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Prosperity Cures! Money Trees & Lucky Bamboo

The easiest cure I can think of to get your finances growing is to put a plant in the Money area of your home or office (or even desk!)

Remember, the Money gua (purple) is the back left corner
of the space when you are standing at the entrance facing in.

Plants are generally just awesome because they are alive and therefore will generate beneficial chi (which loosely translates to “life force”).  But plants also clean the air, emit oxygen, and reduce the effects of EMFs.  Plus they are pretty, and they bring healing nature indoors, into your space.

Feng Shui 101:  There are two plants that are known to be great for the Money gua.
The Money Tree (duh) & Lucky Bamboo.

Source

This is the Money Tree.   It’s scientific name is Pachira aquatica.  It can come small (say 8 inches high and be able to sit on an end table, like you see here), or they can get quite large, up to three feet or more!  The trunks are usually braided, and the leaves are a lovely, shiny green that sprout very easily and, well, abundantly.

Source for Lucky Bamboo

This is the Lucky Bamboo.  It’s scientific name is Dracaena braunii.  These babies also can come quite small, as short as 3-4 inches, but they can be quite big, as tall as five feet!

Both these plants grow easily with very little effort on your part.  The Money Tree only needs little watering once every other week or so.  It thrives in all sort of light conditions as well, including dim.  The Lucky Bamboo can simply sit in water, so all you have to do is change the water or just add some every few weeks.  It too is sturdy and survives for quite a while even in zero light!

Wood is the element for the Money gua, and these plants are perfect symbols for how you would like your Money to be:  growing with little effort, providing pleasure and breathing room, and easy to tend to.

Happy plant-buying!  Cha-ching!

 

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Are Past Lives Real? My Friend’s True Story

A close friend of mine had this happen to her.  This is a 100% true story.  I’m a little jealous it didn’t happen to me, because it’s a really freakin’ cool story.  (But not that jealous, because, as you’ll see, it’s not all sunshine and roses.)

Because this friend is in a conservative profession in a conservative part of the country, she’d rather be anonymous for this post, therefore, we will call her “Jan.”  It should also be noted that ever since I’ve known Jan (which is many years), she is almost infamous for how often she has to use the lady’s room (number 1, thank you).  It is constant.  This is pertinent to the story, so bear with me.

Source

A few years ago, Jan was dating a fellow for a short spell.  It was not the smoothest of relationships, and when they finally broke up, Jan was particularly torn up about it — “unnaturally” so, as she put it.  Sure, he had become cold as ice, but Jan had handled break-ups before, so why was this one so devastating?

The therapist she saw on occasion suggested that perhaps she try a past-life regression.  Jan was open to the idea — anything to give insight into this painful split.

(For those of you new the concept of past lives, please know that many people believe that our souls reincarnate over and over again on the Earth plane, in different bodies and throughout time, to work out “karma.”  I personally find this notion fascinating.  After all, a glimpse into a past life can offer tremendous information about the current one and can be used as a powerful healing modality.

Jan’s story is one such example.)

The therapist led Jan through a sort of hypnosis, where Jan was to imagine herself back to a time when she felt 100% happy and secure.  She saw herself nursing at her mother’s breast.  After that, the therapist guided her to go back further, to a time and place before she was born in this body.

“Go back to the first time that you really felt abandoned,” the therapist suggested.  “Now look at your feet.”

source

Jan’s mind’s-eye looked down and saw lovely tiny dark feet wearing exquisitely beautiful sandals.  As the therapist kept making suggestions and asking questions, guiding the regression, Jan saw herself as a dainty and pretty young woman from a noble family in Egypt.  She saw her parents, who were nurturing and kind.  There was singing and dancing, and it was obvious that she lived a charmed and extremely happy childhood.  Soon enough, at marrying age, she became one of the King’s wives, given that she was beautiful and of noble birth.

Here’s where the story gets ugly.  The next thing Jan felt, as her therapist led her along, was absolute devastation.  She was suddenly starkly alone.  It turned out that this girl-queen had given birth to a baby boy, and the baby had died from intense childbirth complications.  As a result, the childless mother had been confined to a dark, small, dungeon-type room.

It was there that this young queen died, completely abandoned, completely distraught.

Jan intuitively understood that the current ex-boyfriend was indeed the king who had left her to this cruel death, which is why it was so difficult for Jan to process the break-up.  Jan was recalling that past life on a subconscious level, in order to heal it.

Sure enough, after this regression, Jan felt much calmer about the whole break-up and was able to move on.  In her words, “Something had shifted.”

