Can Feng Shui Help You Live Better?

by Karen Havenor

Is Feng Shui a buzz-word? Or, does this ancient knowledge
contain something that can illuminate and improve modern
life? To answer the question, let's start with a definition
of the term feng shui.

Feng shui is a philosophy and a practice that originated
in China, but all societies have the knowledge feng shui
contains. It is basically an environmental science that
when applied contributes to the well-being of an individual
or community. Feng Shui is essentially about creating a
proper and balanced flow of energy through the art of

Whether at home or at work or around out communities, feng
shui as practiced in the West today guides us in creating
environments that support us and set us at ease.! Some feng
shui practices simply make sense: natural light, fresh air,
and clean environments are good for the well being of both
our bodies and spirits.

Other environmental considerations might not occur to us
so obviously as potentially beneficial or harmful until we
recognize problem areas in our lives and take positive
steps to improve them. When we arrange our surroundings
properly, we are able to connect to the energy of the space
around us, bringing about desired changes and improvements.

Have you ever noticed that some spaces instinctively feel
right? Whether they were created by intentional design or
by someone with a subconscious gift for placement and flow,
there are feng shui principles at work bringing the place
into harmony.

One principle is the balance of yin and yang. According to
feng shui, these two forces always act together in creating
energy. In balance, there is well-being. However, when one
f! orce dominates, the imbalance can be detrimental. These
positive and negative forces are opposites, yes, but yin
and yang are interdependent. That is, without knowing
softness, one cannot understand hardness. Stillness and
motion, low and high, cold and hot: these are examples of
yin forces and yang forces, which at their extreme can
change into the other. For example, sunstroke can make
victims shiver and ice can feel like a burn. In feng shui,
the object is to balance opposites.

Another principle at work in spaces that feel harmonious
is the idea of Chi. There is no exact Western translation,
but Chi can be understood as life force, the power of
weather and sun, the quality of inanimate things, and so
forth. "Energy" is the closest word. Acupuncture is Chinese
medicine that restores health by unblocking the flow of Chi
in our bodies. Feng shui uses placement to unblock Chi in
our surroundings. In both cases, proper flow of Chi
restores harmony and therefore well-being.

To improve the balance of yin and yang, as well as the
proper flow of Chi, you could find very detailed
instructions in the plethora of books on the subject. These
two principles are an excellent beginning point for
applying feng shui to your surroundings. However, you need
not refer to another source at all to begin right now with
the simplest and most powerful thing you can do to affect
the quality of your life for the better. Put simply, clear
your clutter.

Pick a place to begin that will give you momentum. In
other words, start small and complete the job. Organize a
drawer, empty a closet, clear a table top. Toss or give
away what you deep down know you should, and then neatly
put away the rest. Now, notice how you feel around that
clear and clean place. If you like the feeling, continue.
Over time, de-clutter everywhere. When that's complete, if
you like the fee! ling of uplift and renewal that results,
you've reached the point when it's time to get the
resources and books. Use them to delve into the fascinating
art and science of feng shui.
The Frugal