FENG SHUI is the ancient Chinese system of design that works with the location and orientation of a home, the placement of furniture, and the use of color, artwork, and accessories to create a harmonious environment. Practiced in China for more than 3000 years, feng shui has so successfully made the transition to the Western world in the last several decades (especially after President Nixon’s famous visit to the People’s Republic in 1972) that even people who’ve never cracked a book or consulted a practitioner can be heard talking about which way the bed should face.
Classic feng shui places most of its emphasis on making adjustments to the physical environment to create the free flow of energy. Practitioners work with a map called the Bagua that divides a space into zones, or guas, that represent various aspects of life—family, health, career—and then they make corrections, or “cures,” to enhance each aspect, such as placing coins or crystals in strategic spots. Many of these changes, when based solely on the environmental applications of feng shui, do not work. For them to fully work, we need to also focus on what is referred to as the inner wisdom of feng shui—we have to see how these cures fit with our personal energy.
For instance, one conventional feng shui cure calls for placing nine coins in a row leading up to your front door as a way to invite prosperity in. You might find you are getting frustrated because the coins are always moving around, especially when people came and went or someone used the leaf blower! Rather than attracting wealth, those coins are actually draining your energy. What was that going to do to your prosperity? Find another, more contemporary way to improve your financial situation such as collecting lucky pennies that you find on the ground and placing them in a piggy bank. In ancient China, those coins outside the front door probably made perfect sense to people as a way to support and enhance prosperity, but in my modern Western home they no longer do.
While most of the focus of feng shui lies in external changes to the environment, the Chinese term feng shui translates into wind and water, denoting both the unseen world and the world we can see and touch. Even more than working with the external world, you can now get excited about working directly with the unseen world, the world of energy, using the tools of intuition and intention—effectively practicing feng shui from the inside out. Most feng shui books focus only on conventional cures by paying a great deal of attention to the “water” and not very much to the “wind!”
The ultimate source of vital energy in feng shui resides in a space called harmony. Harmony, located in the middle section of the Yin and Yang symbol and characterized by the asymmetrical line, is a sacred space of peace and tranquility. By becoming one with harmony, you have at your disposal an infinite amount of creative ideas and peaceful solutions available to you when faced with challenging situations or difficult people. Ultimately, one can’t live a positive life with a negative mindset.
So many of us ask ourselves the question, “What is my life to be used for?” Using the nine fundamental life aspects of feng shui called the Bagua Map—among them health, wealth, love, and creativity—strategies exist for successfully meeting life’s challenges and activating your fullest potential. By identifying what matters most and removing the old emotional obstacles and limiting beliefs that stand in your way, you’ll find you can at last live your life fully and confidently in the face of any challenge. Let the journey to your full potential begin!
Cheryl Grace is a feng shui author, professional consultant, motivational speaker, and teacher, who specializes in helping people design their lives from the inside out.