Is there a difference?
I am skeptical — too skeptical for my most self-avowedly woo-woo (and remarkably happy and abundant) friends. And yet here I am loving, practicing, and teaching feng shui.
So: Why Feng Shui?
~ Because it’s fun.
~ It’s a different canvas for self-expression. One that can be huge or tiny, depending on what you feel like doing.
~ It creates pleasing interior design (and exterior too, if you decide to go there).
~ And because it works so WELL, which is …
… weird? — Yes!
… powerful? — Yes!
… non-sensical? — Maybe not. Maybe there’s a rational reason.
Maybe “energy” is real.
Well, I mean, I know it’s real because of my favorite engineering class: thermodynamics. I did homework actually CALCULATING energy and “lost energy” and “potential” and other terms so metaphorically woo-woo you can’t believe it.
But I mean: maybe it’s literally true that there are different kinds of energy affecting different parts of our lives and that they’re tied to the environment and even specifically linked to different colors and tastes and geographical parts of the environment (like Feng Shui’s nine energies/directions: career, knowledge/insight/spirituality, children/family, money, fame, romance, mentors, creativity, and health).
Or maybe just telling ourselves “this is an effective practice” and then undertaking that practice makes something magic happen.
There’s lots of evidence for this possibility, and not “just” the placebo effect in medicine. (Which actually is good enough for me! Whatever works.)
~ We know from all the cool new neuroscience research that our unconscious brain is more powerful than even our magnificent conscious mind.
(I have heard people say 40 bytes of information per second for the conscious mind and 40 million bps for the unconscious. I have heard 2,000 bps for the conscious and 4 billion bps for the unconscious. As a skeptic, I have looked a little bit into where these numbers come from and cannot be sure on the exact answer, but I like the calculation methods enough to agree that both processes handle A LOT of information, and it seems reasonable that the unconscious process is exponentially greater than the conscious one. Especially because we have all had that experience where we know things without knowing we know them until somehow we magically DO know it and wonder how. Not to mention the experience of driving to, say, Gillette, Wyoming, and, all of a sudden, “coming to” and realizing we are THERE and we were paying no attention whatsoever to driving for the last hour, yet some part of our mind got us there.)
~ And we are seeing that this mega-strong unconscious works to re-create whatever it has determined to be our “normal” way of being.
Your brain seeks out situations, people, activities, and things that feel normal. Likely this was an evolutionarily strong trait — giving an advantage to cave people that went for safe-feeling watering holes and paths and yummy-tasting nuts and berries.
True, it is not a pleasant phenomenon if we are re-creating something unpleasant from our childhood. BUT: when we figure it out, it is our secret weapon in shaping our own lives because it works just as well if not better for “positive” feelings and situations .
There are a million inspirational quotes(only half of which are on my fridge!) about how when you start doing something you want, magic happens.
I don’t think we know for sure why — this, as with all of life, is so much mystery! Most of the quotes on my fridge attribute it to the universe or God conspiring to help us. Or maybe it’s our unconscious minds. Or maybe the universe/God helps us THROUGH our unconscious minds. Regardless, it is The Way of The World.
~ Feng Shui, at its most fundamental level, is you giving form to your intentions.
This is important. It’s not JUST you formalizing a desire for a certain situation or, more precisely, for a certain feeling. It’s you physically doing something about your desire — something that creates the actual feeling you want.
And that’s translating your CONSCIOUSNESS (your intention) over into your UNCONSCIOUS with a language it understands: images. Symbols are how the unconscious communicates. They create a very specific quality of awareness for your spirit.
~ Then your unconscious — your soul, you might say — gets it: “Oh. THIS is what we are doing. This is how we roll. This is our normal.” And, like a heat-seeking missile, it goes about creating more of that.
My basic coaching process is based on wanting what you want and getting that feeling you want. It gets deep fast and works best with a coach — although the worksheet is available free here and many people like doing it on their own. But here’s the thing, in my experience:
Feng Shui works as well.
Because you are DOING something right away.
Okay, this is hard for me to tell publicly because I am after all an ENGINEER, but here’s what happened to me once:
I wanted more money. (That’s hard for me to say for other reasons, because I am after all a yoga teacher, but that’s another discussion!)
It’s the Feng Shui sector for “wood,” so I moved some plants there and cleaned them up. I moved our comfy brown chair to that spot, added a light-colored little pillow with embroidered sprigs of lavender, and draped it with a snuggly, purple blanket. On the windowsill,I tucked a Chinese coin and a tiny but mighty plump carved purple elephant. On the wall, I put a painting (by a painter I know and adore — all that good will is important!) of a green and lavender Scottish moor and also a Wide Ruins Navajo rug because that is my favorite style and it is muted greens and pinks and tans. It looks like the best smells of my childhood.
Within six weeks we got a tax refund TEN times larger than we expected, and my husband got a surprise check for some forgotten business travel plus an inheritance check. (We are not from families that have inheritance checks! This was shocking!) I got very well-paid gig (that I completed in that chair, on my computer and phone) plus a small cash gift out of nowhere for no reason. Seriously. Weird.
Now maybe taking this Feng Shui action made me somehow more likely to file taxes (late as usual) or open myself up to a cool job or a lovely gift.
Or maybe it made me more likely to notice good fortune.
Or maybe it made it happen.
I don’t know. I don’t care. Because it was so fun and abundant-feeling.
And, no matter what, with Feng Shui, I end up with a cleaner, more appealing-to-me house (without any grimness or martyrdom!).
In other words, we return to the short answer:
Making my life the way I want it be by priming my unconscious in its own non-verbal language of symbolic images and actions? That’s always real.
PS — Come take my two-night Feng Shui Easy class at Sheridan College next week! Tue and Thur 6-7:30, $35, call 674-6446 x 2200 to register.