Monthly Archives: November 2009

When Love Doesn’t Meet Your Expectations

I have come to understand that the Universe is full of love. But it took decades to come to this realization.  Growing up in a dysfunctional family the truth about love and abundance was obscured.  Now I see that love is abundant – without limits.  I don’t have to do anything except be in the present moment to receive the love all around me.  If I am surrounded by busi-ness and distraction it makes it harder for me to feel love.  Love isn’t ever not there, it’s simply me that sometimes isn’t able to access it.  Love is after all our essence as Spiritual beings created by Divine Spirit.

Yesterday I experienced a familiar feeling of lack of love.  For many years, I’ve wanted to feel loved by my sister. I’ve have the expectation of having a close relationship with her.  I wanted us to share time with each other and grow through life together.  Coming from a dysfunctional family, that’s simply not how our relationship has manifested.  I wanted my sister to fit my expectations and give me what I thought I needed. But she hasn’t.  And sometimes that doesn’t feel okay to me. 

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself for not being acknowledged by her.  Yesterday was one of those days when I felt, what’s wrong with me?  What did I do to her to make her dislike me so much?  What can I do to “make” her love me?  Those thoughts led to, “I’m not okay because I don’t have the type of relationship with my sister that I wanted.”  And then I felt anger and frustration.

I stewed for a couple hours.  I retired for the day and crawled into my warm soft bed with my two Westies, Lucky and Gracie.  Lucky gives affection on his terms so I’m delighted whenever he doles out kisses or lays close to me.  Last night, he curled up in my lap and stayed there.  It was a delightful surprise. 

Then I “woke up”  and became present.  Here I was, surrounded by love from my dogs and my partner. What was I lacking?  I was lacking nothing.  Yet, if I had remained in my negative feelings and didn’t become present I could have missed this experience.  

The message for me is don’t look at what form love comes in. 

Look at the presence of love in your life.  It is abundant.  Realize that getting love from a friend, pet, or a stranger is no different from feeling love from a spouse or child. Love doesn’t come in degrees. We sometimes discount the love that’s surrounding us if we’re not receiving the love from that “special” person. 

When you feel disappointed in not getting what you expect from a person, the way to get out of that feeling is to see that it’s your Ego voice telling you that you need a certain person’s love to be okay.  It’s not true.  The truth is that love is always available – sometimes in surprise packages. 

“Be Still and Know”  can also mean “Be Still and Know that Love Is.”

White Christmas – Green Thanksgiving?

The idea of having a White Christmas is popular, why not have a Green Thanksgiving?  Thanksgiving is a perfect holiday to celebrate being grateful to the planet and honoring the loved ones in your life (including you!). If you’d like to focus on eating healthy food, consuming less, and being grateful for your life exactly as it is right now, here are ideas that may help.

Eating Healthy Food

Buying food that’s locally grown and organic if possible is a great way to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving.  Locally grown food tastes better than food that has to be grown and packaged for maximum shelf life, and it requires less fuel to reach store shelves.  Organic fruits, vegetables and grains are grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers; organic meat is produced without antibiotics and artificial hormones. Organic farming also produces higher yields, increases soil fertility, prevents erosion, and is more cost-effective for farmers. Locally grown food also contributes to the local economy.  For a local Austin company that delivers local and organic food to your door, visit www.greenling.com.

On a national level, the Good Food Guide www.goodguide.com rates all types of food and they have a special guide to Thanksgiving foods.  If you’re going to serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, you can find out how much salt is in your turkey, how much high fructose corn syrup is in your cranberry sauce, which preservatives are in your stuffing, and the amount of trans-fat in your pie.

The guide shows health and environmental impact ratings based on nutritional data from the USDA.  Their ratings for Diestel Farms Organic Turkey, Kraft chicken with whole wheat stuffing, and Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin are all high.

