Feng shui is Asian minimalist.
Feng shui is New Age.
Do any of these sound familiar?
I can't afford to do feng shui. Actually, you can't afford not to. Most of us spend much of our time in environments we can't control that may be unpleasant, uncomfortable, or even unsafe. Ignoring the flicker of fluorescent lights in the office all day, tuning out express trains clattering past the platform, tensing up from sitting still for six straight hours at your desk--all this takes energy. Even if you do it all subconsciously, the constant strain of blocking out your surroundings takes its toll in fatigue, stress, and poor focus. That's why it's so important--especially for city dwellers--to make sure the one environment you can control--your home--is a place that refreshes and invigorates you--not another awkward or uncomfortable space that further drains you. You don't need to spend big bucks redecorating. Once you start practicing feng shui, you're likely to find you have too much stuff, not too little. Or that you have all the right things in all the wrong places. Reassessing and rearranging what you already own costs time, not money. Feng shui is a cost-effective way to invest in yourself by investing in your home that's an extension of yourself.
|Pearl River, SoHo|
|Fire Truck! Fire Truck! Fire Truck!|
I'm not New Age-y. You don't need to be. Feng shui has more to do with your central nervous system than with New Age philosophy. At the end of the day, we're all mammals--and our limbic systems are more like reptiles. Since you can't change that, it makes good sense--and good science--to work with it, instead of struggling against it. Notice which seats get taken first the next time you enter a room with a group of people. Whether you call it feng shui, office politics, or etiquette, executives position their desks to face the door for the same reason men traditionally offer women the banquette seat in restaurants: it feels safer to sit with your back to the wall, facing the door so you can see any potential danger that might come through it. You may not even realize you're doing this, but you still do it--and so does everyone else. You can't always choose your seat at meetings or in restaurants, but trying to ignore things in your home that feel unsafe is asking the impossible of your nervous system. You may think you don't have time to fix that chair with the wobbly leg or clear away the clutter blocking the stairs, but do you really have the energy to keep pretending it's not there? Your reptile brain knows better and won't let you forget it--if not consciously, then by not letting you concentrate, relax, or fall asleep. Our five senses have evolved to protect us, and feng shui helps us hear and heed them. You can't fight evolution, but you can use feng shui to give your inner reptile a break.
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