Source

The story would typically end here, and you, dear reader, would perhaps leave this post, casually considering whether there is any validity to this past life thing, or if it’s simply a trick of the mind to help process intense emotions.  After all, how glamorous (and cliche) to have been a beautiful Egyptian queen, right?

However, the next week, Jan ran into an acquaintance, “Lisa,” whom she hadn’t seen in a long while.  They agreed to meet up for lunch to reconnect.  At that lunch, Jan felt moved to tell Lisa about the past life regression.  To Jan’s surprise, Lisa said, “I know what you had.”

Jan said, “Excuse me?”

“I know what you had, after childbirth, that made you go into confinement,” Lisa continued.  “You know, every year I pick a new charity to support, and this year, I picked one on this medical condition called ‘fistula.'”   Lisa went on to explain that obstetric fistula is a condition that can happen to mothers in or leading to difficult childbirths.  Often the baby dies, and the mother is left without the ability to control her urine or feces.

Back in ancient Egypt, before modern medicine, it is absolutely possible that even a queen would be put into confinement and left to die, given that she had no way to control her bodily excrements and would be considered unclean and unfit to be in public or even remain alive.

Jan could feel a chord of truth in Lisa’s suggestion, uncanny as it was.

That evening, Jan dared to type these words into the Google search engine:
fistula egyptian queen

Sure enough, she found the following:
Vesicovaginal fistula was first documented in the mummified remains of Egyptian Queen Henhenit (11th Dynasty, 2050 BC), which were examined in 1923 by Derry.1

And then more:
The modern study of ancient Egypt began with Napoléon’s invasion in 1798.  Napoléon took with him a small army of scholars and scientists to investigate Egyptian civilization, resulting in the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and a new fascination with mummies.  The mummy of Queen Henhenit shows evidence of horrific childbirth trauma, providing early evidence of the dangers and difficulty of human childbirth.  Against this background, Dr. L. Lewis Wall, M.D., Ph.D., M.A., of Washington University, describes the problem of obstructed labor in developing countries, explains the nature of the severe childbirth injuries encountered there, and discusses his work with birth-injured women in Africa and his project to build a specialty hospital in the West African country of Niger.

And then more:
“In 1935 Professor D.E. Derry at the Cairo School of Medicine examined the mummified remains of an Egyptian Queen, Queen Henhenit, who had lived around 2050 BC.  When the abdominal cavity was opened Derry discovered an opening between the bladder and vagina.  Queen Henhenit’s pelvis was an abnormal shape and Derry postulated that it would have been difficult for a fetal head to pass. The severe damage he found probably occurred at the time of childbirth, resulting in Henhenit’s death.  The hole in the bladder, he thought, may have been caused by the abnormally narrow pelvis through which the child had to be dragged by force. Poor Queen Henhenit had the dubious honor or having had the earliest known vesico-vaginal fistula.”     –from The Hospital by the River: A Story of Hope by Catherine Hamlin

After these amazing finds, I’m happy to report that Jan does not feel the pressing need to urinate every thirty minutes, but instead only every hour or so.  I’m also happy to report that she has given birth to healthy children in this lifetime, with no complications nor drama.  I would also like to stress that Jan is not in the medical field and had never heard of fistula before that day, nor had she studied ancient Egypt in any way where she would have come across this sliver of information, making it impossible for her psyche to be impressed with this story.

So I ask you, dear reader, what do you think?  Do we only live once?  Or do we get to come back over and over and over, real time travelers and explorers of the Earth and life?

In other words:  Who….are…you?

Alice in Wonderland (source)

 

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Feng Shui & The New Time Management (Part I)

First of all, there is no “managing” time.  That’s like trying to hold sand in your hands.  But there is a way to drastically improve your relationship with it.  At least that is how I’ve come to look at it.

Source

You who follow me know that I’ve been obsessing over two books this summer:  The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.  Both of these beauties speak of time in a different light and totally shake our world view on “managing” it.

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.” 
― Eckhart TolleThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Whoa, right?

And Gay Hendricks explains that “time comes from us.”  That if we look at it like that, it is malleable, and we can relax because everything gets done.

Beats trying to race the clock, right?

“I’m late!  I’m late!”  [Source is obviously Disney.]

I’ve been playing with these concepts a lot!  I’m the sort that wants to get everything done and won’t “waste” even three minutes of time, like say, when a friend arrives late for lunch.  After all, something can “get done” in those three precious minutes, right?

But those books, (along with the work I’m doing in a Course in Miracles right now), have 100% blown my concept of time out of the water.

