Holistic Spaces 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

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It's already that time again! We've curated another Holistic Spaces Holiday Gift Guide to help you find the perfect gifts for everyone in your life. Lots of us go into the new year with resolutions for self-improvement, so this year's gift guide is tailored to help achieve those goals! From meditation to essential oils to yummy teas and more, we've chosen 11 amazing options for anyone seeking to find peace and holistic wellness in 2018. We also recommend giving a listen to some of our favorite podcasts, including Episode 051: Creativity and Feng Shui with Laura Morris, Episode 048: Essential Oils and Feng Shui, Episode 024: Creating Holistic Spaces for Inspiration and so many more! Feel free to share some of your favorite self-improvement tools and Holistic Spaces posts in the comments!


Essential Oil Necklace Diffuser

Essential oils can be wonderful tools for self-care and self-improvement. This necklace can be paired with an essential oil for an amazing gift. Listen to my friend, Andrea Giordano on podcast Episode 048: Essential Oils and Feng Shui, for some inspiration on different essential oils.

Essential oils can help in a variety of areas, from improving focus to lifting mood, treating headaches and much more. This personal diffuser is the perfect introduction to using essential oils for healing, inside and out. Add a drop of your selected oil to the porous lava rock inside, and enjoy personalized olfactory treatment for hours! You can even carry drops in the vial that comes along!

Available at: Amazon


TheraBox Subscription

With box subscriptions more popular than ever, I'm excited to see a box set geared toward happiness and self-improvement! TheraBox is curated by therapists and filled with research-backed activities and goodies to enhance your mood and life! 

Each monthly box includes one happiness-boosting activity and "5-7 consciously crafted, natural, organic, or artisan self-care wellness goodies to promote relaxation & wellbeing!" Past boxes have included mud masks, incense, journals, planners, aromatherapy inhalers and many more incredible self-care items! 

Available at: CrateJoy


Analog Alarm Clock

The type of clock you use in your space, may seem trivial, but an analog clock can be symbolic. An analog clock represents the idea of time as a cycle that starts over anew each day, giving us continuing hope. 

I love this simple, elegant analog alarm clock from Amazon. It's made of real wood, silent, battery operated and is a perfect fit for any space. It's also small enough to travel with and serves as a nightlight as well as a clock. What a great way to carry the feeling of hope throughout your own holistic spaces and those you visit!

Available at: Amazon


The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook

One of my favorite hobbies is the Japanese art of Sashiko, needlework quilting. I've received many compliments on my projects recently! This sourcebook is my go-to and is ideal for those interested in getting into Sashiko or starting a new hobby.

Susan Briscoe's guide includes an introduction to Sashiko, a list of what you'll need to get started, step-by-step patterns for your projects and beautiful inspiration by Japanese textile artists! It's the perfect gift for readers, crafters and learners, and Sashiko can easily serve as a way focus your mind and gain a little clarity around whatever is going on in your life!

Available at: Amazon


Zafu Zabuton Meditation Cushion Set

It's difficult to talk about improvement and self-care without mentioning meditation! This practice has been life changing for me, whether on a cushion or in more active styles like Ikebana

One of my recommendations for meditators is to create a holistic space dedicated to meditation. You can include altars, special items and more, but don't forget the meditation pillow! This set from Samadhi is the ideal combination, featuring a sitting cushion as well as a larger, flat cushion to protect the knees and ankles. Not sure if your gift recipient would like meditation? Read up on it here and here and listen in here

Available at: Samadhi Cushions


Wonder Walking Deck

Another of our favorite people is artist, Amy T. Won, who creates stunning paintings in her beautiful holistic studio. Amy's art is based on her observations of the natural world, and she's even created a 12-week online course for reigniting creativity! 

This set of cards follows that train of thought, aiming to reconnect with nature and creativity. Amy's Wonder Walking Deck "features intuitive mood paintings and explorer notes from the pages of my personal sketchbook, inspired by Spring and Summer’s wonder-walks."

The deck makes an incredible gift for artists, art lovers or anyone seeking to rekindle the fire of creativity. 

Available at: The Curio Shop


Eco-Friendly Journal

Whether you're experiencing challenges or just hoping to get to know yourself better, journaling is an excellent way to fill your own cup and keep track of your goals and achievements. 

I love this eco-friendly journal, handmade in Nepal! Each page of the notebook is created through an ancient process of cooking and drying the fibers from Himalayan Lokta bushes, and the cover is colored with varying vegetable dyes! Not only does this journal provide a beautiful place to capture and explore your thoughts, it contains rich Nepali history and supports individual artists in the Himalayas!  

