Category Archives: Living in the Flow

Feng Shui For Your Soul

The term Feng Shui is commonly recognized as a system of arranging one’s environment in a harmonious way.  Over the last decade I’ve witnessed the effect of energy on my clients’ well-being.  My experience led me to see the importance of going beyond the exterior environment and getting to the heart (and Soul) of the matter – energy flow within.  The truth is that you can’t change things on the outside unless you first change things on the inside.

The feeling of harmony starts with a thought. When your thoughts are grounded in love they create beneficial energy in your body.  Aligning your thoughts with your highest self puts you in a powerful place to create your life rather than allowing life to create you.   You feel energized and inspired when your thoughts and actions correspond to your values and goals.

How do you Feng Shui your Soul?  The most important ways are:

1- Letting go of the past;

2- Loving yourself unconditionally;

3- Acting from your Highest Self, or Love;

4- Trusting in the benevolence of the universe; and

5- Living each day of your life in integrity with your Soul.

Remember ~ “There is no planet sun or star [that] could hold you if you knew but what you are.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Eliminating Clutter Creates Better Focus

The most prevalent issue I see in clients’ homes is clutter and its partner – disorganization. Simply put, most people have too much stuff.  And the more stuff you have, the more difficult it is to keep all the stuff organized.  Couples with children suffer from trying to organize lots of “kid-stuff”.  Clients without children are prone to accumulating too many books, accessories, clothes, shoes, paperwork, collectibles, and/or things they just can’t part with on an emotional level.  

It’s important to understand that creating order and simplicity in your environment allows you to better focus and feel centered. Clutter produces chaotic and draining energy. 

For example, take a look at these photos and notice how you much peace you feel ~

There’s harmony and symmetry in nature which creates a peaceful experience.  The same principle translates to your home.

The biggest negative about clutter is that the more stuff that fills up your home, the more emotional energy you’ll spend in trying to live around the clutter.  Clutter keeps you unfocused.  And with the unpredictability of the world “out there” it’s important now more than ever that you feel centered at home.  Being organized allows you to experience a healthier quality of life.

Here are Easy Tips for Preventing Clutter in your Home

1.  Avoid places that may activate your particular clutter “trigger”.  These could be thrift stores, bookstores, outlet stores, garage sales, and sales in general.

2.  If you can’t stop a “clutter craving,”  make sure that you buy something that you can return.  Keep the receipt. Sometimes, just driving around with the item in your car for a couple days will enable you to see that you don’t really need it and then you can return the item but DON”T use it as an opportunity to do more shopping.

3.  Be proactive and dispose of clutter on a daily basis.  Don’t let mail, laundry, dirty dishes, shoes, or paper on your desk pile up.

4. Stop your unsolicited extra postal mail. Stop by  http://www.newdream.org/junkmail  to opt-out of email lists.  Virtual clutter is still clutter!

5. Stop accepting freebies.  Don’t take home everything you’re offered from party, a trade show, or a grocery store.  Don’t bring home travel samples from hotels or events.  Leave them there! 

Hope this helps and I’d love to hear your suggestions for keeping clutter in check.

Home Selling 101- Does your Home Staging have Soul?

If it’s taking longer than you expected to sell your home the truth of the matter is that your home is either overpriced or it doesn’t stand out in comparison to the competition.   Both home sellers and real estate professionals are employing extra home selling help by hiring a Home Stager to give them every advantage in the current real estate market.   

Home Staging has become a familiar term.  It means arranging your home in a de-personalized and visually appealing manner.  The problem I’ve seen with a number of staged homes is that they look over decorated and contrived.  Simply put, they don’t have soul.

When you’re selling your home remember that it’s a product.  As a product, you must position it in the real estate market to appeal to the broadest number of buyers in order to get a timely sale and high offer.  Buyers base their decision to buy on three main things:

1- Price     2-Location     3-How they Feel in the Home

If you haven’t gotten an offer after eight showings and your home is competitively priced, odds are that your home is lacking soul. 

