I like to keep an open mind on anything that hasn’t been scientifically proven as wrong or impossible. So, yes, as far as I’m concerned, there may be ghosts and space aliens and psychics and maybe feng shui really does work.
I realize I cannot provide positive, scientific proof that any of the above isn’t superstitious hokum, but can anyone really prove otherwise? I first became interested in feng shui when we moved to a new house that I didn’t really like. It was dark and boxy and made me uncomfortable, but it was close to my husband’s job and we could afford it, which wasn’t easily done in that neighborhood. So I set about improving it by opening up rooms and adding desperately needed new plumbing. We were only a third of the way through the process when my husband lost his job. For the first time in our adult lives, my husband was not working. This was freakish enough to have me consulting astrologers if they had answers, but they didn’t.
But a good friend had the equivalent of a black belt in feng shui. She explained how the whole house was effectively a really bad chi sink—a septic tank of bad energy. My instincts to open up the rooms and improve the plumbing were good but too late and not enough to fix the bad energy.(the basics of feng shui can be found here.)
She helped me create an inviting entryway, when I was feeling anything but welcoming. She showed me—and my husband— how to turn our desks to welcome visitors instead of putting our backs to them. We added crystals and water fountains and lovely wind chimes to invite positive energy to flow unimpeded through our ugly boxy ranch house—which we could no longer afford to fix up. We brought in palm trees and bamboo, added red to dark corners, and in general, improved the atmosphere and our attitudes.
Scoff if you like, but my career took an upturn, and I started making twice the amount of money I’d been making, enough for my husband to return to school and complete a management degree. He immediately had three job offers, and we sold the ugly house to a couple who were retiring and wanted to live near their grandkids. Our improvements made it possible for them to live there because she was in a wheelchair and no other house in the neighborhood had room for one.
I’ve applied the principles of feng shui to my homes ever since. Those of you who have been around a few years may remember when I started researching feng shui for a new book. Basically, feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s simply a philosophy of how to arrange your surroundings in harmony with the earth’s energy—or the natural world. Frank Lloyd Wright did this with architecture and science but the precepts aren’t much different—we must fit ourselves comfortably into the world around us.
There are tons of books and Internet sites explaining a great many feng shui how-tos, most of which will sound silly. But if you apply the ones that work for you—declutter your living space, for example, fix anything that isn’t working, throw out things you hate and add things you love, remove the prickly cactus and add air-purifying bamboo palms—then if nothing else, you’re improving your attitude and spirits. Positive energy can go a long way toward improving your life.
There are even feng shui fixes for improving your love life, although in my new release from Book View Café, The Trouble With Air and Magic, (excerpt) my athletic geek hero doesn’t appreciate my feng shui expert heroine’s ability to screw up his love or his life. Since this book is a contemporary look at the descendants of my psychic historical Malcolms and their logical Ives husbands, my feng shui expert does a wee bit more than rearrange furniture. She can rearrange earth energy and kill people when focused—not that most computer geeks are likely to believe that. But when your life is at stake, any weirdness that works is all that matters. Bring on the lucky charms!
So treat yourself or a loved one to a bit of Valentine candy and enjoy romance with a touch of odd. You might even learn how to fix your chi.
How many of you have applied some of the precepts of feng shui? I don't often give prizes but in honor of Valentine's Day, I'll send a free e-book to a random commenter!