By Erica Sofrina, Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World.
At its essence, Feng Shui is a collection of practical, tried and true ideas about how to create living and working environments that support, nurture and guide our lives in a direction that promotes optimum well being.
Who wouldn’t want that?
To westerners the words Feng Shui seem foreign, and sort-of ‘woo-woo’, however, the term in Chinese simply means wind and water. Among other things, it refers to the fact that the elements have an impact upon us and therefore should be strongly considered when we are choosing the best site for a building. It acknowledges something that most of us intuit already; the more we live in harmony with nature the happier our lives are.
A case in point might be New Orleans (and others like it), a city built below sea level. Eventually this poor decision on the part of the original city planners came back to roost.
There are different schools of Feng Shui that can be effectively used for different things. Classical Compass School Feng Shui is the most effective when determining how to place a building on the land. It is a more complex type of Feng Shui and involves Chinese Astrology, a Chinese Compass and other factors which are more complex.
If you are confused by Classical Compass school Feng Shui, there are other forms that are simpler to learn and less esoteric.
A more approachable type of Feng Shui is called Form School. It looks at shapes and forms of land and objects to determine chi or energy flow. I practice a Western version of Form School Feng Shui, which simplifies it further, and brings it down to its most practical, useful common denominator. For those who might be turned off by what feels like superstition, you might want to explore this type of Feng Shui. You can find many articles that apply to every area of your home by clicking here.
The language in Western Form School Feng Shui is positive and explains things logically. Rather than saying something is bad or negative, it points out the practical reasons why the teaching makes sense. The things that are not the optimum things to have in our space are often pretty logical.
Feng Shui teaches that the small things in our space impact us in a big way because of the amount of time we spend there. Like water dripping on a stone, over time a hole is created. This is metaphorically what happens to our energy when we live continuously with things in our homes that grate on us.
The things that bring our energy down are defined as clutter, disorganization, objects with negative connotations, things that are unsafe such as weapons and furniture with sharp edges that can injure, artwork or any object that is overtly negative or invokes a negative message.
I have never heard anyone say they loved clutter or that having a cluttered home made them feel wonderful. Clutter is considered stuck energy or chi in Feng Shui. By eliminating it in our living spaces we feel much better and our lives tend to flow.
Another big part of Feng Shui has to do with what we call environmental affirmations which you can read more about in my article about the Home Energy Centers. It teaches that everything on the planet is comprised of life-source energy or chi and that all of the objects in our living space are interacting with us, either negatively or positively. The goal is to surround ourselves with things that make our hearts sing rather than those that bring us down.
A sofa from a past relationship that ended badly might be a continuous reminder of a negative time in our life and is therefore not considered a friendly object in our space.The sofa itself is neither positive nor negative, but the association we have to it is what affects us. We might do well to sell the sofa and replace it with one that we do love. Once you do, this corner of the room will make your spirit sing rather than bring you down.
In Feng Shui we work through every room clearing the things that bring us down and replacing them with objects that lift us up. In doing so we work with safety issues (i.e. sharp-edged furniture, heavy objects hanging over-head, etc.) add things that inspire, bring in objects that invoke the natural world of the Chinese Five Elements, clear the clutter and create a sense of organization, serenity and balance. The goal is not to have the house that looks like the perfect model-home but one that vibrantly reflects the people we are and our personal desires, tastes and aspirations.
Given the amount of time we spend in both our homes and workplaces, the mood we take with us from spending so much time there powerfully impact our lives and everyone close to us. Having an entire house that make our heart sing can’t help but make us happier people. Happier people are more enjoyable to be around; therefore they attract opportunities to them. It is that simple.
Feng Shui is not about magic or superstition or hanging crystals and wind chimes in strategic places that mysteriously bring us good fortune.It is a powerful teaching about how to focus and direct energy in our physical environments to produce the maximum benefit in our lives. By creating beautiful, organized and safe living (and work) spaces we create happier people who live more productive and happy lives.
I encourage you to consider trying out the simple, practical and useful principles of this wonderful art and science!
Erica Sofrina is the author of the Book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World.