Please understand, this is not the first time I’ve dabbled with this.  After all, I wrote papers on the 4th dimension in college (which relates to time), one of my favorite gifts I’ve received was a copy of Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, and for the past few years, I’ve used the mantra, “My timing is perfect and elegant,” with almost miraculous success.  I’ve also prayed about it, literally.  I have asked that my relationship with time be improved, and I have gone from someone who was almost always at least ten minutes late (in my 20s) to someone who can arrive right on the nose almost every time, as if the very traffic lights were on my side.

Because think about it: how much stress do we experience simply from trying to deal with time?!  It’s sheer insanity!

In fact, I chose the first image — the hourglass on a beach — very consciously.  The hourglass notoriously “measures” time, representing that we collectively consider time to “run out.”  But there is an entire beach (world?) of sand around it, just sitting there!    This photo demonstrates the folly that we try to bottle and limit time when really, it’s infinite!

Now I’m learning to be still in those unexpected three-minute (or thirty-minute) moments — to look around, go within, and know that everything is “in perfect and Divine order.” (Thanks to Doreen Virtue, for that affirmation.)

Source

<<<<And I’m finding this quote here, (which I originally found to be simply humorous), to be shockingly accurate.  In fact, when I start to feel anxiety creep in, I have begun to simply sit down and do my meditations (or use a mantra, or take some breaths), and I will get back on track.  All that “stuff” I needed to hurry to do falls away and does “get done.”  I’m finding more ease in my days, more time for leisure and relaxation, while still taking care of clients and housework and being a mom and exercising and everything!  My finances have actually improved since practicing this technique, because relaxing into time is really the ultimate surrender and act of trust in the Universe to provide what you need, when you need it.

Have I mastered this?  Heck no!  I still occasionally cringe at my pile of to-dos, but now I know how to take it in perspective, rather than push through.  This is a discipline, to be sure, but it is SO worth it, and in fact, makes life much more fun!  There are surprises around every corner if you can surrender to the present moment!

How does this show up in feng shui?  What can you shift in your household or office to reflect this “new” meaning of time?

Stay tuned for Part II, to come soon!  In the meantime, though, learn to meditate.  Here’s a video to inspire you:

P.S.
Just a few more days to sign up for the on-line 9-Week Feng Shui Journey!  Join us for the adventure to change your life!

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Feng Shui & Money: Promoting the FLOW (or Why Not All Fountains Are Created Equal)

There are so many ways to facilitate money flow in feng shui.

And there are also so many ways to block it.

My friend and client, Dave Romanelli — yoga & meditation teacher, Momenteer, and author of Happy is the New Healthy — texted me for a session the other day:

our text conversation

The last time we had spoke, we assessed the Money area of his home and his office, which is usually the back left corner of the space.

If you line the brown/black/gray areas to the front door of your floor plan, you will see that the Prosperity/Money area falls in the back left of your space.

Originally, on a prior session, he had a huge metal bookshelf in his office that he did not like.  This was a problem for many reasons.

1.  It irritated him, as it was darn ugly, and it overwhelmed the space.  
2.  It was a place for collecting bits of clutter, which is a no-no anyway BUT especially in the Money area, where this shelf happened to be,  and… 
3. It was big and metal, and the element for the Money area is Wood.  In the destructive cycle, Metal “chops” Wood, so Metal is the least favorable element for that section of the bagua map!

I suggested getting rid of the shelving unit and replacing it with a small table with perhaps a fountain, which would symbolize a flow of money.  Also because Water “nurtures” Wood in the constructive cycle of the elements, a fountain would be nice, and it would add a lovely natural sound to the office.
We had not followed up until he sent me that text.  In our Skype session, he showed me the great little black table he had found and the new fountain he had purchased.  
This:

