Three Steps to a Harmonious Classroom and…Life!

If you could have the perfect life, what would it look like? Imagine your life exactly as you wish it could be. Now, what if I told you that you were given these unique desires because you were meant to fulfill them?  You are meant to fulfill your dreams and accomplish your goals.  How, you ask? Feng shui can help!

What exactly is feng shui?

You have the power to change nine areas of your life with the help of feng shui. Using a tool called the bagua map, you will be able to see which area of your home, office, or classroom connects to specific areas of your life.  The nine areas are: wealth, reputation, relationships, children & creativity, health, family, knowledge, career, and helpful people & travel. Using the bagua map, you can address any area of life and see results almost immediately. 

Ideally, a feng shui home will have good flowing energy in all nine areas.  However, just as life is ever-changing, so must your feng shui practice continue to evolve.  Once you declutter a space and decorate, you will need to check in on that area of your home from time to time to keep it healthy.  The knowledge of feng shui is a very powerful tool that you can use as situations arise in your life. 

When you are ready to start applying feng shui to your classroom (or office), decluttering and organizing is a great place to start!  First and foremost, you want to tend to your personal desk.  Then, it is most important to organize the furniture, such as student desks and tables, in a way that allows optimal flow of chi. Finally, help your students organize their personal desks and the materials in the classroom so that you feel more energized and peaceful in your classroom. Let’s get started!

piccollage-4

Step One: Clear Desk, Clear Mind

Did you know that you could lay the bagua map on your desk?  That’s right, you can elevate the energy of all nine areas of your life simply by cleaning and organizing your desk with your intention.

If you are like most teachers, you probably do not spend that much time in your desk. However, when you are at your desk you are probably doing some important documentation or planning that needs your full attention. Make your desk inviting and clear so that your mind feels lighter and you can focus with greater ease.  

  1. Empty each drawer one at a time.  Drawers carry very stagnant energy because there is nowhere for the energy to escape. The best way to refresh the energy of the desk and release old chi is by removing objects and getting rid of what you no longer need.  There are probably many teachers or students who could benefit from some old supplies that you no longer use.

  2. Now that your desk has been organized,  you are ready to minimize the surface of the desk. Start by taking everything off and dusting the surface of the desk.  Next, place your items strategically based on the bagua map and the elements which represent each gua.  For example, I like to place a bamboo plant on the upper left corner of my desk.  The upper left gua is the wealth gua, activated by the wood element.  The bamboo symbolizes wood and represents upward growth.  The hollowness of the bamboo signifies the openness to receive abundance. The chart below shows the bagua map and suggestions for each gua. Remember that the element is most effectively represented by the shape.  

  3. Place the desk in a “power position.”  You want to able to see the door from where you are sitting.  If your back is against the door, you could get startled if someone walks up behind you.  You have more peace of mind knowing exactly who is entering your space.  Try to have a solid wall behind you if possible.  This school year, I moved my desk from the relationship corner to the wealth corner. Those are the preferred guas since they are considered the most powerful, anchoring positions.  Although there is a window at my back, I have a much better view of the door.  If your desk has been in the same position for a couple years, I would recommend simply turning the desk to face another direction.  Whenever you move furniture, it freshens the chi and gives you a new perspective on life and your classroom.

 screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-10-55-23-pmCaption: If you are conscious of the bagua map as you organize your desk and classroom, it will help you create greater harmony. The bagua map is the same as the one you place on your house, but there are some additional suggestions on  how each gua specifically affects your classroom or career path. 

 

Step 2: Furniture Arrangement: Creating Optimal Flow in Your Classroom or Office

You started organizing your desk, and placed it in a power position.  Now, you can arrange the rest of  furniture for the greatest flow of chi.  You and your students will be able to focus better when the energy circulates unobstructed through your classroom.  Before you start moving everything around in your classroom, there are some key points to remember when arranging your space:

Round is the Way: Chi flows best around rounded edges.  If you arrange desks in a formation that creates a lot of straight lines and sharp turns, the energy will not flow as well.  

Energy as a Stream: Energy is constantly moving in a forward motion.  The energy flows in each time you open your classroom door.  Imagine the energy as a stream of water.  As it flows in through the classroom, where does the water flow quickly?  Does it get stuck in a certain space?  Try to arrange the space as best as you can so that the “water” flows does not get blocked.  This is another reason why opening up a window at least once a week is important.  When you open the window, it allows stagnant energy to exit, and refreshing chi enters to revitalize your space.

