Saturday, July 12, 2008

Feng Shui your Bedroom

Our bedrooms are our sanctuaries. They are places to recharge our batteries, escape from the outside world, and even indulge ourselves. The bedroom is meant mainly for self-renewal, rest, and relationships. With our busy lives, it's critical to our health to have a place where we can have down time and get a restful night’s sleep and should be an oasis of calm and a place you can't wait to retreat to every night. Applying Feng Shui principles to your bedroom can do many things for a person's mental and physical health, as well as with romantic relationships. From bed placement, to wall color, to imagery, the Feng Shui principles of creating chi (energy) flow around a home will have you sleeping like a baby and improving your relationships. In everyone's home, each bedroom is used for different reasons and by different people; therefore they should be decorated and organized accordingly.
Michelle


Clutter
Your first step is to clean your room! You should start by cleaning. I do not mean just picking up the dirty clothes on the floor, dusting and vacuuming. I mean going through your things and getting rid of anything that doesn't need to be there. Get rid of clothes that do not fit, anything that is broken, anything that may be crowding or cluttering your bedroom. Remove all excess items such as exercise equipment, desks, computers, or other "active" furniture, as these things can disrupt the flow of energy. Clutter is a sure sign that chi is stuck, so roll up your sleeves, and clean the place up if you want to jump-start your love life. Ring a bell, shake a rattle, or clap your hands loudly around the room to clear out old, stale energy. From a Feng Shui perspective, clutter symbolizes unfinished business and impedes forward progress in life. So keep furnishings on the spare side and clutter as contained as possible to enable chi to flow freely around the room. Also consider what memories and associations the objects in your bedroom hold for you, and then get rid of anything (even the mattress) that you associate with a negative time in your life, a past health problem, or a former relationship.


Your Closet
"Less is more" also applies to the closet. The clutter behind closed doors can be just as depleting as clutter that's in the open.
If you feel irritated, confused, and overwhelmed when you open the closet door, organizing your closet will help give you a sense of control over your life. Ruthlessly weed out clothes that are unflattering, out-of-style or no longer worn, then sort by color and season. Install organizers to hold shoes, belts, scarves and other accessories, and move everything else choking your closet to another spot. Better yet, give it away!

Your Bed
What is the most important item in your bedroom? Obviously, it's your bed. Selecting, placing, and dressing the bed is critical to achieve the desired harmony. Your bed is the most important part of your bedroom and is the main focus of the bedroom. The bed frame, sheets, position of the bed and the mattress are very important to make sure the chi flows just right. Put your bed in command position! In Feng Shui, the "commanding position" for the bed is as far away from the bedroom door as possible, but which still allows you to keep an eye on the room's entrance. This gives you a sense of safety and protection while you rest. 

The corner of the room diagonally opposite the door is usually best, since it distances you from the door while keeping the bed out of direct alignment with the room's opening, which is conducive to sleep, relaxation and healthy chi. Situate the bed with a view of the door without it being directly in front of it, as this puts you in a peaceful flow of the room. Whatever you do, make sure your feet don't point out the door while in bed. In traditional Chinese culture, this is called the "Death Position" because the deceased are carried out feet first. Sleeping this way can drain your life force. If you can't avoid it, use a footboard or a substantial trunk or other piece of furniture at the foot of your bed to act as a buffer (this is the one exception to Feng Shui's normal "no footboard" rule). Finally, leave enough room around the bed for energy to flow freely, and for each partner to get up with ease. If one side of your bed is against the wall, the person who sleeps on that side may feel confined or disempowered in the relationship. If possible, place the bed so there is equal space on either side, so you and your partner can find equal enjoyment in the relationship. The ideal position of the bed will be on the opposite side of the room from the door, but not directly in line with it. If you can't see the bedroom door from the bed, hang a mirror where it will provide a reflected view of the entry.


Under the Bed
Clear out everything under your bed, as the chi of things underneath you will affect you all night long and will block energy and lead to stagnation in life. Having back problems or trouble sleeping? Don't blame the mattress necessarily. The type of objects you keep under the bed can affect your sleep and health. When your bedroom is cluttered and untidy, the energy in there will be low and slow.

Colors

Feng Shui practitioners recommend warm, rich earth and skin tones such as terra cotta, copper, coral, cream, peach, tan, and cocoa for creating a cozy, welcoming atmosphere in the bedroom. Soft natural colors like light blues, greens, and lavenders lend the bedroom a quiet, tranquil vibe and invite healing energy. Bright reds and oranges are typically associated with yang - the masculine half of the yin and yang energy equation - and are too stimulating. That said, Pink and red are the colors of romance, and using them in the bedroom can increase the romance in our relationships, just limit these passionate hues to accents around the room - especially on the bed, in the form of sheets, pillows, throws and other linens. If pink and red aren't your thing, try variations such as burgundy, pomegranate, eggplant, and magenta. The ideal restful Feng Shui color scheme is based on skin colors, from a very pale white to a rich chocolate brown. Use these warm skin tones as your main color palette in the bedroom. Coordinating and harmonious colors can be added in decorative touches such as throw pillows and bed sheets.

