What to Expect from Feng Shui
The basic premise of feng shui is that your life experience—your thoughts, feelings, and behavior, even the extent of your luck—is influenced by your surroundings. At the same time, the state of your home or work space is a reflection of your mood and attitude (which of course impact your experience as well). A cluttered, dirty, or untidy home, for example, contributes to an atmosphere of apathy and fatigue. This makes it harder for you to find the energy to take inspired action for change, much less clean the place up.
Feng shui gives us insight and incentive to become mindful caretakers of our space. As a result, we live in greater harmony with our surroundings, and this helps us maintain a positive attitude and outlook.
What Feng Shui Can Do for You
It’s tempting to look at feng shui as a ticket to fulfilled wishes: “If I put my desk here and add this wealth symbol over there then my business will take off and the money will pour in.” Well, it might. It’s not uncommon for simple feng shui changes to trigger noticeable results. It’s also quite common for people to use feng shui in hopes of a quick fix that will bring the results they want without their having to change or make an extra effort. This usually doesn’t work out so well, even if things look a little better in the short term.
The bottom line is that feng shui is not a guaranteed shortcut to success; it’s a tool that can help you achieve a higher level of success more quickly. Like most tools, it works best when used in combination with other tools, such as your generosity, perseverance, communication skills, leadership ability, and commitment to ethics and honesty in all aspects of life.
Traditionally, feng shui is seen as one of five factors that influence a person’s life. The other factors are your karma, luck, education, and actions, each of which may also contribute to the past, present, and future degree of your success and happiness. The impact of feng shui is most immediate when the difficulties you are experiencing are caused by poor feng shui in the first place. When other life factors are involved, feng shui can help you gain the perspective and insight necessary for setting appropriate priorities, making sound decisions, and taking effective action to get your life back on track.
Feng Shui as a Path to Personal Growth
One very valuable aspect of Feng shui is that it has a tendency to bring new opportunities and relationships that encourage us to relinquish ineffective behaviors and stretch outside our comfort zones. While this is not always comfortable, it can be powerfully transforming if we rise to the challenges presented by these opportunities. When we don’t, choosing instead to remain safely sheltered by familiar behaviors and attitudes, we block the transformative power of feng shui and the significant transitions we’d hoped for often don’t materialize.
I recommend keeping a feng shui journal. This notebook becomes a place to record how you plan to correct and enhance the energy of your home, how you follow through (or not) on those plans, the energy shifts that you experience as a result of changes made, your emotional reactions to the work, and the insights you gain from taking a different and deeper look at your life.
When it seems that feng shui isn’t working, it’s time to examine whether your attitudes and actions are supporting what you say you want to achieve. Here are some questions to ask yourself, based on the issues that you may be working on:
- Am I diligent about always communicating openly and honestly?
- Do I look for ways to create opportunities for others while advancing in my career?
- Do my actions consistently demonstrate my abilities?
- Do I respect the spiritual beliefs of others, even when they seem limiting or misguided to me?
- Do I help others to learn and grow, or do I always put myself first?
- Am I unflinching in exploring my own needs for growth, or do I pretend my negative habits don’t matter?
- Do I honor my family and friends even when they behave selfishly or inconsiderately toward me?
- How am I contributing to the quality of life in my community?
- Am I a mindful inhabitant and caretaker of my body?
Prosperity & Abundance
- Am I generous to others, even when my financial resources are thin?
- Am I comfortable receiving the generosity of others?
- Am I a wise caretaker of my assets?
Fame & Reputation
- Do I recognize and applaud others’ accomplishments?
- Do I refrain from idle or malicious gossip?
- Am I comfortable being in the spotlight?
Marriage & Romance
- Am I supportive and nurturing to others?
- Am I able to love without clinging, or do jealousy and insecurity undermine my relationships?
- Am I comfortable receiving and giving love?
Creativity & Children
- Do I listen to and act on my intuition?
- How do I express my creativity in my every-day life and environment?
- Do I support my children as individuals, rather than trying to mold them into “mini-me”s?
Helpful Friends & Travel
- Am I asking for the help I need, and allowing others to provide assistance?
- Do I take advantage of opportunities to try new things and explore new places?
- How can I be a greater benefactor or mentor to others?
When feng shui is applied without this commitment to self-exploration, the effects may be short-lived or disappointing. For example, you may experience an increase in cash flow as a result of feng shui, but if you are a chronic over-spender that additional money will flow out as quickly as it came in and you’ll still be mired in debt. Support your feng shui changes with conscious changes to your spending habits, and that additional cash flow becomes available to help pay off your credit cards and transform your financial situation.
The effects of feng shui can be slow and subtle or immediate and seemingly miraculous. Whether you experience dramatic improvements in your situation or a frustrating lack of results, you can gain additional benefit from feng shui when you explore your inner responses to outward transformation. Make a commitment to use feng shui as a path to personal growth, rather than as a quick fix for your problems, and you will inevitably achieve greater success in all aspects of your life.