Mountain Behind You: You want a mountain behind you.  As the instructor, you need the power position so that you feel confident when working with the students.  I have a couple of tables in my classroom where I meet with small groups of students for literature discussions and other activities.  I have placed my chair so that my back is to the wall, and I have a unobstructed view of the whole classroom.  In particular, you should be able to see the door from where you sit.

Use the Elements: As you decide where to place furniture, remember that each gua is best activated with a specific shape.  One of the tables I use for small group instruction is a kidney shape. The rounded shape could represent metal, so I placed this table in the Children & Creativity gua.  Another big table is a long horizontal rectangle.  This shape represents the Earth Element, and it is placed in the relationship corner with an even number of chairs.  The relationship corner is best activated with pairs of objects, or even numbers.  This promotes partnership and successful collaboration.

No Space is Ever “Fixed” for Good: Although your classroom can stay in the same formation all year, it is best for students to switch desks every four or five weeks. Even if the desks are in the same formation, the simple movement will boost the energy.  Additionally, your students will appreciate the change of perspective. They will be more alert and recharged. You could even shift your desk if you are starting to feel drained in your day-to-day activities. 

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-10-56-00-pmCaption: Every classroom is different, but here  is an example of how I strategically arranged my classroom this school year.  I used the elements, and the five suggestions above to help me make my design choices. 

Student Desks:

Group A:  The students are on an angle so that it creates a more “rounded” configuration.  This allows the chi to flow.  All students are facing the SMARTboard and can see the front door. The students are not in a group of four, but they all have a partner.  When I want students to work in groups, they can move to the large work tables or turn their chairs.  An additional note:  Try not to have students in line with the door.  As chi enters the door, the energy rushes in.  Group A is not recommended for your students who are hyperactive or have difficulty concentrating.  This space has active chi because of the door, so keep this is mind when sitting students here.


Group B: This group of four students are on an angle so that nobody has their back to the SMARTboard and everyone can see the door.  Again, the angle also helps the energy flow.

 

Group C:  The two groups in the center of the room have their backs to the East and West walls. Everyone can see the door.  Although no one is facing the door or SMARTboard, if they look to the side they can see them. The group is not angled, but the center of the room is a “grounding” point.  The center is the Health gua, and it is represented by the Earth.  The desks create the square/horizontal rectangle which represents the Earth element.  

 

Group D: All students in group D have their backs to the wall.  The solid wall creates a “mountain” behind them. It is very auspicious any time you can have a solid wall or chair behind you. The solid back creates support and boosts confidence and productivity.

 

Checklist for Student Desks

  • Is there a solid wall behind you and your students?

  • Can your students see the front door?

  • Do the desks allow optimal flow of chi, or are they creating sharp turns?

 

Step Three: Getting the Students Organized

You have worked hard to clear your classroom of unnecessary clutter and arrange the furniture for optimal energy flow.  Now, the key is to stay organized and keep your classroom functioning at peak efficiency.  Here are three quick tips that will help the students take ownership of the classroom and accept the responsibility of maintaining the positive vibes. If you are a teacher who is evaluated based on the Charlotte Danielson framework, this area could be used as evidence of managing your classroom environment!

Friday Desk Cleaning:  It sounds so easy, but how many times do you allow your students to clean out their desks?  We get so busy, that sometimes this only happens once a quarter!  Try to give your students 10 minutes every week to clean out their desks. The mess in their desks is causing unnecessary chaos in their minds.  When the students have time to organize their personal space, they will be more efficient, remember their homework, and feel calmer.  In addition, when all of the desks are organized, the overall chi of the classroom is improved.

Classroom Jobs: Many teachers assign classroom jobs.  Do you have have the students dust the book shelves, counters, and common-area tables? My students love doing these types of jobs.  Use whatever products your school approves, and notice how much fresher the room feels.  Your classroom’s chi will be heightened immediately. Again, I would recommend
doing this weekly.  If possible, open up the windows at the same time the students clean the surfaces.  This will really boost the effectiveness as you let fresh air elevate the chi.

