How to Achieve Harmonious Balanced Life

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Feng Shui 101:

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Maintaining a harmonious home through achieving spiritual well being

Many couples and families strive to have a harmonious home in their life little to no breakthrough. Often the disharmony of a family is attributed to external factors like influence of the media on the children, a cheating spouse, and […]


How to deal with Failure

How To Deal With Failure, Overcome It, And Prove Them All Wrong

prove them wrong | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | learn from your mistakes

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Thomas A. Edison (Co-founder, General Electric)

“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

Bill Gates (Founder, Microsoft)

Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.”

Charlie Chaplin (Actor, The Circus)


“That’ll never work!”

“You’re wasting your time!”

Everyone believed he would fail.

Everyone believed he was deluded.

For a long time, it looked like everyone was right.

Just as he started making progress, his laboratory blew up.

It literally blew up in his face.

A massive fire broke out at Thomas Edison’s factory and his goal of creating the first light bulb failed again.

But as the factory workers gathered around the flames, they saw Edison smiling.

He was marveling at the sight of the flames.

Edison went back to work the next day.

He ploughed forward with boldness and determination.

Even his failures were victories in their own way, because they taught him something new.

When his laboratory blew up, he didn’t quit.

Instead, he made a note of the reaction and how it happened.

He later used that reaction in other experiments.

His disasters opened up new avenues of research.

They opened up new ideas.

The light bulb, the movie camera, the phonograph, and much more.

Thomas Edison created these new technologies, causing the human race to leap forward.

But hindsight is 20/20.

For the better part of his career, Edison was mocked.

He was called a fool.

He was called arrogant.

Whenever he mentioned an idea he had, everyone’s first response was “that’ll never work!”

But that just motivated him more.

But it was not just his drive to invent new things that turned Edison into a legend.

It was his mentality when it came to his failures.

When Edison’s factory burned down, he called his family over to admire the fire and promised to immediately start rebuilding the next day.

He didn’t lay off any of his employees.

He didn’t question his mission.

He just rolled with it and got back to work the next day.

This mentality is what turned Edison into a legend.

It’s what turned Edison into a genius.

How To Learn From Failure, Not Be Destroyed By It

Success has nothing to do with avoiding mistakes.

What determines your level of success is your ability to deal with your failures.

If you allow failure to get you down, your mind is weak.

But if you fortify your mind against the sting of failure, you can roll with the punches instead of being knocked out by them.

Everyone makes mistakes at some point.

Even people you don’t expect.

Even people who shouldn’t.

Doctors, surgeons, and professionals trained for years on end.

People who know how to work under pressure.

People who know a single mistake can end a life.

The key is knowing how to cope with your mistakes.

A report in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that medical professionals who don’t know how to properly cope with their mistakes are more likely to repeat them in the future.

In other words, making a mistake does NOT make you more likely to repeat the mistake.

Failing to learn from your mistake makes you more likely to repeat the mistake.

Becoming afraid of failure or callous to failure is what leads to more failure.

Do you have a weak mind?

Will you fall apart after a mistake?

Or have you trained your brain to hold it together after a failure?

Have you conditioned your mind to stay strong and open after a mistake?

If you want to be successful in life, you must make your mind resilient to failure.

You must construct your mind like a selective fortress, allowing mistakes to flow through it so you can learn from them, while keeping out destructive emotions that make you more likely to repeat your mistakes.

we learn from failure not from success | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | how to deal with failure

5 Strategies For Turning Failure Into Success

Making a mistake is not fun.

If it’s a big enough mistake, you’ll have a physical reaction to it.

A wave of heat will flow over your body.

You’ll feel like you just got punched in the gut.

Your heart rate will increase.

You’ll sweat.

Your mind will race, obsessing over the possible fallout.

These dreaded feelings prevent people from making the most of their lives.

These feelings keep people from living the great lives they’ve imagined.

Instead, they play it safe and settle on mediocre lives.

So as soon as things start to become a little difficult, they give up.

They quit because they’re afraid to fail.

Stop being so weak.

When you give up because you’re afraid to fail, you end up a failure anyway.

You end up settling, refusing to take another risk.

You refuse to try again.

Refusing to try again is the true definition of failure.

Look—the only true failure in life is giving up completely.

Stumbling along the way to achievement is not failure, it’s success.

Start handling failure better.

Start embracing your mistakes.

Here are 5 ways for how to deal with failure and turn it into ultimate life success…

1. Purposely put yourself in situations similar to past failures

Think of a failure you’ve experienced in your life.

It could be your first job interview, where you fumbled your way through the questions.

It could be the first time you were rejected after asking someone out on a date.

(Or in my case, the first 10 times I asked someone out on a date.)

It could be a mistake you made in a business presentation or a misplaced word in an email which cost you a client.

Whatever it is, you feel bad just thinking about it.

You feel like a loser.

This unpleasantness is your brain’s way of trying to protect you from making the same mistake again.

The problem is that these feelings not only discourage you from making the same mistake again, they discourage you from taking the same risk again.

You can’t be successful without risk.

Just because you took a risk and made a mistake does NOT mean you should never take that risk again.

Instead of mentally hiding from your past mistakes, start facing them.

Dig into them and determine what went wrong.

What could you do differently next time?

