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Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Little Feng Shui Fighting

Early morning on a recent day, the soft light fell just right on the four-panel screen depicting a mesmerizingly calm scene – trees, water, mountains. Two people walk toward a home where another stands in the window.


Staring at this idyllic setting hanging on the wall was transporting, taking me to a place of perfect feng shui – and recalling my introduction to it years ago.

While this ancient Chinese art of placement has principles that apply generally, I discovered that every principle does not fit every perrson; a certain way of placing furniture or plants, for example, might promote harmony and the flow of chi, or positive energy, in one person but not in another.

Learning that while interviewing an expert in feng shui (literally “wind” and “water”) in the 1990s helped me get over my disbelief at Lyn’s not loving the rug I brought home with such great expectation. After hauling the 4 X 6-foot Oriental rug home on the Atlanta subway, I toted it a few blocks to our home and proudly unrolled it onto the floor, noting how well this carpet style would fit our Victorian-era house.

Lyn begged to differ, explaining it just “isn’t right.”

I briefly tried to change her mind, but I knew that would make no more sense than it would if she walked through my garden and asked me to move a Japanese black pine because it was “badly placed.”  I rule the garden, but Lyn's the chief of indoor style. Usually. We still laugh about this early feng shui surprise.

Disagreements on feng shui (pronounced fung shway) are rare with us. We both like furniture on angles; our bed placement must allow us to see the doorway; our doors cannot open with a stairway right in our faces; we want our kitchen to catch morning light, with the living room getting sunset. All these prefererences help promote the flow of chi in both of us. Ironically, these were our likes before we learned about feng shui.

But the rug is an example of how individuals do feel differently about certain objects and placements. The feng shui practioneer I wrote a newspaper story about explained that these differences are determined by a number of factors, including date, hour and place of birth.

Undaunted by the rug dispute, I came home another day with another piece for the house. It had good feng shui for both of us. Still does. After hanging on a wall of our Atlanta home for several years and here in Connecticut for another 11, it continues to be right.


Which in the end is what feng shui is: knowing something is right when you feel it. And you can’t help but feel it when the soft early morning light falls on it just right . . . .

24 comments:

  1. great post!.....no, my DH has never brought a thing for the house home!....haha...I like a house that from most of the rooms you can see clear around the house..No it probabaly wouldnt pass a Feng Shui inspection......

    I am learning Chinese one stoke and its hard.to do. But you can never go wrong with Chinese art fitting in your style...except for the occasional garish piece..My interest is peeked about the rest of the house..yes I am a voyeur.haha

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    1. Thank you much, Sharon, but you may not want to get your DH started on the shopping; once some of us get going, you can't stop us.

      I admire your studying Chinese and appreciate your peeking around. I did the same on your blog, admiring that brickwork at your place.

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  2. Ha! Before I read this, JIm and I spent hours this morning looking at furniture samples and mentally moving everything around in the living area. I was amazed at his ideas (you think we should do wha??) and he was mystified at my concepts. We kept coming back to what could be seen from the door, flow, and other feng shui principles that neither of us knew we knew! No coin flipping was involved, but we did settle on two new pieces and a look that feels Just Precisely Right.

    I enjoyed your very timely post!

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    1. I'm pleased the piece resonated with you, Laurrie – and that you two agreed on choices; household harmony is good. Important, you *knew* the pieces were right.

      I can tell you, some people never feel feng shui and continually fight with their own opinions – and one another's.

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  3. I don't know anything about Feng Shui but I do know when a place feels good or an item is right for a space. This time of year, when the birds begin to migrate, I always get the urge to move furniture around, change the pictures on the wall, shuffle the objects d art. This mystifies my Dearly Beloved. I have told him that it is better than demanding a move to a different house which is what a lot of people do. We are in agreement about that anyway. The poor garden gets the shuffle from time to time only it is the plants that have to deal with my mood of migration.

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    1. On the contrary, you *do* know something about feng shui. You know what you like. And that can change from time to time, as the light shifts, or you get tired of looking at a chair in a certain place. As for plants in the garden, mine should be on wheels.

      Let's face it, without change life would be a roaring bore.

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  4. Oh my! My bed faces a wall, my kitchen gets the sunset and the livingroom gets the sunrise. For me, Feng Shui is experienced when I don't have to deal with someone else's stuff :).

