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When designing beautiful rooms, buildings, offices and homes, bring nature’s elements indoors using the EcoChi® EcoChi Design brings Nature Indoorsphilosophy-blending feng shui, green and sustainability and environment psychology. The focus in this design system is the relationship between nature, the beauty of buildings and the wellbeing and happiness of the inhabitants. It is possible to purposefully arrange an environment so that it has a positive effect on the people who live, work or visit there. Nature’s beauty is for all to enjoy. It is a right we earn at birth. When bringing nature’s elements indoors people feel happier, healthier, calmer, and at the same time more energetic and optimistic about their lives.

Here are some easy to implement tips for your indoor environments:

1. Shop for an indoor water feature, fountain or fish tank • Whether it is natural or man-made, people love to be near water. They gather around fountains all over the world. • A water fountain is relaxing to look at and the sound comforts us. • Hours can go by as we entertain ourselves by peering into a small fish tank or an aquarium. It makes us calmer because it reminds us that we are a small part of something grand.

2. Accessorize your space with green plants and trees • Plants are natural air filters. • The color green is restful and calming for our eyes. • Plants absorb electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that are emitted from electronic equipment that may have harmful effects on our health.

3. Freshly cut flowers are beautiful to look at and the fragrance delights our senses • Pastel colors have a relaxing energy; vibrant colors create an excitement in the room. • Keep it fresh! Change the water every day. • As soon as the flowers start to wilt throw them away.

4. Take a walk in nature and bring some beauty indoors to create a feeling of harmony • Create a rock garden with stones you have collected. • Pine cones and acorns can make a beautiful centerpiece-place them in a dish with a candle. • Take your collection of sea shells and display them in a bowl with small soaps in your bathroom.

5. Decorate with art that expresses the beauty of nature • Select a painting, photograph, poster or painting that inspires you. • Purchase Furniture artistically crafted with organic materials that helps to create a naturally beautiful and healthful space. • Utilize art constructed in Mother Earth’s studio! Display a crystal, geode or fossil in a place where all can enjoy it.

Bring the outdoors, indoors as part of your interior design strategy. It will bring about a sense of calm and optimism for the people who live and work in these spaces!

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LoPan CompassLife in the New Year will be lived the way it is designed.  So prepare your home, your mind and body, and be conscious of the environment so you can attract all the things you desire in your life this year. Your home should be your “red bird” so that it reflects your promising future. This is a feng shui expression and it is a powerful tool that can help you create abundance in all areas of your life. Your mind and body should be refreshed, renewed and ready to accept opportunities. Do one good thing for Mother Earth and we are one step closer to a better world. So where do you start? Follow these simple tips and enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous year!

Clean, de-clutter and beautify your home. This changes the energy and prepares the space to celebrate the wonderful things that are about to come into your life.

The cleansing properties of sea salt are used to renew the chi of spaces. To cleanse your home of old energies and create room for fresh energy follow these easy steps:

  • In a small bowl place 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • add 2 cups of warm water
  • Moisten a cotton cloth or dish towel with the solution
  • Wipe down your front door and all of the doorknobs in your home

Pay down an overdue bill. Even if you can’t pay it off entirely the intention is to begin to pay off some debt so it makes room for money to come in this year.

Instead of focusing on not eating to lose weight, have a healthful snack before you go out to dinner. It helps to keep your energy level up and keeps you from gorging on bread and butter at the restaurant.

Update your lighting to include earth-friendly compact florescent light bulbs or LEDs. Just changing the six incandescent bulbs you use most often could save you over $100 a year on your energy bills.

Wear red to bring in the New Year. If red is not part of your wardrobe, fresh flowers or decorative pillows in this auspicious color is sure to set the atmosphere for a promising New Year.

Make a list of all the things you want to come into your life this year. Light a candle and burn the list just before midnight releasing your wishes so the universe can provide them. If you are home when the New Year arrives, open your front door to allow this new energy to enter.

Start the New Year off right by making a change. Large or small revisions help to welcome in new energy. So go ahead, get a haircut, change your route to work, make a conscious effort to recycle or take ballroom dancing lessons and enjoy!

These tips can be accomplished on any budget so no excuses! Did not have time to tackle this list before New Year’s Eve? Do not worry…this is also a wonderful way to start the Chinese New Year which begins on January 23rd and is the year of the Dragon. The Dragon energy fills most people with energy, vitality and unbridled enthusiasm.

Let go of last year, especially if you’ve had challenges or troubles. Process them in your mind and then clear out your thoughts and emotions. Let go of expectations and make room for positive energy flow. Embrace optimistic thoughts, dream, laugh and love. This will attract wonderful things into your life this New Year.

