Feng shui seems to be growing in popularity lately, but is it environmentally friendly? At its core, feng shui, is a way of life that helps us live in harmony with the environment. It's roots in ancient Chinese philosophy saw human beings as part of the natural order. The principles of feng shui would then seem to be in line with environmental ideals such as the use of organic produce, non-toxic paints and natural dyes, the development of sustainable energy systems, and the choice of natural materials. However, a certain amount of misinformation has found it's way into the culture. With a proliferation of materials offering "quick fixes" to help you increase your wealth or sell your home, it's easy to see how the philosophy could be misused.
One such example is the popular feng shui belief that planting bamboo is an easy way to cure the negative flow of energy. In fact, in many ecosystems, non-native bamboo is rather invasive and difficult to remove. It has proven to be so disastrous that some local governments have outlawed planting it. To avoid making such decisions that could negatively effect the environment, we recommend consulting with a recognized practitioner who can guide you on the appropriate steps to enhance your home.
Guidelines for De-cluttering:
1. Recycle or donate any items that you haven't used in the past two years. Unless of course the item has sentimental value.
2. Ask yourself if you love or need it? If the answer is no, recycle or donate it.
3. Keep the energy flowing while you work by playing music.
4. Take frequent breaks. Organize your time into one-hour blocks, working for and hour and then refreshing yourself by changing your focus.
5. Visualize the space as you'd like it to appear. Form will follow thought.
6. After a room is decluttered, work to remove negative or stagnant energy. Rooms that are especially vulnerable are rooms that aren't lived in, and places where there have been arguments, or illnesses.
7. Leave small bowls of salt in corners of the room for a few days to remove stale air.
8. Sound helps to break up negative energy. Try using a bell, or clap your hands while walking around the edges of the room. Reach toward the ceiling as you go.
9. Use incense. Sandalwood incense has been traditionally used in Buddhist and Taoit temples to help clear spaces.
10. Open windows to let in fresh air.
The Five Elements:
The Five Elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. They are described by the type of energy and colors and shapes associated with the element.
1. Wood is described as upward or growing energy. Try all shades of green; columns and tall shapes, vertical stripes; any kind of plant in your home.
2. Fire is expansive or excited energy. Use reds and oranges; triangular, and jaggedly irregular shapes; flames and lights.
3. Earth is settling, stable, or containing energy. Try browns and beiges; flat, square shapes; stones and smooth crystals, brick and ceramic objects, vases and containers.
4. Metal is contracting or introverted energy. Use white, gray, and metallic colors; round and oval shapes; metal objects, pointed crystals.
5. Water is flowing energy. Try blacks and blues; meandering and smoothly irregular shapes; liquids of all kinds, mirrors.
The Eight Areas of Influence:
The practice of feng shui involves analyzing the energy of your home. The elements and areas of influence interact in such a way that either negative or positive energy can be created. Knowing where each area of influence is reflected in your home enables your to diagnose problems and identify opportunities. It also enables you to determine which elements would be most appropriate for each area. It is a map of the energy in a space. It identifies how the chi in various areas in and around your home effects specific aspects of your life experience:
1. The Career area concerns your life path and social connections as well as your work.
2. The Knowledge area has to do with education as well as spirituality and self-awareness.
3. The Family area includes your relatives as well as close friends you welcome into your family; it also has to do with your community and your ability to initiate new projects.
4. The Wealth area is about "fortunate blessings" in any form, not just financial; your ability to receive is reflected here.
5. The Fame area has to do with your reputation and how others perceive you; it is also about self-perception, your vision of the future, and inspiration in any form.
6. The Marriage area includes romantic relationships, business partnerships, mother figures, and your ability to care for yourself and receive nurturing from others.
7. The Children & Creativity area has to do with the things and ideas that you bring into the world; it also effects your ability to complete what you started and to enjoy the fruits of your efforts.
8. The Mentors & Travel area includes the assistance you receive from others, as well as the support that you provide, and your relationship with your male authority figures.
NOTE: The Tai Chi area relates to your overall health and life balance; whatever happens here effects all the other areas as well.
Below is an illustration of where the eight areas of influence are located and what elements coincide.
Resources: Suite101.com and FindArticles.com.