Source, Amazon

Harmless enough, right?  In fact, it’s quite nice in the photo…

However, in our session, I noticed it was not on.  The fountain that was supposed to promote flow was not flowing!  
“Dave, what’s up with the fountain?  Why isn’t it on?”  
“Oh, it is just so noisy honestly.  I didn’t want it to interrupt our call.”
I raised my eyebrows.
“How often do you have to turn it off and on?”
“Well, I forget to turn it on a lot.  Really I have to unplug it.  Even then, it really doesn’t work that well, to make sure it’s working, I have to…etc. etc.”
So now, readers, you see what is going on here.  He had the best of intentions, but this fountain that he chose was symbolizing his subconscious notions about money:  that it takes a lot of effort to even get a trickle out of it!  
Not all feng shui cures are created equal, indeed!
I’m happy to say that Dave was actually relieved to hear this and he said, “This makes total sense!”   I suggested he get rid of that fountain altogether and use some lucky bamboo (8 stalks) and a red silk cloth (red is a power color) and perhaps a deity of some sort, such as Lakshmi or Ganesha (which coincides with his yogic traditions) or a happy Buddha.  
I must say, I’ve seen this with fountains and water features a lot with clients.  Basically, if maintaining the feature is a huge pain and takes more effort (cleaning, fixing, etc.) than it is worth and causes you more stress than tranquility, then that fountain is NOT the way to go for you.  Think of the symbolism, always!  You would be better off with a picture of money flow or a nice, sturdy plant or any of the suggestions I gave Dave.
So…get flowing!  

If you’d like to take Feng Shui to the next level, (and learn all you can about Money and Feng Shui), considering Katie’s 9-week Feng Shui Journey, a tele-course beginning July 20th, 2015!  

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The 3 “Biggies” in Feng Shui

Every room is important in feng shui, but if I had to pick three areas that impact us the most, it’s these:
1.  Front Entrance
2.  Bed
3.  Stove
(…and I must mention…4. Desk, especially for a home office!)
Why these?
1.  The Front Entrance.  The main door to your home represents how you allow the good into your life.  So when spiffing up the front of your home think: Inviting.   If this part of your home isn’t up to par, (i.e. cluttered, dingy, broken, or dull), then you may be repelling the good from coming into your life.

Source: This Old House 

You must welcome it!  Imagine chi to be like a genie who will bring you whatever it is you desire, but that genie needs to be honored and invited in in order for you to get it.
2.  The Bed.  You spend 1/3 of your life in your bed.  (And you should!)  Your quality of sleep is affecting everythingfrom how well you eat, to how well you exercise, to how well you think, and interact with people.  So yeah.  Bed needs to be up to par too.
Make sure you are sleeping on natural materials and that there is absolutely no clutter under the bed.  Electronics in the bedroom should be at a minimum, and yes, that includes the TV.  The bed should also be positioned so that you have a view of the door, but absolutely not so that your feet are aligned pointing directly out the door.  Basically, if you aren’t sleeping well, please consider the feng shui of the room!  It’s huge.

Source: Dana Casey Design.  Few too many pillows for my feng shui taste, but all and all, this is a calm, clean bedroom that should promote good sleep.
3.  The Stove.  The stove represents how you nourish yourself and your family.  If you are cooking with intention and love, it goes far!  Plus, when you have food on the stove, it means you are experiencing some abundance.  Therefore, your stove represents your finances too!  
Be sure to keep the stove clean and use each eye to bring more opportunities into your life.  Here, you should also have the “command position” so that you can see the entrance to the kitchen as to not be “surprised” while you are engaged in cooking. 

Source  The shiny surface provides a cure so that the cook can see what is behind them.
4.  The Desk.  Again, command position and a desk that is fully functioning will affect your position at work as well as your finances.

So, if you only do the minimum in feng shui, give attention to these 3 biggies — and clutter too — and you’ll start to see the shifts immediately!  


Check out Katie’s on-line Declutter & Feng Shui courses!  
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My Suitcase was Stolen – What A Declutterer Learned

The Gulf of Mexico…calling me 

School was out.  The beach was calling — a 4.5 hour drive through Alabama to the panhandle of Florida.

I was SO ready.

So ready, in fact, that I packed the day before and went ahead and put the suitcases in the car so that we could roll out of bed at 7 AM and make it to sand-and-surf by lunch.

We awoke as planned, with that Christmas morning feel.  I was excited to get Outta There to my beloved Gulf.  I scurried to get the final items together.  I happened to glance down at my phone at one point (habit) to see that someone in our neighborhood had posted that his Jeep had been ransacked the night before.

I paid no attention…until I went to my own car.  Did I leave the glove compartment open for some reason?  Why is the center console wide open?

Oh no.  Where is my SUITCASE?

I did what many a Southern lady would do:  I called my Mama.

“I think I’m just in shock!” I told her.  She had complete empathy. After all, summer had just begun, and I had lovingly packed my favorites of the favorites of summer attire (which is my favorite):  the best-looking and most comfortable.  The white linen pants that fit perfectly, the aqua sundress bought in the Bahamas which seemed made for me, the just-enough-baggy shorts that were as comfortable as pajamas without sacrificing style.  And the bathing suits!  All four of them.  Not to mention my best yoga clothes and running shoes.  Ack, the bras and panties alone!  Oh, and sandals.  Good ones.