Debra Duneier is an accredited LEED® Green Associate, Certified Eco-Designer, Feng Shui Master Practitioner, Creator of EcoChi® and Author of EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience. http://www.ecochi.com

 

Poison ArrowThe Chief Architect of our world clearly loves curves. Picture the swirls and curls of the ocean waves, the gentle arc of a flower petal, the perfection of a full moon, or the spiral motion of caressing winds on a balmy evening.

We are energy, and so are all of the things around us, both animate and inanimate. Invisible but powerful patterns of energy exist everywhere. This is the basic principle of quantum mechanics, which has been observed and documented by scientists at the scale of atomic particles. All matter has this “Chi” energy or “life force.” What‘s important to note is that some energy patterns are supportive and others can be destructive. Energy patterns are affected by a great many factors, all working in tandem. This can include the colors and shapes we choose, the positioning of furniture, the lighting, the floor plan, the site, and even the size and location of the doors and windows. The way the space will be utilized also factors in as does its history, whether it’s a home, office, hotel room, movie
theatre, or any other location. What has happened in that space? Was someone sick? Did someone die there? Were toxic paints, materials, finishes or adhesives used in building or renovating the property? Was there love in that space, or violence and anger? So many variables enter into the equation,
including the basic fact that energy is always in a state of flux. For this reason, making sure a new building or renovated space has good nurturing
energy, enhancing that positive energy, and, when necessary, containing or eliminating the stressful energy, is an essential part of the EcoChi process.

The building may be green but does it have poison arrows? Poison arrows create a stressful fast moving energy also referred to as cutting chi in feng shui. They
are sharp angular lines directed towards a person or a structure. Jagged edges of buildings aimed at a home or office building at right angles, table corners,
and pointed objects are some examples of poison arrows. It is an inauspicious energy. Having only straight lines and sharp angular shapes in our personal and
public spaces would be like being in a room full of arrows of different sizes and colors that point straight at us, from all directions and heights. Not
surprisingly, this kind of environment will make us feel uncomfortable, nervous and agitated. These sharp angles cause energy to move very fast and can make
people feel restless, interrupt sleep, and can negatively impact the health of the occupants of the building. Architects, builders, contractors and designers
should be aware of any potential poison arrows when constructing or renovating spaces.

In Hong Kong buildings have been torn down in mid-construction when creating bad feng shui. If you are  constructing a new space be aware of any poison arrows directed towards your site and plan accordingly. Avoid creating cutting chi that will point at neighboring buildings. If you are working in an existing space that exhibits “poison arrows” an EcoChi tip is to soften these edges with plants, wind chimes, curtains or decorative screens. This added beauty brings a positive quality to the experience of the space while slowing down the Chi—all of which makes for a healthier environment.

Available September 17, 2011

I created the EcoChi system of design because I needed it in my own life. EcoChi is a lifestyle shift that meticulously blends the powerful ancient and modern lessons of classical feng shui, green and sustainable living and environmental psychology to revolutionize how people feel when they are in a building.

In Eastern philosophy, it is believed that life and the natural world are inseparable from one another. As we become more attentive to nature, we become more aware of ourselves. During my studies, I realized that if I could find ways to bring nature’s elementsinto indoor spaces, it would change the energy and the effects on the inhabitants and would be extremely positive with the following benefits:

  • Attainment of personal goals such as wealth, love, happiness
  • Physical and mental well-being
  • Moving forward after a loss or crisis
  • Taking back the reins of control over one’s life
  • Living in harmony and balance

When applied to businesses, it adds other benefits:

  • Improving ROI (Return on Investment)
  • Happier employees resulting in lower turnover
  • Healthier working environment and reduced absenteeism
  • Satisfied customers and brand loyalty
  • Environmental responsibility for our planet and lower energy costs

Energy patterns are affected by many factors, all working in tandem. This can include the colors and shapes wechoose, the positioning of furniture, lighting, floor plan, the site, and even the size and location of doors and windows. The way the space will be utilized also factors in as does its history. What has happened in that space? Were toxic paints, materials, finishes or adhesives used in building or renovating? Was there success in that space, or did the last business fail? So many variables enter into the equation, including the basic fact that energy isalways in a state of flux. For this reason, making sure an office has good nurturing energy, enhancing that positive energy, and, when necessary, containing or eliminating the stressful energy, is an essential part of the
EcoChi process. Here are some tips which you can implement yourself:

Tip 1- The energy of water is most closely linked to prosperity. Place a water feature, such as a fountain or a miniature waterfall, in the southwest corner of your office and watch greater abundance enter your life. Remember to always keep the water and the fountain clean.

