Last month, I shared my excitement about visiting the windmills of Kinderdijk in the Netherlands and my awe at how they function. I am also in awe that people actually choose to live in a windmill!
Kinderdijk, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage site, is dotted with 19 windmills, which still work much as they did in the mid-18th century when they were built.
Windmills are octagonal in shape. Made of 8 solid oak posts that run obliquely towards each other, they form the octagonal frame of the mill. The windows of the mill provide gorgeous views of nature, rhythmically interrupted by the rotation of the windmill blades. There was also a rhythm to the constant creak of the massive wooden cogs and wheels necessary to drive the blades. Very different from our typical background traffic noises.
Life in and around the mill has always been hard; their locations are remote, with accessibility only by foot or bicycle. And no matter how beautiful a windmill looks, poor insulation, draft and moisture made day-to-day living uncomfortable and challenging.
In the absence of an actual kitchen, food was cooked over an open fire or on a stove. Rising smoke and soot made the first floor uninhabitable. Two bedsteads served as a sleeping place for the whole family on a second level. Rainwater served as drinking water, the toilet was above the ditch and the washing was done along the waterfront. It was a difficult life, in a demanding environment.
The windmill we visited has been somewhat modernized with functionality the goal. The kitchen is located in a separate, tiny building outside. On the main floor of the windmill, half the living room is used for dining and the other half is used for ironing. Children’s sleeping quarters are tucked in a closet, aptly referred to as closet beds.
I was drawn to the uniqueness of the windmill structure as a home and to the surrounding grounds that allowed the owners some semblance of self-sufficiency. I was also looking at this novel lifestyle through Feng Shui eyes. So can Feng Shui Principles be applied to living in a windmill? What do you think?
Principle #1: Nature is the Model: This Feng Shui Principle reminds us of the importance of trying to understand what makes a forest of trees soothing or a beautiful sunset inspiring for the purpose of attempting to recapture the magic of the outdoors and bring that energetic vitality inside. The windmill as a “home” is symbiotic with the outside energetic forces of nature.
Principle #2: Everything is Energy: this Principle takes into consideration the vibrational energy of everything around us – shape, color, pattern, flow, to name a few – as we make choices in determining how our environments will support and nourish us. The windmill, as a home is, in and of itself, it’s own vibrational energy, harnessing wind and water.
Principle # 3: Your Space Reflects Your Life: Your home is a mirror of your inner self.
To quote a miller: “It’s not only a building — it lives, if you get symbiotic with it, the mill lives because there is a miller. And the miller lives because there is a mill. It’s a way of living.”
Principle # 4: The Power of Feng Shui is in your Intention: Having the courage to explore your vision of life as you desire it, how you live each day, being true to who you see yourself as and daring to live as if all is already accomplished.
Another Miller quote says it all: “Did you ever fall in love? You cannot explain it. You get a special feeling. And when it really storms, the mill moves a little bit like a ship. It’s so special. Some people are scared about it, but I love it when I’m lying in my bed and I feel the mill going and you hear the cracking and the sounds and everything. And the wind blowing through a little hole. I love it. Sometimes I get tears in my eyes when I wake up and I see the sun coming up and I think, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m so excited every day that I can be here’.”
Can you say you feel that way about waking up in your own home? That is, of course, the ultimate goal of Feng Shui!