Great Interior Design - Bad Feng Shui - part 1

As an avid user of Pinterest I often search for pictures I can use for mood boards for my clients. I often stumble over stunning interior designs which from a Feng Shui perspective potentially create a few problems.

I thought it might be fun to start a series in which I discuss those ‘flaws’, including designs which make you wonder if it really that necessary to stick to Feng Shui rules all the time (I personally dont and I am a Feng Shui practitioner and teacher for many years :) )

Your comments are very welcome!

Here we go:

  1. MIRRORS IN THE BEDROOM

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2. YANG SHA TOWARDS THE BED

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3. HEADBOARD TOWARDS THE WINDOW

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4. PLANK WITH STUFF ABOVE THE HEAD

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5. EXPOSED HEAD SPACE

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6. WELL, THIS WOULD BE NIT-PICKY ;)

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Finding the right colours for the North-East sector

One of the trickier bits during a Feng Shui consultation is to find a perfect colour match for spaces that encompass the North / North-East and East sectors within one room.

See, pithing the 5 Element theory we have the Nourishing cycle:

WATER -> WOOD -> FIRE -> EARTH -> METAL.

The Controlling cycle:

WOOD -> WATER -> METAL -> EARTH -> FIRE

and the Destructive cycle:

WATER -> FIRE -> METAL -> WOOD -> EARTH

While the North sector stands for the WATER Element and the East sector for WOOD (which follows the WATER), we suddenly have the Yang EARTH Element of the North-East in-between.

And since EARTH is in conflict with both Elements WATER and WOOD, what do we do?

I have asked this question to my various Feng Shui teachers over the years and never really gotten a satisfying answer from any of my teachers. So this is what I came up with:

North-East sector / KEN / Yang EARTH, The Mountain

North-East sector / KEN / Yang EARTH, The Mountain

The North-East sector (KEN, the Youngest Son / Mountain) forms the lower end of the Tao line that connects the Yang and the Yin part. The upper part ends in the South-West sector of K’UN, The Mother and Yin EARTH sector.

KEN is also known as ‘The Mountain’ and represents the youngest son of the 8 Trigram family. He stands for Wisdom, Knowledge, Self-Development and Study. The time on the clock is 3am and his sector stands for early spring.

You could picture KEN sitting in deep meditation on the top of a mountain in a remote place of the Himalaya. On the far horizon, being so high up, you can start to get a glimpse of dusk. The night sky slowly merging with the very early morning light. Picture soft pastel colours such as a soft yellow, pink, slightly green and light blue. The space is very quiet, crisp and clean.

Recommended colours for the NE sector

Recommended colours for the NE sector

These are the colours and the atmosphere that I often recommend for this sector. Through the softness the colours feel like they are merging the WATER, EARTH and WOOD Elements in one room very nicely. The colours also go well with the rather cool morning light that shines through the windows of a North-East sector.

To thyself be true

Dear reader, 

A new year started and many people make new years resolutions. I think I never did. Probably because I'm a rather stubborn person who pretty much does what she wants on any given date, be it the 1st of January or the 18th of June.

And maybe because the winter time - according to the 5 Elements - is the time of deep sleep and recuperation, of inward looking, silence, resting and letting the chips fall as they may. Its the utmost Yin time of the year where nature is sleeping. There is very little activity - and for a good reason.

We live in a Yang enough world in which we always have to do things, achieve, be the best, push ourselves. And although this is necessary at times - and these impulses come quite naturally during spring and summer time - winter is the time to rest and let go. So you won't hear any 'Go get'em Tiger!' slogans from me at this time of the year! :) 

However - one big thing has changed over the past few weeks: I decided to change the name of 'the thing I'm doing'. For the lack of a better word I have used the term Feng Shui over the past 12 years  but always felt that the term isn't exactly accurate. 

So - tadaaaa! - from now on 'the thing I do' is officially called 'Inner Space Design'! 

In fact, Inner Space Design is a term I coined many years ago but never used it officially to describe my business. To my knowledge, there is no SEO so far with that term and I was afraid that I would disappear in the unfathomable underworlds of Google forever if I would use this term instead of Feng Shui. 

Yet this term feels so much more accurate to describe my work. While I still use many tools from the classical Feng Shui (those aspects that make sense to me and my clients) I also incorporate a more analytical and holistic point of view. 

Being a student of classical homeopathy for the past three years I am deeply drawn to the intrinsic nature of people. A home is always a reflection of its owner, her or his 'third skin'. As a homeopath I want to see WHY a situation is as it is. Why is it that a person feels he or she does not have enough money? Why does a person live in a unhappy marriage? Do you seriously think that placing a couple of love ducks in a specific corner will solve the problem of a troubled partnership? Or a three-legged frog will solve all your money problems? This may make you feel good for a moment and may give you hope (and there is nothing wrong with that!) but to me this is more like taking a pain killer which will work temporarily but wont resolve the actual cause of the pain. (I like the analogy of the red warning light in a car - unscrewing it may make you think the car is alright, but it won't be!)

