Curiosity can help you create your Vision Board 2017.

Greet the rising sun with a positive attitude.

In her latest book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the essence of living a creative life and she tells us that we can all lead one if we do just one thing. It’s not giving up our day jobs to give us the time to create. It’s not having a “muse.” It’s not even having a great creative gift, like writing or painting or singing. It’s simply living a life that is driven more by curiosity than by fear. This is the perfect mindset for creating a vision for your future. You don’t have to know what you’re going to be doing. You just need to be curious about what you want your life to look like. As 2016 comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to assess how the year has gone and ask yourself what you’d like to see for the upcoming year. Creating a Vision Board is an enjoyable, creative process using your curiosity to make a personal, pictorial vision of your 2017.

I am often asked how creating a Vision Board is different than writing down a plan. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is one answer because looking at a vision board is faster than reading a plan, if speed is what you’re after. But there is also a longer answer, which involves science: our brains respond to pictures immediately and without thinking. There’s a bypass going on when we look at a picture – we bypass our conscious mind and we respond to it. If I ask you to think of your house, you don’t see the word H-O-U-S-E. You see an image of your house! Images are powerful communicators.

Attendees from a Vision Board workshop show off their completed boards!
Attendees from a Vision Board workshop show off their completed boards!

We know this from our dreams. Dreaming (day or night) is how our subconscious communicates with us – not always clearly. Finding and using pictures on a vision board is one way for us to communicate with our subconscious while we’re awake and guiding the process. Why is that so important? Well, because science also tells us that the subconscious is running the show.

Co-creating with your subconscious, by placing images that speak to you on a board that you look at daily, helps you to manifest your visions as reality. That’s what makes Vision Boards so powerful.

Start collecting your images NOW and learn how to balance and harmonize them on a Vision Board using feng shui principles at three workshops in January 2017.  The $25 workshop fee includes all materials for your board. For more information, an FAQ on collecting images and to register, contact Lorrie Grillo @ or 303.882.7275.

Get curious about your 2017 and create some “big magic” with a Vision Board!

Feng shui Five Elements expressed uniquely at local arts festival

According to feng shui, everything in the world is comprised of five elements, usually in combination and always in a state of change. They are Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. These elements are expressed in myriad ways. We humans, for example, express as the Fire Element – active, passionate, moving, being, changing, creative — and wow, did I see that creative elemental aspect of our energy at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival this past weekend in paintings, mixed-media works, sculptures, rugs and more. Having artwork in our homes and workspaces is a wonderful way to bring ALL the feng shui elements into our lives. And, having all of the elements in our spaces helps to balance them energetically. My clients often ask me to help them identify the elements in their artwork. Here are some examples of art from the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and how each piece expresses one or more of the feng shui Elements:

Jaana Matson wood and fiber art from Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016
Jaana Matson wood and fiber art from Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016

This work, by artist Jaana Mattson, is comprised of a fiber (wool) picture embedded in a wooden frame and is a fabulous example of the Wood Element (wood frame, and fiber, made from plants). The green and blue in the fiber picture are the colors of the Wood Element while the white in the clouds balances the piece as the one of the colors of the Metal Element.

These whimsical, square, ceramic plates (below right) made by Nancy Gardner and Burton Isenstein, hold several different elemental energies but are primarily Earth Element, as they are made with clay (from the Earth). Yellow is an Earth color, while blues and green express as the Wood Element and the black represents Water, while white is Metal.



Ceramic plates by Nancy Gardner and Burton Isenstein from Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016 express the Earth Element.
Ceramic plates by Nancy Gardner and Burton Isenstein from Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016
This sculpture says Fire Element at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016.
This sculpture says Fire Element at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016.

This sculpture  (left) says Fire Element with its primarily color – red, and the pointed flower petals. It is nicely balanced out with some Water Element as the flowers are coming out of black (Water Element color) vase. Created by Christine & Michael Adcock.

This vase (below left) features a waterfall made of glass by artist Thomas Spake and it expresses as the Water Element. If used as a vase, it will hold water, creating more Water Element energy.

This vase expresses the Water Element with its cascading waterfall.
This vase expresses the Water Element with its cascading waterfall.

And, the vase is asymmetrical (the waterfall is only on one side) another attribute of the Water Element.