Tip 2- Clutter clogs up potential! Organize your office and you change the energy flow and clear the way for new business, success and prosperity.

Tip 3- Position your desk chair so that your back is up against a wall and you can see your office door. This position is called the “Mountain Energy” in
feng shui. This is the energy of support and protection for you and your business.

By implementing the EcoChi system, you can open doors to new energy that will advance you professionally
and bring greater joy to all aspects of your life!

Written by Debra Duneier for the Women’s Leadership Exchange

We all have the opportunity to have several homes. No, I am not talking about buying real estate. I am talking about the public spaces available to all of us. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that there are many opportunities to find the energy and balance we need right in our own city and surrounding areas. The real blessing of technology is that we can do our work anywhere—on a blanket in a state park, on a seaside rock, in a library, restaurant, museum or even a sculpture garden. Most cities have a rich plethora of environments to choose from. I love my city apartment in Manhattan. It is perfect for me in many ways. However, living in the heart of “the city that never sleeps” is not generally the most relaxing place to be. New York’s fast-paced, vibrant, 24/7 energy is very “yang.” On the positive side, it offers endless activities, opportunities and cultural events—a diverse, ever-changing smorgasbord of people, places and things. But whew! Sometimes just thinking about it can exhaust me.

To help keep my life in true balance, I also have a second home, one that slows me down and helps me connect and stay in tune with “yin” energy- nature’s moons, tides, rhythms and seasons. Our yin and yang (masculine and feminine) energies are interdependent and complement each other, representing
the polarities of the universe and the ever-changing balance of life. One EcoChi principle is that a second home can and should be an opportunity to create a natural balance between these two opposite but complementary and equally
necessary energies. My second home is on the North Fork of Long Island just 1 ½ hours from the city. Over the last 10 years I have stayed at friend’s homes,
rented motel rooms for a night, did weekends at a B&B and even have taken rides out just for the day. Eventually I rented a tiny house for 2 weeks and ultimately bought a “handyman special” that is a short walk to the beach surrounded by trees, vineyards and organic farms.

However, what I am talking about here does not require the deed to an actual house! A viable option, and one that may even be preferable, is to

make an agreement with yourself that you will explore nearby neighborhoods and the outlying community until you find a public space—or several spaces— that offer you the balance you need. Change your energy—and thus your mood—by heading out to a café, museum, library, park or beach. Vary your environment from time to time and I promise you that you will be pleasantly surprised. The only limit is your imagination and willingness to explore other areas both near and far to find the balance of yin and yang you desire in your life.

(EcoChi: Designing the Human Experience,Chapter 10) www.EcoChi.com

Take a few moments to share with me stories of your favorite second home!

May is the perfect time for a spring cleaning; but have you heard of a space clearing? I am not talking about de-cluttering. That subject is for a different day…

Learning about space clearings was an unexpected part of my Feng Shui training. I had never heard of a space clearing before that. When I was informed that it was a required part of the curriculum, I was taken off guard. I thought, “What is this and how could it be helpful to my clients?” I learned that a space clearing is a method used to dissipate negative or stagnant energy (Chi). The intention of this ritual is to revitalize energy in a property while also raising the space’s vibratory level. Using a variety of techniques, this ritual allows for new beginnings and sets positive intentions for the home, office or other location.  The purpose is to refresh the energy in your indoor space. Although anyone can do a basic space clearing, I recommend calling in a professional after a stressful event, conflict, divorce, illness or death. It is also one way that I address the “Predecessor Law.” All of us have seen this kind of lingering bad luck. For example, a new restaurant or store opens and everyone knows that the new venture is doomed, because every business that opened there before had gone out of business. A space clearing is one of the many tools I use to remedy this situation. The clearing creates a clean palette and makes room for new energy. It can also be a cathartic ceremony as one releases the old to make room for the new. My methods variously include the use of music, incense, dance, pendulum techniques, song and sound.  Here are some simple things you can do to refresh your space and your life!

  1. Give your place an “air bath.” That’s right…open your windows and let the breeze embrace you and every room.
  2. Light a smudge stick (dried herbs wrapped together.)  You can usually purchase this in a store that sells organic foods. If there is a WholeFoods in your neighborhood they usually carry it.Once you light it move the smoke in a circular motion with intention: thoughts of clearing out old energy and making room for a fresh start.
  3. Ring a bell, musical instrument or hang wind chimes strategically in areas that feel stagnant-especially corners of the room and dark areas.
  4. Use a scented candle or incense to infuse your environment with fragrance.
  5. Place a small bowl of sea salt in every room. Once a day discard the salt in the bowl and fill it with fresh sea salt. Do this every day for 9 days.
  6. Play your favorite music. Push up the volume and sing, dance, swirl and twirl!

