I like to Google my name and see what the other Annie Paynes in the world are doing. That’s how I became interested in Feng Shui. I found an Annie Payne who lives back East that teaches classes on the philosophy of Feng Shui. I thought, “She can do it. Why can’t I?”
That was two years ago. Since then I have studied, practiced, and watered-down Feng Shui to make it useful and practical for me and my home.
Feng Shui, pronounced fung-shway, is an ancient Chinese practice of utilizing the Laws of heaven (astronomy) and earth (geography) to improve one’s life by receiving positive chi or energy. Having more positive chi (pronounced chee) in your life means having greater prosperity, peace, and well-being.
My first inclination was that Feng Shui was just a bunch of ancient Chinese mysticism. I couldn’t understand how changing the position of my bed, keeping a goldfish or putting a rooster in my office, could make the least bit of improvement in my life; even so, I was skeptically optimistic. In order to get the most out of Feng Shui for myself, I had to look beyond the “voodoo” and superstition to find the practicality and wisdom behind this 4000-year old-philosophy.
Things as simple as putting a wind chime near my front door, adding more live plants and re-arranging my furniture to be more conducive to the flow of energy through the house has made a difference, not just in the look of my home, but how I feel about my home as well.
What I have begun to understand through Feng Shui is how my environment effects how I feel everyday. I realized that pockets of disorganization here and there in my home, like my closet, the kitchen junk drawer, and the laundry room, were sucking the energy and desire out of my life. I realized those areas were contributing to a feeling of being stagnant and not being able to move on to other tasks.
I know I am not alone in this. It’s important to understand that a home needs to be a place that energizes, inspires, and creates peace for all who live there. Sometimes you need to step back and ask yourself, “Am I depressed because my house is a mess or is my house a mess because I am depressed?”
I’m not talking about clinical depression; I am talking about feeling un-motivated, un-inspired, and listless when it comes to your environment.
When I started practicing Feng Shui, I couldn’t tackle every area in my home that bothered me at once. I wanted to keep it simple and take small steps. I decided to start at the front door.
I learned that in order to attract peace and prosperity, you have to create an environment that attracts good chi, or good energy, to flow through your home. Look at your front door. Is it hanging off the hinges? Is the walkway to your door obstructed by tricycles and footballs. Are there cobwebs and dead leaves? All these things send a signal to “the universe” that you are not ready for good things to flow into your life. You must make a clear path to the front door in order for good chi to enter freely into your home.
Does this sound a little out there for you? How about this? Make sure the path to your door is clear so the UPS man doesn’t trip the next time he delivers a package or the only thing “Brown” will do for you is send you litigation papers.
The Feng Shui philosophy also suggests painting your front door an attractive color. I have yet to apply this principle to my current home.
I asked my husband, Secret Agent Man, to paint the front door of our last house. I picked a dark color of red, which, according to Feng Shui philosophy, is an auspicious color for south-facing homes. The cleaning, prepping, and follow-up coats took up the better part of a Saturday.
As much as he adores me, he won’t be painting another door for me. So instead of painting my now north-facing door blue, I have opted to place an urn with pink New Guinea Impatients, my favorite flowers, next to my front door. I hope the universe will recognize my effort and send me good chi, anyway.
Here are a few more Feng Shui basics from the book, 365 Feng Shui Tips, by Lillian Too, to get you started on a more “Zen-like” atmosphere in your home:
· "Keep your bathroom doors closed. Negative energies tend to accumulate in the bathroom. Make it a household habit to keep all doors going to the bathroom closed."
· "Pictures of women in bedrooms cause problems. Remove all pictures of females from the bedroom. This includes glamorous women, paintings of nudes, and so forth. Their presence makes a marriage crowded." Annie’s note: For all the husbands out there, trust me on this. To all the wives out there, you are welcome.
· "Sound therapy for your space. Sound therapy inside the home is created by the use of wind chimes, bells, bamboos, and other natural sounds. The sound of flowing water will also attract vibrant fresh chi into your home. Make an effort to never leave your home silent for too long. When you go on vacation, keep the radio turned on as this is the best way to keep the chi flowing." Annie’s note: This is just a suggestion. Don’t send me the electric bill.
· "Throw out chipped glasses and cups. Chinese matriarchs are strict about this. Eating and drinking from chipped plates and cups not only is bad luck for you, but shows disrespect for your guests, also."
· "Removing negative chi from neighbors. For petty annoyances place a large urn of water with a wide mouth and a narrow base between your home and the neighbor’s house. For a stronger measure to deflect bitterness and hate, use a round mirror circled by trigrams arranged like a yin pa kua symbol. This powerful tool bounces back a thousand-fold whatever energy is being sent your way." Annie’s note: Or how about making your neighbors brownies and letting bygones by bygones?
For as much mysticism and superstition that is found in the philosophy of Feng Shui there are also practical and pertinent applications that can be used to enhance the home of even the most skeptical Feng Shui practitioner.
Now that I have created a little more peace and well-being in my home through Feng Shui, I am ready to see what else I can learn from the other Annie Paynes of the world.
Google me this, Google me that, is there another Annie Payne that can show me how to knit a yoga mat?
The preceeding was my latest article for the Home and Garden section of The Daily Sentinel, Western Colorado's Largest Newspaper.