News__ Resolution #6
RESOLUTION: "I Will Feng Shui"
EXPERT: Mark Ainley, Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant
Sometimes you walk into a space and it just feels better, more peaceful, and yet also somehow more lively. But how do you get your space to feel that way? Feng Shui has been present in Chinese culture for a millennia now--it makes sense when doing something as simple as organizing your space can bring more wealth, better health, love, and good energy. Though the practice of Feng Shui is often shrouded in mysterious diagrams and some hard-to-pronounce jargon, that doesn't mean you can't figure it out with a little help from the pros.
Contemporary Feng Shui consultant Mark Ainley has clocked his 10,000 hours teaching, as a Feng Shui consultant. With a loyal client base that extends the world, Mark's adage is that your home doesn't have to look like a Chinese restaurant to have good Feng Shui. Rather, with his skill set, Mark masters the energy of a space with re-arrangements, color, objects and images--creating a space that is entirely personalized to your needs. Between office and home consultations, workshops, and vision boarding for clients, and updating his popular blog, Mark took some time to help us improve our homes (and ourselves) in 2012.
Read our Help with 12 Resolutions for 2012: I Will Feng Shui with Mark Ainley below. He demystifies the word and gives us us some easy-to-do tips.
First things first, what does Feng Shui mean?
Feng means ‘wind’ and Shui means ‘water.’ These are two forms of energy we cannot live without: we need air to breathe, and we need water to hydrate. Feng Shui together speaks to the practice of nurturing the energy we need to survive, more specifically a third kind of energy called ‘Chi’ (also spelled Ki or Qi), which is universal lifeforce energy. If we observe how air and water flow through space, we can have an idea of how chi circulates. Arranging our environments so that they cultivate this energy harmoniously helps to create a nourishing environment that feels balanced, relaxing, and inspiring. Colors, materials, images, objects, and furniture arrangements can all be used to create this kind of space.
As an outsider, the system and practice seems complex and sort of daunting. How does one go about getting started?
The first thing is to increase your consciousness of your environment. Imagine if everything in your space could speak to you. What would it say? If there is something in your space that isn’t being used to its full potential, how would it feel? And can you recognize that there are times that you feel the same way? Our spaces should reflect not just who we have been but who we are at core and how we wish to experience ourselves. As such, out-of-date objects can hold you back with a feeling of stagnation. Getting rid of items that no longer inspire and motivate you is the first step. Then highlighting your favorites helps your space inspire you. There are more precise principles to arrangements in Feng Shui, but these are some good first steps that anyone can apply.
Is some Feng Shui better than none?
This is a similar question to ‘Is some healthy food better than none?’--and so while the answer would be ‘yes,’ the truth of the matter is things won’t really be balanced until the whole space is balanced. The challenge is that sneaky human thinking tries to rationalize that some spaces ‘don’t matter’--well, the truth of the matter is that every drawer, every corner, every shelf has an impact on how you are in your space, just as each thought that you have (conscious, subconscious, or unconscious) impacts your state of being. That said, you have to start somewhere, and balancing just one area of your space can be a powerful step-by-step way to bring harmony into your life.
Can you suggest some quick and easy fixes that we could do right now for, say, our disastrous and disorganized bedrooms?
While I wouldn’t agree that bedrooms are where most disaster and disorganization occurs (that tends to be the garage or basement), they are perhaps the most important area of the home. Because you marinate there for six to eight hours a night, a bedroom’s set-up speaks to you intimately. The room should be geared towards rest and romance--that’s it. TVs, laptops and tablets, cell phones, landline phones, books, and work materials do not support either of those purposes. I always suggest minimizing the impact of electronics and distractions in the bedroom to better create a romantic, restful space.
Can you arrange your space to improve certain aspects of your life that might need more of a helping hand than others? Can you Feng Shui for love?
Absolutely. If advertising will impact you in a matter of seconds, imagine the power of what you look at for weeks, months, and years! Our consciousness is highly suggestible and is impacted by everything we look at, so you can ‘advertise’ a desired state of being in your space. When it comes to ‘love,’ creating balance in the bedroom is essential, and the position and layout of the bed speaks volumes. If one side of the bed is up against the wall, it doesn’t create space for a partner, and if there is a partner, they’ll likely feel up against a wall in that relationship. There should be two nightstands--one on each side--to create a support structure for two people to share the space. The impact of just ‘one nightstand’ is evident--it is more than just a pun. Pictures of relatives and exes don’t create a romantic vibe either. Warm colors help to keep the energetic thermostat set higher--cooler tones mean you need to work harder to heat things up. The same kind of analysis applied to your workspace, living room, and dining room will impact how you work, socialize, and nourish yourself. Skilled Feng Shui practitioners can help people increase their luck in many life areas.
What would be five "musts" that we should implement in our space?
1) Keep things accessible. If you can find things easily, you’ll experience more flow in your life. Obstacles in your physical reality translate into obstacles in your life story.
2) Use a variety of colors and materials. People tend to ‘match’ a lot, but this is actually less balanced than complementing with different colors and textures.
3) Keep doorways clear. Your doors should open as widely as possible. Don’t store stuff behind them if you want to feel welcomed in your home and in your life.
4) Keep your photos updated. Old pictures keep us in the past. If you have older images of your existing relationships, place newer ones with them to create a thread of continuity instead of keeping the display anchored in the past.
5) Every room needs a splash of red. It raises your heart rate and serves to motivate. Aim for the far side of the room from the entrance - it helps to draw you into the space.
What can we do if we’re traveling?
While Feng Shui applications are made in the outer world, it is the inner shift that is the goal. As such, doing what you can to harmonize your inner world is important. If you are traveling you can bring a few of your favorite smaller objects to personalize the space where you’ll be sleeping. A shawl that you can use to cover a mirror in the hotel or guest room where you are staying is useful (mirrors reflecting beds tend to disrupt sleep patterns). And a vision board done with Feng Shui principles can be a great way to bring your Feng Shui energy with you (read about that in the next section).
Tips for 2012 and starting off the New Year with good Chi?
Clear out the old to help welcome the new: release unwanted items so you have the physical and psychic space for what you more deeply desire. Creating a vision board using the Feng Shui Bagua map as a template is a great way to focus on your goals. Make a collage of images that speak to the life areas on the map (Career, Self-cultivation, Family/Health, Wealth, Reputation, Relationship, Children/Creativity, and Helpers/Travel) and place the images on your collage in the positions they are located in on the map. This vision board can serve as a portable testament to the outer-world manifestations of your inner state that you are drawing into your reality. As you look at your collage, breathe in the balanced state that you envision feeling when your goals are met. Then practice feeling that all the time!
Read our previous resolutions here–Resolution #1: “I Will Dress Myself Better,” Resolution #2 “I Will Learn More About Wine,” and Resolution #3 “I Will Travel More,“ Resolution #4 “I Will Be More Comfortable Nudie” and Resolution #5 "I Will Be More in Tune With My Aura"