Feng Shui…Wisdom or Woo-Woo?

By Maren Day Woods

Giving thoughtful consideration to our desires and caring enough about ourselves to indulge in experiences we love, that bring us joy, we create the potential to find that elusive “something” that we may have felt was missing in our life. When we look outside our self to satisfy our need for love, validation, a sense of belonging we will likely come up short. I know this from years of personal experience. If we are willing to slow down and get quiet long enough to hear and listen to the voice from within, we eventually realize that the true essence of who we are is and has always been love, pure and simple love.

For years I was afraid to look within. The longer I avoided doing so, the easier it became to continue tending to the details of other peoples lives instead of my own. The consequence of this avoidance was that I continued to feel alone. It felt as if there was a party going on that most everyone had been invited to but me.

Being a single mom tapped into the feelings of loneliness I had felt as a child. I’d been able to distract myself from the emptiness I felt as wife, mom, employee and caregiver for my dad. I knew it felt better to be alone and lonely than to be married and lonely. My newer relationship with the angels helped me feel guided and supported. I knew I could no longer busy myself to avoid showing up to the inner event of my life. It helped that I had gone to therapists on and off since I was 16. So it wasn’t as if I was new to introspection. But I needed to choose to live a more authentic life, one where my needs and desires were considered.

Before we begin the Discovery Process, which is the first of 9 event-planning steps we will take together, I want to tell you about a powerful, but very playful practice I’ve used to support my creative process since the late 1990’s. My intention of introducing Feng Shui as an event-planning tool is because the principals can be applied to help you create abundance and harmony in all aspects of your life. It had worked for me in 1997 when my former spouse and I could not get our lake house sold. After applying the principals I had learned from studying Feng Shui on my own, the showing traffic picked up right away and our home sold within 2 weeks, for $10,000 more than we expected it to.

After being on my own as a single mom for five years, I had proven to myself that I could survive, but I wanted to thrive. Then on July 22, 2008 I was let go from a job for the first time in my life.

When I told my dad, he said, “That’s good.”

When I asked why he would say such a thing.

He responded, “You haven’t lived a full life until you’ve been fired once.”

“Oh really,” I countered.

“It’s true. Until you get fired, you don’t get the experience of seeing how you end up in a better position.”

He was right, it was a blessing for many reasons but I still felt devastated, scared and humiliated. And with the economy bottoming out, it wasn’t the best time to be looking for a new job. With hiring freezes, there weren’t many jobs for me to apply to that would allow me to make my monthly bills.

After two months of sending out 60 resumes, I landed only 2 interviews. I was doing every thing I could think of to keep from slipping into scarcity and panicking about money. I needed to figure out a way to get and stay in the flow of prosperity. Feng Shui had helped me before and I believed it could again. The first thing I did was release anything and everything in my home that I didn’t need or love, including many items that I had an emotional connection to, i.e. my wedding ring. I became aware of how even the smallest items could take up a lot of emotional space. I filled my single stall garage up 3 times. Originally, I had planned to have a garage sale to generate grocery money, but I felt that having goodwill haul everything away to benefit other family’s with greater needs than my own felt like a better plan. Almost immediately after the final load was hauled away, I got a call from a family friend who asked if I would plan her daughters wedding. I love synchronicity!

I told her that my charge would be $7,000, I didn’t hear back from her for quite a while. In the mean time, I decided that if I were hired, I would enroll in a curriculum to become a Certified Feng Shui Practitioner. There was only one school I was interested in attending, James & Helen Jay’s Certified Feng Shui Professional Academy. The next class was being held in Los Angeles, mid October 2008, only weeks away. They had studied under Grand Master Lin Yun, who was credited with bringing Feng Shui to the United States in the 1970’s.

At the time, the idea of becoming certified as a Feng Shui practitioner made sense intuitively, but logically, this decision could be perceived by some (including myself) to be questionable, if not irresponsible. How could I be considering a training for an alternative practice that wasn’t going to appeal to the mainstream community where I lived when I didn’t have a job during a recession!? Wouldn’t it be smarter to pay bills and keep anything left over in reserve as I kept applying for jobs? My head said yes! My heart said “No, you gotta go. Other than event planning, Feng Shui is the one thing that has held your interest for 20 years.”

My justification was that I could offer this service in addition to my event planning service. If it had brought me good fortune before, couldn’t a deeper level of understanding of the practice bring about even bigger results?

Helping people harness chi from our natural world to support them in their desire for harmony and good fortune was thrilling, especially at a time when the bottom was dropping out of our economy.

Finally, I got word that I was hired to plan the wedding. So, I could now plan to attend the training. After the huge purging I had done in my home, I decided to do an inner cleanse as well. I bathed by candlelight in the hottest bathwater I could tolerate with a heavy dose of Sea Salt. I did this every day for two months. I started out sullied with shame and resentment. But the quiet time on a regular basis with the balance of fire and water helped me let years of built up resentment at myself and others go right down the drain.

