Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Feng shui sounds dirty if you say it right

The two-day conference I just attended included a four-hour seminar on maintaining creative momentum.

Suffice it to say, I can use that for both the day job and my life as an author.

One section of the presentation focused on feng shui. In case you’re unfamiliar with it, feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice focused on balancing the energies of a given space to promote the health and well-being of the people occupying it.

In other words, moving your crap around to make your life better.

Though I’ve known more or less what it was, I’ve never bothered to learn specifics. The instructor put up a diagram instructing us to stand at the front entrance to our homes and point to the right. Start walking in a loop around the perimeter of the house. When you hit the far right corner, that’s your love corner. Keep going ‘til you hit the far left corner. That’s wealth. It works that way for different levels of the home, or for individual rooms.

I was fascinated.

I was also disturbed to realize my wealth corner contained a broken clock, while my love corner housed an overflowing trash can.

Probably not good signs, though it might explain a lot.

I scribbled notes about painting the front door red or using a red welcome mat to invite qi into the home. I made lists of things that should go in my love corner – pairs of objects, candles, photographs, items from nature like plants or pretty rocks or a fish bowl. I did a mental tally of things to add to my wealth corner – a jade plant, a frog figurine, anything red, objects from nature, things that represent what I want for my future.

My hand cramped from writing as the instructor regaled us with stories of how her income has doubled each year since she began shoring up her wealth corner with feng shui.

Then she smiled. “I’m not saying that’s the reason,” she added. “But it’s kind of like insurance – why take the chance going without it?”

I’ll admit I can be a skeptic, but I'm also superstitious. A weird balance, to be sure.

I’ve almost been run over several times when stopping to pick up pennies in the street. Back when I was querying agents, I followed a complicated ritual for blessing each query envelope before it went in the mail. The blessing didn’t involve virgin sacrifice, but only because I didn’t know any virgins.

Did it really make a difference? Deep down, the logical part of me admits it's unlikely.

But what’s the harm in hoping it might? If it takes so little effort, why not hedge your bets?

I went home after the seminar and moved the trash can out of my love corner. Then I looked at the clock in my wealth corner – a lovely memento from the Murano glass factory in Venice, but the pendulum hasn’t swung for six years.

There’s no room in my life for impotent pendulums, so I took the clock off the wall and stashed it in a cupboard.

Then I started shuffling existing pictures and objects. After that, I went shopping for a few odds and ends at thrift stores and Home Depot.

So what’s in my love corner now?

  • My nightstand holding a pair of red tea light candles
  • A pair of maracas I brought back from Venezuela 14 years ago
  • A series of five black and white artistic nude photos
  • A plant that somehow survived a ten-foot fall after my cat knocked it off a ledge six months ago
  • A photo of me with the gentleman friend I mentioned last week.
There’s still a clutter of books and reading glasses and an alarm clock that’s not so sexy, but I can deal.

And in my wealth corner, we have:
  • A 35 gallon aquarium that was already there (good thing, since I can’t move it anyway)
  • A red vase filled with sand and shells from a recent beach trip
  • A pretty metal pitcher holding a bouquet of dried flowers
  • A photo that makes me smile
  • A painting I bought in Jamaica that reminds me of warm sand and fruity drinks
  • A jade plant in a red pot
I’ll probably shuffle things around a little bit, and I’m waiting for the postman to bring me a small clay frog I bought online for my wealth corner.

Did I immediately find myself showered with wealth and love the instant I fixed up my new spaces? Depends on how you define it. I felt happy right away, and isn’t that sort of the point?

The jury’s still out on the rest of it, but I can be patient.

What’s in the love and wealth corners of your house? Do you know much about feng shui? Are there any areas of your life where superstition or uncertainty drive you do something just in case?

Please share!

Here are the photos of my new corners. I’ve taken the liberty of fuzzing out faces and nudie bits to protect privacy. What? I know you guys are perverts.

It’s why I love you.
The love corner, which happens to be in my bedroom. Convenient, no?
The wealth corner, which is in my dining room.


Unknown said...

Love corner: a bookcase with books and DVDs, a basket with painting equipment, a half-working printer, a dying plant and a huge replica of a ship my grandfather once sailed.

Wealth corner: my cleaning cabinet with brooms, tools, paint plus an assortment of cables and stuff that I don't know where to place.

I have a feeling I'm not going to be wealthy or successfully in love any time soon.

Sarah W said...

Good mercy! My wealth corner has the kitty litter box in it!

But the love corner is framed by two huge, overstuffed bookcases.

That'll do.

Matthew MacNish said...

I think you got ripped off on those photos. They're just blobs.

Oh. I see you did that on purpose. Tricksy.

Patrick Alan said...

My door is red and there is a tree right in front of it.

When my house was being built, my Asian neighbor saw that and thought I was also going to be Asian because of the feng shui.

If I have this right, my love corner had a large clock with dead batteries in it.

I replaced those this week, but just checked again and I think it is just dead. The clock is coming down.

Also, I don't believe in Feng Shui or Astrology.

You didn't have to blur the black and white photos of me.

Patty Blount said...

In my love corner, there is a grandfather clock my dad left behind when he lived with me for a few months last year.

In my wealth corner, there are dust bunnies. This is an empty corner of my bedroom, between my dresser and vanity table, where I hide stuff like un-used purses.

This explains much.

Linda G. said...

Uh-oh. We have a bar in our wealth corner. Does this mean we'll always have plenty to drink? Hmm. Not a bad deal, I guess.

Still, I just put two plastic frogs (one of them lights up when you press on it!) near the cocktail shakers, just in case there's something to this feng shui stuff.

Anonymous said...

Very nice.

