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By Alice Inoue
Is your cellphone charging nearby when you sleep? Is your electrical or digital clock close to your bed? Is the location of your bedroom near your wireless router, or is your computer in your bedroom and on 24/7?
If so, no matter how optimally your bed and furniture are placed, or how elementally balanced your feng shui is, you have not considered an important environmental factor that can adversely affect you – EMF’s, or electromagnetic fields.
What are EMF’s?
EMF’s are physical fields produced by moving electrically charged particles. EMF’s are a combination of electrical fields and magnetic fields. You will find these fields in your house wiring, televisions, radios, cell phones, hair dryers, microwaves, and even digital or electric clocks.
Due to the proliferation of electronics in recent years, EMF’s of various frequencies fill our homes, workplaces and public spaces. They are considered by many to be harmful to our bodies and almost every new invention adds to the electromagnetic pollution that already exists.
Why do we want to avoid them?
For over forty years, electrobiologists have studied the effects of EMF exposure on the human body. Although we are electrical beings, and our bodies are made up of various electromagnetic frequencies, the external EMF’s are far from being harmonious with the frequencies in our bodies.
Although earth’s electromagnetic field is beneficial to our body and supports optimal functioning, most of us do not get outdoors enough to counter balance the constant exposure we have to other electromagnetic frequencies.
How much is too much?
Virtually all scientists agree that 2.5 Mg (milligauss) is the generally accepted limit of EMF exposure. To give you an idea of what that means, an electric clock generates an electromagnetic field of about 5-10 Mg, and the average hair dryer or vacuum cleaner generates 300Mg or more. If you have ever experienced fatigue after a long session on the computer or had a sensation of heat or buzzing in your ear after using your cell phone, you may have experienced strong EMF exposure.
Our bodies are sensitive to high external EMF emissions. Our skin, DNA, blood vessels, vital organs, and even our cell membranes are affected. Plus, the effect of exposure is cumulative, so the sooner you can reduce your exposure the better.
Tips to reduce your EMF exposure
• If a television, refrigerator, computer or other office equipment is on the other side of the bedroom wall behind your head, consider moving your bed, as EMF’s penetrate all building materials.
• Place electrical equipment as far away from your bed as possible, especially cell phones and computers. The further away you are from the electrical item, the less impact it has on your body.
• Switch to a wind up clock or use a battery operated one.
• Turn your television off manually, instead of with the remote.
• Replace your wireless with a corded home phone, or at the very least, use the speakerphone function when using the cordless phone.
• Avoid prolonged fluorescent light exposure. (Yes, that is one of the reasons why you feel drained after a long day under fluorescent lighting.)
• If you are not ready to get rid of your microwave, move far away from it when it is on.
• Turn off your wireless routers at night, especially if your home office is near your bedroom.
EMF’s were not an issue even fifty years ago, but today addressing them is an essential component of feng shui practice. Although you cannot fully control your exposure to EMF’s while you are away from home, you can control your family’s exposure while you are at home, especially at night when the body is regenerating and needs its rest.
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By Alice Inoue
Each area of your home correlates to an area of your life: Your kitchen represents how your family is nurtured. Your bedroom represents your ability to renew and refresh your life. Your garage represents your independence and mobility, and your bathroom represents your ability to deal with change and transitions. Can you guess what your closets represent? They represent your subconscious mind and what is happening beneath the facade you present to the world.
Imagine your bedroom closet in its present state. Is it neat and organized, or messy and over-stuffed? Does your closet contain items that have nothing to do with your apparel? Can you see how the state of your closet correlates to what is happening in your life and in your mind?
A clear closet fosters a clear mind and supports clearing from the inside out. Here are some tips to help you “cure” your closet of whatever ails it. I follow these tips religiously.
- Let go of clothing you have not worn in a year or two.
Statistics show that we wear 20 percent of our clothes 80 percent of the time. If you have something in your closet that you never wear, you intuitively know that it no longer aligns with who you are. Ask yourself, “What does this item do for me? Do I feel uplifted when I see it or does my energy drop?” If your energy drops, drop the item.
- Can we tell how old you are by looking in your closet?
If you haven’t worn an item in a year or two, check to see just how outdated it is. Discard clothing that anchors you to past memories and emotional associations. Let go of the wide lapel jackets, the blouses with shoulder pads and the clothes that are two sizes too small. Just as you check expiration dates on food to clear out your refrigerator, look through your closet to see if anything has expired. If it doesn’t flatter you or is worn out, donate it. Keep your closet reflective of who you are now. The best way to move forward is to embrace the present.
- Saving items you never wear sends a negative message.
