As we all try to rack up as many fun-in-the-sun memories as we can before the end of summer, we quickly travel back and forth across our city, state, or country. Even though gas prices remain at record highs, we still have a love affair with our cars. The freedom they represent (even if we only travel 10 miles to and from our jobs!), the image they project (Corvettes and the midlife crisis, need I say more?), and the fact that they take us from one point to another. B in a timely manner only adds to the wonderful relationship we have with our cars. And, while life imitates the art in this column and I’m car shopping (!), we’ll explore how Feng Shui can help you choose the perfect car!
*** As you look at buying a new vehicle, how does it make you feel? If you hate the color, the fact that it’s a sedan or whatever, you’ll instantly hate driving the car. Neither good energy nor Feng Shui. ***
Now it must be said that the following tips are for ALL vehicles, yes even golf carts! (This is an actual project my mom brought me to help improve her golf game AND for the golf cart parade (I know) in her condo community, stay tuned.) Feng Shui can not only protect you and your loved ones from danger, it can also increase your overall luck and positive energy. By considering your vehicle as an environment that can affect your mood, you can also use Feng Shui to help make driving a more enjoyable and safer activity.
Do you get tired as soon as you hit the road? Try tying a red tassel with jingle bells to help relieve sudden fatigue. Remember, RED is a FIRE color and represents action and yang energy. The sound of the bells will also help you stay focused and alert. The tinkling of bells and bells also helps drive away negative energy. I have a little fairy chime attached to the rear view mirror of my car, when I get “disturbed” on the road or looking for the perfect spot to park, I ring the chimes. It’s stupid, I know, but it makes me (and the other car occupant) laugh at the silliness, which in turn increases the positive energy in the car.
Too much clutter? Too many stops at McDonald’s and Starbucks, with the evidence lying in the backseat? Sports equipment strewn across the backseat and trunk? Does the front passenger seat look like a remote office space with your Blackberry, iPod and files scattered around? Have stuffed animals taken over the back shelf so that looking out the back window is a distant memory? While clutter will be discussed in later columns, in Feng Shui terms clutter is the physical manifestation of our emotional baggage. When your vehicle (or home/desk/office) is littered with empty fast food bags, overflowing ashtrays, and empty water bottles, you’re showing the world that you don’t care how they see you or what image you present. You may also subconsciously feel unworthy or untrustworthy (i.e., feeling like trash).
While many of us travel for work and don’t have a vehicle dedicated solely to work, it’s imperative that you do everything you can to separate the personal from your work. Keep files in a folder or bag, that way everything is kept in one place. I see the need for the iPod (!) so it can slide. The Blackberry or other cell phone should not be seen as an appendage while driving! Use bluetooth technology or the phone service option through OnStar if you MUST be talking on the phone while driving for safety reasons.
*** You should NEVER text, instant message or check emails WHILE DRIVING for safety reasons. ***
On a monthly basis, you should do a thorough cleaning of your car. This means vacuuming, wiping/cleaning the dash and seats (especially if you have leather, be sure to condition it! This is a must if you drive a convertible). Get rid of all the garbage that has accumulated in the back seat, empty the ashtrays and organize what should be left in the car. My mom’s car looked like a sporting goods store/locker before we bought her a golf organizer! Shoes, golf tees, golf shirts, socks… you name it, besides the clubs in the trunk that didn’t leave room for anything else, they were everywhere. This with all her coupons stuffed in one cup holder, sunglasses in the other made her a total mess. The golf organizer was wonderful as all of his clothes, t-shirts and other accessories were now in one place, not scattered, and fit in the trunk with the clubs. Thus, freeing up the back seat. I have yet to get her to “release” the cup holders, although she doesn’t have the venti latte addiction that I do, so this isn’t as big of a deal for her, but I’m still working on her. Washing her car windows is also a safety must – it’s always good to see where she’s going, especially at night or in bad weather! But from a Feng Shui perspective, clean glass/windows symbolize a CLEAR vision into the future and/or goals, as well as natural light that can enter your space bringing positive energy.