The Elements
While you can employ some Feng Shui principles to your home quite easily, there are still some components that can only be decided based on using the Bagua. The Bagua is one of the most important tools you can have in your Feng Shui arsenal. Without it, you cannot truly interpret and use the five element theory in order to create and maintain a harmonious flow of energy. Use colors and elements! By using the colors and the elements of the Bagua in your bedroom you can maximize chi flow and feel more at peace.

Standing in your bedroom doorway, the south would be the wall that is directly opposite of you, is Illumination and Reputation, its element is fire and its color is red. In the right (southwest) corner of the back wall is the love and relationships corner, its element is Earth and its color is pink.


 In the left (southeast) corner of the back wall is the abundance and prosperity corner, its element is wood and its color is purple. On the left (East) wall is foundation and family, its element is wood and its color is green. In the right wall (west) is creativity and children, its element is metal and its color is white. In the front left corner (northwest) is inner knowledge, its element is Earth and its color is blue. In the front right corner (northeast) is helpful people and travel, its element is metal and its color is gray. On the front wall (north) is career and life's journey, its element is water and its color is black.

The Double-Duty Bedroom

The bedroom should be a place of rest, contemplation and intimacy - not work, exercise or blaring music. Exercise gear, a phone, a television or computer or a desk piled high with bills and paperwork give off and take up a lot of energy. They also distract you from rest and romance. The bedroom is a place where you need to turn off the stresses of the day. If you must have these items in your room, place them far from your bed and cover them up when not in use. If your bedroom must do double-duty as a work or exercise space, use a lightweight folding screen or beautiful fabric hung from a ceiling-mounted curtain rod to conceal them. 

Turn off the ringer on the phone, too. And if you're not willing to part with the TV, keep it in an armoire or cabinet so that you can literally "shut the door" on it while you sleep. A nice piece of fabric draped over the set when you're not using it will serve a similar purpose. While a few books on your nightstand is fine, if you have bookshelves groaning under the weight of dozens of volumes, move them elsewhere; all those titles calling out to be read distract your mind from rest. Shelving overhead can cause the same type of pressure and unease. Subconscious fear of objects falling on you at night can cause disrupted sleep.

Another problem could come from behind the wall. Check out if you've got a ton of plumbing, an air conditioner, toilet, or appliance on the other side of the wall behind the head of your bed. A toilet has a very draining energy, and any kind of waste water carries negative chi. A stove's strong yang (fire) energy conflicts with the yin nature of sleep.


Looking for love?
If you want to attract a new romantic partner--or move a casual relationship closer to commitment--make sure there is space for that person in your home. Look at your
closets, shelves, and dressers, especially in the bedroom; if
they are all filled to capacity with your own stuff, making some room for your current or future partner a priority. Aim to free up 25% of the space in your bedroom for someone else's things. When you are done, take a moment to visualize your loved one's belongings finding a home there.
One is indeed the loneliest number - even when it comes to bedroom furnishings and decor. Having only one nightstand or space on only one side of the bed to climb in and out is very symbolic of solitude, and can actually hold your single status in place.
Single people also tend to have accessories and art that depict solitude, [like] a single flower in a vase. Instead, if you're single and don't want to be, decorate your bedroom as if a partner is already there. Symmetry is key, so position nightstands and lamps on both sides of the bed. Accessorize in pairs or multiples, too: Place a bunch of flowers in a vase and hang art depicting romance and unity, which Feng Shui gurus say creates a "couples' energy" as well as a sense of balance and abundance in the room. Get rid of stuffed animals, dolls, and excessive pillows. These items send the message to prospective overnight guests that the bed is already taken. 


These items also restrict free and spontaneous movement. Place pairs of candlesticks, vases, and books in the far right corner of your bedroom which is the Love and Marriage area of any space. Decorate as if you already have someone to share your bed with by putting nightstands and lamps on both sides of the bed. The images with which you surround yourself can have a powerful effect on your love life. Feng Shui clients who complain of difficulty finding romance often have surrounded themselves with images of a person alone. Inappropriate imagery includes anything that represents solitude, loneliness, aggression, hard work, conflict, or disagreement in any way. Replace any art that represents solitary, companionless objects with art that portrays pairs, such as two people, two flowers, and the like. 