It is natural to want to save things, but saving anything you never wear, do not love, or that does not fit sends a negative message when you open the closet. It shows scarcity thinking rather than abundance thinking. Moreover, the items take up valuable real estate in your closet and in your head. Let go of scarcity thinking and trust that life will always bring you what you need.
- In with the new and out with the old!
From time to time you may purchase new clothes. For every new item you put in your closet, remove an unused item and donate it. This will help keep your closet uncluttered and looking abundant. Moving clothing in and out keeps the energy flowing in your closet and in your life. The more you have in your closet, the more your energy is tied up in mundane matters.
- How much clothing do you really need?
Purchasing a bargain for a bargain’s sake creates clutter. If you think you can’t afford not to buy something just because it’s on sale, think again. Never let price overrule usefulness. Don’t just buy to buy.
- Closet Awareness
Practicing closet awareness helps you realize just how much of your energy is tied up in your closets. Look at your closets with a new consciousness. Look at what you are keeping through a new perspective. Clear your closet to clear your mind!
By Alice Inoue
When people ask me what feng shui is, I usually tell them it is consciously creating an environment that energetically supports rather than drains the individual.
These days we give energy to so much in our lives (work, family, pets, worries, friends in distress, etc.) that it makes sense to invest some effort into creating a supportive environment. After all, no one wants to come home to be energetically drained by the environment.
An Interesting Question
Many people tell me they feel the positive effects of the adjustments they have made to improve the energy of their home. The other day a woman with whom I was having a casual conversation asked an interesting question: Does feng shui last forever?
At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant but after questioning her a bit, I understood why she was asking. About five years ago, she had hired a feng shui consultant to come to her home. She made the changes he suggested, and though she was pleased with the results at the time, she felt that the feng shui “wasn’t working” anymore.
The Essence of Nature
I explained to her that in addition to creating a supportive environment, feng shui is based on the principles of nature, so it is important to bring nature’s essence into our homes to keep things flowing energetically.
Nature is always changing. Summer turns to fall, fall turns to winter and so forth. Your feng shui and the energy of your home can get stale if things remain the same season after season, year after year. When your home feels stagnant and as if it has lost its luster, keep these things in mind:
• Nature is alive and expresses itself through the natural order of change. Your home is living space; so keep it “alive” by refreshing things from time to time to match nature’s essence.
• When you do make changes in your home, set an intention as to the direction you want change to happen. We become more “seasoned” with the passing of each year, so the changes we make should reflect who we are today. For example, choose new, more comfortable furniture, select new towel sets that offer a fresher look, position items for increased convenience, and hang new, more inspirational pictures.
• The basic premise in feng shui is that our life is reflected in the space in which we live. When we make changes in our lives, we should make corresponding changes in our space, otherwise it can feel limiting. By adjusting our space, we feel a greater connection to it and can tap into its supportive energy with greater ease.
We, as human beings, are constantly changing – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. You neither look at nor see things the way you did ten years ago. You have different clothes, thoughts, feelings and perspectives. If something in your life or in your environment feels stagnant, perhaps it is time to make a change in your space.
As long as we are alive, we are never done with change. Along with our belief systems and our style, our feng shui must be updated from time to time to continually reflect the reality of who we are. Where can you make changes in your home to match who you are today?
by Alice Inoue
Feng shui, a word that still has people guessing as to the correct pronunciation, has practically become a household word. What is it? It is simply a body of knowledge that can be used as a tool to “manage” the energies of your environment. By consciously placing yourself within your environment to your best possible advantage, you create a space for your life to unfold in the highest possible way.
When you are supported by your environment, you feel more energetic, you are more productive, things seem to flow better, the people in the environment get along better, and you won’t have as many distractions. Are you financing your environment with your precious life force, or are you gaining energy by being there?
The following are some simple concepts used in feng shui that you can put into practice immediately to create more positive energy in your life.
ENERGY MUST FLOW: Reduce your clutter. Clutter creates stagnant energy and prohibits energy flow leading to fatigue and lack of motivation. Your energy is tied up in the clutter of the environment and it not only weighs you down, it keeps you stuck in the energy of the past while subtly contributing to obstacles and frustrations. Clear out things that are no longer relevant to your life. Remember how good it feels after you’ve cleared out your closet!
HAVE ONLY WHAT YOU LOVE AROUND YOU: Every single thing in your environment holds an energy – an energy that either supports you, or drains you. Take away that which you do not absolutely love and what you have left will support you 100%. If there’s something that you don’t like, honor the intent and get rid of it, even if it was a gift. Surround yourself with things you love to bring more harmony into your life.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE PICTURES ON YOUR WALL: The pictures on your wall are “speaking” to you on a constant basis. What are they saying to you? Do you have pictures that denote desolation, emptiness, loneliness, turbulence and fatigue, or do you have images that speak of life force, abundance, vitality, peace and harmony? It’s important to have pictures that speak positively to you.
