Read an Excerpt
A New Way of Being
Empty vessels make the most noise.
How to Read This Book
You have in your hand an instruction manual for creating and designing living spaces. Understanding one of the most important concepts of feng shui depends most of all on your ability to pretend (if necessary) that you know nothing and to observe your room and workplace from emptiness. Achieving this state of objectivity need not be difficult; we have all had moments when the slate was clean and we were open to any possibility. Recovering this perspective in order to look at our own home or office requires a bit of practice; for some it may be easy, for others, a real challenge.
If you keep doing what you've done before (in the past), you will keep getting (in the future) what you've always gotten. Something has to change, and with feng shui you have the opportunity to begin to relate to the outer world as if it were simply a reflection of the inner psyche. Symbols appear everywhere in our environment; indeed, to the trained eye, your space reveals much more about who you are than you might like! Physiognomy, or face-reading, and handwriting analysis are similar disciplines used to diagnose personality, but our faces and our handwriting are extremely difficult for us to change. Moving the position of a desk or changing the color of a wall is much easier and has far-reaching consequences, whether we are aware of them or not.
Feng shui is too powerful to ignore and too important to trivialize. In order to get the most from this book, read and study as much of the early chapters andexercises as you can before making any changes. Explore the invisible world in chapter 2. Reflect on the power of feng shui and its potential in your life in chapter 3. Establish your priorities as you are guided in chapter 4. Become familiar with the I Ching in chapter 5it's easier than you think! Invite some friends over, and fill in the First Impressions Worksheet in chapter 6. Make sure you accurately place the key to feng shui, called the bagua, as detailed in chapter 7. Look at your own house again, using the guidelines in chapter 8. Look at your life again through the eyes of feng shui in chapter 9. Then what you do will be grounded in understanding. What happens when you place a cure will result from what you create.
If you are interested in the ordinary, then shopping in a store with decorators on staff may suit your needs. You may need to have them develop a particular style for you or pick the fabrics that, from their viewpoint, match other elements in your space. Perhaps you are concerned with being "in vogue," like the couple who worried that the renovation of their home would not be completed before the bleached white flooring they had chosen went out of style. Or maybe you are the design equivalent of being "tone deaf" in music and have no eye or taste that you can trust to be pleasant-let alone appropriatewithout the guidance of a professional or an experienced friend. Recognizing the vast range of possibilities, you may be overwhelmed with information on design and balance and not feel well enough informed to practice feng shui without making a "mistake."
To get started, you may need to go backward. Clearing clutter and simplifying your life can make a huge difference. Washing those dusty slipcovers or throwing out that box of old belts and shoes in the front hall closet is what we all must do before the magic can take hold. Plan to get a little dirty at first and work up a sweat. Spring cleaning has just begun-regardless of the season!
Find a clear and orderly space to sit and read further, and make yourself comfortable. The longest of journeys begins with a single step.
The world is ruled by letting things take their
course. It cannot be ruled by interfering.
LAO TSU, Tao Te Ching
Who you need to be to practice this remarkable philosophy is simply someone who recognizes possibility. Anything can happen, and you are not limited by your design experience, taste, belief system, bank account, or expectations. Energy flows by itself; changes occur on their own. Miracles happen. In effect, what you will learn to do is to get out of your own way. We are always in the process of creating our future life and destiny-nothing is already decided. Feng shui embraces free will and allows you to write the next chapter of your life. Some people, perhaps less pragmatic, refer to possibility as "dream." In that sense, logic defers to instinct, and the true measure of our success is likely to be anywhere but the bottom line.
How you need to be is open. Possibility does not exist unless you are willing to consider it. When someone says "I love you," you must have a response other than, "That's impossible!" It requires no belief to begin to live this way-just the smallest opening or space in which possibility can develop.