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Feng Shui

Chances are you've heard of feng shui (pronounced "fung shway"), the Chinese discipline that teaches us how to attract and enhance our life energy (called chi) according to how our homes are arranged. But do you know how to put it to work for you?

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What is a bagua and how do I use it?
A bagua is a feng shui road map. It divides your home into nine sections (called guas) that correspond to the nine main areas of your life. The graphic below is a representation of a bagua. Your front door opens up into the skills & knowledge, career or helpful people gua. From there, you can divide your space up into nine parts and find each of your other guas.

The bagua is considered the "map of feng shui." It is designed to help you figure out which parts of your home correspond to each of the nine areas of your life. 

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How do I use it?
Each different colored area (or gua) corresponds with one of the life areas. To overlay the bagua on your home or work floor plan, stand at the threshold of the architecturally intended (not the one you happen to enter most often) front door facing in and hold the diagram so that the blue, black and gray guas are closest to you. Pretend you can draw a line straight across the front of the home where the door is: that would be the line at the bottom of this color chart. Now that you have the correct orientation, just divide your space up into nine guas as if you were cutting a square cake up into nine pieces. It helps to think of them as nine squares for this exercise -- like a little tic-tac-toe board overlaid on your house.

What if my front door isn't clear?
A lot of people at this point feel that they can't go on because their door is at some strange angle or is confusing for some other reason. If you are confused about the front door, then just do each room individually using the door to that particular room as the starting point to overlay and orient the bagua
.

What part of my life would I like to change?
Simply find the area on the picture below which you want improved, and match it with the area below the picture.

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T -- find out what it means to you! The fame and reputation area of your home is the perfect place to start cultivating others' respect.

After all, if you have respect, a good reputation usually follows. This area of the home is also about courage -- as in having the courage to start something new or to change. Making improvements to this area can also literally make you famous if that is what you want.

So, where do you start? In the center back area of your home or room -- opposite the wall of the front door. For more help locating your fame and reputation area, refer to the bagua above.

Get fired up to work on the fame and reputation part of your home because fire is the element associated with this area! What else goes here?
 
Things to add

The Color Red: Just about anything red will help bring that fiery energy you need to enhance your reputation.

Real Fire: If you are wondering where to place that candle you just bought, put it here! If you've got a fire place in the center back part of your home, then you've already got a great start -- just add intention, and voila!

Fake Fire: Don't like the real thing? Then add the electrical alternative -- light. A night light, flash light, spot light or a lamp.

Electrically Powered Objects: Electricity is today's fire. Anything powered by electricity can be used to "juice up" fame and reputation.

Pointy or Triangular Objects: By merely adding something shaped like a flame, you will have added the proper movement of energy to this space. This is also probably the only spot that a cactus is appropriate indoors.

Sun and Stars: Want to be a star? Place stars in this area. The goal is to be lit up in the spotlight when someone is looking for you, whether it's for a new job, a date or to be the next big movie star.

Famous People: Place a picture of a famous person here -- especially if it is someone that you totally respect -- and you'll most likely enjoy the results.

Things to remove

Water: Push the 80-gallon fish tank away from this place! Water tends to drown out the fire energy.

Black Colored Stuff: Black and other dark colors compromise red here like darkness compromises the day. You want bright and light, not dark and night.

Symbols of Poor or Bad Reputation: Here's an example: the car dealer that you are negotiating with has his office decorated with a huge picture of a weasel right behind him, a poster of big snake eating a bunch of little bunnies, and a stuffed shark hanging over the door. Be sure you get rid of anything that represents an unappealing character trait.

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places? There are simple feng shui "cures" you can apply to the relationships corner of your home -- walk in the front door to the rear of your home, then take a right, that's your relationships corner -- and to your bedroom -- a relationships area, no matter where it falls in your home -- to help you attract love energy. Put these quick tips into action and see the energy of love start to flow to you.

Things to add

Space: Make room for the energy of love by literally creating space. Clean out half the medicine cabinet, half a drawer, some of the closet. Allow the nightstand on the other side of the bed to remain empty, or you could add a little something there that you think your lover would be attracted to.

Matching pairs: Replace the single stuff with matching pairs of things: a set of love birds, a couple of candles sticks, two hearts made of rose quartz ...

Sensual items: If the possibility presents itself, are you prepared? Chocolate, candles, massage oils, champagne, nice sheets, a clean bathtub or a nice robe can help you feel assured that you can handle the energy when it arrives. Think of the five senses here, and make sure you have catered to each.

Pink stuff: In feng shui, pink is the color of love. Pink stuff can actually help hold love energy for you. I'm talking about even placing a piece of pink-colored construction paper here -- almost anything pink can help.

