WHAT IS FENG SHUI?
Feng Shui Symbols
My first formal introduction to Feng Shui was in 1985-1986 when I attended an Interior Design Conference. It was not a pleasant introduction. I tell that story in other formats. No one I knew had ever heard about Feng Shui. There were no books on it. And we didn’t have the internet back then either in order to ‘Google’ it to find out what it is or means.
The actual translation of Feng Shui is: Feng = Wind and Shui = Water. They are the two life force energies that have created the earth and are needed for us to live.
Originating in different forms throughout Asia, Feng Shui is a 4000-year-old philosophy/science/art, which examines the relationship between people and their lives and their environment. There are about a dozen different schools with many variations.
This is my definition of FENG SHUI:
“Feng Shui respects the personality and individuality of the person who occupies the dwelling—be it a home or workspace—and shares an insight into the psychological impact the environment plays on one’s life. This predominately Asian philosophy can help the Western culture learn and experience new tools to help us cope with many of our daily challenges without jeopardizing our own heritage. When understood, this information can build strong bridges to link Western businesses with their Pacific Rim clientele and the expanding global community.”
SCHOOLS OF FENG SHUI
As I stated before, there are several different schools of Feng Shui. Some focus on the geographical location. There are a few that include religious teachings, but not all of them include religion. Hence, Feng Shui can be used without jeopardizing a person’s religious belief. Still others are more ‘common sense’ based.
Schools using geographical locations might focus on the correct direction for a building to face. For instance, there are many books that will tell you you need to have your home facing South. That will make you feel good if your home is facing south. But if it doesn’t face south, there is a tendency to blame the house for things not going your way in life. Or the school might state you need to have mountains on three sides of you and face water on the fourth. Again, that’s wonderful unless you are in the flat lands or desert. Sometimes this school is called Landform, Armchair, or Four Animal Feng Shui.
Ba-Gua half image
Other schools use a ‘Ba-Gua’ Map. The word “Ba” means eight and “Gua” means sides. This map is an eight-sided image that lists the areas of life as well as the five elements, colors, and body parts. This Ba-Gua Map is used as an overlay on the building to locate those areas of life. You can then use the elements, colors, and awareness of the body locations to trouble shoot health issues and to improve your life.
As a Feng Shui Master (I became a Master in 2002), I have been taught all the different schools. I use them all at different times. Sometimes it is easier, or more practical, to use one school over another.
In future articles I’ll share more about these aspects of this intricate art, science, and philosophy.
If you have a specific question, send it to me privately and I’ll respond here.
Cinco de Mayo – Dog, Sombrero & Maracas
I’m not Latina, yet the Hispanic culture is part of my heritage. Many of my childhood friends were Hispanic, although we were not politically correct back then. We said they were Mexican.
My father worked for the railroad often working the Swingshift. The trainyard was in the heart of the Mexican neighborhood. Several times a week my mom and I went there to have dinner with him around 9pm. Sometimes he worked the Nightshift, which meant it was a 2am dinner. We’d have tacos or tamales.
The beautiful California Missions feel like my religious home. Most of my friends were raised Catholic; well, except for my Jewish boy friends. I’ve experienced many healings in and around those Missions.
I took Spanish in high school. I was in my second year of Spanish when my father died. Señor Chavez took me under his wing helping me through that horrible time. He let me slide on homework and asked me to get involved with a community project he ran.
His project was helping the VERY POOR in Duarte, CA. As the Vice President then President of the Future Nurses Club, I created a way for our club to gather food and clothing. We donated it to these families. I spent many hours several days a week with them for months. My Spanish improved – although you’d never know it now. (There’s a whole wonderful twist to this story that I’ll share at another time.)
Moving from Southern California to Northern California I lost a part of my heritage. I forgot my roots. I forgot the numerous trips my father would take us on to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico when I was between the ages of 9 and 12.
Blue 1955 Bathtub Porsche
My father had been laid off work for a while. During that time, he worked at a used car lot selling cars. I’d ride my bike the 2 miles after school to spend time with my dad. Then they “hired” me to wash cars and paid me for it.
When my dad was rehired by the railroad, he was able to purchase a used 1955 baby blue bathtub Porsche. Joining the Porsche Club, they had rallies and planned several trips a year to Ensenada. I was stuffed in the backseat of this small car, hunched over because the roof was so low.
Each trip I would find something I wanted and would purchase with my “carwash” money because I continued to work at the car lot washing cars.
One year I purchased a BIG sombrero, bongo drums, and maracas. Packing all of those into the backseat of the Porsche WITH ME was hilarious! Of course, that was the trip I got the sickest. We had to stop so many times! My dad had to pull over, we’d unload all this “crap” (excuse the language, but that’s what my dad said!) as we were on the side of the road, then I’d get out, throw up, get back in the car, drive 3 miles, then do it all again.
When I saw the “Cinco de Mayo” image with the sombrero and maracas, it brought back these delightful childhood memories – memories I haven’t thought about in decades.
I may not be Latina, but my heart and mind rejoice in my youthful memories of tacos and tamales on Cinco de Mayo with our Mexican friends and family. In honor of those wonderful days, I enjoyed tacos for dinner. Yet instead of the childhood Coke, tonight it was an adult beverage – a Margarita.
Enough with the fear-based climate change pictures and stories. Negative motivation has not been my way of taking action for 4 decades! I respond to positive thoughts, ideas, and co-creation. What about you?
This photo is from a 2021 article from International Well Building Institute. (The link will take you to it.) It mentions how seeing smoke-spewing factory stacks and polar bears clinking to the last piece of ice don’t move people to action.
In sharing approaches used in educating parents about climate change, a couple words about the fear-based approach with which I could resonate were: paralysis, sacrifice, & scarcity. We often see and hear so much it causes overwhelm, especially with all the other issues we deal with day in and day out.
The only message that resonated with parents about making healthier choices for the students was: “A green school can offer your child that extra opportunity to succeed.”
As a parent – and now grandparent & great-grandparent – I’ve seen firsthand how the health of everyone is affected by poor IAQ (Indoor Air Quality), lack of sunlight in rooms, and other building/construction techniques once thought to be traditional “good design/build practices,” yet are outdated by newer technology and scientific data.
Fear-based Earth Day
Several statements in the article resonated with me. Here’s one:
“The effect is magnified because we know that there’s a great deal of overlap between what’s good for people and what’s good for the planet. Investing in electrification, selecting low emitting materials and optimizing natural light are climate mitigation and human health strategies. It’s an approach that benefits all of us.”
As a woman who has experienced the death of a child, personal health issues due to toxic chemicals, and loved ones who have been victims in different forms of climate-related disasters, my focus for several decades has been to create healthy and nurturing environments for businesses and families to thrive.
As such, I leave you with this heart-felt quote from the article:
“In order to be effective, climate messages must tap into our intrinsic motivations. It’s our universal aspiration for ourselves to be healthy, for our families to be well, for our businesses and communities to thrive. That’s what moves us to act.”
#EarthDay #ClimateChange #HeartfeltEarthDayMessage #HealingOurPlanet