June 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
My feng shui friend Janet was born in 1952, the year of the Water Dragon. This year 2012 is also a Water Dragon year, which occurs every 60 yeas. To commemorate the event, Janet purchased a bamboo plant in a Dragon container. She sent me an email from Austin with the above photo, asking if it’s auspicious to place this bamboo in her entrance. I told her it can be fortunate, and best if the Dragon faces the door.
The bamboo plant is healthy, but the container is not very attractive. This ceramic Dragon looks like a goofy cartoon character, not the powerful and regal Chinese Dragon. And see how the entry is just not inviting? That’s because the items in the entry don’t blend well together. The Dragon container is too decorative and heavy for the glass table, and the table should be outdoors. The silk flowers in the orange basket are not well arranged. It’s best to just remove the basket. The antique chair looks uncomfortable to sit in, and is missing a few pieces. Of course, Janet never uses the phone book propped up in the corner.
Janet understood how her disparate items are not unified in theme or design. She saw the new direction she could take, and started making changes. I also recommended that Janet add a window treatment to add warmth. A fabric curtain in a light gold or vanilla shade would work with the floor. The curtain should come to the floor, not stop at the window, for better luck and a sense of abundance.
Last week I heard that Truman Capote’s first novel Summer Crossing was being made into a movie, so I read it. In one scene, the heroine of Summer Crossing, an earlier incarnation of Holly Golightly from Breakfast At Tiffany’s, visits the family home of her unsuitable suitor:
“Mrs. Manzers’ furniture had this look of anonymous adequacy: chairs enough, plenty of lamps, a few too many objects. It was, however, only the objects that reflected a theme: two Buddhas, splitting their sides, supported a library of three volumes; an Indian maiden, made of pink wax, carried on a dreamy smiling ceaseless flirtation with Mickey Mouse, whose doll-sized self grinned atop the radio; and, like comic angels, a bevy of cloth clowns gazed down from the tall heights of a shelf.” More interior design with disparate items that make little sense together.
This summer, take a new look at the items that you’ve placed in your surroundings. You probably don’t have a pink wax Indian maiden, but what exactly do you have? And why? Spend some time looking, move things around, edit down if too many small things, and reduce clutter so your material items better blend to create a peaceful flow of energy. We can all learn from Janet’s entry. Good luck!
April 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
While reading the memoir by British aristocrat Ivana Lowell “Why Not Say What Happened” I noticed many circumstances of bad feng shui in her life. Even though she was very wealthy and lived in stately manors, here is a description of an early childhood home in Mayfair, England:
“My mother’s idea of decorating was to place as many rickety antiques as could fit into a room onto a comparable number of worn antique rugs. The place was always untidy and unruly. If a television set in our living room broke, the replacement would simply be put on top. I have a photo of me as a small child perched on an old broken sofa next to several defunct TV sets and other pieces of unidentifiable furniture. I look confused and out of place, as though I had just been dumped and left in some builder’s scrap yard. It is only when I look closely at the picture that I can tell that I am, in fact, in our drawing room.”
This sounds gruesome due to clutter, neglect, and bad feng shui! About antiques; be cautious with antiques. They can carry energy of the previous owners, and that is not always good. Don’t live with an antique if it does not feel right, or is rickety and not strong enough to be used. And notice exactly what the antique is. For example, an antique gun is unlucky just because it is a gun!
Don’t end up with piles of unused furniture, or piles of computer equipment and other gadgets. This stuff takes up way too much space to allow it to just keep piling up. You don’t want that “left in some builder’s scrap yard” feeling in any room of your home.
Children are sensitive and know what’s going on. They know when a room is a cluttered mess. I’ve seen infants start to cry when they are carried into a room that is chaotic. So for the sake of your kids and to keep family peace, tidy up and don’t let clutter pile up.
If you don’t have kids, or you don’t share your home with anyone, still be aware of the environment that you create. Ivana Lowell describes the studio of her musician father (who turns out to not be her father):
“(His) apartment was only slightly more normal. It was dark and smelled of halva and cologne. His piano was a studio at the end of dark, long, and narrow corridor. When we visited, he would often lock himself in the room and try to compose his music. All we would hear was the sound of the metronome ticking in an otherwise painfully silent room.”
Of course this does not end well. Air out the place, add some lights, paint the walls, and add bright color and patterns. Play music to break the monotony of the metronome.
Bad feng shui continues in another childhood home:
“My bedroom was at the very back of the house, and the easiest route there was by means of the narrow staircase at the end of one wing. I hated going to bed. I was convinced that the house was haunted (I still am), and my room was cold, damp, and lonely. Every night I felt as though I was being exiled into some unfriendly and isolated world… One night I experimented to see what would happen if I screamed at the top of my lungs. After ten minutes of yelling, I realized that no one could hear me.”
This led to, “I think I was about six years old when Mike began to visit me in my bedroom.” The author decribes her childhood molestation by Mike, a handyman who worked on her family’s estate.
The author’s life challenges continue, all in horrible feng shui environments in castles and estates of the wealthiest and most privileged people in the world.
Some things in life we can do something about, and some things in life we cannot change. But we can all make the conscious choice to live with good feng shui by cleaning up messes and being aware of what we chose to live with. Good feng shui closes the door to chaos and violence, and opens the door to peace, harmony, and success.