Michele Sayres Design

Tips for Improving Health

Health issues are a frequent topic of discussion in my Feng Shui consultations. Obviously, nothing takes the place of good medical advice. However, there are things we can do in our environment to support and enhance conventional medical approaches, and in general create healthier environments.

One of the first things I tell clients is to remove clutter. The removal of unnecessary STUFF which clogs our space achieves a number of positive results:

  • visually enlarges and expands the space,
  • eliminates dust collectors,
  • symbolically and subliminally lightens us,
  • open us up to fresh new energy, ideas, and opportunities.

The element for health is wood, and east is the area of a room or home which is most closely associated with health. Wood can be represented literally and/or figuratively: by shape (tall columnar items), items actually made of wood (boxes, bowl, and sculpture), color (green), art depicting wood, etc. I encourage you to explore your own symbolic representations of good health (athletic awards, photos, etc.) and to include them mindfully in your environment.

Consider the eastern area of your home or room: What is there now? Is it vibrant, sparkling clean, alive, healthy? If not, how can you make it so? In addition to wood items, fresh flowers and healthy plants are beneficial, as well as photos of family and friends.

Have fun with it, and remember to have clear intention of your goal when creating your new healthy environment.

Tips for Improving Wealth

The first question I often hear on a Feng Shui consultation is “How can I increase my wealth?” It’s important to remember that wealth means many things, including abundant money, good health, loving family and friends, blessings of importance to the beholder. In Feng Shui, natural elements are associated with specific life situations;wood is the element for wealth. A jade plant is an especially powerful enhancement of wealth as its rounded leaves are symbolic of coins. We can also represent wood with shape (tall columnar items), items actually made of wood (boxes, sculptures, bowls), color (green), and art depicting wood.

The flow of water symbolically increases the flow of wealth: the use of a fountain in the home or the workplace is quite effective and provides the added benefit of a pleasing sound (HINT: don’t put the fountain in the bedroom, or you’ll be getting up several times a night. Also, use distilled water to avoid white deposits.)

Location, Location, Location

Where does one place these items? Southeast is the direction associated with wealth, so dust off that compass and locate the southeast area of your home, of your living room, of your bedroom, of your property. When you put the items in place, have a clear image of what you would like to achieve with the use of these Feng Shui enhancements, since intention is an important aspect of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui in the Garden

Gardens can be as large or small as space allows, from acres of land to pots on a windowsill. The use of color is especially powerful and rewarding in the Feng Shui garden, and the addition of natural elements can go a long way toward improving the quality of chi, the invisible life force that constantly surrounds and nourishes all living things.

Feng Shui is based on the harmony and balance of the 5 elements: water, metal, wood, fire, and earth. The ideal Feng Shui garden should include a fountain or pond (or visual representation such as river rocks arranged to represent the flow of a stream) for water, a sundial or wind chime for metal, trees and shrubs for wood, red, orange, and yellow flowers for fire, and earth (of course!) for earth. Ideally, pathways should be curved to encourage the meandering flow of chi. Hard straight edges such as fences can be softened with circular pots or rounded edge planting beds. Compost heaps, trash and recycling bins, garages, etc. can be screened with climbing vines on trellises or bamboo. A bench is a wonderful addition to encourage one to sit in contemplation and enjoy the beauty of nature. Rocks of various sizes can be representative of mountains, or flowing water, depending on their placement.

Similar concepts can be applied to a window or tiny patio garden as well. Flowers in various sized pots can enhance the perception of depth and soften the edges of the space. A tiny fountain can be included as well as miniature wind chimes on plant stakes to be inserted in a flower pot.

As with all Feng Shui, the garden should be well maintained and tended: dead flowers removed (called dead heading, it will also encourage the growth of new buds), weeds removed, unhealthy plants replaced.

Now sit back on your bench and absorb the regenerating energy of your Feng Shui garden.

Staging a Home for Sale

As the real estate market moves through its up and down cycles, more people are becoming aware of the value of staging a home for sale. Staging allows a home to show off its best assets and offers the prospective buyers the opportunity to imagine living there.

Buying a home is an emotional process and one that begins before the buyers get out of their car. Often buyers will say, “I love that home. It just FEELS good.” Appropriate use of color, plants, artwork, flowers, lighting, comfortable throws, aromas, etc. can do a great deal to enhance the ‘feeling’ of a home by eliciting a positive emotional response.

Staging includes landscaping, removal of over abundance of furnishings to ‘open’ the space and de-personalize it, and rearranging existing furnishings. Recently, after staging a home for sale, the seller exclaimed “Where were you five years ago when I moved in? This arrangement of furniture looks so much better!” It will look great to the prospective buyers as well (indeed, that listing sold in 5 days!).

A few tips:

  • Check out your curb appeal with the ‘eyes of a stranger’. Is it easy to find the front door? Is the entry area tidy? Plants and flowers well kept? Cover flower beds with mulch, trim overgrown shrubbery, remove weeds. Plant red and yellow flowers of varying heights for a welcoming effect.
  • Is the exterior of the house, especially the front door, clean, free of cobwebs, or does it need to be power washed or painted? Does the doorbell work? Are the windows clean?
  • How is the traffic pattern through the house? Open and flowing, or blocked and contrived? Are furnishings creating obstacles? Relocate or remove them and open up walkways. Create inviting vignettes. For instance, casually drape a cozy throw over an easy chair with a book beside it to help the prospective buyer imagine relaxing in that spot.
  • Are house plants in very healthy condition? If not, remove or replace with silk plants. Notice any unpleasant odors. A wonderful trick is to bake cookies or bread, or simmer apple cider and cinnamon. Our olfactory sense has a very powerful psychological affect.

Often a home can be staged in just a few hours. Imagine a quick sale for maximum dollars with minimal investment. And as all realtors know, the most important time for a listing is when it initially comes on the market, so call for a staging consultation before your house is marketed.

Feng Shui and Finding Your Home

Have you ever noticed how difficult it can sometimes to find an address or a front door? House numbers may be tiny, obscured, non-existent, poorly placed. Walkways may be well kept secrets, hidden behind bushes or gates. Front doors located on the sides of homes are especially challenging unless a walkway is clearly marked. Street to street lots can also create confusion.

Do any of these conditions sound familiar? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation when visiting someone? ‘Difficult to find’ is a problem for the life-giving energy called chi as well as for people. The front door of a home is the main entry point for energy needed to sustain and rejuvenate the occupants as well as bring prosperity and harmony. It should be readily visible, clear of any obstructions, and welcoming.

Take an objective look at your presentation to and reception of the world: your front entry. Does a huge garage dominate the view from the curb? A high wall or hedge? Use well tended plants to soften the hard edges.

Is your walkway hard to find, non-existent, or are there more than one? Indicate the direction to the front door with a large plant or a cluster of plants which may be hanging or on a stake in the garden to bring more attention (and energy) to the area. Gazing balls on pedestals are a great way to stimulate energy and highlight an important area. Fountains are a powerful addition to the front area of a home. Colorful flowers can be quite effective in marking a significant area; use red and yellow for greater impact and welcoming value.

Are you an apartment dweller? Try putting a chime or gong on your door, and a lovely door mat on the floor to create interest at your entrance and relieve the sterile sameness of the hallway.

How about your house numbers? Do they contrast to the color of the house for maximum visibility? Can they be seen at night? How large are they? Take whatever steps are needed to improve visibility and your connection with the world.