“Your home must have perfect feng shui!” a woman attending my latest workshop said. Oh yes, if that were only true.
Feng shui is known as the ancient art of placement. Primarily, it provided tools to determine the best location for building. In modern times, feng shui is still used this way, but mostly, it is used to optimize what we already have.
The basic terms used in feng shui are chi (the invisible energy that animates life and flows throughout our environments), yin and yang (complementary opposites, such as light and dark), and the five elements (wood, fire, earth, metal and water).
The basic premise in feng shui is to create places where chi can flow freely (to promote vitality) with a balance of yin and yang (to promote a sense of harmony and peace).
Sometimes our homes are too yin (dark, cluttered, quiet), which contributes to lethargy and stagnation. In those instances, we need to add more yang elements (lighting, clear, sound) to establish balance. Sometimes our homes are too yang (too bright, loud, sparse) contributing to the feeling of chaos and stress. Then we need to add more yin (soft, cozy, nurturing) to establish balance.
When recently telling a student that I have challenges in my home, she was relieved. She had been beating herself up for the things in her home that she learned were not “good feng shui.” And so it dawned on me that others are probably in the same boat.
So what about my home is imperfect? Here comes the confession.
There is a clogged sink in my “fame & reputation” area (according to the feng shui bagua map, this area is in the back middle of my home). Clogged sinks represent stagnant energy, and yes, if I have it repaired my fame and reputation should improve. I know this, yet, it is a lingering issue. I’m not perfect.
My master bedroom is over a double car garage; another feng shui no-no—it represents unstable energy (cars pulling in and out) and can affect health, romance and career. Yet, I would not move my bedroom to another area of the house. I love its orientation to the morning sun. Besides, thankfully, all those areas of our life are good. If it ain’t broken…
My house is clean and neat, but not fastidiously so. Some people might think that feng shui consultants are OCD when it comes to cleanliness and clutter. I do have a pile of bills on my counter. I am constantly rearranging shoes and stuff left on any flat surface in my home by my family. I don’t pull out the vacuum every other day (once a week, perhaps) and I’m not ringing up bills in container stores to organize my stuff.
An open space on the second floor of my home now contains some of my daughter’s schoolwork and seasonal clothes. This area represents both the heart of the home and the “career” area. I know that we need to organize it better, and hopefully do some purging.
So, as you can see, even though I should know better as a feng shui consultant, my home is imperfect.
Now, the Good Stuff.
Although my home is imperfect, what we feel in the home is spot on. The house has soul. I felt it the first time I entered 20 years ago.
My home is surrounded by large maple, oak and pine trees. The tree energy is part of its soul. The trees contribute a lot of support and nourishment to the land and the wildlife that live there.
My house is welcoming, not “perfect.” People feel comfortable kicking back on the couch to watch the football game or hanging in the kitchen for a home-cooked meal and a glass of wine.
My house is playful. There are odd nooks and crannies—one of the reasons why we fell in love with it. We have fun artwork, cozy furnishings and eclectic objects that we’ve collected throughout our marriage. Photos of family and friends around the house remind me of joy and laughter!
Most importantly, my house is a sanctuary to the stress of everyday life. The affection that I feel when I walk through the door is powerful. I feel nurtured and loved, ready to de-stress from my day.
Honoring Our Spaces.
Our homes are more than a collection of objects and walls. It is the space between them that matters most.
We can definitely improve the feng shui of our homes to help achieve our goals and aspirations, but we need to recognize the beauty of the home we currently have, as imperfect as it is.
We can sit quietly for a moment and consider how we feel about our home. Are there positive feelings or negative feelings?
We can reflect on how we can turn any negative feelings into positive ones. Perhaps there is a pile of stuff that needs to be attended to. Or a sink that needs to be unclogged. These efforts are all ways of honoring our homes that also demonstrate love and respect for ourselves and our families.
When we feel positively about our homes they can, according to feng shui, provide us with the chi for enhanced well-being and more equipped to face the challenges in our lives.
So, the next time you read a feng shui article or book, or attend a workshop, realize that no one has perfect feng shui. Breathe and relax.
Do you feel affection for your home? Do you feel nurtured and supported by it? Do you feel playfulness and joy when you are there?
Chances are your imperfect home is perfect just as it is.
Appeared originally on elephantjournal.com.
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Sara Kärpänen