 As you celebrate this season of rebirth “good vibrations” will awaken your environment to endless possibilities!

Is your hotel room truly your home away from home? A few easy tips will lead to better sleep, a healing atmosphere and a position of power for a successful meeting.

EcoChi is a lifestyle shift that blends Classical Feng Shui, Green and Sustainable Living and Environmental Psychology to revolutionize how people feel in their spaces. Whether you are home, in your office or in any other indoor space, EcoChi attracts prosperity, harmony, health and happiness—while simultaneously propagating environmental integrity.

  1.  Choose your room with care.
  • Make sure your room has windows that open and air out the room before you go to bed.
  • Location, location, location…Choose a room that is away from vending machines, elevators, bars or restaurants, street noise and any electrical hubs such as air conditioning or heating systems.

   2.  Electromagnetic Fields can interrupt a good nights’ sleep and affect your health.

  • If you must keep your cell phone turned on overnight, keep it at least 5ft away from you. From that distance the Electromagnetic Fields are much less likely to disturb you.
  • Unplug all unnecessary electronics in the room including the alarm clock next to the bed before you go to sleep. This helps the planet by eliminating phantom energy loads and keeps you healthier by cutting down your exposure to unnecessary radio waves and EMFs. Bring a small battery alarm clock with you and call the front desk for a wake-up call instead.

   3.  Small touches from home bring a sense of calm after a long day of traveling.

  • A small travel photo frame with a picture of your love partner, friends or even your pet, will bring a smile to your face and an inner feeling of peace that is necessary for you to be at the top of your performance.  Place it where you can easily see it when you are dressing for your meeting.
  • A piece of clothing that you “love” should be a staple in your overnight bag.  It could be a beautiful scarf, tee shirt, or a zippered hooded sweatshirt from the Super Bowl 5 years ago! Where it while you hang in your room and then use it to cover the television before you go to sleep or the mirror if it is directly facing the bed. Seeing your reflection when you wake up from sleep can make you uneasy and jumpy. You need to be as calm as possible before a big meeting!
  • A small scented candle is a mood changer! Relax with your candle burning, a glass of wine or an herbal tea, and classical music (a great tool for your brain function) as you glance over your outline for your morning meeting.

   4.  If you have to work in your hotel room, power up!

  • Position your chair so that your back is up against the wall and you can see the door to your room.  This is called the “Black Turtle” position in Feng Shui. The wall symbolically supports you and your business.  Seeing the door keeps you in power.  The will be no unexpected surprises. You are in control.
  • If your hotel stay is more than an overnight, buy a small bamboo or jade plant and place it on your desk.  Bringing nature indoors makes us feel grounded. Plants naturally clean the air of toxins, absorbs electromagnetic fields and these particular plants are known to bring money and success.

     5.  Will they love you in the morning?

  • Get up early enough to take a short run, walk, practice yoga, Qi Gong or Tai Chi or a short trip to the gym. 20-30 minutes is enough to get your blood circulating without draining your chi energy.
  • Listen to your favorite music as you get dressed for the meeting.
  • Have breakfast. Stick to a meal that is easy to digest. If your body is working too hard you will not be clear headed for your meeting. Limit your caffeine intake to one or two cups maximum.
  • Choose a power position at the meeting whenever possible. “Black Turtle” (solid wall) behind you with an easy view of the door.

EcoChi for travel, leads to a good night’s sleep, a healing atmosphere in your room and puts you in the position of power at your meetings, increasing your odds for successful business.

Debra Duneier is President of Living Home by Debra, LLC, and is a LEED® GA, Certified Feng Shui Practitioner, Certified Eco-Designer and Real Estate Broker in New York. Her business serves business owners, corporations, hotels, spas, developers, architectural and design firms, real estate investors and individuals who live or work indoors.  debra@LivingHomeByDebra.com   www.LivingHomeByDebra.com

 

It is a New Year!!  It is time to rewrite your life’s story with “Living Home Prosperity Tips”. Take the plunge into a healthier, happier and more prosperous future!