Be sure to place romantic imagery in these two key places in the bedroom: the wall opposite the foot of the bed (where you naturally look when lying in bed), and whatever area of the room you first see when you enter. Beautiful, romantic artwork is always good, as are fresh or silk flowers and anything in pairs (such as birds, cherubs, candles, or decorative pillows).That old photo of your Dad when he was in the army may be a treasure, but the wartime energy it carries doesn't have any place in the bedroom; find another place to keep it.

Make sure both the front door of your home and the door to your bedroom open easily and completely. Doors that stick, squeak, or that only opens partway because of all the stuff stored behind them are blocking the flow of romantic energy and opportunity into your home. A loose doorknob on your bedroom door could mean you're having a hard time "getting a handle on" romance; get out your screwdriver and tighten it up.When you exercise in the bedroom, or store your sports equipment there, you bring the energy of hard work and exertion into your romance space. Do you want your relationship to feel like a tough workout? If not, move your workout stuff somewhere else; your relationship is likely to move along more smoothly.Go through your home--especially your bedroom--and remove anything that reminds you of past failed relationships; this could be an ex-boyfriend's old sweater you find in the closet, photographs of you with a previous partner, a gift that reminds you (unfavorably) of a giver with whom you are no longer in love--anything that reminds you of a love that went bad. No matter how incurable a romantic you may be, do NOT keep old love letters anywhere in your bedroom unless they are from someone with whom you are still blissfully paired up. Walk slowly from your front door to your bedroom, pretending that you are a gentle river of chi. Look for any areas where furniture or other belongings are stopping or slowing the flow of chi, or where chi is diverted away from the bedroom to other areas of the house. Clear a path so fresh chi can find its way to your bedroom and nourish your love life. Make sure all the lights along this route are working, replace any burned-out bulbs, and be alert for dark or dingy corners where you can increase the energy by adding more light. In the Bagua, the far right corner is the "love center”. Whether you're single or coupled, consider building a "shrine to love" in that spot. Accessorize a table, dresser or shelf with a photo of you and your mate (or other art that depicts a happy couple), a pair of candles, a book of romantic poetry and a heart-shaped box. It becomes an environmental affirmation of your relationship goals. Silk plants or flowers are OK, but never keep dried foliage here, since their symbolism is obvious. Another Feng Shui no-no: king-sized beds. Not only do they create a physical chasm between you and your mate, but they are split down the middle by two box springs, which create a symbolic dividing line between partners that can affect their unity. If you're not about to trade in your beloved California King, even for the sake of your other beloved, a red sheet placed over the box springs will help unify the two separate halves.


Bedroom No No’s
If your direct view from the bed is of an adjoining bathroom or a messy closet, screen those views with curtains, folding screens or simply by closing the door. Also, put down the toilet seat at night, lest the bedroom's energy go right down the drain. Avoid positioning your bed under a window, which lacks the symbolic support and protection of a solid wall and can lead to fitful sleep as energy enters and exits through the window. Try not to position your bed under the lower angle of a pitched ceiling, a ceiling fan, or a heavy beam. These features are thought to contain "depressing energy" that literally pushes down on you while you sleep. 

If you have no choice, a bed canopy or lengths of fabric suspended from the ceiling or beams are believed to be Feng Shui "cures" for the problem. If possible, position the bed away from overhead beams. Heavy beams create pressure over the area directly beneath them. This pressure is called Sha Chi and can cause health problems. For example, if a beam is directly over your head at night you might suffer from headaches; over the knees and feet can create knee and leg problems; over the stomach can cause digestive problems; and beams running lengthwise over the bed can cause relationship problems (since it's separating the couple). 

The lower the ceiling the greater the impact. Headboards, especially solid ones made from wood, are considered good Feng Shui because they provide additional strength and support behind your head. Footboards, on the other hand, are seen as blocking forward progress in life. If you're in the market for a new nightstand or other bedroom furniture, try to choose pieces with soft lines and curvilinear forms. 

Square corners have too much pointed energy and can create a 'sharp' environment. The "poison arrows" formed by right angles are thought to direct negative energy directly at your sleeping form, which can cause a feeling of uneasiness. If a new nightstand isn't in the cards, you can soften its corners by draping a piece of flowing fabric over the top or placing a healthy plant on top, leaves cascading over the corners. Allow your door, the major source of incoming chi, to serve its function. Even if you normally enter from another direction, ensure that all doors in your bedroom are able to open to at least 90 degrees. Windows also like to be windows, so do not block them with heavy furniture, although curtains are fine. However, it is important to sleep with your bedroom doors fully closed. All doors, including the one to the bathroom, should be kept closed. This will allow the chi energy to flow efficiently through your sleeping space.


