Feng Shui for Passion: Use the Fire Element to Improve Your Life

Feng Shui for Passion: Use the Fire Element to Improve Your Life

A gold-colored dragon represents the fire element in feng shui.“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” ~Oprah Winfrey

How can you use feng shui for passion? Passion is so important in our lives–many people don’t even realize how important it is. Without it, there would literally be no human race, at least not the one we know today. We would have no desire to reproduce, right? But passion also counts when it comes to creating the lives we want in general. Passion is what causes us to move forward on that new project that becomes THE project. It’s the driving force behind our hobbies, our love lives, our families, our friends and even behind our whole selves.

As we continue our series on feng shui, we’re talking about the fire element, what it represents, how to represent it in your home and why you should. If you’re looking for ways to increase the passion, love and action in your own life, you can start with feng shui.

Using Feng Shui for Passion and Action

Feng Shui is an art as much as it is a practice. It’s the concept of bringing nature and natural patterns and surroundings into our homes and everyday lives.  The idea is that by doing this, you can bring harmony and peaceful alignment to your personal space and ultimately, the world.

Feng Shui brings together the five elements, including fire, earth, air water and metal. The underlying concept is that the qi, or life force, must be able to move freely in a room.

Practitioners often start by bringing in certain types of furniture and various types of décor and lighting that represent these elements.

Correspondences in Feng Shui for Passion, Love and Action

In general, the fire element includes the following correspondences.

  • Emotion: Happiness
  • Planet: Mars
  • Chinese Astrology Compatibility: Serpent, Horse, Sheep
  • Direction: South
  • Season: Summer—think hot
  • Shape: Triangle
  • Room: Living Room
  • Symbol: Red Phoenix

Color and balance are also very important in feng shui.

  • Feng Shui Fire Element Colors: Color is probably the simplest way to bring the fire element into your home. Colors such as red, bright yellow, orange, purple and pink represent the element ideally.
  • When the Fire Element is Balanced: The fire element, on the positive side, can fuel enthusiasm, help leaders be more effective, encourage expressiveness and inspiration and help people be bolder. It can ignite passion and excitement in your relationships. It spurs action.
  •  Too Much or Too Little Fire Element: When the fire element is overstated in a home, people often display anger or aggression, or they may become irritable or impulsive. But if there’s not enough fire, residents might be emotionally cold and have a problem with low self-esteem—or they could just experience a lack of vision and be generally apathetic.

Practical Feng Shui for Passion: Bringing the Fire Element Into Your Home

You can represent the fire element in your home in a number of ways. In addition to incorporating the colors listed above into your plan, some specific ideas include the following.

  • Candles
  • Fireplaces (wall hung gas fires are a great substitution if you can’t afford a traditional fireplace installation)
  • Art with fire images and/or colors
  • Gas fire baskets
  • Lighting fixtures incorporating the fire colors
  • Vases, throw pillows and other “pops” of color in the fire colors
  • Electronic equipment
  • Animal prints
  • Sunlight (open the windows!)

Personally, I’ve got red throw pillows, a ton of candles and red incorporated into my artwork in the living room. I am still working on that fireplace. 🙂

What are your favorite ways to incorporate the fire element into your home or office décor? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.

Feng Shui for Passion: Use the Fire Element to Improve Your Life

Why Tending Blooms Can Take Away Your Gloom

gardeningWell, we aren’t really talking about just roses and other flowers here. Gardening, in general, is said to give joy to people. In fact, according to a study conducted by City & Guilds, gardeners are among the happiest workers in the UK. And this is due to a variety of reasons.

The Act Itself

Among the biggest pleasures of gardening are the rewards of being one with nature. There’s the fun of merely being outdoors. And for many people, “getting down and dirty” is simply liberating; this means digging soil, cultivating plants, and dealing with insects. In addition, waiting for seedlings to sprout under the sun and seeing lovely blossoms surrounding garden sheds are pure bliss.

Studies Say So

Many studies have proven gardening to be an effective stress-buster to those who rely on it for work or simply as a hobby. Mycobacterium vaccae, a bacterium found in soil, has been found to stimulate the release of serotonin, a chemical that plays an important role in the regulation of mood. And it isn’t any wonder this chemical is called the “molecule of happiness” or “happiness drug.” Its presence or absence has a major impact on a person’s overall mental health and happiness.

