In times like these, peace and serenity are hard to come by. Quite frankly, I need all the help I can get to achieve a sense of calm acceptance. The world is in flux, and nothing seems to make sense. This is a time like no other: we’re all stressed, and we’re all pretty confused. We need some sense of order and structure in our new world. The little things count and, whilst the world outside is going crazy, I realized it was time to introduce some positive energy into my home. I’ve always wanted to learn about feng shui and, as the saying goes, if not now, when? It will restore some order to this flux and, hopefully, make me a happy little guru.
What is feng shui?
Feng shui is all about energy flow. Literally meaning ‘wind and water’, the concept focuses on these two all-powerful elements. Flowing throughout the earth, they are imperative for human survival: all living elements contain them. Chi, an enigmatic force, is wholly omnipotent and is necessary for life-giving forces. Wind and water carry the chi, creating a symphony of positive and enabling energy. There are several more elements to note: earth, wood, fire, and metal. Together, they influence the way you should organize your life – and your home.
Indeed, feng shui promotes chi with a system of laws, designed to dictate the arrangement and orientation of items in a room. It is, in other words, the art of placement. The Ancient Chinese used it in the design of buildings; it is still a prominent impetus behind the composition of homes. The philosophy is guided by harmonious living with the natural world. The ultimate goal is peace and the balance of yin (bad) and yang (good) energy, provided by the key tenets of space and airflow.
Make the Most of Light
Feng shui constantly reinforces the importance of light, placing emphasis on its necessity. It understands light to represent fire, which is the strongest manifestation of energy. Greatly enhancing the chi of a space, it replenishes positive energy. So, the philosophy claims, you must fill your home with as much light as possible.
If you can, prioritize natural light, bringing the outside in and reinforcing the feng shui ideal of living in harmony with nature. Clean your windows as much as possible, get rid of curtains, and make sure no furniture or ornaments block your windows. Place mirrors at particular angles to reflect the light further around your room. In fact, mirrors are great: they invite energy into the space and focus it, whilst expanding your views (literally and metaphorically).
Interestingly, feng shui understands windows to be the eyes of adults, and the voices of children. Keep them clear. Their importance is pivotal.
If, however, you have small windows – or your room is north or east facing and so gets limited sun, artificial light can work too. Darkness represents the neglect of certain aspects of your life, so the key is to avoid it as much as you possibly can.
Tip: feng shui is all about balance, so make sure you’re lighting isn’t too harsh.
Water is one of the most important tenets of feng shui. So much so, the art form was named after the energy. Get yourself a fountain, respecting, and promoting all the good that the energy has to offer. Its size makes little difference, but make sure that the water flows towards the center of your home, encouraging opportunity to – quite literally – pour into your world. For optimum results, place it near your front door, the entryway for good energy.
You need to protect it, too, so keep your bathroom doors closed! Water symbolically leaves your home through the bathroom (sinkholes, bath plugs, and toilets), so keeping the door closed will banish all sources of escape. You don’t want your wealth to be drained, so keep that door shut!
Buy Some New Plants
According to feng shui, plants embody life energy. They encourage a certain vitality and health, as well as promoting that all-important connection to the natural world. Buying plants is so easy, and aesthetically pleasing to boot. But there are certain feng shui suggestions to make sure you make the most of your new, green friends.
Bamboo is particularly important in feng shui: it is a tree that is thought to keep negative thoughts and energy at bay. According to feng shui, it is lucky, too: it promotes courage and prosperity. It’s a no brainer.
A jade plant is understood to be the plant of money. It is evergreen, keeping that color alive all throughout the year. Be careful: if it grows too tall, it can disrupt the flow of chi in your room.
Tip: if you can, place some plants on top of the kitchen cabinets. Feng shui sees the space as one collecting dust, so placing your plant there can remove any dead weight that may be holding you back in your life.
Introduce Different Shapes
Shapes are also key, so have an abundance of them in your room. Feng shui suggests that they represent different elements (fire, earth, water, wood, and metal) so you need a mixture to achieve the best possible space.
- Squares = earth
- Rectangles = wood
- Triangles = fire
- Wavy = water
- Round = metal
Having all of these in your room will give you the feelings of completeness and balance that feng shui promotes.
Arrange Your Bed Properly
The placing of your bed is, actually, far more impactful than you may think. It is the most important piece of furniture you own: you spend ⅓ of your life in it. It clearly has a significant effect on your energy. Plus, feng shui understands it to be the manifestation of your career. It is so, so important to place it well, keeping the chi at its ultimate.
So put it in the ‘commanding position’ which, if done correctly, will be reflected in your positioning in life. Make sure it lies diagonally to the door, ensuring that you can see it from your bed. If this isn’t possible, place a mirror accordingly, enabling you to see the door whilst you’re lying down. Regardless of anything, though, you must never be in a straight line with your door. Do the same with your desk, stove, and any other important pieces of furniture.
Other things to remember:
- Don’t store anything under your bed (other than storage boxes). Clutter creates negative energy, and having any under your bed will stop any chances of you getting the good night’s sleep you really need.
- Make sure you can access both sides of the bed.
Tip: each bedroom has a different feng shui, so more individual tailoring can be done. The bed is not the only thing to care about!
I absolutely abhor clutter. It stresses me out. And, according to feng shui, it is the worst thing to have. It encourages dirt, meaning that you are allowing negative chi to collect. It also implies that you own a lot of objects you don’t particularly love. And, in feng shui, you must love everything you own. If you don’t, you’re just creating blocks of negative energy. If that wasn’t bad enough, a Japanese legend tells of how, in 100 years, your clutter will turn into demons. Umm… no thanks.
And just some day-to-day tips to make the flow of your day mimic the flow of your home: serene, relaxed, and zen.
- Always enter your home through the front door. Doors are ‘the mouth of chi’ and represent how chi enters your life. They are sacred – respect them, and use the front door to keep that energy flowing.
- Open other doors to at least 90 degrees. They are known to represent communication, so keeping them wide will allow as much opportunity to enter as possible. Make sure they all work properly, too, to ensure that energy flows as smoothly as it can.
- Open your windows! Harnessing the core element of wind whilst improving the importance of air quality, keeping your windows open is pivotal. It will reinforce the idea of bringing nature into your room, and create movement within it. Hello, good energy flow!
- On top of this, clean air is considered paramount for the right balance of chi. Get yourself an air purifier.
- Keep human interaction a prominent part of your day. You’ll stay positive.
- Take off your shoes! Low-level energy is considered to sink to ground level, and shoes may carry it around. The practice is prominent in Asian cultures – you should do it too. Keep those bad energies out of your living environment!
And there you have it. Some simple (ish) tips for controlling the energy in this bizarre, tumultuous world of ours.