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 . . . .