finding flow with feng shui

Feng what?

Feng shui. Pronounced feng shway. The ancient Chinese art and science of spaces and places for things. A complex and complicated study indeed, in simplest terms, feng shui incorporates all compass directions (i.e., north, northwest, northeast, south, southwest, southeast and so on) with the five natural elements: earth, fire, water, wood and metal.

Feng shui begins with overlaying a bagua (ba-gwa) map, easily found online, upon your residence, with the front doors the starting point.

The bagua is basically a color chart with nine sections / sectors. Each section correlates with a life area:

South – Fame & recognition
Southwest – Relationships
West – Joy, Creativity & Children
Northwest – Mentors, Teachers & Benefactors
North – Career
Northeast – Learning & Knowledge
East – Family & Ancestors
Southwest – Wealth

Moreover, each sector resonates with a particular color, one of the aforementioned natural elements (i.e., water, wood, fire, etc.) and material (i.e., ceramic, metals, glass, fabrics, paper, stone, etc.)

Feng shui is about as complicated and layered as astrology. Even a bare-bones introduction is beyond the scope of a blog post; neither is it the intent of this post.

The purpose of feng shui is to create balance, harmony and flow in one’s life. To invite and nurture chi (life force) by working harmoniously with nature’s directional and elemental energies and the energies of objects we choose to place in our homes.

As a brief aside, the biggest inhibitor of flow is clutter. It’s the first thing that a feng shui practitioner would instruct a client. Get rid of clutter. Release it. Only then can we move to the second stage: creating harmony and flow within the home.

As yet another aside, on a personal note, I am an anti-clutter nazi. My tolerance for stuff unneeded or unused is minuscule to zero; ditto for disorder, aka messes. I’m also a neat freak, which seems beside the point in feng shui, with its emphasis on types of objects and their placement in a home. But it’s not. Cleaniness = serenity.

Don’t believe? Here’s an example.

Two restaurants. You walk into one. It’s dirty. The floors are haven’t been mopped in days. The tabletops, sticky, trashcans overflowing. Paper napkins, straw wrappers litter the floors and booths. Chairs are haphazardly set around the room, a few maybe knocked over.

Restaurant 2. The floors shine. Countertops and tabletops too. No used wrappers, plates, cups, napkins lying anywhere. Trash is contained and out of sight in their bins. Chairs are set in orderly fashion around their tables.

Which place is inviting? Which place promotes relaxation while eating? Which place makes you gag and lose your appetite just being there? Where do you choose to eat?

Now, even for the most unaware, environmental influences and conditions affect the unconscious. In my case, I’m uber, nee freakisly, aware of and sensitive to the environment. I’ve seen plenty of gross conditions in homes. I’ve cleaned those homes in the absence of career work and needing money.

And because I’m extremely detail-oriented (nothing gets by me!) and a Master of Meticulous, when I clean, I clean in places that most people aren’t even aware of! They don’t even see! How that happens is beyond me but there it is.

Point is, in terms of feng shui, I’m already halfway there simply by my nature of being extraordinarily sensitive to spaces and places, highly intuitive, clean, tidy and organized. No feng shui consultant ever needs to tell me to de-clutter, organize and clean to move a residence toward harmony! I’m already there!

Now, there is a point to these shares. I’m a natural candidate for feng shui studies and implementations (though admittedly they’ll never be the great passion that astrology is).

Along that vein and given the particular configuration and energies of my current residence, feng shui-ing this place tops my To-Do List.

It hasn’t been easy. There are flaws with this place. Areas in detriment (hideous dated 1970s wood paneling, areas that are dark and receive no light or circulation) and areas that sparkle (by the windows), a less-than-ideal, to put it mildly, placement of the bathroom (in the southeast corner of wealth, uggg).

I’ve been working to feng shui this residence pretty much since I moved in three months ago. The process has been waylaid, nee overtaken, by serious and continuous problems with the extremely noisy and inconsiderate neighbors above. Hopefully based on an encounter with one of the neighbors last weekend, these problems will peter out.

In the meantime, I march onward in my feng shui project.

And a project it has been! In actuality, I’ve done quite a bit already toward uplifting the energies here. For example, I’ve taken care of that hideous wood paneling, the biggest wall in the apartment that shouted UGLY when you walked in!! Living with it, even worse!!

It’s quite the accomplishment what I’ve done with that paneled wall within tight lease constraints and on a shoestring budget! My McGywver and inner artist once again rise to the occasion! Perhaps I’ll post on that project one day. I’m sure it could benefit someone else facing Fugly Walls!

Anyways, my attention is now turned to wall number 2. A large cinder-block painted light cream Wall of Bland. It’s overwhelming in its blandness, suffocating even.

Cinder block presents a whole other level of challenge in a home. You can’t just tap-tap-tap a nail and hang art and suddenly have a home! As I’m doing throughout the residence, I’m incorporating feng shui at every turn. It’s been a learning process for sure and a fun one as I do looove to learn and I love to learn about subjects unconventional and spiritual and novel.

(Nothing about me is conventional and never will be! Just ask my mother! She’ll tell you that from Day One, I marched to my own drummer!)

I’ll wrap up by saying that feng shui is not a “cure all.” It is, however, a science and art of validity and enormous depth and intrigue (and for those reasons I quite love it). By this time next month, I hope to have my residence in a good flow … with the neighbors above quiet at last … and my life moving forward within that flow that I’m bringing into this space! And that, my friend, is the ultimate goal of feng shui. Flo, flow and flow!

Flowing off now to my appointment 🙂 … toddles.


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