"There is magic, but you have to be the magician. You have to make the magic happen." ~ Sidney Sheldon
Feng Shui makes some pretty amazing claims. Move your furniture and find love. Paint a room and land your dream job. Give or throw away some clutter and improve your health. Sounds great, right? People in the modern Western world are crazy about quick fixes, overnight successes, and instant gratification. We are culturally predisposed to believe in magic tricks. We delight in the slight of hand, the defying of gravity, the appearance of the impossible. If we don't understand what Feng Shui is really all about, we may only think of it as magic tricks, and want the same kind of instantly delightful results.
As a Feng Shui practitioner, I've experienced my share of people wanting quick tips for overhauling their entire lives. Like a pill to cure them physically, they just want a trinket or simple instruction that will give them the relationships, careers, and happiness they crave. They don't want to bother with a full in-home consultation or even a remote reading of their home's bagua. They don't want to learn how energy works and how they are affecting its flow in their lives. They say they don't have the time, money, or inclination to do anything like "that whole decluttering thing that everyone's into now." They just want a magic trick. While Feng Shui involves many cures and enhancements, things you can do to clear the energetic pathways in your home that can result in improvements in your life, they are not magic, and they certainly are not tricks. A trick is a deception, an illusion, a way to outwit or fool someone, either with or without their willing participation. Feng Shui is not that.
Many natural phenomena may appear magical to those unfamiliar with the underlying laws of nature or science. So, while Feng Shui can have seemingly magical results, they are really just the natural effects of aligning ourselves and our surroundings with the inflowing and outflowing of energy. Unblocking a drain results in smoothly flowing water, just like removing impediments enhances the flow of energy in your home. Drains and pipes filled with freely flowing water are free of all kinds of stagnant liquids, mildew, mold, and bacteria, which can cause bad smells and ill health. Likewise, a home with freely flowing energy offers the necessary environment for optimal living.
We can't trick energy into flowing freely throughout our homes, bodies, or lives. We have to do our part. We have to create the conditions that allow and encourage the free flow of energy. And we don't have to do it overnight. If you are looking for quick fixes because the thought of decluttering (letting go of things you no longer need or really want) or moving furniture or painting or even just replacing an old, broken lamp is too overwhelming for you, relax. You can take your time. You can start with something small and doable, like one drawer, one closet, or one room. You can go through your whole home, just removing old clothes, and not worrying about anything else for now. You can take one step at a time. The results may not feel like a sudden and complete change, but maybe you're not really ready for that. If you were, you'd do it. So instead of scolding yourself or looking for magic tricks, just do one thing today that you can do. Tomorrow you can do another. Let Feng Shui become a continuous, natural part of your life.
A magic trick forces an unexpected and unnatural outcome -- a rabbit popping out of an empty hat, a person floating in midair. But Feng Shui's effects are neither unnatural nor unexpected. It does not force anything. It just unblocks the natural flow of energy so that the good can come to you and move through you more easily. Sometimes, you might not even see or appreciate it when good does come to you, because you're looking for the rabbit, the flash of light, the impossible. You may unlock the energy and then a long-awaited payment comes in and you think, "Well, that was supposed to come anyway," or a relationship with a friend blossoms into something more and you decide that it would have happened no matter what. If it's not enough of a surprise or trick, you believe it doesn't count. And that can stop the flow of energy dead in its tracks. Because now the energy cannot flow through you. You need to see, accept, embrace, and be thankful for all the good you receive. Because you are part of the flow of energy. So you need to see, appreciate, and be thankful for every good thing that comes to you. Every single one.
Lack of recognition or gratitude is not the only way you might stop the flow of energy in your home, yourself, or your life. All the quick fixes in the world will not make up for your own methods of self-sabotage. I've seen people place a pile of trash too large for the trash chute in the hallway outside their apartment (instead of taking it out to the dumpster, like everyone else) and wonder why their lives are a mess. I've known people who let their indoor trash cans constantly overflow (to save money on the liner bags, they say) and complain that they can't catch up with everything they need to get done. Some people think their love lives are doomed, while their bedrooms are piled with work or their homes are so filled with stuff that there is no room for another person to eat a meal or even sit down anywhere. Others say they feel scattered, unsuccessful, stymied, flustered, angry, depressed, or exhausted, yet surround themselves with broken items and dead or dying plants.
It's typical in our culture to want the biggest, best outcome for the least amount of effort. So you might be inclined to give up if the required effort is too great or the result not great enough. You just want to add a pair of mandarin ducks to your Love gua and expect to immediately meet The One, fall in love, alive happily ever after. Or maybe you put up a picture of nine koi fish in your Wealth area and just wait for the money to start rolling in. Feng Shui is an ancient art, and while it can easily be adapted to modern life, it does not conform to the idea that a magic trick will instantly fix everything on your life. It's a lifestyle, a whole way of thinking and doing, that invites energy in and lets it flow smoothly through your home, yourself, and your life. And that requires some effort on your part. The magic comes, but not through any tricks or quick fixes.
Your surroundings, your body, and your life all reflect one another. A mirror can only reflect what is there. What is there is up to you. Your relation to energy -- blocked or unblocked, flowing or stuck, fresh or stale, open or closed -- is what creates everything in you and your life. I saw an ad this morning that said “feel alive.” Why would an advertiser believe that so many people do not "feel alive" that this would be an effective ad? People often talk about fleeting moments when they “feel alive.” They create drama, stress, messes, or even danger hoping it will make them "feel alive." They are alive, all the time, every minute, but they aren't feeling it. Why not? No magic trick or quick fix will make them feel it. What will?
“It’s important to remember that we all have magic inside us."
~ J.K. Rowling
If you do not feel alive, it means that you are not in the flow of energy. If you want to "feel alive," you have to make it happen. You can receive guidance, suggestions, or help from other people, but you are the only one who can do it for you. Clean up your act. Let the energy flow -- in and out --through you and your surroundings. Be in whatever comes, knowing it will pass through you and your life. The divine energy of the Universe is the source of all "magic." It involves both creation and destruction, beginnings and endings, the circle of life, the balance of yin and yang. Live in harmony with nature. Balance the Five Elements -- Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, and Wood. And you will need no tricks to live in the magic of life.
We live in a culture saturated with promises of instant gratification and quick fixes.
In order to live in the flow of energy, we have to change our thinking, our doing,
and our being.
• Change your thinking. Give up the notion of magic tricks or quick fixes and understand that everything about the way you choose to live -- every day, all the time -- makes your life whatever it is. Understand that energy flows through you, not to you as an end point. Understand that YOU are responsible for your actions and their natural consequences.
• Do the work. Declutter. Give old things you no longer need to one of the many great charities that will pass along those things to people who can use them. Learn about the energetic areas of your home and organize them accordingly. Add enhancements, but do not rely on them alone to change your life. Besides your home, remember to Feng Shui your body and your behavior as well. Do this lovingly, as a gift to yourself and the world, not as an obligation or chore.
• Be aware. If you want to feel alive, then be alive. Be thankful for everything in your home, your world, and your life. Treat everything and everyone -- including yourself -- with great respect, even reverence. Don't leave trash around. Care for plants and animals with love. Wake up and do everything consciously.