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Feng Shui

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Stuck in a rut? Then start decluttering.

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From time to time it's not uncommon for even a person with the most positive attitude to life to run out of wind.  Here's an account of what Suzanne did when she found herself stuck in the doldrums.

Suzanne is a creative - a storyteller, poet, dancer and author who loves to inspire and educate using the visual arts. It's been her passion since childhood but when we began working together, Suzanne felt stuck in her career and only sporadically pursuing those things that make her heart sing.  While fortunate to be supported by a partner who gave her free range to be herself, it was also the case that after 28 years together their relationship was in the doldrums too.  

Behind closed doors
The overarching impression I formed of Suzanne's first vision board was the need for movement.  Evidence for this was in the repeating butterfly motifs (associated with the element air: thoughts) and sea creatures (associated with the element water: emotions and the imagination).  These motifs had already begun to work their way into her writing.  

As we sat in her working environment at home, which doubled up as the lounge, the energy felt flat.  Behind closed cupboard doors and more evidently on book shelves, some serious de-cluttering was needed to bring movement into her life. Making space would also generate a vacuum into which new ideas and opportunities could flow and take shape.

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Eat that frog!
I encouraged Suzanne to start each day by ‘eating the frog’: half an hour’s de-cluttering to get it out of the way and to lift her spirits. We began right away with some paperwork and I left her with a prioritised task list to add momentum. Last count after the blitz, 17 kilos had been taken for professional shredding.

Books and paper sit heavily in our space, weighty consumers of life-force energy; think about all the trees that contributed to their production, all the intellectual thought that has gone into the content.  In libraries we take comfort from this feeling of substance while in the home or office too much of this can be a barrier to progress.  

Shedding her skin
Clothes were her next target.  To help Suzanne select what to keep I invited her to imagine she was shedding an old skin and only wanted to retain clothes and personal effects which truly expressed who she was becoming.  A large bin liner filled easily.

Three years passed and Suzanne returned to make a new vision board, ready to explore the “what next?” question through the making of it.  In the interim, impressive creative progress had flowed into the vacuum she'd created.  A series of poetry performances had been delivered, two books published, and she'd begun working with children with learning difficulties. However, she was now feeling a bit isolated working alone.  She craved company and interaction and was contemplating a part-time job to combat this.

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Daring and courageous
It’s important to acknowledge Suzanne's proactive part in this progress.  Courageously, she had risen to the opportunities as they presented themselves and not talked herself out of them.  

Now, reviewing the images on her current vision board together in the context of her unfolding story, an exciting direction began to emerge.  It was time to convert all her efforts of recent years into an arts-based learning programme that could be taught in Colleges and Universities.   Not only would this satisfy her need for contact, she’d also be rubbing shoulders with her intellectual peers which she'd find stimulating.

More frogs…
Before we parted, Suzanne had identified another de-cluttering blitz was required in order to clear space for her new project.  There were also several signs on her vision board that a house move was calling but she was more in favour of making changes to the existing home instead.  From a Feng Shui perspective, I intuitively felt this was not the best solution since the existing home would struggle to adapt sufficiently to her evolving vision.  I also felt a change of home would serve her partner too and ultimately their relationship.
Time will tell.

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Little-Known Feng Shui cure revealed

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Think of the room in which you regularly work or where you go to get your personal administration done. If it’s at home it’s likely to be your spare bedroom, which you share with the Christmas decorations and the toys the children have out-grown.  Sound familiar? 

Typically the desk faces the wall and the door is wide open behind you.  There’s probably a bed in there too with the ironing on it.  How motivated are you to get to work in here?  How easy is it to stay focused when it's not set up for business? 

If you work in an office consider a typical room you might congregate in for meetings. There are stark white walls, it relies on artificial lighting, it receives no fresh air and already smells stale from the previous occupants who, by the way, have also left their debris behind. The table is a long rectangle occupying the centre of the room with chairs crammed underneath it and there's just about enough space to circumnavigate the edge.  I'm reaching for the Anadin already ....