I went back to the beginning of (my) time on earth and forgave myself and anyone else who had hurt me. It was amazing to finally have the tears flow, as I had not felt like crying since my divorce was final. And just to be sure I covered all the bases, I forgave others and myself from previous lifetimes as well. I wanted my soul to have a clean slate. Had the deep decluttering process of my home been a catalyst for me to feel the need to do an inner cleanse? I knew that Mother Nature abhors a vacuum and I wanted her to have the room needed to bring new energy and opportunity into my life. Spiritually, I felt a lot lighter after those 60+ Forgiveness Baths.

As I said earlier, the ultimate intention or primary role of an event planner is to capture the essence of the guest of honor and bring it into the experience.

The creative process is then guided by the guest of honor’s (goh) soul preferences verses personality or ego, helping us to celebrate our authenticity.

Until I had the road trip revelation of Life as a Cosmic Gig, I had never really examined the event planning process I’d been using. After a thoughtful review, I identified 9 Steps that can be applied to any personal celebration. These same steps can also be used to plan your life as the celebration of you it was intended to be.

Step 1Discovery Process: WHO: Guest of honor (goh) is based on what they love from a 7-sensory perspective.

Step 2Define Intentions: WHAT: The goh’s primary and secondary desires/goals/plans are.

Step 3Inventory of Resources: WHAT: Inner and outer gifts the goh has to use in the event design process and share with fellow attendees.

Step 4Design Process: WHAT: Pertinent information realized in Step 1 – Step 3 to include in the development of the creative concept.

Step 5 Invitation: WHO: Determine who will be included on the guest list.

Step 6Identify the Theme: WHAT: Determining the entertainment the goh would want to participate in at the event.

Step 7– Choose a Venue: WHERE: Creating an attractive, comfortable space with a good flow pattern.

Step 8Delegate & Delivery – Assistance is always available. Know when to ask for it, allow it and be grateful for it.

Step 9The Gift Exchange – WHEN: Express authentic self, bringing the true essence of the goh into the experience and celebrated by all in attendance.

The most profound way to stay connected to ones true nature is by aligning with Mother Nature. You’ve most likely felt more connected when you spend more time in nature.

However, there is another way to invite the creative power of Mother Nature into your life and living space. You might say it’s an ancient Chinese secret I’ve been using to enhance my home and life for over two decades.

A few important points about energy that will do your spirit good to remember; Mother Nature’s energy always flows clockwise. And 4 principals my wise mum has shared with me that I want to share with you, everything is energy, everything is connected, everything changes and everything is mixed.

Applying these principals to the human experience: we are part of everything, we are made up of energy, we are all connected, we are constantly changing and our experiences are always mixed. These principals remind us that we do not live in a black and white world. By finding our way to a higher level of acceptance of the questions who, what, when, where and why’s of life, inner peace, contentment and joy is always available to us here and now through the gift of acceptance of what is.

The productive or positive cycle of the elements is as follows; Earth produces metal. Metal creates water. Water nourishes wood. Wood feeds fire. Fire creates earth. Feng Shui helps us invite and align with Mother Nature to enhance the circulation of our living environment. Acupuncture and acupressure improve circulation within our body to improve our health and well-being. Feng Shui means, Wind and Water in Chinese. The Grand Canyon shows an extreme example of the powerful difference that wind and water together can make on our outer landscapes. As you may know, our body is made up of about 70% water. The pumping of our heart creates the oxygen flow or wind that moves the water/blood within our inner landscape.

Enhancing the circulation of energy/chi in a living space by using the intentional placement of furnishings to symbolically align our inner self and desires with the creative cycle of Mother Nature as a process of manifestation is Feng Shui.

Is Feng Shui wisdom or woo-woo? If you think that the influence of Mother Nature on your life is woo-woo, then you will likely feel that Feng Shui is too. The good news for non-believers or fence strattelers regarding Feng Shui is that you don’t have to believe in it for it to work. For me, Feng Shui is an art form that goes well beyond improving your life by enhancing your surroundings. It is a tangible way to bring together the spirit-mind and body into every day life through the use of intuition, aligning with the elements, using prayer, affirmation and blessings to manifest your desires and dreams.

The practice of Feng Shui began as a way for people, some 3,000 – 5,000 or more years ago to not just live off the land, but to position one self, dwelling and grave site as auspiciously as possible within the landscape. It was realized that if you situated your self in such a way you could increase your longevity.

Having a mountain at your back, a water source in front of your dwelling, and hills and trees on either side, improve your chances of surviving the harshness of the elements or enemy aggression. Over the years, the practice has significantly evolved into several different types of Feng Shui that all have merit. I practice a westernized version, called BTB, which was created by Master Lin Yun.

