Advice to Grown Children

During a magical trip to the Bay Area of California, I found Feng Shui and teachers who were teaching the relationship of humans, heaven and earth.

I had been searching for any information on the subject for several years. I first heard about geomancy in the 1980s while teaching art at South Eastern Arizona College, referred to as Cochise College. A friend from California sent me a newspaper column about the energy of land and the proper placement of dwellings on landforms. The information seemed mysteriously familiar and I was immediately hooked on the subject. This ancient science of arrangement gave reason to why, when and where on a deep personal level. It answered questions about all the aspects of my life, up to that point. I was able to test this information immediately by using the Bagua or template, used by Feng Shui Masters to locate the missing pieces of my life puzzle. All of the things I had done or studied up to this point in my life fell into place and were complemented. Art, herbal knowledge, alternative medicine, astrology, alchemy, interaction with family, shapes, forms, colors, seasons and cycles of time and space were reflected in all of the homes I had lived in.

Travel_SouthwestTime passed and soon the children were safely in college. I was free to explore other states, other teachers and other subjects. My former husband and I traveled with his job, which renewed the opportunity to explore the West Coast and all the possibilities it offered. (I now call this Phase II of my life.) We kept a home base in Prescott, Arizona for family gatherings, as family has always been a priority for us and still is. We traveled for the next fourteen years. I taught painting and medicine making, painted pet portraits, and moonlighted as a cosmetologist, cutting and perming hair to finance my endless addiction for knowledge. My husband’s company was in the Bay Area and we were often near San Francisco for periods of time. Where better to sooth this curiosity than Berkeley, California. The world’s famous city where all “new” ideas are born and sometimes tolerated. Looking back, it was no accident I came to this part of the world. I met one of the best Feng Shui teachers in the world, Grandmaster Lin Yun. Though I had had over twenty teachers on different subjects up to this point, Professor Lin, with his wisdom and knowledge on all subjects, opened my eyes to “seeing” the levels of mind, body and spirit and our connection with Heaven and Earth.

Now twenty years later (Phase III), I can say it has been quite a “ride.” Chances are the adventures you must take to find the other side of yourself. For some it might be as hard to make a phone call for a job as for others to travel across the world. But you will never know what is on the other side of that world if you don’t make the effort to find out. I could have stayed safe and sound as they say, in the Midwest, but Feng Shui would not have been part of my life.

angels2Though both of our children found success early on, now phase II is beginning. I rarely give advice, as I find no matter what you say, you can’t save anyone from the natural progression of life’s adventures. Mother’s Day is a perfect time to put your 2 cents worth in. Here is a reply to my daughter’s gift and card. She is living in the Midwest and my son and his family live in the Northwest.

Thought this book looked interesting, “What I want next,” 30 minutes to reveal your future…go to Amazon, I guess…Thank you both for your Mother’s Day cards, most of the time I’m on track about things, but there are times when I feel a bit lost…

Had a great Mother’s Day with the kids (two grandsons, son, daughter-in-law and ex-husband) and everyone was in happy spirits (at the island house). Your Father seems a lot happier with his new eyes. (He has had cataract surgery.) We had some good talks that should have been done 45 years ago, but things build up and no one wants to “upset the boat,” and all of a sudden 40 years go by and it was time to go over some past issues. I think the mercury-retro was in Pisces. Your Dad and I both have a Pisces Moon, so that’s why we always give in to family as the most important aspect and stay strong about those things. Pisces is the healer, taking care of everyone, and the Christ energy. It’s the other 10 or 11 aspects of our zodiac signs that seem to fray like an old pair of shoes. Dad and I had a marriage in Saturn/Pluto from the get go…Yikes…and finally Saturn will leave my chart in September. Don’t know how to act without struggle. But I’m looking forward to finding out!

Aries energy will come in kicking strong May 27th for everyone, so hang on. Things will go forward and you need to GO with all the changes that this fire Chi will provide. This is for everyone. Don’t second-guess things, it’s time to just do it and take a chance. Chances are investments; whether you succeed or fail, you still succeed!

