Volume 1 ~ Issue 12 November 21 , 2009

Though we don't get much color change in Southern California, enjoy the changing colors of the Ginkgo tree, Wisteria and Sweet Gum. I just heard it said that in Fall we enjoy the leaves as in Spring we enjoy the flowers. Remember to mulch around your plants to keep the winds from drying them out.

While the weather is still decent clean up the garden as well. Trim back dead flowers and leaves. If you are composting leaves, put them in a pile to get the best effect. If you have a Sycamore, remove the leaves as fungus spores can overwinter and cause disease in the spring.



We are coming up to the end of the year as well as the end of the decade. Endings offer us an opportunity to evaluate where we are and what we have accomplished.

By looking back to the beginning of this year, we can see whether the expectations we piled on our plate are unrealistic and whether our behavior is in line with our values. We often set forth goals based on what we think we want or some idealized version of our former self. Think of the 10 pounds you swore you would lose this year again. There are also things that we may have promised ourselves to take up like exercise or meditation that would have benefited our body temple or our temperment and spirit but we failed to live up to these promises because we allowed ourselves to be overtaken by other demands on our time.

On the other hand we can also look at the things that have come our way that took our lives in a different unexpected direction that now seems as though it someone was pulling the strings to make it happen for you. How did you get so lucky?

Why do people undertake to do these evaluations? One reason is to improve your future. If you don't reflect on the past, the future will just be a repeat of it. We humans are often on automatic and need a space to think about things to avoid being in a cycle of mistakes. Once we can pinpoint the past we can start to open our minds and hearts to new possibilities for the future.

The other reason evaluations are important is that periodically you may want to think about your values and reassess what they are and how you are living in or out of alignment with them. For instance, before I had grandchildren, I had an ideal of what kind of grandmother I would be and once it happened, I had no idea how it would change and deepen my life. Of course my time and efforts had to be adjusted to accomodate that and without reflection I could not be living according to where my heart is.

Once the evaluations are done, it's time to think about the present and future. But before you do, you may want to do some sort of ritual to mark the ending. Sometimes that feels strange but I have found that many people feel a release when a physical act puts a period on the past. A few ways you can do this is to down some of your thoughts of the past that you want to release and then burn them or bury them.

Following are some ideas about the process that you can follow to follow to end this year and decade and start anew.

1. End the Past

At the end of every period of suffering we have the opportunity to lay it aside and move forward or to stay stuck with it and make it our living hell. After my mother died I thought I would never be able to go to a restaurant and see a mother and daughter without tremendous depression and sadness. There came a time for the end of mourning and the grace of cherishing the time we had together. I am not saying that you shouldn't take the time to feel and push yourself into a forced ending but if you are still sad about something that began the beginning of this decade, you may want to examine whether you have a payoff for being stuck in the sadness or depression. Sometimes that is the only way you may know to get attention or to motivate yourself.

Each day is truly a new beginning. We wake up as a new person and we can be anyone we want to be and do anything we want to do. When you want to crawl back into that old fur lined rut remember who you are and what you are here to do. od people that have written books or created tapes that use guided meditation to improve your life. I actually got started this way with Louise Hay's affirmations and tapes. Her techniques border on self hypnosis and can assist you in improving many different aspects of your life.

2. Look for the positive.

In your evaluation, I mentioned that you should think about the positive things that have happened to your either unexpected or planned. As part of your path you need to acknowledge and count your blessings as the old saying goes. If you are having trouble getting out of the negative thoughts racing around in your mind, before you go to bed take five minutes to think of all the positive things that you have in your life. If you are really a hard case, do it again in the morning. Then resolve to do at least one good deed for others each day. This doesn't have to be anything big- holding open a door for someone, smiling at someone in a wheelchair, picking up litter. They will help build your positive things to think about each day. ut even the act of doing the poses and breathing is a powerful form of meditation.

3. Write it down.

Each year I do a list of goals. Many of them repeat the previous year with some alterations and adjustments but I have them. I suggest you think about what you want in life and base your goals or desires on that. I think about the many different aspects of my life and set out ideas for each of the areas. For instance, if you have family, how often are you in touch with them? Is it what you want. If you aren't making the time to talk to elderly aunts or uncles, it's time to plug in ten minutes when you would be listening to your Ipod to call them once a month or so. Figure what is a comfortable committment for yourself. The more specific you get, them easier it is to measure the results against your actions when you do your evaluation next year. This is not to thrash yourself but to keep you in alignment with your values.

