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Published August 23rd, 2017
Feng Shui
Like this Lafayette home, creating a nourishing study area with soothing colors, proper lighting and placing the desk in the "Commanding Position" will give your student a fresh start this year. Photo provided

The start of a new school year is the perfect time to restore positive feng shui to our living environments, and space clearing - which has the same goal and function of energy management and refreshment - is the perfect place to start.
If your student is a straight-A wiz kid, space clearing will mindfully create a set of renewed intentions for the student's continued success, with perhaps an intention for better balance between work, self-care, and play this school year. Space clearing also helps clear out the old cobwebs, disappointments, and failures of the past and creates a fresh energetic new start for your student. Think of what needs improvement, what you want to amplify and what you want to minimize with your student. Where our children study matters, and refreshing that space energetically is a great way to help them get off on the right foot in a new school year. Once you have refreshed the space with positive intentions for a fresh start then turn your attention to the more mundane aspects of uplifting the study area.
The most important part of a space clearing ceremony is to create positive intention, calm your heart and mind, and proceed mindfully for best results. The following tips will help your students maintain a healthy relationship to learning, their studies, daily responsibilities, and self-care:
First, where is the study located in your home? If your student studies at a busy thoroughfare, like a kitchen counter or dining room table, consider moving the study area to a more secluded quieter spot, like their bedroom. Creating calm will be more conducive to concentrating and retaining the homework material.
Depending on the age of your student, try to involve them in some of the decisions, including desk type, lighting design, or wall colors in the study room, but remember the goal is to maintain or improve performance, so don't allow their input to derail the bigger goals.
Try to encourage your student to forego distractions such TVs, music, and laptops displaying distracting content unrelated to their studies. Unless they actually need their phones or laptops for homework, encourage them to leave them with you till their homework is complete. There is new data noting the negative effects of tech devices on our children's ability to focus, display empathy, and retain what they have learned, based on total screen time. Most pediatricians will recommend no more than two hours a day of screen time and many of our children exceed that regularly, which can certainly impact their grades.
Next, make sure that where your student is studying is clean, organized and tidy. If it is the bedroom in which they sleep, try to get them into the habit of making the bed and tidying up before they leave for school so when they return home, the study environment is receptive and welcoming.
In the study room take some time to see that everything has a place, and review the functionality of the storage or organization system in place for ways to inexpensively improve and upgrade. Look for ways to keep the study desk itself as clean as possible to aid in concentration and focus.
Where is the placement of the desk? First to place any desk, and especially your students' desk, in the commanding position so that they are seated facing the door to the room. The commanding position is a recurring feng shui theme. The subliminal message is one receives more support with a solid wall behind your back, like a mountain, and so the feeling of being in the most powerful spot aids whatever tasks we set out to do from that spot. Looking out from the desk into the broadest expanse of the room will also help expand and inspire creative thought. Never place the desk pushed up against a wall. Facing a wall will lead to feeling blocked. Sitting at the desk with one's back to the door will also adversely affect concentration, if we are jumpy or uncertain about who is entering - another reason for your student to face the door.
Finally, make sure the lighting in the study room is bright and plentiful. It's also helpful to try and create inspiration with the imagery that surrounds your student. What is currently on the walls? Especially the wall across from where they sit at the desk. Place an inspirational nature scene, a graphic of admirable people or a favorite subject of your student. Students may think more expansively, artistically, and logically with all-important time to rest and daydream, too. Bring life into the space with a few oxygen producing green leafy plants, like jade or fiddle palms, to stimulate the growth and development of your student in their studies this year.
There are plenty of reasons to think about making sure that your study area is compliant when it comes to feng shui. If the room is set up so the student is comfortable, supported and relaxed, it may have a surprising effect on the results. Applying some of these easy-to-do small adjustments will make a significant impact and help to create a more welcoming study environment.
Get back to the basics and have fun creating an inspiring, calming and healthy study space for your student.

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 2017 Feng Shui Consultation, contact Michele at (520) 647-4887 or send an email to spaceharmony@gmail.com.

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