Actually I find the planets are right on target to force situations, making sure we tow the cosmic lines and learn what we agreed to accomplish. What you don’t face and ignore comes back again and again dressed as something different. The cycles are very simple and extremely complex. Just came across a astrology reading from the Edgar Cayce people from around 1980 and now I can see everything was right on target and but it was way to soon in my life to “see” the whole thing….Yada Yada…

Anyway they are putting in the lights above my little kitchen island in the loft (condo with 15-foot windows). It’s hard to leave the island for many reasons when things are going good, the weather is wondrous, the 300-ft. trees are striking and the ocean beckons, but I especially love the huge kitchen, which is perfect for cooking.

I wish for you both an easy adventure, sorry it is so hard at times, but if you fight against change, it will only batter you more. Be strong and stay true to that inner voice of your talents. You still have a lot of years to focus on them, so take the leap of faith Aries brings. This is where you will find freedom and joy. Be above the situation, not in it! Soar high and you will see the answers. Stop pleasing everyone first and then yourself, it only gets you old and angry. If you are happy, everyone around you will get happier.

PS. Drive careful, don’t talk to strangers, don’t play in the street, be polite, don’t scream, go to bed on time, don’t eat junk food, love your neighbors and yada, yada!

Lots of Love,Mom

Wealth_SymbolOh well, old habits are hard to break….

Any suggestions given in this column are only for entertainment. Please contact your physician for any medical or herbal advice or diagnosis. Caroline Patrick is not responsible for any misuse of her advice or suggestions.

From the Other Side of the World

On the 2009 Chinese Middle Kingdom Tour my respected colleagues Helen and James Jay, experts on Feng Shui, escorted me. They have traveled extensively throughout many countries including China for many years, so this trip was referred to as “20- something,” although they admitted each experience is unique. China offers much to the Feng Shui student who, with the turn of a head in any direction, can observe exquisitely detailed designs created in the architecture, buildings and gardens. Using the 5 Elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water through color, shape, smell and taste is to understand this ancient concept. Mountains, rivers, walkways and temples reflect Heaven and Earth. I had originally planned to take some of my students to this land of mystery, but opted out when I found the Jays where taking a group a few months later. I decided to shift my plans and travel with them. That way, they had to handle all the hard stuff and I could relax and enjoy the trip. This was a perfect decision on my part, as I watched them do what they do best. We benefited by their knowledge of the country, introducing us to “out-of-the-way” mystical places which tourists rarely find. Enjoy this quick debriefing about my latest journey to Asia…


I’m just home from China tired but happy. This was my third trip to Asia. It was a luscious three weeks, and I have lots of stories to share and some to save and keep close to my heart. We went back to some of the temples I had visited before and burned incense at the Yong He Gong (Lama Temple) in Beijing and the Medicine Buddha Temple (Lin Ying) near Hangzhou, acknowledging my return to this country and having the ability to be one with the people during this visit. Many visitors now flock to China, isolated in huge buses, stopping only where their travel agents want them to spend money. The tourist traps are many, going from one location to another, people filing in and out like cattle on a truck. I find humbling yourself to the rules of a foreign country and blending in as much as possible works best for me. I learn a few words and lots of sign language, and we both get a good laugh from my antics! People are people most anywhere, and when you find that connection, the rest comes easily. I tend to wander off from the group to find China, and get lost on mountains and in cities. Bowing is a good thing when all else fails, so I found myself bowing a lot!

There were many new experiences this trip, some surreal, while others gave the sense that all humans are related and the world is not that big. Families are families with the same wants and desires. The devotion to children is global, and the quickest way to warm the hearts of strangers is to smile at their children and wave a lot. Wide-eyed babies stared at our Western eyes and curly hair. Cute split pants with little pink bottoms peeking out, as natural as sunshine, continue to be used instead of diapers, a quick solution to baby’s potty break and help with the world’s land fills. Chinese families on National Holiday requested photographs with us, positioning their one and only child prominently “center stage” with the strange-looking foreigners. Bonding was instant when children smiled and pointed at our strange skin, overly tall women, blonde hair, blue eyes and strange clothing.

