Eight out of ten ain’t bad!

fent shui your home I read another article on feng shui and actually incorporated some of the suggestions in my home with mixed results. Feng Shui (pronounced fung schway) is the ancient art of arranging living and work spaces to rejuvenate our lives.

It is as simple as moving a few things around to achieve more balance.

Feng shui maintains that all objects possess an energy called chi, and that you can use this chi to bring luck, wealth, and opportunity into your home. “With feng shui, you don’t have to spend 20 years on the couch [with a therapist] to change your life – you just have to move the couch,” says Ellen Whitehurst, author of Make This Your Lucky Day: Fun and Easy Secrets and Shortcuts to Success, Romance, Health, and Harmony (Random House, January 2008). Try these ten tips to get that energy flowing. (I have edited them according to my successes or failures – my apologies to Ms. Whitehurst.)

I actually had good results with eight of the following 10 suggestions (items 1 and 10 were questionable.)

1. Open the Front Door

Energy flows through the front door. An open and inviting pathway allows positive energy to flow into your home, whereas energy can stagnate if the entryway is closed off. Want opportunity to come knocking? Place a red-flowering plant outside or put some red accent colors on or around your front door. Red attracts energy, fortune, and luck.

I actually painted my porches red. Well, it’s sort of a brownish red – about the color of dried blood – inviting, huh? I’m still waiting for opportunity to come knocking. I also left the door open two weeks ago when we experienced a rare summer cold front with low humidity. It created energy all right – not sure how positive. I had a family of bees move in – attracted by all that red I suppose.

cleear the clutter 2. Clear the Clutter

In feng shui, a cluttered house equals a cluttered mind. Even worse, clutter literally sucks up the energy in a space. “You may think you’re hiding your clutter, but the closet has as much of an effect on energy flow as anything else,” says Whitehurst. If there’s clutter somewhere in your home — even tucked away in an attic — then it’s also cluttering your head, as well as the rest of your body.

Ah, so it’s my junk drawer causing me all this trouble, huh?

3. Seek Balance

Make sure you have something representing the five elements — wood, earth, metal, fire, and water — in every room. The goal is to stay grounded, centered, and balanced in your life and your environment. For example, place a wooden bowl filled with stone pebbles alongside a candle and a vase of flowers. Or try to incorporate colors that symbolize the five elements:
Black = water
Green = wood
Red = fire
Yellow, tan, and brown = earth
White = metal

Check mark on everything but the yellow. I despise the color yellow and won’t even have yellow flowers in my garden. Bananas make me gag, though I do like squash. I can’t explain this aversion – I must have had some kind of episode involving the color yellow in my youth.

4. Bring the Outdoors In

Nature creates a sense of peace. In fact, research shows that viewing nature reduces anger and anxiety and enhances feelings of pleasure. So flood your home with natural light, open windows and doors to let fresh air inside, and bring plants indoors. Decorate with bamboo, wood, or wicker, and use stones and rocks to add texture. You can also adorn the walls with paintings of nature and its serenity.

I placed a small table top fountain in my sun room but had to remove it when I discovered it gave me the urge to visit the restroom incessently.

5. Use Mirrors Wisely

Mirrors reflect energy, so position them in places where you want to increase energy flow. Also, make sure that mirrors reflect something beautiful. “You don’t want mirrors to reflect anything low energy or negative, like kitchen trash cans,” says Linda Varone, RN, MA, founder of Nurturing Spaces Consulting. (I noticed my dining room mirror reflects the ceiling – that’s probably not good.) Finally, think twice before adding mirrors to your bedroom decor. They can energize the room, but not so great for getting enough sleep.

6. Your Bedroom

The bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the home, according to feng shui, because it’s where we seek restoration, balance, and peace. It’s also the place of dreams. In feng shui, the items you place between your mattresses. Say what?-I’ve never placed anything between my mattresses except the book “Splender in the Grass” when I was a tween. Whitehurst claims you can make money (or find true love) in your sleep. Use sensual fabrics and fluffy pillows to promote relaxation and don’t store things under your bed — shoes, suitcases, books, pictures, and files are too energizing for restful slumber. My wedding dress in under my bed – I can’t bring myself to throw it away and under the bed it’s out of sight and out of mind.

I think I’ll slip a few dollars between my mattresses and see if that offsets the damage caused by the wedding dress.

7. Place Family Photos Wisely

“Family pictures don’t belong in the bedroom,” says Whitehurst. “It’s the most intimate room in the house and should be reserved for you and your partner.” Pictures of children, relatives, and friends may cause you to think about your obligations — and that doesn’t allow the mind (or body) to rest. So keep only pictures of you and your spouse or partner in the bedroom, and put other pictures in the dining or family room.

8. Living Plants

Live plants have their own chi and will draw chi to them. Don’t have a green thumb? The next best thing is to showcase high-quality silk plants and flowers — not plastic. The best places for plants are in the kitchen (between hot and cold appliances to create balance), in the dining room (to draw abundance), and in the family room (to promote health, life, and connection).

light up your life 9. Light Up Your Life

Bright lights rev up energy. If you’re trying to keep energy costs down, then place high-wattage bulbs in the hallways, and lower-wattage bulbs in the rest of the house. “Hallways represent the meridians; the brighter the wattage, the more clean and clear your veins and arteries are,” says Whitehurst. Want to light up internally? Place objects around your house that elicit positive emotions and lift your own personal chi. If a particular item makes you feel giddy, put it in a place where it’s easy to see.

10. Address your closet

Now you can take this step with a grain of salt. I tried it and it didn’t work. Maybe you’ll have better luck. I read that you must turn all your shoes facing outward (toward the door) rather than toward the wall as we typically do. Supposedly it will bring prosperity. I took the time to turn all my shoes around and it bothered me because number one- I couldn’t slip into them as easily (in case of fire) and number two, I didn’t win the lottery or even the raffle at my church for a killer barbeque grill. In fact, I didn’t experience one iota of prosperity during the month of June. So I turned them back around the proper way!

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