If you're an office minimalist--sporting the standard-issue desk, computer, and chair--your 9-5 home can look pretty depressing.
Mine certainly did. That's why I asked feng shui consultant Ann Bingley Gallops, the founder of Open Spaces Feng Shui in Brooklyn, for help.
Feng shui is more than the world's most mispronounced tradition. (For the record, it's "fung shway," which means wind and water: Two energies you need for life and good health, Gallops explains.) The practice originated with Chinese farmers, who used it to find the most prosperous place to put their crops. At its most basic, feng shui consists of arranging objects and furniture in such a way that makes energy flow with you and generates positive chi, or life force.
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Gallops turned to feng shui after a divorce and her career as a marketing executive left her feeling dissatisfied. She says it's no coincidence that once she began practicing, she found a great new apartment with a garden, new opportunities in work, and the man of her dreams. Who wouldn't want some of that? (I definitely did--check out the feng shui magic she worked on my office!) Here, Gallops shares her 5 best feng shui basics for your home or office:
1. No, really. Clear your clutter. You didn't think you could feng shui without throwing things away, did you? "There's no hiding from feng shui eyes," Gallops says. Clearing clutter is the first step to creating better energy. "You get such a sense of freedom, and you create space so that new opportunities can come into your life," she says.
2. Assume the command position. Feng shui is about taking control of the layout of your life. The command position--the most important spot in a room--is the hallowed ground opposite the door at a catty-corner angle. That's where you'll want to place the most important furniture in a room, such as a desk or bed, so that you're not being directly confronted by what's happening in the hall, but you can still see what's going on.
3. Redo your bedroom. It's the number one room for a sense of sanctuary, recovery, and intimacy, says Gallops. "You don't want big energy in there," she says, so get rid of the TV. If you're in a relationship, create a couple's vibe with two nightstands and two lamps. And if you're not (but want to be), stick with the tea-for-two theme, too. "That's a way to send a message to the universe," she says.
4. Embrace the elements. That's wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. "You want to have a balance of them in your space," Gallops says. She recommends incorporating all five into any space you spend a lot of time. So how would that work in an office, short of setting your plant on fire? Every element is linked with a color and shape; so here's what can work:
- Wood is associated with green and renewal, making a potted plant a good call.
- Fire is linked with red, triangular shapes, and light. Opt for a lamp or anything animal print.
- Earth is associated with the square shape and the colors yellow and brown. Put your plant in a ceramic pot.
- Metal is linked with white and a round shape; go for a round rug or table.
- Water is associated with serenity and stillness. To really feng shui it up, try a desktop water fountain.
5. Give your kitchen good karma. It's the source of your family's health, so keep it clean and keep all appliances in working order--i.e., no blocked energy. And organize your cabinets. Gallops recommends getting several Lazy Susans in your kitchen (she has nine) so you never have to struggle to reach whatever's lurking in a back corner.
inspire: live a better life
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In September, I'll turn 38. I'm at the age now where, when people ask how old I am, it takes me a minute to remember. I don't know if that's because I've already been 37 different ages and it's hard to keep straight which one I am now, or if it's because I'm in denial, or if it's because I am going senile. Maybe a combination of all of the above. Regardless, my 30s have flown by and soon they will be but a memory. So, in an effort to preserve the memory I have left (or at least keep a record of it), and to celebrate what has been an amazing decade so far, here are 30 things that have happened to me in my 30s (and will probably happen to you too):
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