Soul is – The quality that arouses emotion and sentiment according to Webster’s Dictionary

Buying a home is an emotional decision.  The way that a buyer feels in your home is key to selling your home.  The secret to really great home staging is being able to create soul.

How you ask?  By creating a warm and comfortable atmosphere.  An atmosphere that a buyer feels relaxed in.  Your home should look like a model home or a pricey hotel room, but with more warmth.  Attention to every detail is vital!  You can usually find good examples of soulful rooms in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine and O magazine.   

Why bother staging if you’re not able to trigger an emotional response from a potential buyer?  If buyers don’t get the warm, fuzzy feeling that they need in order to commit to buying your home you won’t be able to sell it or you’ll have to lower your price beyond your comfort level.

Ways to Add Soul:

1- Don’t paint everything white!  If you’re going to re-paint, pick warm beige like Benjamin Moore’s Barely Beige or a light creamy yellow.

2- Add fire and earth colors where you can.  Adding decorative pillows, throw blankets, artwork, and area rugs in fire and earth colors are a great way to add coziness.  Earth and fire colors are beige, yellow, red, terracotta, and orange.

 3- Add visually stimulating patterns in the accessories like swirls, waves, and diagonal lines. 

4- Add whimsical touches like a teddy bear in a rocking chair or a plaque with a cheery sentiment like “Happy.”

5- Add soft table lighting where possible and don’t use flourescent lights.

6- Play smooth jazz or other soothing music when you have showings.

7- Avoid placing too many silk plants around your home.  I’ve seen lots of sellers with lots of silk plants on the top of the cabinets which look too staged.

8- A soulful scent like cinnamon or bread baking is perfect when showing a home.  Pop some instant pastries into the oven and bake 30 minutes before a showing. 

9- Place things that can create positive emotions in buyers like cheerful table settings, a welcoming front door mat, whimsical switch plate covers and fresh flowers or a small herb garden in a special area.

10- Create vignettes in the master bedroom, kitchen, and outdoor seating areas which perk a buyer’s imagination.  For example, create a spa-feeling in the master bath, an incredibly comfy looking bed, accoutrements for a gourmet kitchen and a remarkably cozy outdoor lounging area with magazines and a small bubbling fountain.

For More Information or Questions about Home Staging, please email me elizabeth@designforprosperity or leave a reply here.

Tips for Working with Greater Inspiration and Focus

Each day that we spend in our business enviroment is an opportunity to bring forth creativity and inspiration or to react to things happening around us.  Most days, it’s a see-saw back and forth between focus and reaction. 

Oftentimes, our thought patterns are generated by fear.  Fear causes obsessive or compulsive behavior.  Using the tools below can help you feel energized and focused.  The little things you do each day with intention add up to increased enjoyment of each day.

1-  Remove superfluous files on your screen saver.  When you open your computer and see a screen full of files and folders you’ll subconsciously feel overwhelm and chaos.

2-  Every night when you leave your office take five minutes and straighten the items on your desk. If you make this a nightly ritual, each morning you’ll feel more energy than you will if you come back to a cluttered desk.

3-  Set your work schedule in one-hour increments.  Make a commitment to work for an hour and don’t succumb to interruptions during this time.

4-  Create a designated time in your day to answer phone calls, check emails, and do social networking.

5-  Schedule your week in advance as much as possible.  On your day planner, commit to certain activities each day.  You don’t have to schedule eight hours each day, but do schedule priorities. 

6-  Take time in the morning to connect to Spirit, Presence, Love, God, or whatever you choose to call it.  When you are still and present, guidance or little messages can pop into your awareness.  Inspiration is found through this connection.

7-  During the day, every time you feel anxious or obsessive about completing a project stop and connect to Presence.  A good way to do this is by pausing at your desk or moving to a quiet area and simply becoming aware of your breathing.  Stopping for as little as a minute can bring you focus.

8-  Schedule a break in your day to connect with nature, take the dogs for a walk, eat lunch, go to a yoga class, etc. 

9-  If you work from a home office make it a rule that no one disturbs you when the door is closed.  Create a schedule to balance work sessions with family needs.

