When Feng Shui was first adopted by Western culture, there were many ‘masters’ who charged exorbitant prices to tell you which way your door should face, where you needed to put your garbage can and what color your walls should be painted.
There’s so much more to the practice however.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art, which translates to “wind and water” – two of the main energies of life. The practice sought to study a person’s quality of life and surroundings to see how their Qi, (pronounced Chee), which is the life energy or life force was being affected.
Ariel Joseph Towne (www.thefengshuiguy.com), a Feng Shui Master from Los Angeles, consults and teaches others a Body/Mind/Spirit approach to the practice, approaching situations in a holistic manner.
“Feng Shui is more than just aesthetic changes to your home, it’s important to look at a space and see how it makes you feel first,” said Ariel in a phone interview. “The good news is people are already practicing feng shui, whether they realize it or not. Most people are very aware on some level of how their space is affecting them. When you walk into a room, you know immediately if it feels like home, if it’s neutral or if you need to get out of there right away.”
The first step to practicing feng shui is to know and accept that there is much more than just the five senses. Be, or become, aware of your space, and what about it feels ‘off’, if anything does. Ariel’s basic rule of thumb is, don’t break what isn’t broken. “If your space feels great, and life is good, then don’t go reading a feng shui book that will make you think something is wrong or that you’ve got to change something.”
Take a moment and identify very clearly what isn’t working for you in your space, and put some consciousness into it. Think about whether you’re uncomfortable in a space because you’ve been unconscious about putting things down simply because you don’t know where else to put it. Become aware of your actions in relation to your stuff.
There are three things that you can put into practice immediately if you’re interested in getting started with feng shui.
- Declutter. Take a look around your rooms, one at a time, and see which items are no longer serving you. Ask yourself, have I used this in the past year? If not, recycle the item, give it to someone who can use it or take it to a thrift store.
- Think about the purpose of the room. Depending on what you’ve put into it and how consciously you’ve done so, the exact purpose of the room can be unclear. For example, the bedroom should be about sleep and sex, and instead, it can get filled with other purposes. If you’re working at cross-purposes, the primary purpose never gets fulfilled.
- See what you can find out about the history of the room. Were there fights; did someone die? What kind of energy was there before you entered? Depending on the energy and history of the place, wiping the slate and space clean with a blessing – either from a priest, shaman, or even a do-it-yourself smudging or meditation can make a difference.
These are all important steps to beginning a journey with Feng Shui. Picking up some of the specific books on the subject can only cause confusion and sometimes feeling of insecurity or incompetence when you think you’re doing everything wrong. Instead, Ariel recommends beginning with books like Move your Stuff, Change your Life by Karen Carter, or One Year to an Organized Life by Regina Leeds.
Ariel has several resources on his own website, including some radio spots from Sirius, and there is a long history of his “The Feng Shui Guy” videos on Soul Garden. Ariel also has a show in production with the SyFy network, scheduled to air later this summer or in early fall.
So, what are you waiting for? Start decluttering and get started down your own Feng Shui path!
Author: Colleen Coplick