Reducing your Waste

To make your Thanksgiving celebration as eco-friendly as possible buy foods that are packaged in recyclable material.  And buy what you’re going to eat – try not to over-buy. Think ahead of how to use the leftovers that you’ll inevitably have.  Instead of buying extraneous Thanksgiving decorations – make your own.  And use cloth napkins that can be washed and used again. Recycle paper, plastic, glass and aluminum containers. If you don’t already have a compost bin, this may be a good time to use your fruit and veggie trimmings to start one. Compost is great for a garden.

Being Grateful

It is Thanksgiving after all!  The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving after fleeing religious persecution in Europe. They were free and grateful to be alive. Reconnect with the Spirit of the Holiday.  Stay in the each moment of the day and realize that sharing love among your friends, family, and/or pets is more important than getting anxious over an over-cooked turkey or lumpy gravy. 

Enjoy being you.  Enjoy being with people or enjoy being with yourself.  Notice all the small gifts you have in your life.  It is the small things that we often overlook that contain the richness of a well-lived life. Avoid getting caught up in the media touting all the great deals for the official start of the Christmas buying season the next day. Instead, volunteer to help at a homeless shelter to put your life in perspective and give to others. Take a walk in nature.   Whatever unfolds on that day, meet it with acceptance and gratitude.

How Green is Your Green Product?

purplegloveHow do you know if a product purporting to be “green” is true?  Since there’s no standardized definition of the word “green” it follows that there’s no standardized definition of  a green product.   Wikipedia offers this defintion of Green Living:

It means living in a way that causes as less harm as possible to the Earth.

Green products purport to cause less harm to the environment than the other products.  So, how can you choose a true green product?   There are clues you can look for to determine if the claims an ad is making are sincere or if a company is purposely trying to mislead you into thinking a product is healthier, safer, or greener than it truly is. 

Ways to Determine how Green your Green Product is:

Look at the words. Look for specific rather than general claims. The following words are essentially meaningless because they are too vague and/or there aren’t any standard definitions for them:

· Natural

· Hypoallergenic

· Nontoxic

· Fragrance-free or unscented

· Free range

· Hormone-free

· Antibiotic-free

· Eco-friendly, environmentally preferable, or eco-safe

· Green

Look for these specific claims:flower pot

· Made from post-consumer recycled paper

· Formaldehyde-free

· No additives

· No animal byproducts

· No parabens

· Phosphate-free

What Else You Can Do

Visit Consumer Reports’ http://www.greenerchoices.org to find out which labels and terms you can trust.  Look for proof of the “greenness.” Choose products with claims that can be verified or that have been certified by a third-party to meet certain standards. Some credible logos to look for include USDA Organic, Energy Star, and Green Seal.  And good news, the FTC is expected to update its outdated regulations for green advertising claims soon.

Websites to Check for Specifics

These websites do the homework for you:

http://goodguide.com rates food, toys, personal care items, and household products based on environmental, social, and health attributes.   

http://greenzer.com collects product and merchant info from across the Internet to create a score for each product it features on its site.

http://cosmeticsdatabase.com can help you find the safest and healthiest cosmetics and personal care products. 

Personally, I’ve used the cosmetics database site often to help me find good skin care products and was impressed by the amount of information it offers.

Bottom-line is simply that like most consumer products profit is king and to make more money companies are jumping on the “go green” bandwagon.  If you sense that a product is taking liberty and doesn’t have a clear label on the back you may want to do a little investigation to know that you’re making a good choice.  Until standardized labeling is instituted, we’ll have to investigate green claims ourselves.

Feng Shui 101- The Five Elements

Orange Chair

Can you spot the Five Elements in this photo? Scroll down for answers.

Feng Shui is based upon the principles of Yin and Yang.  Yin and Yang are the parents of “the five elements”.  The five elements — fire, earth, metal, water, and wood are used in Feng Shui to create balance and harmony.   The elements describe different types of energy (qi) and can be thought of as “five phases” because energy is constantly moving and transforming.  Everything in the world is created from a combination of the five phases.  They are the building blocks which create the quality of energy present in a certain space. 

