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Chase your cares away with Feng Shui (04/25/2004)
By Janet Lewis Burns

My curiosity kicked in when my massage therapist Geri Naal posed this question: "If one is not familiar with something does it still work?" Shawne Mitchell's book "Simple Feng Shui" states that it does. You may find, as I have, that you are already incorporating feng shui principles in your surroundings and didn't have a clue!

I read anew about this ancient Chinese philosophy, recognized for over 4,000 years. (Who am I to argue?) Not a cult or a religion, it's goal is to harness and manipulate the universal energy force to improve one's life. Everything and every one of us is comprised of the same basic energy, known as chi (pronounced chee). Positive chi is where it's at.

"Zones of your dwelling spaces correspond literally to different parts of your life. Seeking a balance among the five elements in each energy field, which are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water, through placement of furnishings, mirrors, use of colors, and layouts, can initiate positive and life-affirming transformations.

To be yin or to be yang - that is the question. "Yin qualities are feminine, receptive, dark, cool, moist, and round. Yang qualities are masculine, assertive, light, hot, dry, and angular. When yin and yang are in balance, the result is harmony," Mitchell explains. I guess we've all been walloped by someone imposing negative energy onto our "space," pushing our buttons. "Your yin has deprogrammed my yang!"

When placing something in your home, office, or yard, you bring that object's energy into your life. For example, symbols of earth denote stability and dependability. The presence of yellow increases concentration. Blue helps to soothe. "Family and Health" zone, to the east, translates as "thunder," symbolic of the voice of your ancestors, elders, teachers, and descendants. (I think I hear Uncle Donnie calling from the bathroom now!)

I was upset to find that my computer/writing area is actually in the "Prosperity and Abundance" zone of our home, which is S.E. (Hey, that royalty check could be arriving any day now!) The zone of "Creatively" is to the west - metal governs it. That would be the garage. I'm happier here.

Then I read that orange promotes creativity. On the wall in my writing corner hangs a favorite painting, I had discovered long ago at a Winona Art Expo, by Rory Mattson. The work of art, which turns my head often, depicts a monarch butterfly alighting on fallen autumn leaves, its frame beautifully archaic. It works for me!

"Poison Arrows" create negative energy. The subject comes up in the book's section entitled "Bedroom tips to enhance romance." Square mirrors, and ceiling beams or a fan over your bed are definite no-nos. "Do not display images of your children here." (Oh, I get it!) We failed on furniture. It should be rounded. "Angular furniture with sharp corners sends out cutting chi that can be damaging to your relationship and your health.

"There is no point in spending time and effort on feng shui if your space is dirty," Mitchell warns. "Housekeeping can be a form of mindfulness and meditation, a spiritual practice that puts you in the moment." (This is no stroll in the park. I'll pass.)

I'm about to put on my purple PJs (so I can feel wealthy and famous). I'm going to snuggle up in front of the fireplace with "Martha Stewart Living" (and pray that positive chi won't escape right up the chimney and out of the house). Soon, I'll nave to start the grill for steaks (bearing in mind that too much yang could cause extreme burn-out).

I think, one can instinctively arrange a well-balanced garden, place a special keepsake where it seems to belong, and weigh the yin and yang in their personal office...all just because it feels right. Will what we don't know hurt us?

Learning that the cook must be able to see anyone entering the kitchen, we may have to knock out a wall. Tomorrow I'll wear red underwear, paint the shabby front door black so good fortune will be able to find us, and carry a dead fish under my arm. Who knows what that will bring? "Ohoh, say can you chi?"

May your chi never paint you in a corner and your flower garden attract fairies. 


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