 

Explicit Organization:  Do you spend time with your students finding a “home” for every school supply?  Students need direct instruction on exactly where everything goes.  At the beginning of the year students put all of their pens, pencils and erasers in their pencil pouch, and they learn that their scissors, glue and crayons belong in their art box.  During our Friday Desk Cleaning day, we review where everything goes. My famous line is, “There should be no loose papers in your desk.  Remember, everything has a home.  Put papers in your ‘Take Home’ folder that need to go home.  Place papers that you still need in your ‘Stay at School’ folder, and anything that you don’t need can be recycled.” Even high school students need reminders of how to organize their space.  They too need to understand the value of keeping their personal space clean and organized.

 

For optimal results, I really encourage teachers, or anyone looking to improve their career, to try feng shui in their homes too  No matter how neat and organized your classroom or office is, if you are coming home to disarray, you will not feel rejuvenated for the next day of teaching.  We need to feel like our house is giving us a big warm hug every time we walk into the door.  If you have a strong foundation at home, your professional life will start to fall into place.

For a daily feng shui tip, join me on  Facebook or follow me on Instagram or Twitter!
Until Next time,
Namaste!
Kristina Hollinger

 

Advertisements

Back to School: Get Your Feng Shui On!

Green Head Shot 2

Today was the first day back in my classroom after the summer break. I walked into a room with chairs piled on the counter and the students’ desks clustered in the center of the room. My floors were glistening, so I am not complaining.  I was looking at a clean slate, and it was time to reconsider the layout of my classroom. It had been in the same general formation for years, with the exception of the students’ desks.  Like many teachers, I would play around with different seating arrangements.  For the first time, I decided to use all that I knew about energy flow when designing my classroom.

I laid the  bagua map (see image below) on my classroom as my guide. Now, when you walk in my room, you will see a round kidney table in the Children/Creativity section which is enhanced by circular figures to represent the Metal Element.  Imagine all the creative ideas the students will have working together in this area! A large rectangular (horizontal) table is in the relationship corner with an even number of chairs to promote partnership and collaboration. My desk is located in the wealth corner.  Since the wealth and relationship guas are the “power positions” on the bagua map, these are great spaces for the teacher’s desk.  Although I spend little time at my desk, it will be good to occupy the wealth area and welcome in abundance in all of its many forms!

Bagua Map (BTB Feng Shui)

Wealth

Element: Wood

Shape: Vertical Rectangle

Colors: Green, Gold, or Purple

Fame/Reputation

Element: Fire

Shape: Triangle

Colors: Red, Bright Orange

Relationship

Element: Earth

Shape: Square or horizontal rectangle

Colors: Pink, Skin tones, Earth tones

Family

Element: Wood

Shape: Vertical Rectangle

Colors: Green, Brown, Gold or Purple

Health

Element: Earth

Shape: Square or horizontal rectangle

Colors: Yellow, Earth Tones

Children/Creativity

Element: Metal

Shape: Circle

Colors: White, Bright And Pastel Colors, Grey

Knowledge

Element: Earth

Shape: Square or horizontal rectangle

Colors: Blue, Green, or Earth tones

Career

Element: Water

Shape: Wavy/Odd

Colors: Blue, Black or mirrors to represent water

Helpful People/Travel

Element: Metal

Shape: Circle

Colors: White, Bright And Pastel Colors, Gray

FRONT DOOR ENTRANCE LOCATED ON THIS WALL

 

In addition to placing the furniture with intention, I used my bulletin boards to enhance the different guas.  Purple paper covers the large board in the Wealth Gua, while a calming blue takes over the board in the Career Gua. Since there are boards all around the room, and all the guas are represented by different colors, it makes for a very colorful classroom with variety and, most importantly, balance.

Staying Organized

On the first day, the students will proudly unload their brand new folders and sharpened pencils. We will organize their desks and go over everything’s “home” (because “everything has a home.”). Yet sixth graders are bound to throw loose leaf paper in their desk without a folder or leave random capless dried-out pens sitting in their pencil pouch. That is why every Friday we take 10 minutes to clean out our desks, even dust them.  Students who finish early bring out the broom and help sweep the floors.  Others dust the bookshelves and wipe off the surfaces of the countertops and tables.  The students love the extra responsibility, and they feel so much better when their space is organized and well tended to.

classroom library
This Classroom Library would be excellent in the wealth, wisdom/knowledge, or children/creativity guas.  The greens and blues represent abundance and depth of knowledge.  The circular accents bring out the creativity of your students.

