I am frequently asked how I became interested in Feng Shui. I certainly recall the trigger: it happened when I came upon a little article on Feng Shui in a woman’s home decorating magazine. It resonated to something familiar inside of me. I immediately called a friend of mine to inquire if she had ever heard of it. Indeed she had and, in fact, knew that classes on Feng Shui were beginning to be taught locally. Wow! I checked into it, signed up for my first class, and I was hooked! I was immediately captivated by this ancient system of living in harmony with our environment. It seemed so practical to me, and yet there was a powerful intuitive aspect to it as well.
I learned that Feng Shui evaluates the interaction of humans and their environments and views our homes and workplaces as living entities in which we are either in harmony or in discord. Is there a room in your home in which you love to be? Now think if there is a room or area in your home you tend to avoid or ignore? What are the messages from those two spaces?
I learned that Feng Shui is more than furniture arrangement or decorating, although those are certainly important aspects of it. I was introduced to the concept of Chi, or energy, including predecessor energy. Understanding these concepts allows us to make informed choices when building, purchasing, remodeling or decorating. This information provides us with knowledge and an awareness of ways to intentionally enhance our relationship with the energies of our homes or offices. The ultimate goal is always to create spaces that nurture, protect and support our growth and journey through life. Feng Shui teaches us how to accomplish this goal! It is empowering!
As my studies continued, I learned about the Eight Stems of Traditional Chinese Medicine of which Feng Shui is one; the others include Astrology, Exercise, Food Energetics, Herbalism, Acupuncture, Meditation, and Massage.
I learned the concept of Yin and Yang and the Five Element Theory. Yin and Yang represents the belief that everything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing but complementary. These dynamic forces keep the universe in balance at every level; it represents completeness. The Yin and Yang symbol illustrates how everything is connected and nothing exists by itself.
The Five Element Theory, according to Chinese philosophy, believes everything and everyone is influenced by five elements that make up all matter. These elements are Metal, Water, Wood, Fire, and Earth. They are thought of as modifiers because of their power to subtly alter the quality or nature of whatever or whomever they represent. This is a powerful theory to apply to pattern, color, and shape when making home decor and clothing choices.
And I learned Feng Shui is a Heaven, Earth and Human relationship. The Chinese believe there are 3 kinds of luck: Heaven Luck, your situation of birth; Human luck which relates to your choices and behaviors and Earth Luck, the condition of living and working in environments that support your physical and emotional health.
As my study of Feng Shui proceeded, a childhood memory returned. As a little girl, riding in the back seat of my parents’ car, I recalled intently looking at the houses in the neighborhoods we drove through. I saw what I called “happy houses.” Happy houses looked well cared for. Their lawns and landscaping were attended to and there was usually a pot of flowers on the step by the front door. Sometimes the front doors were painted a bright color, different from the rest of the house. I would think how the people inside those houses must be nice; I felt like knocking on their front door to meet them.
And then there were the other houses; the “unhappy ones!” They were the ones that looked neglected: blinds drawn, grass unmowed and no cheerful flowers out front. Even at a young age, I was aware of “energy;” I just didn’t have the words. All I knew at that time was I didn’t want to knock on the front doors of those sad houses!
When I grew up and went to college, I initially majored in theatre. One of my classes was entitled Stagecraft and Scene Design. My childhood memories of how I felt about certain houses and how they made me feel resurfaced as I learned to create scenes to affect and support the period and mood of a particular play. To this day, I find it exciting to watch the curtain rise on a play in anticipation of what “energy” will be conveyed and how it will make me feel.
Ah, energy! No one was using that specific word as a stage set was being created, but implicit in the design was the intention of influencing the audience’s mood through scenery and lighting; think Chi, Yin/Yang and the Five Elements.
In my Stagecraft and Scene Design class, I learned the four principles of designing a theatre set: suggest the style and tone of the whole production; create mood and atmosphere; give clues as to the specific time and place of the action; and offer creative possibilities for the movement and grouping of the actors. Years later when learned the four principles of Feng Shui, I recognized a similarity to those theatre principles.
The first Feng Shui Principle declares Nature is the Model: This influence is achieved by positioning and designing our surroundings in harmony with principles of natural energy flow. When it’s in harmony, we feel relaxed and supported; when the natural energy flow feels disrupted or discordant, tension is created. The next time you go to a play, bring your awareness to your mood before the curtain opens and then notice the shift in mood as the curtain opens. What feeling(s) does the stage design evoke? Apply that observation to your home and office.
Second, Everything is Energy: learning how to understand those energies allows us to manipulate our environments to uplift and support our own energy. In set design, this offers creative possibilities for how the actors interact on stage which impacts our understanding of their message.
Your Space Reflects Your Life: Your choices of furniture, possessions, color, shape, design and arrangement create a mood and an atmosphere that is unique to you, your family, your beliefs and life-style. Clutter can be a telling message here.
And the fourth and most important Feng Shui Principle states The Power of Feng Shui is in your Intention: Setting specific intentions supports the mindful creation of possibilities for how to proceed toward your goal(s). The process for setting these objectives can include a time frame for accomplishing your desires and, perhaps, where your goals may be best accomplished. Intentions change as life circumstances change.
The question of how I became interested in Feng Shui, started me on an unexpected journey back in time. I realized, in reflecting on both my childhood and my initial choice of study in college, I was already interested in Feng Shui on an intuitive level. I had no awareness I was waiting for the language of it to show up. And show up it did when I recognized something that felt very familiar in a little Feng Shui article so many years later!