    I do have to straighten (realign) just about every item on my desk after the cleaning people have been in the office but I suspect that has more to do with OCD.

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    1. Hey Sue, you prove what I always say about feng shui: It's what works for *you*. If it feels right to you, then it's good feng shui.

      The desk-item straightening works in the home, too; if visitors start playing with my stuff unconsciously, I later have to make it "right." When I used to work in an office, I did the same thing. OCD or feng shui?

      All that said, Sue, I'd give serious thought to turning that bed. See how it feels. I'm just sayin'.

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    2. If I moved the bed, serious feng shui consequences would result as the bed would no longer be perfectly aligned with the ceiling fan. Just the thought of that may result in sleepless nights.

      Maybe it would be easier for me to move into the guest room. That bed faces the door.

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    3. Hmmm, OK, if you like the guest room well enough, that would work – if it has a ceiling fan. (Perfectly aligned.)

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  5. I love how the light falling on this painting made you pause to enjoy the beauty of the moment. (By the way, that painting is so incredibly peaceful!) When we intertwine our life with someone else's it makes tremendous sense that we care as much about their happiness and comfort as our own, and vice versa. Feng shui seems to be based on a good dose of common sense: arrange things around you in a way that makes you (and your family) happy.

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    1. Absolutely, Rosemary – to me feng shui is much like planting: You know placement is good when it feels right.

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  6. My introduction to Feng Shui was also in the '90s. I had a master assess my apartment and my cabin, and once the minor adjustments were made, whoosh! My life changed big time, and ultimately for the better..although when that energy is unblocked, you have to be prepared for some "clearing out."
    We have had other encounters with this practice, all of which were beneficial. I smiled when I read what you wrote about "feeling" what is right. Just the other day, my husband suggested we stop leaving the bags containing our dog's "deposits" anywhere near the front door. Duh!

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    1. The '90s must have been the feng shui decade for many of us. In addition to "feeling," better add "smelling" and the other senses to that list of factors involved in feng shui. Indeed, duh!

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  7. I enjoyed your post, Lee. I totally believe in Feng Sui in the way that you described. Certain things just feel right, and it's just the same in the garden for me too. Your screen is beautiful. All the best! :-)

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  8. I'm glad you like what you see and read, Beth. The fact that you cultivate your personal feng shui helps explain your distinctively creative lily karma. Cheers on you.

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  9. Feng Shui is helpful, but depends on the person as you noted. Our former Virginia residence was assessed by a practitioner and was in good shape. The new house we just purchased is probably not quite as good in principle, but we love it and feel good in it.

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    1. Big congratulations on your new house. Here's to good feng shui in it. Cheers!

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  10. I love this post! I'm a big believer in "just right" and have needed to ponder a bit why something wasn't "just right" in either the garden or house before being able to explain it. You and I have many of the same preferences. :o) My classroom is very bright and busy but I come home to a calm palette and a sense of homey snugness. My husband, however, gave up trying to help me decorate long ago. Typical conversation:
    Him: "When did you buy new curtains?"
    Me: "Six months ago"
    Him: "Really? They're nice."

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    1. I got a kick out of your conversation. And I'm delighted you like the post. Wouldn't it be interesting to learn how our similar preferences played out in walks through one another's home and garden.

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  11. Hello Lee, I am very excited to nominate you for a Beautiful Blogger Award because I just love your blog! To accept all you have to do is tell us 7 things about yourself and nominate 15 other bloggers. You can find the BBA thumbnail on my blog if you'd like to post it on yours and, you know, show it off :)

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    1. Hellooo, Rosemary. I'm delighted you enjoy my blog. And, given how inspiring I find your words and pictures on *your* blog, you honor me with this nomination. Thank you.

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  12. Hi Lee, It has always seemed to me that Feng shui has wisdom and common sense behind it. Instinct (and sometimes your wife) tells you when something is right or wrong. I am sure there is a perfect carpet waiting out there somewhere. The painting is a keeper.

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    1. Hey, thanks, Jennifer. Glad you like the screen. Definitely, common sense and knowing what works for you are key. And, true, a second opinion doesn't hurt. Cheers.

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