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Create a Stress-Free Home: An Introduction to Feng Shui

Create a Stress-Free Home: An Introduction to Feng Shui

Create a Stress-Free Home: An Introduction to Feng Shui

    If I asked you what words come to mind when you think of your home, what would you say?  Would you tell me that it brings you peace every time you walk in the front door?  Would you say that the items in your home inspire you and bring you joy every time you look at them?  Would you describe your household as organized and calm?  A peaceful, calm household that is organized and filled with happiness and laughter is the type of home anyone would love to say they own.  It is also the best type of home in which to raise a family.  So, how do we ensure that we can describe our homes this way?  It’s actually easier than you think, but you must take the first step.

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    Feng Shui is an ancient art and science of creating balance and harmony in our lives by the effective management of our environment; the benefits can be felt almost immediately. Applying feng shui principles to your home is the best way to make quick, effective changes to the dynamics of your family.

    Read the following descriptions and note how you feel as you read each one.

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    House Number One:

    • Unkept lawn with weeds, no flowers
    • Front entry with shoes strewn around
    • Kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink and crumbs on the counter.  Stack of unopened mail and flyers piled high on the counter
    • Living room is filled with toys, some lying on the floor, some piled high in the corner of the room.
    • Bedroom has mismatched furniture, clothes on the floor or on a chair. Books and magazines stuffed under the bed, bed linen that is old and faded, dresser tops cluttered with gadgets, makeup, jewellery

    House Number Two:

    • Tidy green lawn with blue and white hydrangeas lining the house.  Favourite potted plants on either side of the front door.
    • Front entry is clear with shoes neatly placed on a rack and coat hooks for the coats.
    • Kitchen is clean, bright and the counter tops are sparkling.  Only a few daily used items are displayed and three fresh green plants or herbs rest on the window sill.
    • Living Room is tidy and has labelled organizer baskets and tubs for the children’s toys. Special candle sticks bought on a wonderful holiday are displayed on the mantle and two dark green plants sit in different corners of the room
    • Bedroom has neutral calming colours with splashes of a favourite decorative colour.  Current books and magazines are stored in the matching bedside tables and the fresh, crisp bed linen is made up nicely.  The only items on the dresser are a photo of you and your partner, a fresh bouquet of flowers and a jewellery box that holds the items you wear often.

    Now,  just by reading those two descriptions I’m sure you could feel how different it would be to live in each home. House number two gives a feeling of calm, joy, and beauty whereas house number one gives a feeling of chaos, depression and stagnancy.

    The basic principle behind feng shui is that our environment is a reflection of our lives, either good or bad, because we are connected with them. They are the external representation of who we are.  Therefore, if we change or move something in our home we will experience a corresponding change or shift in our life.  In essence people can use feng shui to get more of what they want and less of what they don’t want.  So, if for 2010 we want to feel less-stressed, to have more balance in our lives and to experience joy and happiness on a regular basis with our children, then we first need to set up the environment for that to take place.

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    Although I highly suggest you hire a feng shui expert to thoroughly survey your home and offer suggestions as to what needs changing, here is something feng-shui expert, Davina MacKail, suggests you can do right away to set the tone for your family life in 2010 – clear your clutter.

    Davina says, “Everything you own is energetically attached to you.  Things you love are like golden threads. Conversely, clutter is like dragging around a ball and chain.

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    “Look at your possessions with fresh eyes and ask yourself if each object reflects you and the home you want.  If not, it is time to let them go.  By removing the old, you create more space for the new – what you truly DO want.

    “If you weed a garden and just leave it the weeds return stronger than before.  But, if you weed a garden and then plant it with gorgeous plants and flowers the weeds have no room to return.  Exactly the same approach should be taken with clutter.  Make sure you know what you want to fill your newly created space with, be it more joy or more balance.  This way you will stop the clutter from returning.”

    Good questions to ask yourself when tackling clutter are:

    • Do I really love this object?
    • Does it enhance my life?
    • Do I use it?
    • Is it time to let it go?

    Just as it is necessary to build walls and lay floors and a roof to build a house, so is it necessary to prepare your home, set the stage if you will, to build the type of family life you truly want. So, clear the clutter, create the feeling you want in your house using feng shui principles, and then allow stress-free parenting to begin flowing in.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

    The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

    Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    How to Self-Taught Effectively

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

    More About Self-Learning

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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