There is always a connection, a red thread that is woven into our personal history. And when one learns to listen and observe, in kindness and respect for the other person, if one really wants to help the other person to connect important dots in their life and see the red thread, a lot of healing can happen. 

So what exactly is Inner Space Design? 

As a space is always a reflection of those who live in it, it tells me many things. Every house develops its own relationship with its owners. Our own energy is deeply ingrained into the energetic fabric of our home. our home breathes our energy! (It may also still breathe the energy of its former owners which can lead to problems sometimes - but that's another story that I am happy to write another blog about one day) 

If our home doesn't work for us for some reason and we can't put our finger on it it is a bit like feeling unwell but we may not know exactly why. We may be constantly tired or we not sleep well. Many things could be the reason for this but one thing is for sure: popping a pill that makes us feel better for a few hours will not solve the real problem!

Similarly we may try to alter the energy of our space by buying the latest trends in kitchen design, that cool sofa that looked great on Pinterest or the new colour that ELLE Decor promised us was Le denier cri. And while there is nothing wrong with all these things, they won't make you happy unless they  truly  resonate with that core essence of YOU! 

So who are you? What does your soul desire? What makes your heart jump or melt? Maybe its the early morning sun playing with the shadows of the leaved on the tree outside your bedroom window? The early morning birds that make you so deeply happy when you wake up and tell you 'this is a beautiful day!' Maybe there is a painting you have been feeling deeply drawn to but you thought was too expensive to buy.  Maybe there is a very sensual person hiding inside which never got enough space to flourish? Or maybe you are living that side but feel that it is time to do some deep inner work? 

Whatever it is - our home will reflect it - either as an energy that is already there or a lack thereof. Or maybe its an old part of you you want to let go of and that needs to leave your home too? 

I hope that my new approach speaks to you. I have implemented quite a few aspects of it in my course program and am in the midst of developing a whole new program which will be called 'My Soul DNA' . 

But for now I will finish this lengthy blog and thank you for your interest!

My very best wishes for you, 

Lioba


Attention to Detail

Some of you may know that, besides being a Feng Shui consultant and teacher, I am also an avid student of homeopathy. It has always been my passion and since two years I am studying at the School of Homeopathy in England where we not only learn classical homeopathy but are also introduced to the Sensation method which has been developed by Rajan Sankaran about 20 years ago.

This new method has revolutionised homeopathy and brought it to a new level of not only case taking but also how we perceive ourselves and our patients. It is probably no accident that this method has been developed (and still is) mainly in India as it is deeply rooted in - like the name says - the sensation that we have on the deepest level. This level passes our rational mindset and connects us to the language of our subconscious, to involuntary gestures or sounds we make, to the deeper meaning of drawings and images we may produce, to the sensation we have in our dreams, etc. This part in us speaks archetypal language and it is from this level that we connect to our remedy. 

I have always been fascinated by this idea and have seen homeopathy on this level work miracles many times. There is no rational way to explain this other than that, on some mysterious, unexplored level, we all do seem to connected to everything that is. Many wise people have pointed this out for centuries and throughout many different cultures so there may be some truth to it after all! 

How is this connected to Feng Shui? On first sight there doesn't seem to be a real connection and many people startle when I tell them about my rather peculiar career path(s). After all, Feng Shui is connected to interior design somehow and homeopathy is a medical profession surely?

Yet the way I perceive it is that both disciplines use bilateral thinking, keen observation and an almost detective-like way to connect seemingly unrelated dots. Its the attention to detail that connects both disciplines in my eyes. 

C.G.Jung homeopathy feng shui

When I come into the home of a client, I automatically assess the state of the walls, which often give me a clue as to how the client is able to maintain boundaries. The floor tells me a lot about how the person is grounded - or not. The colour scheme, state of furniture, level of clutter - all those details tell me about the level of energy a person has, where possible problems may lie and how to improve the situation. Like in homeopathy, small details can give me the clue as to what be the main problem why the client may not feel at ease in his or her space.

Both disciplines deal with healing. Healing a space is similar to healing a patient. Our home is our '3rd skin' and it is necessary that we feel at hom win our skin(s)! Although a messy home may not lead to physical ailments necessarily, it may cause a state of low energy and depression over time. Our home is always a reflection of our inner state in one way or the other. Even a 'perfect' home tells me something about the owner.

And finally, a very important and sometimes neglected aspect is that there is no judgement. We have all been there and sometimes we stil are. There is no right or wrong. There can be discomfort which are caused by blockages and those we will do our best to help our clients or patients to remove so the Chi - or, homoeopathically speaking, our Vital Force - can flow again. 

For me this is a most fascinating journey which will last a lifetime. I will post about it once in a while to share my thoughts with you. If you like to comment, please do so! 

