Feng Shui Made Simple

"Feng shui" is one of those terms that no one really knows how to pronounce or everything about, with good reason. It’s a centuries-old Chinese tradition that encompasses at least eight different schools of practice. All are concerned with the art of placement. All are focused on chi, the force or energy that exists in everything, which vibrates and connects our entire universe. Not only is chi in tangible things like the mountains and your furniture, but it flows around those things, often in invisible waves.

The basics: How to say it, what it does

Feng (pronounced "foong" or "fung") means "water," and shui ("shway") means "wind." Together they help you to understand what kind of energy is flowing through a space, whether it’s the active, dynamic, yang energy of the wind or the passive, receptive, yin energy of the water.

Part art, part science, feng shui is a complicated discipline that requires serious practitioners to firstly see things correctly, and name them, before considering remedies that might be used to change the less-than-ideal aspects by implementing a select few new aspects.

There are many warnings not to tamper with things you don’t fully understand, but basic feng shui is easy and fun to explore.

Feng shui and your interior design

Imagine your home. A practitioner might use a grid, or bagua, that orients from the front door, mapping out nine different areas, but you can simplify by just using nature’s directions. It’s easier to figure out if you just look to the west and identify what room is the most western (which is your relationship room or corner). If it’s a dark and dank storage closet that might shed some light on why you can’t find your true love.

Feng shui will direct you to clean it out, make it inviting and perhaps paint it red to instill a bit of passion and drama. The center of the house is usually regarded as the heart of the home with the directions corresponding to different elements of our lives.

Good chi versus bad chi

Examine how energy flows through your home, through each room. If you have a door that opens into a room, and you can walk quickly straight across the room and exit through another door, that’s just what the chi is going to do. It’s better to create a meandering path so that the energy (or your true love if that happens to be your relationship aspect) will pause for a while and hang out rather than shooting right through.

You want to encourage as much good energy as possible by having things uncluttered. You should eliminate places where chi will get tangled up, or blocked and stagnated.

Your outward environment reflects your inner self. If you don’t see yourself as dusty and unloved, why are you living that way? Why are you announcing to the universe that you aren’t interested in having a first-class relationship and that you don’t think it will make your life better?

Feng shui comes into play when you feel the need to change things – when you decide you’d like more of something in your life, whether it’s bringing in your true love, creating more harmonious relationships with others, or attracting wealth.

Where to find an expert or become one

Angi Ma Wong, best-selling author of the Feng Shui Dos and Taboos series of books says that a good practitioner doesn’t have to be Chinese but should be able to discuss with you their training and clearly explain the reasons behind each of their suggestions for cures. Most practitioners are willing to study your home or office for a flat fee of a couple of hundred dollars and/or on an hourly basis. Ask for referrals from interior designers or friends.

You can learn simple remedies in a number of books. For instance, Lillian Too’s books are all fairly clear and accessible.

Why try feng shui?

With feng shui, you look at what is going on now, right under your nose and under your bed. It’s about getting rid of clutter; moving furniture; creating new space in your environment; adding objects, colors, scent and plants; using water, candles, wood, fabrics, mirrors, lighting, gadgets and your own inspiration to enhance the energy that lies in you and around you.

Before you discount this tradition that millions have lived by, maybe you should explore what happens when you make some little changes. After all, if all it takes is moving your bed across the room and not storing you photo albums under it to ignite your sex life, isn’t it worth it?

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