Adding Yin Energy

After teaching for a decades, I have learned that it takes a couple of days for the students to warm up and come out of their shell. Once we get into the school year, kids tend to get really comfortable in their home-away-from-home and talk a lot more! This is why I pull out my “feng shui bag of tricks” everyday to keep the classroom calm when it needs to be. Remember the balance of yin and yang.  The classroom already has a lot of yang, or active energy, by nature.  Children, computers, and the fluorescent lights produce a lot of energy that needs to be balanced out.

Add yin, or soft energy, to the environment by playing soft classical or new-age music in the background during work time, especially if the lights are on.  Consider turning the lights off during direct instruction time. If your school allows, use aromatherapy with a diffuser.  Lavender will calm everyone, and citrus scents encourage alertness.  If you don’t have a diffuser, you could place a bowl of fresh orange peels on your desk.  Once they wilt, they not longer have a potent smell and you could replace them.

Sage Spray

Just like  at home, you can conduct mini space clearings in your classroom when the students are out of the room.  Sage lavender spray smells delightful and it clears the energy after any stressful situations.  You can go around the classroom and clap your hands from low to high to break up the stagnant energy.  Open a window to let in fresh air at least once a week.  However, with twenty to thirty pupils in a room everyday, it is probably best to let fresh energy in daily.

Feng shui crystal
Crystals are a great way to deflect negative or harsh energy.   They  will keep teachers  from feeling drained.

Crystals

You can protect your own personal energy and prevent yourself from feeling drained as well.  The feng shui faceted quartz crystal is very powerful.  It can clear any negative energy and deflect harsh energy from computers or people’s negative vibes.  You could carry the crystal in your pocket for protection.  I have even put a crystal on the computer cart in my classroom so that it breaks apart the harsh energy from the tablets.  If you wanted to hang a crystal, cut a nine inch red thread and loop it through the crystal. Hang it in any area of your classroom (or office) that you would like to see improvements.  If you are located near a busy road, you may consider hanging a crystal in the window, or placing it on the ledge of the window, for protection and to calm the energy of the room.

I hope you have a wonderful beginning of the school year!  I will be here all year to answer questions or address any specific concerns that come up throughout the year.  We are entering Mercury Retrograde which means electronics may act up!  Try to have a sense of humor about it, even though this may be the most inconvenient time for your SMART board or e-mail to  go haywire. Join me on facebook for daily tips and positive inspiration!

Until Next Time,

Namaste!

Kristina Hollinger

KristinaHollinger.com

Three Steps to Feng Shui Your Classroom

PicCollage.png

Hey teachers, this one is for you! I wanted to post three ideas to bring the tranquility of your summer break back with you into your classroom. Since this is my very first post about how to feng shui your classroom, I would like to start with a disclaimer about what feng shui is NOT.  This has helped put my mind at ease when applying feng shui principles to enhance the classroom atmosphere:

Feng shui is not a religion, nor does it preach any religious tenet.  It predates Taoism, Confucianism, and even Buddhism.  The first Amendment Center, which works to preserve and protect First Amendment freedoms through information and education, has approved the organizational tips embodied by feng shui.  Feng shui does not infringe upon anyone’s freedom of religion.  (Heiss, 2004)

I found this point extremely important to mention so that you and I both can be at peace knowing that any and all of the feng shui tips provided are always in the best interest of our students’ well-being, and it is not a religion, so you will not be impeding on anyone’s beliefs.

“Research supports feng shui.  If the environment is balanced students will learn easier.” (Heiss, 2004)

So, what IS feng shui?  According to Feng Shui for the Classroom 101 Easy-to-Use ideas,Feng shui teaches a method of organization and appreciation for harmony.  It helps people to become balanced in their environment and within themselves.” Since we are just getting started, allow me to share three easy ways to incorporate feng shui into your classroom next year!

#1 Bring in fresh energy with plants

Your classroom will probably be fresh and ready to go on the first day of school.  However, as the year progresses the air can get stale.  Bamboo survives very well in low light, but if you have another plant preference that would work too.  Adding plants will bring in fresh oxygen and keep you and your students feeling fresh all year.  I love giving students who need a little extra attention the job of watering the plant.  It gets them moving with purpose and gives them a sense of responsibility.

