Sunday, May 2, 2021

Abundance is about the Why, not the What

What does abundance mean? It’s a word that has a certain expectation to it: money, money, money (cue Broadway’s Cabaret).

While it may feel like money makes the world go around, does money in fact tie directly to abundance? How many stories have we seen that show the lottery winner who is bankrupt in just a few years, or the wealthy who are living well beyond their means despite having more money than 99% of the population?

That said, of course it can. If you suddenly receive an influx of money, and you are wise and take a hard look at your spending and debt and all that stuff a financial planner tells you to do, then yes, getting more money can lead to greater abundance.

The bigger question is WHY do you want abundance in your life? Is there a big-ticket item (a car or a house) that’s been just out of your reach? What about that trip overseas you’ve always wanted to take? Maybe you’ve had your hopes set on starting your own coffee shop?

Still, these are just what you want to do with the money. So the next question is, what would you feel if you had any or all of those things? Secure? Free? Accomplished? This is key – that feeling you’d have once you achieved what you would do with more abundance.

Why is this important? Because when we think about abundance, we often tell ourselves the ONLY way to achieve our goals is through more money. In fact, there are many ways to achieve abundance. I’ll give you an example.

My parents are retired teachers. They loved those jobs and were very good at them. They worked at a prep school in New England for 35 years. In all that time, they were incredibly abundant – and not because of their salaries. They worked on campus and were dorm heads for much of my childhood. This meant that they were responsible for watching at least 40 to 50 students (boys) of varying grade levels every school year in their dorm. No small task. It also meant they lived in the dorm on the first floor in a spacious apartment with floor-to-ceiling windows that overlooked a beautiful New England campus.

Their school also offered programs abroad if teachers were willing to take students with them. They leapt at the opportunity and were surprised when the school often found it difficult to find teachers to participate. Because of this program, they were able to visit Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Greece, Australia, and New Zealand on multiple occasions – to this day, the friendships they formed in Australia have resulted in nearly annual trips there. Again, not because they were wealthy, but because they saw an opportunity and went for it.

Furthermore, when they decided to move on from being dorm heads, the school let them stay in a house just off campus that had a pool and a pool house, with some beautiful big trees in the backyard. There are stories upon stories about the time spent in that pool, including a wedding they hosted of my best friends (my dad married them).

They have always lived the most abundant life. Never because of their money but because of their openness to the opportunities around them – sure they required hard work along the way, but they never saw that as an obstacle, in part because they loved what they did.

So how do you approach the world – open to the abundance around you or unable to see abundance in front of you? Is it full of opportunity for adventure or do you only see the obstacles abounding? Do you know that when one door closes, another will open? Or, are you locking your door to keep what you do have safe and sound?

Abundance is a feeling – and when you feel abundant, even if for just a moment or two a day, it can make all the difference. In feng shui, it is this feeling – of already being abundant — that then becomes a beacon for more abundance to come your way. This is why it’s so important to surround yourself at home with what feels abundant to you.

In your kitchen, does your pantry have half-empty jars of rice or beans or nuts? Fill them up. Does your bedroom feel outdated or lackluster? Buy some new sheets or throw pillows that feel luxurious. What about your eating space – can you enhance how it feels with a table runner and a few candles?

Take a look around your home. What does it tell you about abundance? What it tells you is a good indication of how you feel about your current state of abundance. And if you want that to improve, feng shui can help.

Monday, January 18, 2021

It's Time for a New Beginning, but Where to Start?

How do we start fresh, begin anew? It’s a question that comes up every year in January, sometimes in February (Chinese New Year or Imbolc). In these days, especially in the United States, it’s a poignant question. So much has happened in the past year that has tested us on so many levels that it’s hard to even recognize that there is an opportunity for something new to begin.

Thank goodness for nature. Despite all that occurs around us, nature continues on with its cycles – sunrise continues, as does sunset; the moon continues waxing and waning; the seasons remain constant and ongoing. It’s an unending reminder that there is always a new day, always a time to begin. The holidays, like New Years, are another reminder. 

Ancient cultures recognized that the cycles in nature didn’t just represent something to inspire stories and legends – like Apollo carrying the sun across the sky – but generated a kind of energy that reflected a specific event. This energy would dictate the timing of ceremonies to benefit from this energy. 

In modern times, we recognize this too. We can feel the expectant energy rising when the sun peaks over the horizon. We can feel the peace that often comes while watching the sun set. There’s a difference in how we feel at mid-day vs. midnight. We know the energy is different, but most of us are not raised to perform ceremonies that celebrate rites of passage or honor new beginnings. 

It is this understanding, that energy changes throughout the day, that also reminds us that on a smaller scale we are surrounded by energy that changes based on the events that occur in our lives. From the tension left in a room after an argument to the celebration of a newborn first coming home or the lethargy and even sadness that sickness can often bring to a space.

In feng shui, we take this knowledge and use it to shift the energy of a space by not only allowing the energy to flow more easily but also ensuring the energy that exists in a space is uplifting and reflects back to us our dreams and aspirations.

But back to the original question. How do we start fresh, begin anew? Start by defining what it is you want in and for your life. What is your intention for your new beginning? It is not just about wanting more money, but the benefits of having that money. It is not just about having a relationship, but having what you feel represents a perfect relationship: joy, love, passion, respect, support, adventure, etc. 

You might think defining this question would be simple enough. In fact, I’ve found that this is a question many clients struggle with because they stay focused on the things they do not want. They will focus on not being sick or not being strapped for cash or not being alone. When this happens, I remind them that our intentions in feng shui act as beacons for the energy we create in our lives, so instead they should focus on things like being healthy, financially secure and a passionate, supportive relationship. 

Once you define what it is you do want, it’s a matter of aligning the energy around you to reinforce it. For instance, if you are looking for a new job, there is a place in your home that is tied to the energy of your career, and if that space is filled with representations of your current job (e.g., files of current projects) or is a storage space filled with clutter, it works against the energy of you finding a new job. Changing this space can be the first step toward a new beginning.

So take a note from nature, that change is constant; and a new beginning is happening every day. And listen to the ancients who honored nature’s events as harbingers and supporters of different kinds of energy. And take action with feng shui, but considering the energy you want to bring into your home and your life by focusing on what it is you truly want in your life. 

And if you’d like to learn more, or would like some support for creating your new beginning, reach out to me at