Just as the mountain peaks held mystic magic, cities swarmed with new construction and modern technology to the max. Old neighborhoods were being torn down at a rapid rate, guaranteeing three or four living generations a new sky-high-rise apartment and running water, as generations leave the old way of life behind. In Beijing, the Hutong District is next in line to be removed. We were told, “If you want to visit this unique Chinese way of living, you must plan to come soon, because it will be torn down. It is too hard and not sanitary to live in this place.” Mixed feelings come to the surface. “Who will question and protect young girls from strange boyfriends coming down the dusty road but our neighbors?” the old people ask when strangers come into their streets. “What is your name, who are your people, your clothes are not nice enough, you should be ashamed to come into our place to find a girlfriend. Get out!” they may say. Protecting their families from strangers and expecting only the best, they guard each other in the district. Many who live here have rarely traveled a mile or two from home.

Shanghai (pronounced Shonghai) and Beijing are huge cities, but are as different as night and day. Beijing feels like the earth itself, while Shanghai bubbles and blinks day and night. The Fire of lights and nightly fireworks is exciting, but after four days in this city, I was glad to find rest at the hotel. I dined at the top of the revolving sky dome and stood in line at a Hagen Daws for 20 minutes to sample a scoop of mango delight, and had noodle soup in the slums with a friend all in one day. Not one word of English was understood. Pointing or walking across a crowed room to show what is needed is the best way. We certainly entertained the locals, made memories and lived to tell about it. What could be more exciting? The night markets offers everything from meat on sticks to hot boiling soups and tea, antiques and junk. Massages are gifts from the Gods, very affordable. I indulged often to sooth my swollen feet.

Swarms of bodies move through the streets in Shanghai like a never-ending huge river, weaving in, out, back and forth. The sound of voices from thousands of people resembled a loud, high pitch of a bee swarm. I continued to look upward toward the never-ending skyscrapers guiding me toward my hotel or a familiar herbal pharmacy. After getting lost and separated from my colleagues on my first China trip, I decided to carry a local cell phone, but it didn’t always work. I learned quickly to go with the flow and memorize the designs of the building tops. Each mammoth building had its own style and Feng Shui lines. Beijing’s freeways, although very exciting, gave way to mile after mile of square Earth-shaped buildings. People dressed conservatively, reflecting the seriousness of the ancient city. The Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Confusion Temple, Great Wall and Summer Place brought back memories of my last trip to this place, and the many beautiful gardens held secrets from the past. I flew in a few days early before the tour began to experience Beijing’s famous subways, shopping, food and people, and to revisit favorite places.

Adventures continued as our Feng Shui group tour went south and deeper into the sacred mountains of Jiuhuashan via a flight to Nanjing. Surprises became the norm, such as being invited into the private quarters of a monastery, sitting on a monk’s bed in his very sparse room, and conversing mostly sign language with this devoted soul. While others of the group climbed to the very top of the mountain, I stayed behind with Helen and James to be part of this rare experience. A single light bulb hung from a cord in a dark small room, maybe 8′ x 12′, while little billows of clouds drifted through the ornate opened window and a laptop set on top of a dingy little table. More later.

To be flexible is to be rewarded. Each day I asked the powers that be, “Allow me to be in the right place at the right time,” and it was amazing to see what happened. Letting go of the outcome and following the Chi was golden. I was usually alone when answers to old questions paid me a visit. It seems getting away from our normal routines, and busy lives, our Chi changes with the land of sky of a place. Many spiritual doors opened while being “lost” or climbing on ancient steps to high temples in the drizzling mist. With each step, I left behind old ideas, old habits and old thinking. The layers fell away easily in the mountain air. Then stillness spoke of my new beginnings.