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Oh no! My loo is in the wealth corner!! And, wait a minute - yes, my TV is in the love corner! Now what does that say bout me??

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Hm... this doesn't work so well with a dorm room, or my love corner would be my roommate's bedtable. Which is a lovely table, really, but who knows what she puts on it?
Or maybe that's why my love life seems so out of my control. Hmm...

And my wealth corner is an unmade bed and an ethernet connection. So... I'll make money online and work at home? :)
Also, I totally missed that post last week. I'm so happy for you! You make all of us laugh on a daily basis, it's only fair that you have someone who does the same for you. :)
Now, I'm off to contemplate rearranging my furniture....

Sarah Allen said...

Haha :) I love this! My right corner has my bed, and the left has a stack of books that don't fit on my bookshelf. I guess I'll leave it that way for now :)

Sarah Allen
(my creative writing blog)

therese patrick, author said...

I've used Feng Shui principles often and recommend it to remove clutter and be aware of what you place where in your space. It's neither a belief nor insurance but an awareness that your physical environment has an impact on your emotional energy. It's also lots of fun and does make you feel better. :D

Sierra said...

Ummm...the far right corner has my fridge. Either that or the cat scratching tower. (Not sure if it should be the far right front or rear corner.) Either way, that's some weird-ass love.

My wealth corner is either a nightstand in the cluttered master bedroom that we have yet to move into, or my bed that's in the guest room/office we're using right now. My guy's side of the bed, actually. I'm feeling pretty wealthy. ;)

I'm not a big feng shui person, but I do believe that clutter can screw with your head. So I'm still spazzing over the stuff that is not unpacked or put away from the move. Urgh.

Lynnette Braillard said...

So were the nude photos of you since you had to blur them out? LOL. I've Feng Shui-ed my surroundings for years, but only sort of half way. I don't like the color red in particular and nothing in my house would go with red. I guess I need to get over it. Maybe I would've won the lottery by now if I liked red.

Julie Glover said...

I know precious little about feng shui. However, my love corner is where the bathtub is. Since I adore hot bubble baths, maybe that's okay. But the wealth corner is our extra storage room where we put our "wealth" of items from Sam's Club - like dozens of paper towel rolls, oodles of toilet papr, extra soap, sponges, soft drinks, etc. What does that say about us? Interesting thoughts, Tawna.

Skye said...

Do you have to count walk in closets? Because if you do, my love corner is in the back of the closet. I don't see me putting in all those decorations there

Money corner is an empty spot in the bedroom. Well, I'm am dead-near broke, so putting in a feng shui corner couldn't hurt!


Cortney Pearson said...

I've heard of Feng Shui before, but never the whole love/wealth corner thing. Interesting! I like to move my stuff around anyway, though, just so the space feels new and exciting every once in a while. I like having to re-orient myself sometimes.

Hannah said...

I have never feng shui'd (sp?) before. I love the idea of it though and I love your love corner. (Note: in my head I said loooooooooove)


Malin, sounds like you have your work cut out for you! Maybe the boat should go in the wealth corner?

Sarah, LOL, that’s even better than my trash can!

Matthew, can’t put anything past you, darlin!

Patrick, those photos of you are illegal in 16 states.

Patty, I expect you to fill your wealth corner at once and send photos!

Linda G, frogs and cocktails…sounds like the perfect wealth corner to me.

Lynnrush, so what’s in YOUR corners?!

Writer Pat Newcombe, er, do you love your television very much?

Bethany, I think you can feng shui individual spaces like desks. Just to be safe, I put a little frog on the left corner of my desk and a small vase of flowers on the right.

Sarah Allen, I have many of those piles of books that have overflowed the shelves. That’s next on my to-do list!

Therese, that’s what I love about it – you can choose to believe or not to believe, but either way, it’s bound to make the space look nicer, which certainly improves your overall mood!

Sierra, get thee feng shi-ing at once!

Lynnette, kinda surprised you’re the only person to ask that question! Yes.

Julie, throw a few red things in that storage closet and you should be good!

Skye, go fill up that corner, stat!

Cortney, that was the most fun part of the whole thing for me – just moving things around and giving my space a fresh look made me feel happy.

Hannah, I rather loooooooove my love corner, too!

Thanks for reading, guys!

Kadi Easley said...

There's a sump pump in my love corner. That explains a lot.

Taymalin said...

My desk is in my love corner. It's full of text books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and novels.

Maybe I'll meet someone smart?

My wealth corner is as empty as my bank account. Well, there is an armchair kind of stuck there for lack of a better place. But there are no decorations.

Reetta Raitanen said...

Thanks for the great topic, Tawna.

Making Feng Shui plans for your house and changes in baby steps is invigorating. I pick up my Feng Shui books when I need motivation for big cleaning and decluttering sessions :)

My love corner: Sofa, toy basket of kids (would be nice it was my toys but I can't store them in the living room ;)), standing lamp, fan and a painting my friend made for our wedding with our symbols.

Ideas: Add red pillows to the sofa and a framed photo of us to the wall. Move the children's toys to somewhere else.

My wealth corner: Uh, hugely cluttered drawer, laundry basket, messy closet, dust, no proper curtains because I haven't been able to make up my mind... Everything needs work.

Thinking this through was really eye-opening. So thanks again, Tawna.

PS: Lynnette, if you don't like color red, you could try other symbols of fire element, like candles, more light, pictures and shapes of people and animals, and triangular forms.

Anonymous said...

So glad I stumbled across you on the blogsphere. I love your humour! I can't wait to read one of your books.

Unknown said...

In my love corner is my display of fairies so I'm feeling pretty good about that. The wealth corner is pretty much our whole kitchen (we pretty much have one big room for everything not involving beds and showers) so am going to try and keep all the cupboards well stocked from now on - just in case.