In Chinese, feng shui means "wind and water" and dates back over 3,000 years. Feng shui (pronounced "fung shway") is the practice of arranging your environment to bring a balance of harmony and prosperity into your life.
A key principle is that your environment mirrors your inner self. You can generate inner peace, serenity and prosperity for yourself by living and working in an environment that:
- is comfortable and safe
- is comprised of things that you love
- reflects your personality in a creative way, and
- is clutter-free and well organized!
A second principle of feng shui is that everything is alive, everything is connected and everything contains ch'i (pronounced "chee"). Ch'i is a life force or energy. It is an invisible force and it is always around us.
The objective of feng shui is to capture good ch'i and to keep it alive and fresh. How many times have you walked into a room or a house and felt completely comfortable and at ease? Environments like this have excellent ch'i. Have you ever walked into a room after an argument and felt a heaviness in the air? Ch'i is absorbed into everything in our environment and you can feel the negativity when it is there.
Allowing ch'i to stagnate or become clogged will manifest itself somewhere in your life. You want to capture good ch'i and enable it to meander throughout your house, your landscape, your office, your business ... wherever you are... to nurture you and enable you to deal with life issues more easily.
In feng shui, a bagua map is used to relate life issues to specific areas of your environment. Whether you are at home or at work, the bagua map covers all relevant life issues, such as:
- your career or journey through life
- your relationships ... such as marriage, partnerships, etc.
- your ancestors, your family, your health
- your wealth and prosperity
- your "center" or inner being
- your helpful friends, mentors, teachers, "angels," etc.
- your children and creativity
- your knowledge, wisdom and spirituality, and
- your fame, reputation or "illumination".
<-- Place your front door along this line -->
Typically, when you are trying to change one or more areas of your life, "evidence" of each specific issue may be found in the open, in your environment. For example, clogged or leaky plumbing (including swimming pools) and stoves that are dirty or don't fully work can drain your finances and health. Spiky or thorny plants can cause difficulty with relationships.
On the other hand, a pair of something that you love, placed in your relationship area, can help strengthen a relationship or bring one into your life, if that is your desire. A water feature in your career area can help you find the right job or assist you with your journey through life.
Regardless of whether you are looking for a new job; buying, selling or building a house; renovating property; trying to improve your financial situation; working to strengthen relationships within your family or with your colleagues; get your child into the right college; minimize health issues; find the right contractors, suppliers, vendors, professionals; increase the profits of your business, etc. ... practicing feng shui can make a difference within a short period of time.
Ch'i moves around us, whether we recognize it or not. You can increase your chance of business success and minimize problems by practicing feng shui and encouraging good ch'i to enter your place of business and flow throughout.
Practicing feng shui actively does not have to be noticeable. In fact, feng shui should blend with your surroundings, your culture and your environment. Knowledge and practice of it puts you in stronger competitive position and enables you to capture positive energy and deal more easily with business issues.
Many large corporations have actively practiced feng shui through the years ...in the east as well as in the west. An article in the Business Section of the Boston Sunday Globe (July 22, 2001) highlighted the use of feng shui by Hill Holliday, a prominent New England advertising agency. Other companies that have used feng shui include: Borders Bookstore, Citibank, Coca Cola, Hyatt Hotels, Lucent Technologies, MGM Grand Hotel and Resorts, Mercedes Benz, Merrill Lynch, Motorola, Trump Towers, Universal Studios, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and many more.
In business, you begin by defining your business goals and challenges. Issues are investigated by mapping your business space to the bagua, looking at where and how employees are placed (beginning with the CEO!), and identifying the messages your business is giving based on your office environment and overall surroundings.
You should begin by analyzing what you'd like to be different in your life or business and visualizing the end result. All of your intentions should be positive or lead in a positive direction. Never cast negative thoughts toward another person or thing ... they are likely to come back to you and the pattern will be repeated until you learn to break it. Once your intent is clear, remove all clutter and anything that is uncomfortable or unsafe from your environment and organize everything. Next you can apply the bagua map from your front entrance. In the west (USA, etc.) squaring off your house or business like a tic-tac-toe board and overlaying the map as shown on the Bagua Map page seems to work best.