*** Be sure to clean your windows with every gas fill! Windows are considered the “eyes” of the car/house/office; therefore, they must be kept clean to see clearly. ***
A car that smells good also makes for a smoother ride. Hopefully after a thorough cleaning you won’t have any odor, but using aromatherapy can help you manipulate your emotions while driving. Do you have a long journey ahead? Use peppermint to help energize you. Do you want to be more relaxed and less anxious on your daily commute? Wear orange to help de-stress. There are a variety of diffusers for cars: some plug into your cigarette lighter, others are simply terracotta shapes that can be hung on your rear view mirror or placed in an unused cup holder (again with an empty cup holder!). I have a little terracotta heart, which hangs with the fairy chime, from my rear view mirror. I have a couple of different scents that I use depending on my mood. These terracotta diffusers are great in hot weather as the sun shines on the car and helps spread the oil/scent throughout the car! I love this.
Many of you have also heard of hanging crystals in your car to help bring in positive energy. Crystals can also help break up and disperse stagnant energy. (Remember to keep your crystals clean!). This is also a great idea, HOWEVER, don’t hang more than 10mm glass from your rear view mirror. Anything bigger looks like a big disco ball hanging there, bobbing back and forth and blinding drivers around you when the sun hits them. Needless to say, that is not good Feng Shui!
***When buying crystals for your car or anywhere else in your space, only buy real crystal spheres, dots…any shape. Glass, plastic or other materials do not conduct the same energy as real glass. Always ask and check the material BEFORE you buy. ***
– As in ALL your spaces, your vehicle should be clean and smell fresh to facilitate a movement of good and healthy energy.
– DO NOT clutter the backseat with clothing, stuffed animals, sports equipment, etc., as this will take the positive energy out of your car and create a negative, chaotic and stressful environment. If you don’t LOVE it, USE it or NEED it, GET RID OF IT.
– Some Feng Shui practitioners will tell you to place cushions and/or fluffy blankets in your car to help balance the harsh yang energy of the road with a calming and comforting energy. Personally, I’m a “less is more” type of person, however, if you throw a blanket in the backseat or feel the need to “accessorize” your car with some decorative pillows, do so if it doesn’t hurt your drive. . It should be noted that a blanket is a must if your dogs are traveling with you and/or for emergency situations if you live in a colder climate.
– Less is more when it comes to items hanging off your rearview mirror: fuzzy dice days, graduation tassels more than 1 year after graduation (!), or anything else that’s big and hurting your drive (or items that other drivers who are afraid of you will do) need to be knocked down. In Feng Shui philosophy, if this item falls off, it means you have protected it from negative energy, replace it immediately.
– Use music to help set the mood for your drive: classical music to wind down on a long drive, some jazz for dinner, classic rock for your commute… whatever sets your mood . I personally like Jimmy Buffet because he makes me think of warm sunny times at the beach and transports me from the cold and snow of WI. Remember that loud, aggressive music encourages aggressive driving; leave the NAS music off for your daily commute.
– According to Calgary-based author and interior designer Margo Trofimenkoff, you can tell the gender of your car by the location of the gas cap. When looking at your car from the front, if the gas cap is on the right, it indicates female, on the left, male.
– Name your car (see above). If you have a personal connection to your care, you are more likely to take care of problems, keep it cleaner, and perform maintenance in a timely manner. (My car’s name is Tiffany based on the sterling silver color.)
– Keep your car in good working order. Get timely oil changes, keep your tires properly inflated, replace burnt-out lights, and keep your windshield washer fluid topped up (it always empties right after a storm!).
– Make sure doors and windows (as in any space) open and close easily and quietly. Any traffic jam or difficulty will bring tension at the beginning of each trip. A door that doesn’t close properly will also put stress on the window, which can cause it to crack or break.
– When parking, try to leave a clear path that allows an unobstructed entry. It should also be noted that you should never park in front of a house/office/building as it can create a subconscious threat to the building’s occupants – the feeling of the car entering the space. Park parallel or with your back to the space.
– When choosing a color for your car, the color of the interior is the most important choice, as it is the color that affects you the most while driving. If you are not satisfied with the interior of your vehicle, it will cause you stress.