Artist Jerry Brem paints bookshelves full of books. Books are expressions of the Wood Element (books are made from paper made from plant pulp . . . ) and since there are so many books in each painting, Wood is the primary elemental energy of these pieces.

Books, books, books - express the Wood Element. At the Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016.
Books, books, books – express the Wood Element. At the Cherry Creek Arts Festival July 2016

However, the books are stacked in rectangles and squares and those shapes express as the Earth Element. Plus the books are in all different colors – and those colors express as all of the five elements. One of these paintings would bring a balance of the elements into a space.

Metal sculpture made with metal squares expresses . . . the Metal Element!
Metal sculpture made with metal squares expresses . . . the Metal Element!

This piece, made by artist Anthony Hansen, is made of metal squares and expresses as you might have already guessed as . . . the Metal Element! The white color also expresses as Metal Element. The square shapes bring the Earth Element into the piece and the blues and greens help to balance the Metal with some Wood energy.

Whimsical wall hanging features Fire, Wood and Earth Elements.
Whimsical wall hanging features Fire, Wood and Earth Elements.

Lastly, this sweet sculptural wall hanging (left) is a nice balance of the Fire, Wood and Earth Elements. The owl expresses as the Fire Element (animals are Fire) but it is made with paper and an actual book, which as we know from one of the examples above, are expressions of the Wood Element. The color of the book, yellow, nicely stabilizes the entire piece with its Earth elemental energy.

The art at the festival each year is phenomenal for its creativity and variety and ability to delight, attract or repel! The important issue, for all you feng shui practitioners, to remember is to have art that you LOVE and expresses who you ARE at this point in your life. Now, when you select your art you can determine which elemental energies the piece brings into your space.

Who are you? Look to your stuff for the answer.

I remember when I was 18 my mother told me about a workshop she’d attended on “consciousness raising.” She explained the exercises they went through and one that was particularly illuminating for her. She said the group leader asked them all a question she was going to ask me. I had been half listening (I know, I know, that was rude, but in my defense, I was 18 and probably thinking about graduation or my boyfriend or what I was going to wear to Saturday’s cookout). In short, I didn’t know how serious this conversation was going to become. So I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Sure.” She sat up in her chair and leaned in toward me and asked, “Who are you?”

I swallowed. She had my full attention now. This was a question I had been dancing around because I was at a jumping-off point in my life. Finishing high school, on my way to college, deciding if I was going to break up or do the long-distance thing with my then boyfriend, generally feeling petrified and thrilled and anxious about everything. I couldn’t speak. Instead, I burst into tears. I had no idea how to answer her question.

Today — if I could be the wise age I am now but in the body of my 18-year-old self — I would have said to my mother, “Let’s head to my bedroom and take a look at my stuff to find out who I am.” What would we have seen? A madras bedspread. Posters of Paris and Cary Grant. Books on Calculus and Marcus Aurelius. A Joni Mitchell album. Embroidered jeans. A bulletin board covered with photos of my friends. My stuff knew exactly who I was: a romantic bohemian and wannabe Francophile who loved math, folk music, philosophy, and her friends. That pretty much nails it.

My 18-year-old wanna-be Francophile self.
My 18-year-old wanna-be Francophile self.

We surround ourselves with what is important to us, and we do it instinctually. One of the tenets of feng shui is that our environment mirrors our consciousness. In other words, if we want to know who we are, all we have to do is look around and see what we’ve surrounded ourselves with. Our things reflect “who we are” at this moment in time. Stop for a minute to look at your space and everything in it. Is your stuff telling your story? Is it a story you’re happy with? If you want to change who you are, start by changing your environment.

I practice and study and share feng shui to help my clients understand the power of their stuff — and the power of changing and moving their stuff to create a new story for themselves, if a new story is the goal. Changing and moving your stuff with intention is a powerful way to begin changing your life.

My poor mother was astonished that she’d made me cry. She leapt from her chair to hug me and apologize. We clung to each other for a sweet moment. Life was changing, as it does and is supposed to. My bedroom changed, too. My parents first turned it into a guest room, then an office, and then an art studio. Each transformation expressed the new life they were living in their house without me.

Who are you and who do you want to become? Your house, your office, your bedroom — your space — is expressing the answer now, and it can help you create a new future.

Feng Shui Staging – A Workshop for Mindfully Preparing to Sell Your Home!

Feng shui staging looks beautiful and feels homey.

