Feng Shui 101

Stephanie McWilliams, host of HGTV’s Fun Shui, has a saying, “Change your space-change your life”. Each episode consists of Stephanie analyzing one part of the featured home and making it beautiful through applying Feng Shui principles. She talks with the home owners first to find out what aspect of their lives they would like to improve, and then works her magic. Well, not magic. Feng Shui isn’t a superstition, nor is it a religion or philosophy, and although Stephanie McWilliams is a talented interior designer, Feng Shui is not just about how a space is decorated.

Simply, Feng Shui is working with energy (chi) in our home or office to bring balance and harmony to our space. Everything is energy, a rock, a tree, us - even our possessions. All of us have worked with energy in some form or another such as the energy exchange we experience with nature when we hike through a forest. Reiki is energy work for the body just as yoga and meditation are for the mind, and prayer for the soul, all are working with energy. Through practicing and consulting Feng Shui over the years, I have come to understand Feng Shui as: working with energy in the space we live and work to help align ourselves with what we want, so that we may manifest our greatest desires. Working with energy in this way helps us stay present, not worrying about the future or reliving the past. Feng Shui is mindful living. When we are in the now we still ourselves and realize what we really want to attract to us, thus enabling us to live the lives we truly want to live, not what we think we have to feel trapped into living.

Since all of us are energy and everything around us is energy, we are born with the knowing or understanding when the energy around us, or what we are attracting, doesn’t feel good. A simple example would be how we feel when our backs are turned away from a door or entrance. It makes us feel vulnerable or easily startled. Most people want to face seating areas toward the opening of a room. Or, pay attention to how you feel when you have cleaned up and de-cluttered a room. You walk in after and feel great, in fact you probably want to spend more time in that room than any other now that you have cleared the old stagnate energy making room for fresh energy. This “new” energy has a way of uplifting the spirit and the mood making us feel focused and clear-minded with whatever we want to do. In fact, de-cluttering is where I often start with clients. Removing clutter and letting go of things that you no longer have a need for will change the energy for the better almost immediately. So, Feng Shui provides us with the tools to express how we naturally feel about the energy around us. We can identify specific areas in our life that we need to balance so that we stay aligned with how we want to live our lives.

In the type of Feng Shui that I practice, and there are many schools of Feng Shui, we use what can be called a Feng Shui map (Three Door Ba-gua), laid out over the floor plan using the front door as a guide, to locate nine different areas of a space which represent nine areas of our life. The categories, called guas, are: Career, Self-Knowledge, Family and Ancestors, Wealth, Fame and Reputation, Love and Relationship, Children and Creativity, Travel and Helpful People, and Health. Each gua has its own unique qualities such as color and element. For example, Career, located in the middle of the north wall, is represented by the color black or very dark blue, and by the water element. A Feng Shui practitioner called out to help with a client’s career might look at this area of the space to make adjustments, or to activate this gua, to help improve the home owner’s career situation. In ancient times (in China), Feng Shui was used to help find the most auspicious burial place for loved ones who had passed on. It is still used in this manner today. Feng Shui practitioners work with architects, real-estate agents, engineers, decorators, health providers, schools, and restaurant owners. Feng Shui is accessible to everyone who desires to create beautiful beneficial surroundings in their space.

Currently, the state of Ohio doesn’t offer a certificate or license for those in the field who call themselves Feng Shui consultants or practitioners. If you are considering hiring a Feng Shui consultant, ask them how long they have been studying and practicing, whom they studied with, and what school of Feng Shui they practice. Ask them for references and then check them. For additional information, log onto www.ifsguild.org. This is the International Feng Shui Guild and they list the IFS Code of Ethics. Additionally, they have many resources listed to help you learn more about Feng Shui and to find a consultant.

Kristine Pagsuyoin is a Feng Shui Consultant, Clutter and Simplification Coach, and Educator. Do you have a Feng Shui question? If you would like your question featured in an upcoming column, please email to inspiredspace@gmail.com. Your full name will not be published.

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Volume 4, Issue 16, Posted 7:23 PM, 07.11.2008