The ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui is famous the world over for how it helps harmonize the energy of a home. It can offer particular support for those who are more sensitive to energy by creating a nurturing, grounded atmosphere.
Feng Shui is a practice exploring the interactive relationship between the external physical world and our inner world. Its principles provide a means for us to understand how our physical surroundings impact our consciousness, making it possible to align the outer world to match our desired inner state of being. While we are all responsive to external stimuli, some of us are more attuned to various energetic layers that are less visible to the naked eye. This makes it all the more important to create a home that has a grounded, nurturing quality of energy to support our presence and well-being.
Everything around you speaks to you through your five primary senses, with sight being particularly receptive (there is more brain power is devoted to this sense than to the others). What you look at has an impact on how you think and feel, well beyond your conscious associations with the object of your attention. Because your brain can make connections more diverse than what you consciously recognize, it is important to be mindful of what you keep in your home environment. If you still have Aunt Matilda’s tea set but you don’t like it and you actually didn’t like her very much either, then you might think about why you are keeping it: an object that is associated with unhappy memories and unfulfilling relationships keeps that energy anchored in the space. Those who are more attuned to the subtler realms of reality are probably more aware of the feedback from their possessions, although not necessarily the specific messages. Surrounding yourself with more of what you love is essential to helping raise your mood and daily experience of self.
When it comes to displaying what you love in your home, it should be noted that sometimes less is more: if you hold up your hand, it is everything around your hand that is not your hand that makes your hand visible. The same goes for what we choose to highlight in the home: if you have too much of the same kind of thing, you actually see less of it and therefore don’t have as clear a relationship with it. I’ve often seen people with a more pronounced interest in spiritual and esoteric matters having their home filled with art and objects that all relate to this aspect of their lives, but the impact can be more overwhelming than we realize. One recent client of mine had several trays of crystals on every cabinet surface in her bedroom. Not only did it look very cluttered, but the energetic impact from all those crystals was far greater than she imagined and created a more intense atmosphere in the bedroom than she had intended. She minimized her collection and made more space on her surfaces, which helped highlight the new display she created even better while also calming the energy in her bedroom.
As much as your home should reflect you at core, it is at times important to go beyond your conscious personal preferences: we all have a range of expression available to us that is deeper than we might be aware of, and if we limit ourselves to what we know from our past experience, we might not draw out some more profound riches. If, for example, you have one or two favourite colours, keeping the palette of your home restricted to these can limit your emotional palette too, as well as capacity to get along well with those who express themselves differently. Feng Shui speaks to nature being made up of Five Elements - Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood - and without all five of these materials and their representative colours (reds, yellows / earth tones, whites / pastels / metals, blue / black / dark tones, and greens) being present in a balanced way (emphasis on the word ‘balanced’!), we ourselves will be thrown off kilter, both in our physical condition and our inner being. Varying the materials, colours, objects, and kinds of images you have in your space, while still reflecting your personal taste, can help you connect to and express more of who you are in your life; furthermore, harmonizing such variety can help you be more at ease with those who express themselves differently than you, as your environment sets the tone of an engaging relationship between varying forms, colours, and materials.
Because highly sensitive people can be more attuned than the average person to the invisible realms - or at least they are more aware of them - it is important for the home to support being grounded. As much as we might appreciate, admire, and have access to the subtler sides of reality - chakras, angels and guides, leylines, or the like - it is important to be able to embolden our presence in the physical body so we can integrate our knowledge into our being and to avoid burning out. Plants are ideal in this regard, as they are rooted in the earth yet grow and express themselves an uncompromising yet integrated way in the physical world. They additionally bring natural beauty and fresh air into the space - a bonus (I don’t suggest cacti though - the sharp spikes are too aggressive for the home). Lush scenes of nature are also ideal (I wouldn’t emphasize desert settings, as they are lacking in the water essential to our physical vitality). An image of a mountain can also support reaching great heights while being strongly grounded in physical reality - an ideal support for those focused on expanding their consciousness.
Your bedroom is one of the most important places in the home, as it is where you spend approximately a quarter to a third of your life in a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This room should support rest, romance and rejuvenation. Aim to keep things light and warm in tone: sheets, walls or curtains that are blue, black or any dark colour, can lead to excessive emotionality. As much as possible, minimize the use of mirrors, as the light reflecting elsewhere in the room can be too stimulating for a restful sleep. I prefer keeping books out of the bedroom completely - or I keep the book I am currently reading enclosed in the bedside table when I turn out the lights - so that the room is not filled with information while I am trying to sleep. Examine your bedroom with fresh eyes to see what could be having an adverse effect on your frame of mind as you sleep, and do your best to streamline the space so it feels calm, relaxing and inviting.
Once you start looking at the world through Feng Shui glasses, you can start to see how your home is communicating with you. Listen to what is around you as you look with conscious eyes. But don’t panic - things are not going to get immediately worse because you woke up to some adverse influences. Enjoy the process - I don’t suggest being so overzealous that you throw away things that you might regret having disposed of later on. Take step-by-step action that brings natural balance to your home so that you are supported, nurtured, and rejuvenated by your surroundings.
Mark Ainley is a Contemporary Feng Shui Consultant with a common-sense yet profound approach to applying Feng Shui principles for contemporary architecture and design tastes.
He has consulted around the world both in person and via the net, and has been featured in print in North America, Europe, and Asia.