Strong evidence shows that getting your hands dirty with soil in the garden can increase the serotonin levels in your brain. So, thanks to the bacteria present in your garden soil, getting dirty has never been this beneficial, even in a biological point of view.

Reaping What You’ve Sown

The reward of having flowers, fruits or vegetables right in your own backyard has also been shown to bring happiness to whoever planted them. According to research, a flush of dopamine is released in the reward center of the brain when gardeners “see” or “smell” the fruits of their labor after toiling in their backyards. Simply sniffing the flowers and fruits you’ve picked from your garden is a great therapy for individuals who aren’t exactly in a happy mood.

Getting Physical

Aside from your emotions and your brain, your physique also benefits from gardening. 45 minutes of digging and planting in the backyard can burn as many calories as 30 minutes of joining an aerobics class.

Aside from working out your muscles, your skin, bones and immune system also benefit from the good dose of Vitamin D from the sun that helps prevent various diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, among others.

Health and Wealth

In addition to the advantages mentioned above, growing your own garden, particularly an edible one, helps keep your finances in good condition. Growing your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs is more inexpensive and efficient.

So if you’re down in the dumps, don’t immediately reach for a bottle of beer, rant endlessly or take it out on your neighbor. Rather, head to your garden shed and grab your tools for an hour or so of gardening activity. It will stimulate the release of happy chemicals in your brain and will consequently improve your mood and make your day more worthwhile.

About the Author
Raquel Merc has mainly contributed about travel and lifestyle. But she’s also started writing a variety of articles on home management and parenting since becoming a mother in 2010. Among her recent works feature ideas and insights on food, home organisers, and garden sheds.

Feng Shui for Passion: Use the Fire Element to Improve Your Life

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Feng Shui for Passion: Use the Fire Element to Improve Your Life

Your Body Image, Your Self: How to Look and Feel Better Today

BlendsocanuDo you struggle with your body image? If so, you’re far from alone–I’ve been there, and so has most everyone you know, in one way or another.

The fact is that most people feel unhappy about the way their bodies look, feel or are perceived by others. Some are so affected by these feelings that they develop body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a psychiatric condition that causes the victim to literally see something different than reality when it comes to their bodies.

Like everyone who suffers with body image issues, those with BDD are most often driven at least in part by the media’s obsession with a certain body type, along with supporting behaviors from those in their real lives, according to Luanne Kea, a Psychology instructor at South University.

“A person with BDD has taken that information from the environment that a person without BDD would use to determine appropriate clothing, makeup and perhaps greetings, and magnified the different shapes, angles, slopes, or curves of the face or body into imagined unsightly growths, recesses, or grotesque distortions,” Kea says. “Their fear of the social and cultural consequences of not meeting that ideal is far beyond the typical ‘not fitting in,’ and they avoid what they fear will be ostracism, humiliation, (and) public torment because of their ‘deformity.’”
A positive body image is about more than just feeling good.

How you feel about your body affects your confidence, overall self-concept, and personal value–and when you focus on what’s wrong with it, it can affect your entire life.

“People with Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) are concerned, to a level that is above any normal range of concern, with some aspect of their appearance,” Kea says. “Their concern or anxiety over their deformity keeps them from social (outings), work, or relational events and experiences.”

It sure is difficult to feel okay about what you look like when you’re constantly presented images on TV, the internet, and magazines that depict people who are too thin or even digitally enhanced to mask flaws. It’s just unrealistic–so what can you do?

Start With Love: Focus On Yourself First

You already know that it’s important to love yourself for the person that you are. Everyone is made differently, but beautifully, in their own way. Sure, your beauty may be different than that of a fashion model, but you’re still beautiful! Once you accept yourself, you’ll be a happier person.

When you’re learning to love who you are inside and out, you first need to start with the inside. This simply means that you need to work on changing the way you think about beauty.

No one’s absolutely perfect. There may always be something that you don’t particularly like about yourself, but it doesn’t negate your beauty, and it’s certainly no reason to have an unhappy life over it. Shift your focus onto the things that you do like about yourself.

