Getting Organized with Feng Shui
Whether your goals for this year are to attract more prosperity in your life, enhance your reputation, improve your relationships, increase your vitality, or unleash your creative flow, perhaps your first step should be to take a good look at your environment. The physical conditions where you live and work play a crucial role in how you express yourself in all aspects of your life.
Feng Shui is derived from the Chinese art of placement, or geomancy. The words “feng shui” literally translate to “wind/water”, describing a harmonious and ideal environment in which life force energy, or “chi” permeates a living or work space and enhances the vitality of those occupying that space.
Here are some definitions of energy:
- Everything that occupies a place within time and space
- Everything that exists on the planet is a form of energy
- Everything has its own consciousness or energy; this includes plants, furniture, walls, knick-knacks – everything!
- Everyone has a magnetic field (aura or energy field)
We can consider that primary space is the energy field that surrounds our body. Secondary space is where we live, work, or play. Just as air becomes polluted from environmental toxins, our space becomes contaminated from negative thoughts, feelings, expressions and inharmonious influences.
According to Sheila Wright, an educator in the field and professional Feng Shui consultant, one’s environment reflects both their conscious and subconscious energies. By enhancing the positive and neutralizing the negative energies in our homes and offices we can strengthen health, enhance prosperity and improve relationships.
There are several different schools of thought regarding this ancient Chinese philosophy. Some of the more traditional approaches consider factors such as the actual compass directions combined with one’s date of birth and the construction date of the property. Another kind of Feng Shui is concerned with the shape of the land and the proximity of certain landmarks, waterways and electric pathways. There are a plethora of books and websites on these disciplines. The more westernized approach, called Black Sect Feng Shui is multi-disciplined,
combining interior design, color, symbolism, and even psychology.
In Black Sect Feng Shui, the intention with which you design your environment and the placement of your furniture and objects of decoration is vital. According to Gary Zukav, author of one of my favorite books, The Seat of the Soul, “Your intentions create the reality that you experience.” With my experience in the realm of the subconscious mind, I have found that using intention is virtually the power behind all thought and the creative energy behind all change. Applying these principles in my own living and work spaces made a major difference in my productivity and lifestyle, so for purposes of this article I will be referring to more of the Black Sect techniques of Feng Shui. In next month’s article, I will specifically show you how to set intentions for every area of your home and your life. In this month, let’s get you started on rearranging your space.
Two years ago, as we were heading into the millennium, I decided to use the holiday season, which is usually my slowest time for getting organized. Other than backing up my computer files in the event of a Y2K crash and speaking on several radio shows as an expert on setting New Year’s resolutions, I had very little business to attend. I visualized my house in reference to the Bagua, or energy map of the cosmos. In the Chinese tradition, this is an octagon – an eight-sided figure in which each side represents an important area of life. The center area, or gua, represents health, or well-being. For Westerners it is easier to visualize this with a square divided into nine categories. (see the diagram below). First, consider this as a blueprint superimposed over your entire property. This is called the macro bagua and should include areas such as garage, garden or back yard, front and sidewalks. A micro bagua would be to divide your actual living space into the nine areas.
Which door do you consider to be the main entrance of your home or office? Is it in the middle or to the left or right? Imagine yourself standing on the outside and looking in. The farthest left corner of your home or space is the Abundance corner. The farthest right corner is your Relationship area, and so forth.
Wood/Purple, Green Gold/Columnar/8
Fire/Red/Flames or Pyramids/1
Earth/Pink, Red, White/Square/2
Wood/Green/Columnar, Vertical, Rectangular/4
Earth/Yellow and Earth Tones/Square, Horizontal, Flat/9
INNER KNOWLEDGE/SELF REALIZATION
Earth/Dark Blue, Black/7
Metal/Grey, Black, White/5
⇧ ⇧ ⇧ ⇧ ⇧
Your main entrance will be in one of these areas.