  1.  Door knobs collect energy and this year, we want to start fresh! In a bowl, add 1 heaping tablespoon of sea salt to 4 cups of warm purified water. Take a cotton cloth and dampen with solution. Take a breath and with intension, wash the door knobs. The minerals from the sea, will cleanse and change the chi-energy. 
  2. The “Ming Tang” of your office or home is the entrance. As you step inside, you are transitioning from the outside world to the inside world. I suggest putting one of your favorite pieces of art in the Ming Tang.  A beautiful painting or sculpture is very welcoming and sets the tone to your space. Take 3 lucky Chinese coins and tape them to the back of the mat or rug at the entrance. Every time someone walks in, they symbolically bring money into your property and into your life!
  3.  Whether you work from home or go to a place of business, a wall behind your desk chair, called a “Black Turtle” is very supportive of your business life. In front of you is the “Red Bird’. Use this area for a beautiful photograph or painting. This represents your prosperous future. If there is room for a water feature, this is a perfect place for it. Water flowing upwards brings wealth. The sound should be gentle and soothing to you.
  4. Plants bring life force into our living and working environments. Not only do they bring beauty, but plants clean our air. They also absorb electromagnetic fields, which have a negative impact on our health. To enhance health, place a Peace Lily near your computer or other electronic equipment. The indoor plants that are wealth enhancers are Bamboo and Jade. Bring nature inside!
  5.  If you have a kitchen in your office, abundance is on its way! The kitchen is a portent for wealth. This comes from the belief that the better you eat the healthier you are. A healthier person is a more productive person and brings in better business. The refrigerator should be filled with healthy foods. A full refrigerator brings in health, abundance and happiness. The burners on your stove represent wealth. Keep them clean and alternate your use of the burners when you are cooking. Sometimes, I prescribe a mirror over the stove to double the burners. This doubles the prosperity!
  6.  Goldfish are pretty, relaxing to watch, and bring “life” energy into your environment. They are also magnets for wealth. What is the winning combination?  Fill your tank with 8 goldfish for luck and 1 black fish to keep away bad luck.

Written for the Women’s Leadership Exchange Newsletter: http://www.womensleadershipexchange.com/exchange-winter2010

IMG_0957Everyone is going through changes! The Chinese calendar shows us that we are in the 6th year of an Age 8 period in time. (An Age lasts for 20 years in total) An Age 8 is the most auspicious and interesting time to be alive. The past year has been a cleansing for us economically and well as socially. We have begun to shed excess and now are entertaining the more serious questions. How do I want to spend the rest of my career-my life? If I have to cut back, I need to decide what is really important to me. As the dust clears, I hope that we find ourselves living our life’s purpose. Research shows that happiness and health are supported by our relationships and shared experiences. Hug your child, laugh with a friend, smile when you think of your gifts. We are on our way to better days! Debra Duneier, President of Living Home by Debra, LLC

IMG_1011The morning of my flight to New York from Tokyo my daughter, Danielle and I had a reservation to experience a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Much to our surprise we found ourselves at the Kooman Cultural Center, for a private lesson on the traditions and expected behaviors for the formal tea ceremony. This ritual is a social event and a time to clear one’s mind of the outside world. The objective is to create a moment in time for peace, harmony and calm for the guests. It is a meditation of being and an appreciation of the tea, the host and the environment. This includes admiring the room, artwork, and tea cups. The powdered green tea is used for medicinal purposes as well as enjoyment.

As the honored guest, it was my privilege to open the sliding Shoji doors and be the first to place my naked feet upon the matted floor. Centered on the wall before me (which would be considered the “Red Bird” in Feng Shui) was a work of art. It was an elongated rectangle of fabric in the shape of a Chinese talisman. Painted on the fabric were beautiful Chinese characters.  Our cultural guide for that morning, explained its significance. The top figures represented the season. July is the rainy season in Japan. The characters represented thick clouds, grey skies and rain. The next set of characters represented the blue sky-the season to follow. An unexpected tear rolled down my cheek as I welled up with emotion. Our guide proceeded to explain, the current season has incredible beauty for although it is filled with cloudy and rainy days, it gives birth to the next season of blue skies. Each season depends on the one before it and creates the season to come. This is the core principal of the 5 Element Theory: Water to Wood, Wood to Fire, Fire to Earth, Earth to Metal, Metal to Water. In its simplicity, is a profound wisdom.

In the summer of 2009 many of us find ourselves in a season of thick heavy clouds in our business, financial and personal lives. It is difficult to see its beauty because as far as our eyes can see, there is an endless ceiling of grey hanging over us. The Yin and Yang energies are constantly in motion. Soon we will wake up to blue skies which will be the seeds for our next season. Enjoy the cycles of life as you would enjoy the Tea Ceremony, with peace, harmony and calm.

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