#2 Add Yin energy with music, low lighting, and aromatherapy

Our classrooms already have a lot of yang, or active energy, by nature. The bright florescent lights, electronics, and the energy of many children in a contained space all contribute to the yang energy.  So, it is important to balance the environment by adding softer energy to the space.  If you do this, you will find the students will concentrate better and be more receptive during instruction.  Here are ways to add yin energy:

  • Play classical or other relaxing music as students work
  • Turn off the lights during instruction time on the SMART board, and turn them back on when it is time for the students to work.
  • Use lavender Sage Spray or other relaxing aromas to clear the energy of the room and give a more peaceful atmosphere.

#3 Try feng shui in your own home.

It has been my experience that using feng shui at my home has really helped me find more balance in my life.  A happier, more centered teacher makes for happier students!  I promise you if you start applying feng shui to your home, even just your bedroom, you will see a transfer from your personal to your professional life.

Well, that’s it for now my teacher friends!  I will be posting more tips throughout the summer on Twitter at #fengshuiclassroom.  As always, I welcome you to “like” my Facebook Page or  find me at www.KristinaHollinger.com.

Until next time,

Namaste!

Kristina Hollinger

 

How to Feng Shui Your Closet

13720520_757063128276_1874270899_o

(Photo Credit Julie Ann Photography)

When I get ready for any occasion, I always think about the kind of vibe I want to give off or how I want to feel.  According to feng shui, all colors radiate different vibrations and enhance different emotions.  Here is a quick look at what the colors represent so that you are ready to move forward confidently at your next job interview or date.  Knowing what color is best to wear will simply help elevate your energy, and who doesn’t want that, right?

Let’s talk about red! It is the most energetic color in the feng shui. Red is a great color to wear at a job interview or to an important meeting.  Red says, “I know what I’m doing.  I am confident, and you should take me seriously.” Red is a fire color, so it represents passion.  You could wear red if you are looking to attract more passion in your relationship, or to “spark things up” in your career.

Yellow represents the Earth element and good health. Yellow is a great color to wear to enhance your immune system.  It also goes without saying that yellow is a cheerful color and it can uplift your emotional wellness too. In general, yellow is associated with friendship, so yellow is best for a girls night out, versus your first date.

Green represents the wood element, and it is also associated with the heart chakra. Overall, green is such a fantastic color to wear any time! Green represents abundance and money.  It represents the family, growth, and stability.  When you think of lush green trees and plants, you are reminded of Spring and new life.  Wearing green will promote growth, abundance, and expansion.

In feng shui, blue is the color of knowledge. Blue is a fantastic color to wear when you are taking a class or going to school. You will soak up more knowledge wearing blue.  In addition, blue is associated with the throat chakra, which affects communication. It is a wise choice to wear when you are writing a book or essay. (In fact, I should run and change right now as I write this blog…!) Another great quality about blue is that it represents water and money!  Let the abundance flow and wear some blue today!

Purple is associated with royalty. In ancient Egypt, for example, only the wealthy class could afford the purple dye for their clothing (that’s the 6th grade teacher in me explaining this one…). It goes without saying that if you wear purple you are going to attract more wealth into your life and you will look classy. I am a libra and purple is the libra’s “power color.”  You might want to look up your sign and find out yours too!

In feng shui, black represents the water element. Black activates the career gua!  You would be wise to wear black (and red) to a job interview.  I also like to wear black on days when I have big meetings or when I am being observed (fellow teachers know what I am talking about).  Wearing black is a great way to activate your career and give it a boost!

Finally we have       .  Oh, you couldn’t see the font? White!  White is the color of purity, and it also represents the chakra at the top of the head, your connection to heaven.  You may want to wear a white blouse if you want to feel closer to your Higher Self and connected with Devine intuition.

I really hope you had fun reading today’s post!  As always, I would love to hear if you have any questions or personal feng shui experiences to share! I invite you to join me at my Facebook Page for a daily dose of positivity on your newsfeed!

Until next time,

Namaste!

Kristina Hollinger

 

How to Peacefully Fulfill Your Dreams

sunset-over-water-e1358809211421

Today was the first day of PARCC testing for my sixth graders. My team and I were e-mailing each other if we had questions. One of our concerns was,”Which button do we have to press at the end of the session?  Log Out or Submit?” In the end, it was clear as day which button the students had to hit!  The moral of the story is we spent so much time anticipating a problem that did not even exist.  How many times to we create obstacles along our path that, in reality, are just illusions? Instead of worrying about how you will accomplish your goals, here are three steps to accomplishing your goals while maintaining inner peace.

