I’ve been a Feng Shui practitioner for 21+ years. I qualified just before I became pregnant with Celine. In the early days I used to take her around with me on jobs strapped in a sling. One time I left home so fast to bundle her in the car that I forgot to put a nappy on her and had to wrap her delicate regions in my scarf. Tra la la ...
I'm very passionate about this ancient, universal practice and I'd like to share some of the wisdom and common sense behind it. If I had my way I'd rename it living mindfully because it makes such an important contribution towards leading a healthy, wholesome life - a far cry from New Age nonsense.
Going with the flow
We're all familiar with the expression going with the flow, which is about adopting the path of least resistance. When we embrace the flow, things seem to miraculously fall into place and our lives evolve with less effort.
When we go against the flow, other symptoms are instantly recognisable: we get sick, feel exhausted, and lack direction. If this continues, we risk depression and burnout, which are increasingly evident in our frenetic world.
Part of the flow solution requires significant changes to our lifestyle. Another approach is pay closer attention to the spaces in which we spend most of our time. Living and working environments that are clunky and don't promote well-being, make additional demands on us - physically, mentally and emotionally. When homes, offices, gardens and any sub-set of them are going against the flow, similar symptoms to those described above can affect the inhabitants. Enter the dragon ...
Feng Shui is a practical and metaphysical tool used to promote health, wealth and well-being by improving the quality of our environment.
At the heart of this practice is the recognition of chi or qi (life force energy) which moves invisibly through space and knowing how to cultivate it to our advantage. There's a similar principle at work in practices such as Acupuncture, Yoga, Reiki, Tai Chi, Shiatsu, Qigong, - the purpose of which is to open the channels (meridians, chakras, nadis) in the body for chi to flow more freely so that chi can reach and refresh all parts, like Heineken.
When we neglect our homes and offices thinking we have other more important things to do, then we miss out on the opportunity to cultivate good chi and improve the quality of our life.
Where there are constrictions or blockages to the flow of chi - such as inappropriately placed walls, too much furniture for the size of the room, and other unconscious clutter - our task is to remove these obstacles so that chi can flow more easily. Since everything that appears to be solid all around us is actually atoms and molecules in motion (according to quantum physicists), then everything in our environment is worthy of mindful consideration from a Feng Shui perspective.
Wind and water
The literal Chinese translation of the words Feng Shui means ‘wind and water’ and provides further understanding of this invisible phenomenon, still considered by some to be a fabrication of the imagination. If we could go back in time and ask a Chinese farmer 3000 years ago where he would choose to site his home and grow crops, his answer would be couched in terms of Feng Shui - prevailing winds, proximity to water, aspect to the sun, and soil quality - because all of these would affect the quality of his life.
Ask a gardener today the same question and he would give a value judgement which included similar considerations. To do a good job, both farmer and gardener need to be mindfully aware of where their land is situated in relation to life-sustaining elements. The rest of us don't typically know and yet we are still at the effect of these all the same, even though we spend most of our time indoors.
Suitably located wind and water delivers good chi - and most primitive cultures knew this and worked with Feng Shui in one way or another, although they each had their own name for it. The wisdom is therefore ancient, universal and timeless.
Feng Shui for all
I would argue that our lives are lop-sided when we don't pay more attention to our relationship with the environment in which we are unfolding. Feng Shui is not a philosophy since it encompasses many practical tools and techniques. It's not a religion although some may consider it part of their spiritual practice. It's not recognised as a science since its principles have not been proved by scientific method, although an electron microscope could reveal a thing or two about matter that appears so solid.
I went to work for a scientific establishment both in their London and Monaco offices. They had no problem at all understanding why management had employed a Feng Shui consultant to help them improve their business.
Feng Shui is an art - and when applied wisely can enhance our living and working spaces so that the life force energy that envelopes us works for us rather than against.
May the flow be with you.