You’ve probably seen this symbol in artwork, décor and even jewelry. It was trendy in the 90’s even though many of us hadn’t a clue what it meant. I remember even having a necklace because it was the “cool thing” at the time. Now in my work I use this concept daily and I’m pleased to share a brief introduction with you.
Often times, you’ll find the symbol referred to as a “Yin/Yang Symbol”, however it actually is called Taijitu and has been around for thousands of years. This concept of Chinese philosophy serves as what I’ll call the “groundwork” for Feng Shui. Some items in your space are more Yang while others are more Yin. A dark cozy bedroom room is more Yin, while a bright colorful game room is more Yang. Harmonizing Yin/Yang along with having an understanding of the purpose of the room helps us create a balanced feeling or good Feng Shui.
Here’s what Dictionary.com says:
yin and yang
noun (used with a singular or plural verb)
(in Chinese philosophy and religion) two principles, one negative, dark, and feminine (yin), and one positive, bright, and masculine (yang), whose interaction influences the destinies of creatures and things.
Taijitu represents two halves which are complimentary opposites, equaling a whole. My teacher explained it to me like this: Without daylight we would not have nighttime, without hot there would be no cold, or death there can be no life. Make sense?
This symbol shows two large halves with a small touch of the other (small circles). This represents how even something that is mostly yin still has aspects of yang and the same with the opposite. Both halves are ever changing.
To clarify this concept further, I dug through some saved YouTube videos and found a favorite. I think you’ll like it too:
When writing my blog posts, I often try to write them like I’m talking to a friend (Well, because many of you are friends). My goal is to share information in an easy to read, fun manner and to help convey that altering your space does not have to be intimidating, hard or even time consuming. You probably find my writing to be playful and generally lighthearted. However, recently I’ve been reading many articles about clutter and its affects on mental health. This is serious. As someone who as dealt with mental health issues I feel as though this topic needs a more serious tone. I reached out to a friend and expert to get her take and advice on not only clutter and its affects on your mental health, but also her personal thoughts as a mom. Enjoy and should you need any help, Rebecca’s contact information is below.
Guest Post by: Rebecca M. Kondrich LISW, CHt
Greetings: My name is Rebecca Kondrich and I am a Licensed Independent Social Worker. I opened my private practice in November of 2017 and couldn’t be happier. My work is fulfilling and enriching. When I am not working, I am Mom to a spirited and bright 5-year-old daughter. She challenges and stretches me to grow every day!
I have always had a very deep experience of my physical and energetic surroundings. The presence of natural light, organization, clutter, and open space deeply impacts my mood. I move from at peace to tense and anxious depending upon the space I inhabit.
Through my work but more in the experience of motherhood I have become aware of the role of clutter on mental health. I now work with Mothers experiencing similar in my private practice. I work with women empowering them to reconnect with their intuition and empower them to follow their hearts. I’ve created an office that supports my personal development and allows me to connect meaningfully with others. I have studied yoga, meditation, mindfulness as well as social work creating the foundation for my work. My personal experience has also deeply transformed the way I guide others.
Looking around a room.
Pans on the stove
As my eyes scan the room this is all the sensory info I am taking in and my heart starts to PANIC.
The anxiety starts in my chest, heart rate quickens. Breathing becomes shallow and hurried. My eyes don’t know where to settle and all the information coming in screams chaos.
I don’t feel like I can settle and just BE in the room. The idea of straightening everything up or finding places for it to go overwhelms. I’d rather GO OUT then try to be IN this space. My Home doesn’t feel like HOME. It is not a place of respite it is a place so filled with stuff. My mind reflects the clutter in the room and a cluttered mind is an anxious mind. Research has also been done to verify this very difficulty.
I find that I struggle to sit with my daughter and just “play” without nervously jumping up to put something away, move it or toss it. I can’t focus on a conversation. My energy feels low and I feel like I am failing at housekeeping, failing at Mothering and failing at being female. I get angry and resentful that I am the only one impacted. (this of course is not true, children do not operate well among the too much-ness of toys) Children’s play is more purposeful when they have less, not more! Too many choices can be anxiety provoking.
I’ve been able to recognize how deeply I am impacted because my office is organized. Everything has a place. I feel nurtured and clear minded when I enter my office.
"When home is not a relaxing respite to come to, anxiety can run high."
I hear from moms in my practice that the struggle to work and keep up with home and the growing number of toys children now have is impacting their mental health. Mom's present as anxious and can spiral into depression, as they feel unable to keep up with maintaining a clutter free existence. Moms are comparing themselves to photos on IG and feeling down about themselves as a result when they cannot keep up. Beginning to put down some of the expectations has helped, which we work on in sessions as well as beginning to minimize. I recommend to all of my clients that they watch the Minimalist documentary. It is a great reminder that we do not need all that we think that we do and the freedom that can come from letting go. Emotional attachments to objects as well as awareness on the impact of throwing things away on the environment has also impacted how people dispose of or don’t their excess goods.
