“Men dream more about coming home than about leaving.” ~ Paulo Coelho
So now you’ve decided that you’re ready, and your enthusiasm is high. You want to make changes in your environment and your life. You’re excited to do it all and do it now. You look around your space, and wonder where and how to begin. When I lived in places that had four distinct seasons, I loved to throw open all the windows in my house after a long, bitterly cold winter. The crisp spring air rushing in seemed to transform the whole interior, stale from months of dry heat and windows sealed against raging blizzards. As I see it now, what I was really doing was letting out old, stale, stuck energy. And that’s good. Releasing energy accumulated over time is a necessary part of keeping the energy in your home alive and flowing. However, fresh energy primarily enters your home the same way you and everyone else does: through the front door. Even if you usually enter your home through a back or side door, the front door is what you will use as your main entrance. Even if you use another door to enter your home all the time, don’t block this entrance with furniture.
In Feng Shui, the front door is called the mouth of ch’i. Ch’i is energy or vital life force. So the entrance to your home is especially important when you want to begin living the Feng Shui life. You want this entrance to be clear, unobstructed, and welcoming. You want this portal to attract good, healthy, happy, creative, loving energy, and you also want protection against negative or harmful energy. This is your invitation to the energy out there, to come into your home, to fill the space and flow freely from room to room. So without overstating the importance of this area (all the areas of your living space are important), let’s at least
think of it as the place to begin your Feng Shui life.
Entrances have two aspects to them: inside and outside. Outside, depending on your situation, your front door may be approached from a porch, walkway, staircase, hallway, or sidewalk. The path to your door may require two steps or twenty. You may be limited in what, if anything, you can place outside your door, or you may be free to place anything you like there. Inside, you may enter right into a room or a hallway with space for coats and boots or shoes, and maybe a table for keys, phones and sunglasses. You may see the other parts of the home from this entryway, or it may be closed off, a room of its own. You may be able to see people arriving at your door through a side window, glass in the door itself, or a security peephole. There are all kinds of entryways into homes, but no matter what kind you have, this area either welcomes and accomodates entering energy or blocks it in some way.
First off, your door must be and feel safe to you. You’re not inviting anything or anyone in that can harm you in any way. You’re not placing valuables outside for anyone to take if they feel like it. The Feng Shui life requires making sure everything — doors, locks, windows, hinges, steps, porches, doorbells, mail slots, security lights or intercoms — is in working order, clean, and well-maintained. Your entrance should pose no danger such as slipping or tripping over items left lying around. Adapting Feng Shui for Western households, you may not want to place stone Foo Dog statues outside your front door, but you may want stone lions or potted plants (evergreens or flowering bushes, perhaps), on either side of the door. A pair of matching light fixtures can also add safety, beauty, and balance to this space. You can have a welcome mat or a windsock or flag, but keep it simple and make sure it reflects you and the way you live inside the home. You can represent the five elements (fire, earth, metal, water, and wood) by having light fixtures with some metal on them (fire and metal), two stone pots with plants in them (earth and wood), and a small water feature or simply the colors black and/or dark blue or green to represent water, for example. There are many ways to incorporate the elements using colors, shapes and decorative objects that look and feel appropriate for the outside of your front door.
If you live in an apartment or condo, with limits on what, if anything, you can place outside your front door, there are still ways to make sure this area is welcoming to both people and energy. Perhaps you can place a mat on the floor or a wreath or welcoming sign on your door. Perhaps you can add a pleasant-sounding doorbell or a plant or two. In some cases, you may not be able to add or change anything at all, and that’s fine. Just check to make sure the building’s main entrance as well as your front door area are well-maintained, clearly marked and lit, and free of obstructions. Talk to your building management or condo board if anything feels like it needs attention.
Inside your home, energy flows in through your front door. The question is, then what happens to it? Does it enter a room or a hallway? Does it get stuck on a pile of shoes, boots, coats, jackets, and umbrellas? Does it zoom right up a flight of stairs? Does it hit a wall, a mirror, or the door to a bathroom or closet? Does it shoot straight out a back door or window? Anything that impedes or accelerates the smooth flow of energy through this area affects the whole home. If it can’t get past the entryway or zips right past the rest of the home and out the back, how can it flow throughout the home? The most important thing to notice is how you feel when you walk into the space. Regardless of how large or small the area is, you should feel the energy moving cleanly into your home, and on to the next rooms. It should not get stuck in places it can’t move on from, and at the same time, it should not accelerate through a straight shot to a back door or up a staircase.
Clearing the clutter in your entryway is the usually the first way to unblock the energy there. Getting rid of anything you don’t need or really want, and storing — in an organized way — items you only need seasonally can go a long way to keeping this area uncluttered. Issues like a staircase facing the front door, a hallway heading straight out to the back door, or facing a wall opposite the door can all be helped by adding things like plants, a table (if there’s enough room) with a vase of cut flowers on it, and hanging crystals (clear prisms) or crystal chandelier light fixtures. Pottery, wall art, water features and mirrors can be used to balance the Five Elements, while the five colors — red, yellow, white, black, and green — can be represented in a rug or tablecloth.
When you place your bagua over your floor plan, your front door is on the bottom line — left, right, or center. This means that your home’s mouth of ch’i will be in one of these energetic areas: Knowledge, Career, or Helpful Friends/Travel. So, beyond balancing the Five Elements in your entryway, you will also look at the specific area where it happens to fall to see the best colors, shapes and helpful items for this part of your home.
Stand in front of your entryway and close your eyes. Take a moment to clear your mind and vision. Now, open your eyes.
• What do you see? First, is there anything someone might trip over, or that in any way obstructs the entrance? Clear away anything that isn’t needed here.
• Is everything — door and frame, windows, light fixtures, steps, plant pots, etc.— in working order? Remove or repair anything that is broken. Paint if you can and need to.
• What else do you see? Are there windsocks, chimes, or flags that are old or obstruct the entryway? You can have these items if you want them, but make sure they are fresh, clean, and reflect who you are and how you live in the home and that the door itself is the main focal point.
• Are there greeters on either side of the door? A pair of potted plants, light fixtures, or stone lions can mark the entrance and welcome visitors and energy. Notice if all Five Elements are represented.
• Now, open the door. Can you open it all the way or is it blocked somehow?What do you see? Is the space clear of obstructions, excessive clothing and shoes? Declutter the space.
• Look for representations of all Five Elements. Add any missing colors (reds, yellows, whites, black or dark greens/blues, greens and browns).
• How do you feel here? Is the energy flowing into the home? Or is it rushing up a staircase or out a back door? Use mirrors, crystals, plants, and other enhancements to slow down and guide the energy into the rest of the home.