Once you understand how the different areas of your home or office relate to the different areas of your life, you can study your environment and listen to what it is telling you. Does each area reflect who you are and where you are headed... or does it contain a lot of history that no longer applies? Is each area of your life represented in your environment or do you have missing areas?
Regardless of what you find, you can correct most environments through clear intentions and by applying ch'i enhancements.
You don't need a lot of enhancements. In fact, it is often recommended that you make only one change at a time with specific intent and then track what happens for a few weeks. If you work quickly and make a lot of changes, the energy all around you will be stirred and you'll need to be ready for a whirlwind of activity. You cannot predict what will happen as a result of feng shui. However, when you have good intent and you are clear about what you want, feng shui can really make a difference.
There are several categories of ch'i enhancements. They all include common items that we find in our homes and offices daily. The important thing is to use enhancements that fit your style and your culture. The purpose is to have energy flowing smoothly, not to create imbalances or draw attention to things that are totally out of place. Ch'i enhancements fall into the categories below:
- Art- paintings, sculptures, collections, textiles, etc.
- Color- All colors of the spectrum have elemental associations and are used to activate specific areas ... use colors you love!
- Crystals- round and faceted to circulate ch'i
- Light- such as spotlights, lamps, candles, sunlight.
- Living objects- plants, animals, fish, flowers, etc.
- Mirrors- must be large enough to see your head and in good repair
- Natural Objects-such as rocks, shells, etc.
- Sound- music, musical instruments, wind chimes, bells, etc.
- Water- ponds, birdbaths, fountains, waterfalls, etc.
- Wind Dancers- whirligigs, windsocks, flags, banners, weathervanes, etc.
Feng shui uses the Five Element Theory to balance and harmonize environments. The elements used are: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
Each element has a nourishing cycle ... where one or more elements support or create another element. Each element also has a controlling or destructive cycle where one element diminishes or reduces another.
When the elements are in balance, you have a harmonious environment. When one or more elements are out of balance, the imbalance manifests itself in a variety of ways. It might impact your health since each of our five major organ networks is controlled by one of the elements. It may also manifest itself through your personality, your emotional state, and the way you feel about things and the way you react to situations and people. The elements are represented through color, shape, texture, materials and life form.
A DECT phone is a digital enhanced cordless telephone. Some people are highly sensitive to the high frequency emitted by these phones and feel dizzy, nauseous, and experience flu-like and tinnitus symptoms when sitting within several feet of the base unit. If you have one in your office, sit at least 6 feet away from the base unit. If you have one at home, unplugging the base unit before sleeping creates a healthier sleeping environment. At minimum, keep these phones at least 6 feet away from your bed to minimize exposure to the EMF field while sleeping.
EMFs are electromagnetic fields. They are made up of electric fields, magnetic fields and a combination of electric and magnetic fields at high frequency levels.
AC electric fields are formed whenever a wire is plugged into an outlet, even when the product is not turned on. The higher the voltage, the stronger the electric field.
AC magnetic fields are present whenever a device is turned on. The greater the flow of the electric current, the stronger the magnetic field.
When you plug the power cord for a lamp into a wall socket, an electric field along the cord is created. When the lamp is turned on, the current flow through the cord creates a magnetic field. Meanwhile, the electric field is still present. At high frequency levels electric and magnetic fields cannot be separated; they are known as electromagnetic fields.Why does this matter? More and more information is available which indicates that long term exposure to low frequency fields disrupts the body's electrical system (heart, nerves) and long term exposure to high frequency fields disrupts your body's biology (cell membranes) and produces a biological stress response. Factors that influence your exposure include:
- Type of wiring in place
- Proximity to person
- Length of time spent in the area
The adverse effects of long term exposure to high electric fields (often low frequency) which affect the nervous system include: insomnia, anxiety, depression, aggressive behavior and a higher risk of leukemia.
The adverse effects of long term exposure to high magnetic fields (often high frequency) affects cellular function. Your pituitary, thyroid, adrenal glands regulate stress in your body. If exposure is prolonged, your stress-response system becomes exhausted and your immune system wears down. Long term exposure to high magnetic fields is statistically linked with increases in cancer cell growth rate, Alzheimer's, miscarriage, and birth defects.