Today, the majority of us are not as connected to our natural environment as our ancestors were, even though we’re just as reliant on Mother Nature for survival. This detachment has caused many distortions that impact our spirit, mind and body. Being predominantly indoors causes us to feel detached. In fact, so much so that we often don’t even realize what’s causing us to feel disconnected or disjointed. Think about what you do when you’re feeling stressed. Do you light a candle, go for a walk or hike to get fresh air, take a bath, and make a cup of tea? Look for your use of the elements in every day life. This is a great way to see that you are part of the flow pattern of life.

Your soul sends out constant invitations to show up to your inner experience via your feelings, intuitive tugs, inspired ideas, mindfulness, and synchronistic events. This direct guidance from your soul is what keeps you connected to the Divine Host.

Feng Shui is one of the only ways I know of to consciously and tangibly bring your spirit-mind-body together to manifest all that you desire from the 9 life areas of health, career, self-knowledge, family, wealth, fame, relationships, children or creativity, benefactors or supportive people.

Most people know that Feng Shui involves the placement of furnishings as symbolic representation of the 5 elements. However, placement only accounts for 10% of Feng Shui’s effectiveness. The blessing, which activates your intention of the placement accounts for 90% of its success.

The beauty of this process is that the furnishings we use to represent an element, such as a lamp to represent the element of fire, helps us focus as we bring our mind (intention) together with the body (mudra) and speech (mantra) while we hold the positive feelings (heart) of a dream or desire as if it already came true as we say the 6 true words…

Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum, 9, 18, 27 times (any multiple of 9).

Tibetan Buddhists believe that by saying the mantra of the six true words, which means “Hail the jewel in the lotus,” you can release negative karma, accumulate blessings of compassion, avoid suffering and achieve Buddhahood.

Om (ohm) “Vibration of the universe” symbolizes ones impure body, speech    and mind.

Ma (mah) The jewel symbolizes compassion and love, altruistic

Ni (nee)   intention to become enlightened.

Pad (pahd) Means lotus and symbolizes wisdom.                                     Me (may)

Hum (hum) Inseparability; symbolizes purity and can be achieved by the unity of method and wisdom and release of any attachment to hatred.

You can do this chant out loud or to yourself to bring joy and peaceful vibrations into your present experience. It is believed that this verse represents the truth of the nature of suffering and how to remove its causes.

It may feel funny to say at first, but the funny thing is, it works.

Feng Shui is not a religion. The practice began in Asia and India, but is practiced by people of all faiths around the world. In most religious traditions we are taught to pray to God (by many names) in hopes of receiving his/her blessing to ease our suffering or support us in a desire.

This ancient practice has stood the test of time because it is based on the science of the earth’s energy and how it affects spaces, and in turn influences the occupants.

In Buddhist tradition, the enlightened beings are not considered to come from outside us, but rather to be innate, aspects of our true nature. It is believed that love and compassion are always a part of who we are and that suffering is unnecessary.

And that once we face and accept the reality that suffering does exist, we can then look for the cause of it.

Once we realize that struggle and pain are merely caused by our attachment to outcomes, we can then explore how to release the conditions we’re holding onto that are causing us pain.

A powerful method believed to help not only the person suffering but others as well, to help release their pain. They are encouraged to enter into an awakened state of mind and connect their own Divine spark with God, Buddha, Allah, Nature, wise self, Mohammed, etc., as the Divine compassion that is within you, until you become compassion.

Eventually, by releasing yourself altogether, without the limiting nature of your personality and ego, you can expand your loving kindness and compassion to yourself and others. This is what gives you wisdom, clarity and understanding so you can share it with others in a way that makes sense to them.

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You simply superimpose the Bagua Map over your home or any venue; to see what life areas correspond with the floor plan of your home. Now that you have a basic understanding of the 9 event planning steps, what feng shui is and how it works, we’re now ready to step toward a life, balanced between having the creative energy to co-create the life we want, calm and centered enough to relax into the experience and trust that everything happens for your higher good and the higher good of all, in divine time.

There are 5 factors that are believed to determine your level of good fortune in life.

1) The fate you were born with, your family, place of birth and predetermined circumstances.

2) Luck based on how you move through life with rhythm and flow.

3) Feng Shui as a powerful tool.

4) Charitable actions of service, doing good deeds.

5) Self improvement through education, meditation, personal growth and self-definition through new discoveries! Number 3,4 and 5 can help you increase your luck.

By learning how to apply Feng Shui, living altruistically and staying on the path of self-discovery, your life may exceed your expectations or might enhance your level of enjoyment by helping you reach a higher level of self-acceptance of yourself and life, as it is.

Now, shall we take the first event planning step of self-discovery?