When I hear people describe the day they found their new home, they usually say something like: “I knew when I walked in I was home. It just felt right.” Creating that feeling of “just right” is what feng shui staging is all about.

In today’s “seller’s” market in Denver—low inventory and a plethora of homebuyers—you may not think you’ll need to do anything to prepare your home for sale. However, according to the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA), staged homes sell 72{bcd7a32024365f1dd5b9701ff84b1cb605ceaa8a12bf744ef4b452d2f6b968a0} faster than unstaged homes and often attract multiple offers, usually resulting in a higher sales price.

Let’s assume you’d like to get the most value for your home with the least disruption to your life (e.g., not holding a lot of showings while attracting the right buyers within a set time frame). Feng shui staging can help you achieve that goal, while making the entire selling and moving process a lot less stressful.

Feng Shui teaches us how to enhance our environments to reach our goals. In “Feng Shui Staging for Home Sellers,” you’ll learn how to:

  • Prepare your home and your family – mindfully — for the transition.
  • See your home through “feng shui eyes” and make adjustments using the “Golden Rule.”
  • Use feng shui tools like the Bagua, the Five Elements, and Yin/Yang balance to energize the spaces in your home and help potential buyers experience that “just right” feeling.
  • Make your home memorable in the field of competition.

Feng shui staging for home sellers can be done with traditional home staging recommended by your Realtor®. Your Realtor® will help you to set the correct price for the market after you’ve reviewed comparable sales and competition in your neighborhood.

The 1 ½ hour workshop will be held Saturday, April 9, 2016, at the Schlessman Family Branch Library in Lowry from 1 – 2:30 PM. Cost is $25/ person, $40/couple. Workshop attendees will leave with a feng shui staging checklist, a gratitude/farewell ceremony outline, and feng shui tool handouts with instructions for use.

Workshop leader Lorrie Webb Grillo is a Certified Practitioner of Essential Feng Shui™ and owner of Thriving Spaces Feng Shui, a residential and commercial feng shui consulting company. The $25 workshop fee will be waived for attendees who schedule a follow-up feng shui staging consult with Lorrie.


Use feng shui to build relationships – with your clients!

This feng shui blogpost is about relationships — with your clients. One of the best ways to use feng shui to help with your business relationships is to take a critical look at your reception area or waiting room. This is your client’s first impression of you. In feng shui we say that environment mirrors consciousness. Hence, your space reflects your personality, your integrity, and the value of your services. While thinking about the unique message you want your reception area to convey, follow these common-sense rules of good feng shui:

  • Post signage in the hallway and on the door. Make your name clear and easy to read.
  • Say “Welcome,” whether on a doormat or a small sign on the reception desk, especially if a receptionist is not always present to greet your clients during the workday.
  • Choose a reception desk with a closed front to stop energy flowing from the doorway and to create a boundary between the public and private areas of the office.
  • Have a coat rack or coat closet available, especially in cold climates.
  • Offer comfortable seating with all of your clients in mind—provide children’s seating and a small play area for a family clients, or chairs with armrests if you routinely work with seniors.
  • Supply reading material that is current and topical.
  • Add healthy live plants to soften corners and to supply oxygen, energy, and life to a transitional and often quiet space.
  • Display awards or commendations, as well as artwork that you and your colleagues select to represent your company.
  • Place a small fountain with a soft gurgle in the space if your building allows. An aquarium also works well. A water element will relax and focus your waiting clients. Whatever accoutrement you choose, keep it fastidiously clean.
  • Add a rug to hardwood or tile floors to dampen sound, warm the space, and slow the energy. This also relaxes waiting clients.
  • Keep the space well organized and uncluttered. A tidy space will telegraph your work ethic.

Tell your firm’s story with the décor, paint, furniture, and accessories in your reception lobby. An environmental law firm might create an accent wall with a mural of the rainforest and furnish their space with bamboo tables and chairs. A local bank might feature a Wall of Fame with photos of clients’ products and services.

When you use feng shui to create a reception area that expresses who you are and the value you provide, you’ll make a meaningful first impression.

Feng shui before and after: the “room of doom.”

You probably have one—a closet, a desktop, a room—the spot you shy away from, the place you hate to walk past, the door you don’t open unless you must. In my work as a feng shui consultant, I’ve learned from my clients that these places have names, usually not very flattering:

“The dead space”

“The clutter magnet” or

“The room of doom.”

