Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feng Shui Crash Course: Understanding Energy Flow


Just like a number of other things that are invisible to the naked eye – music, electricity, and wind, to name a few – energy flow, and its effects, are very real. And (just like you can when you understand the invisible patterns at work within music, electricity, and wind) when you understand the invisible patterns at work within the flow of energy in your home, you can consciously wield that understanding to create seemingly miraculous effects.

First of all, you might imagine energy as flowing in a similar way to water or air. Another way to think about energy from a design perspective is: where does your eye wander, and where do you feel drawn? These are hints to the energy flow, since energy flows where attention goes. Also consider that the main gateway to energy in your home is your front door (as I describe in this post).

With all this in mind, begin to become conscious of the energy flow of your home. Make the invisible patterns visible in your mind. Once the energy flows in through the front door, where does it go next? And what is its quality?

Ideally, we want it to meander and swirl around, nourishing and lovingly attending to each part of your home. We don’t want it to be stagnant and still, like a swamp (which is a breeding ground for disease and other unsavory conditions), but we also don’t want it to be treacherously fast, like white water rapids or the 405 freeway. In other words, we want it to be like a clear mountain stream or a gentle spring breeze.

But how can you tell where it’s flowing, really? One highly effective way is to pay attention to where your attention goes as soon as you walk into the front door. When people come into your home, do they always seem to immediately go in a specific direction, or walk to a certain window and look out? You might also tune into the feelings that you and other people tend to have when entering and spending time in your home. Do your friends remark on how settled and calm they feel, or do you notice that they seem to feel frazzled or rushed? Or, if energy flow is stagnant or not nourishing a certain area, people can tend to feel drained, unfocused, or depressed.

To make this a bit clearer by bringing it into the physical realm, here are some specific challenges with energy flow that I’ve commonly noticed in the past, along with how you might remedy them. As you read, don’t just look for conditions that match your own, but also use these examples to get an idea of exactly how energy flows through and around your home.

When you can see the back door from the front door, and they’re directly across from one another, energy tends to flow right through the center and out the back door. This pattern can foster a rapid, ungrounded feeling. It doesn’t allow the energy to swirl around or nourish the rest of the space. As a result (since invisible and visible are inextricably linked), residents can experience challenges with finances and personal energy levels, as energy and resources seem to flow out just as soon as they flow in. To remedy this, you might place furniture or other obstructions in the middle of the energetic thoroughfare to slow it down.  A room divider, if possible and appropriate, might be nice (for example) to deliberately create a more meandering pathway between the front and back doors and to obscure the view of the back door from the front. Additionally or instead, if the back door is a glass door, you might consider curtaining it. One more option (to be used individually or in tandem) might be to hang a faceted crystal or wind chime from the ceiling along the line between the front and back doors in order to symbolically lift, circulate, and slow the energy flow.

When your home contains a long straight hallway, energy can sometimes flow too rapidly and create a wind tunnel or autobahn effect. You’ll know if this is the case if you find yourself speed walking through the hallway, or if you notice that it has a cold, uptight, or even slightly creepy sort of vibe (remember The Shining?). To counterbalance this, you might hang some attractive, eye-catching artwork on the walls. Attractive lighting, along the ceiling or walls, can also be a way to slow and swirl the energy. Alternatively (or also), you might hang a faceted crystal globe or two along the middle of the ceiling (on any length of thread that you like – even an inch or two is fine) to once again lift, circulate, and slow the energy. (See this post.) To minimize the hallway length, it can also be good to hang artwork without depth (i.e. no expansive landscapes, and definitely no mirrors!) at one or both ends of the hallway.

When a staircase is very close to – and adjacent to – a door, the energy can either flow down and out of the door very quickly (if the door is at the bottom of the staircase), or out the door and down the staircase very quickly (if the door is at the top of the staircase). Either way, the energetic effect can feel a bit extreme and unstable, like an avalanche or a mudslide. In either case, you might want to employ a faceted crystal globe. Hang it from the ceiling, between the middle of the door and the middle of the first step adjacent to the door, on any length of thread.

Staircases in general can often use a bit of balancing. A mirror just across from the bottom step (reflecting back up the stairs) can help counterbalance and stabilize the rapid energy flow. Or, a faceted crystal globe hung just above the floor in front of the bottom step can slow and circulate the flow. And, if you hang artwork on the walls that border the staircase, a great way to counterbalance the rapid downward flow is to hang the pictures in horizontal lines, rather than in a descending pattern that mimics the slope of the stairs.

When getting where you want to go is in any way difficult or inconvenient, perhaps because of furniture placement or items placed too close to doors, it indicates a stagnant or obstructed energy flow. In this case, you’ll want to remove or rearrange items so that it feels easy, breezy, and comfortable to reach any and all areas of the house.

Photo: flickr / AlicePopkorn

3 comments:

  1. Very timely. I've been meaning to look more at how the energy flow is in my space.

    And I love the tip on paying attention to your attention!

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  2. Glad you dig the tip, Michael! Thanks so much for reading.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I live in a long rectangular, narrow home. I've been trying to arrange things so the energy flows, but it's very difficult. It's hard to place the square, feng shui floor plan on such a long house floor plan. Any suggestions would truly be appreciated!Brightest blessings Tess!
    Debi

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