The China Trip

I have spent many hours in airports during my life waiting for those magical flying machines to take me places in hours, compared to weeks and sometimes years it would have taken our ancestors to journey. We have become a society of impatient spoiled beings who want immediate results. I decided to use the current airport delay of eight hours for some needed R&R. I would shop, dine, rest, read and visit, and exchange news with other Feng Shui colleagues from the Bay Area, who were also waiting on one of the most exciting trips to where Feng Shui roots begin over 5000 years ago.

Leaving for China via San Francisco was a decision based on my visa and passport temporary misinformation, as my first name is Mary, and this can be a source of confusion at times on legal documents. I needed to be at the point of departure with the tour guide to claim I was the same person on both documents. I also figured there must be another reason I was meant to leave out of that airport, and that the importance of this side-tracked direction would unfold in due time.

When living in the San Francisco area for over 15 years, I never had time to actually get to know other practitioners devoted to the Art of Placement as we were all running separate directions with our businesses.

Travel_Caroline_and_GrandmasterMy first surprise was to recognize one of the original students and disciples of Professor Lin Yun, Master of Black Sect Tibetan Buddhism Feng Shui in the world. She has been chosen by His Holiness to record and keep records of all of his teachings. I call Katherine Metz, Keeper of the Secrets. Her upcoming book on Feng Shui will certainly be a bestseller as she has devoted her life to listening with a golden ear. Katherine is currently living and working in New York City and teaching Feng Shui is unique ways, in person and correspondence.

Katherine was visiting with her family who lives in San Francisco, so was flying out of this famous California city. Soon Catherine Dawson, with healing energy and compassion and a smile to go, rolled her suitcase into the circle of pioneers. Marina Lighthouse, our delightful musical upbeat lady of Feng Shui, also has a practice in THE CITY. We have both worked with Deborah Gee, who produced the popular PBS Feng Shui special with Professor Lin that has aired for the last three years during pledge drives in the Bay Area. Stay tuned for Marina’s new musical CD coming soon. Steven Post, a 30-year devoted figure of world religion and knowledge and head of the GEO school of Feng Shui, joined the waiting group. His lovable side emerged as his Feng Shui jokes later became the talk of the bus!

Excitement filled the airport lobbies as other well-known authors and teachers such as David Kennedy and others hugged friends and acquaintances. An immediate bond of good karma brought together a combined abundance of Feng Shui experience to be shared during our three weeks as “a family.” It was soon apparent why I was to use San Francisco as my base as the days progressed. Friendships grew as like minds shared in their experiences, as practitioners, doctors, nurses, lawyers, therapists, teachers, world business leaders, realtors, artists, and professors joined the growing tour.

There were many times safety was involved, and we knew instinctively if any one was missing from the bus of 30-plus travelers. Two buses held over 70 people, and we were of one mind as the itinerary of the journey begin.

Finally the aircraft was in the sky. It was 9 p.m. Pacific Time and we were on our way to the other side of the world. I was delighted to find I not only had an aisle seat, but two more vacant seats next to my tired body. “God was surely in favor of this trip,” I surmised, “he gave me two vacant seats as a gift, wasn’t that proof enough?” I fluffed up my jacket and purse, leaned over and went quickly to sleep. “Only 11 hours to go!!!” I whispered to myself.

Soul Gardens

Spring is the season of promise, hope and rebirth. Using gardens to attract new energy into your space is one of the best ways to see nature in action. Whether you choose wild flowers to stimulate an outdoor space, herbs to attract healthy wild life or lush green gardens of fruits and vegetables, the environment will flourish when tended with loving hands.

Feng Shui gardens are a delight to behold. Use colors of the Bagua or the eight-sided Art Wheel I have created helps to understand why certain shapes and colors entice Chi into your outdoor landscaping. Clear clutter from your properties to promote luck in Career and Wealth. Place tools in a tidy covered shed. I have seen too many wheelbarrows, shovels and dangerous hoeing objects outside the house in the Partnership Gua, all symbolizing “marriage must be work.” A bench or swing for two placed under a fruit-bearing tree with pink blossoms can visually encourage a couple to sit a moment under the umbrella and remember what brought them together in the beginning.

