Feng Shui is an art-science originally from China that explores how physical environments influence one’s state of being. There are many aspects that have historically been part of this practice: location within the natural environment, a balance of the Five Elements of Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood (one of the key tenets of all Chinese healing arts), astrological formulae, compass directions, and the use of symbols relating to ancient archetypal states. The practice is meant to cultivate what was called ‘qi’ or ‘chi’, a word that means life-force energy (what Star Wars fans would call ‘The Force’). In modern times, Feng Shui has gained recognition as a way to balance a home, store, or other environment by decorating it in a certain way to create a sense of natural balance – to bring nurturing energy to the fore.
The unifying principle of Feng Shui is that all things are connected, and therefore changing one thing changes everything else. I would go further and state that everything is not just connected, but that we and our environment are one thing. Everything in the outer world impacts us internally, and everything that is inside us impacts how we express ourselves in the outer world – an endless feedback cycle. A Feng Shui consultant ‘reads’ your home or work environment – observing colour, materials, placement, symbols – to decode the messages it is communicating so you can better understand your deeper thoughts and states of being, and find subliminal messages that may be working against your conscious goals. You can then together make changes to that outer environment to support a change in your inner climate.
The consultations I give are very proactive and not just informational. After discussing your goals, we walk around the property and examine key areas – entrance, bedroom, work spaces – and pay particular attention to areas linked to stated goals. I give suggestions as to what colours, imagery, and object placement would create more alignment with your goals, and we start making changes on the spot. The goal is to get the ball rolling and the energy shifted so that you can take steps making the short-, medium-, and long-term changes that I will be suggesting throughout the consultation. The suggested length of time and amount of changes that can be made during the session depend on the size of the space and the needs of the client.
It depends on a number of variables, including your current life situation, your home and its set-up, and many other factors. When more balance is brought to the environment, most people experience a greater sense of peace and balance – this might lead to greater productivity, more harmonious relationships, and better sleep. Different life circumstances can start to manifest, such as meeting the right people at the right time or discovering new opportunities in work or creative arenas.
Everybody’s situation is different. Some clients notice a remarkable shift in mood and life circumstances shortly after following only some of the suggestions, while others note that things really started to change once all of the suggestions were put in place. It is best to observe circumstances over the course of a month after the consultation and to ensure that you implement all of the suggestions, as any one of them could be the straw to break the camel’s back, so to speak. Follow-up consultations are suggested to ensure that changes were made appropriately and didn’t lead to inadvertent shifts in placement that might be counterproductive, and to enable the first layer of changes to deepen. While you might feel better after eating a healthy meal, having a regular regime to ensure such balance creates longer lasting results. The same could be said of Feng Shui: routinely reviewing your surroundings and making shifts in accordance with the changes in your life helps you to maintain a level of alignment and vitality with your home and life.
Absolutely. I term my approach ‘Contemporary Feng Shui’, which means that I work in alignment with modern architecture and design principles. Contrary to what many people think (including some classically trained consultants), your home does not need to look like a Chinese restaurant to have good Feng Shui. The ancient symbols and colours can be ‘translated’ in a way that suits modern design sense while being faithful to the essence of Feng Shui. I would postulate that not updating one’s application of these teachings for geographical, cultural, temporal, and individual norms works against the fundamental nature of Feng Shui by creating an imbalance in terms of time and space: we are not living in China 5,000 years ago. Therefore, to create a truly holistic sense of balance, it is essential to apply the essence of the ancient principles as opposed to the exact forms that manifested at that time.
No. While there are many practitioners who use a client’s birth year to calculate beneficial cardinal directions for working, sleeping, door placement, and the like, I do not. While I was originally trained in this technique, over time I found the need to check compass directions to be somewhat paranoia-inducing on the part of the clients – and the accuracy of their application is less verifiable than applying the principles of Feng Shui by using the physical orientation within a space.
For example, if you are a ‘number 4’ because of your birth year, you should face North, East, South-East, or South for best luck. But what if those directions require you to sit with your back to the door? The negative impact of orienting yourself with your back to the door – not seeing what’s coming your way, feeling bent out of shape when you have to greet someone who enters, etc. – can be clearly and logically understood; so can the positive benefits of facing the door – being able to greet people and circumstances as they present themselves, feeling prepared as things enter your space. How can one know that a certain compass direction will provide any benefit, simply because that is what is taught?
While I understand and appreciate the brilliance and complexity of Chinese astrology as linked to Feng Shui, I believe that philosophies need to be grounded in physicality to be wholly integrated and practically applied. I therefore err on the side of physical alignment with the space in my practice, and my clients have noticed the benefits.
Yes, absolutely. While there are obvious benefits to working in the same physical location as the home, I have given many distance consultations that led to significant changes in the lives of the clients: one who had been unhappy with her work for months found herself with two competing job offers within a couple of weeks, while an entrepreneur whose home I helped redesign has seen their business increase exponentially ever since we started working together (and we continue to work together 14 years later). With an accurate floorplan, photographs, and a video of the space, we can make significant changes that can impact your personal and professional lives for the better.