Feng shui for the amateur

As with most things, I know enough about feng shui to be almost completely ineffective. But I love the idea – in fact, am completely romanced by the idea – that I can change my life just by moving some stuff around.

My first exposure to feng shui was in a book I bought for a friend. She was only vaguely interested, but I fell for it – hard. Completely infatuated, I recruited my husband and we spent the better part of a day trying to figure it all out before he died of boredom. (RIP, dear.) Particularly mystifying was the concept of the four celestial animals. After poring over it, we determined we had too much tortoise. I can’t remember why it was a problem to have too much tortoise, but it seemed alarming at the time.

Too much tortoise?
Too much tortoise?

I eventually enlisted the help of my friend, Susan Nelson, feng shui consultant and trainer extraordinaire, to give me the run-down on my chi. Here is what I learned. Am I too caught up in the metaphor? You tell me:

  1. There’s too much kids’ stuff in our playroom, also known as our partnership and romance area. No kidding. Would that be the amorphous blob of toys that encroaches on the rest of the house like a lava flow? Or the fact that we can’t have so much as a 5-minute conversation without being interrupted by one of our children?
  2. The extension to our partnership area (usually a good thing) is vast, empty, and underutilized. It’s called our deck. Without much thought, we built this huge, once-lovely structure under a 300-year-old oak tree that drops about 5 million acorns a year, as well as branches, leaves and other crud. Not only is it dangerous to stand out there, but as I mentioned in a previous post, it looks like a shipwreck that’s been raised from submersion and plopped in our backyard, barnacles and all.
  3. Our career area is in the toilet. Literally. Which explains a lot. Not much I can do besides relocate the bathroom to another part of the house at great expense, or perhaps paint it red, ugh. There is something just fundamentally wrong about a red bathroom.
  4. The prosperity area of the yard is overrun with weeds. At the height of summer you can hardly get to it. Oh, and it has a compost heap in it. We all know compost is only one organic step up from garbage.
  5.  The power corner of the house is the place the cat sleeps. Enough said.

I’ve tried to correct some of these deficiencies. Heaven knows I’ve weeded my prosperity corner, but who would have guessed it? Weeds grow back. I’ve followed some of Susan’s easier suggestions – hanging bells, moving furniture. I’ve decluttered, washed windows, and changed lightbulbs. But I don’t think I’ve made any great strides. While I’d like to tell myself things are changing for the better, I’m not sure I don’t just have bad energy flowing through a much cleaner house.

I guess I should ask Susan to come back and take another look. Maybe she’d be proud of the progress I’ve made. Maybe she’d have more suggestions to keep me on track. Or maybe she’d just tell me I’m still a little heavy on the tortoise.

Are you a believer? What miracles has feng shui wrought for you?

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12 thoughts on “Feng shui for the amateur

  1. Sarah, This is hilarious! I am supposed to hang something (bell? something red?, I forgot) from the southwest-most corner of our house, which might be the laundry room to balance something else I forgot. And our bed placement is doomed for sex. That explains everything. Very funny. Thanks Julie R

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  2. Sarah, I love that your cat loves to sleep in the power corner. Animals “get it” innately! To make you feel better – red is not required in your bathroom! (Better colors are black or white, IF you like black or white.) Or more simply – just keep the toilet seat down and make sure your front door opens all the way. Here’s your guideline: If it feels good, it’s working. No tortoise concerns, no red paint, no disturbing your cats power naps required! 😀

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  3. That’s fantastic. I want to get a consultant in now to find out how our careers are positioned relative to our toilet.

    I once tried to buy a house while working night shift. The real estate agent gave me a follow up call about one at 2pm in the afternoon (aka THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT) and before I woke up properly I’d answered the phone and held a muffled conversation in which I told her I didn’t think the house in question was “dragon-friendly” enough.

    She said she knew exactly what I meant.

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  4. Oh man I love this! My mom tried to feng shui our house once and my brother ended up with my baby pictures all over his room – I think feng shui was my mom’s excuse for making his girlfriends feel uncomfortable in there.

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  5. hahaha! I know nothing of feng shui but I am still greatly alarmed at your abundance of tortoise. It sounds problematic. And the cat in the power corner? Too funny. And likely true. Cats are the worst. That’s why they’re awesome! 😉

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