Go back to that embarrassing situation in your head and learn from it.

Don’t shy away from it.

Don’t run from it.

Toss your fear and your mental weakness aside and look at your past failure.

Then, look for a way to take the same risk again and this time, come out the other end successfully.

The fastest way to success is to learn from every single experience you have had in life.

Even if you only learned what NOT to do.

Learning what NOT to do is a powerful way to get ahead.

When you face your past failures, you build a thick skin towards your future failures.

You create contingency plans that will protect you against future failures.

Now, when you face a similar situation in the future, you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to do better than before.

2. Remember your failures, stop hiding from them.

Every instance of failure you encounter in your life is a step towards success.

They all teach you something.

Remember them.

Stop hiding from them.

There is pure gold in every mistake you’ve ever made.

Your mistakes are feedback.

Your failures are stories of what not to do.

Don’t refuse to read these stories.

Don’t reject this feedback.

Instead, meditate on them.

Flip through the pages of your mistakes and failures until you have a clear picture of what went wrong and how to execute things better next time.

Start seeing your failures as an opportunity to fix your approach.

This is the only way to improve in life.

If you’re too scared to face your failures, you’ll never improve.

Instead, you’ll stay stagnant.

You’ll hold yourself back, terrified to face what you struggled with.

If things went badly in the past, it doesn’t mean you’re doomed.

It just means you need more practice.

You just need to change your approach.

Ignore the whisper in your brain telling you to hide from your failures.

Ignore the voice in your head telling you to run away.

When you do this, failure suddenly becomes less frightening.

Instead of accepting a frivolous half-reason why you should give up, you’ll be conditioned to practice and persevere.

You’ll finally realize that you’re the one in control.

3. Keep your focus on your end goal at all times.

Achieving a worthwhile goal is not a cakewalk.

There’s going to be pain on the way.

Did you think you were going to glide to success?

Did you think the world was going to eagerly help you get what you want?

Not so much.

You’re going to face rejection and failure, over and over again.

The only way to stay motivated is to relentlessly turn your attention back to your overall purpose.

Turn your attention back to your biggest goals.

Keeping your goals in mind is the only way to stop yourself from giving up when things become difficult.

It keeps you from allowing minor setbacks to become crushing defeats.

Your attention should routinely be switching back and forth between your long-term goals and the feedback you’re getting from your environment, on a daily basis.

This means you’re always aware of where you’re going and always maneuvering proactively as you experience daily successes and failures.

Your end goal is your strongest mental defense against the sting of failure.

The key is to make your goals more compelling than the pain of failure.

By keeping a strong goal in mind, one that constantly drives you, nothing will be able to stop you.

Not mockery from toxic people who want to drag you down.

Not embarrassment or feelings of shame either.

You’ll stay strong through challenges because your eye is on the light at the end of the tunnel, not on any of the shadows surrounding you.

4. Throw people off balance to uncover new opportunities.

Staying mentally tough after mistakes is important.

This will protect you from the negative effects of failure.

But what about the effects of negative people?

Mistakes fade with time but manipulative people have a way of hanging around forever.

These manipulators will give new life to your mistakes by reminding you of them over and over again.

Nothing can tear your defenses down quite like a manipulative person.

These people can include friends, family, co-workers, clients, or employers.

Very often, you won’t even realize you’re in an irrational relationship with a manipulative person.

You won’t even realize that someone is dragging you down on a daily basis.

Stop letting others remind you of your mistakes.

Stop letting others throw you off balance.

Instead, take stock of the manipulative people in your life and deal with them strategically.

Recognize that the only control they have over you is the control you give them.

It’s time to take back control.

It’s time to shake things up.

Stop being so predictable with the negative people in your life.

Stop allowing them to subtly insult you, play the victim, and stuff your head with their unsolicited opinions.

Instead, start asking them why they’re always stuck in the past.

Start asking them what they’re doing with their lives.

Start ignoring them completely.

Start cutting them off.

Throw these people off balance, for a change, by refusing to stand by silently and refusing to be a crutch.

Taking a stand and changing your behavior with others will not only free you from their abuse, it will expose new opportunities in your life.

It will expose new opportunities in your relationships.  

Change creates opportunities.

Mistakes create opportunities too.

Don’t get stuck in a rut with your relationships or otherwise.

Shake things up and start being a little bit unpredictable.

By doing this, people around you will start to see you as a natural leader, rather than just another yes-man or yes-woman.

They’ll see you as someone with vision and drive.

People can’t help but be drawn to visionaries.

When you ask the tough questions and take bold, confident steps towards achieving your goals, you’ll leave negative people behind you forever.

5. Always be trying something new.

Staring down past situations that didn’t work out and rising up to take past risks again is critical to being successful.

But what about new situations?

Too many people get stuck in a rut, not because they refuse to take second chances, but because they’re really bad at taking new first chances.

These people have trained themselves to overcome past challenges but have failed to take on brand new challenges.

The only way to avoid being thrown off balance by unfamiliar situations is to actively seek unfamiliar situations.

You have to always be willing to try something new.

You have to be willing to take unique risks, not the same old risks.

Face it—some challenges are comfortable.

Dealing with the challenge of going to work and getting along with your boss.

Risking to provide the same paycheck and the same support for your family over and over again.