 

Step One: Admit You are Trying to Control Everything. 

Admitting your flaws is the first step to healing them! I am always eager to accomplish goals and experience the next big thing: a new house, advancement in my career, and another degree… There is nothing wrong with setting goals, but obsessing over them causes fabricated stress.

It is not every day that we can harvest the fruits of our labor. Of course those moments are rewarding: when we finally close on that house, earn that degree, get engaged, or land that dream job.  The reality is that most days we are sowing the seeds of our dreams and working towards them. It is not always glamorous, and there are usually many unknown and unpredictable factors. This is what causes us to feel frazzled and why we try to control the process. We allow fears and doubts to overcome us, but many times these are just illusions. The goal is to have a more positive focus when stepping in the direction of our dreams.

Step Two: Let Go and Pay Attention

Instead of controlling the pathway your dreams step-by-step, try to be open to a creative solution or alternative version of your dream. Dr. Wayne Dyer always said, “pay attention.” Simply pay attention to the clues around you and you will be guided to your dreams or something better!  This is a practical way of “actively letting go.”  So even though you are “letting go,” your are still “doing” something.

Here is how this paradox works. After you set your intentions of what you want for yourself, go about your  regular day-to-day activities.  Be aware of your surroundings and live in the present moment; you will be guided in the right direction. Maybe you will see a “For Sale” sign that you never noticed before, or you will have a conversation with someone random that leads you to a connection that you need. You never know how things will work out, but if you pay attention to the signs, you’ll be guided step by step. It sort of turns into a game, and it can actually be fun watching your dreams unfold in creative ways. Helpful people and opportunities are all around you, all you have to do is keep an open heart and mind.

Step Three: Take Small Action Steps

Take a little step every single day in the direction of your dreams and watch those seeds you have planted grow. One of my goals is to become a published author, but that will only happen if I…um…write! It took everything I had this evening to walk away from the clean pile of unfolded laundry that is overtaking my bed.  After spending nearly two hours of cooking and cleaning in the kitchen and putting our toddler to bed, I could have easily kept on going with what “has to be done.” But I had an ah-ha moment today that made me realize that if I don’t start doing what I love TODAY, then I am going to miss out on what is really important in life. 

If you want to start a side business, walk away from the TV and start working on your web site or blog. Maybe your goal is to look and feel better about yourself.  Instead of vacuuming, take the extra time to pre-cut veggies for a healthy snack or steal those 15 minutes to do a workout on YouTube. There will always be more dishes and laundry.  You need to take time for yourself and step into the direction of your dreams.  After 10 minutes you can go back to that pile of laundry on your bed and start folding…

I am reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Jack Canfield, “You are not given a dream unless you have the capacity to fulfill it.”  I believe that we are each given specific desires in life because it is part of our mission and dharma here on this Earth. Follow your heart.  You would not be given a dream unless you had the ability to accomplish it, and you might as well have fun while you are doing it! I hope you follow the signs that bring you closer to your personal success and enjoy the ride!

Until next time, namaste!

Kristina Hollinger

facebook.com/simplyfengshuidesigns

 

 

 

 

The Feng Shui Mom: 3 Tips that will benefit you & your kids

IMG_1677

I love being the mom of a little toddler girl! But as we all know, kids can be very energetic and, well, tire you out!  So, I believe that feng shui is very necessary when you have kids. Feng shui has helped me so much when it comes to arranging our home and making it more functional, enjoyable, and, most importantly, peaceful. If there were only three feng shui tips that I could give moms and dads that would help make their living environment feel more harmonious, these would be it:

Tip #1: Crib/Child’s Bed Placement

Just like your bed placement is important, so is your child’s.  Let’s face it, if your child is not sleeping well, then neither are you!  So, here is what you need to remember.  Just like you, it is best for the child’s feet to be facing the door (but NOT in line with the door). Also, it is preferable that the crib is NOT under a window.  Windows drain your energy when you sleep, and you need to “recharge” your energy when you sleep, not lose it.  If you cannot avoid putting the bed under a window, I would recommend getting thick curtains that you can draw at night. Finally, just like your bed, it is best that your child’s is not pushed up against a wall.  If the bed can be accessed on both sides it is ideal; this way, the energy can circulate around the bed throughout the night, providing a rejuvenating rest.

