Wanting to make changes to our Arizona home many years ago, I happened to meet someone who claimed she knew just what to do. Although she worked for a pharmaceutical company, she had a consulting practice on the side. Karen explained the process and gave me the names of two of her clients, Cherie and Jane to talk to. It turns out that Cherie wanted to sell her house but had no offers in seven months. Jane had constant colds and headaches and wondered if her home was the culprit. I just wanted our two-story house to feel less impersonal. We had a lot of space that we didn’t use. Though our goals differed, the way the three of us achieved them was the same. So who did we call? Ghostbusters! No, not Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis the parapsychologists who ran a ghost catching business in the popular movie from the mid-80s. No, we called a Feng Shui consultant…of course!
From my journal: May 11, 1999 Fountain Hills, Arizona
“It’s overwhelming…K says she can help. Will see if her suggestions make a difference…”
Long interested in Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of object placement, I read everything I could on the subject. Though over 3,000 years old, twenty-four years ago when I first heard of feng shui, it wasn’t practiced in my circles. Friends instead suggested buying more furnishings or hiring an interior decorator to make our house more comfortable. One concern I had was I didn’t want to buy items just for the sake of filling up rooms. And the other was while interior decorators are experts in decor, I wanted to keep our belongings and make adjustments based more on how our spaces felt versus looked.
Literally meaning “wind” and “water”, feng shui is based on the connection people have with their environment. Its goal is to create balance by arranging furniture and items in living areas with the natural world, thereby establishing harmony within the home.
Was I skeptical when Karen showed up at our front door one May morning with a bagua in hand? For sure! But being all for positive energy flow, or ch’i as it is known, I thought it was worth a try. Before touring our house, we sat at our dining room table and I listened as she explained how the bagua, an energy map that she laid over our floor plans worked. Meaning “eight”, each section of the guide relates to a life area, such as career, family, or health. Each quadrant is associated with shapes, colors, numbers, seasons and the five elements—earth, metal, water, wood, and fire. At the very center of the bagua is the ninth area that represents yourself and your overall wellness. So much info to take in!
The remedy for our house? Simply redistributing items in rooms. Once I switched out a rocking chair for a recliner, moved a piece of art from the dining area to the living room, it felt more balanced. With the addition of fire elements, like terra cotta pots, the living area was more inviting. Outside, we moved around our patio furniture, and I found I spent more time in the backyard. Buying items such as candles, rugs, and pots was a small price to pay for the big difference they made. I implemented most of Karen’s suggestions, but one I was reluctant to do. At the time we had a large fish tank in our foyer which just happened to be in our “career” area. Karen said it was a career obstacle, so we begrudgingly moved it. The result? A month later, Robert got a work promotion, and I was offered additional writing jobs!
Feng shui can enhance your home and in turn, enrich your life. But don’t just take my word for it. Karen’s other clients would agree. Cherie rearranged furniture, and bought pillows and mirrors that helped facilitate ch’i flow and activate stagnant areas in her home. Two weeks later, she received two offers on her house and accepted one! And once Jane cleared the “health and family” quadrants in her home, her physical ailments subsided. Learning how to implement the principles of feng shui in our home indeed made ours feel cozier. More relaxing and harmonious, too. Hiring a feng shui consultant really did help us create what we wanted and needed. Just the right balance.