If you read this blog regularly, you know that Feng Shui is one of the many tools we use when making positive changes to our homes to create positive change in our lives. A few months ago, we read a blog by author and clutter-clearing expert Lorie Marerro titled “What Do I REALLY Think About Feng Shui.”
Although she pointed out that Feng Shui is actually full of common sense and practical approaches to arranging your home such as, clearing clutter, and surrounding yourself with objects that you love and make you happy, she also admitted she questioned other aspects of Feng Shui. It was a very honest blog and we believe expressed what many people feel about this ancient art. Lorie was kind enough to invite us to respond to her blog on her website as we believe Feng Shui is a powerful way to transform your life through your home. To read our response on ClutterDiet.com, click here.
Our exchange with Lorie, made us think about the many questions we’ve received and answered about Feng Shui over the years. So we put together some frequently asked questions and our replies.
What is Feng Shui?
At the heart of Feng Shui is the simple idea that our homes are connected to all aspects of our wellbeing. What we put in our homes, how we decorate, and what we surround ourselves with affect us on a daily basis and influence all aspects of our lives. Therefore, if you want to make a positive change in your life, you can begin by making a positive change in your home.
How do you pronounce it and what does it mean?
Feng: “Fun” Shui: “Shway”
When translated, Feng means wind and Shui means water.
What is a Bagua Map?
The Bagua Map is a powerful Feng Shui tool that helps you define and reach your dreams. In Feng Shui there are nine main areas that represent your life: Helpful People, Children and Creativity, Love and Relationships, Fame and Reputation, Wealth and Prosperity, Family, Health, Knowledge and Self-Cultivation, and Career. According to the Bagua map, each of these areas of your life directly corresponds to different areas in your home. The Bagua identifies where these areas are located. When you make positive changes in the specific areas of your home according to the Bagua Map, you can produce positive changes in that area of your life—positive changes can include clutter clearing, cleaning, or using Feng Shui enhancements.
We always say that with Feng Shui, you can create a dream home. But when we say dream home we don’t necessarily mean what the house looks like, where it is, or how big it is—we mean a home that both reflects your dreams and supports you in reaching those dreams. A dream home should not only contain everything you want in a space, but also everything you want in your life.
What are Feng Shui enhancements?
Feng Shui enhancements are simply tangible expressions of your dreams in your home. For example, if you want to make a career change, you can place personal reminders of the career you desire in the Career Area, such as books about this new profession, pictures that represent the new job, or an object. If you want to be a chef, you could display cookbooks that inspire you or if you desire a romantic relationship, you could place a work of art that symbolizes love. When you place enhancements in the corresponding Bagua area, something powerful happens. On a practical level, it’s similar to writing affirmations or doing visualizations—only in your home you have the chance to take it a step further by creating a physical expression of your desires that you see and interact with on a daily basis—it’s like taking your dreams from your mind into your environment.
Why do some parts of Feng Shui seem superstitious?
There is another layer to Feng Shui that many people find hard to understand or believe. One reason is that we use certain traditional Feng Shui enhancements, such as crystals, wind chimes, and certain colors, that are rooted in a very different culture. Feng Shui is a 3,000 year-old Chinese art; so many of the traditional enhancements don’t have the same meaning in our contemporary, Western culture. For example, the color red in China has a different meaning than the color red in the United States—in China wedding dresses are traditionally red, to represent good luck while white is worn at funerals. Some traditional enhancements are also used because of the material they are made of, such as metal or wood, to represent different elements, which is another part of Feng Shui. Although traditional Feng Shui enhancements work well whether you understand the origins of the enhancement or not, we find it’s often also powerful to use Feng Shui enhancements that have meaning to you, such as the personal enhancements mentioned above like a favorite cookbook for someone who wants to be a chef. In other words, don’t let the traditional enhancements be a stumbling block to enjoying the many benefits of Feng Shui. If one enhancement doesn’t feel right to you, find one that does. Whatever you choose, traditional or personal, the intention behind selecting and then placing the object in your home is an important part of the process that alone will have an impact.
We believe one of the keys to practicing Feng Shui, is loving your home—if something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not going to be good Feng Shui for your home. As our Feng Shui teacher Terah Kathryn Collins says, “you will be practicing perfect Feng Shui, if you love everything in your home.”
