted. To activate the full Feng Shui Money Toad Cure place nine Money Toads in your lounge all facing a different compass direction and one facing you main door to invite money in.'"

I have to admit that this a wierd one to me, but heck, whatever works right?

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Wealth Begins In The Bedroom - 12 Tips

More Feng Shui: Try These Feng Shui Bedroom Tips: "Here are 12 ways to utilize feng shui in your bedroom:

* Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 1
The top of your bed (or headboard) should be placed 7-9 inches away from the wall. The main purpose is to allow the free flow of air and energy. If the side of your bed is also against a wall, you should allow a similar space of 7-9 inches between the bed and the wall. (These measurements are taken with a Chinese measuring tape which is divided into yin and yang segments.)

* Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 2
The foot of the bed should never face the doorway, the theory being that the influx of energy from the rest of the house through the doorway makes for a less than relaxing sleep.

* Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 3
Don't have a mirror or mirrored dressing table facing the bed, if you can see yourself in the mirror from a resting position. There isn't a problem if the mirror is too high for this to occur. You can either change the position of the mirror or dressing table, or cover it with a cloth each night before going to bed.

* Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 4
If any piece of furniture is diagonal to a corner, fill the corner space with a living plant to prevent 'dead' energy from accumulating.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 5
Use plants to soften any sharp corners of your furniture that point directly towards your sleeping position.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 6
Most doorways in western countries are too high and therefore negate the influx of positive energy. The simplest way to correct this is:

* Measure the height of the doorway.
* Subtract the ideal height of 10 feet from this figure (usually around 2 inches). This will identify the excess space you need to eliminate.
* Buy a (2 inch) piece of 2x4 wood, cut it to fit your doorway, paint it to match, and glue it to the top of the inner doorframe. The alteration will blend in seamlessly with your original door frame.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 7
Differentiate between clutter and storage. Spend a morning sorting out items to be discarded (preferably donated to a charity) and items you need to store. Keep your storage spaces neat and organized.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 8
Keep the area under your bed as clear as possible. You might need to reorganize your closet to accommodate items usually stored under the bed.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 9
Do an annual or bi-annual cleanout of your closets. Seriously question the wisdom of keeping any item of clothing you haven't worn for at least 12 months. Give away all those clothes that are no longer 'you', making room for a new and more exciting wardrobe.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 10
Avoid having a desk or workspace in your bedroom. This room should be a purely personal space, not one that combines work and rest. If you do have a desk in one corner, separate it from the rest of the room with screens.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 11
Use the bagua to identify the various feng shui areas in your bedroom and place pictures or ornaments accordingly. A framed photograph featuring water in your wealth area and one of family members in your relationships area can blend into your decor seamlessly.

# Feng Shui Bedroom Tip 12
Stand at the door looking into your bedroom and note your first impressions.

* Does this feel like a restful place to sleep?
* Does it convey comfort, safety, spaciousness or whatever other sensations you require to relax?
* If not, experiment until it feels right for you."

These are all great tips! Awesome article!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Do Real Men Buy Feng Shui?

Feng Shui Times for Articles, Resources and Feng Shui Tips for your Home and Office

"Do Real Men Buy Feng Shui?
Feng Shui is an ancient natural earth science, which explores the physics of our environment and the predictable outcome of its impact. Credited with originating in China thousands of years ago, and professionally practiced only by men until very recently, Feng Shui has been regarded as a highly evolved, secretive, metaphysical art. Power lies in the use of this knowledge and the emperors of China would employ a Feng Shui Master to advise them in the construction of their palaces as well as the auspicious timing of their political maneuvers.

Feng Shui, as described by Thomas Lee at a Yale University conference in May of 1996, is the "theory of time and geography in Chinese culture." He also stated that "the outstanding financial performance of the New York stock market and the academic achievements of Yale University may be explained by K'an Yu (Feng Shui) theory". In Lee's address, he further recommended that in order to understand the difficult theories which constitute the science of Feng Shui, that related subjects include "Architecture, Town-Planning, Probability, Fuzzy Logic, Chaos Theory, Land Surveying, Geographical Information System and Remote Sensing".

The mathematics and astronomy used in Feng Shui can identify predictable building and site location models which could be said to possess personality traits. This is no small matter when the implications are that we can consciously design buildings and environments which will have a reliable impact on the occupants who live and work in such surroundings. Lee points out some of the more crucial building types which can produce environments that 1) maximize the success of a commercial operation, 2) fire-prone houses for preventative planning, 3) robbery-prone structures for police force allocation, 4) interior design considerations to control birth rate, 5) site location for optimum school buildings, 6) correlation analysis between building orientation and illness, and 7) influence of topography on cultural and personality development.

So why are 90% of my Feng Shui clients and students women? Why do so many Western men ignore the concept of Feng Shui, regard it as superstition, or exotic New Age non-sense? (Of course, there is the occasional male architect or contractor or realtor, curious about a subject that is starting to be requested in his own business.)"

I'd like to know the answer to this too! Whilst I only discovered my green thumb on a trip to Canada at Christmas time when I gazed out and in the middle of the rockies I saw a great big ugly smelter (a big foul poluting factory for the unaquainted), I am totally embracing Feng Shui, why do you think I started Feng Shui Tips?

Bah! "New age mumbo jumbo", "superstition".... men who are like this suck (and aren't most of them?)!

I'm glad I found Feng Shui, I'm doing better since I did dispite a steep learning curve (not exactly user friendly is it, why do you think I'm writing a book?)

Maybe if the man in your life isn't embracing Feng Shui and Feng Shui Tips you could show him this post. I'm an Aussie bloke, as bushie as the rest, and if its good enough for me.....

Sam, Feng Shui Tips