BaguaRead further for more ideas using The Art of Placement for “Gardens of Change.”

The ancient art of Feng Shui, translated as the balance of wind and water, examines the relationships between persons and their environment. This discipline examines how a place will be experienced emotionally and physically. Feeling at one with your home brings harmony. Discord seems to exist when sections of the house are missing. One suggestion I recommend is filling this missing Gua, or piece of the eight-sided, octagonal-shaped grid placed over the floor plan of your home, to become a garden. We usually consider a ‘garden’ a small or large space filled with flowers or vegetables. The garden I am suggesting is a more detailed ‘room.’

This outdoor room comes with walls of climbing vines to ceilings of wisteria. This gathering room which is created outdoors should include line, color, touch, sight and smell. All of these aspects have inherent messages that can transport us towards contentment. What type of soul garden fits your needs?

As a child, playing outside year round was a delight for me. One side of the property belonged to my grandparents. Their stately house stood tall and proud with Greek-shaped columns supporting a large veranda. This porch extended from the master bedroom. Children were not allowed on this balcony. Having said that, you can imagine the temptation and secret joy I received while sneaking out on this ‘tower’ above the world. I could see three houses down if I leaned over the railing just so.

AngelsLooking over the tall, steep edges, I could see and smell mints, lilacs and climbing roses. The fragrance seemed to lift up my body over the mass of blossomed bushes, bunched together forming “rooms” and secret hiding places. Hiding in these masses of trees and bushes, I could eavesdrop on my brother’s latest plan to kidnap me and return me home for spying. His buddies listened intently as he dictated my future.

What childhood memories do you fondly recall? Colors, sights and fragrances bring memories of those innocent free times, which can be interwoven into your future.

This week’s workshop on Feng Shui landscapes and gardens became a wonderful network of like-minded people, listening to many ideas for special gardens. In planning for outdoor rooms, there are several aspects to consider. What memories brought you joy? Which trees, flowers, colors, smells and sounds soothed your mind? Did birds and butterflies live in your outdoor world? Do you want open spaces or privacy, or both? A child’s garden should provide joy, freedom, adventure and protection – tree houses, forts, swings, logs to walk on, hideouts; maybe a tree to climb, space to run and a water feature. Whether a garden hose or a wading pond, I notice water always calms my grandsons.

Maybe a meditation space is what you want. Choose a place of peace and tranquility. If neighbors intimidate with staring eyes, put up a three-sided lattice fence, add jasmine, hops, or favorite climbing plants to cover the wood to give this spot a special feeling. Peace and tranquility are the aim. Use a pond, boulder or circle for focus. Pathways create a journey for your entrance. Walk over lush grass to the hideaway. Stepping stones of tile, bark, gravel or crushed nutshells give your feet a sensory treat.

Another suggestion is a Lovers Garden. Privacy is #1. Enter through a threshold made from wood, metal or braided limbs to form an arch. Place a bench for a secret rendezvous.

Power gardens are used for self-esteem, reclaiming your self-worth. An elevated vantage point is necessary. A deck, balcony, upstairs window or a chair will give you the advantage of focusing on the center or heart of a round or Bagua-shaped garden. The center could contain a tree, boulder, gazing ball, crystals or sculpture.

Healing gardens for new health can replenish, restore and change your life. Provide a ceiling or arbor with a comfortable setting arrangement on the ‘floor’ of the very small room. This womb-like size will caress and support the body. Light should shine into the structure. Hang a crystal, mobile, or wind chime at the entry. These focus points bring balance into the mind, body and soul.

What will your garden be like? Plant flowers and shrubs in colors of red for energy; blue for self-esteem, mystery and knowledge; green for growth and tranquility; and purple for higher concentration. Pink provides a love vibration, while white is for the metal element and yellow is for intuition and health.