These things are great but they’re not going to move you ahead significantly.

Instead, they’re going to move you ahead just enough to make you feel good about mediocrity.

Repeating the same challenges over and over is a one-way ticket to mediocrity.

If you want to be great, you have to seek out new challenges.

Dealing with and turning failure into success requires fortitude and resilience. By actively seeking out difficult situations in your life, you will become more confident in your ability to overcome them. You’ll develop a laser sharp focus on your goals and develop the discipline required to prevent negative people from knocking you off track. Do this and you’ll live a more confident and focused life. Until next time, live like a lion.

To learn more about overcoming failure and turning it into success, and to get instant access to exclusive training videos, case studies, insider documents, and my private online network, get on the Escape Plan wait list.

2016 year of the Yang Fire Monkey

Are you prepared for 2016 year of the Yang Fire Monkey Bing Shen

© Written by Michael Hanna and revised by Daniel Hanna 2016

Kung Hai Fat Chou

Are you really prepared for 2016?

astrology and feng shui guide for 2016 Feng Shui Software 2016 cures and enhancers
2016 Chinese animal predictions 2016 flying stars analysis

click here to save a printer friendly copy

Chinese New Year 2016 – Year of the Yang Fire Monkey

Chinese New Year 2016

Chinese New Year (according to the lunar calendar) starts on the 8th February 2016 (year of the Yang Fire Monkey Bing Shen)   and is celebrated by Chinese all over the world by people from all walks of life and all ethnicities. Chinese New Year denotes new beginnings and a fresh start in life. This is a time of celebration, reunion, forgiveness, sharing and thanksgiving and is seen as a time for people to start fresh and leave their mistakes and problems behind and start again. This is the date that you would celebrate the Chinese New Year with Ang Pows, fireworks etc and not the date you use to place your 2016 cures and enhancers in Feng Shui.

The 2016 Xuan Kong annual flying stars full evaluation can be found by clicking THIS LINK and this year is very important as we have the very inauspicious #2 star enter the centre which will mean that specialist cures are needed more than ever. The last time that we had a Yang Fire Monkey Bing Shen year was back in 1956 and this is actually a cycle of 60 years which will be found in a traditional “ten thousand year calendar”.

The Lunar Chinese New Year Day (8th February 2016) is very different from the Solar (Hsia) New Year Day which falls on February 4th 2016 which I will explain below.

Sun and Moon

As far back as I can remember, Chinese New Year’s has always been a time of beautiful food, family gatherings, Ang Pow red envelopes, receiving money from elders, the Dragon dance, throwing lettuce in to the lions mouth, Chinese Firecrackers and the colour red. Chinese New Year has always been a time of joy and excitement for me and is one of my favourite times of year as it gives me a chance to relax and celebrate everything that I have in my life.

Although the solar (Hsia) calendar commences the New Year at the beginning of Spring, which usually falls between the 4th or 5th of February, the lunar (yueh) calendar marks the new year on the second New moon after the winter solstice which is the date where you would take part in all of the celebrations and festivities for the Chinese New Year. In 2016, the Lunar Chinese New Year, which also goes by the name of ‘Spring Festival’, falls on 8th February 2016 which is the New Year that is celebrated by all ethnic Chinese and in the last few decades has become more and more celebrated by people from all origins and festivities take place in every single country of the world. The solar New Year (4th February 2016) is not celebrated at all and only used for placing the Annual Feng Shui Cures and Enhancers.

We have had some clients saying that they have come across websites stating that 2016 is the 4713th Chinese New Year although this is not true and we have added the reason behind it, here is an answer and interesting fact for you:

The Temple of Heaven, Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests

The Yellow King’s appointment was held in the spring of 2697 B.C. But they used the winter solstice day as the first day of the year. So the first winter solstice took place on around December 23rd, 2698 B.C. Today’s January 1st means nothing to the Yellow King. If we count that extra eight days in 2698 B.C. for a year, then year 2016 is the 4714th Chinese year.

A vital aspect of the build-up to Chinese new year is the few weeks leading up to the event as we must all be very well prepared for the New Year as the beginning of the year sets the example for the year’s luck ahead and to start the year without having everything in place or not taking care of affair could cause problems; for example, if you enter the year with debts, you are setting an example for the rest of the year ahead so please be sure to get this bit right if you are able to as i do appreciate it is easier said than done to pay off all your debts. If you enter the year of the Monkey in a dispute with someone, this signifies that you will be in dispute with others throughout the year.

This rule also applies to anything you have lent out to family and friends and they must be collected before the beginning of the Chinese New Year or else you may find yourself lending for the rest of the year. This goes with most things; generally, the best attitude to take is to start the New Year as you wish to go on which is why drinking alcohol is not actually encouraged during the Chinese New Year but I will tell you more about this below.

Cleaning for Chinese New Year 2016

During the few weeks coming up to Chinese New Year, it is customary to go through the whole house and clean all around the home by dusting everywhere, clearing out junk and removing and broken or damaged items. For as long as I can remember, I have had an endless list of tasks that need doing before the New Year as it is extremely important to make sure that the house is thoroughly cleaned and dusted as this ensures that the old stagnant Qi Is swept away so that new, fresh auspicious Qi can enter the home. Last year, I introduced a new document to our website which is my personal checklist for Chinese New Year and everything that I need to do around the home and office before Solar Chinese New Year (4th February 2016); you can view this article and print it out if you find it useful by clicking here.