10-  Give yourself a boost of energy by dusting and organizing your desk.  Take a couple minutes and dust your computer keyboard, monitor, and anything around your space that needs it.

11-  Set realistic goals each week.  Make it a habit to sit quietly, ask for inspiration and write down your goals for the week.  Err on the side of fewer rather than too many.

And…one parting thought….don’t take things too seriously and have fun!

How Home Decorating with Feng Shui Creates More Peace in Your Life

Odds are, you’ve experienced the feeling of exhilaration when you’re in a particularly stunning place in nature.  The view from a mountain vista, hiking in a tall forest, or watching waves in the ocean can provide peace and inspiration when you’re feeling tired and knocked-around by the stressors of daily life. 

Being in nature adds a vital component to our well-being.  It allows us to get in touch with our deeper selves.  It reunites us with our soul.  Although nothing quite compares to the beauty and peace found in nature, your home can be transformed into a respite from the daily rat-race.  You can create an environment that reflects the qualities nature offers – beauty, inspiration, flow, and symmetry. 

We’ve come a long way since caveman days when a home simply met survival needs.   We have access to millions of home decorating magazines, books, and television shows.  The bottom line is the idea that a home can be a place of beauty and comfort.  A kitchen is place to nurture your body, a bedroom allows for rest and renewal, a bathroom can be a place of nurturing, and the other areas of your home support getting together with friends, or working, or pursuing hobbies. Every room in your home can be arranged to inspire you and showcase your uniqueness.   

Did you know that everything you put in a space influences the way you feel in the space?  Have you ever walked into a restaurant, hotel room, or even a friend’s home and felt uneasy and didn’t want to stay very long?  It was the energy of the space you were feeling.  It could have been the furniture arrangement or the colors or clutter that you responded to.  The bottom line is that whether you are out in nature or in your own environment, the energy affects you.

Wall colors, color palette, amount of natural light, furniture arrangement, artwork, flooring, rugs, window treatments, and arrangement of bookshelves, tabletops, and accessories create energy.  You pick up on that energy, either consciously or not.  If the space is unbalanced, you’ll feel uncomfortable.  And don’t we all need a break from feeling discomfort caused by stressors out there in daily life?  It’s vital to your well-being to be able to relax in your home.

The Chinese art and science of Feng Shui (pronounced “fung schway) explains that balancing energy allows for a richer life.  Through correct arrangement of furniture, colors, and accessories a room will feel harmonious or chaotic.  Feng Shui is derived from patterns in nature.  Feng Shui actually means “wind and water” which references the flowing nature of the elements.  Feng Shui rests on the principles of symmetry and flow.  It allows us to sort of re-create nature, indoors.  

The items you select for your home and where you place them can come together like a symphony or be disjointed and chaotic.  When a space is balanced and appealing it should comfort you.  My rule of thumb is – if you don’t feel “Ahhh!” when you walk into a room it means things are not in alignment.  Whether you know it or not, you intuitively pick up on bad Feng Shui.  A good way place to begin creating “Ahhh!” moments in a room is to break the room down into small sections – I call them vignettes.  For example, your dining table, a shelf on your bookshelves, or your bed can be a place to exercise your creatively and intuitive decorating.  Use accessories from other rooms or purchase new things – it doesn’t matter how small your budget is, what matters most is to use things you absolutely love.  Play around with the accessories until you have the “Ahhh” moment.  Creating a vignette oftentimes opens the door to create in other areas of the room.

Of course, seeking expert advice can point you in the right direction.  Most importantly, have fun and stay open to your creativity.   In Feng Shui there is no absolute right or wrong way to decorate, there are only guidelines which you can color in with your unique choices.

Reconnecting with Your Creativity and Inspiration

When it comes to decorating your home it’s creativity and not the size of your budget that’s most important.  Decorating can re-connect you with your creativity.  And rest assured, you ARE a creative person.  Creativity never wanes, we’re born with it.  It is inspiration.  It is Spirit.  Spirit is abundant and can never be extinguished.  When you access your Spirit, you’ll find yourself naturally energized and focused. You’ll find yourself being rather than reacting.