Why is this important?  Because when energy is balanced, you’ll feel relaxed and comfortable in a space producing a higher level of satisfaction with life.

The Five Elements and their Characteristics

Element Quality Color Shape
Water Flows, falls Black, Blue Wavy
Earth Compacts Yellow, Brown Square, Cubic
Wood Grows upward Green, Turqouise Rectangular
Metal Contracts White, Gold, Silver Round, Spherical
Fire Radiates Red, Orange, Purple Triangular

The goal of Feng Shui is to balance the elements in an environment so that they don’t conflict with each other.  Using color, shape, furniture arrangement and space planning, a Feng Shui practitioner arranges the elements a harmonious way and makes the unseen, seen.  The qualities of each element is manifested in its color, material, and shape.  However, you’ll rarely find an element that’s just a single element – most things consist of a combination of elements.  For example, when we use the term wood qi, it means that it has a preponderance of wood qi, not that it is only wood qi.  

How to Balance the Elements

The correct use of elements will create the productive cycle.  The productive cycle means the elements are not overpowering one another.  The space will feel comfortable and look appealing.   The productive cycle works like this: 

five elementsWater nurtures -> Wood nurtures -> Fire nurtures -> Earth nurtures -> Metal nurtures -> Water. 

In contrast, using too much or too little of an element causes conflict between the different energies which causes unbalanced qi.   This is known as the destructive cycle.  The destructive cycle works like this:  

Water weakens -> Fire weakens –> Metal weakens -> Wood weakens –> Earth weakens –> Water.  

destructive cycle

Applying the Principles to a Room

At the most basic level, if you have a room with a pitched ceiling, painted red, with white furniture and white drapes containing circular-shaped pattern, the room will have a lot of fire and metal qi.  Why?  Because red is a fire color, and the pitched ceiling is a fire element (triangular), white is metal color and circles are metal shapes.  Fire is destructive to metal.  The elements are following the destructive cycle. This is undesirable and the unseen conflict between fire and metal can cause you discomfort in the room. 

How to move into the Productive Cycle?

Add rounded-leaf plants in square-shaped pots to add earth, wood, and water energy.   Earth energy is found in the dirt and the square-shaped pot.  Wood energy manifests from the color green and from the very nature of the plant.   Water energy is found in the curved shape of the leaves.   Adding the missing elements buffers the conflict between metal and fire and creates the productive cycle.

Going Deeper

A Feng Shui practitioner would go deeper and do more a thorough analysis before making recommendations by asking these questions:

  • First, what type of inherent energy is found in the room?  This is based on the compass reading of the room and charting of the natal chart or flying-star chart.  (“Star” meaning energy) 
  • Second, what is the room used for?  Recommendations for a bedroom will be different than for the dining room.  You need to determine the quality of energy needed  in the room based on its usage.  For example, earth energy in a bedroom is desirable because it is grounding and can help you relax.  In an office, too much earth can make you lethargic and not wanting to work.
  • Third, what is the birth-year energy (or ming-gua) of the people who will be using the room?  If you are a water element the best elements for your bedroom are water energy and metal energy (metal creates water).   Yet that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to add these elements if they are already inherently in the room.

The goal of Feng Shui is to create balance and harmony through correct energy balancing. When a room is balanced energetically odds are you’ll feel it as you walk in.  If you get the feeling of peace and feel like relaxing your shoulders look around and see if you can spot how the five elements are used in the room.  Intuitively, we all can feel when a space is balanced.

 

Orange Chair

Can you spot the Five Elements in this photo?

Water – the curved arms of the chair; the color of the floor (black).

Wood – the inherent material used in constructing the chair; the shape of the chair legs.

Fire – the color of the upholstery (orange).

Earth – the square-shape of the squares on the wall; the shape of the bottom chair cushion.

Metal – the color the chair was painted (white); the circular back of the chair; the color of the wall (grey).