In my younger years, this was always seen as a gruelling task and I never really appreciated the effect it had on everyone in the home until I moved out and did my first proper Chinese New Year deep clean and I noticed a sudden uplift in so many areas of my life; my energy levels were much higher and from just clearing out all of my unneeded clutter, I changed a lot of circumstances for the better.

The whole house inside and out must be cleaned before New Year’s Day and I personally spend a good two or three days going through every single drawer and move every single piece of furniture from my chest of drawers to the coffee table and clean underneath and around everything which to be honest, can be a very daunting process, but is well worth it when you sense new Qi coming in. Cobwebs must be cleared out and any old and broken items should be thrown away.

Following cleaning, all brooms, brushes, dusters, dustpans and other cleaning equipment should be put away out of sight because if you were to leave them out, this could threaten the new qi that is arriving and this is something that everyone should aim to avoid; although a lot of homes do not have space to pack away hoovers and big appliances, it is good practise to put them away in a room that is not commonly used and avoid corners of kitchens, living rooms etc. For our home and office it is a bit of a pain as we treat the western New Year the same as the eastern and we end up doing all these rituals twice every year with such a short space in between although this does mean that the clean for Chinese New Year is usually less effort due to deep cleaning before.

Chinese new year 2016

The lead up to Chinese New Year is also a vital time to renew your protective talismans which should be used to scare off evil throughout the home during the year (click here to find out why you place these talisman charms and to also download a free printable copy). People from all over the world will do this by decorating their home with auspicious couplets and emblems with the additional aim to summon good fortune. These talismans will be printed on thick paper in red or with a red background. In Chinese culture, the colour red is seen as a life giving colour, associated with summer, the south and the vermilion bird, which is similar to a phoenix (oddly enough symbolic of rebirth in the west too) and represents the fire element.

Chinese couplets 2016

Red to the Chinese also signifies good fortune, fame and riches. You should be very careful when using the colour red inside your home though as I have seen a great deal of homes and businesses that have used very bright reds thinking it will give them good luck where as in traditional Feng Shui, if used in a wrong location it can cause many problems but this is the most potent colour and if used correctly can give good results so a good tip is to keep colours neutral unless you are confident of the elements and their associated colours and usage in Feng Shui. Please take a look at our 2016 Flying Star Analysis to find out where red can be used in 2016.

Chines new year 2016 Laisee

When preparing for Chinese New Year, it is always beneficial to decorate a home or office with live, fresh, blooming plants. Fresh plants are seen as a symbol of rebirth and new growth both in the home and in business. Flowers such as pussy willow, azalea, water lily or narcissus all symbolise wealth and high position in one’s career. It is believed that by having no flowers in your home, the result will be a lack of fruit in the year.  It is considered extremely lucky for the whole household if a plant blooms on New Year’s Day as they can expect the year ahead to be full of prosperity so be sure to place lots of plants. Plum blossoms and bamboo are also displayed to symbolise perseverance, reliability and longevity.

Oranges and clementines

Another vital part that everyone should practise in their home for Chinese New year is placing fruit. Oranges and tangerines are two very symbolic fruits associated with the celebration of Chinese New Year as both of these fruits are symbols for abundant happiness. The colour of oranges and tangerines is a good representation of gold and, together with a ‘hung bao’ ang pow, (red packet containing money), they are offered to friends and family as gifts symbolising gold ingots; every year, my parents come over to my home and bring two fresh nets of oranges for me and vice versa.

About a week before Lunar New Year, traditional families will be very busy preparing the religious ceremony which is performed with tributes and offerings in honour of Heaven (Tien Shen) and Earth (Ti Tu), and of the various deities of the household together with family ancestors. One of the most well know deities associated with Chinese New Year is the Kitchen God(also known as stove god) who resides over the stove and is said to keep an eye on the interactions of the household, making an annual report on what the family has done in the past year to the Jade Emperor in Heaven around about a week before Chinese New Year Day. Rites and offerings are made to the Kitchen God (Zhou Khun) on this day with hopes that he will speak well of the deeds of the family.

Kitchen Gods 2016

Traditionally, one of the main events during Chinese New Year is the ‘Reunion Dinner’ which is a very extravagant banquet which is laid out to mark the onset of the New Year where young and old family members gather for a reunion dinner to symbolise family harmony and spend time together. Family members will all aim to get back to their home where the elders are located; even if they have moved abroad or away from home, they will make the effort to come back and be together with all of their family members. It is normal for the wives to spend their reunion dinner in the husband’s family home alongside his family.

Chinese new year celebration meal

This reunion dinner is always a very grand family banquet that fills the table with all sorts of special, delicious, exciting dishes and delicacies artistically named with auspicious symbolic meanings assigned to each dish. The dinner will usually begin with a prayer of tribute and offerings to their ancestors and deities at the family altar. It is a very colourful and lively affair when every light is supposed to be kept on in the house throughout the whole night; the light is kept on in order to scare bad spirits away from the home.