If you follow me at all, you know that my mantra is DECLUTTER.  Over the years, I have refined and refined, and while I’m not quite a minimalist, I have definitely whittled my belongings — including my clothing (which is no easy task being the daughter of a daughter of a daughter of seamstress/designers) — to that which is only necessary and/or “sparks joy,” a term lifted from Marie Kondo’s teachings.

Take away one suitcase, and you are basically taking away my entire wardrobe, or at least very key pieces of it.

Once past the initial shock, I succumbed to the fact that we were going to be leaving for the beach later than anticipated.  Curious and caring neighbors came out to pat me on the back, as the cops arrived; it turned out that many cars in the neighborhood had been vandalized (but no broken windows that I know of).

Still, I was so ready to get to the beach.  I gave my report and went back inside for a duffel bag, and this time, I took minimalism to heart, grabbing only a few items of clothing and tossing them in.

(And yes, I stopped by a store once at the beach and found one bathing suit that would carry me through.)

At the beach, I admit I missed my clothes.  After all, the second round of packing was not thought out much, and I didn’t even have a cover up with me.

I simply wore what I had, and that was as good as ever, it being a casual trip to the beach anyway.   But still, there were some unsettling moments of, “Oh yeah, I’m going to have to replace my strapless bra now” and “Oh yeah, I wore that easy blue dress a lot; now what?”  “Oh yeah, this dress I brought really needs those shoes to look right.”

Enter:  The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.  It was recommended by a dear client, and you know when you get that little ping  — I knew it was my book for the beach.

The book is a revelation for me on many levels, but for this post, I’ll focus on his descriptions of “form” and “space.”  Tolle explains that, in today’s society and over many centuries, humans have been heavily preoccupied with form — our bodies, our cars, our houses, our level of success based on this and that, our test scores and achievements, our clothes– over “space,” which is our inner essence and life and God itself.

In the shortest of short, he says that a balance between the two is the key to happiness, connection, and yes, joy.

**********************************************

Back home, I alerted my insurance company about the theft, and I’m still waiting to hear.  For fun, I decided to make a game of the loss, and I posted on Facebook that my stolen suitcase is a good excuse for my friends to declutter and to please give me the clothes that they no longer want.

This worked.

I have been relatively unpicky in what I received — if it fit decently — I kept it.

It’s amazing what the Universe brings you if you just open up.  Very little of what was given to me would I actually take off the rack at the store and buy myself, but interestingly, the pieces are working for me in a different way.  Colors that I am not drawn to while shopping are now in my drawers, which feels good for a change!  New shoes that I would have overlooked now sit in my closet, and they are turning out to be my most comfortable and functional yet.  One tank top (that I almost discarded) surprised me by working perfectly as a work-to-yoga piece, saving me an outfit change for the day.

Sure, I will have to reassess in a  few weeks, and I’m sure I’ll need to let go of some of these items.  And of course, yes, I will soon be shopping to replace things like bras and running socks.

In the meantime, I’m wearing the things that in my own closet were second-tier, and they are finding new life, and then enjoying the gifts, and possibly a new means of self-expression?

More significantly though, what I’ve released at a deeper level is that the stolen suitcase is a chance to dis-identity to form at all, at least when it comes to my personal fashion style.  In decluttering, with Kondo’s mantra, “does it spark joy?” when choosing items to stay in one’s home, comes the remembrance that, although these items may bring forth a moment of happiness, they are not the source of the joy.  The source of the joy is pure spirit, within us, and these items are simply (and paradoxically) vague, dreamy reminders of that.

For me, the loss of the suitcase gave way for great joy:  the opportunity for playful shopping experiences in my friend’s closets, the adventure of “what will the Universe provide”?   It opened space for my friends too:  they are now less cluttered, and they got to be the joyous givers of things that no longer served them, in hopes of serving their fellow human: me.

I ask you:  where in your life can you be less attached to form and more open to space?

I recommend the adventure that arises from it.

a few items that I received! (the middle is the work-to-yoga tank)  🙂

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How To Declutter Your Kid’s Stuff WITH Your Kid (and Still All Love Each Other Afterwards)

Yesterday, I was done.  Done with looking at my little girl’s room and all those damn. tiny. little. nothing. toys that would find their way in my purse, under her bed, in the bathroom, in her sock drawer, in the car…

You know what I mean.

While I thought I cleaned my child’s room out regularly, feng shui practitioners know that we are all blind to our own “stuff.”  Ava’s room was my blind spot.