Many women are juggling more than one role. Having to combat clutter to accomplish daily tasks at home creates a cycle of avoidance. Feelings of anxiety, increased stress, resistance to following up with tasks can result. This increase in cortisol impacts creativity as well as ability to follow through with anything. When a stress response to clutter occurs individuals I speak with often shut down unable to complete something like cooking dinner or finishing the laundry. Many moms I speak with often struggle with the amount of toys their children have. Stress is increased in women who are also working and have the added responsibility of housework after their day jobs. The stress response to clutter is the same fight or flight response that the body experiences when there is a threat to safety.
Recommendations to Combat the Anxious Clutter Response: I take from the minimalist philosophy.
Thank you so much for reading and Lisa for sharing. I can be reached at rebeccamkondrich.com or via email Rebecca@rebeccamkondrich.com
I work with clients one-on-one in my Rocky River, Ohio office.
You can follow me on IG @rebeccakondrichlisw.
Looking forward to connecting with you!
This article has great information from Moms. I feel all of these words as truth!
Mirrors are often used as a Feng Shui cure. They’re a great way to lighten and brighten a room, reflect beautiful things, and they also bring in the water element. I use them often in both my residential consultations and commercial spaces.
Recently though I have had my “Feng Shui sensors” on high as I’m noticing mirrors used for decorative purposes, yet, reflecting items that do not represent good Feng Shui.
Here’s an example; Last month I was contacted by a local business owner to help them with their space. I walked in and was blown away. They had a rather elaborate design in the front foyer complete with a large decorative mirror. It was really a spectacular mirror with a mosaic design on the top, just beautiful. However, the Feng Shui side of me was struggling. Upon walking in you’d see the mirror and then the reflection of the wastebasket directly in front of it!!! They were literally mirroring and expanding garbage! It’s no wonder they were going through difficult times. They reached out as they were struggling to find the right clients. People would schedule initial appointments but would not follow through and continue the work. I won’t deny that they spent time and money creating a beautiful display to “wow” people as they walked in. Unfortunately, everyone including me, walked in and focused on the garbage can (that was filled to the brim by the way).
It is important to take a look at what is being reflected in each mirror in your space. Take the time to sit in each place a potential client might sit. Notice what their view would be. Then ask yourself if you can improve it. A floral arrangement, plant or nice piece of artwork would be a lovely reflection. If you can’t add to the space, consider rearranging the layout.
Looking for more information on the Do’s and Don’ts of Feng Shui? Join our informational group on Facebook called the Good Chi Creation Club! We’d love to have you!
I would bet that the bathroom probably isn’t one of the first places you think about implementing Feng Shui...
Bathrooms are often a source of “leaking” energy and more often than not they need attention. Let’s be honest, there are some not so clean activities happening in here. In addition to the general bathroom "activities" , there are draining pipes, cleansing of dirt off our hands and bodies, dirty laundry and more.
Below are my 6 Tips to Good Feng Shui in the Bathroom
Step 1: Deep clean your bathroom
Give it a thorough clean. Tidy those things you sometimes don’t get to and ensure it is sparkling!
Step 2: Clear clutter
Sure, we all might be able to dig in the back of a cabinet and find a travel shampoo from five years ago. Got five of them? Time to toss! Eliminate any old items, old towels that smell of mildew, old medications and more.
Step 3: Make it feel like a SPA
Yes! What can you do to make it feel like a spa? Soft, fluffy towels? Scented candles perhaps? Add in those extra touches so it feels like a lovely place.
Step 4: Keep the toilet lid down!!!
If you do nothing else on this list, keep the toilet lid down when not in use. Besides, you don’t want to walk into your new “spa bathroom” and the first thing you look at is the inside of your toilet!
Step 5: Plug your drains
Energy easily exits via the sink drains. You can pull the plug on your drains when not in use to prevent this “leaking”. This one is especially easy if you have a tub or shower that is not used often. Not a fan of this option? I like to add river rocks to my sinks to slow down the drainage. It looks great too!
Step 6: Tie a red string around your drainpipes
This is a traditional Feng Shui cure to slow the Chi down. P ick up red string or ribbon at a local craft store.
Hopefully these easy tips encourage you to take your bathroom from simply a functional place to a place that you enjoy being in. Now don't forget the fluffy towels!!!!
In Feng Shui we work towards creating balance in your space using several different methods (read more about this here). One way we create a sense of balance in a space is through the use of the Five Element System. Feng Shui describes the world through these five elements; Fire, Water, Wood, Earth and Metal. When working on a space we like to know the activities in the space and the desired overall feeling so that we can tweak these elements to gain the precise outcome. I personally really enjoy working with the water element. It might even be my favorite to work with so why not start here!
