Are you looking for new ways to boost your children’s schoolwork, family time, health, or career prospects? I was too. At a time when it seemed that my home (and the family schedule) was steeped in perpetual disarray, I sought out methods to streamline our day-to-day living. Quite by accident, I stumbled upon the ancient Chinese Art of Feng Shui, and, by applying some simple principles, I was able to regain lost ground in our organization.
Feng Shui, as it is defined, is the study of the effects of one’s environment. The Chinese believed that strategic positioning of furniture and accessories within their surroundings would release energies profoundly affecting relationships, well-being, and success. While at first its mysticism threw me as sounding quite impractical for the average family’s use, a bit of research showed that these guidelines have a sound, logical basis. For instance, the book Feng Shui for Dummies states that clutter “blocks energy [...] and produces frustration.” I have often found myself unable to focus when the house isn’t picked up and thus will tend to start writing projects and other tasks by straightening up. Feng Shui also encourages the use of adequate lighting -- advice that I found to be decidedly un-mystical in improving my children’s homework area.
Starting off with these two simple instructions, I went through the house, de-cluttering and re-lighting each room. The positive change this produced alone was so encouraging that I decided to try some bolder ideas. Feng Shui lore tells that each area of the home (or even a room) represents a different aspect of life: Career, Knowledge, Children, Family, Wealth, Fame, Marriage, Health, and Helpful People. Achieving balance in the associated areas of our home will, in turn, affect our lives. For instance, the center of the home is said to affect health and well-being. Recommended improvements, called “cures,” for this area (aside from lack of clutter and good lighting) include placement of life-giving plants and yellow objects (the Feng Shui color representing health).
In the kids’ bedrooms, soothing blues and greens are recommended as well as good placement of furnishings. Desks and school items should ideally be placed in the knowledge area, located in the front left corner as you enter the room. Beds should not be placed against a window, nor should the footboard line up directly with the door. Increase energy and boost thinking and creativity by placing a mobile or wind chime over the children’s and/or knowledge areas of the room. Hanging a faceted crystal sphere over the bed is said to bounce negative energies away, improving self-esteem. (I found this an interesting comparison to the Native American practice of using dreamcatchers.)
There are several popular accessories used in the practice of Feng Shui that, when placed in the correct areas and avoided in others, is said to break up stale pockets of energy that hamper health and effectiveness. An example is the use of fountains, which represents money flowing into the home. These are recommended for use in the wealth, children, and career areas, but not in the marriage or fame areas (this is believed to enhance high emotions and bad reputation). Wind chimes are used indoors as well as out to energize entryways and marriage/family areas. Candles bring fire and energy to the fame area, but are best avoided in the children’s area -- and not only because of the danger of young ones burning themselves! It is said that if you want your child to do better in school, make sure to remove candles from the children’s areas of the home, which respond best to water elements; if there happens to be a fireplace in this area, neutralize it by placing a fountain or wavy shaped objects nearby.
In addition, drains and toilets are said to take away energy (and money!) from the home, so a very simple solution to this is to keep toilet lids down, drains plugged when not in use, and doors to bathrooms and kitchens shut. Leaky faucets should be fixed as soon as they are noticed.
The most important thing proponents advise is to imagine the intention of your cure as you are implementing it. Visualize more money flowing into the house, the children being healthy and happy, and report cards with better grades abounding. This positive visualization is said to strengthen the power of the cure.
Does it work? After applying some of the above techniques, I was amazed at the difference in our household. It became more of a peaceful sanctuary and less of a bomb shelter turned inside out. And yes, oddly, we experienced a better flow of money and energy as well. Whether it worked for us via mystical forces of energy or whether the intention of seeing the cures work caused a placebo effect, I cannot say for certain. But the improvement in our household organization has convinced me that the ancients had a leg up on managing daily living.
If you are interested in using Feng Shui in your home, start small. You can utilize tiny cures, then expand as your time and interest permits. There are so many aspects of using color, shapes, elements, and accessories that it can easily become a lifetime pursuit. For more information on locating areas in your home, and the theories that comprise this ancient practice, below are some resources I recommend. Good luck!
Dragon Gate: Shop for accessories online
Books (these titles available on amazon.com):
Feng Shui for Dummies by David Daniel Kennedy
A Master Course in Feng Shui by Eva Wong
101 Feng Shui Tips for the Home by Richard Webster