Some of the different dishes that get presented on the dinner table are believed to have superstitious attributes. Some of the dishes are commonly foods like Ginkgo nuts as they represent gold ingots and are said to be full of auspicious luck for fertility. Black moss seaweed is a beautiful dish and is also a symbolic food of prosperity. A whole chicken which is a desirable addition to the feast is also a symbolic food of prosperity.  Dried bean curd is placed on the banquet table to symbolise happiness and luck. Lotus seed is seen as another fertility symbol and signifies having many offspring. Nian Gao is a traditional sweet steamed glutinous rice pudding, when you eat this dish you will aid growth and abundance. When you translate bamboo shoots into Chinese, the words sound similar to the Chinese for “hoping that all turns out for the best”. A whole fish with its head and tail intact will represent togetherness throughout the year.

The reunion Dinner

The Reunion Dinner is a very busy event which will usually see the women conjuring around the kitchen while they are preparing the dinner whilst the men either watch TV or (guess what?) play game after game of mah-jong. Mah-jong is an extremely important part of Chinese culture and is played by men and women alike, often in halls solely dedicated to the game.


Mah-jong is linked with gambling with huge sums of money being won and lost by the players. You need an excellent memory in order to memorise which tiles have been laid down and which remain.

Once a certain point in a hand has been passed, you need to pay special attention as if you are the one to put down the tile that enables another player to win that hand, you not only have to pay your own losses on the hand but those of the other two losing players as well. This can mean serious amounts of money throughout the day if memory is not a strong point.

Children will then be washed and dressed in their new pyjamas (every year, during Chinese New Year I replace my pyjamas) and promised the arrival of “Tsai Shen Yeh” (Chai Shen Yeh) (the Wealth God). Whilst they sleep; the children’s parents will slip an ang pow (a red envelope with money) under their pillow which signifies a visit from ‘Chai Shen Yeh’ which is a very similar custom to the tooth fairy. It is also very common for children to receive red envelopes from elder family members with the amount that is given being dictated by the closeness of the family relationship and also the age of the child. When giving or being given a red envelope, it is good practise to give and receive with both hands. It is common for the older children to receive more money than younger children and for parents to give more than an aunt or uncle. Someone who has a large family and who has taken a hammering on the mah-jong tables is in for trouble!

2016 Chinese New Year times

At midnight, during the turn of the old and New Year, it is very common all throughout China and also all throughout the world to hear deafening bangs as everyone lets off Chinese fire-crackers which are used to scare away the evil spirits (Nian monster) and also the old Qi of the year just passed but also to greet the New Year. Sadly, fireworks have been cancelled in the UK on Chinese New Year without permission from the council although it is accepted on our western New Year. China are also looking to put a ban to the fireworks in order to control pollution during Chinese New Year.

Countries such as the UK have left the fireworks out and kept to the traditional dragon dance ceremony where people will dress in a large dragon costume and dance around to loud music with drums which works just as well as firecrackers and is also a great experience for everyone. Performers will hold poles and raise and lower the Dragon. It is common for one man to hold a ‘Pearl of Wisdom’ on a pole and entice the Dragon to follow him to the beat of a drum, as if the dragon was searching for wisdom and knowledge.

ang-powIn your finest and newest clothes, Chinese New Year’s Day itself starts with the exchange of good wishes amongst the family. Married couples present the young ones, children and unmarried adults alike with a Hung-Bao. In Chinese culture, instead of giving a wrapped up present such as clothing or toys as we do at Christmas in the UK, USA or other countries, it is much more common and in a lot of homes, tradition to give a red envelope containing money. The amount of money contained in the envelope has to be in even numbers. Even numbers are auspicious unless it is a single Chinese i-ching coin on its own. For example, it could be two dollars, ten or twenty dollars. It is amazing how much a person can accumulate in a single day.

The Dragon Dance

Nian MonsterThe Dragon dance dates back as far as the Han Dynasty (202BC – 22AD) and was used in a ceremony to worship the ancestors and to pray for rain. The Dragon dance later become a source of entertainment and in the Tang and Song Dynasty, the Dragon dance became a common ceremonial activity to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The Dragon costume is traditionally stored in a Dragon King Temple and will only be taken from the temple on the day that the dance is to be performed and will be followed by locals banging on drums and carrying banners and flags. The body is attached to the head and is known as the ‘eye pointing’ ceremony.

One of the team will walk in front of the Dragon carrying a big pole with a big ball attached at the top decorated with frills and ribbon. The ball is moved all around and the Dragons will follow the ball wherever it goes. Once the dance is over, the tradition is to burn the head and tail and return the body to the Dragon Kind temple until next year. It is believed that by burning the head and tail of the Dragon will take the Dragon to heaven and bring good weather for crops in the year ahead. Another belief is that the burning Dragon will repel bad luck and disasters for the year ahead.

The Lion dance

Chinese New Year Lion danceThe Lion dance which also goes by the name of the ‘Lion Lantern’ is a traditional dance which is performed on Chinese New year where two men or teenagers will wear a lion costume, one will be the head and the other will be the body of the lion and they will mimic a real lion to a beating drum and gong. On the head of the Lion, there will be a mirror which is said to scare evil spirits away when they see their own reflection. The Lion will make his way down the street and will meet the ‘laughing Buddha’ who will be dressed in a monks robe and a mask who will tease the Lion with a fan made of banana leaves which makes the Lion jump all over the place. The Lion will move all around the street looking for lettuce which will be hung above doors to homes and offices and will have an Ang Pow attached with money thanking the Lion for their wishes of luck and prosperity for the year; it is considered very auspicious for the Lion to take the lettuce from your door. After the lion takes the Ang Pow from the lettuce, he will scatter the lettuce leaves all over the street which symbolises a new start for the year ahead and good luck.

