It’s back to school… whether online or on campus, (or both!) and a great time to take advantage of your kids’ excitement and anticipation about starting the year in a new grade. With all of the upheaval from the virus, it will be even more important to provide a comfortable and safe space for them.
I’ve always found it interesting that the area of the bagua that is associated with children and creativity is also the area associated with autumn, traditionally the time most kids are already settled back in school and preparing for the year ahead. The west area of the bagua is ruled by the I Ching trigram tui. Its attributes are joyfulness and pleasure (as in enjoyment in one’s activities), and support that nurtures and inspires. What a fantastic description of what a parent would want to do for their child!
All children—including our own “inner child”—shine with plentiful doses of encouragement and loving direction. To enhance the west area, you can use the color white, the element metal, and any artwork depicting children at their best. Artwork created by a child (or your inner child) is perfect here, as it has the qi of a child within it and honors their creativity.
After being indoors and doing all we could to minimize the spread of illness this past spring, it is time to get outside! Get some sun, swim in water, and breathe fresh air!
How about a family trek to a beautiful lake or river surrounded by lots of trees or a natural, outdoor hot springs? Montana has so many choices to get lots of sunshine, clean, pure air, as well as great places to swim—both in fresh water and hot springs.
What is it about the sun and nature that is so appealing, so healing? In Feng Shui practice, we strive to bring the balance of the elements into our environments, and this healthy balance can be found in abundance in the natural environment.
Swimming in water renews energy, quiets the mind, and has a deeply cleansing, balancing power at all levels of consciousness that is unequaled. Bathing in fresh water has many purifying benefits as the sun charges the water. Even if it’s slow running, the movement of a river allows it to cleanse and purify itself, increasing the qi and enhancing the air and land around it.
Although it probably is early to enjoy fresh cut flowers from your garden, you can still partake of the color, beauty, and fragrance that they bring into your home by treating yourself to fresh flowers available at your neighborhood supermarket or florist. Many markets offer a variety of sweet bunches of fresh flowers for less than ten dollars. Both flowers and live plants are carriers of rejuvenating yang energy.
Any room is enhanced with fresh flowers, although there are differing Feng Shui opinions as to their appropriateness in the bedroom. This is because the bedroom—as a place of rest—should be slightly yin to induce and enhance sleep. Personally, I can’t think of a nicer way to doze off and travel to the realms of restful, rejuvenating sleep than being bathed in the fragrance of fresh roses! When a bedroom is a place of convalescence, filling the room with flowers is very beneficial during recovery and healing, as the occupant is continuously bathed in positive yang qi.
Aren’t we all looking forward to a new year? The Chinese Lunar New Year for 2020 is celebrated on January 25 this year, which is the first day of the new moon in the first lunar month. The New Year is an extended holiday in China—their biggest celebration—and will end on February 8. This is the full moon and it’s celebrated with the Lantern Festival. The full force of this exciting New Year will actually commence on February 4, which is the first day of the Chinese astrological year, also known as The Start of Spring.
The honored animal for 2020 is the rat, and the element for 2020 is metal, with a yang attribute. The Rat is a clever, strategic animal, and it’s element is calm, cold, yin water and rain, which gives the Rat an edge on intelligence and quick thinking and allows it to solve problems with piercing vision. Something is always going on in that sharp mind!
The signs of autumn are all around us—leaves are gorgeous warm colors, and the days are shorter and nights are cooler. But there is a very important transitional period between summer and fall that we feel in our bodies but that we are not necessarily consciously aware of.
This brief cycle occurs with each change of the seasons, but is most felt in the shift from summer to autumn, as the fire of summer must create the earth element, which in turn produces the metal energy of autumn. Nature can be a real tease during this time. We can have some relatively cool days and chilly nights, and all of a sudden it seems like it’s summer again—it’s incredibly warm out, but the leaves are falling! This is the experience of the earth element; a state of flux that is all the while wooing us to begin turning inward.
After all the crazy weather we had in May and June, I’m ready to go somewhere WARM!! Planning a vacation this summer? Here are some tips to help you attract good qi wherever you go and however you choose to get there!