Round or rounded items: Curvy stuff mimics body form -- nice to have around in the relationship area.

Things to remove

Stuff from old relationships: You've got to cut the ties to the past. Lose the old love letters, furniture, trinkets, gifts and dried flowers from what was once a happy relationship.

Single stuff: If you are single and looking, you can get fast results by just removing the art in the home that depicts a single woman within the frame. If you have an expensive portrait of yourself, give it to a friend or relative to hold for you for a while. Single ladies hanging around the house attract single attitudes and energies.

Single setup: Having just one nightstand next your bed with every other space in your room filled to the brim with your stuff gives the impression that you are comfortable with your single lifestyle.

Too much feminine ch'i: If your home or room is so covered in lace and perfume bottles that a guy can't even come in and sit down without shivering, then lighten up on the girly stuff and get a little macho vibe going instead.

Juvenile ch'i: Stuffed animals, games and dolls don't attract mature relationships -- if that is what you are looking for.

Distractions: Remove items that make you stray from your intent for a relationship, such as exercise equipment, work-related items, laundry and television. You can still keep these items, of course, just keep them out of the love area.

Pointy and pokey things: Sharp angles and corners poking into this area of the home only keeps the people you attract at bay. Lose the cactus.

Creativity and children live together in the same part of your home (according to feng shui) because they share the same energies. Creative people and children are both free to express themselves, no matter what other people may think. And when they are around, fun is always nearby.
 
So let's get creative about what to place in this part of the house for both free expression and for anything to do with kids (conceiving them, raising them, having better relationships with them). To get started, walk in your front door, turn to the right and walk 1/3 of the way to the back of your home. This is your children and creativity area.On more help locating this zone refer to the bagua, again, above.
 
Things to add

Metal: Metal is the element of choice for this area. Metal picture frames are one of the easiest things to use, particularly those with pictures of kids in them. Or use pots and pans if the creativity and children zone in your house is the kitchen. Snoop around -- you'll find something!

White: The color white equals metal in feng shui. Here's where those white apartment walls finally come in handy. White towels in the bathroom or white dishes can do the same thing.

Round Stuff: Look for circles and balls, such as a white metal clock sitting next to the brass bell on the round, mosaic, handmade table with metal legs in the artist's studio. See how things suddenly start to have meaning?

Fun Stuff: If you're having fun, you are that much closer to being creative. So, this part of your home would be a great place to put games, instruments, toys, music collections, art displays or heck, even the TV if that's all you've got.

Hobbies and Crafts: If you want to be more active and creative in your craft activities, try using this part of your house to do them.

Things to remove
 
Fire: Fire melts metal, and it will burn you out in just about any activity. Remove the candle collection from this spot. If you have a fireplace in this part of the home or room, here's the occasion to hang a mirror above it. Mirrors equal water in feng shui, so you would be putting out the fire with the water.

Red: If fire is out, then so are "hot" colors. Reds will snuff out your creativity faster than a hurricane can blow out a match. Triangular or Pointy Objects: Since these shapes represent fire, it's best to leave them out of this space. Eat your bowl of Doritos somewhere else, my friend.

The helpful people and travel section is located in the front right-hand side of your home as you enter the front door. For more help locating this area, refer back to the bagua above.
 
This area of your house can hold all kinds of fun energy for you. For example, if you travel too much or too little you can even that out here. If you find yourself doing everything for yourself with no help -- I call this "Little Red Hen Syndrome" -- you can shift the energies to be more helpful in life. If you feel out of sync with everything going on around you, this spot can get you in the groove. Or, if you are in some sort of legal battle, home purchase or sale, need medical attntion or any other major event where you really need to be treated fairly and justly, this part of the house can get things in control for you.
 
Things to add
 
Silver and Gray: These two colors are very helpful here. I don't care if it's aluminum foil -- put it here. My signature cure is to place a silver box in the helpful people and travel area to hold a space for your needed energies. Write down anything you need help with (and word it in such a way as it is affirming -- do not use the words need or want in these sentences -- say "thank you for ..." or "I am now enjoying ..." instead) on a piece of paper and place the paper in the box. I prefer the box have a lid. It seems to garner more respect. If you are in a legal situation, put your opponents' names (business cards perhaps?), as well as any legal documents in the box. If the box is not big enough, then wrap it up in aluminum foil. And make your intention to bring about a fair outcome. Hands: If you are looking for a helping hand, put one or more hands in this spot. It can be quite a powerful symbol to have working for you if you give it the right intention.

Symbols of Helpful Beings: Here's where the angels and religious statues and pictures can really be beneficial within your home. If you don't have anything like that lying around to use, then try books from your favorite self-help authors. This is a great spot to have your copy of my book Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life if you are looking for feng shui help!