 Available at: Amazon


Rubber Plant

I love adding plants to holistic spaces. They bring the wood element and nature into your space and are excellent tools for increasing indoor air quality

In his book, How to Grow Fresh Air, Dr. B.C. Wolverton lists 50 houseplants proven to reduce VOCs and other harmful pollutants in our indoor spaces. The rubber plant is one of the highest rated plants due to its ease of care and ability to remove airborne toxins.  Affordable, effective, healing and easy to care for, a rubber plant makes a beautiful, loving gift that keeps giving!  

Available at: SpecialGreen via Etsy


Ketu Yantra Mandala for Spirituality & Healing

For friends and relatives dedicated to, or experiencing, personal growth, the Ketu yantra mandala is an incredible, meaningful gift and a beautiful addition to any space. 

This mandala relates to spirituality, healing and introspection and connects directly with the New Beginnings and Knowledge (or self-cultivation) bagua areas. Perfect for New Year's resolutions! The Ketu mandala actually has a yin, meditative energy, so it's also perfect for a meditation space

Available at: Holistic Spaces


The Furoshiki Handbook

Another beautiful Asian tradition I love is Furoshiki. Furoshiki is the art of Asian fabric wrapping, rich in symbolism and making its way to the western world. Furoshiki uses cloth to wrap a variety of objects, and the ties in the fabric represent ties between the individuals giving and receiving the items. 

Furoshiki is a way to offer great care and detail in how we present our gifts and feelings to others. It is even touted as a great communication tool. This book teaches basic Furoshiki tying as well as more intricate and elaborate styles of tying, including specific examples like bottles, books, scarves and more!

Available at: Amazon


Wellness Tea Sample

I don't drink coffee often, but tea is a different story! I keep a collection of teas in my kitchen, and each of them serves a different purpose, much like the tea selections in this wellness sampler from Teavana! 

Recover, Rev Up, Serenity and Defense all offer more than just delicious flavor. Perfectly curated to soothe whatever ails you, these blends are ideal for relaxing, finding energy, fighting sickness and even getting back on your feet.  

Available at: Teavana

Q&A Sunday: I Ching Divination for Moderation and Self Care

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What would be the most effective way to bring, health, protection, and prosperity to our home? My 87-year-old mother lives with us. My husband is struggling, and his mental and physical energy is very low. Can you help prevent him from forgetting so much and struggling to concentrate and increase his mental and physical energy?

Eliane B., Coral Springs, FL

Hi Eliane, 

Thank you so much for your question! It's a little complicated and there are a lot of things going on in this question. I understand you're having problems with health, protection and prosperity and with your husband forgetting a lot and having mental health issues. My intuition guided me to an I Ching reading for this question, so I'll share that insight with you.

The I Ching is also known as the Book of Changes, and it's a way of divination based on Taoism. As is the I Ching practice, I threw coins for your question and received what is called Hexagram #39, which is Water over Mountain. This hexagram represents obstacles. One thing the I Ching tells me is that right now you have a lot of stumbling blocks in your life, and that's obvious in your question. It feels like you may have a lot of confusion there as well. I Ching reflects that as you're experiencing these obstacles, now is not a good time for you to push ahead into the danger. Imagine you're like a rushing river, but you have a lot of snags in your way. If you wait and build up your strength, you will push through these difficulties naturally, much like a river makes its way through a mountain.

So my suggestion would be to not use force right now. Instead, just sit and be patient. The I Ching suggests you don't have the strength to move past these obstructions yet, so focus on building your power and vigor. The second hexagram that comes up is 15, which is Moderation. This confirms that now is a time of moderation, not stubbornly moving forward. Practice moderation in your eating habits, how you spend money and in everything you do, and be careful not to go to extremes, because that could actually create more problems for you. 

As for a feng shui adjustment that could support this path, you may begin to cultivate patience and moderation in your journey to gaining the might you need for this task. I recommend working on a few opposite areas of the feng shui bagua: Self-Knowledge and Relationships, which is also related to self-care. Both of these areas are Earth elements, so nurturing them is not about doing anything, but about taking care of yourself, moving slowly and implementing self-control as you build strength. Since this is an issue between you and your husband, I suggest activating these bagua areas of your bed. To do this, place a nine-inch long red ribbon under your mattress in each area, Knowledge and Relationships. When working with a bed, set the bagua at the head of the bed so that the headboard runs along the Abundance, Recognition and Relationships areas, and the foot borders Knowledge, Path in Life and Benefactors. 

Facing your headboard from the foot of your bed, the left corner closest to you would be Knowledge. Put a nine-inch long red ribbon there. The far right corner, near the headboard, would be where you place another ribbon to activate Relationships. That's my advice for now. Make these small adjustments with intention and keep the idea of moderation in mind. You are experiencing setbacks, but instead of focusing on that, really take care of yourself and actively work on your self-cultivation and self-care right now. Good luck!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Recipe: Fire Water from Stiggly Holistics

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The charming Sacha Jones of Stiggly Holistics shares her recipe for Fire Water.  This is a savory cleansing concoction that Sacha drinks every morning. I highly recommend this drink-- it's a wonderfully warming broth.