How do you begin? Become the child you were.  Before you felt the demands life and fear of the wreckage of the future, all you had to think about was right now.  That gave you freedom to create.  To make things like macaroni necklaces, tuna-fish-can Christmas ornaments, and Easy-Bake Oven cakes.  When you’re in the present moment, not thinking about the past, not worried about the future, and fully engaged with what you’re doing you are inspired.  Creating allows you to access the present moment.  So even if you’re not there when you start, you’ll can find it if you fully give yourself to your project.

You can be creative in everything you do, whether it’s writing out a grocery list with a pink marker or selecting fun words to use in a conversation.

Need a nudge?  Here are some ideas to connect you with your inspiration.

  1. Schedule an hour in a hobby store.  You don’t have to commit to buying anything, just see what speaks to you.  They may have a class that sounds interesting you can sign up for just for fun.
  2. Your home is full of creative projects.  If you’ve got worn-out wood or metal items revitalize them with a can of spray paint.  Find something that you’d like to restore and then spray-paint it with a color you love.
  3. Put together a collage with pictures and words that inspire you or things you’d like to create in your life.
  4. Paint the outside of small flower pots.
  5. Go to a toy store and meander.  Buy something that you liked to play with as a child.  Place it in a prominent place in your home or office for inspiration.
  6. Write about things you liked to do as a child.
  7. Find an easy, yummy recipe and make it.
  8. Take photos of nature.  If you don’t have a camera, a disposal camera works great.  Put together a piece of wall art with the photos.
  9. Go somewhere different.  A park, a museum, a new bookstore or library. 
  10. Arrange or re-arrange things that you collect.  Do you collect shells, books, or photographs?  Put them in jars, or on shelves, in albums, whatever is most appropriate for the item. 

Extricate yourself from distractions that keep you busy but not inspired and start doing something creative.  You can take baby steps if you need to. You’ll find yourself feeling more content in all areas of your life when you connect with the energy that creativity brings!

What I Learned from a Bumper-Sticker

If you’re reading this you know that life is full of learning opportunities.  Lessons are given in a beautifully-constructed way if you pay attention.  I had an unexpected realization the other day.  Ironically it happened while I was driving to a downtown spiritually-based meeting.  I found myself in Austin’s typical noontime traffic.  I tend to people-watch in traffic to see what state of being they’re in. As I was observing, I noticed a bumper-sticker on an older-model black pickup truck in front of me. Let me warn you before you read this – it’s probably going hit you with negative energy.  The bumper sticker read, “This truck is protected by a pit-bull with aids.”

I was disgusted.  How un-compassionate!  I told myself it wasn’t surprising to find such a sentiment on “an old black truck”.   And when I passed the truck I’m sure I gave the young male driver a look of scorn.  I judged him to be very un-enlightened and therefore the kind of person I avoid. It wasn’t until I was sitting in my meeting, about 30 minutes later that I got the lesson – the  light-bulb came on. 

The lesson was —

I had reacted to this person’s expression of hate and fear from the same mind-set that he had when he placed his bumper sticker on his truck. 

That mind-set is the ego-mind.  It is borne from separateness and fear.  And reacting from my ego, I did what the ego excels in – judging and punishing.  I wanted to hurt that driver in some way just as he wanted to hurt anyone that messed with his truck.  And both his and my action were fundamentally the same – we were reacting from fear and separateness.

The world is populated with egos.  And hard as it at times, facing an ego with light and compassion rather than with another ego reaction is the way to bring peace and one-ness into the world.  Instead of my judgment about how awful and obviously UN-enlightened the driver was, I could have offered him love and understanding and connected with him rather than separated myself from him.  After all, don’t we all share varying degrees of the fear of being robbed?  And don’t we all get a feeling of security (albeit misplaced) from our stuff? 

So I could have accessed Spirit rather than ego and given him what I need too – compassion, love, understanding and connection.  And we can all choose to connect to the whole and to Spirit the next time we meet an ego.  We can be the change we want to see in world.  We just need to pause and remember Who We Really Are.