feng shuiIf you’re not familiar with “Feng Shui,” it translates to “Wind Water.”  It is a system of design and placement based on Asian philosophies like the balancing of the 5 elements (water, wood, fire, earth, and metal).  There are Feng Shui books and consultants that, supposedly, can arrange your office, garden, or living space to be the most auspicious for your luck.  The areas of luck in Feng Shui include:  money, career, children / creativity, health, knowledge, fame, family, helpful people / travel, and love / relationships.  Just about any area of your life that you could imagine caring about!  

Of course, I am not a Feng Shui consultant, but this article is my experience with it.

There are weird Feng Shui “fixes” like hanging lucky mirrors or flutes or other charms on ceiling posts or doors, or facing certain lucky directions at your desk or when you’re sleeping.  Some of these can just be clunky and annoying.  For example, you face your bed in the “lucky direction” and to avoid the foot of the bed facing the door (another FS no-no), it has to take up the entire bedroom.  You may be faced into thinking you need to buy all new furniture or a bunch of lucky “knick-knacks” for your house for it to be “auspicious” enough.   

I don’t think so.  

I think the true purpose and benefit of Feng Shui is making your environment harmonious.  

Safe, efficient, and beautiful.  Things should make sense and have a purpose.  Your surroundings should make you feel relaxed.  Cleanliness and lack of clutter is nice, but it just makes sense:  it’s less likely to breed illness (molds, dust, bacteria, insects, and other pathogens) and less likely to cause injury (trips and falls on clutter, etc.).  

If more architects and engineers took into account natural features like the hills and large trees in the environment when they design major roads or buildings, the affect would be more harmonious than when those things are disregarded.  You may have felt something similar to this:  I remember being in Dallas and feeling a disconnect to nature.  I felt more stressed than ever in my life.  Too many roads and houses.  Not too many parks or natural areas and in the few parks, there were hardly any trees.  

In other areas, and one of the reasons I decided to move to Austin, the natural landscape comes through more.  You see trees; the roads meander slightly; the homes are intersperced with living areas like parks and small stores.  It just feels better.  It feels more right.  That’s what I call Feng Shui.

I’ve had my home and my offices (over the years) “Feng Shui-ed.”  My FS consultant informed me on which rooms have good healing energy, authoritative energy, creative energy, etc.  Is it real?  I don’t know.  But I like it.  Is astrology real?  I don’t know, but I like it too.  I think if you hear something and it has a ring of truth to it, or it seems to make sense, maybe there’s something to it.  It’s at least worth considering.  I know some people have to have firm proof in something before they entertain a new idea, but I enjoy the esoteric and philosophical.  I guess that’s why I entered into the Chinese medicine profession in the first place!  CM is very esoteric and symbolic.  Can you prove “Yin and Yang” with a scientific test?  Who cares.  It just makes sense that there are opposite and yet connected forces in the universe.  Yin yields into yang.  Day turns into night.  Hard yields over time to soft.  Cold only exists because of lack of heat.  

Feng Shui is about placement, directions, and colors or symbols, but I like the really practical aspects of it more.  If you have a cluttered entryway, they say in FS that Qi (good energy or luck) cannot enter your home.  Think about it like this:  if there are shoes and coats all over the entry way, you may trip and fall and hurt yourself walking into your house.  You hurt yourself, you lose time at work, you have doctors visits which cost money, you skip a few days at the gym.  Next thing you know your self-esteem takes a beating which leads to a downward spiral in other areas of your life.  This is a dramatic example, but it’s the idea that I’m trying to get across.

You ignore a small clutter in your garage and then you get bugs.  The bugs lead diseases into your home.  Your kids get sick, etc.  

You see, the idea is that even the smallest ignored areas of dis-repair or clutter can affect your life as a greater whole.  

Everyone has a “junk drawer,” right?  Have you ever cleaned yours out and discovered a bunch of useful things?  I did this the other day and found a gift certificate for a free coffee, a whole bunch of different sizes of batteries, candles and matches, and scratch paper.  How exciting!  I got my husband his favorite kind of latte with the certificate, which really made his day; I had batteries to re-activate my son’s toy which made his day; and I made some to-do and shopping lists which made my day because I really felt organized and on top of it.  This is the root of good FS.  

Try this at home:  they say in FS if you want to instigate a change in your life, to change 26 things in your home.  

Move things around, throw things away, use Craigslist to sell some stuff, and dust behind some heavy furniture.  Trying to lose weight?  Clean out your refrigerator!  Really:  pull out the drawers and wash them in the sink; disinfect the shelves; toss out any condiment that you haven’t used in the last 2 months.  

Give this a try and tell me in the comments any changes you experience afterward.