With all this talk about design, energy, and nature... How can we not throw Feng Shui into the mix?
It's a nice little detour because it is another facet that focuses on the topics we are exploring and it's a practice that most people recognize.
WHAT IS FENG SHUI?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that focuses on using energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. The practice relates to architecture in terms of invisible forces that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together, also known as "Qi."
Historically, Feng Shui was widely used in phases of planning, positioning, and orientating buildings as it was often used with regards to spiritually significant structures back in the day. Prior to the invention of the magnetic compass, Feng Shui relied on astronomy to find correlations between humans and the universe. The positioning of the stars, the cycling of the seasons, these were all factors in determining the timing and positioning of built entities.
Feng shui is a practice still employed today to situate the human-built environment in harmony with good "Qi," or energy. It is not specifically a science, but more a pseudoscience that exhibits a number of classic means and methods of planning and designing that are not "proven” per say, but more often than not seem to conjure desired results.
yin + yang
A large concept relating to Feng Shui is polarity, which holds that to every item or element there are two parts - a yin and a yang. Two dueling energies are at play in everything we know and see: one creating, and one receiving. The goal is to balance these two energies, and to align a city, site, building, or object with yin-yang force fields. The Five Elements or Forces - that being metal, earth, fire, water, and wood - are important to consider as they make up everything we know and see and are essential to human life.
heavenly time + earthly space
The Form School is the oldest school of Feng Shui and takes into account these five elemental forces as well as the shape of the surrounding environment, such as mountains, rivers, valleys, plateaus, buildings, foliage, etc. Analysis of a space or site takes into account the shape of the land and the flow of wind and water to find a place with ideal Qi. It also considers the time of important events such as the birth of the resident and building of the structure.
Today, Feng Shui is practiced not only by the Chinese but also by Westerners, yet it remains criticized around the world. Evidence for effectiveness is based primarily on anecdote and users are often offered conflicting advice from different practitioners. Different schools of thought result in varying degrees of practice, and critics love to emphasize this notion.
It's worth considering that design is dynamic, contrasting and fluctuating and evolving each moment. Typically, there is no one “right” way to design - which really it the beauty of it. This dynamic and evolving process is the same with people and energy and nature, so it is fair to say there is indeed not just one true way of achieving a desirable state.
At the end of the day, Feng Shui is based on the idea that our homes are a mirror of what's happening inside of us, and vice versa. The purpose is to create an environment that is in alignment with who you are and where you want to go - to harmonize your energy and your home's energy.
In order to do this, you must carefully consider what you bring in to your space as well as how they are arranged. Everything has energy, even inanimate objects and once you see in this way, Feng Shui starts to make a lot of sense. It continues to become more accessible when you understand that the principles of Feng Shui are only a guide for energy to flow more freely.
So without further ado, the 7 Feng Shui steps to a Harmonious Home, dispelled.
7 steps of Feng Shui
1. Clear the clutter.
Clear anything out of your home (+ life) that isn't useful, beautiful, or meaningful. (This is the most important & my favorite step.)
2. Good quality air + light.
Clean your windows, open them often, try not to block them with anything obtrusive, and hang crystals to cast prisms of light and energy throughout your space. This will allow clear energy, light, and fresh air to flow. This is one of the most fundamental aspects to inviting good energy and intentions into your home.
3. Define your intentions.
This idea is a bit more involved and applies an energy map to the floor plate of your home. There are nine areas of improvement related to health, money, love, spiritual growth, creativity, etc., and each corresponds to an area within your home. Click here to see this energy map or bagua and learn how to Feng Shui these spaces to improve certain qualities of your life.
4. Introduce each of the five elements.
The five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The idea is to represent these elements throughout your home in a creative, balanced way. Refer to your bagua for prime placement and effectiveness, as each element corresponds with an area on your energy map. For example, if your intention is to heighten the presence of love and creativity, introducing elements of earth and metal in the W + NW areas of your home is a good idea.
It's really all about following the Feng Shui roadmap and conjuring elements in a way that harnesses the natural, productive powers available and negating any destructive energy or vibrations. Click here to learn more about harnessing the elements to attain your intentions.
5. Define your feng shui birth element.
This part is where we move closest to our concepts introduced in Designing for your Dosha, because it is all about creating a home that nourishes and supports your energy. Feng shui uses your birth element and suggests using colors, materials, and arrangements that relate to your element.
For example, if your birth element is Fire, introducing colors of red, orange, purple, pink, and yellow, triangular shapes, and elements of wood as wood feeds fire and will in turn feed your spirit. Click here to find out what your birth element is and how to use that information to design a home that improves your life and nourishes your senses.
6. Determine your Kua number and lucky directions.
Figuring out both your Kua number and your lucky directions can fuel your energy in ways you never knew. It is not meant to be used as a religion or iron clad rule, but merely as a basis from which to assist in making decisions. Whether is determining if your home is North or South facing, or which direction to orient the desk in your office, these are helpful clues in the orienting and positioning of items and elements in your life.
7. be mindful of the energy in your home.
Stay conscious about the things you keep in your home, how they are kept in your home, and how this affects your wellbeing. Dark, dusty corners or dishoveled drawers and closets can have more of an affect on your psyche than you may think. Pay special attention to the “trinity” in your home, which is your bedroom, your bathroom, and your kitchen.
These 7 steps I've outlined are the framework within which Feng Shui functions but there is sooo much more to know and understand about utilizing the principles and power of this practice. One day I would love to be a Feng Shui master extraordinaire, but in the meantime you can reference these tips and tricks next time you are designing, decorating, or defining the surroundings of your life.
The central theory to it all is to be mindful of the energy in your home and keep things even and open to improve energy flow - throughout your home, and throughout your life. If you keep coming back to this flagship theory, you will find your overall mood and wellbeing will be enhanced through even the slightest of adjustments.
Now, be completely honest.. Does this sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo? One can certainly appreciate why the practice has it's critics, but just with any thing that can't be seen or proven, it takes a little faith. The practice has many tried and true believers - noteworthy, successful, down-to-earth individuals - that introduce this practice into their home and life, and experience the goodness and harmony it brings.
All I can say is, you never know until you try...
See you next time on the dialogue.