Now let’s take a peek at the main open-plan office.  How many people can you see with their desks facing the wall like they've run into a dead end - and with their backs to one another.  That's disengagement played out right there.

Meanwhile the rest of the gang are likely to blown around in the middle of the room like dust bowls, never sure from one day to the next where they’ll land in a hot-desk culture.  I wouldn't be surprised to learn that morale is low and staff accused of being unproductive.  The company will never get the best out of its people in this way. 

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Some of us are fortunate enough to start our working day on a life-enhancing note.  On the way we pass by green fields, we see trees, hear birds - all of which lifts our spirits if we raise our head long from the mobile phone.  A 10-minute walk around the block can achieve the same effect if we work from home or do the school run on foot.

Contrast this with the mad dash to work in the rush hour, partially underground to arrive at offices that are 15 floors up and look out onto a concrete landscape.  In this instance the company would need to work extra hard on the interior using Feng Shui methodology to create a space that feels more natural and healthy in which people can thrive. 

One of the operating system of Feng Shui is concerned with creating balance between the two opposites -  ‘yin’ (the feminine) and ‘yang’ (masculine).  When an environment is disharmonious – whether it’s a room or a whole office block – the people working there will not function well.  The company is paying for their salaries and a chunk of this is going straight down the drain in reduced effectiveness.  

Whether it’s through good quality lighting, a humane arrangement of furniture, the introduction of a water feature, enriching colour schemes, healthy plant life, inspiring artwork and accessories - or a combination of all of these and more - by paying mindful attention it doesn't take much to create a more harmonious environment that’s conducive to work in.

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I walked into an architectural award-winning office block once to do a Feng Shui consultation with an image consultant in tow, only to find the two receptionists wearing woolly cardigans.   She wanted to go straight up to them and sort them out.  I asked her why she supposed they had a need to dress like this in such a prestigious building.  She didn’t know.  So I took her on a quick tour of their high-tech environment through Feng Shui eyes.

The reception desk was like a tiny island floating in the middle of a vast open sea exposed to the elements.  Right opposite, where the two were seated, were large impressive, revolving doors.  While these were energy efficient and minimised drafts, for the women it was like sitting in front of a wind turbine and very disturbing.

Right behind them were two sets of lift doors, opening and closing constantly.  As the front line of the business, no wonder they felt vulnerable and exposed and needed to add 'yin' layers in the form of woolly cardigans to feel safe and protected.

The surrounding area in which they were seated could be described as very 'yang' – with strong angular lines, lots of harsh natural light and steel supporting structures.  The Feng Shui solution to obviate the need for woolly cardigans was to relocate the reception off to one side, to introduce softer, curvaceous lines in their desk area, utilise large healthy plants to screen the reception desk and warmer, softer tones to define their working area.  

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The seating area for waiting visitors was also exposed and needed similar treatment in order that visitors could arrive, feel welcome and relax.  

The purpose of a Feng Shui assessment is to enhance the quality and quantity of chi (life-force energy) in our living and working spaces.  For so many of us who are deprived of any natural experience during working hours, we risk returning home more depleted than we should be.  After a few months of this, along with the lack of protection from electromagnetic stress that saturates a typical working environment, can leave us wired and frazzled.

When the environment is clean, clear and vital people respond by feeling happy, motivated, productive, creative and engaged.  Absenteeism and staff turnover are minimised.  Clients and stakeholders enjoy visiting. The company becomes a magnet for success.  And the same goes for the office at home.

That's why Feng Shui makes perfect business sense even if it's difficult to pronounce!  
And why there's always room for a woolly cardigan as a stand-by Feng Shui enhancement.

Harmonious wishes to all, Mary

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Feng Shui - ancient practice or New Age nonsense? 

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I’ve been a Feng Shui practitioner for 21+ years. I qualified just before I became pregnant with Celine.  In the early days I used to take her around with me on jobs strapped in a sling.  One time I left home so fast to bundle her in the car that I forgot to put a nappy on her and had to wrap her delicate regions in my scarf. Tra la la ...