In my Macro Bagua, my abundance area (gua) was partially cut off, as it was the patio. On my patio, I had an old hot tub–which was costing a fortune to run and had not been used in some time. There was stagnant and dirty water in there and my patio had not been cleaned in some time. I cleaned out the hot tub (and eventually gave it away) and cleaned up the area. I also re-designed the inside part of the house correlating to abundance and prosperity. In Feng Shui, you can apply “cures” which are specific adjustments to modify structural imbalances. Since part of my abundance gua was cut off, I put a little wooden box with 80 dollars in the corner. As you can see in the diagram, there are certain elements; numbers, shapes, and colors that are associated with the life theme. Once I had tackled that area, I went on to clear, clean, and re-design the remaining 8 areas. Less than three weeks later, I was asked to take part in a short-term project in which I made $12,000 in four days!
I can’t guarantee you that your results will be the same; however, just getting rid of years of clutter made a tremendous difference in my sense of well-being. Have you ever noticed that when your bedroom is not at its neatest, or you have piles of books and papers surrounding you that it is difficult to get a good night’s rest?
One of the major considerations of Feng Shui is getting rid of clutter. The saying goes, “Use it, wear it, or give it away!” Even though you think that Aunt Ida will be insulted if she doesn’t see that hideous vase she gave you for your wedding on your fireplace when she comes to visit every year or two – if it’s not something that makes you happy, get rid of it. Objects that do not bring us pleasure, do not enhance “chi” (life force energy). Any area of the house that is filled with clutter or piled with old things becomes an energy trap. Compare what you find with how that area of your life has been manifesting. A friend of mine always complained that her love life was a mess. When I was finally invited to see her apartment, her back bedroom (right corner Relationship gua) was literally a storeroom filled with old things and clothes that she couldn’t bear to part with. As I brought this to her attention, she could understand that the part of her that was not willing to get rid of the mess, was also not willing to make the sacrifices and compromises necessary to be in a committed relationship. Once she decided to tackle that massive mess, it would be a symbolic way of declaring her readiness for a life mate.
Any object that carries negative associations can affect you. I have an amazing personal story about the yellow Star of David that my grandfather was forced to wear in Belgium during the Nazi occupation. He had to hide in a crawl space for several years to survive the war. When he passed away in the 80’s, I asked my step-grandmother for the star as I thought it was an important piece of history. I kept it in a Bible in my nightstand. Within a few weeks, I began having insomnia and chronic neck and back pains. Medical doctors could not find anything physically wrong with me – finally one of my students recommended an “energy balancer”. On my first session he told me that there was something in my proximity that “carried the energy of massive destruction and despair.” On his advice, I gave the star to a museum and experienced an immediate withdrawal of those symptoms. As incredible as this sounds, I can guarantee you that energy is something palpable and far-reaching.
So, take a look at the bagua and begin to apply it to your home or apartment. The bagua is duplicated on each floor of your living space. If you work in an office, you can make a micro bagua of your desk, or even your computer screen! For instance, on your desk, you are sitting in the career section. Place objects and paper work in the appropriate areas. Try putting a piece of bamboo in a vase in the upper left hand corner. Fountains with moving water are also excellent for the Abundance corner. Put a set (2) of similar clay figurines in your relationship gua. A little further down and to the right put a metal oval frame with pictures of your kids. As you place objects in these areas on your desk or in your home, be aware of what changes you are intending to create.
Make sure to get rid of wilting flowers right away. Since they are dying, it is considered to be bad “chi”, or a blockage of vital flow. If your bathroom is in a crucial area (for instance, my upstairs bathroom is in my abundance gua) make sure to keep the seat cover down and the door closed. Having living green plants and bamboo around the house, fish tanks, and even pets is a way to circulate the life force energy.
Next month I will focus on setting intentions in ways that will activate your subconscious mind, clearing space of inharmonious influences, and how to keep negativity out of your primary space (your energy field). This is a brief introduction into a fascinating field, so check out the resources listed below:
- Sheila Wright’s website: FengShuiServices.com
- Products for curing your environment: fengshuiwarehouse.com
- Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Karen Rauch Carter (fun book on Black Sect Feng Shui)