Are you a creator? Do you love to paint, sing, craft, or even just doodle? Maybe you’re struggling from a bit of writer’s block or you simply need some general inspiration in life. You can benefit from introducing the water element into your space.
The water element provides a feeling of flow, movement, and creativity. Let those creative vibes flow by adding aspects of this element!!!
Not sure how? Don’t worry, we have you covered....
The easiest place to begin is with color. Imagine you’re on a tropical island and on a diving excursion. You begin your dive viewing lovely rich blue toned water, the colors get deeper as you dive further down. Before you know it, you can barely see the surface. You notice the coloring turns to dark navy tones and eventually black. These are the colors of the water element.
Beyond color, look for wavy patterns and watercolor print fabrics as they will also bring this element into play. Look for bedding with a watercolor design or a wallpaper with a loose watery look like the bedroom below.
Adding a decorative backsplash in your kitchen is a fun way to bring in a watery feel. Doesn't this beautiful kitchen below just make you feel like you're at the beach? I love this particular backsplash as from a distance it looks like waves in the ocean. Perhaps you'll be inspired to experiment with new flavors in this space!
This spectacular wallpaper below definitely reads like moving water doesn’t it? I would expect lively conversation would flow wonderfully in this space!
Lastly, artwork depicting water is wonderful as well. Perhaps a beautiful image of a stream or a photo of your favorite seaside view.
If you’re nervous about “diving in” (ha ha) begin with a few small changes, then perhaps more so you are able to remain comfortable while shifting the vibe of your space. Again, we are striving for balance here so its important for the rest of our elements to be working here too!
Now let me guess… you loved learning about the water element, however, just as much loved the imagery, too right? It was an honor for me to use photography from Ashleigh Clark of the Ashleigh Clark Interior Design Group. Her spaces are simply gorgeous!!! As a blue fan, I just can’t get enough! Be sure to check out her website and follower her on Instagram too!
Keep your eyes open for our next Five Element post reviewing the nuts and bolts of the Fire Element!
I’ll be honest, every time I ship off any burnable item or our Good Chi Home Blessing Kit I always try to send the customer a special note to be cautious of any open flame. You may be planning to have a lovely ceremony and the next thing you know you have a hole burned in your new rug! As someone who performs space clearings in other peoples’ homes and office spaces its my goal to be a cautious as possible. Here are my top four tips for a safe smudging ceremony
1. Go Barefoot – No joke, during my first clearing ceremony for a client I was walking through their foyer and tripped on a rug. Quick lesson learned! From then on I decided to go barefoot or in my socks when doing a clearing. There’s less opportunity to trip and I also love the grounded feeling it gives me.
2. Abalone shells – Abalone shells are so beautiful. I use them for so many things from housing and displaying some crystals to holding business cards. These are often used when burning sage too. However, it’s important to thoroughly inspect your shell before using it. I’ve ordered in countless that naturally have holes in the bottom. The last thing you want is to have some ashes or even sparks fall though.
3. Ceramic bowl – My recommendation for burning herbs is to use a pretty ceramic bowl. I’ve purchased a few at antique stores, I have one from a friend who makes beautiful pottery, but my favorite bowl was found at the clearance aisle of Target! The bowl is a nice shape with ridges which makes it easy to hold and carry.
4. Break off pieces – Often times people like to light the entire wand of sage on fire and hold that over their shell or bowl. I much prefer and recommend you break off pieces into your bowl and burn those. You can always add more as needed. As a bonus, this allows you to add other scented items. My favorite is to add a bit of dried lavender to my bowl. The fragrance is just lovely!
I hope these few points help you to have a safe experience while smudging. As a bonus, place an order from Good Chi for any burnable item (includes sage, sweetgrass, cedar or palo santo) and we’ll pop in a 3 oz. bag of dried lavender for free. Place your order by July 10th to receive this freebie!
What is your front door saying??? Is it dirty and unused? Maybe the paint is chipping, and a lightbulb burned out? It’s often said that first impressions are everything and this can also apply regarding Feng Shui and your home’s entry.
In Feng Shui we consider the front door the “Mouth of Chi”. This is where energy enters your home, so it is important that we use tactics to attract and invite energy into your space. How do you do this?
When working with a client I often invite them to do a “visit” to their own home. I ask them to take a short walk down the street and then return to their home as if they had never been there before and answer the following questions.
Does the entry look tidy?
Does the entry look safe?
Does the entry look welcoming?
Often these three questions can tell you so much about your space and almost make you feel like you’ve seen your front door for the first time in years. Want to learn a little more? Check out my YouTube video regarding the Feng Shui of your front door here.
