Using Feng Shui to energize our senses is one way to energize our homes and our lives at mid-winter. Winter is a time when we wear more clothes, spend more time and energy trying to keep warm, and often limit our sphere of movement. We may find ourselves staying in more than usual or driving/walking less distance due to the weather. We are now at the peak of winter, and it may be time to shake things up a bit. Time to get the energy moving and expand our world a bit.
Light .Since the Winter Solstice, we’ve all noticed more light and the gradual lengthening of the days. Light is an important element in coping with Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder (SAD). Consider using full spectrum light bulbs and adding more light to your home. Open the curtains and pull up the blinds more. Open the windows and doors occasionally to let some fresh air in.
Fragrances and Aromas. In addition to airing your house out, use aromas and fragrances to help energize and bring more life to yourself and your home. Recently, I participated in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure ( a month-long home clearing and reorganizing challenge). One of the suggestions was to get some fresh flowers in the house once a week. I began doing this, and have found it to be a real picker upper. Even in the north, there are some things growing in the garden that would make a nice bouquet (pine boughs, holly branches, or sprigs of rosemary) if you’re on a tight budget. I found too that I feel more expansive when I allot a small amount of my budget to bring beauty into my home. The local grocery stores often have inexpensive flowers or plants.
Other ways to treat your sense of smell include:
Use scented candles and incense (even a scented votive can provide hours of lovely fragrance to entice your senses);http://www.globalcandlegallery.com/
Use essential oils and scented sprays (rosewater and lavender);
Make your own sachet bags (health food stores sell small muslin bags that work well for creating homemade sachet to put in drawers and closets);
Do a weekly clean out of the refrigerator so as to eliminate lingering odors;
When taking a shower, put essential oils on a wash cloth and drop it on the shower floor. It will fill your bathroom with fragrance and will make you feel better (lavender and mint are healing fragrances). Select something that appeals to you, or visit a specialist in Aroma therapy to learn more about the healing and calming qualities of aromas and essential oils. Pharmaca in Monterey on Munras (by Trader Joe's), has a nice selection of oils and fragrances, and a friendly staff who can help you learn more about the value of aroma therapy.
Something to Catch your Eye. Add a new piece of art, hang a tapestry (a scarf, piece of cloth, or pashmina will serve the purpose), or have a photograph you love developed, frame it, and hang it. Do something to give your eyes a new view. Rotate your photographs and artwork. Create a new display, expanding higher on the wall, or filling in an empty, dull-looking space with a flash of color and beauty. Rearrange the furniture in a room, just to give yourself a different view of things. If you don’t like it, you can always change it back. Looking at the world differently gives you a different perspective. In the next column, I’ll talk about some changes we can make in our own behavior that will increase our energy and give us a little extra charge.
At the same time you bring more beauty and interests into catch your eye, I suggest you get rid of whatever is hanging on your walls, sitting on your shelves, or taking up space but not really appealing to your sense of beauty or creating positive feelings. For example, a friend of mine who had never gotten along with her mother, consulted a Feng Shui expert. The consultant noticed a large oil painting of a very stern woman hanging in my friend’s office. She asked who the woman was, and questioned whether or not this was someone who was a supportive influence in my friend’s life or not. My friend realized she had kept the family portrait and had it hanging behind her desk without realizing the subconscious effect the portrait was having on her. We often have photographs or objects that have “been in the family,” and we often feel compelled to keep them on display. You might want to question whether or not you want to keep attached to the energy of what is surrounding you or not. Get rid of whatever is keeping you attached to negative energy, memories, or connections.
Let yourself Feel good. Our tactile senses provide us with great pleasure. Winter is a wonderful time to use rich, thick textiles and fabrics both in the clothes we wear and in our linens. Velvets, chennilles, satins, fleece, flannel, and other warm, comforting fabrics can make us feel warmer and better. Give your hands and feet massages with hot oil (Trader Joe’s Vitamin E oil is great as is olive oil). Use a room dehumidifier to deal with excess moisture in your home, or use a humidifier with an essential oil, to put some moisture into your home. This is particularly important if you are running your heater a lot as most heating systems tend to dry our skin our. Drink plenty of water, because despite all the rain or fog you may be experiencing outside, our bodies still need a great deal of water in winter.
Listen to uplifting sounds. Sound levels vary from place to place, and even room to room in our homes. If you live in high traffic area, the sounds of the highway may become a steady, constant din in your environment. You may want to consider doing something to balance out any harsh, disturbing, or disruptive sounds. Using a noise machine (makes a white noise that some find relaxing) or playing music to balance out the sounds, might work for you.
Consider creating buffers to external noise using more insulation or using furniture or plants to help shield your home from disturbing sounds. Glass storm doors instead of screen doors help let in light without letting in noise and street exhaust. Screens (inside the house) and fences and plants (outside the house) help with noise control. Consider being a bit unconventional if your traditional bedroom is in a noisy area. Rearrange your living space to make use of the quiet areas for sleeping while using the noisier areas for activities that do not require as much quiet. For example, in one apartment I lived in in Monterey, I used the living room for my bedroom, and the bedroom for my office. I could arrange the bed like a couch , and had a sitting area for guests. I used a movable screen to separate the sleeping area from the sitting room. In the home I am in now, I am using the smaller bedroom for sleeping and the larger one for my studio, office, and guest room. The smaller room has better views and is isolated from noise of neighbors, entryways, and sounds of nearby buildings. All I hear are ducks, geese, and other birds and only an occasional passing car. My sleep is much better though the space is
smaller. It’s cozier, and there is no room for clutter so my bedroom is like a sanctuary.
In the next article, I will be writing about ways we can energize ourselves during the shifting winter times as we move slowly past mid-winter into the growing light. We are approaching the turn of the lunar calendar, and will be celebrating the Chinese New Year, so watch for articles about the upcoming Year of the Snake.