It’s also a huge part of the menu for the group cleanses that she organizes. If you are interested in a guided cleanse, Sacha organizes cleanses at least once every season.  She welcomes participants at ALL levels and it's international!

Sacha recommends drinking Fire Water every morning.  After you wake up and have a full glass of water, then move onto your Fire Water.  It is a great "zingy", super cleansing kickstarter and the perfect replacement for coffee.  Sacha explains, “it’s very cleansing, has anti-inflammatory properties, good for digestion and blood sugar balance.  It’s pretty awesome!”

Fire Water - The Basics:

  • Boiled water, enough for your mug
  • Fresh squeezed juice from a half or full lemon
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Cinnamon, Ginger Powder & Turmeric, approximately ¼ teaspoon each
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (or other high quality sea salt) & fresh cracked Black Pepper, a pinch of each
  • Virgin coconut oil, 1 teaspoon 
  1. Boil the water.  Sacha reminds us “remember not to watch your kettle - you know what they say!”
  2. Squeeze the lemon juice into “your biggest, most favourite, chunky ceramic mug."
  3. Add the cayenne pepper to taste, as well as the other spices, salt and pepper. The above measurements are general guidelines.  Sacha recommends you “play with the quantities, start with smaller pinches of each if you prefer."
  4. Then top off the Fire Water with virgin coconut oil
  5. Finally, Sacha instructs us to “stir, sit down, breathe, smile, and when it's cool enough, sip.  And enjoy.  You will likely want to stir it as you go, to keep all the lovely ingredients from settling to the bottom”.

Finally, a lovely video of Sacha making Fire Water


Q&A Sunday: Goldfish for Feng Shui

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A few months ago I bought fish tank. I started with nine goldfish. Last week, three died, and I replaced them. After two more have died, one orange and one black, I now have four goldfish left. According to Vaastu/Feng Shui, are we supposed to keep nine goldfish and one black fish, or eight goldfish and one black fish? I was also told to keep my 37 gallon tank in the North corner of my house. Can I keep fewer fish or get an extra, smaller tank and put three fish in that tank to make total of nine?

Vana R., Brampton, Ont.

Hi Vana, 

Thank you for your question! Before we begin, it might be helpful for you to look at two of our previous answers, Question of the Month: What About Goldfish? and Q&A Sunday: A Feng Shui Aquarium. You may find useful information there as well.

In your specific situation, my intuition tells me the true issue isn't necessarily about how many goldfish you have or how big your tank is. Life isn't isn't always about following rules tightly or too loosely. In Buddhism and in feng shui, we have the concepts of being tight and loose. If you're too tight, you follow things too closely. If you're too loose, you don't follow closely enough. I am feeling that you are too tight.

Fortunately, you can take a lesson from the flow of the water in the aquarium and be a little looser in your life. It's good that these questions are coming up, because you're curious and dedicated to shifting things. But there is also a tightness coming across. I can be a very tight person too, but just like with the strings of an instrument, if they're too taut, the music isn't right. If they're too slack, the music isn't right either. It's about finding and feeling the balance.

One of the reasons one may want to use an aquarium in the home, at least in BTB feng shui, is to add more flexibility, flow and openness, like water. This is the feeling I'm getting from your question, so I encourage you to look at what is appropriate for you, rather than what the "rules" dictate. In an aquarium, the water is always circulating and moving. It's a metaphor for creating a flow and resisting getting stuck or creating solid rules.

Another thought, ask yourself why those fish died. Did they die because you weren't taking care of them, or was it an accident? Did they die randomly, or were they perhaps not high quality fish? I think it's important to really consider these factors.

The answers to that question will help with the next part, which is figuring out what's best for you and your lifestyle. What size aquarium works best for YOUR space? If you've worked with a Vaastu or feng shui practitioner, and they recommended keeping the tank in the North corner, go with what they advised. It is worth noting that 37 gallons is considered a medium size tank, so if it seems like it's a bit much for you to keep up with, you might want to try a smaller option. It may help to go back to your practitioner and ask why they made the original recommendation and if you can downsize. I can't really advise on this, since practitioners are all very different, but I recommend looking at whether this size is appropriate for you. Keeping fish in your space can be good feng shui, but if you can't maintain them, it could defeat the purpose. 

In your case, it seems that you actually want to try a smaller tank. You can definitely keep fewer than nine fish. In one of the previous questions about goldfish mentioned above, I do share that three is also a good number for fish, but I can't give you a solid answer here, because I feel it's something you need to challenge yourself with. Don't try to just follow the rules and be super tight; really look at what works best for you and add some looseness. Return to the practitioner you originally saw for advice. What was the reasoning behind their recommendations? I also suggest looking for a bit more openness, looseness and flow in your life. That could help you to find the answer you're looking for.

