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From Panic to Power

So I just have to ask, are you a little spooked right now? Does the world seem particularly scary? While I know there are always disconcerting events happening at all times, this exact moment does feel a bit creepier than usual.

spooky forest From Panic to Power

Perhaps it’s the nasty US political situation, or maybe the biblical-scale natural disasters, or (and this is an old favorite from years gone by) the threat of thermonuclear war, that has many of us on edge. But no matter how you slice it, there is a lot one can find nerve-wracking in the world at present.

That said, there are different ways that we can be with this. One option is to inundate ourselves with the scary info, and then discuss it with friends and basically magnify the sense that everything is falling apart. But I don’t recommend this. In fact, I’d like to offer a better alternative.

happy trees 1024x640 From Panic to Power

We can start by asking ourselves a simple question: “how many of these scary/disturbing stories being blasted out of the cable news shows are actually affecting me personally?” No doubt some people reading this live in the vicinity of the wildfires, or in the path of recent storms, and to them I offer my prayers and deepest sympathies. I hope the damage was not too great to your property, and of course to your health and that of your loved ones.

However, I would wager that the majority of people reading this are not being directly affected by the natural disasters. Nor are they likely being impacted directly by politics. The same goes for the bellicose war language we are hearing from several corners of the globe. Again, all scary stuff, but little of this is actually affecting us on a daily basis. And while I heartily encourage people to donate to relief efforts, or to call a member of congress to voice their opinion on an important piece of legislation, I also encourage people to retract their attention from events that can’t be controlled, and instead place their focus on the things that can be controlled.

One of the places where we have a lot of power is our own personal space. The world at large may feel unmanageable, but we can generate a tremendous feeling of personal well-being and empowerment in our home or office. This is ultimately what Feng Shui is all about.

By turning our home or work space into our own command center, a personal power zone, we begin to override the effects of broader world on our psyche, and by extension, our life.
In addition to our space, I’d also like to share some tips for mind, body, and spirit that have helped me reclaim my power through this period.

Find Your Power Place: Feng Shui
Get in the Power Position

In Your Office:

For those of you who’ve worked with me, you’ll know that I like to place the desk in a position so that your back is to a wall, and never a door. In fact, it’s ideal to sit so that you are facing the door, which is usually achievable in an office if you make some effort. Try to position your desk so you look out a window at a lovely view, or at least towards a pleasant piece of artwork.

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Custom built wood paneled home office by Reiko Design.

In Your Home:

In your home: The same holds true for that favorite chair you sit in while watching TV. Make sure it’s in a very secure spot in the room, without a door behind you, or a lot of foot traffic from other members of the household. This also applies to the kitchen. While it’s best to have a kitchen layout that allows the cook to face out into the room while standing at the stove, many kitchens aren’t designed this way. This is okay. The alternative is to place a reflective surface on the stove wall, which allows the cook to see behind them. In the below photo you’ll notice that I used a glass tile on the stove wall of this custom home. The surface is reflective enough for the cook to see behind them, while still being aesthetically appealing.

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New custom kitchen with mirror tile backsplash by Reiko Design.

In Your Bedroom:

In your bedroom, the power position is where you can see the door from the bed. Ideally, you can see people coming into the room before they see you. A door that lines up with the head of a bed should be avoided. The power position for a bed can help with sleep, and is especially good for children’s rooms, since they can feel extra sensitive to having a safe sleeping environment.

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Loft with sleeping alcove design and construction by Reiko Design.

Keep it Private

Make sure you feel private in your space. Especially the bedroom, but it can apply to any room of your house, or your office.

I’ll confess, I was actually guilty of a faux pas on this one for some time, and I really felt the effects. I found some great linen curtains for my living room windows, but the only problem was that I really needed six panels to make them comfortably fill the space, and the seller only had 4. So I bought them anyway, thinking I’d eventually find another 2 somewhere else. But I got kinda lazy, and lived for a long time with the 4 panels. The curtains mostly covered the windows, but as the months wore on, my husband and I both found ourselves feeling subtly uncomfortable at night when we’d walk past the gaps in the curtains. The joke is that we live adjoining a nature preserve, and there’s basically nobody out there. Still, it’s amazing how this effected our psyches, and created this slight sense of insecurity in us.

When I finally tracked down two more panels of the same curtain and had them installed, the extra sense of coziness and privacy at night was palpable. It really made a difference, and my husband and I both noted how much more secure we felt in our own home. So, if you are living with less-than-perfect coverage or opacity in your window treatments, make sure to remedy this. You deserve to feel protected and private.

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Lounge designed by Reiko Design.

Keep it Clean
This first one may seem very basic, and well-covered by a whole host of other specialists and authors, but it doesn’t make it any less relevant. Keep your space neat and organized. Seriously. This is far more important than many people realize, despite all the books and studies out there to this effect. It’s visceral. When the space is messy and unclean, with an overabundance of clutter, this has a powerful negative effect on our subconscious. It actually leads to anxiety, and it’s anxiety that I’m tackling in this newsletter. Why put yourself at a disadvantage right from the get-go?

By contrast, a clean and orderly space creates a sense of calm and empowerment. True story: I have a client who was really feeling traumatized by his messy office. He was slowly working his way through all the unprocessed papers, but in the meantime the sight of the clutter on a daily basis was really harming his serenity. So I had him purchase a bunch of the nicest, top-of-the line banker’s boxes on the market. These are not your usual ugly white affairs, but sleek, dark boxes with cool gray pinstripes. I had him put the unprocessed papers in these boxes, stacked neatly next to his printer table where they were out of the way. They actually looked kind of nice there. Then I told him to keep one box empty, under his desk. Each night, when he’s ready to leave his office, he now sweeps all the excess items on the desk into this box, so that he comes into his office the next day with a spotless desk. As his first action of the day he can look into the box and pull out whatever is relevant.

He has subsequently shared that this has absolutely transformed his experience of the space. He now feels motivated to process the pretty banker’s boxes one at a time in his down moments. And he feels far more invigorated and powerful when he first sits at his desk each morning, seeing the shiny clean surface in front of him.

Here are a few other empowering tips that have kept me going during this tumultuous time.

Inner Power: Body Language

 From Panic to Power

What is your body position communicating not only to others, but to YOU? It’s been proven that standing for two minutes in a victory position (arms overhead, in a wide “V”) will literally change ones testosterone and cortisol levels, leading to a different more assertive mental outlook. Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy states that “Power-Posing” actually causes people to become more powerful.

You’ve probably seen her famous Ted talk on the power of body language, but it’s always worth another watch – so fascinating!

Liquid Power: Morning Detox Tea

The power of apple cider vinegar is legendary. This morning tea invigorates, purifies, heals, and helps decrease the urge for quite so much coffee through the day (although I’m far from breaking that habit). It’s pretty delicious too.

Check it out.

Higher Power: Meditation

 From Panic to Power

I know meditation is daunting for most people (I’ve practiced daily for 25 years and I still feel I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible).

But there’s a wonderful app that I find a great inspiration, and friends of mine who are new to meditation swear by it: Insight Timer Meditation App.

It’s packed full of wonderful guided meditations – and I love the world map, which shows you who is meditating with you all around the world! Download: Insight Timer – Meditation App

Stay in Touch

So, hopefully you will find these tips helpful or inspiring. Please let me know how they work for you, or if you have other practices that have helped you move from panic to power.

Wishing you divine power, immense prosperity and great peace,
Reiko

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