The first day of Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year’s Day itself starts with the exchange of good wishes amongst the family and they will all be dressed in new clothes. Married couples present the young ones, children and unmarried adults alike with a Hung-Bao. In Chinese culture, instead of giving a wrapped up present such as clothing or toys as we do at Christmas in the UK, USA or other countries, it is much more common and in a lot of homes to give children and teenagers a red envelope containing money. The amount of money contained in the envelope has to be in even numbers as even numbers are auspicious with the exception of a single Chinese i-ching coin on its own. For example, it could be two dollars, ten or twenty dollars. It is amazing how much a person can accumulate in a single day.

If you follow this link you will find an article on red envelopes and how they are used for Chinese New Year; if you follow this link you will find more details

You will also find an article on Chinese talismans below this text; this really is a superb article and you must read it; follow this link after you have finished this article.

Later on in the day, everyone will venture out to visit their different relative’s homes. The visiting rota has an unspoken hierarchy arrangement where the oldest get to sit at home and wait for the younger relatives to visit them to exchange good wishes to each other. This is a very exciting time for the children because nearly every ‘Kung Xee Fa Chai’ (it means Congratulations and May you be Prosperous) they recite, they receive an ang pow (red envelope containing money) for it.

The second day of Chinese New Year

The second day of Chinese New Year is known as ‘Kai Nien’ which means “Year Beginning” and will begin with a very early morning breakfast. Special dishes will be prepared with symbolic names. The main dish of this day of celebration is a bowl of long noodles which will end with everyone at the table tossing the noodles as high as possible with their chopsticks. The tossing of noodles is a symbolic activity done to promote longevity. This means that, unless you are unable to do so, you stand up and raise your arms full stretch in the air holding the noodles aloft which can be a messy but fun affair which usually results with a lot of noodles stuck on the ceiling!

Bottle of red wineUnlike in the west, Chinese New Year is not seen as a time for drinking a lot of alcohol and in most homes, it will not usually be consumed over this time as people save space for themselves to drink enormous amounts of Chinese tea. Some people will have a Chinese wine with their meal but, particularly as the emphasis is so much on the family nature of the celebrations, nobody goes over the top and gets drunk.

Two days of eating a great deal and general fun and games with family can be quite tiring as the Chinese do not hold back on these occasions and like to celebrate in style. The Chinese relationship with food is close all throughout the year but at no time more so than at New Year. Many dishes have particular significance, especially at this time. Even everyday dishes like fish and turnips have special meanings and none more so than fish balls and meat balls both of which suggest reunion, which is a most important element at this time.

The third day of Chinese New Year

After two days of celebrations and festivities, even the Chinese can have enough and recognise that energy levels are needing to be restored which brings us on to the third day which is a day of well-deserved calm. Traditionally, this is not a day for risks or adventure. The young ones will venture out to see friends but it is generally a quiet day for everyone. Usually, no offices or businesses will be open on this day.

The fourth day of Chinese New Year

Dragon costumeNormal procedures soon return with companies, shops and stores opening up for business as usual on the fourth day. Many businesses will choose a specific day to start business using date selection with the assistance of their Feng Shui Practitioner and initiate the new trading year with a spectacular display of Lion Dance and fire crackers. It is a very noisy and exciting event for both employees and passers-by and is said to bring prosperity to the company.


The rest of Chinese New Year

Greetings and an atmosphere of festivity remain for another eleven days right through to the full moon of the first lunar month when another celebration follows and this celebration is to mark the closing of the Spring Festival which is also a big event. Day 15 is also called the ‘Spring Lantern Festival’ (Yuan Xiao Jie). This wonderfully romantic celebration takes place under a full moon on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month of the year.

On this day, the old and young carry a beautiful, colourful lantern and all gather in a neighbouring public place like a town centre or similar. They all gather around together to admire and appreciate the first full moon of the year (very similar to the Mid-Autumn Festival). In China, there are still villages that hold a big Tang Yuan (rice dumplings) cooking and eating session which I would personally love to go to but still have to tick it off my bucket list. The dumplings are round and symbolise family unity and completeness. The mid-month Lantern Festival traditionally brings the seasonal passage of the New Year to a conclusion

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How to Achieve Harmonious Balanced Life


Have you ever thought of how you can live a harmonious balanced life? As it works, a whole person is always made up of numerous parts. Some of these include romantic interests, intelligence, physical health, indulgences, personal goals, religious beliefs, financial situations, problems, fears and passions. Consequently, harmony is one condition you stand to achieve when you balance all your life parts with the world surrounding you.