 

How the Number 11-11 Helps Us Wake Up to Spirit

008_08Today is 11-11-2009.  A simple way to describe the 11-11 configuration is a portal into the Divine. If you notice 11-11’s you are on track to uncovering a deeper, more profound way of living, which unites you with love and synchronicity.  Noticing 11-11’s will help you detach from dualistic thinking and ego motivated actions – even for just a moment.

When I see 11-11 I believe that I’ve been prompted by a higher consciousness to notice that I am a higher consciousness, a Spirit in a body and not the other way around.

In numerology, 11 represents idealism, intuition, artistic and inventive genius.  Eleven carries psychic vibrations and has an equal balance of masculine and feminine properties. Eleven also contains many gifts such as psychic awareness and sensitivity.  Human DNA, our genetic memory, is encoded to be triggered by digital codes at specific times and frequencies. Those codes awaken the mind to the change and evolution of consciousness. The symbol 11:11 is a pre-encoded trigger placed into our cellular memory banks which, when activated, signifies that the time of completion is near. Completion meaning an end to your current vision of the world and instead an awakening to the unseen, to Spirit.Miscellaneous Posts entering Path

If you notice 11-11’s or begin noticing them, it may be a signal that you are waking up from the trance of ego.  The appearance of 11:11 is a beneficial act of the Divine telling you that it is time to take a good look around you and see what’s really happening. You are positioned to step into a new way of living for yourself and others.  By stopping and noticing, you can jettison out of ego and fear and into the present moment, into love.  Remind yourself that you are connected to all beings and Divine Consciousness is guiding you.

Pause when you notice the next 11-11.  You may start noticing them on a clock, cash register slips, license plates, or in phone numbers.  As you start noticing them, and you’ll notice them more frequently.  Soon they will be daily wake-up call for you to remember who you really are.

Why use a Realtor to Sell your Home?

Front_Entrance_VThinking of selling your home yourself?  Know the facts before before making that decision.

1)  The median selling price in Texas for homes sold without a Realtor® is 17% lower than homes sold with a Realtor®.  Buyers are knowledgeable and intelligent.  They know they can buy your home for the price you are quoting… less the commission!  Even subtracting a 6% commission, you’re more likely to net more by using a Realtor®.  The result is that you do all the work and end up with the same or even less proceeds than by using an agent.

 2)  Can you market it to the right buyers?  The amount of exposure to buyers is significantly greater when you use an agent.  Advertising your home and getting the word out to the top producing Realtors® in the first two weeks of listing it is crucial to getting the most amount of money for your home.  Selling price inevitably lowers the longer the home sits on the market.  Home sellers don’t have access to all the opportunities that are available to Realtors®.  Did you know that the Travis County MLS system exposes property to 7,000 agents in 11 counties?

CB104955

 3)  Most homes sold by licensed Realtors® sell quicker. The first two weeks your home is on the market is crucial.  Having it staged correctly and having an effective marketing plan in place can greatly lessen the time the home is on the market. 

 

Did you know that 90% of “For Sale by Owner” sellers actually end up hiring a Realtor® to sell their home?

 

 4)  Finding a Realtor® that’s going to give you exceptional service will be invaluable in protecting your interests legally and will save you significant time and energy.  A good agent can help you by answering phone calls, arranging times to show your home, negotiating on your behalf, getting your home ready to show, providing handymen and vendors, and ensuring that your interests are protected.

5)   Many agents steer their home buyers away from For Sale By Owner sellers because they don’t feel comfortable entering their buyers into a transaction in which the sellers may not have the proper representation and knowledge to execute the transaction.

6)  An agent can pre-qualify a buyer thereby saving you the experience of finding out 30 days after you’ve accepted the offer that the buyer doesn’t actually qualify to buy your home.

7)  The typical real estate transaction uses seven (7) forms designed to protect all parties in the transaction.  The correct utilization of these forms is vital to the success of the transaction and your protection.  For Sale by Owner transactions incur a significantly greater amount of lawsuits than Realtor® to Realtor® transactions. 