In feng shui, every space in your home—whether it’s a closet, a laundry room, or a desk—has equal value and purpose. All are made up of vital energy called chi, all are connected, and all are constantly changing. Which means that your “dead space,” “clutter magnet,” or “room of doom” is vitally connected to the other spaces in your home, and it affects the harmony and energy of the whole. This can be a difficult concept to understand because it certainly feels like some of our spaces are more important than others.

When clients grimace talking about their unloved space with the disparaging name, I know we’ve hit on an important trouble spot. In feng shui, we call this “finding the splinter.” My job is to help my clients figure out how to remove the splinter.

My clients April and Rob Schmidt are homeowners with a “room of doom.” They are interior designers and builders by profession, and their home, which also serves as their office, is beautifully arranged and decorated in the mid-century modern style. And while they have spent time and energy renovating their other rooms, they weren’t sure what to do with the room that served as both a pantry and laundry area. Here are some “before” photos.

The room was dark with open pantry shelves and not enough storage.
The room was dark with open pantry shelves and not enough storage.
Lack of storage and old machines the clients didn't like added to the "doom."
Lack of storage and old machines the clients didn’t like added to the “doom.”









The room hadn’t been painted to match the rest of the home, they didn’t like their washer and dryer or the open pantry shelving, and they wanted a space separate from their professional office to keep track of miscellaneous paperwork.

My recommendations included painting the room white to match the rest of the home (white represents the Metal Element and is associated with the Helpful People & Travel area of the Bagua), purchasing a new washer and dryer, clearing space for a desk and bulletin board, replacing the open shelving with closed storage, and displaying artwork that represented their love of travel.

And, equally important, renaming the room!

Here are the “after” photographs, shared by my clients, of their new laundry and pantry area. I hope they will inspire you to treat your own unloved space with new respect. When you do, you’ll feel a new connection to it, you’ll end up spending more time there and you’ll experience change and movement in a new direction in your life. When we love our spaces, they love us back!

The desktop is a work space and folding area.
The new desktop is a work space and folding area.
New W/D!
New W/D!
The closed shelving hides the pantry items and allows the eye to rest on what's important to the residents.
The closed shelving hides the pantry items and allows the eye to rest on what’s important to the residents.
Artwork depicting their love of travel hangs of the wall above additional wall storage.
Artwork depicting their love of travel hangs on the wall above additional wall storage.

Create a 2016 Vision Board using Feng Shui

As you’re cleaning your home for family visits and putting up holiday decorations, I invite you to cull old magazines, maps, calendars, travel brochures, postcards, and picture books and save them. Why? So you can go through them later to select images for creating a personal 2016 Vision Board.

A Vision Board is a collection of images that represent your hopes, goals, dreams, and thoughts for a period of time—usually created in preparation for the New Year. The images are mounted on a poster board or corkboard and hung in a place where you can see them every day. Vision Boards are proactive, intentional, and fun. A Vision Board is a powerful communication tool that you can use to speak to your subconscious. Why do you want to do this? Because the subconscious is where your beliefs, feelings, and thoughts reside and ruminate. And, it runs the show!

Snapshot of a Vision Board
Snapshot of a Vision Board

Who makes Vision Boards? Anyone who wants to plan their year. Anyone who isn’t sure about their path and wants clarity. Anyone who wants to dream big. Anyone who is brave enough to ask for what they want.

Why make Vision Boards? To co-create the life you want in the coming year (yes, you are co-creating your life with your subconscious). Oh, and because they work!

How do you make a Vision Board? Read on.

When you’re ready, go through the collected materials you’ve been saving and remove the pages that have photos of people, places and things that strike your fancy for your future. Give yourself several hours/days to do this when you’re feeling positive. Keep your images together in a folder until you’re ready to mount them.

Then use Feng Shui organizing principles – the Bagua, Five Elements and Yin/Yang balance — to design your Board. Feng Shui uses the seen world—our environment—to help us connect with, understand, and change the unseen world—our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Vision Boards and Feng Shui go hand in hand using images (the seen) to help us create a vision of the future (the unseen.) With Feng Shui guiding you, you can make sure to balance your vision board for 2016 with work, rest and play.

