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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!

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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

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.

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