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


Autumn Is Finally (Actually) Here!

New York City isn't usually associated with warm fall weather, but this year the sunshine stuck around a bit longer than usual. Some of us (me!) enjoyed it, and others waited patiently for real autumn temperatures. They're finally starting to drop down, so I'd thought I'd share my favorite blog posts from over the years to help us all get adjusted to fall, no matter how late it showed up!


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Astrology & Feng Shui 009: November 2017 Metal Pig Month in the Fire Rooster Year

 
 

Welcome back for the ninth episode of our mini-series, Astrology & Feng Shui!

LISTEN AT HOLISTICSPACES.COM/PODCAST

AVAILABLE ON ITUNES AS PART OF HOLISTIC SPACES PODCAST

Tune in the first of every month as we visit with guest astrologers to connect eastern and western astrology to feng shui!

TUNE IN DECEMBER 1 FOR THE NEXT EPISODE!

Q&A Sunday: Nine Star Ki Order

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Does the Nine Star Ki process forwards or backwards through the numbers? I have read conflicting things about how to find the elemental year and what year I am in. Any help with this would be appreciated.

Katja D., Holliston, MA

Hi Katja, 

Thank you for your question! And I'm happy that you're diving into the Nine Star Ki. I love it and use it often!

The approach to evaluating Nine Star Ki numerology, as with most things, depends on how you were taught and your interpretation of the knowledge. In the BTB Masters feng shui program that I studied in, my teacher, Rosalie Prinzivalli, taught me the Nine Star Ki numerology as she was taught by her teacher, Edgar Sung. Edgar was also a BTB feng shui master, who studied under Professor Lin Yun. He taught Nine Star numerology such that the process works this way. This is the way I practice as well, since he is part of my teacher's lineage.

My understanding is that in traditional Chinese practice, Nine Star Ki is calculated by reading your numbers differently, based on whether you are male or female. For instance, in the Nine Star Ki practiced by feng shui master, Joey Yap, who I also studied with, your principle number (also called a life number) is different depending on your sex. The way Rosalie taught me, I'm a 6 Metal. But from Joey Yap's calculations, I would only be a 6 Metal if I were a man. As a woman with the same birthday, I'm a 9 Fire. 

So ultimately, as is often the case in feng shui and all things in life, your interpretation of the Nine Star Ki depends on your teacher, their teacher's lineage and your experience and knowledge using the information. As I've shared before, teachers are a very important part of feng shui, and the way you learn each part of the practice will vary depending on who you choose to study with. I'm not sure what your experience is, but I would recommend choosing a teacher you trust, who resonates with you, and learning their methods. Know that there will be conflicting information in feng shui, especially if you aren't learning from a teacher. Just another reason teachers are so important if you really want to learn true feng shui! If you'd like to learn a bit more about Nine Star Ki before you find your mentor, I can recommend Feng Shui Astrology and Nine Star Ki: Michio Kushi's Guidebook on Love and Relationships, Health and Travel and Getting Through the 1990's.

Our 2017 Nine Star Ki podcast episode also has easy directions for calculating this number in the way that I practice. Hopefully we answered your questions and this helps! The Nine Star Ki for 2018 is coming up soon, so keep an eye out!

by Anjie Cho


Thanks for reading our "Q&A Sunday".  We will be answering questions submitted by our readers. Click here to submit any Feng Shui or Green Design questions!


51 Feng Shui Experts Share Their Decorating Secrets

featured this month on Insider Living by Jennifer McBride

image credit: Insider Living

image credit: Insider Living

Oftentimes you come home tired and stressed after a long day of work and you can barely wait to relax and stop all the hustle. Your home is a refuge where you spend precious time with your family.

More than the overall home, your bedroom is a place for intimacy and rest. If you are part of a couple, the way the bedroom looks and feels can influence your relationship. It can be the perfect environment for love and romanticism.

Even if you are single, the way your room looks impacts your state of mind and productivity.

The best solution for transforming your bedroom into a place of harmony that is pleasant to the eye and spirit is to follow the rules of feng shui. To do that, it would be ideal to hire a feng shui expert or even an interior designer. If you are on a budget and want to arrange your room alone, then we have a solution for you.

We reached out to forty-nine feng shui experts and interior designers and asked them:

What are your best tips to feng shui your bedroom?

We got some great feedback that we would love to share with you.

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Anjie Cho

One important area to address in the bedroom is actually under the bed. It is best to leave this space clear, so as to allow qi to flow freely. However, if you must keep items below your bed, aim for soft, sleep-related things, like linens and pillows, and avoid items that may cause stress or distraction, like old love letters, sharp objects or even shoes, which can keep you walking in circles!

...read full article