Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review - 10-Minute Feng Shui

In my quest to become a professional organizer I have been reading a lot of books.  Some of them recommend that people familiarize themselves with Feng Shui (pronounced "fung shway").  Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement that is thousands of years old and yet, until recently, few people in the West knew anything about it.

I found myself at the book store looking for a book that would explain Feng Shui to me and let me know how it could help in organizing someone's home.  What I found (in the bargain bin no less) was 10-Minute Feng Shui; a book purportedly designed for "busy, action-oriented Westerners who want quick results without a lot of bother".  That's me!  It was small (as in not too wordy) and cheap so I thought I would give it a try.

The book's author, Skye Alexander (hmmmm, Skye...seems appropriate), contends that the objective of Feng Shui is to create harmony and balance in your environment.  She goes on to say that there are many schools of thought on Feng Shui and that she is only going to give me that basics.  Sounds good to me!

The most basic element of Feng Shui is to entice Ch'i (pronounced "chee"), a vital energy that animates all life, to enter your home and circulate throughout bringing with it something the Chinese call the Three Great Blessings - health, wealth and happiness.  Ch'i enters your home through the front door and windows and exits through the back door, shower drain and toilet (yep, toilet!).  In the meantime you want the Ch'i to move through your home much the same way that you do.  If you can walk comfortably through the different rooms of your home, it will be easier for Ch'i to circulate but if you must walk around awkwardly placed furniture, architectural obstructions, and clutter then Ch'i will also have a hard time getting through.

These are I Ching coins.  You will need to know this.  I get mine for free at the Mandarin (a local Chinese food buffet) during Chinese New Year.

The author offers some "cures" for the various problems in your home and life.  The following are some of the "easy and inexpensive cures" for prosperity:

- Hang a mirror above your stove
- Hang a mirror beside your stove
- Place a bowl near your front door and drop a penny in it each time you go in or out
- Place 3 coins in a red envelope and place it on your desk
- Fill a red envelope with rice and place it on a shelf in your kitchen
- Tie three I Ching coins together with a red ribbon and hang them above your stove (perhaps from the mirror up there)
- Tie three I Ching coins together with a red ribbon and hang them from a tree in your front yard (my neighbors are going to think Christmas has come early!)
- Tie 8 I Ching coins together with a red ribbon and hang near your desk or computer
- Display a gold star near your desk
- Hang a wind chime in the window directly across from your front door
- Place a live plant in your work area
- Place a large plant near the back door
- Tape 3 coins under it (she could have mentioned this before I potted that heavy plant!)
- Set a large stone outside your back door (I wouldn't recommend this one - I tripped)
- Set two large stones at the bottom of a steep flight of steps (again, doesn't sound too safe if you ask me)
- Hang a mirror above your desk
- Hang a mirror above your computer (whatever you do don't break any of these mirrors because that would add up to 28 years bad luck, so far!)
- Hang a crystal in your kitchen window
- Hang a crystal in office window
- Place a vase of yellow flowers in the kitchen
- Place a vase of yellow and red flowers in your office
- Place a black stone on your desk
- Place a piece of amethyst on your desk (I'm running out of room to work!)
- Place an egg-shaped object in your office
- Place a quartz crystal on your desk (Ok, at this point I'm going to have to try and balance them all like the rocks in the top photo if they are all going to fit on my desk!  Seriously, nothing else on the desk already!)
- Frame a paper money bill and display it on your desk (Agggghhhh!)
- Hang a small mirror on the outside of your bathroom door (I'm really going to have to start doing my hair more)
- Hang a mobile in you kitchen
- Hang a wooden wind chime in your office window (next to the crystal)
- Hang a glass wind chime in your office window (Look lady, I don't have the corner office!  How many office windows do you think I have!)
- Place a small fountain in your office (Great, now I have to pee every 15 minutes which is really cutting into my work time!)
- Burn pine incense in your office
- Tie 8 small bells on a red cord and hang them on the door to your office
- Place three coins in a wooden box and set it on your desk (This is obviously Feng Shui for corporate executives that can afford to have a wall of windows and a desk the size of a small apartment.  I could try balancing all the other crap on top of the wooden box but I'm being so distracted my all the wind chimes, bells and water falls that I can't even think straight anymore!)
- Place a figurine of a lion in your office (Really?!)
- Set 8 pieces of jade on your desk (not one!  eight!)
- Set a small pyramid on your desk (I assume she means anything outside of the Valley of Kings)

These are just some of Skye's suggestions for prosperity.  There is also another whole section devoted to "cures" for love and one for "cures" for happiness.  It makes a line at the beginning of the book kind of redundant.  "Eliminating clutter, which is one of the most powerful and common Feng Shui cures, is both practical and symbolic."  I have decided to be practical by eliminating all these newly acquired "cures" and symbolically chucking them in the garbage! I now feel at one with the universe.

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