One of my favorite fall rituals is to fill my trunk with an abundance of the multicolored, unusually shaped pumpkins and gourds that richly grace the Half Moon Bay, N. California coast side where I reside. I especially love the lime- green and tangerine ones with exotic curly handles. I throw in handfuls of dry, crackly autumn-colored corn and drive happily home where I arrange them artfully around a haystack on my front porch.
Inside I arrange a bountiful ‘horn of plenty’ with the smaller multicolored gourds and mini-pumpkins along with the acorns, dry corn and colorful autumn leaves I have collected.
This is my celebration into fall. I don’t really feel it has arrived until I greedily scoop up nature and feature it prominently in my home.
The Chinese art of Feng Shui emphasizes the importance of bringing nature into our living space, which is called the Five Elements Theory. This is the part of Feng Shui that I have found the most powerful when working with my clients, and the part that I most enjoy teaching to my students. I think it must be because this teaching is so intuitive and simple, yet transformational.
As human beings we are connected to 100,000 generations of ancestors who lived in the natural world. It is embedded into our DNA to feel a deep sense of balance and well being in nature. Studies have shown that people become depressed, lethargic and unproductive when deprived of it. We don’t need science to prove the joyousness we feel sinking our feet into white sands while watching a magnificent sunset. We experience it healing our soul and nurturing our spirit.
Next: Bringing nature into the home
One powerful way to remedy winter blues is to work with balancing the elements that begin to diminish during the fall and winter seasons. In working with the Feng Shui five elements of fire, earth, metal, water and wood, we work with the controlling and the nurturing cycles. When we have too much of an element we control it by bringing in the element that is stronger. An example would be the element of earth which we would enhance in order to control the element of water. When we have too little of an element we can nurture it with the element that feeds it, such as the element of wood which will strengthen and feed the element of fire.
By bringing into our homes more of the elements of fire (red), wood (green) and earth (gold) during the colder months, we overcome the abundance of the water element and bring them back into balance. Because we are deeply affected by our physical surroundings, our physical bodies come back into balance as well. As a result depression and lethargy often naturally lifts.
It was no surprise to me to discover that our ancestors had been decorating in this same fashion for centuries. As creatures of comfort we will always try to bring our environment into alignment. In so doing they were naturally balancing these seasonal imbalances.
My favorite winter ritual is to fill my trunk with large branches from the unclaimed fir trees and berry bushes around my home. I give them their seasonal ‘haircut’ and into my trunk they go. That evening, I put on my favorite holiday music and immerse myself in the creative process of adorning my home with these bountiful earthy treasures.
Always preferring to save a Christmas tree, I create my own ‘greener’ recycled version and adorn a tall vase with pine boughs with twinkly white lights, shiny gold balls, strings of red cranberries and my collection of small unique ornaments. I cover the mantle with pungent greens, red poinsettias, strands of magical white lights and shimmering silver and gold ribbons. A cherished Angel holds the place of honor at the center Every tabletop gets a unique variation on this theme creating a sense of interest and visual surprise everywhere the eye rests.
I encourage you to play, create, feel and experience the objects, textures, smells and magic of nature. Bring it into your homes in abundance during this time and especially emphasize the more earthy, woody and fiery aspects. It will replenish your soul and create a deep sense of joy and well being within you, making the fall and winter a magical cozy and happy time to be in your home.
Your comments are always welcome. Tell me how you bring nature into your home during the holidays.
As a special gift to my readers, please click here if you would like to receive a free color Five Elements map which will help you learn how to identify and work with the five elements in your home. Enjoy!