by Linda Lenore
Published in the International Herb Association Conference Program 1999
In our “High-Tech”, “Information-Age” World, there is more need than ever before to create peaceful, harmonious environments. Using the principles of Feng Shui, buildings are brought into harmony with the land they occupy, furnishings are brought into harmony with the buildings, and all of these are viewed in relationship to the occupants. We’re working on an energetic level that the ancients of many cultures have understood, yet have been lost to our current Western society.
Here are 9 principles of Feng Shui to help you create the peace and harmony within environments that allows the human being to be the most productive, most enthused (alive), and most healthy in their daily lives.
1) Define the Shape of the Building Most homes and apartments are irregular shapes. According to Feng Shui the preferred shape would be a square or rectangle. If you live in a U-shaped, L-shaped, or T-shaped home, the building is unbalanced (missing parts) because it is not a complete rectangular box. It would be desirable to landscape it to form a more regular, stable shape. Irregular shaped buildings are missing parts of the rectangle that equates to missing areas of life as defined by the Ba-gua Map.
2) Learn the Ba-gua Map In Feng Shui we look to the Ba-gua Map, an eight-sided figure which shrinks or stretches to fit the shape of the lot, building or room. Using the doorway, (either the driveway, front door, or the door to the room), we overlay this figure to see how balanced the space is, or what areas might be out-of-balance. Ideally, all nine areas are represented and equal in proportion to the whole. Starting at 12 o’clock and moving clockwise are the areas of fame, partnership/marriage, children (3 o’clock), helpful people, career (6 o’clock), knowledge, family (9 o’clock), and wealth. The center is the ninth area, encompassing the four levels of health – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.
3) Find the Shape of the Room If the room is square or rectangular, it will be considered whole. Many rooms have cut-out areas due to closets, bathrooms, or utility areas needing to be fit into the space of the building. These create missing pieces or additions, representing a missing area or extra area of one’s life.
4) Locate Architectural Features/Challenges Western architecture has a love affair with beams, cathedral ceilings, and angles, but through Feng Shui eyes these are often seen as potential areas of heavy or stuck energy, instability or imbalance. Beams over beds or desks can cause one to feel blocked, separated or pressured. Stairs can be symbolic of life’s paths being harder to climb or allow energy and money to slip away.
5) Energize!!! Our environment can be like batteries; dead or alive. High pointed ceilings, corners of rooms, and skylights at night can drain our energy like a battery operated toy that gets stuck in one spot. Our energy goes to that point, gets stuck, and slowly runs out of us. A bright colored floral arrangement or plant, a mobile or a piece of furniture placed on an angle in that location allows us to “keep moving”. We keep going and going and going!!!
6) Look for symbology in the space Feng Shui looks at the environment, especially the house, as a metaphor for our body and life. The doors are said to be the mouth, while windows are the eyes. All doors and windows need to be used, in good working order and clean. Water is symbolic of wealth, so all bathrooms, laundry areas, and kitchens take on special meaning. If your toilet is in the wealth area, your money could be “flushed” down the drain. If the bathroom is in the health area, it can be “draining” one’s health. Water features can enhance both the home and retail store plus the symbology surrounding wealth can actually make you feel “richer”.
7) Create “armchair” positions for beds and desks The Masters of Feng Shui would find a mountain range that resembles an armchair where the dwelling could be placed. This was done to make the occupants feel supported and protected, like you do when sitting in an armchair. We try to create that same feel with the placements of beds and desks. In arranging beds, its best to have them as far from the doorway as possible and usually not having them in direct alignment with the door. Desks are more protected when the person can see the door instead of having their back to the door. In a store, you want to be able to see the door and most of the store from the cash register. The exact placement of the cash register varies according to the different schools of thought on Feng Shui. Some say it should be by the door and others say it should be on the left-hand side of the back wall.
8) Delight the senses!!! The real estate community has known for years the advantage of a fire glowing in the fireplace and apple pie cooking in the oven. These help us remember happy times of “home”. Bring in appropriate sensual stimuli for the room and occasion, be it related to sight, sound, smell, taste, or texture. Cinnamon works in the kitchen while lavender is a better choice for a bedroom. Herbs of all types can be used to attract and rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. Wind chimes offset the constant noise of a not-so-distant highway, as do nature sounds from a CD.
9) Display Beautiful Memories The most important aspect of Feng Shui is to create a space that feels good to us – a place where we love to be. An idealistic approach is to love everything 100% or get rid of it. That’s probably not realistic. Yet if we can find something beautiful in each and every item we have in our surroundings – whether it is our home or work – and find something positive about it, it changes not only how we see these items, but how we see the world as well.
We’re working with the psychological impact our environment has on us. We are being given subliminal messages all day long in all our dwellings that might hinder our progress or support our endeavors.
Being in a place that supports us by making us feel good encourages us to be our best. If we love who we are and what we do from our deepest, most spiritual selves, we are in harmony with our natural essence. This “attitude of gratitude” brings more positive energy to us which, in turn, creates still more abundance in our lives.
This Chinese proverb seems to sum up the philosophy of Feng Shui:
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation
And if there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
Bring Feng Shui into your home. Add it to the tools you already use in your store. Discover the joy of attracting and retaining good employees. See the positive change your clients feel through increased sales and more referrals. Encourage your clients to use Feng Shui in their homes to create better relationships, enhance their creativity, and increase the overall well-being of all.
For more information on Feng Shui, charts of the Ba-gua map and how to use it, expanded meanings of the nine areas of life, creating a healing environment in the home, the affects of clutter vs. collections in the home, aromatherapy and animal energy around the home and in artwork all told in an easy-to-read, spiritual format consider my book The Gift of the Red Envelope: A Guide to Designing Balance, Order and Beauty in Your Home.