In Feng Shui people are always referring to energy, what does that mean?
The other part of Feng Shui that some people have a hard time believing at first, deals primarily with energy. Energy is much harder to define as you can’t see, touch, taste, or hear it, but you’ve probably sensed it… For example, you may have walked into a room that looked beautiful, but somehow just didn’t feel right. Or perhaps you’ve been in a space that was decorated poorly or not to your taste, but you immediately felt good and comfortable. In both instances, you were probably tuning into the energy of the space. Have you ever referred to the need to “clear the air,” or said something has a “good vibe,” or after an argument stated “you could cut the tension in the room with a knife?” Many commonly used expressions indicate that we intuitively understand that buildings and places can have a certain vibration, feel, or energy.
How does space clearing work?
We know that space clearing at first seems a little “out there.” But how many times have you watched a scene in a movie where someone is sitting in bed depressed or sad and the best friend walks in the bedroom, parts the curtains and opens the windows to start the process of cheering her up… you may have even done this yourself. In its simplest form, the act of letting sunlight and fresh air in the room is energy cleansing, also known as space clearing. Every time we walk in a room and open windows, part curtains, change the lighting, spray air freshner, turn on music, or clear clutter we are creating a different mood and shifting the energy. Performing a Space Clearing is really just turning simple acts like that into a ritual by using specific tools or series of movements and therefore elevating our intention and making us more mindful of what it is we are trying to achieve.
Can you explain how inanimate objects have “energy?”
To illustrate how an inanimate object may affect our own personal energy, imagine a shell from a beach next to a pinecone from a forest. Even though the pinecone and the shell may both be inanimate objects of approximately the same size, each has its own unique vibration. When we look at a shell it reminds us of the ocean and connects us to the powerful energy of the ocean. The pinecone’s energy is the quieter, more peaceful energy of a forest.
Now imagine that you found the shell on a beach while taking a walk with your spouse on a romantic vacation, and that you found the pinecone while lost in the woods. You now have personal associations with the shell and the pinecone that intensify their vibration because of the memories and feelings that each evokes. Your own energy is affected—either positively or negatively—by the objects that surround you.
There is also a more scientific explanation of energy—basically that everything—even objects we consider inanimate—is made up molecules and has a unique vibration that is constantly interacting with our own unique vibration. For further explanation of how our personal energy interacts with the energy of everything around us, I highly recommend Deepak Chopra’s book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, as he explains it beautifully.
But don’t feel you need to define energy, as we believe: you know it, when you feel it!
Are there different approaches to Feng Shui? Where did you study Feng Shui?
There are many different schools of Feng Shui that have emerged over the years. It’s important to find a school, and consultant, that you relate to and that speaks to your sensibility. We practice Form and Black Sect and studied at the Western School of Feng Shui, which “fully honors the essence of its Eastern Form School Feng Shui heritage, while focusing on the practical applications it has in our Western culture.” We also practice a very intuitive approach to Feng Shui and it is really only one tool in our overall approach to creating a home that we call Life Design. In addition to Feng Shui, we also focus on green and healthy living, clutter clearing and organization, interior redesign, and personal development through the home. We believe when all these techniques are combined our homes become powerful vehicles for self-transformation.
What if I’m still reluctant to try Feng Shui?
Growing up in New England over twenty years ago, we were not familiar with Feng Shui. In fact, it wasn’t until someone recommended a Feng Shui consultant to Laura when she moved to LA in her early twenties that we learned about it, and then started reading about it, and eventually studied it. When we did “discover” Feng Shui, it instantly felt natural to us, like we had already intuitively been practicing Feng Shui our entire lives. We’ve heard of many people who had a similar experience when they first started practicing, but of course, we’ve also heard of many people who are hesitant to try it.
For some, there are parts of Feng Shui that may require a leap of faith, but as we always say to our clients who are skeptical, try it and then see what you think. We have seen results time and time again—both in our own lives and in our clients’ lives.
If you like this blog, you may be interested in learning more about our Feng Shui iPhone Apps
You may also enjoy the following blogs:
Spring Clean with Feng Shui
Five Simple Feng Shui Practices to Change Your Life
Simple Steps to Clear the Energy in Your Home
Feng Shui and the Power of Visual Affirmations
Balancing Yin and Yang in Your Home