Her bedroom.  Please note that I did not straighten up AT ALL for this pic.
It’s usually a little bit better.  

This little bucket thing only serves the purpose of collecting those tiny. dumb. toys.  Tried to sort.  Not happening.  THIS THING IS TOAST.  She doesn’t even play with the stuff!

Not proud; don’t judge.
Bottom — One bin: costumes.  Second bin: costume accessories.  Third bin: Musical instruments.
The middle shelf — not functioning at all.  TOAST.

Top of closet.  Clothes are driving me crazy.  Top shelf:  games we play, like, never.

Yeah…so I had let my child’s room go a bit.  And I do this for a living.  This should make you feel GREAT about your own home, okay?

So, I announced over breakfast yesterday that, after school, we were taking every single toy out of her room, and only putting back the ones that made her “feel happy.”  And then we might change her furniture around.

Her response:  “Yay!”

Mine back to that (covering up my slight surprise):  “Yes.  YAY!”

Ava knows the clean-out process fairly well, because I’ve been doing it with her since she had any cognizant understanding as to what was happening.  That was when she was 2 years old.  She is now 5.

Sure enough, at 3:15 PM we began.  By 5:15, the room looked like this:

Ta-dah!!!  2 hours, no lie.
Arranged more neatly.  I wanted to give her access to a variety of things.

She TOTALLY got into it, and wanted to wipe down her kitchen.  It had cat hair on it, so that was good.

Layout of furniture is good, not the best.  A pretty little rug will help, as will some white eyelet curtains. Love girly!  I may replace the Mardi Gras pic but she sure does like it.  🙂  (Who wouldn’t like a pic of a cat and a jester?)

HOW TO DECLUTTER WITH YOUR PRECIOUS LITTLE DARLINGS and still love them when you’re done:
1.  Absolutely involve them.  The most amazing thing I learned from teaching preschool is this line:  “You have a choice.”  Your children are little people.  By teaching them how to let go — yet guiding them and still giving them the choice for what stays and goes — is a tremendous thing to teach them!   To get rid of their things without them present is disrespectful.  How would you feel if someone did that to you?!
2.  Take everything out of the room.  When you take it ALL out, they see how much they have, and it makes letting go a ton easier!  They won’t feel like you are taking everything away, because guess what:  there is so much left.   The key to successful decluttering and organizing is to GET RID OF as much stuff as possible.  Period.

My living room.  When Christmas gifts become the anti-Christ, right?

2.  Hold up each item with them and ask, “DOES THIS MAKE YOU FEEL HAPPY?”  Not:  “Does this make you happy?”  Not:  “Is this a happy thing?”  Put the “feeling” verb in there.  That is all you have to ask.  If it is a yes, it stays; if it is a no, it goes.  Two piles.   Yesterday, we had a Maybe pile going for the first 10 minutes, but she quickly forgot about it, because the game was in a flow.  (The Maybe pile went btw — it almost always does.)
3.  Don’t get involved.  You may be attached to some things that they are not.  Give yourself permission to keep one or two things that you find sentimental, but no more.
4.  Explain beforehand that these toys are going to someone else who will love and use them. 
It doesn’t hurt that Ava knows that there are some children in the world who have zero toys.   I am sure to bring that up every time we give stuff away.  I hope that it will instill a sort of gratitude in her. Giving is good;  it helps people.  I want her to know this in and out.
5.  Tell them it’s a treasure hunt.  Because it is!  Ava got excited over and over at discovering forgotten toys that indeed, made her feel happy, that she thought she had lost.
6.  Don’t get hung up on things.  Just toss in the Maybe pile.
7.  Little items can be gathered in one out-of-the-way place. 
 This was my solution:

Usually under-the-bed is a feng shui no-no, but because this is the ONLY thing under there, and the child only takes up about 1/20th of the bed, I made an exception.

8.  Organize according to “priority.”  If she or he uses it often, then keep it close.  Hence, the costume box on the floor.  She has about 8 costume changes a day, so it was justified.
9.  If you get overwhelmed, just keep going!  You will get overwhelmed and think, “Can I get this done?”  You will.
10.  Set aside a designated time.  Three hours is the magic number, I’ve found, but your child will last less than that.  Again, I did it yesterday in 2, but we didn’t do the clothes, and there was extra time to put the give-away items in the car and such.
10.  Reward him or her, and celebrate.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, a high five and a popsicle will do!  Let them have the chance to be proud of themselves.