8)   There’s a lot to coordinate and it’s a big responsibility.   Besides being available to show your home, you’ll need to coordinate home inspections, special repair issues, closing documents, and meetings.  You are also liable if anyone gets hurt while viewing your home.   You may not realize all the nuts and bolts you’ll need to deal with in a sale.   You’ll need the most up-to-date and comprehensive information to shield you from possible litigation.

Feng Shui is an Ancient Practice, not a New Age Gimmick

Have you ever wondered why certain rooms in your home feel more comfortable than others?  Or why rearranging a room makes it not only look, but feel differently?   Perhaps without realizing it, you’re experiencing the principles of  Feng Shui Feng Shui is the ancient practice of arranging the physical environment to harmonize  energy.  When your environment is balanced and harmonious, it has a positive affect on your life.

Good  Feng Shui mitigates problems and increases opportunities in your life, often creating circumstances that help you out of a negative situation.  

Correct Feng Shui can increase prosperity and allow harmonious relationships.  Conversely, incorrect Feng Shui can bring discord in relationships, as well as money problems, accidents, and chronic disease.   The widespread practice of Feng Shui in Asia is a powerful testament to its potency.  In Hong Kong, few businesses or residents risk having incorrect Feng Shui. 

A Long and Rich History

Although thought by many to be a New Age phenomenon, the art and science of Feng Shui has been around for centuries.  About 6000 years ago, the  Chinese began using principles of geomancy, or what is now called Feng Shui.  Observing the Big Dipper and the rotation of the planets, they applied their observations to the placement of ancestral grave sites.  Correct grave placement was thought to bring prosperity for the deceased’s descendants.  Soon, Chinese Emperors used Feng Shui to find the most suitable place to build a fortress.  

 

Today, Feng Shui is associated with anything from cosmetics to car design to fountains and mirrors.  It’s no wonder people see it as a New Age gimmick.

 

It’s all about Energy

Most of us have heard of qi (chi).  It’s a term simply described as energy, but it’s actually more profound.  Qi is the underlying essence of all things.   Qi has direct impact on your health, wealth, and relationships.   The goal of Feng Shui is to enhance beneficial qi in your space while keeping out detrimental qi.  At the most basic level, Qi is classified as having either Yin or Yang qualities.  Yin qi is feminine and quiet.  Yang qi is the opposite of Yin.  It’s masculine and  active.  Qi is further characterized as being a combination of five elemental energies -earth, metal, water, wood, and fire.  Balancing elements in your environment ensures a harmonious environment.  A harmonious environment helps you to relax opening the door to better health and greater ease in all areas of your life.

A traditional  Feng Shui practitioner works to balance energy in a space, similar to how an acupuncturist balances qi in your body.  The correct application of the principles of Feng Shui allows qi in your environment to nourish you.  This is the essence of Feng Shui.

Feng Shui is a Lifetime Study

The study of  Feng Shui is a lifetime study and there are hundreds of different systems of Feng Shui. The traditional approaches to Feng Shui use a compass to take directional readings of  your home and analyze the impact of geographical features such as street traffic, neighboring houses, and landscaping.  Time-Space Feng Shui measures how energy reacts in a space in a given time by using mathematical and logical system to interpret the energy patterns.  It’s through the correct analysis of outside forms and qi flow patterns in a space that energy can be balanced.

A Time-Space  Feng Shui consultant takes compass readings to measure the facing direction of your home and  prepares an energy chart of your house.  The chart shows the type of energy in the structure and which areas are out of balance.   These areas can be analyzed thoroughly and specifically addressed to improve health, career goals, relationships.   The recommendations may include opening  windows in certain locations (when weather permits), adding an elemental cure, and rearranging furniture.

Feng Shui can improve your satisfaction with your life but of course, it’s not a magical cure.  Every object and form both inside and outside of your home influences you.   Applying the traditional principles of Feng Shui can ensure an optimum environment which will support your health, wealth, relationships and over all well-being.