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Every space has a life of its own,and impacts us as we go about our lives. Our actions, energy and thoughts, as well as our physical well-being, are all profoundly influenced by our surroundings. The design, color scheme, textures, light, furnishings, accessories and placement of each item in our indoor environments impact our senses from moment to moment and shape how we feel about ourselves and others I created the EcoChi system which 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 indoors. We spend about 99% of our time inside so it is easy to forget our connection to the outdoor world. Still, some of the happiest moments of our lives are spent outdoors. With EcoChi I bring nature’s elements into indoor spaces. The effects on the inhabitants are transformative and the added bonus
is that it is also great for the planet.

East Meets West

Eastern philosophies are based on awareness of nature as an endless cycle of transformations, rather than as a succession of unrelated phenomena. In Western culture, we name and categorize things and put them into boxes. Animals are in one box, the ocean in another, seasons in another, and human beings in yet another. This compartmentalization distances us from the reality that we are part of something much larger and grander than our daily lives. Look at the bigger picture. See the stars, the galaxies and observe how small our Earth is—a mere speck of dust in the vast horizon of space. When we accept our small part in the order of the universe, we are truly free to celebrate our place in the natural world. By shifting our perspective this way, we are able to see our planet for what it
truly is, a spiritual place, our mother, our temple and our ultimate home. I believe that this is where the solution to the environmental crisis lives. When
we love something this deeply we act responsibly to keep it safe—forever.


The Eco-Chi Circle

As an interwoven system, all three of the disciplines described earlier and briefly summarized below have been integrated into the EcoChi System. The purpose of this new design for living is to help you establish and materialize your goals, nurture your health, and bring you greater harmony and prosperity.

  • Classical Feng Shui is an ancient art form and system of purposefully arranging an environment so that it has a positive effect on the people who live or work there.
  • Green and Sustainable Living protects the environment and sustains its natural resources for today and for future generations by choosing environmentally friendly lifestyles and practices.
  • Environmental Psychology is an interdisciplinary science focused on the interplay between humans and their surrounding environments.
  • Healthy Choices is a bonus category that I added to this list, because optimal health is one of the core objectives of EcoChi.
  • Far eastern cultures believe that our minds, bodies and souls are intricately connected. The components of EcoChi are linked together in the same holistic manner.

Begin looking at this diagram at any point in the circle and you will see that the result is always the same—each sphere overlaps and influences the other. Each is strong enough to stand on its own, but together the whole creates an undeniable force, one that has the power to revolutionize the way we live.

by Debra Duneier as seen on www.GreenCityChallenge.org

For more information about EcoChi and Feng Shui visit www.LivingHomeByDebra.com and www.EcoChi.com

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Avatar was the star of this past holiday season and a wonderful “Ming Tang” or entrance, into a new decade.

Photograph by Debra

Peel away the layers of adventure, digital brilliance, and political messages and what do we find? At its core, it is what Feng Shui Practitioners call the San Cai: heaven, earth and humanity. In this trigram, “heaven” sits on top, humanity in the middle and “earth” on the bottom. Simply read, it shows how humanity is sandwiched in between “heaven” and “earth” and influenced by both.  “Heaven” represents all we cannot see; air, love, energy chi, and the cosmos. “Earth” represents the physical world: all we can see. The Navi in the movie, are in touch and connected with “heaven” or Mother Nature. They enjoy the beauty and respect the gifts of the natural world including the dangers and even death. The humans are in touch with and believe in “earth” which symbolizes only what they can see. Money is the goal of humanity and possessions are our addiction.

The movie also possesses both the Yin and Yang energies. The Yang is represented by strong warriors, the cacophony of war and destruction of the natural world. The Yin is represented by beauty, love, and the female’s intuitive response to “heaven” or the spiritual and energetic world.

Chellis Glendinning’s is quoted by Ralph Metzner in his essay, “The Psychopathology of the Human-Nature Relationship”; “the human relationship to the natural world was gradually changed from one of respect for and participation in its elliptical wholeness, to one of detachment, management, control, and finally domination.”

James Cameron may have opened the door to our unconscious just a crack, with Avatar. It is my hope that this decade will be the turning point for humanity. That we return to the seed within and embrace conscious living and the joy of both “heaven” and “earth” as a species.

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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