Pictures or Symbols of Your Favorite Travel Destinations: If you are looking to travel, then use photos of the destination here. Heck, throw the globe over in this corner and see what comes of it if you aren't too picky about where you'll end up! But seriously folks, the more clear the intention, the better the odds of success. I like using travel postcards for this exercise.

Bells: A bell is a great symbol of calling attention to your needs. Have a bell close by and see who starts helping out. Maybe the teenagers will clean their dirty rooms after all!

Things to remove
 
Junk: You've got to clear a path to yourself so all these helpful people can find you. Get anything that is hampering their view out of your space and your life.

Drains: If you've got a drain in this corner of the home, your helpful energies may be flowing away from you before they can help. Balance this by placing red tape around the outgoing pipes (under sinks and such) with red tape or ribbon. Take red fingernail polish and paint the underside of the drain. Do both the tape or paint/fingernail cure with the intention of stopping your helping energies from going down the drain.

If there's a part of your life where you feel like a fish swimming upstream, then perhaps the career area of your home needs a makeover. This part of the home corresponds to feeling as if you are in the flow of life, as opposed to fighting the current. If your work is taking its toll, or you feel like you are wasting your time, some revisions to this part of your can offer some help. To locate your career zone, refer back to the bagua above.

Things to add

Water: Water is the career element. If you've got one of those little table fountains, here's the best zone for it in the home.

Black: Black is the color of water in feng shui. Placing almost anything black here will help.

Mirrors: Mirrors equal water in feng shui, so feel free to load the career zone with them.

Good career symbols: If you have a dream about becoming a Hawaiian hula dancer and you are spending most of your waking hours jumping from one meaningless job to another, then a good idea would be to place a picture of a hula dancer up in the career area. I've seen this cure work firsthand. One of my clients hung a photo of a woman hula dancing on the beach in her career gua because she wanted the ocean in the photo to help boost her career. Next thing you know she is getting requests for hula dancing from local groups. One day she noticed the hula dancer in the picture of her "water cure" and figured that because she intended for that picture to be her career enhancer, she got not only the water but the dancer vibes too.

Glass: The fluidity of glass in the making is a great representation of water. Feel free to enhance your career energies by placing glass vases, shelves and bowls in this place.

Things to remove

Earth: Dirt or anything that has soil involved will murk up a career just about as fast as anything. Check for ceramic materials in the area, too, because they are earthen in their element.

Yellow: Yellow and earth-toned colors are too earthy for this water area of the home.

Squares: Squares are earth in feng shui, and so is flat stuff. Counterbalance tables, shelves and flat counters by placing objects with undulating forms on them, such as the glass objects mentioned above.

The wisdom area of the home is perhaps the most underappreciated of the bagua. Everyone wants to concentrate on relationships or prosperity, but a little wisdom can go a long way in just about all the other areas of life. I've seen people doing just about everything they can think of in the relationship gua and totally ignoring the wisdom zone, only to create the same dumb relationship over and over again. And once they consider a possible imbalance in wisdom, the light goes on, and they shift into a better space, attracting a better love life. Use this area to gain wisdom about anything, from the night class you are taking to the inner work necessary to really bring about significant life changes. To find your skills and knowledge zone, walk through your front door and take a left.
 
Things to add
 
Blue: Blue is considered an inward-focusing color and works well here. From the wall paint to the lampshade, add a little blue to increase the brain vibes.

Light: If you want to "shed some light on the subject" or get "a bright idea" or gain enlightenment, add the literal symbol for it here. No more "the lights are on but nobody's home" for you!

Symbols of mentors or wise people: I have seen people use some very cool wisdom symbols: Solomon from the Bible, Merlin, Albert Einstein, Mozart, Gandhi. Choose one that resonates with you and you'll get that wisdom corner working for you. Even a penny with wise old Lincoln on it can be considered your best one-cent investment for the future.

Meditation items: If you do any meditation work, this part of your home or room can help hold that focus for you. Create a sacred space for quiet thoughts in your home and you won't believe how much more calm you will be.

Sharp knives and other metal: Having sharp kitchen tools helps you be "sharp as a tack" or have a "razor-sharp mind".

Things to remove

Alcohol or drugs: These things dull the mind and any wisdom you try to muster up. Get them out of here!

Clutter: If there's clutter in your home (especially here), there's clutter in your mind. Clear your mind by clearing out any unnecessary items from this part of your room or house.

Unclear stuff: And speaking of clearing, here's a plug for Windex. If you aren't thinking as clearly as you used to, try cleaning the computer monitor, the TV, the windows and glass in the doors. If you see clearly in the house, you see things more clearly in life.