Tip #2: De-clutter

Your home is a reflection of your life.  Even your closets tell a story about what is going on inside of you.  So, even though it is tempting just to throw the toys under the bed, and toss the outgrown clothes into garbage bags that pile up in the closets and garage (guilty!), you and your family will feel so much better if you organize.  “Everything has a place.” (And please don’t let that place be under the bed! Remember the energy needs to circulate around the bed. See Tip #1). If you can’t find a place for something, then donate it to Good Will or have a little garage sale.  Don’t let “things” take over your home.  You might not realize it, but the energy of clutter drags you down.  Clutter attracts more clutter and it becomes overwhelming and stressful.  Start with one room at a time, or one closet at a time.  Take out 9 items everyday to organize, throw away, or donate.  If you do a little each day, you will feel better little by little.  I feel like I am ALWAYS de-cluttering.  In a way it is never-ending, but that is how feng shui works. Since life is always changing, we always need to take some time to improve our environment.

Tip #3: Display Artwork Thoughtfully

The third and final tip is one of my favorite!  In feng shui your home is divided into 9 guas, or areas, that represent your life.  One area is designated to “children and creativity.”  It is located all the way to the right and center when you enter your home.  This area is best activated when you decorate using the metal element, circular shapes, colors of grey, white, and pastels.  In addition, since it represents children & creativity, it is an ideal location for a play table and to display artwork and pictures of your children.  My daughter goes to daycare while I teach, and she does at least one art project daily.  There is no way I could display ALL of her artwork (and if I did, it would be covering at least five walls by now).  I recommend selecting a few pieces and rotating them throughout the school year.  Your children feel so much pride when their work is on display, and if placed with intention, you are sure to attract more creative ways of thinking and expression.  And if you want more kids— you can always decorate this area with that intention too!

IMG_2018

As always, I hope these quick tips help you to feel better in your space!

Until next time, namaste!

Kristina Hollinger

 

Feng Shui 101

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.06.53 PM

Since I have been an elementary school teacher for nearly a decade, I am truly a teacher at heart. That’s why after years of implementing the feng shui design principles in my own home since 2012, I have decided to teach this amazing knowledge to others!  My husband and I had an apartment in Chicago, which is where I started my feng shui journey.  I later applied the principles in our first suburban home. I have found that not only do rooms look better with feng shui, they FEEL better too.

I have a laundry list of blessings that have come into my life because I simply used feng shui and set intentions with every adjustment I made. But this blog post is really not about me. It’s about YOU and how you too can transform your space very easily with what you already have.  This post is intended to introduce the basic principles of feng shui.  So let’s get started!

In order to get started you need to have a basic understanding of begua map.  I have attached an image so that you can see the nine areas, or guas, in which feng shui focuses on (thanks to ezyfengshui.wordpress.com for the image). In the Western School of Feng Shui, which is what I study, you are to lay this map on the floor plan of your house based on the front door.  So, for example, if your front door is in the center of your home, you would be entering in the career gua.  If your front door entrance is all the way to the right of your home, you are entering in the helpful people/travel gua.  Once you know how to lay the begua map onto your home, you can get started making adjustments and decorating according to the elements!

Each area of your home connects to different elements, which are represented by different colors and shapes.  This research and practice goes back over 3,000 years ago when feng shui was first practiced in China. Feng shui is based on the belief and understanding that all things are made of energy, which is supported by studies of quantum physics. Everything vibrates at a certain frequency, and some areas of your home will respond better to certain elements. For example, fire energy gives off a different energy and feeling than the water element.  If you make design choices based on the elements in the begua, you will feel more at peace and your environment will work for you so much more efficiently.

Although it is exemplified in the begua map image above, here is a list of the 5 elements and the shapes and colors that correlate with the element.

  1. Earth:  Square:  yellow, sand colors, beige
  2. Water: Odd shapes (waves): blues and black
  3. Fire: Triangle: red, orange, yellow
  4. Wood: Rectangle (vertical/up and down): browns and greens
  5. Metal: Circle: grey and white

It really is THAT simple.  Use these shapes and colors in the coordinating guas, and you will see and feel a difference almost immediately!  You’re going to be a feng shui expert before you know it.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions, and I welcome you to “like” my Facebook page Simply Feng Shui Designs.  Enjoy rearranging and redesigning your space.  You really can design the life you deserve with feng shui.

Until next time,

Kristina Hollinger

Namaste!