Try having a little faith in humanity. If you people watch in a public place, are you constantly pointing out everyone’s flaws? Chances are that you’re not. You probably don’t judge your friends about their imperfections, so why should you be so hard on yourself?

Stand Out: You’re Uniquely You

Once you’ve worked on your inner feelings, you can then move on to loving yourself on the outside. Unfortunately, in today’s society, people feel ashamed of what they look like to the point of having all sorts of procedures and surgeries. Don’t be fooled! You don’t need this in order to feel good about yourself!

You can attempt to make changes if you have a problem like acne or weight gain, but there are also things that you can’t change, like having wide hips or freckles. The best thing you can do is embrace yourself for the unique individual that you are. After all, there’s no one else on this planet quite like you.

Making Changes in a Healthy Way

If you wish to make changes in your appearance, you can certainly do so. You just need to be doing it for the right reasons. You might need to lose weight in order to get back into a healthy weight range. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to change your hair color every now and then either. Variety is the spice of life.

But some people are tempted to go too far and do things like losing too much weight. They convince themselves that even a healthy weight is “fat” and they strive to be underweight.

It’s important for your health to avoid these types of problems. If you’re stuck in a situation like this, you need to explore the reasons why you feel this way. You also might want to discuss your concerns with a professional.

Passing On a Healthy Body Image

One thing you can do for the world is to help pass on a healthy body image to others. The way the media portrays beauty truly is outrageous, and everyone should be doing their part to promote health and beauty in an undistorted form.

If you have children, teach them that they’re beautiful just the way they are. Since children learn by example, ensure that you never put yourself down in front of them. Avoid complaining about your own body because they might overhear and you might inadvertently teach them something you never intended to teach.

A healthy body image is something we can all strive toward. You’ll make yourself and others feel better by complimenting your friends and family. Everyone likes to get a compliment every now and then. You just might make someone’s day!

What do you think? Do you struggle with body image? How do you get through it? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.

Mission drift: How to keep your business on track

Mission drift: How to keep your business on track

Guest Post By Ria Delight Megnin

life create yourselfHave you experienced “mission drift?”

In nonprofit circles, “mission drift” means making a change to your project to meet a funder’s requirements. And then another change. And then another… Soon, your entire organization is way off course, chasing elusive dollars and failing in its goals.

Since leaving my full-time editing position to become a freelance inspirational writer & speaker, I’ve paid bills by:

  • writing positive features for a local newspaper (on target!)
  • ghostwritten a book (still good!)
  • edited a financial website (kind of on track…)
  • and done a lot of babysitting (wait, when did that stop being just a side job?).

I’ve also invested hundreds of unpaid hours in volunteering, workshops, job applications and proposals that were only tangentially related to what I originally planned to be doing. So I wrote the following list to help me stay true to my most important goals:

How To Stop Mission Drift

1. Have a mission statement. This is part of any good business plan, which you’ve already written up. Right? If not, check in with the great volunteers at SCORE or other organizations committed to helping new entrepreneurs succeed.

2. Know what you’ll stand for. Write down your “must-haves,” “nice-to-haves” and “deal-breakers” for jobs before looking at listings or talking with potential employers. Will you work for less than market value? Will you take an unrelated job if it could lead to something in your field down the road? Will you apply on job boards or only through direct contacts? Make sure your answers are aligned with that mission statement.

3. Have a schedule. Believe it or not, actual production is only about 20 percent of a healthy business. The rest of the time goes to marketing & networking (30%), financial/business/legal matters (20%), and planning/preparations (20%). When you know you’ve only got a few hours a week to devote to finding new leads, you’re less likely to waste time on job offers that aren’t the best ones for you.

4. Be accountable. Check your business actions against your mission statement regularly. Are you drifting? Have a trustworthy friend, colleague or mentor available to help weigh any thorny decisions — and point out if you’re not being true to your goals.

I’ll close with an inspirational quote from one of my favorite authors, Sue Monk Kidd: “The way to find your (inner destiny) again is to be still and remember who you are, to listen to your heart, your inner wisdom, as deeply as you can and then give yourself permission to follow it. If you can’t give yourself this permission, then find someone who can.”

What others strategies have you found that help you overcome mission drift?

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