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Feng Shui

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Feng Shui as: a Chinese system for positioning a building, and the objects within a building, in a way that is thought to agree with spiritual forces and to bring health and happiness. This ancient practice is based on flow, (feng) wind and (shui) water, two elements that swirl, move and circulate around the world. The essence of energy is called chi or life force, something all living organisms are composed of. You may not have thought that there

is a life force within the walls of your home, but many people have believed there is for many centuries and in many cultures, not just Asian.

I’ve been in homes that have had what I call an awkward flow which is more architectural than energy and I’ve been in homes that seem to have a dark or negative energy. I’m not saying I have metaphysical powers, but I do feel like I’m an intuitive person. You might think that to me, a cluttered home has negative energy, but that’s not true. I’ve been in beautiful homes as neat as a pin that seem to have an odd vibe, and cluttered homes that have felt like the homiest of homes.

There are multiple facets of practicing Feng Shui in a home, starting from the main entryway, through every room and every exit. One of the most elemental ideas is that no window or door is blocked with furniture or artwork, so that energy can flow freely. Windows shouldn’t be cracked, stuck, leaky or dirty – all things that block chi, or cloud your ability to see opportunities and new experiences that may be coming your way. Your clarity is clear.

There are all sorts of do’s and don’ts for bedrooms, and most of them make complete sense. The placement of the bed seems important, but more so that there isn’t anything underneath the bed blocking energy. This is a tough one, as so many people need to utilize that space for storage. It’s one of the first spaces I look at in a bedroom, to see how it’s being utilized. I knew that having a work desk, paperwork, and bill paying in the bedroom was a bad idea, before I even knew one thing about Feng Shui. Bedrooms are for relaxation, rejuvenation, and romance. If there is technology in the bedroom, it should be covered, and experts say to have exercise equipment elsewhere.

According to Chinese tradition, plant life welcomes prosperity, good luck, purification and growth. They can actually help to cleanse the air and some plants that seem to be particularly good at it include the Lady Palm (Rhapis Excelsa), English Ivy (Hedera Helix), Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata “Bostoniensis”) and the Peace Lily ((Spathiphyllum). I wish I could practice what I preach, but I’m notoriously inept when it comes to house plants. I gave up trying, which suited me, as all I kept feeling was guilt about killing off lovely little green life forms.

Clutter clearing is a big deal in Feng Shui practices, because the overwhelming amount of stuff that we own can be sucking our energy away from the few things that we truly love. If we are energetically connected to everything surrounding us, more clutter means more outward going energy and goodness knows, we rarely have spare energy to waste. Hiding clutter in closets and behind closed doors still counts as energy that is being sapped. Clutter is blocking, stagnant, jumbled and welcomes chaos. Clearing spaces makes it easier to focus on simplicity and allows air to circulate, reviving chi.

Lastly, lighting is something that allows harmony, balance, guidance and warmth. This doesn’t mean you have to have every light blazing away in every room, but it does mean that lighting can be functional, as well as aesthetically pleasing. Work and reading areas should have a combination of direct and indirect lighting. Instead of one bright, overhead light in a room, use multiple light sources at different heights for a warm glow that invites positive energy to circulate throughout. There is a new trend in Himalayan salt lamps, which are large blocks or chunks of salt (there are fakes that aren’t made with true Himalayan salt) with a bulb inside that emit negative ions, which neutralize positive ions to cleanse the air and are said to boost energy. If anything, they are pretty.