LOOK AT YOUR ENTRY OBJECTIVELY: Imagine yourself a visitor to your home or business. What impression would you get from your own entrance? The entrance affects a lot about what happens inside. Make sure it is inviting, “entrancing” and a welcoming transition from the outside. Clear anything that is in the way that would prohibit a smooth entry. Place life force in the form of plants by the doors to attract energy.
By taking the time to incorporate just these few basic concepts into your lifestyle, you will be on the road to using one of the most effective methods available to create a new flow of energy for yourself, your family and your business.
OTHER FENG SHUI TIPS FROM ALICE:
- When searching for “good” Feng Shui colors, when in doubt, if you choose a color you can find in nature you will find support from the energy of the color.
- Use water features near the entrance and position them so they flow inwards. Keep water features out of the bedroom.
- The door is the entry point for all energy. Make sure the key doesn’t stick, it opens effortlessly, there are no squeaky hinges and there is no clutter stacked behind the door.
- Use plants to add life force and to round out corners and chose plants (real or artificial) that are “soft” and rounded vs. “spiky”.
- Choose furniture without sharp corners whenever possible to enhance flow of energy.
- Angle furniture to break up linear energy to promote movement and ease.
- The hallways of a home or business are like the arteries of a house. Make sure they are not cluttered, and if they are dark, make sure there is adequate lighting.
- Keep your bedroom sacred and maintain balance and serenity in this area since we spend approximately one third of our lives here.
- Do not place your bed against the wall of a bathroom. Bathrooms are considered draining energy and this position will drain vital life force from you when sleeping.
- Use pairs of items or pictures of pairs in the bedroom to symbolize healthy partnerships, happiness and fulfillment in relationships.
By Alice Inoue
When is the last time you took a good objective look at your entrance? In feng shui, the entrance is a vital key to bringing positive energy flow into your home. The entrance is considered the “mouth” of the property from which life force enters allowing those living in the home to thrive with new opportunities.
Basic entrance feng shui
Basic Feng Shui says that an entrance should be inviting, attractive, comfortable and unobstructed. It’s often advised that you have a welcome mat and portray life force in the form of color or plants. Items that block energy flow and create obstacles such as shoes and dead plants should be removed.
In addition, it is important to have your address in plain view, and your home easy to find. Having your name and address in multiple locations is favorable – on the building, the door, the mailbox, etc. The easier it is to find your home, the better of a job you are doing to direct the flow of energy to your entrance.
All of these are basic “entrance rules” and can be found in any simple feng shui book. However, I’d like to go one step further and explain why symbolically and energetically it is so important to pay attention to our entrances.
The entrance marks a threshold
The entrance of a property (the entrance is considered the architectural front door versus the garage door entrance) denotes the threshold between the outer world and the inner world. It marks the transition from that which is considered public, to that which is private and unknown. Making the entrance comfortable eases the subtle, yet very real discomfort in transition on a subconscious level.
Entryways that are stark and empty create discomfort. Mystery at the entrance does not invite positive inward energy flow. The items and furnishings you place at the entrance need to create a link to the people within in order to establish comfort and familiarity. By taking steps to do so you will “entrance” the energy to more easily cross the threshold.
Create an entrance identity
Since the entrance is the first clue a visitor has of what lies beyond the door, it is important to create a clearly-defined identity. You can do this by using items that hint about the personality and uniqueness of those living within. It can be a distinctive welcome plaque, a unique fixture, blooming plants, or friendly figurines of items that represent you or your family – be creative!
Use hip-height items around the entryway to offer stable energetic support. Why? Because hip-high items energetically represent “cane” energy – what people use when they are unsteady on their feet to support them as they move from one location to another.
Items and furnishings at hip height promote stability and offer a subtle sense of safety. Entrance ways that have the feeling of support are less stressful to cross.
Make changes to invite energy
If you follow these concepts when creating your entrance, you are not only establishing a sense of safety and connectivity for those who walk through it, you are issuing an invitation for beneficial energy to enter.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor when you look at your entrance. What do they feel as they are walking towards your front door – like they can’t wait to go in or like they feel like running away?
Brainstorm for ways to create an inviting entrance so everyone in your home can benefit from the positive energy. It’s worth it!
By Alice Inoue
Imagine how you would feel walking into a stark white room versus the same room with walls painted with an enveloping comforting earth tone such as golden bisque. You would feel very different in each of those two rooms, wouldn’t you?
Color has the power to change the entire energy of an environment and is very important to consider when creating a space that feels good. Color can change a mood, activate your emotions, and affect your subconscious. The impact of color is greater than just what you see through your eyes; it also has a vibration that affects you both physiologically and psychologically.