Give to yourself a gift of spirit. Think, play, relax, feel and love. Extend the sacred spaces to the outdoors for a new and free feeling. To choose a special space, walk around your property and see what feelings are evoked.

Animal Symbolism

Recently I read an article on animal forms and their symbolism by Kathleen M. Karlsen, MA. Her consulting business incorporates the principles of Feng Shui into design and fine art decoration. Color, sound and the impact of imagery create powerful effects for human wellness.

I agree 100%. She goes on to say there are three major types of animal forms: domestic, wild and mythical beasts. Domestic animals are indicative of conscious cooperation with nature through positive interrelationships between man and animals. Wild animals depict untamed nature and man’s own untamed desires. Mythical beasts exist in the realm of the imagination and are especially compelling in their graphic representation of future potential and magical, unlimited resources.

One way to make friends is to acquire a domestic pet and go for a walk. Meeting new people won’t be a problem. This little ball of fuzz or a short-haired 200-pound dog will draw energy or Chi to you within minutes. These cute or scary partners become attention magnets. People stop to inquire about your pet.theguardians

The untamed wild kingdom might include lions, tigers, birds or tortoises. Images of any animal can be used in the fame or fire section of the home located at the middle back area of the house. The wild nature of these beasts is used as protectors. Fu Dogs (Chinese lion dogs) or English-type lion statues might be at entranceways to the property or the front door of the dwelling. These visual pieces are symbolic of strength, flexibility and courage. The dragon and bird-like phoenix complete the third dimension to this animal symbolism.

As a child, my mother and father took me to see the famous movie, The Wizard of Oz. Not wanting to show my mounting terror as the horrible, wicked witch unrelentingly chased Dorothy from Kansas, I glued myself securely to the back of the movie theater seat, held my breath in silence and turned white. Since my parents considered me a fearless child, I wasn’t about to let them know I was actually terrorized. From that night on, sleep became impossible. I wiggled to stay awake and counted the repetitive gaudy patterns of red, yellow and gold autumn leaves dancing on the walls of my room. The wild colors of Mom’s newest decorating feat left me awake until I fell into exhaustion. Using colors that are too Yang can keep the child’s action button caught in the “on” position! The Feng Shui of my bedroom didn’t help the situation!

My bed position was a big Feng Shui no-no, directly placed under a window, giving me a feeling of floating and abandonment. Poor Mom. Her instincts were way off base in her latest attempts to bring cheer to my environment. I loved the action colors of the room during daylight hours, but as night approached, I began acting out. I tried to escape the Oz dreams by hiding under the bed. This was the storage area for games, books, tablets and my favorite Crayolas. I snuggled securely into the clutter and fell asleep hiding from the witch.

During Feng Shui consultations, I caution parents on negative uses of color and bunk beds which make the child on top feel “confined” and the child on the bottom feel powerless. Under-the-bed storage gives no circulation and flow of life-giving Chi, and beds lined up with the bedroom door suck or drain the person whose feet are in line with the doorway. Angled ceilings cause pressure on the head, and a child’s bedroom located over a garage gives the child a feeling of “no support” while unseen fumes flow upward from paint, chemicals or resting vehicles. Another overlooked cause of sickness can be from a bed backed up to a bathroom on an adjoining wall, causing a downward tugging-motion to the brain! What are we thinking, folks? Now add a computer, radio clock, TV and a few more electrical items, and we have a toxic room for our children to grow and learn.

Animals are a natural cure to many rooms, as they love to lay in places which are toxic to help transmute the environment for us. Watch where your cats love to hang out as they are more able to “repair” a “bad” spot. A feline can feel the energy running under the ground, and some dogs are negative Chi busters. If your children are allergic to these live, furry love balls, let them choose a few stuffed animals which make them feel safe and secure. My grandchildren fall into this category, and the choices are endless to find just the right creature to snuggle down with on those winter nights and keep some circulation under their beds for a better night’s sleep.