In the end, decluttering with my little girl is a fun bonding experience, for real!  She literally was singing the entire time.  Children know deep down the positive effects of an energy shift, and cleaning out the old is just that!  After all, they are growing and changing at warp speed, and their space should reflect their changes!

Katie is available for in-person declutter sessions and loves to work with children!  Call 205.983.0888 or email katierogersfengshui@gmail.com for more info.  

10

This Birmingham Woman May Get Arrested for…WHAT?

Friday, May 1st was Ana Sullivan’s birthday.   But not even the gorgeous weather we’ve been having could brighten up this major birthday bummer

On that very day, the City of Birmingham gave her a “present” in the form of a notice.    It was a warning that if she didn’t correct a certain something within 14 days, a warrant would be put out for her arrest.

The offense?

Flowers.

These flowers to be exact:

Coreopsis 

Ana planted them in her front yard, located in the Avondale neighborhood, along with some cosmos and poppies.

What’s the catch, you may be thinking?  Certainly, there is something else going on, right???

I went to her house to check out the situation and get a closer look.  Surely, someone cannot be arrested for flowers!

Here is what I saw:

Ana’s house with lots of pretty flowers

To be fair, the flowers are in the “right of way” which is technically owned by the city.   I’m still not sure about the damage the flowers are doing to threaten a warrant. 

This is the view from the front porch.  Nothing offensive here as far as I can see.

Sure enough, here’s the letter:

I asked her about the jasmine that covers and shades the front porch, thinking that maybe there are some laws about that.  She said, no, that it has been there for years, and that was not what the letter was referring to, (to which I agree).   She also disclosed to me that this time last year, while attending her daughter’s end-of-the-school-year party, she came home to see her yard (oops, sorry, the right of way between the sidewalk and the street) cut — yes, CUT DOWN.  Last year, she was given no notice, no warning, and a neighbor confirmed that indeed it was someone from the City who had done it.

At least this time, the City of Birmingham had the decency to allow her to cut them herself?

Ana is currently in touch with several members of the community to get to the bottom of this.  The woman at the phone number on the citation loosely claimed that it was the “undergrowth” to the coreopsis, not the yellow flowers themselves, but Ana was quick to point out that those too, were flowers (cosmos) that just haven’t bloomed yet.  Plus I’m not sure how this logic plays out in accordance to the 2-to-4-inch rule mentioned in the letter.

It seems that there are a couple of species in her yard that are supposedly federally protected as well…which could make this whole thing even more interesting.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Spread the word!    Change takes all of us!  Ana is also concerned that 14 days is an unreasonable amount of time to figure out what to do and what her rights are.  If you can help, please email her at m.anasullivan@yahoo.com 

Remember…  
A few years ago in Los Angeles, Ron Finley was arrested for “guerrilla gardening” (this time it was food) in those patches between sidewalk and street.  ARRESTED…for gardening. 

But because of the outrage of the community, the pressure caused the city to change these ridiculous laws!  Now you can grow veggies (as well as flowers) in the areas technically owned by the city.  Note that Finley was planting in food deserts; it’s a good thing that men like Finley are working to make our cities healthier and more livable!  

Here’s his Ted Talk if you need some mad inspiration.

0

50+ Books to Shift Your Consciousness & Inspire You

With summer around the corner, what better way to spend a lazy day than to read?   Get inspired this summer!   Here’s a list of some of my favorites in no particular order if you need something to oh, you know, change your life in amazing ways…

LIST OF FAVES:

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks

The Course in Miracles

Lightworker’s Way by Doreen Virtue
Healing with the Angels by Doreen Virtue

Make Miracles in Forty Days by Melody Beattie

Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
Animal-Wise by Ted Andrews

Animal Talk by Penelope Smith

Ask and It is Given by Abraham-Hicks

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

The Alchemist by Pablo Coehlo

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Grace and Grit by Lanier Isom & Lilly Ledbetter

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Dream Game by Ann Faraday
Dream Tending by Dr. Stephen Aizenstat

The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

The Bible

Non-Violent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg

Think and Grow Rick by Napolean Hill

The Game of Life by Florence Scovel Shinn

The Four Agreements by Don-Miguel Ruiz

Anger by Thich Nhat Hanh

Diet for a New America by John Robbins

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradley

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

The Hobbit by J. R. Tolkien

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono

Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins

Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

The I Ching

Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The Teachings of Don Juan by Carlos Castaneda

Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian Weiss

There Is A River: The Story of Edgar Cayce by Thomas Sugre

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston

Feng Shui Chic by Sharon Stasney (and all her books)

Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rausch Carter

The Western Guide to Feng Shui by Terah Kathryn Collins

Sacred Space by Denise Linn

For more feng shui books, see this post!

