Transform Your Personal Space with Feng ShuiAuthor: Laura Wasserman
A popular Western conception of feng shui is that’s it’s simply a way to organize and streamline the possessions within your home. However, this ancient technique is more than a way to de-clutter, it’s a symbolic Chinese system of aesthetics that when practiced can bring harmony to your home. The literal translation of feng shui is “wind and water,” and the practice of feng shui accounts for astronomy, environment, and the natural elements when planning the layout of a building. Feng shui advises the strategic placement of objects within any given building so they remain in harmony with the surrounding environment and inspire positive energy and balance. Factors that determine each positive location include the year the individual was born, the surrounding natural environment, and movements of the solar system.
With origins dating back to the third century B.C. during the Han Dynasty in China, feng shui was historically practiced with a compass-style instrument that read the stars and determined the North-South orientations of Chinese cities. Feng shui was viewed as a tool to ensure the health, wealth and prosperity of the imperial dynasties, and is still used today as an element of traditional architecture in China. The purpose of feng shui in modern culture is to create human environments that harness good qi: the literal translation of qi is “life force energy,” a state that can swing between positive and negative energies according to the structure of your home and its interaction with your surrounding environment.
In addition to the placement of objects and furniture within your home, there are products and simple techniques that will help you create balance in your home.
Wind chimes are an instrumental component of feng shui, however they must be strategically placed. The sound of a wind chime is believed to activate or enliven the Chi or “energy” in an area, and the melodic sound of a wind chime will subtly alter your own mood, which in turn will enhance the energy and peace of your environment. Choose wind chimes that correspond to the size of your space—choose a smaller chime for offices and bedrooms and large wind chimes for open outdoor spaces. Use wind chimes made from a material that corresponds to each area’s element. For example, a southeastern room corresponds to the element wood, so you would want to use a wooden wind chime in that room. Gongs are an alternative to wind chimes that also evoke scintillating sound and counteract negative Chi.
Arbors and trellises can be used to inspire balance in the gardens and recreational areas outside your home. Climbing vines can be trained around the lattices of a trellis, which blends nature with the structures in your backyard so the two elements live in harmony together. Arbors are also an excellent way to create a reflective retreat outside your home—a place where you can sit peacefully with a good book or contemplate the events of the day. Alternately, garden fountains are a wonderful way to bring the soothing sound of nature indoors. Consider a small indoor fountain for placement on a dining table or dresser to maximize the flow of life energy and activate positive Chi indoors.
Tips for practicing feng shui in your home:
1. Fill your rooms with natural light. Use light-colored or sheer curtains and open the windows often for fresh air that will energize each room.
2. Study the five elements of feng shui: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water, and learn how to use each material and its colors appropriately in various rooms of your home to balance the energy in your environment.
3. Be mindful of your bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. The placement of objects in these three key areas is inherently connected to your health and well-being.
4. Keep doorways and doorsteps free of shoes and clutter so good Chi may travel freely throughout your home.
5. Decorate with the color red sparingly, as it represents the element of fire and could bring undue stress to your home, and accent each room with live plants to feel the yang chi of joy in every indoor space.
Laura Wasserman is a freelance writer located in Oakland, CA. In addition to freelancing for Outdora, Laura writes editorials about the neighborhoods of Oakland as an Oakland Community Examiner at Examiner.com.
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