"Tapping into the Spirit of the Forest for Your Wellbeing"
with David Motzenbecker
Reviewed by Nancy Baxter
David Motzenbecker spoke via Zoom at our FSIM quarterly meeting on Tuesday, July 14th, on "Tapping Into the Spirit of the Forest for Your Well Being." David has a Masters in Landscape Architecture and became a Certified Forest (Shinrin Yoku) guide to help people reconnect with nature.
David points out that a connection with the outside world is inherent within each one of us with references of the importance of connection to the natural environment dating back to BC times with Aristotle and Seneca. Shinrin Yoku began in Japan in the 1980's in response to an increase in suicides from stressed office workers. Wellness is a huge industry ($4.3 billion), and many companies are recognizing the importance of including aspects of health and wellness to support their employees, and decrease stress. Studies have shown that spending only two hours a week in nature can yield a multitude of benefits including: reduced stress, improved relaxation, better focus, improved mood, increased fitness, more altruistic behavior, enhanced creativity, immune system boost, reduced blood pressure and reduced PTSD and ADHD symptoms. These benefit both the individual and industry.
David noted a common link in the Feng Shui world when we focus on the five elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. As we practice Feng Shui, we strive to find ways to incorporate supportive elements. Likewise, Wellness studies have shown that if one puts people first, and focuses on health concepts such as: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, temperature, sound, materials, mind and community, productivity and results improve exponentially!
Forest Bathing is a very unhurried, gentle experience and practice that is done with intention: choosing to go very slowly, with attention to detail. David serves as a guide for the process. He notes that some, initially, find it difficult to adjust to the slow pace. They acknowledge, however, that afterwards, they feel better.
FSIM C3 Circle Summer Solstice Celebration
FSIM Vice President Michelle Skally Doilney helped us celebrate the Summer Solstice with a discussion on "Feng Shui and Identity."
A few of the Feng Shui basics Michelle shared include:
Keep only what you love and need ~ from thoughts to socks.
- Every object has a story. Choose your objects and stories mindfully.
- Be practical ~ with your wishes, time, budget, and those sharing your life.
- Make adjustments when full, rested, peaceful and balanced.
- Be gentle with yourself and others when making changes.
- Start small but start now. There is no better time than now.
Michelle also shared five projects to help us discover and honor our identity:
For nine days, remove one item that doesn't reflect you ~ release who you are not.
- Remove three things you keep to please or impress other people, things you keep out of obligation or duty, things no longer needed or ways you no longer need to be seen.
- For nine days, either add or re-position one item that does reflect you. Bring yourself into your own awareness. See and celebrate who you are.
- Create what you see when you fall asleep and when you first wake up. Hang or place something beautiful there to reinforce your courage, peace, and joy. Feel beauty in your space.
- Pay attention to your shoes. Are they comfortable? Do they support you and your body? Are they "you"? Think about how your shoes carry you in this world. Repair or replace if needed and as you can. This is not fashion ~ this is foundation.
Thank you Michelle for sharing her insights and making the 2020 Summer Solstice a special time in a challenging environment. Enjoy more of Michelle's wisdom in her article on "Gentle Feng Shui."
"Gentle Feng Shui"
by Michelle Skally Doilney
A note from the author: This article was originally written in 2017. I decided NOT to update to include or adjust to our current upheaval, change, and revolution. These are universal concepts, ideas that work no matter what is going on in the world. Being gentle is one of those ideas.
There is a time for upheaval, change, and revolution. At home, this may be awakening a bathroom with thick white subway tile, repainting your kitchen cupboards at midnight with a deep navy gloss or sending your child out into the world with their rooms broken down into boxes for donations or dorms. We know how to strengthen up and prep for these bigger projects and events: make lists; get supplies; seek advice from friends; set aside chunks of time; stock up on caffeine or treats for rewards; center and focus.
What about our mindset for those bigger projects? And, most important, what about everyday life, the parts of life that aren't planned, that aren't prepped - which is most of our lives. In a culture of apps designed to remind us to drink water and of instant and constant social media evaluation, we need to tap into our ability to slow it down, to pay attention, to be gentle. Whether as a Feng Shui Consultant or as a participant in life, remember to be gentle with your clients or students and especially with yourself.
Gentle. As in forgiving deadlines and timelines, and choosing to keep it easy when possible. Gentle. This is the way to see your own face in the mirror, and the way to see your home and how it supports you. If the junk on the kitchen counter gets to be too much... gentle. Easily discard or put one or two things away here and there in the morning or evening. Gentle - do pat yourself on the top of your head for paying attention (with humor), for taking care of your home. Do not crab at yourself in your mind about overwhelm, lack of an Instagram moment at your mealtime, or slow-burning about how the mail keeps showing up next to the toaster. Just put a few things away and breathe deeply from low in your belly.
Remember that you can be firm while gentle. It is how you do things, not if or when you do things that shapes true gentleness of action. Over time, "gentle" will be your flow, however your personalize it; it will move along with your breath and thoughts and it will guide your actions. You may be as fierce as you need with a project, but your heart and mind will be grounded in gentle.
Michelle Skally Doilney
FSIM Vice President
Feng Shui Magic
We are asking members to share some of the Feng Shui magical moments they have created for their clients or for themselves. Here are a few of those stories.
"My client's four year old son was experiencing frequent nightmares which was concerning. I recommended she hang a crystal behind his headboard with the intention that he sleep peacefully through the night. She and her son spoke the intention together and said the 6 true words. Her son's nightmares discontinued and everyone is feeling better now that mom and son are sleeping through the night!" Mary Conley
We would like to hear from you! Send your Magic Feng Shui experiences to
To post your classes or events in the next newsletter,
- Don't forget to check out our catalog! We're continuing to add new classes and programs (including some that are free), so be sure to check it out!
- We launched a podcast! You can find it in our catalog or anywhere you get your podcasts. We're launching one every week and there are currently four you can listen to.
- Reminder ~ Re-certification is due July 31st! If you are a graduate and want to re-certify, you'll need six credits, one of which needs to be directly Feng Shui related. The form was emailed to all practitioners; contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need more information.
Julie Ann Segal, Metro Interiors, is offering a new product called "The Inside Story" and is a video consultation of one room. If you have a room in your house you have always wanted redesigned, but need some inspiration? Julie Ann is excited to offer her NEW Virtual Interior Design Video! Send photos of that special room and she will create an 8-10 minute video giving you her expert advice on interior design and feng shui to transform the room into the space of your dreams. Julie Ann is offering this product at an introductory cost of $63. For more information or to purchase "The Inside Story" visit: https://metrointeriors.com/product/one-room-virtual-interior-design-video/
Save the Dates 2020 & 2021
2020 FSIM Quarterly Meetings: (Open to the public, free to members)
We may be changing meetings depending on circumstances at the time of any meeting.
Saturday, October 10, 2020 - Field Trip - Hindu Temple Tour
2021 FSIM Quarterly Meetings: (Open to the public, free to members, except January Annual Meeting).
Tuesday, January 12, 2021: Cyndi Dale - Location & Topic TBD
Tuesday, April 13, 2021: Catherine Duncan - Location & Topic TBD
And more to come!