Therefore, if you intend to live a harmonious balanced life, below are some of the important guides to put in place:

1. Prioritize your activities. In a bid to experience a balanced life full of harmony, experts advise that your energy and time should both be concentrated on your professional and personal priorities. Say ��no’ when it is necessary, identify what you value in life and ensure that your life is aligned around what is essential for you.
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Feng Shui 101:

Feng Shui 101: How to Harmonize Your Home in the New Year

feng shui

Photographed by Horst P. Horst, Vogue, June 1972

The New Year brings with it an opportunity for a fresh start for you and your space. Everything in your home—the thoughtfully selected patterned rug, those cool pendant lamps—is a reflection of yourself, so it’s no wonder that a calm home reflects, and reinforces, a calm self. And who couldn’t use a bit more calm in the New Year? To that end, we put together a beginner’s guide to feng shui (pronounced fung shway) to help you head into 2016 with maximum harmony—and style—in the home.

The cardinal rule of feng shui is no clutter. Energy, or chi, must be able to flow freely throughout your space. Clutter disrupts the flow creating negative energy. Decluttering, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. Start by prioritizing the areas that bother you the most and devote a set time—as little as 10 to 15 minutes each day—to tossing out what you do not love or need.

An entranceway with proper feng shui will always feel welcoming: The front door will be clean, free of obstacles like packages or pairs of shoes, and open with ease. The first thing you see when you open the door sets the tone for the entire home. Place a beautiful piece of art, furniture, or any other object that feels pleasing to you at this all-important focal point and you’ll want to stick around.

Plants purify the air by absorbing toxins and electrical pollutants admitted by appliances. Smaller plants can feel like clutter, so bigger is better and fortunately some of the best options are also the lowest maintenance. The areca palm is pet-friendly, grows up to 7 feet tall, is famous for its air-purifying benefits—even receiving the NASA stamp of approval—and is also one of the easiest palm trees to grow indoors. Perfect for those who have been known to kill every plant to ever cross their doorstep.

Other air-purifying plants we love: The Peace Lily, the Rubber Plant, and the Dracaena.

A feng shui concept known as the Command Position suggests placing your bed where you will have a clear vision of the entryway. The headboard should be against a wall and the foot of the bed should never be in line with the door. (The sweet spot is often diagonally across from the door, or the furthest point away, depending on the space.) This strategic placement lends a sense of security as you avoid being startled when others enter the room.

Drawers that stick, drains that clog, and even clothes with holes are just a few examples of impediments to vitality in the home. They reflect a sense of “brokenness.” Try putting a red dot on everything that needs fixing as a way to represent the way you want your space to be. As objects are repaired and you peel the stickers off, it becomes symbolic of a positive change in energy.

Hanging your art in a straight line creates what in feng shui is referred to as a “poison arrow.” These are sharp edges that shoot out aggressively and make the space feel uncomfortable. Opt for a gallery wall to soften the effect and create a natural flow of energy in a more visually appealing way.

Fountains are a popular feng shui cure because water is associated with wealth and therefore a flowing fountain helps with the cash flow. Fountains are also natural ionizers, meaning they diffuse negative ions in the air when used indoors. Place your fountain facing the front door to signify wealth flowing in but avoid the bedroom where it will represent worry and sorrow.

The feng shui philosophy is flush with perils relating to the toilet. Literally. Each time you flush, water, and therefore energy, escapes. Keep drains covered and lids shut to minimize the loss of both energy and prosperity. In other words, don’t flush your money down the toilet.

Relationships and communication


When getting into a relationship, the general concept is that it will last for a lifetime and then some. But this is not always the case. Only a few relationships make it past the first two years and of those only a select few end up in successful lifelong partnerships. But what is this that causes two people who still have deep feelings for each other to part ways only months into what could possibly have been the best relationship of their lives?

The answer is the lack of proper communication. In most cases, partners that split up usually end up confessing what they feel exactly to a close friend or relative but they forget to take the same initiative to tell their partner the same thing. Reasons for breaking up are usually mistakes made by the other partner in omission without actually knowing they were crossing the line.
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Exercise for harmonious lifestyle


Most people dream of living a fulfilling life devoid of lifestyle diseased and other complications brought on by avoidable circumstances. To most this is an achievable dream and they spend a fraction of their lives trying to actualize this dream. They take up yoga classes, adopt a diet and even jog on occasion to improve their health. But what they never realize is that fitness is a lifelong commitment and the results take time to become noticeable. Fitness, like education is a road with no apparent end.

Exercise, however light, is usually beneficial to the body. Burning a few calories could be the one thing keeping you from developing a lifestyle disease. So how exactly can you live fulfilling life and at the same time live within acceptable standards of fitness? The answer to this question is quite simple, regular exercise.
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Help Children to Learn and Share Family Values


We draw strength from institutions like society and families. They make us do things to help one another and humanity at large. You cannot go out and change the world. You’ve got your chance in the form of raising a family and spread love through it. Family bonding is quite important in building true character. Our families represent the values every single member believes in.
The need for human interaction has grown stronger than ever before. In a world where people are connected all the time, it feels that few things tend to slip our attention. It is about telling family members how much we love them and how we cherish their presence around. People who make a part of our family are often the last ones to get a €thank you’ note. We take their support and love for granted, at times.