Mirrors
No mirrors in your bedroom! You need to remove mirrors from your bedroom. This is because mirrors reflect the energy and send it to places other than where it should be. If you decide to keep a mirror, television or computer (which can also reflect and block energy) you should keep it in a wooden cabinet while you sleep so it will prevent this from happening and help you have a more peaceful rest in a Feng Shui bedroom. Never place mirrors opposite, next to, or over the bed. In addition to bouncing too much energy around the room to allow for good rest, these reflective surfaces are thought to magnify problems and worries - and also that mirrors in the bedroom can invite a third party to interfere in your relationship. If you have mirrored closet doors, treat them like windows and hang curtains in front of them. Move other mirrors out of the room face them away from the bed or drape them with a pretty piece of fabric when you turn in for the night.


Plants in the Bedroom
The bedroom is a Yin location and plants have a strong and vibrant energy of growth and movement, a yang energy which is not the Feng Shui energy recommended for the bedroom. Let's look at it from a practical point of view. What do you do at night? Hopefully sleep! What do plants do at night? They release carbon dioxide into the air. Thus, plants in the bedroom are definitely not the best idea. Please make a note that this only applies to your bedroom, as everywhere else in the house plants are excellent, especially considering the level of indoor pollution in most indoor spaces. There are many excellent areas in your home to have lush, vibrant plants, such as, for example, east, and Southeast Feng Shui areas. Your bedroom, however, is not the best Feng Shui area to have plants. I guess a small plant is acceptable. What usually is not beneficial are larger potted plants with large leafs.


Lighting
When it comes to bedroom lighting, flexibility is key: You want lots of natural light during the day, soft light in the evening and darkness while you sleep. Aside from the positive energy it imparts, exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning influences serotonin levels and can affect you for the rest of the day. So invest in window coverings that can easily be thrown open to greet the sun and pulled closed for privacy and a cocoon-like ambiance after nightfall. When choosing sources for artificial light, make sure to provide illumination from a variety of them, including overhead, table and wall lights. Balance light directed downward (such as from recessed cans in the ceiling) with up-lit torchieres and sconces, which cast a softer light and lift your energy. Put all the lights in the bedroom on dimmers to that you can calm the energy of the space at night.

Images & Artwork
A common Feng Shui strategy is to choose art and other objects that depict things you'd like to see manifest in your life, whether success, love or inner peace. In the bedroom, hang your favorite piece of art on the wall opposite your bed. The last thing you see before you go to sleep and the first thing you see when you open your eyes should be something that makes you feel joyful and inspired. One type of art you don't want in the bedroom? Family photos. You can have pictures of your parents and your kids all over the rest of the house, but the focus in the bedroom should be on yourself and your partner.

Romance in the Bedroom
Utilize all your senses by choosing warm colors, romantic music, sensuous sheets, and scented candles. In order to keep you and your partner in the mood, remove all photos of your kids and family, or at least keep them out of view from your bed. Family pictures don't belong in the bedroom; it's the most intimate room in the house and should be reserved for you and your partner. Pictures of children, relatives, and friends may cause you to think about your obligations - and that doesn't allow the mind (or body) to rest. So keep only pictures of you and your spouse or partner in the bedroom, and put other pictures in the dining or family rooms. Place spacious and attractive nightstands next to each side of the bed. In addition to creating a room that's beautiful to look at, take time to appeal to your other senses as well, by filling your bedroom with things you love to smell, touch, and taste and hear. Light fragrant candles or use an essential-oil diffuser (lavender induces relaxation, and jasmine, rose, and geranium scents are associated with love). Invest in inviting linens - pure Egyptian cotton, smooth silk, soft velvet and cozy cashmere. Play relaxing music or nature sounds, or hang a wind chime outside your bedroom window to fill the space with soothing sounds. It will do your chi - and your state of mind - a world of good.


A Peaceful Child
Take those family photos out of your room and put them in your child's as they tend to make kids feel secure and watched over. To ensure your kids calm and ready for bed, decorate with tranquil warm pastel colors instead of bright reds, blues, and yellows. Also, put the action figures away at night. If your kids aren't sleeping well, try covering up any mirrors in the room while they sleep, as mirrors keep a room "awake”. If your kids share a room, designate a specific spot for each child such as a closet, table, or shelf. This will help define each child's chi and teach respect for other people's things.

The Guest Room
Make this room as comfy, cozy, and beautiful as the rest of your house. Leave the door open, "visit" the room often, and open the windows. Don't let it become a junk room by dumping all your stuff in there and clearing it out only when you have company.

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