Or, wait . . . Feng Shui is just a diabolical scheme launched by overpriced interior designers who have one goal: to fleece as much cash as they can off billionaire clients by telling them they should hinge their doors left instead of right? Right?
Feng phooey! A bunch of snake-oil-and-incense. It's crazy talk . . . Not! Sadly, the sacred principles of Feng Shui really have been put through the wringer. There is even a line of Feng Shui cosmetics on the market today. Good lord—as if the color and application of my blusher will get my chi to flow properly.
But Feng Shui, practiced properly, supports healthful, positive change in our lives. Our environments—both at work and at home—deeply affect us physically and emotionally. Even something as simple as a crack in the tile in your front entryway can affect your mood as you enter and exit your home. Cracked tile? Bad Feng Shui.
If you're a cynical type, you may sneer at the suggestion of placing, for instance, an empty basket inside your front door to catch the flow of wealth before it leaves your home. Seems kind of obtuse, I know; but you don't have to buy into everything Feng Shui. Maybe you could just start with baby steps—common sense changes to create balance and harmony in your life. Author Carole J. Hyder, with her Wind and Water: Your Personal Feng Shui Journey, will get you going.
There are many Feng Shui books that provide the complete sententious approach. Wind and Water presents Feng Shui as simple suggestions that can be done on a daily basis through information and a corresponding activity. Instead of reading about Feng Shui—and feeling helpless that it will take $20,000 and three months to move your bathroom from the center of your house to the far right corner—this book provides an immediate avenue to experience the concept.
Open the book to any page and yes, it might tell you something you already know, but it may also give you pause. For example, consider your desk. Yes, I confess I used to prescribe to the "a cluttered desk is the sign of an intelligent mind" credo (mostly to make myself feel better about the gawd-awful mess on the top of my desk); but Hyder stresses that if you cannot see the top of your desk, you cannot clearly see the vision for your life.
It's true. Think about some top-level executives you know. Shiny, clutter-free desk top . . . a few family photos . . . a lovely, lush plant. The desk is clear because they have reached a pinnacle of success and don't have paperwork to shuffle; the desk is clear because they deal with loose ends, toss out projects that didn't happen, and file what needs to be filed. Take a look at your desk at home and at work. View it as a map of your life. Get rid of the clutter. Place a flourishing plant—a sign of growth and life—where your "to-do" pile is. Do it today.
Additionally, if you have a particular topic you wish to address, for instance, your marriage, you can turn to the Harmony chapter and begin implementing Hyder's suggestions. In the master bedroom, Hyder suggests incorporating pairs of items—candles, light fixtures, identical silk flower arrangements—to reflect the "two-ness" and intimate harmony with your spouse.
The best part about this book is that each suggestion is only a page long, making the book easy to page through, easy to put down, even easy to take, as Hyder suggests, one page at a time and make your changes slowly. There's even an easy-to-scan index if you need to pinpoint a particular topic quickly.
PRACTICING FENG SHUI
The simple suggestions Hyder offers in Wind and Water are ones you can easily pass onto your clients, without having to spend time and money taking classes, learning what the word bagua (among others) means (and no, it's not a round, doughy object you spread cream cheese on). The recommendations Hyder makes, page by page, offer excellent ideas that you can turn into add-on sales through the use of mirrors, plants, pillows, candles, comforters and more.
I found myself very comfortable with this book, not intimidated in the least, and many of the easy ideas Hyder generated are ones I have now incorporated into my home and office. If you are willing to view Feng Shui as more than snake-oil-and-incense, Wind and Water is a terrific place to begin your journey.
Kathleen Stoehr is president of Chemistry Creative, based in Minneapolis, MN. She has more than six years' experience covering window treatments and interior fashions as the former editor-in-chief of Window Fashions magazine. Stoehr can be contacted for comments, queries and trend information at firstname.lastname@example.org. YOUR DESK AND YOUR LIFE When clearing off and setting up your clutter-free work space, divide your desk into nine areas: Wealth Fame & Reputation Partnership Family Health Children & Creativity Knowledge Career Helpful People
Make sure to place that flourishing plant in the upper left Wealth corner. A flourishing plant, you see, will help your money grow. In your Fame & Reputation area, Hyder suggests placing a small candle—fire being the element that "makes you known." The core of fire is reflective of focus, purpose and direction. Fire will offer clarity and recognition. Just be careful, Hyder suggests, not to have too large of a fire or you will burn out.
Place your "In" box in the Helpful People area as a means of showing your regard to the people you work with. A small angel icon on your box will tap the strong power of support and help from your colleagues.
Wind and Water: Your Personal Feng Shui Journey
By Carole J. Hyder
258 pages, b/w diagrams, 1999