The fields drop off with distance. Some people report that they feel better when their exposure to EMFs is reduced.
- Absolutely! Here are some of them:
- Wear natural fibers, select natural fiber décor.
- Use laptops computers on a desk, not lap.
- Avoid placing "active" cell phones on your body.
- Locate power sources away from sitting and sleeping areas.
- Move electrical items away from the bed.
- Use power outlets beside bed vs. behind the bed.
- Don't sleep in metal beds or water beds.
- Sleep on mattresses without metal springs.
- "Quiet" your house before sleeping:
- Shut off cell phones and mobile phones when not in use.
- Shut off wireless internet
- Shut off computers, printers and as many electrical items as possible
- If you are building or renovating: Include ability to turn off bedroom circuits
- Use wiring in conduit to minimize elevated magnetic fields...in offices and bedrooms.
- Maintain indoor humidity levels 40-60%
- Wash arms and hands under cold running water after sitting at the computer.
- Take a salt bath to help remove toxins from your body.
Pay attention to what in on the other side of the wall. Avoid sleeping on the other side of plumbing, stoves, refrigerators, TVs, stereo or other electronic equipment.
- Sleep in a bed and on a mattress without any metal or metal springs.
- Move electric cords away from bed.
- Minimize electronics in your bedroom. Create a quiet room.
- Choose toxin-free, natural fibers and materials.
- Shut off computers, wireless web, cell phones, high frequency mobile phones before sleeping.
- Remove all clutter.
- Return to natural cleaning solutions.
Om Mani Pad Me Hum is a mantra that is used throughout feng shui practices, particularly when you do the Three Secrets Reinforcement. It is a prayer of compassion. I have noticed that it helps to calm your heart and ground and center your energy.
The ritual of red envelopes is rooted in traditional Chinese folk custom and culture. The color red symbolizes good luck and power. The rectangular shape resembles that of ancient shields and symbolizes protection. On special occasions, such as weddings or the Chinese New year, money is exchanged in this way.
When a feng shui expert imparts any sacred wisdom or mystical cures, one or more red envelopes with money inside are presented to the expert. This red envelope ritual operates on a number of levels. Initially, it expresses respect and sincerity toward the expert. Buying or making red envelopes - any unused red envelope will do - and presenting it to a known expert, may open your mind to the possibility that the expert can help you. The red envelopes mystically protect the expert's energy from being hurt or weakened for revealing sacred knowledge. After the consultation is completed or information is exchanged, the expert takes the red envelopes home, and blesses them (via the Three Secrets Reinforcement) to strengthen and increase the effectiveness of the information shared. This symbolically harnesses ancient wisdom, empowering the specific information shared during the consultation.
As in life, the value you place on something is related to the value you actually receive. The number of red envelopes to be presented varies by the number and type of solutions. Multiples of nine are auspicious. You can place one or more dollars in each envelope and give 9, 18, 27 ... 108 envelopes (or any combination of 9). You can also place one or more coins in each envelope. Coins add weight, which is also auspicious. The intent with which the envelopes are given and the weight that the money represents, adds to the cure. A monetary offering according to your ability and feelings presented in red envelopes is appropriate and appreciated at the conclusion of each feng shui consultation or exchange of information.
According to tradition, the red envelopes:
- Show the giver's sincere intention, appreciation and respect for the sacred knowledge shared.
- Protect the practitioner from any harm for revealing secret information.
- Strengthen and increase the effectiveness of the information given.
- Acknowledges the integrity of the working relationship.
Red envelopes can be purchased at card stores, often at Staples, in any Chinatown, at Feng Shui Shopper or you can make them out of red paper or paint/color a white envelope red. In a pinch, use a new black pen and write "RED ENVELOPE" on a white envelope.
Thank you for honoring this ancient tradition.
- Clutter? Remove it, including dead plants, forgotten piles.
- Doors? Well maintained and open fully.
- Windows? They should be clean and in excellent operation.
- Plumbing and electric? Correct all leaks and malfunctioning electrical outlets.
- Furniture? It should be clean and in excellent condition.
- Visual cues? Uplifting and inspiring.