I'm very passionate about this ancient, universal practice and I'd like to share some of the wisdom and common sense behind it.  If I had my way I'd rename it living mindfully because it makes such an important contribution towards leading a healthy, wholesome life - a far cry from New Age nonsense.  

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Going with the flow
We're all familiar with the expression going with the flow, which is about adopting the path of least resistance. When we embrace the flow, things seem to miraculously fall into place and our lives evolve with less effort. 

 

When we go against the flow, other symptoms are instantly recognisable: we get sick, feel exhausted, and lack direction.  If this continues, we risk depression and burnout, which are increasingly evident in our frenetic world. 

Part of the flow solution requires significant changes to our lifestyle.  Another approach is pay closer attention to the spaces in which we spend most of our time. Living and working environments that are clunky and don't promote well-being, make additional demands on us - physically, mentally and emotionally.  When homes, offices, gardens and any sub-set of them are going against the flow, similar symptoms to those described above can affect the inhabitants.  Enter the dragon ...

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Good chi
Feng Shui is a practical and metaphysical tool used to promote health, wealth and well-being by improving the quality of our environment.  

At the heart of this practice is the recognition of chi or qi (life force energy) which moves invisibly through space and knowing how to cultivate it to our advantage.  There's a similar principle at work in practices such as Acupuncture, Yoga, Reiki, Tai Chi,  Shiatsu, Qigong, - the purpose of which is to open the channels (meridians, chakras, nadis) in the body for chi to flow more freely so that chi can reach and refresh all parts, like Heineken. 
 
When we neglect our homes and offices thinking we have other more important things to do, then we miss out on the opportunity to cultivate good chi and improve the quality of our life. 
 
Where there are constrictions or blockages to the flow of chi - such as inappropriately placed walls, too much furniture for the size of the room, and other unconscious clutter - our task is to remove these obstacles so that chi can flow more easily.  Since everything that appears to be solid all around us is actually atoms and molecules in motion (according to quantum physicists), then everything in our environment is worthy of mindful consideration from a Feng Shui perspective.

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Wind and water
The literal Chinese translation of the words Feng Shui means ‘wind and water’ and provides further understanding of this invisible phenomenon, still considered by some to be a fabrication of the imagination.  If we could go back in time and ask a Chinese farmer 3000 years ago where he would choose to site his home and grow crops, his answer would be couched in terms of Feng Shui - prevailing winds, proximity to water, aspect to the sun, and soil quality - because all of these would affect the quality of his life.
 
Ask a gardener today the same question and he would give a value judgement which included similar considerations.  To do a good job, both farmer and gardener need to be mindfully aware of where their land is situated in relation to life-sustaining elements.  The rest of us don't typically know and yet we are still at the effect of these all the same, even though we spend most of our time indoors.  

Suitably located wind and water delivers good chi - and most primitive cultures knew this and worked with Feng Shui in one way or another, although they each had their own name for it. The wisdom is therefore ancient, universal and timeless. 

Feng Shui for all
I would argue that our lives are lop-sided when we don't pay more attention to our relationship with the environment in which we are unfolding.  Feng Shui is not a philosophy since it encompasses many practical tools and techniques.  It's not a religion although some may consider it part of their spiritual practice.  It's not recognised as a science since its principles have not been proved by scientific method, although an electron microscope could reveal a thing or two about matter that appears so solid.  

I went to work for a scientific establishment both in their London and Monaco offices.  They had no problem at all understanding why management had employed a Feng Shui consultant to help them improve their business.

Feng Shui is an art - and when applied wisely can enhance our living and working spaces so that the life force energy that envelopes us works for us rather than against.

May the flow be with you.

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Feng Shui recommends it's time to lay down your sword

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When was the last time you saw electricity?  So even though you can't see it the lights come on all the same don't they. 

It follows that just because you can’t see non-physical energy (chi) circulating through your living and working space, it doesn’t mean it's not there.  Chi still has the capacity to power - or dis-empower you and your environment – even though you may not be consciously aware of it. 

