School is starting for the year so let’s explore Feng Shui and children. There’s a lot that’s involved in this topic, so today I’ll begin by discussing yin and yang within their environment.
There’s no question our environment influences us. Our body reacts with all its senses (sight, smell, touch, sound, etc.). One study that was done placed blind children in a red room. Their heart rate increased and they became agitated. When they were moved to a blue room, they returned to normal; thus, why we don’t recommend much red (pure yang) in schools, hospitals or wellness centers. However, introduce yin’s influence (muted colors), and pink or lavender (derivatives of red) can be peaceful.
I was honored to be invited back to speak with the Ohio Education Assn. and National Education Assn. to discuss Feng Shui for the classroom. The event was open to the public; and while information is about the classroom (schools, daycares, bible studies, etc.) —it can translate to children’s spaces in general.
In a yin setting (resting, quiet) the influence is focused, retrospective, and calm. Activities conducive to this environment are sleeping, reading, comprehending, examining, listening, art-related, and such. Yin activities build self-esteem (”I be”): Examples are caring for a pet or plant, garden activities, preparing food, helping around the house, picking flowers, etc. How can we engage the senses to introduce more yin in a yang environment? Utilize curves, water, smooth surfaces, dark or muted colors, less light, cool temperatures, silence, and soft textures.
A yin atmosphere enables our creative (inside) self. Think of a blank sheet of paper. On it, we’re inclined to create something from our imagination or our interpretation of the surroundings; whereas, a coloring book encourages us to fill between the lines. In other words, we’re completing someone else’s design.
Single-tasking is yin and becoming an endangered art. We’re bombarded today with activities that require multi-tasking (yang)…cell phones, pagers, TV, etc. Ask yourself if you are any happier or less stressed with all the tools available today. Our children are growing up in this environment…it is their normal way of operating in the world. They need yin for balance, but do they know what to do with themselves in a yin setting? Like the coloring book, most things are done for them.
The more we design or manipulate our children’s process of growth, the further they stray away from their natural (instinctive) selves. A good example of this is sleeping. Studies have shown that as soon as babies can move around, they migrate toward one of their sleeping direction (see the article What Is My Feng Shui Kua or Trigram on my website). As parents, we may manipulate their bed or room arrangement to protect them from drafts, doors, windows, etc., so they are no longer sleeping toward one of their good directions. This depletes their energy and has other negative effects.
Eating patterns are another good example. Animals instinctively know what they need to consume in order to survive. If children weren’t exposed to non-healthy food, they would naturally eat what they need to survive. I know this from personal experience. I grew up on home cooked meals from our garden and surrounding farms. We didn’t have a lot of sweets or snacks, so today they aren’t something that I yearn for. Does the body crave what isn’t good for it?
In a yang setting (energetic, engaging) the influence is action-oriented and exciting. Activities that are conducive in this environment are exercise and physical activity, games, acting out, conversation, and such. Yang activities keep us busy (”I do”): How can we engage the senses to introduce more yang in a yin environment? Utilize straight lines, bold colors, hot temperatures, dry climate, noise, lots of light, reflective surfaces and mirrors, and rough textures.
A yang atmosphere enables our social self and physical development (outside self). Here’s where we transition from being to doing (action and multi-tasking) and the need for balance (yin). There’s certainly a positive side to being active. Just ask my dear friends with multiple sclerosis. However, we (as a society) tend to overdo it. This raises our stress level. I can’t imagine being a child in school today and what they have to deal with.
Examples of overdone yang activities: TV, loud music, traffic, clutter and crowded spaces, overbuilding and corners, and more. How do these nurture our children or our environment (Mother Earth)? Look around you and explore opportunities to introduce more yin into your environment. One way to do that is enter every room and think “love.” What doesn’t belong there will likely pop out at you. Also, acknowledge your children (and those around you) for who they are (be) versus what they do or how they look. Remember how good it felt last time someone acknowledged you for being you!