A road trip—whether by car or RV—can be a fabulous way to see and experience new places and new people. Start your trip right with the obvious. Make sure that your vehicle is in good working order; an unexpected repair on the road can cut into your travel time as well as your pocketbook. Give your vehicle a good interior cleaning before you go to bring good vibes into your car as well as helping to clear obstacles to having a good trip. If traveling by RV or camper, it’s likely that it has been sitting closed up all winter. Clear that old, stagnant energy that has gathered by airing it out thoroughly—you want to clear all musty, old odors. You may need to burn a smudge or incense to clear negative qi that may linger. Your vehicle is your “home away from home” while traveling, so a thorough cleansing is worth the effort!
I know all of you out there have been doing a great job cleaning and decluttering this spring! Now that you’ve finished some basic tidying up, you can clean at a deeper level through the use of efficacious methods for space clearing. Space clearing is cleansing at an energetic level, removing accumulations of negative yin qi. Negative qi is both seen and unseen, and can be felt through our own sensitivity. It gathers in buildings and spaces, clings to walls, ceilings, and furniture and tends to “hide” behind objects, in closets, corners and dark spaces. This extreme yin energy also will sink and accumulate on the floor.
There are many types of negative yin qi. Emotional energy, such as anger and hostility, as well as sadness and fear, can all be felt in a home. Behavior patterns that are spiritually or emotionally unhealthy and those that cause illness and even death, including suicide, carry this energy. Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse—as well as all other addictions—carry a type of negative energy that accumulates over time in a home or building. In many cases, the occupant is unaware that there has been a gradual build-up of negative energy. Negative yin qi can enter a building or space through other people, animals, or through forces we may not be aware of.
A very Happy New Year to you, and welcome to a new beginning that is promising to be anything but “boaring”! The Year of the Earth Pig — also known as the boar in Chinese astrology — commences on February 5, 2019, and marks the initiation of a cycle with much potential for healing and spirituality for those who desire to immerse themselves in the good qi of this year.
The Year of the Pig is the culmination of the 12-year rotation of the Chinese zodiac, bringing an opportunity to ponder and review the accomplishments and defeats of the last 11 years to prepare for the new zodiac rotation in 2020. It is a year of reflection and renewal and can bring a relief from past burdens and a welcome lightness to our hearts and minds. It is important though, to always be alert to those energies that would steal our qi, whether an individual or
an idea that is not beneficial in the long run.
It is so beautiful to witness nature going deep into her rest. We too, should be “resting” by slowing down and getting more sleep, beginning in the fall and especially in the winter cycles of nature. This initiates the process of building our energetic reserves as well as strengthening our immune system. Many people needlessly suffer because of a lack of sufficient, rejuvenating sleep. It is not just the number of hours. The quality of sleep — how deeply we go and the time cycle in which we get our sleep—are important determining factors in how we feel when the alarm goes off each morning.
Our health and spirit heal best in a night sleep cycle. In Chinese Medicine, the hours of 11:00 pm to 1:00 am benefit the gall bladder, 1:00 am to 3:00 am is when the liver cleanses, 3:00 am to 5:00 am is associated with the lungs, and 5:00 am to 7:00 am benefits the large intestine. The earlier you can go to bed during these long winter nights, the more highly beneficial it is. Nature is going to sleep earlier and rising later, and you should too! When you are awake and active, especially during gall bladder and liver time cycles, your body cannot detoxify and replenish.
As the warm days of late summer pass into autumn, nature is making her perennial transition from the yang months of spring and summer to the yin months of fall and winter. This change will be intuitively felt even before the Autumnal Equinox on September 22nd, as nature begins her transitions deep in the earth long before we see those changes visibly manifest. All of these shifts become more apparent with the increase in yin energy. Each passing day has less and less light, as the hours of light continue to get shorter. We feel this in our bodies and emotions; the organ associated with fall is the lungs and the feelings are sadness and grief. If our bodies or environments are not balanced, we will feel these emotions on a greater scale.
So what can you do? From a Feng Shui perspective, the area of the bagua that aligns with fall and the organ of the lungs is the NW sector of children and creativity. As the yin months progress, it is time for us to move more inward and do something to nurture our inner child and ourselves. The I Ching trigram is tui, it’s feeling being joyful and pleasurable. This is the time to do things that will bring you inner joy and boost your sense of creativity. Try taking classes where you are making or building things with your hands, cooking, painting, sculpture, or anything that makes you feel true happiness inside.