Feng Shui: An Ancient Approach for Your Family's Home
Maybe one of your spring projects will be to reorganize your home or apartment. Perhaps another will be to improve day-to-day family interactions. Wait! You just may be able to do both by following the ancient art of Feng Shui.
What Is Feng Shui?
For centuries, the Chinese have attributed family happiness and well-being to intangible forces both in and around the home. Feng Shui (literally, wind and water), also called geomancy, is a method of promoting health, success and family harmony by harnessing positive energy, or chi, from the environment. This is done by using special Feng Shui cures such as mirrors, wind chimes and crystals to deflect bad luck; arranging furniture in ways which encourage the free flow of positive energy; and decorating with colors (such as green) known to induce feelings of harmony and peace.
This Eastern art, in existence for more than 600 years, is only now gaining popularity in mainstream America. According to Robin Lennon, faculty member of the Metropolitan Institute of Interior Design’s Feng Shui consultant training program, and author of “Home Design from the Inside Out”, this widespread interest is reflective of our current quest for answers as we move toward a new millennium. Calling it “an art of hope and practical magic,” she points out that “Feng Shui, unlike some ancient arts, believes that humankind can intervene in the direction their fate is taking them by manipulating or working with their environment.” The Ba-Gua, a map which shows how energy moves within a defined space, is used as a guide to placing furniture and other decorative objects in the home to enhance the balance within.
The Feng Shui Living Room
Worth a try? In the living room, often the hub of family life, the sofa should be placed against a wall to provide a feeling of security and grounding, and people seated there should have an unobstructed view of the doorway. Low, wide furniture with big soft cushions represents “soil energy” and has a supportive, nurturing quality. Curved furniture encourages the flow of energy around the room. Displays of family pictures reinforce a sense of family cohesion.
The Feng Shui Kitchen
In the kitchen, the heart of the home, the oven should be situated so the cook is at least partially facing the door. A small mirror placed above the stove can be useful in attracting wealth; bamboo flutes or crystals can be hung to enhance safety and peace. The color red should be avoided, since there is already heat generated from cooking, and too much fire energy can cause family arguments. (So that’s why the kids always squabble at mealtime!)
The Feng Shui Bathroom
If the bathroom has no windows, mirrors (often called the “aspirin of Feng Shui”) should be placed on every wall. Dads, take note: the toilet lid must be kept down to prevent positive energy from being sucked into the bowl. Drains should be plugged for the same reason. The use of metallic patterns, perhaps incorporated into a wallpaper design, help to activate energy on those hard-to-get-moving mornings.
The Feng Shui Kid’s Room
According to Gina Lazenby, director of Feng Shui Network International, and author of The Feng Shui House Book, children’s rooms “should be simple and cozy and filled with symbols of possibility and imagination.” Preferably, rooms should be square or rectangular rather than irregularly shaped, and the bed, positioned so the child can see the door, should never be placed directly beneath an overhead beam. Furniture and shelving with curved edges encourage children to grow creatively and remain flexible, and a large mirror, placed somewhere away from the bed, helps develop a strong sense of self. Tall cupboards and the use of vertical stripes encourage a child’s energy to grow upward. A brass bell or set of wind chimes is useful in activating good luck.
According to the Feng Shui Institute of America, “The colors with which we surround ourselves will invade our consciousness with special meanings.” Magenta sparks higher mental, emotional and spiritual processes; saffron kindles love; and green expresses expansion and growth while promoting tranquillity. Who knows? The use of these colors might just nourish a loving youngster to blossom—physically, intellectually and emotionally.
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