What are your favorites??!

0

Romance, Wabi-Sabi, and the Unglorification of Perfectionism

This is Jessica Lazarus.  She’s getting married in October.  I wish I could say that this was yet another romance sparked by a feng shui cure, but nope, I only met her two days ago.

Coincidentally, it was at an engagement party.  (We were celebrating Angela Karen, Birmingham photographer, the gorgeous blonde in the background, who is getting married in May.)

I wanted to meet Jessica because of her HAIR.  It’s red and pretty.  Again, coincidentally, it turns out that Jessica is a hair stylist and make-up artist and that, according to Angie, she is THE red expert in Birmingham.

She and I became fast friends, and as conversations go, Jessica asked me what I did for a living, and I told her that I was a feng shui consultant.  She lit up, as some people do, and she told me about her beloved home.   She and her fiancé live together in a older, more “charming” house on the edge of Forest Park and Avondale (Forest Park to him, Avondale to her) and she described how she wants everything “perfect” (i.e. the wall art can never get straight enough) and that her husband is a sort of happy-go-lucky free-for-all type who says that it’s all good…it’s wabi-sabi.

“Wabi-sabi?” I asked.  “Is that how he describes your relationship…or the house?”

Jessica smiled largely.  “Well, I meant the house, but I guess it could apply to our relationship too!”

You see, I had no idea what wabi-sabi meant.    It’s Japanese, I knew, but only because it was the name of a sushi restaurant in Venice, CA where I used to reside.

I was intrigued.  “What do you mean?  I mean, what does IT mean?  Wabi-sabi.”  My heart rate was going up.  I could tell we were hitting on something good and juicy and feng shui-y.

She kept smiling (she really has a charming smile) and said, “I don’t know.  Trey says it’s like the ‘perfect imperfection,’ like perfect is imperfect or the imperfections make a place perfect.”

Ah-ha this was it!  After all, I often encounter people who think that their houses have to be PERFECT in order for it to have good feng shui.   And I’m like, “No, no, no.  Then it would NOT be good feng shui.”

Furthermore, people are always saying to me, “YOUR home must be perfect.”

And I’m like, “No it’s not!  It’s really not.  Trust me.”  Then I wink and say, “But of course, it has good feng shui.”

So, on this serendipitous evening, surrounded by bride-to-be’s, I discover this word — a beautiful, melodic, foreign, fun WORD — for this concept of perfection being imperfect and imperfection being perfect.  Oh, how I love a paradox!

WABI- SABI.  There really is no real English translation for it.  There is only description.  I searched online for attempts at definitions.  While Wikipedia was satisfactory, this one was my favorite:

From NobleHarbor:

Pared down to its barest essence, wabi-sabi is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in nature, of accepting the natural cycle of growth, decay, and death. It’s simple, slow, and uncluttered-and it reveres authenticity above all. Wabi-sabi is flea markets, not warehouse stores; aged wood, not Pergo; rice paper, not glass. It celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. It reminds us that we are all but transient beings on this planet-that our bodies as well as the material world around us are in the process of returning to the dust from which we came. Through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace liver spots, rust, and frayed edges, and the march of time they represent.    —- -architect Tadao Anode

Poetry, I tell ya.

source

Trust me, I’m still absorbing what the concept of wabi-sabi means, but I can tell you that, as far as feng shui goes, the word has inspired me to reinforce to you that a “perfect,” Pinterest-worthy home may not be good feng shui.   A lived-in, happy, and (gasp) even outdated home, with quirks and imperfections, but a good flow, a humble presence, gracious hosts, and plenty of authenticity, may just be the best feng shui of all.

(This all being said, wabi-sabi is not an excuse for you not getting that annoying leak fixed nor allow the paint to chip all over the home.)

The point is, your home is as unique as you are.  None of us are perfect, and in this society, with its air-brushed bikini bodies and manicured lawns, we can forget that our imperfections — and our homes’ imperfections — are well, what make us perfect.

What does this all have to do with Romance?  Interestingly, when I was 16, I met a girl my age who was raised in Europe, so naturally she had different sensibilities that I did, and she was in love, and I found her strangely wise.  She said to me once, about her boyfriend, “I love him because of his flaws.  It’s his flaws that make him who he is.  And I love him for them.”

And it’s stuck with me ever since.

Congrats to both Angela and Jessica on your upcoming nuptials!  May the spirit of wabi-sabi be with you both!  xooxox

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