Unwise symbols: Don't place anything that can be misconstrued as "a stupid move" or "just doesn't get it" here, such as an old article about the stock market crash or about Robert Downey Jr. Be mindful with this area and your mind will be ever-full.

There's a part of the home that holds the energy of all of your past, including but not limited to your relationship to your family. It is the energetic foundation that you build your life upon. Some people have strong and healthy foundations, some have cracked and crumbling ones.

Once you walk in the front door, go to the center left-hand area of your home or room -- you have found the family zone. Study the items you have here and see how they describe the way you are in relationships with family members or how comfortable you are in creating a prosperous life. This area actually controls your level of abundance, because if you believe you dont deserve abundance or love due to your past, it will show up that way in those parts of your life. For more help locating your family area, refer back to the bagua at the top of the page.

Things to add

Wood: Wood helps create strength for your foundation. It exudes the expansive energy pattern that works so well here. Furniture, picture frames, books, paneling, and real wood on tree-like plants all contribute to this section of the home. I like using a real tree here because it has real wood on it and symbolizes a "family tree" to me. Just make sure it remains healthy and happy, as you want your family memories to be!

The Colors Green and Black: The color green holds the vibration of the wood energy so feel free to load it up here. I have a green throw on my couch to help add the wood element to my family room. The color black can also be helpful because of the unique way it helps nurture wood.

Plants: A live plant can enliven just about any place with its actual ch'i, and if you use it in this particular portion of the home, you are adding live wood energy which is most awesome!

Things to remove

Metal: Just like an ax chops wood, having metal in this space can harm the wood of your foundation. Keep metal to a minimum here, or else have more wood than the metal can chop.

White Stuff: This is no place for the white, metal washer and dryer for example. White walls should be balanced out as well. Add more black and green if you have either of these here.

Rounded Shapes: The best shape to have in this space is columnar "tree trunk-like" shapes, not round ones. Lose the collection of white plates from this area to help grow your wood. Remember, add your healing intention to your stuff, and you will rev up the energy even more. It is amazing how much a single picture of the entire family within one wooden frame can help support family ties in this "family zone" of the home. And just as amazing, when I see clients who have not one picture of people in their homes, let alone pictures of family members, they are always in poor relations with their family and feel like they are not a part of any group. When they remedy this area with pictures of people (sometimes not even blood relatives), they always have big shifts in finally feeling like they belong.

Prosperity refers to more than just money; it's about feeling as if you have it all. It is about having faith that you are always somehow taken care of and never in lack. If you need help in this sector:

To find the prosperity section of your space, go to the back left-hand one-ninth of your home or room and take a quick inventory. For more help locating your prosperity area, refer to the bagua above.

Do you see anything right away that would make you laugh and say, "Oh, that's why I'm always struggling for prosperity?" If you do, then remove that very thing and you will be instantly heading in a new direction towards more prosperity. Here are some possibilities of prosperity ch'i zappers.

Things to add

Purple, red and green: These three colors support prosperity energy in a space. A chunk of amethyst or "greenbacks" can have special meaning if placed in the prosperity area of your home.

Symbols of wealth: Actual money, gold or stock certificates all play well in this corner of the house.

Jewels: I've seen a "treasure chest" created out of a little jewelry box overflowing with costume jewelry that I thought held quite a bit of prosperity power.

Symbols of "having it all": Pictures of the kids or pets if they make you feel like you have it all work well here. Collages or photos of items that you would like to have do as well -- just place them here and pretend that you have placed your order for them. When the order is up, you will receive them. Just remember ... be careful what you wish for!

Healthy plants: Grow money in your accounts by growing a plant here.

Moving water: Get money moving by creating a flow in this zone.

Things to remove

Clutter: Get rid of it, especially if it is blocking access to furniture or a door or is collecting dust because it has been there so long.

Leaks and peeling paint: If the ceiling is leaky and peeling away, so is your money.

Toilets: Toilets pull energy down and away. Since you can't really move your toilet if it falls in your prosperity gua, be sure to keep the lid down as much as possible.

Kitty litter boxes: "Animal toilets" don't have the downward and away pull of energy, but they do have the same negative association as toilets -- especially if they smell bad.

Broken stuff: If it's broke, you probably are too.

Dead or withering plants: Anything obviously decomposing is not holding the energy you want in this area.

Trash can: Like the toilet, this item can take away vital energy from you.

Improper prosperity symbols: Art that depicts items in a withering or decomposing state (old rusty chairs, sad or poor people) or reminders of your college days when you were flat broke should not be displayed here.

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After reading all of this article, try out the techniques mentioned. If you cannot use it on your home because it does not belong to you i.e. you live with your parents, then try using the bagua in your own room by splitting up the zones in to your bedroom.