Invest in Family to Invest Back in Society says Sanjeev Nanda
We should raise children in the right manner. They would go out and make the world a better place through their actions and deeds. They’re our strength. You would like to create the right kind of environment at home. The best part about family is that you need to earn certain things and respect is one of them. It takes one wrong act to lose respect.
You should lead children by example. They know you better than others. So, you should not try to act smart with them. It would not take them a minute to figure out if you are serious about something or not. As a parent, you should practice honesty.
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Winning Tips To Better Your Personal Growth


Winning Tips To Better Your Personal Growth

Everyone wants to be successful in life. Well in most cases, there is little success when an individual does not invest in personal growth. But how can one develop himself or herself to the point of achieving ultimate success? Is there a perfect formula to this? Well in this case, here are some helpful tips to better your personal growth quest.

1. Know Your Purpose in Life and What’s Important to You
We are all unique in some way, and the ideas, beliefs and self knowledge are different. Knowing what is important to you and actualizing your ideas to reality is one of the most important secrets in life. Discover what it means to be successful to you, work with role models and work with self targets to achieve your goals in life.

2. Discover Your Weaknesses
Have you ever sat down and though about why you have not achieved what you’ve been longing for? This may be a bit challenging for some people and as such, relying on friends, family and peers or even working with a guidance professional can be a better way of realizing our own weaknesses. The truth is that everyone has their own weaknesses in most cases; these interfere with or disrupt our paths to success.

3. Understand What a Balanced Life Means To You
We all have different types of personality functions and things we do in life, especially where it comes to our day to day activities. However, it is important to realize that all these happen under the sun in a 24hr day. When working and studying at the same time, you will in most cases need time for socializing with friends, being with family and such. Since all these things are important to you, striving for balance between them is a key ingredient towards personal growth and success.

4. You Have To Be a Time Manager
Is it true that most people tend to have the misconception that time is never enough? The real truth is that there is nothing referred to as time. It’s intangible and cannot be seen heard, or felt, but rather represented on what we refer to as the clock. But you need to know how to manage and utilize your time well in order for you to realize personal growth and success. Prioritizing on important things to you, avoiding distractions, and avoiding procrastination are some of the things you can do to be better time manager. Your goals and targets have to be on a specific defined timescale.

All in all, the perfect formula for personal growth may not be available, or if there is, it might not be practical for everyone. You need to know yourself better first and discover what you want ion life and the rest will follow.

7 Year-End Tax Savings Strategies

December 9th, 2015 by Morna



Tax Tips, Business Tax tipsIt is December! The one time of year when you have a once-a-year opportunity to make some last-minute decisions that can dramatically affect your 2015 taxes. Within limits, you can increase or decrease your 2015 taxable profit from your business. Come January 1st, it is too late.


Here is an annual list of “Seven Strategies” from Bell Springs, publisher of Small Time Operator, Write It Off! Deduct It!, and 475 Tax Deductions for Business, that can save you a bundle on your 2015 taxes:


Strategy #1. Pay all of your bills, including January’s monthly bills, in December and get a tax write-off in December. Expenses are deducted the year paid (cash basis taxpayers; some exceptions). However, if you do not need an extra deduction this year, if your profit and taxes are going to be very low for 2015, hold off paying bills until January. You will get the deduction next year when it will help you save on next year’s taxes.


Strategy #2. Buy office equipment—a new computer, copier, office furniture—before December 31st, and write off the entire cost this year. This is as long as total purchases for the year are less than the first-year write off maximum of $25,000. Or if you do not need an extra deduction this year, delay major purchases until 2016 and get the deduction next year.


Strategy #3. Stock up on, and pay for, business and computer supplies, stationery and other consumables, and write off the entire expense in the current year.


Strategy #4. Pay your 2016 service contracts, Internet fees or similar recurring charges by December 31, and write off the entire amount in 2015.


Strategy #5. Make and pay for needed repairs to your office and equipment in December and get a full deduction this year.


Strategy #6. Wait until January to bill your customers for December’s work. Income is taxed the year received (cash basis taxpayers).


Strategy #7. Hire your children to work in your business over the holidays. If they are under 18, you can pay each of them up to $6,200 a year, write the wage off as a business expense, and the children owe no income or payroll taxes. There are many limits and requirements to this law, but it can be a significant tax savings for you, and a fun opportunity for your kids.


These are just a few of the bigger and better known year-end tax strategies. For more strategies, deductions, and tax-saving tips, treat yourself to a copy of Bell Springs’ best-selling guidebooks Small Time Operator, Write It Off! Deduct It!, and 475 Tax Deductions for Business. We think you will find these guidebooks to be a most worthwhile investment. Learn more about them on our web site


The above was taken from Bell Springs annual update and used with permission. I have been a long-time fan of all these books and use them every year. Let me know how time blocking works for you. I would love to know, just leave a comment below or go over to the ICAP Facebook or Google+ pages and leave a comment there.


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Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a FREE subscription at




Are you asking what harmonious relationship means? Well, it is simply the collaboration of two people who doesn’t wrangle or do bad things at all. This relation is impressively pleasant-sounding but in most cases, lovers or friends often sees it is difficult to create and maintain harmonious relationship. This is because most people have different perspectives. In order to create a sweet relation to your partner or family, it is wise to first learn their dos and don’t s or likes and dislikes. Relationships are well-known in teaching us various life issues and if you are probably experiencing relationship disharmony, there are guidelines to keep an eye on.

Take a look to some of tips that will make your relationships fabulous.


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