Spring - The Awakening of the Wood Element

'What pattern connects the crab to the lobster and the orchid to the primrose and all four of them to me? And me to you?' - Gregory Bateson

AWAKENINGS

Last night I returned from a short trip to England where I spent my free time at some of the most enchanting gardens on the North Devon coast. 

Surrounded and engulfed by all the budding and bursting Chi, it was very easy to feel the various qualities of the Wood Element: its strong, upward-moving vital force, the vertical movements and its vast palette of greens. 

After the long period of introspection during the Water phase of the winter the Wood energy makes it easy to once again feel optimistic, determined and energised. I even feel compelled to drag out my old, long forgotten membership card for the gym, spring-clean my house and myself, buy colourful clothes, walk with a spring in my step and smile at strangers on the streets.

Wood stands for expansion, for purpose, fervour and determination. The Wood in us inspires us to strive for higher goals, to face challenges with an optimistic mindset, to be brave and take action! It is the archetype of the Pioneer. 

The Wood phase (spring) comes out of the Water phase (winter) and will expand into the Fire phase (summer). Now it is time to put our roots down, to grow and to flourish!

THE 5 ELEMENTS IN US

We all have an individual 5 Element make-up. Based on our birth date, time and place of birth our 5 Element profile tells us our birth Element and how it relates to the other four Elements.

Some of our Elements may be stronger than others (even overpowering), some may be weaker or even be missing initially in our chart. Which means life will nudge us to put some extra energy in developing the characteristics of the weak or missing Element! 

In a perfect world all of our 5 Elements work perfectly together hand-in-hand. Which would resemble a perfect state of physical and emotional health! The same applies to our homes where all 5 Elements need to be represented and well placed in order to create a healthy Chi flow. 

Our individual 'blueprint' of the 5 Elements says a lot about us: why we may be more emotional and artistic, for example, than our partner or sibling. Or perhaps react in a certain way which also slightly puzzles ourselves. Why we love certain colours or landscapes and dislike others. 

It may also explain why during this time of spring a person with a strong Wood Element may feel slightly irritated (emotionally or physically - think of the irritation of a hay fever!) as the Wood energy will be enhanced and therefore be overpowering. (In TCM the Wood Element reigns over the liver and gallbladder. If those Elements are not in harmony we tend to over-react or may feel indecisive and confused). 

THE 5 ELEMENTS IN OUR HOME

In Feng Shui we observe the interaction of the 5 Elements on the material and energetic level in a space: Are all Elements equally represented? What Element type of house are we dealing with? What Element type of landscape is the home surrounded by? Is there an over-emphasis of certain Elements, are certain Elements weak or missing? And how do the 5 Elements in the house relate to the 5 Element profile of our clients? 

The 5 Elements form three cycles which either nourish each other or control or even block the other Elements. A thorough reading of the 5 Elements in us and around us give very important clues as to where we may be stuck and how to move the obstacle. It forms the basis for the Feng Shui analysis

If you are curious about your own 5 Element profile, have a look HERE and click on the '5 Element report' icon for more information! This report will be calculated for you personally and gives you ±45 pages of valuable tips and information around your birth Element and how to use it to enhance your home and life. 

If you feel physically or emotionally out of balance and live in or near Amsterdam, I highly recommend you pay a visit to my lovely colleague, Sandra Guy from www.heavenlystaracupuncture.com !

Virtual Clutter Clearing

For a while now I have been pondering about the fact that there is a very interesting similarity between the ever expanding virtual space and the physical space:

Think about your own browsing experience: what sites attract you and which one's do you click away in a fraction - and why? 

How does the space of a website make you feel? How does it speak to you? What kind of an atmosphere does it have? What tone is it written in? Is it written en designed with awareness? Does the space of the site feel cluttered or clean? What is its purpose? How much integrity does the website have? Is its main purpose to take from you (mostly your money) or to give to you (mostly valuable information)? How about your own website (if you have one)? Do you maintain it regularly? Does it have any unnecessary information (aka 'brain-clutter')? Do you speak to your potential readers from your heart? 

Virtual_Clutter_Clearing

Another aspect is the desktop: since many of us are staring at it for a great amount of time each day, we may need give this some thought. How does your wallpaper look like? As this is an image you look at each day (even if it just peeks out behind gazillions of open windows) this may bring a smile on your face, connect you to something or someone you love and will be with you for the time you are spending with your computer / tablet / phone. 

How crowded is your desktop? Are there files and programs all over the place? Or are they neatly structured in an impeccable filing system? And if so, what happens in those neatly sorted filing systems? Do yo upkeep your information up to date and de-clutter regularly or are you an information hoarder (guilty as charged! ;) ) 

Feng Shui as I understand it is about awareness and becoming more and more conscious of our immediate environment - be it physical or virtual. Since our thoughts, feelings and belief-systems tend to become matter, it seems important to keep our virtual space as clean and de-cluttered as our physical space. 

What is your take on this?