The ancient ones were very aware of it however.  It both informed where they located their homes and how they arranged them.  Aka Feng Shui, this phenomenon is both an art and a science and working consciously with it enables you to live more mindfully.

Here’s one clients experience of working with Feng Shui in her office.   Lamia is the owner of a home and pet-sitting company, housesitmatch.com....

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"I invited Mary to review my office.  I knew decluttering was essential to get rid of the dead wood and the serious overcrowding in this part of the home, where we'd located our on-line business.”
 
 “There was so much to attend to I didn’t know where to start.  Under Mary’s resourceful and diplomatic guidance we wrestled with mountains of files, old boxes full of stuff we'd stopped needing but had accumulated.  Once you get going, the clearing and re-organising is most invigorating and really helped me to re-focus and concentrate better.”
 
“The Feng Shui enhancements that followed were very important too. I became more aware of the quality of light, how to add colour with purpose, and to place furniture in such a way that the energy in the room was lifted and flows better.  It certainly got my business moving!”

“I even removed a sword!  I'd got so used to having around, I'd stopped noticing it.  But it was the first thing Mary spotted on arrival and not quite the right accessory to be sitting in the ‘Career’ area of my business, holding clients at bay!” 

To bring more awareness and presence into your home or office environment please give me a call on 07827017188 or email mary@marynonde.com.  I’m happy to take a look at the area in question and then roll up my sleeves and get things moving with you.  Plus I have a team of supporting services available too. 

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 #fengshui #decluttering #sacredspace #livethechange #livingmindfully

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When I nurtured my wealth corner with Feng Shui

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You know how it is when a part of your home or office doesn’t feel right. 

Perhaps you’ve tried various ways to resolve it – including ignoring it.  At best it remains plain irritating and at worst it drives you insane.  When you factor in what this irritation costs you in terms of lower productivity (if it’s in your office) and an emotional drain (if it’s affecting your relationship), thank goodness I got around to attending to my own space when I needed to!

I'd been too busy to attend to it  but one morning at 6am precisely I knew what I had to do and I was on it….

My office shares my lounge/dining room.  In rearranging the space I shed a coffee table and invested in a cheap but cheerful standing lamp.  The whole room opened up, felt lighter, and more pleasing.  I added some roses from the garden and a fragrant candle. I raised my money plant off the floor to sit prominently in my ‘wealth corner’ and to conceal the TV when I wasn’t watching it (most of the time). 

Both my desks now have a stunning view of the garden through the patio doors so lots of daylight falls on them, which is so useful during the duller daylight time of year.  The end result is that it’s given me a big boost of ‘hygge’.

The icing on the cake ...within three days, four new pieces of business showed up I wasn't expecting.   Now that’s a good outcome for nurturing my wealth corner – and I still get to enjoy being in the room so much more.

If you’d like my Feng Shui advice on how best to nurture your wealth corner, please do get in touch: mary@marynonde.com.  To find out where your wealth corner you can also request a Bagua map. 

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#fengshui #decluttering #sacredspace #livethechange #livingmindfully #soulathome #humanspirit #possibilities #mindfulness #sensoryplay #inspiring #inspired #memories #somuchlove

 

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A close shave with retail therapy

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A client of mine, Susan O, has admirably came to terms with her retail therapy habit by using Feng Shui and De-cluttering methods.  

I caught up with her recently and she told me how her resolve to stay solvent had been severely tested.  

See if you can relate to this.  Or maybe you know someone who is similarly prone to shopping rather than confront what is real causing the behavioural problem?

“In the space of one week I found myself buying a brand-new carpet and a new car.  One was on order and the other sitting in my parking lot while I sat inside the house painfully ruminating on both decisions.  I felt psychologically drained and tethered by the credit arrangements I’d just taken on."

“The car had come about because I’d gone in for a routine service and was persuaded to try a Fiat courtesy car.  Even as I drove the vehicle home, with all the papers signed, my daughter’s words rang in my ears: "we don’t need a new car, Mum.  We can manage with the one we’ve got!”