In Feng Shui our overall goal is to provide balance in a space. A balance of energy, feeling or overall vibe. However, we also want to take into consideration what is actually happening in the space. This is really important to help you feel the correct mood or energy to meet your goals and finish tasks in a positive manner. Feng Shui should help us feel positive, focused and prepared for whatever is happening in the space.
I often do talks and presentations to the public and find that this concept of balance is easier to understand when I compare the energy of a spa to a toy store.
Spas are often painted beautiful soft colors, light aromas of essential oils waft throughout the space, soft lighting glows, cozy materials can be found throughout and of course you’re certain to hear relaxing music playing.
The toy store on the other hand is probably the exact opposite! You’ll see bold primary colors in signage, packaging and décor. Noise including music, talking, and laughter, and both probably rather loud. There is also brighter lighting to light up all the items the kiddos are hoping to take home.
The energy of the spa works well to sooth your body for rest and relaxation, just like the toy store has an energy that promotes play, fun, and purchases. Both have very different vibes.
So how do we apply this to your home? By using the Five Element System of Feng Shui we can easily balance the energy of the space while also providing an energy for what is happening or what you wish to happen in the space. If we’ve ever worked together on a Feng Shui consultation you know about my questionnaire where I ask about specific rooms along with how your energy feels in those rooms. I then take in the balance of the elements and compare to how we could better tweak them to benefit you more. If you like a creative space, we'll make it happen. If you're looking to be more productive, we use the five elements to bring in that type of energy. Whatever you're looking to feel or do we can bring it in through a special balance of these elements.
Interested in learning more about the Five Element System of Feng Shui? We have more posts on each element coming soon. In addition, we’re offering 10% off our virtual Feng Shui consultations through the end of June. Click here to learn more.
Ready to schedule? Email us at Purelivingwithlisa@gmail.com to score the 10% discount.
Crystals...they're oh-so sparkly and beautiful! Did you know though that they can actually shift the energy of your space? That's why we use them along with our Feng Shui consultations. They can literally take our Feng Shui work to the next level!
Perhaps you're interested but not sure where to start? Well I've compiled my list of Top 3 Crystals For Your Home.
I like to use this stone near your home’s entrance. Not only does it provide protection and a pure, lighter energy at the “Mouth of Chi”, but place it just outside and your plants will love it too!
This beautiful loving pink stone belongs in every home! Place some in the love and relationships area, or our favorite... the center of the home so that love can radiate out!
Selenite brings a beautiful, airy and cleansing energy to your space. It will also bring you a sense of peace and calm. Place this in a meditation room or any room you’re looking to relax a bit. Struggling with sleep? Add one to your bedside table.
So now that you have an idea where to start, where do you acquire these stones? Head over to our sister site Good Chi Shop to check things out!
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? I definitely am! My husband and I would plan our entire Sunday evenings around having just the right snacks and drinks, a cozy blanket and we’d snuggle up on the sofa and having a GOT “date”! We both looked forward to it and what a fun way to finish out the weekend.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these shows though, it seems as if there are more and more of them. In addition to Game of Thrones, my husband likes the zombie shows too, and I’ve even watched The Handmaids Tale. While there are certain movies that will NEVER be played in my home, I do understand the entertainment and fun that these shows can provide.
Unfortunately, they can all leave a lingering negative energy in your space. There’s no denying the feeling after an intense battle scene! It’s sometimes palpable! It will leave you with chills or even a spacy feeling for quite some time.
I’ve begun to plan a solid 10 minutes shifting the vibe of my home after an episode or movie of this type (I also do this after a particularly sad move too). I like to make sure my home feels as cozy, warm and relaxing as before. This provides for a better rest of the day, not to mention better sleep that evening. I've compiled a few suggestions to guide you to shifting the energy of your space after watching these rather intense or graphic shows.
Turn on some cheerful music. A fun Taylor Swift song or one of my favorite’s is Pharrell’s "Happy" song. Blast it and don’t be afraid to have a dance party. This will even shift the vibe faster.
Turn on some soothing classical music. Music is so powerful and if you find you respond better to a beautiful Mozart piece, by all means…blast it and enjoy.
Light some candles, especially a scented candle of citrus or mint. Find something to really awaken your senses to a different aroma.
Burn some sage, sweetgrass or incense to shift the energy. Open some windows and let fresh air flow.
Lastly, I also like to shift the lighting in the space, this is almost like a quick “wake-up call” to the energy. Turn on the overhead lighting to brighten the room or open blinds and let in more natural light.
I believe that as long as we know we are watching purely for entertainment and keep a bit of a guard up while watching some of these wildly intense shows we can go ahead and have fun. Just plan that 10 minutes afterwards.
Just like cleaning up the snacks, you should clean up the energy!
Here’s a questions for you….now that GOT is over…what are you going to watch? I’d love to know in the comments!
photo: Jarek Ceborski