520 - Laguna Nursery - Asian room If your New Year didn’t get off to a  great start, I’m here to tell you there’s redemption. The Chinese New Year officially begins on Feb. 19th (this Thursday), and this is one serious customer when it comes to setting intentions and living in a year you deserve.

Somewhere between launching a website building and marketing agency and starting this blog and book on The Best of Laguna Beach, I got certified in Feng Shui (the compass mode, which I love because it’s easy).

Feng Shui, literally translated, means “wind and water,” and it’s all about creating a world around you that’s auspicious instead of inauspicious. We all want that, right?

I love Feng Shui because it’s all about setting intention and letting positive energy help you do the work. So, when Chinese New Year rolls around – it’s celebrated for 16 days from Feb. 19th forward – you have a splendid opportunity to re-engineer your direction and intention in life.

 

By the way, this year, we move from The Year of the Horse to The Year of the Goat (some call it the Year of the Sheep). This means the gallopy chaos we all might have experienced this last year will mellow out, but we will still be trudging uphill in a great, positive direction. The year as a whole is predicted to be “politer” and gentler, but warns that we need to ward off unnecessary worry and drama. (Apparently sheep can be emotional.)

So, let’s take a look at how we can welcome The Goat into our lives …

Now, I’m sure there are a MILLION truly amazing Feng Shui experts out there who will correct me on what I’m about to offer as tips and hints to prepare for Chinese New Year, and I’m sure they are all correct. This is what I do in a combined effort to prepare for Chinese New Year and employ Feng Shui at the same time in my life, and it seems to work marvelously. If find it energizing and fun, and hope you do, too.

All of this should be done before 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 19th:

Step #1: Clean and De-Clutter Your House.
The biggest aspect to prepare for Chinese New Year has to do with cleaning out the old. Really clean your house. Get the cobwebs and dust bunnies out. Then, clear stacks of clutter wherever possible to allow “chi” (fresh energy) to move freely through your home without getting stuck, cornered or encumbered. (I cleaned all day yesterday.)

Step #2: Get Rid of Dying Plants or Repot Plants.
If you have silk plants, give them a good water spritz and dusting, too. Today, I picked up a great marbelized red pot at Laguna Nursery and replanted a large fern whose roots were overrun. 280 red pot Large plants inspire healthier family and spousal relationships in the east section of your home, or the east section of any room. Smaller plants inspire wealth in the southeast sector of your home. I keep jade and bamboo plants – both big on wealth – here in my southeast.

Step #3. If It Was a Particularly Crappy Year Last Year, Sage Your House.
You can find inexpensive sage sticks at The Chakra Shack in Laguna, with simple instructions for lighting and speaking a positive intention on what you prefer in your life this year as you move through your home.

280 - salt rockAdded tip: Salt Rocks are known for their ability to neutralize negative energy, too. I just found a treasure trove of these things at TJ Maxx today (of all places). You’ll also find a great supply at Chakra Shack and at Laguna Canyon Spa. I keep mine “on” just about every day of the year, but Chinese New
Year’s 16-day stretch is important.

Step #4. Buy New Clothes and New Year Decor, Especially Something Red.
Shop for a new piece of clothing, specifically in red, and also buy red Chinese paper lanterns, red candles or candle holders, red vases, red whatever. For 16 days, you want to infuse red into your home.

Today, I purchased a red top to wear on Feb. 19th, brought my hummingbird feeder out of storage and filled it with bright red stuff, bought a bunch of red candles and paper lanterns, and brought out my red dishes and red wine glasses for the 16-day event.

 

If you need great ideas, just head over to Laguna Nursery where Ruben Flores has an entire Asian room set up for your shopping pleasure (see photo at the top of this blog). Last time I checked, he still had red paper lanterns in stock, and offers a plethora of all sorts of Chinese/Asian decor.

Added tip: The south of your home  (or a designated bedroom or living room) is your “red” area specifically, as it generates recognition, pay raises, and fame. Lighting red candles here is especially auspicious when you want to generate that intention. 280 - wreath

Step #5. Get a Fresh Wreath for Your Front Door.
The typical Chinese New Year wreath looks a lot like a bauble-y Christmas wreath with a lot of red and gold ornaments. Whatever you do, don’t buy anything with dead sticks!
I buy a fresh pussy willow wreath with fresh greens, as it signifies great health and vitality (Small fact: North American Natives use the pussy willow bark and roots for pain killer and fever reduction. Small coincidence, right?)

Step #6: Pile a Bowl with Oranges and Tangerines.
Oranges signify wealth and Tangerines good fortune. Today, I found a classic gold basket (which I wouldn’t use at any other time of the year) for my 16 days of fruits. Be sure to replace any fruit that is aging or showing spots during this time period. 280 Buddha and gold bowl

Step #6: No Knives In Use in your Kitchen on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
This might seem a tough rule to follow, particularly as the next Step encourages you to have a New Year’s Eve Feast with people you love. Many Chinese don’t allow knives in the kitchen during the entire 16 days, which requires weeks of careful food planning and preparation in advance!

Step #7: New Year’s Eve Feast (Wednesday).
Popular foods on Chinese New Year’s have significance, too:
Soup: “Everything better than last year.”
Chicken: Wealth
Whole Fish: Togetherness and sustainability of relationship
Shrimp: Abundance
Mushrooms: Longevity
Steamed buns and dumpling: Good luck
Long Noodles: Long life (don’t cut them!)
Apples: Peace

On Feb. 18th, I’m fixing my shrimp and salmon soup with mushrooms, Soba noodles and dumplings (from Trader Joe’s because I’ll never figure out how to do homemade dumplings).

While I’m still checking, both Mandarin King in North Laguna and Starfish Asian Cuisine in South Laguna celebrate Chinese New Year with special dishes and drinks. Watch my Facebook page for updates.

 

Step #8: Stay Up Till Midnight and Ring a Bell
Much like what we American’s have adapted with a falling ball, Chinese New Year’s Eve keeps people up until midnight, but they normally ring bells in their home, or go to a popular square where gongs and bells are played at midnight.

Step #9: Write Out Your Intentions for 16 Days, Beginning Chinese New Year’s Day. 
Rules of thumb on this:
Write only 3-5 intentions or goals that are of highest priority. Write them in present tense, as if they’ve already been accomplished. Write them. Don’t type them, don’t just read them in your head. Write them every single day.

Step #10: Look for Shifts and Record Them.
Look for changes in your life with expectancy, and record actions you’re taking and “auspicious” events that begin to show up in support of your intention. (This is more me, not so much from the Chinese New Year folks. I do know it works, though!)

Enjoy the great new energy as our New Year unfolds this week!