The areas of life that I address in my goals each year are spiritual, emotional, material, family, physical and business. My spiritual goals include aspects like how much I want to meditate and how many retreat times I want to take. Emotional goals usually include things that I want to change about my level of presence in life, my ability to respond to others and how to remove my ego from interchanges. Material goals include increasing income and assets. Family goals include how often and who I want to keep in contact. Physical goals include exercise and health measures. Business goals are to help me direct the way I want my company to expand.

4. Time to review.

Set aside some time during the year at some interval to review and see where you are. You could set it for once a week, once a month or once a quarter. This I must confess is not my strong suit. It is important though to keep yourself on track to check periodically. I just checked my goals for this year and found that I am very close to my aims for the year but when I first started doing this about 25 years ago I couldn't remember all the promises I made to myself so it is important not only as a tool to keep you motivated but also to remind you of all your dreams and hopes for yourself.

5. Begin the new with resolve.

It is always difficult to take on new things. That is one of the reasons I suggested writing it down and reviewing it. In past newsletters I talked about what His Holiness Lin Yin Rinpoche taught us early this year. I have practiced it very often this year. When you have a challenge in front of you FACE IT. ACCEPT IT. DEAL WITH IT. LET IT GO. This can really stand you in good stead when you are looking at a situation that you deem unpleasant. This same philosophy can keep you on going with your goals.

6. Make space and time for play and the unexpected.

Many of the forks in the road have come to me during times when I took a break either forced or optional. Forced breaks have come in the forms of being laid off jobs or developing serious illnesses. Optional breaks are vacations or jobs out of town and ceremonial days away from the routine. Like some of the meditations that I have been taught, these breaks get you outside of yourself and allow a peek back at you from a different perspective. If your life is rigid without breaks you could end up living like a robot without allowing the opportunity for the majic of serendipity to occur. It takes effort and your busy-ness or obligations or others in your life tell you not to do it but even an evening spent with a good friend in an new restaurant can allow for a fresh outlook.

When I look over this list even I can feel overwhelmed but remember that you take one step at a time so why not resolve to begin so that the next year and decade don't pass you by without the you in your life.


"We break from the past because we don't believe in it anymore, because its premises are not acceptable, and we will create new ones"


Each day is a new beginning. Choose to see it that way and remake yourself every sunrise.

"The moment a young man ceases to dream or to bemoan his lack of opportunities and resolutely looks his conditions in the face, and resolves to change them, he lays the corner-stone of a solid and honorable success."
Hamilton Wright Mabie.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
Helen Keller

Take a break and see the adventure that is your life.




FENG SHUI IN THE GARDEN......... .....May 22 & 23, 2010 Long Island Feng Shui Institute, New York

Feng Shui is a systematic approach to understanding the principles that create the sense of harmony and balance in our surroundings. This two-day workshop focuses on how to apply the basics in Feng Shui in your landscape and garden to enhance your life.

To register contact 516-621-9898 or www.fengshuischools.com


Soon to be launched- my garden questionnaire-

Garden Secrets - Your Garden Personality Guide.

It is designed to give you some advice on ways you can adjust your garden to balance and express your personality.

I will send out an announcement when it goes live on my website.


Shelley Sparks is a Feng Shui Expert, Licensed Landscape Architect and Humble Gardener. Through the practices of Feng Shui and Landscape Design she creates Harmony, Healing, Prosperity and Beneficial Qualities to her client's home, business and garden environments. She believes that as we bring our environments into balance we live happier healthier more abundant lives, benefit all that we relate to and help heal the earth.

She has been licensed as a Landscape Architect for more than 25 years and has designed award winning residential landscapes. She is a disciple of His Holiness Master Lin Yun Rinpoche, Grand Master of Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Sect of Feng Shui and has been studying Feng Shui for more than sixteen years. She teaches Garden as a Healing Space and Feng Shui and Feng Shui in the Garden for U.C.L.A. and other venues throughout the United States. She analyzes Feng Shui for people's homes, businesses and gardens.

Shelley is author of the forthcoming book Secrets of the Land, Using Feng Shui for Harmonious Gardens.

Shelley Sparks, Principal
12224 Addison Street, Valley Village, Ca 91607
Phone (818) 505-9783
Fax – (818) 760-7558
E-mail [email protected]

See us at: www.HARMONYGARDENS.net
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