The days of people saying “huh?” when I told them I was a Feng Shui consultant are pretty much over. There’s the occasional encounter when someone somehow has never heard about it. Let’s face it – people have kidded about it in TV sitcoms and late night talk shows and laughed over it in the comics. But they have also read about it being implemented in airports, hospitals and the Trump tower. Of course, they may not know exactly what it entails, but they do know it has something to do with space and energy and feeling good – oh yeah – and balance.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones who has been witness to its emergence into Western daylight. I can say I’ve seen it grow from a little-known, little-respected piece of knowledge (folklore even) to a formidable concept used by kids in junior high and heads of state. Here in this country, it’s no longer considered a superstitious fad bound toward the same fate as pet rocks, go-go boots, mood rings and polyester suits. Feng Shui is here to stay.
An Optimal Place
From an over-arching perspective, Feng Shui today still holds true to its original concept. Just as ancient masters of geomancy would look for the perfect piece of property for someone who wanted to set up their home, today’s consultants do the same thing with a modern twist. Rather than trudge through fields and over hills to capture the perfect site from a topography standpoint, now we try to influence the direction the house faces, confined by the limitations of the developer and the predetermined lot shape. Instead of arranging for a specific date to raise the main beam of the house, now we try to assure that the center of the space is open and accessible. In both cases, the goal is to provide an optimal place where the occupants will thrive.
However, indicative of its innate vitality, Feng Shui continues to evolve, develop and adjust. Those serious students of the art of placement have been inspired by its principles to expand its message. Now there is jewelry created with specific Feng Shui intentions. Greeting cards and purses are available relating to specific aspects or qualities. Scarves and candles can be counted among some of the offshoot products, along with essential oils, flower arrangements and chocolates. There are two published books that connect Feng Shui to cats and a book on getting a Feng Shui haircut. There’s also a Feng Shui cookbook. I will admit that I bought Feng Shui crackers at the store recently. I’m still a little confused about how they’re “feng shui,” but they tasted good. It’s obvious Feng Shui isn’t just for houses anymore.
Just as yoga and acupuncture fought their way through mainstream resistance to become widely accepted, Feng Shui is following a similar path. Today there’s a yoga studio on every corner, I’m happy to say. Perhaps in the near future there will be a Feng Shui consultant in every real estate office, in every architectural firm, in every interior design studio and wellness center. A developer wouldn’t stick a shovel in the ground without consulting their Feng Shui consultant. City planners wouldn’t raze a building without heeding advice from their resident expert. Insurance companies are starting to cover the cost of acupuncture treatments, seeing the benefits of having a patient heal quickly and with fewer complications. I hold out hope that the day will come when Feng Shui appointments by a qualified consultant will also be part of the insurance package, understanding that if a patient’s environment supports a quick recovery, there will be a shorter convalescence and it will be less expensive medically.
Growing Interest by Men
One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in the Feng Shui landscape is the growing interest by men. Originally in China, those geomantic experts were and still continue to be mainly men; however, the majority of their clients were mainly women. Up until recently, in the U.S. and Europe, most of the Feng Shui experts have been women with the majority of their clients still being women.
There’s a lot of speculation about why women are so taken by Feng Shui. Perhaps it is due to the intuitive component – women are, by nature, more intuitive than men, so they resonate to its concepts. Perhaps it is because Feng Shui is typically confined to the interior of the home – women are usually in charge of their home’s dÃ©cor, so they would take charge of any changes that could occur there. Perhaps women have a need to create a safe nest for their family, so they resonate to the qualities Feng Shui can bring to their home.
All that said, I’ve seen a distinct change in the role men are playing in the world of Feng Shui. In many of my consultations, the husband or male partner not only takes an active part, but is commonly the one to initiate the appointment. It isn’t just the wife or female who is leading the project. Single males, as well, are seeing the benefit at home and at work, without any prodding from a girlfriend, wife or mother.
It helps that the concept of Feng Shui is becoming widely accepted on most societal tiers. It helps that businesses dependent on Asian investments are required to use a Feng Shui consultant, whether in the U.S. or in Asia. It helps that there’s no longer a stigma for a man to drop the fierce warrior image and connect to a softer side. Men are no longer afraid to say they don’t feel good in a space, or they don’t like the color, or the flow of a room is troublesome. They are now realizing the importance of space and how it can affect their quality of life.
Sacred Space is the Goal
Feng Shui has surpassed the scientific level of geomancy and reached a level where sacred space is the goal. A lot of clients share with me that they didn’t realize how personal the concept could become. The appointment addressed the physical, but also the spiritual side of their home. As Feng Shui consultants, we walk gently and speak carefully in someone’s space, for it is not only the reflection of their current life situation, but it can act as the vessel for what could be. Feng Shui takes the mundane of the current moment and elevates it to a cosmic clock, where all things are possible and where inspiration and empowerment are found.
I can’t help but wonder what some of those original geomancers would say about all the changes if they could see us now. I would like to imagine they would feel gratified that their work has adapted itself to a different culture, taken on new meaning for a new time, and lent itself to countless and varied possibilities.
It may be in a new and improved form, yet Feng Shui is still subscribing to its true nature of wind and water – flow, movement, and adaptability.