How to Make Sense of Feng Shui
Ever since I started on this journey of helping people to design rooms for how they want to feel I've had countless people say that I needed to look more into feng shui.
The first time I heard this I made a funny face and kind of dismissed it. After all I've always associated feng shui with furniture arrangement and weird number associations.
As I delved in deeper what I learned is that feng shui, which started an ancient Chinese method to organize the home so it leverages the benefits of the natural world, has spun into multiple schools of thought with multiple philosophies...which made everything make sense for me. That's why I've heard wonderful stories about how a feng shui consultant transformed someone's home by rearranging furniture and making little changes here and there.... while on the other spectrum I've seen feng shui consultants on television recommend painting your entryway a hideous red and decorating it with a gaudy gold bowl....and their clients making that strained smile....you know the expression I mean. That smile you make when you know you have to be polite but inside you're thinking, 'oh no way in hell, that is some serious ugly.'
According to Feng Shui expert Cathleen McCandless, "Cathleen McCandless, "many feng shui practitioners inadvertently perpetuate misinformation that was never intended to be part of the system. They accept this information at face value and unquestioningly pass it on to their clients, students, and reader without considering the source or validity of what they are communicating. Such information ranges from ineffective to absolutely comical and has done a lot of damage to the integrity of this ancient environmental system."
It turns out that feng shui is meant to work with your natural senses to design homes and rooms that make you feel safe and comfortable....which is my philosophy at its root!
For example, when arranging an office you shouldn't ever have the person sitting at the desk seated so that his or her back is to the door. This is based on our basic instincts. We are most vulnerable when our backs are turned because we can't see who is coming in and it slows our reaction time if there is danger. As a result, the person will feel uncomfortable and distracted while they're working and that's not very good for productivity or innovation!
When I read this it really resonated with me. Growing up my father would always insist on being seated in a table near the wall at restaurants and sit in the seat against the wall. A Vietnam vet, war had ingrained in him a need to be on guard especially in public. And as I get older I've realized that we all feel this way. We all need to feel safe..we're just not as keenly aware of it as those who had found themselves in violent situations...and this is where good feng shui comes in....
How to Find Good Feng Shui Resources
If this is resonating with you, I have good news. I found a book on feng shui that is all about common sense. I just finished it and the first two parts of the book that covered the Form School of feng shui gave me at least 3 ah-ha moments. The first two parts of Feng Shui that Makes Sense by Cathleen McCandless gives advice about homes and rooms that really do make sense. I found myself reading it and going, 'oh now I know why I reacted that way in X situation!' It has made me so much more aware of my environment...and I already thought of myself as pretty high on that spectrum!
Part III of the book covers the Compass school of feng shui in which each magnetic direction of your house (South, East, West, North) is correlated to an area of your life. For example, the North part of your house is associated with career. I'll be honest, I'm skeptical of this school of thought. It simply seems to literal for me. At a later date I might try it in my own home and see if it works. I'm always happy to prove myself wrong. So I leave you to make up for own mind about this section of book.
In general, however, I highly recommend the book for those wishing to rearrange their furniture, sell their house, increase their prosperity or simply those looking to make their homes a more comfortable place to live. Click the image to order.