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Published December 28th, 2016
Feng Shui
Pine candles help create a warm glow at this Moraga home and helps connect you to the sensory aromatherapy of the season.

During winter, it seems like the nights are long, chillier and darker, and even though winter is an important part of the annual cycle, many people languish through these months instead of celebrating the change.
Why celebrate, you say? What is there to celebrate about winter? Well, there's plenty! When you feel the more "Yin" drag of winter, purifying and cleansing our homes in this quieter, more reflective time may be just the solution we need.
Here are some Feng Shui ideas to keep your space inspired and cozy while remaining connected to the current season and motivated for all the new growth of the spring season that will surely follow as the sun rises each day.
While it might be too cold to shop even locally on some winter days, look around your home. Find a new place for household sculpture, art or decorative pieces that are dreaming of being shown in different rooms and give them new life. Perhaps even the more fiery red and orange items can bring a warming color contrast to any room, which is just what is needed to counter the chill.
Scent is a sensory embellishment to our environments and lifts spirits even in the darkest of winter days when we tend to keep windows closed and can have stale air inside. Try using sunny citrus and seasonal pine to clean and refresh your home and at the same time lift your mood. Citrus is plentiful in winter months so you remain connected to the natural order of things, borrowing its reinvigorating energy to restore your space. Releasing your home of old energy allows the more stagnant energy in winter months to keep moving.
Try also using lemon rinds to scrub stove stains, and you can make a great window cleaner with grapefruit juice and vinegar.
Finally, burn scented soy candles in your space and enjoy the sensual atmosphere candles provide on cold wintry evenings. Candles can also lift your spirits and sooth your senses with seasonal winter berry, soft pine or cinnamon filling your space.
Winter is the perfect time, when you are spending more time inside anyway, to release the "STUFF" in your closets, drawers, and rooms that no longer are serving a purpose in your life.
Being creative is key, so instead of just tossing stagnant stuff, ask yourself if repurposing or donating is a better choice for some of your items. Any item of clothing you have not worn in a year needs to be in the donating pile. Remember, one person's junk is another's treaure. In any case, letting go of things that no longer serve you allows your space to be lighter, sparkly and organized, and especially with the New Year coming this is a must!
The lack of light in winter is especially mood challenging for many people but we also use more indoor lighting during winter. Go room-by-room and analyze your lighting arrangements and change your light bulbs to energy efficient versions. Master bedrooms, living rooms and family rooms all need powerful 100-watt lighting, but doing a lighting analysis should prompt you to change the lighting in any rooms that feel dimly lit. Remember to also let as much natural light in as possible during the day and throw back drapes early in the morning, as long as you do so without sacrificing insulation, to receive as much brain stimulation as possible.
Prepare warming foods from scratch and fire up your stove to create nourishing energy for yourself and your family and friends. Connect with the season by cooking seasonal vegetables in soups, stews, cassaroles and nourish yourself in the more Yin winter season with warming teas, hot cocoa and warming and spices like ginger and cinnamon. Add some sunny lemon peel to your herbal teas and drink in warmer, tropical climes through all of your senses. Also, if you have a gas fireplace remember to use it this time of year - apertifs always taste better sipped next to a roaring fire.
Winter is a more reflective, intuitive, inward and spiritual time of the year when we reflect on the prior year and contemplate the year ahead and any changes we want to include moving forward. It's a great opportunity to create in our homes a place to gather with yourself and meditate, think or read, so include pillows, lighting and candles to help you create the mood for replenishing and renewing yourself from the inside out. Being more yin, reflective, quiet and sleeping more are all embraced and supported in winter months, so take advantage of this time to kick start your spiritual practice, or recommit to a practice you were perhaps distracted from in the busier yang months of spring and summer.
Surround yourself with fuzzy, cozy blankets, throws, pillows, sweaters and choose warmer fiery yang tones to balance out the colder yin of the winter season. Remember to layer in your home to produce a true sense of abundance as well, since stagnant winter, often creates a sense of bleakness or "lack." Resist this with lots of abundance layers represented throughout your home, berry arrangements, nurturing warm colors, textures that are soft and inviting and remembering to create a room-by-room analysis so your whole home vibrational is uplifting.
So now, do you love winter as much as I do? Grab your red fleece blanket and a copy of one of my all time favorites, Deepak Chopra's "Reinventing the Body Resurrecting the Soul," and curl up by the fire with some hot green ginger tea with a lemon slice. What's not to love?

Energy efficient 100-watt lighting helps counter the darkness of winter at this Lafayette home.
Warm yang orange and red fuzzy throws create warmth to cozy up with, even the chilliest winter nights in this Orinda home. Photos provided
The Bagua Map: Front Door
Michele Duffy, BTB M.F.S. is an Orinda resident who, since 1999, enjoys creating "Space as Medicine" Feng Shui one space at a time, as well as hiking in nature, cooking, and spending time with her family; Canyon Ranch Feng Shui Master, International Feng Shui Guild (IFSG) Red Ribbon Professional. To schedule a professional 2015 Feng Shui Consultation, contact Michele at (520) 647-4887 or send an email to spaceharmony@gmail.com.

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