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“Fortunately, there was a loophole in Fiat's financial calculations.  I didn’t have the money to sustain the increased payments required, which would have left me with no disposable income. I used this as my get-out opportunity."  

“With the carpet I was even braver with no loophole to fall back on.  I was booked to have it fitted on a Saturday and on the Monday beforehand I called and cancelled the order.  The carpet man was confrontational but when I said I was very sorry and would he accept a cancellation fee, he backed down and even wavered the fee.  Now I'm clear of the danger zone, I can clearly see we can manage perfectly well with the existing carpet and avoid the upheaval the fitting of a new carpet brings."

“It was a close shave on both accounts and I felt I'd been tested.  It was evident to me that my psychological perspective had shifted.  I feel stronger and no longer a victim so I'm much less of a risk to myself and far less prone to putting myself under financial pressure again."

If you consider Feng Shui and Decluttering might help someone you know please put them in touch.  The advantages of this therapeutic approach is its immediacy;  the changes are made on the spot and often directly where the dysfunction occurs.  Please give me a call if there on 07827017188 if there is anything you'd like to explore or email mary@marynonde.com or use the sign up below.

The obvious advantage is you don't have to leave the safety of the counselling space to return home to implement the remedial actions on your own.  I am right there with you.  

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#fengshui #decluttering #sacredspace #livethechange #livingmindfully #soulathome #humanspirit #possibilities #mindfulness #sensoryplay #inspiring #inspired #memories #somuchlove #balance #joy #visualise #connection #dreamitdoit #manifest

 

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When retail therapy gets out of hand

When retail therapy gets out of hand

How many of us have splashed out on purchases only to wish we hadn’t later?  Sometimes we’re lucky and we can return or exchange them if we’re not feeling guilty about it!  But what if this behaviour becomes more ominously compulsive?
Please read how one courageous client, Susan O, speaks candidly about how she faced up to her problem - and addressed it.

 “When I made my first vision board, things were not going well for me or my daughter; we both felt stuck in a rut and I was compensating with retail therapy.  I’m a district nurse with a full-time job looking after people - and also a single mum.” 

“One year on, I feel like a real visionary, living my life on a whole different level since I overhauled my home through de-cluttering and Feng Shui placement.  My daughter has benefited enormously too and now participates in this activity.  With her own vision board to inspire her, I have watched Laura grow stronger and become more confident every day, even taking on a job that would not have been possible before.  Having left school early because of bullying, she has been awarded a distinction at the end of her first year in college.”

“For me Feng Shui & Decluttering is applied therapy.  You’re not just sitting around talking about what you think and feel, you are actually doing the therapy on the hoof.  It’s a dynamic process and there’s no avoiding change that results unless you just stop acting on the advice.”

“When I first started de-cluttering, I became acutely aware that I’d been acting out on my home what had been going on inside me.  So the Feng Shui task became more than simply shifting pieces of furniture around.  It’s like my cupboards were the inside of my head and Mary gently accompanied me to look inside them and unpack and get rid of what was no longer serving me.”

“Every time I handled something, I touched the emotion associated with it – so over time 12 months I was shedding the layers of shame and my mindset has improved accordingly, without me having to work at it.”  

“It’s a very understated therapeutic approach yet utterly transformative and with immediate effect. Mary is a such a brilliant facilitator, non-intrusive, very allowing, not prescriptive, and with a huge sense of ethic.”  

“I enjoyed each session for the rare occasion it gave me to focus on myself.  I was enthusiastically engaged in creating a space where my vision could unfold.  I feel as though I’ve fallen in love with myself and my creativity – and this is empowering. I've noticed that this shift is long-lasting and sustains even after the feng shui session is over.” 

“I visit homes all the time and sometimes I see people who have far more than me.  I feel very blessed and fortunate because the things I have around me now I have chosen with care and placed with awareness.  And because there is so much more than before, I enjoy them even more.”  

“Before I was buying more than I needed, trying to fill a void.  I was burdened by the bags of shopping which created extra stress for me when I got home and had to find somewhere to put it all!”   “It’s been so cathartic.  I could never go backwards now.”

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