Monday, October 09, 2006

Living with Wind and Water

The words Feng Shui (風水) stands for wind and water, two essential elements in nature.

Feng Shui is a discrete Chinese belief system involving a mix of geographical, religious, philosophical, mathematical, aesthetic, and astrological ideas. In practice, it is the placement and arrangement of space which is claimed to achieve harmony with the environment.

For a place to have "good Feng Shui" is for it to be in harmony with nature, to have "bad Feng Shui" is to be incongruous with nature. People aren't described as having good or bad Feng Shui themselves, however, it is believed that certain people by force of personality or visual appearance are able to add or subtract from the Feng Shui of their surroundings.

Zoe, my hot Asian babe friend, is a Feng Shui master in addition to many things (she was a food scientist with a well known processed food company, but more of that in another post). She is very discreet about this particular skill set of hers because she doesn't want to make a living out of it. However, she does help her friends out in certain situations.

She first helped a friend who has been seriously ill. It turns out this friend's apartment, despite being beautiful with a lovely "winter garden" (internal patio), has extremely bad Feng Shui for the lady of the house. A few things were added to the entrance hall to "lessen the impact". Soon after, I brought Diana, my amazing masseuses, and Madeline, an extremely able acupuncturist, into this lady's life. While we cannot trace it to the change in Feng Shui, the direction of her life has definitely taken a better turn.

I'm not someone who deliberately seeks knowledge in this area but I have repeatedly stumbled across both western and oriental beliefs based on I-Ching, astrology, or numerology throughout my life so I have come to accept that I am probably meant to pay some attention to them.

When a dear friend of mine moved into her stylish loft apartment, I called it a sanctuary. I absolutely love being there because the whole apartment bathes in sunlight throughout the day. The view from her ceiling to floor, wall to wall glass is breath-taking and completely unobstructed. The apartment directly faces greeneries of the reserve in Belgrano Bajo. I was taken by surprise when this friend asked Zoe to check out the Feng Shui there. It was only then that we learnt basking in sunlight whole day long may actually be quite tiring and stressful. This has changed the way I see Feng Shui because it is beginning to seem logical to me.

When I casually mentioned to Zoe that the pigeon's eggs which I discovered at the time when I was still pregnant had hatched but the baby birds all died, she suggested she should check out my apartment.

She arrived on Saturday armed with her Feng Shui compass; I provided her with the floor plan. After a thorough observation around the apartment and some complicated calculations, she explained how I could improve the Feng Shui of my surroundings.

Guillermo had been sitting facing the centre of his office with his back to a large window. It seemed a great position because he was facing the centre of the room where his client sits facing him. We have both learnt now, according to Feng Shui, one should never sit with one's back backing a window or a door because one would have a hard life without any help from anyone.

My husband, of course, thought it was all hocus pocus. He resisted and reasoned that he wasn't going to follow someone else's instruction as to where he should or should not sit. Fair point, I understand it could be difficult especially when Feng Shui is not part of his culture and upbringing.

Guillermo was adamant that he wouldn't move but accidentally let slipped that his clients had complained about the sunlight getting into their eyes because they were facing the window directly. Well, let's just say we have each found a satisfactory reason for moving the furniture around.

Zoe has also suggested we put some hardier plants on the balcony to add "Life". That's easy; I was thinking of replanting anyway but instead of seasonal spring flowers, I would now look for something tougher.

The kitchen, our bedroom and my study have the best Feng Shui in the apartment. My persistent ill health, obstacles encountered in this country and then our loss, she explained, had nothing to do with the apartment but a particular phase in my life cycle. I will live through this period anyhow and then enter a new phase when I turn 40. Just a few more years to go!
To "lessen the burden" of this phase of my life, she suggested I throw some coloured cushions on my bed, preferably red and purple. I'm not going to argue against that or the colours either.

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