Back to school means starting off on a new path. Whenever we stand at the threshold of a new period of our lives, we benefit by spending some time preparing for the next leg of our journey. Organize your home office using Feng Shui and the elements to help energize and arrange your space.
The elements are used in many spiritual and cultural traditions as a basis for understanding our relationship with our physical and spiritual connection to the world in which we live. In many indigenous traditions, the four elements, air, earth, fire, and water are used to explain that relationship. Ancient Vedic and Ayurvedic medicine principles are based on the three doshas (Vata/Air and Space; Pitta/Fire; and Kapha/Earth and Water). Feng Shui and Chinese medicine are both based on Taoist principles grounded in Taoist philosophy, metaphysics, and their practical application.
According to Feng Shui principles, there are five elements: wood, fire earth, metal, and water. Each element consists of color, shape, as well as its material composition. Learning to use each element to identify, organize, and arrange your home and office begins with understanding how each element functions allow for the flow of Chi/energy.
In Chinese, Wood is called Mu. Wood promotes creativity, innovation, and birth. The colors, green and brown, represent the Wood element. Wood element is best used in the eastern quadrant of your office. In Feng Shui practices the rectangle is the shape associated with wood ( for example, dining room table, desk, bureau, coffee table).
Fire. In Chinese, the word for Fire is Hua. The most masculine/Yang element, represents Summer and heat, growth, warmth, and increased light. All elements are composed of both yin and yang, positive and negative energy, and though Fire is very yang, it does manifest in yin as well. The warmth and glow of candlelight can be very yin, calming and restful. Colors associated with Fire include the spectrum ranging from red to purple. The direction governed by Fire energy is the South. The season of fire is Summer, and fire activates and energizes the heart and liver.
Earth. The Mandarin Chinese word for earth is tu. Earth element is strongly yin, and represents the earthly months, the last 18 days of each season, and is the archetypal energy for transition and change periods in our lives. The Earth element is very strong at this time, and using the Earth energy available to us. This might include: taking walks outside, tending to our gardens, using the fruits and vegetables we’ve grown to prepare for winter, and making whatever changes and improvements we want to help us move into the Autumn.
In our homes and home offices, it is a time to reorganize, clean up, and weed out whatever is blocking energy, taking up space, and preventing the flow of Chi in any area of our lives. Earth provides firm ground for strong relationships. Earth also represents unity and balance. Yellows, oranges, sandy colors. Use clay, brick, ceramics to bring in this element. Use of the Earth element allow us to contemplate, meditate, and process our thoughts more clearly and thoroughly. In Chinese medicine, Earth represents the stomach, pancreas and spleen (the clarifying, detoxifying organs). Earth elements help us discern how our lives, our health, and our spiritual development are toxic, blocked, depleted, or overloaded. The direction associated to Earth is the Center. Earth energy requires moisture, and again, is activated most through our desire for action, change, or movement during the final 18 days of each season. Emotions most related to Earth energy are sympathy, compassion, and empathy. We learn through our relationships and the life lessons we have come here to experience in our daily walk. The colors of the earth, gold, yellows, oranges, warm browns, activate Earth energy.
Metal. The Mandarin Chinese word for metal is Jin. Silver, gray, gold represent metal elements. Stone copper silver marble, and the Western wall or direction are Metal zones. Metal is ruled by the planet Venus, and is most associated with the season of Autumn. Metal’s symbol is a white tiger, and is guardian of children and creativity. When expressing itself in its most feminine energy, Metal is represented as a silver teapot. Strong, independent, articulate, focused, and driven, metal represents determination and power. It also helps us release the past and let go of what needs to be released. Metal connects us to grief and the need to release our grief in healthy ways.
Metal’s colors are silver, white, shades of gray. August, September, and October are the most productive times for Metal’s energy. Metal governs the lungs and large intestines.
Water. The Mandarin Chinese word for water is Shui. The Water element is the most feminine/yin of the energies, and considered a great strength. Water can change form, move around all other elements, dissolve, and erode even the most hard substances. Water’s season is Winter, and it governs the direction of North. Water represents the are of one’s career and life journey. Black and midnight blue represent Water in its yang form; when expressing its yin form, it is gray. Water equates to communication, networking, travel, wisdom. Use mirrors, a fishbowl, fountain, glass.
Water’s lesson is to overcome fear and become active in living out purpose. The element of water rules urinary tract infections, the kidneys, bladder, and prostate problems in men. Elimination of fear, and purification of one’s body are encouraged by the water element.
Consider the Elements as you begin to organize your home, office, desk, and workspace for the upcoming school year. Begin to make some changes, little by little, to take better advantage of the Elements in all areas of your life.
Many of us travel a great deal, so remember to consider your automobile or mode of transportation (how you travel as well as the mode, ie., overloaded and burdened, or streamlined and efficient). Watch for an upcoming article on how to use Feng Shui to organize your car and/or yourself for working on the road.
Take yourself out to tea at the Japanese tea house, Chaya at 118 Webster Street in Monterey. Specializing in fine Japanese teas, gifts, and home accessories, you will find a nice selection of items to help enhance your home and office decor. At the same time, you will enjoy the lovely ambiance and hospitality of Chaya. Go alone or take a friend to begin thinking about how you are preparing for the next stage of your journey. http://chaya4tea.com/