"In the end, all that really matters is that we approach wherever we live with full attention and an open heart ... a bouquet of flowers, a song, the smell of freshly baked bread, an affectionate embrace, such things can transform any place into a happy, heartwarming abode." - Thomas Bender
Feng Shui focuses on enhancing the harmony and vitality of your environment. Surrounding yourself with things that lift your spirits and deepen your love for life is a primary goal. So romance your home -- and yourself -- by living with things that enhance the Ch'i.
Surround yourself with only those items that pass the "I love this!" test. Some people like to fill a room with big plants and bright fabrics, while others prefer a single floral arrangement and muted colors. One couple actually chose a large model of the USS Enterprise to enhance their Wealth and Prosperity area, since Star Trek made them feel rich and powerful. This was a creative choice that I would never have imagined, but it worked for them!
Ch'i is always enhanced by your joy, inspiration, and creativity. Feng Shui invites you to pour your individuality into your home -- room by room -- in exactly the way you find most appealing.
The colors and images in your art reflect aspects of yourself that can build you up or tear you down. Ideally, your artwork elicits positive feelings and acts as an environmental affirmation throughout your home. Art depicting violent, emotionally upsetting, contorted, or dead subject matter is not recommended.
I often see a certain phenomenon I call Therapy Art. This is art that reflects a person's inner journey at a particular time, often long since past. In one case, I worked with a woman who had collected several pen-and-ink drawings by one artist. Each drawing was of a naked woman in a compromised position. In one of the pieces, the woman was being auctioned off from a slave block. In another, she was the only naked person in a large crowd. When I asked my client how she felt about her art, she said she had collected it while she was in therapy ten years ago. They had symbolized her healing journey, one she was now completing. She realized that the drawings kept her visually anchored to her past pain, and that it was time to let them go. When she did, she noticed that her whole self-image improved.
Therapy Art is not necessarily bad, but like medicine, it serves its purpose and then is no longer needed. To continue to take it is unnecessary and often detrimental. Give yourself permission to let go of any art that you don't like, or that drags you back to a place you'd rather leave behind. Your art should be an accurate reflection of your inspired self -- a window into an uplifting, heavenly experience.
Frequently, clients have art that they've never liked, but because it's something that's been in the family for years, they feel obliged to live with it. There's a prime example of this in my own family. My mother has a large portrait of a great-aunt hanging over the mantel in the living room. The aunt's expression is stern, and her eyes appear to stare at people no matter where they sit.
Throughout my childhood, we never used that room, and I believe it's because of the unsettling portrait. When I asked my mother if she liked this painting, her answer was an immediate no, but she had tolerated it over the years because it was an heirloom. Generations had suffered under my old aunt's glower. My mother added that she was planning on giving it to me! I told her I'd be happy to donate it to a historic home, where visitors could enjoy those eyes for a brief moment or two, then move on.
If you have an heirloom you don't like or want, it's time to let it go -- to a family member who does want it, an antique dealer, or a charity. Reminders of the past are only good when they take you to a place you want to go.
Your art can also be matched with the function of the room and the Bagua Map, to create a dynamic Ch'i enhancement. This kind of "layering" doubly encourages and supports specific aspects of your life. For instance, when your Health and Family area is in your living room, choose art that represents health and vitality to you, and is also appropriate for your living room area. If your Health and Family area happens to fall in your bedroom, you may pick an entirely different piece, as in the figure below.
Spiritual art that is meaningful to you is also a potent way to attract and uplift Ch'i. This includes images of angels, saints, great teachers, gods, goddesses, and mystics. A hand-painted Tibetan mandala is located in the Career area of a couple's living room, reminding them to remain purposeful in their work. Here again, the key is to choose symbols that have personal, inspirational meaning for you. Place spiritual art in any Bagua area where you seek improvement.
Your creativity and artistry should be an integral part of your home. Whether it's watercolors, photographs, ceramics, weavings, or collages, any art that you or your family have made and are proud of is powerful. Surround yourself with it, and feel the energy that flows through your home as a result. Original art, touched directly by the artist's hand, also carries a concentrated amount of Ch'i. When you buy local artists' works, you are benefiting from their creativity while supporting your community. Although only a few of us can afford the original art of the great masters, most of us can afford the creative works of our local artists.
Take a few moments to look into the art you have collected. What part of you does each piece represent? Do you like what you see? If not, make it a priority to let it go and replace it with art that you really love. Your art, like everything else that surrounds you, is meant to lift and nurture you on a daily basis. Enjoy collecting art that reflects your goals and dreams. Express yourself, and relish the process of creating a home that is, in itself, an "original".
Excerpted with permission from the publisher.
Published by Hay House. www.hayhouse.com
The Western Guide to Feng Shui - Room by Room
by Terah Kathryn Collins.
Filled with photographs, stories, and many practical Feng Shui “tricks of the trade,” this book is packed with ideas and tools that you can easily apply to your life to improve your health, creativity, prosperity, and overall happiness. Terah covers every room in great detail. She also explores the attitudinal and spiritual work—the inner Feng Shui—that complements and strengthens your outer Feng Shui enhancements. Includes a 16-page insert of color photos to emphasize the author’s points.
Terah Kathryn Collins is an internationally recognized Feng Shui consultant, speaker, teacher, and the bestselling author of The Western Guide to Feng Shui and Home Design with Feng Shui A-Z. She is the founder of the Western School of Feng Shui, which offers Essential Feng Shui Practitioner Training programs, as well as one-day workshops, consultations services, a speakers' bureau, and related products. For more information on this author visit the Hay House website at www.hayhouse.com or the author's own website at www.wsfs.com