Feng Shui for the holidays

By on December 15, 2013

Holidays are times when we gather together to share and luxuriate in gratitude, giving, and wellness. The end of the calendar year is a time in several cultures for family gatherings and gift-giving. Here are some practical guidelines to help you get the most out of the holiday season.

Let there be light!
Holidays in the dark, cold winter often focus on the Fire element: Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa all feature candles and light. The heat and light from these festivals help to balance the cold and darkness in the outer world and symbolically speak to the light of spirit and consciousness within. However, too much Fire in the home can lead to feeling burned out; think about how many people do get burned out with all the shopping, cooking, celebrating, relationship dynamics, and expectations of the season. Accent instead with blue tones and metal objects – both of them counteract Fire with their coolness. In recent years, blue Christmas decorations have been very popular, and silver or frosted trees can also help to balance the excess Fire. If you have trees and lighting, you don’t need to use much in the traditional red-green palette.
Here’s lookin’ at you, kid…
If you want your family relationships to be more than just a rehash of old patterns, take a good look around you. I have been in numerous homes where there are large pictures of a child in elementary school, only to discover upon further questioning that the ‘child’ is now in university. Such a set-up is bound to create a ‘you always treat me like a kid’ level of frustration and resentment on the part of the child. An old photograph or two is fine when placed alongside more prominent displays of recent outings and accomplishments, but oversized pictures of children from years back  – or too many of them – make them feel that they are not good enough as they are now. Have the most recent pictures prominently displayed, by either keeping them in the foreground or having them on the wall with smaller, older pictures below. By all means have a picture of a dearly departed relative or grandparent looking at their descendants, but bridge any past pictures with others taken within the last year.
Get with the times
Cellular memory can easily trigger old emotional patterns, and entering the home in which we grew up or lived in the past can automatically bring up old behaviours and feelings. If you are going to be celebrating in your long-time family home, shift the surroundings a bit to help lessen the hypnotic pull of past patterns while opening up the possibility of being more in present time. Move the living room around or get new art on the walls. Perhaps it’s time to update the couch – reupholstering as opposed to ditching it could be an affordable change. Some family heirlooms and familiar pieces can provide an appropriate link to the past, but if the bulk of the house hasn’t evolved in a decade or two, you might discover that ‘you just never change’  becomes an underlying motif in the family dynamic. I am not advocating expensive renovations or purchases every few years or the disposing of beloved possessions. Something as simple as a new tablecloth, a fresh work of art on the wall, or a revised room layout can help shift the setting enough to enable new dynamics to evolve.
‘For me? You shouldn’t have…no, really…’
One of the joys of a well-chosen present is that the sense of ‘presence’ lasts beyond the second-by-second anticipation leading to their being unwrapped. The effort that goes into choosing gifts can go a long way to their being appreciated, and yet it is also important to let go of any attachment to your gift being received in a particular way: once you give it, it belongs to the recipient and it is theirs to do with as they please. The last thing anyone needs is something they don’t need or want, so do allow them to do with it as they please. The current trend of gift receipts with products – which enable bearers to exchange the item for another one of matching value – is a great way to give a present while being open to the recipient exercising choice once it has been given.
Do your best to organize the items to be kept for future use, and recycle your waste as economically as possible. Ensure that your new gifts have a home – this can be a good opportunity to make space for them by letting go of other items that are asking to be released.
May your holidays be joyful and filled with presence, light, and warmth!

About Mark Ainley

Mark Ainley is a Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant and Emotional Stress Consultant living in Vancouver. A former 5-year resident of Tokyo, Mark consults with clients internationally to help them design living and work spaces in alignment with their goals. He also provides consulting in emotional stress management, as well as in the connection between facial structure and innate behavioural and communication patterns. He can be reached through his website: www.senseofspace.com and www.markainley.com.