Come to my workshop, Create Your 2016 Vision Board Using Feng Shui, on Saturday, January 9, 2016 from 1:30 PM–4 PM at the Schlessman Family Branch of the Denver Public Library in the upstairs Community Room. I’ll explain the Feng Shui organizing principles and together we’ll make our Vision Boards. Bring your images in a file folder and I’ll supply the rest of our creation tools: poster boards, scissors, glue sticks and additional publications for perusing for photos.

The workshop fee is $25. Upon registering, each attendee will receive a how-to-get-started list, an outline for the workshop, and a personal phone call to answer any questions about the activity.

If you’re interested in participating, email me at today!

Feng Shui generates business for a small salon

Lyn Garcia loves her work as an esthetician and makeup artist and wanted to create a space that expresses who she is, honors her clients’ needs for privacy and pampering, and supports her growing business. Her space within a styling salon – an 8 x 12’ room without windows but with 10’ ceilings — was a wonderful opportunity to showcase what Feng Shui can do in a small space.

We first reviewed what she must have in the space to do her work: A large treatment table that she can walk around, a rolling magnifying light, storage for hot wax and other tools of the trade, hooks for purses and clothing, and wall-hung mirrors. IMG_5856

Her setup included a dark wood cabinet with open shelves and drawers with boxes of various items stored on top. Next to the cabinet was a rolling cart for the hot wax machine with a cord trailing to an extension power strip on the floor and drawers filled with makeup. A small open garbage can and an open coiled metal container for used towels sat next to the cart. The treatment table was pushed against the back wall beneath two empty white hanging cabinets. For art, Lyn had a framed quote and a mirror, which was hung too high for her to see her whole face.

IMG_5860 She was open to changing everything.

Because creating more business was one of Lyn’s primary goals, we chose a color with a purple tone to it to enhance Wealth & Prosperity. The color, Portland Gray, is in Benjamin Moore’s Affinity line of low VOC (volatile organic compound) paints, and I recommended that the entire room by painted this color.

IMG_5859 I suggested that we create a room that is spa-like – calm, clean and organized with the “scary tools” (tweezers, hot wax) kept in drawers, and the “beautiful tools” (makeup, cotton balls, etc.) displayed openly in pretty containers. We talked about creating a clerestory window to give her some light and air – or the impression of it — but that wasn’t possible. As an alternative, we discussed painting a “window” on the Family & Health wall that could look out onto trees, the iconic symbol of the Family & Health gua. Trees would support her, her business growth and her clients’ health. Additionally, I recommended removing the hanging cabinets that loomed over the treatment table and made the space feel even smaller. Finally, we talked about keeping used towels and the garbage can in closed containers and moving away from dark furniture to light, to make the space feel larger.

I came back to visit Lyn several months later after our consultation. She had accomplished nearly all of the recommended changes!


The walls are painted in Portland Gray, and she has a mural of aspen trees in the Family & Health area. In the Wealth & Prosperity corner of the mural she painted a red cardinal to draw attention to that gua and she’s hung a white curtain there to create a private space for changing. The curtain hangs on the floor to create flow, symbolically enhancing the flow of wealth to her business. She had the white storage cabinets removed for the wall, and she can now walk all around the treatment table without bumping her head. (Feng Shui supports safety, comfort and beauty!). She culled her tools and makeup and installed a new cabinet with mostly closed storage. She keeps matching containers on top in metal and white – both express the Metal Element to support the Children and Creativity gua where this cabinet is situated. She added circular mirrors at different heights for her clients (and she can now see herself, too). The round mirrors support Metal and Water Elements along the Helpful People/Travel and Career/Journey wall of her space.

IMG_6123Lyn keeps a floor lamp in her Relationship corner to bring attention and light to that area, and she plans to hang her esthetician diploma on the Fame & Reputation wall to showcase her credentials.

Lyn and her clients love the new salon and her business is growing. She is already accomplishing the first goal of the consultation! Feng Shui can help you reach your goals too, in any size space.


Feng Shui balance: work, rest and play!

feng shui balance

My business tag line is Work, Rest Play with Feng Shui – and it’s meant as a reminder that our spaces can help us achieve a Feng Shui balance so that our lives can express it, too. Here in the U.S. we’re not so good at balance. We are the “workaholic” culture; we now work more hours than any other country on the planet. I contend we now play harder than anyone else with our penchant for extreme sports, X-Games and the competitive nature of children’s athletics. What I don’t think we do very well is rest.

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