In addition, your reaction to color is cultural and depends on your traditions and beliefs. For example, in America, people wear white at weddings, whereas in Taiwan, where I grew up, people wear white at funerals, so culturally speaking, white means something different depending on whether you are American or Chinese.
Color likes and dislikes are also very personal, so I always advise clients to stay away from using charts that list what colors are good for the various rooms in the home. I prefer to work with what feels good to them. Although every color has a meaning in feng shui, it doesn’t make sense for me to suggest that someone paint a room blue just because it’s a good feng shui color for that room if the person doesn’t even like the color blue.
Feng shui color systems
There are multiple color systems used in feng shui that can cause confusion at times: bagua, five elements, and rainbow spectrum, to name a few. The bagua color system uses green to represent new life and growth, purple to symbolize wealth and abundance, and pink to represent love and marriage. You can use these meanings as your intention when you choose colors.
The five elements color system, uses the colors green, red, yellow, white, and black, and assigns meanings to each of these colors. You can choose to use these colors to represent the elemental qualities that you desire to enhance such as red for action (fire), yellow for stability (earth), and green for growth (wood).
The rainbow spectrum color system is based on having all the colors of the rainbow in a space to create a positive feeling in a room or in a home.
Psychological color attributes
Interestingly, the discipline of psychology also has a color attribute chart that provides information on the subconscious impact that colors have on people. Some of this is very similar to the feng shui color attribute chart and is useful when you want to find colors that evoke certain emotions. For example, the psychological chart I have says that yellow represents joy and happiness, grey pulls down energy, and red provides energy and stimulates the appetite.
Bring in the essence of nature
When it comes to color, if you are not a trained interior designer with experience in picking out colors, keeping it simple is safest. Color and color strips can be confusing if you are not an expert, but by following the guidance that nature has set forth for us, we can appear as though we are experts.
My advice is always, when in doubt, use colors you would find in nature. Look at your favorite landscape image, or go to the park. The colors you see in nature are the colors that you can bring into your home without making a mistake. We never tire of looking at nature, so by choosing shades of our favorite colors from nature, you can create an environment that is based on nature’s perfection.
By Alice Inoue
I see televisions in the bedrooms of about eighty percent of the homes I visit. Odds are you have one in your bedroom as well. During a feng shui consultation, many of my clients sheepishly say, “I know that I’m not supposed to have a television in the bedroom…” Many people are afraid I will tell them to give it up – and I never do.
This “rule” that you may have heard about is based on the theory of proper placement and proper usage. Just as in nature you would never see a large oak tree growing in the middle of a bamboo forest, or find a peacock running with the zebras in Africa, you wouldn’t consider putting your dining table in the bathroom or your bed in the kitchen. In the same way, televisions in the bedroom are not considered a “match.”
In feng shui, the concept is that the more you place things in their “proper place”, and use each room in the way it is intended, the more balanced and peaceful the energy can be.
The function of the bedroom
The primary function of a bedroom is rest, rejuvenation, and intimacy with yourself or your partner. The television is conventionally thought to be contrary to these functions, along with office or exercise equipment in your bedroom. That is because it puts conflicting functions (movement and rest) in the same room.
Other television-in-the-bedroom theories
Some schools of thought believe that you can be startled by your own reflection in the television screen in the middle of the night when you awaken. Others say the signal that picks up the stations is still energetically active even if the television is off, which can disrupt sleep.
Insomnia specialists, who do not consider feng shui advice, recommend taking the television out of the bedroom to indicate to the subconscious that the bedroom is a place for rest.
While all these theories do have merit, I feel that asking a client to remove a television for feng shui purposes, if they love it, or asking them to cover it at night if they do not have insomnia, is impractical.
When you and your mate have differing opinions…
The big challenge comes when one person loves the television in the bedroom and the other wants it removed. Often I am put in the middle of disagreements and am expected to side with one or the other.
How do I handle this? I always allow the couple to come to their own decision and navigate towards the compromise that works best. If the television is staying in the room, and it is an issue between the couple, here are questions I ask them:
- Can you purchase a television cabinet with doors so that it is out of sight?
- Can you cover it with a cloth?
- Can you mutually agree upon an earlier time to turn it off?
- Can the watcher wear a headset so the sound does not disturb the other?
- Can the sleeper wear eyeshades to block out the light activity that may prevent them from falling asleep sooner?
It is never easy when we are at odds with our partners, especially when we firmly believe our way is right. Sometimes the one who is bothered by the television will just “put up with it,” which leads to a build-up of resentment over time. It’s important to realize that the feelings of both parties are valid and neither is right nor wrong.
If the television is an issue for you and your partner, take the time to discuss how you can find a happy medium. If not, may you continue to sleep in peace!