Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A little knowledge – not always a BAD thing

We’ve posted several blogs lately about stress and fear and obstacles that get in the way of our productivity. All of us have different answers for dealing with these very real problems. Many are traditional concepts - some not so traditional. To that end, I thought I’d interject a little Feng Shui into the mix as another alternative. No. I’m not an expert. No. I’m not a died in the wool believer – that’s not to say I couldn’t be if I were to delve a little deeper into the art. But, I’m a bet hedger – so I figure, why not give it a try.

Armed with that dedicated attitude (ahem) when I set up my new office a couple of years ago, I did a little digging, read a few articles and did my darnedest to employ some basic Feng Shui techniques. For your reading and considering pleasure, here is some basic information that might help your productivity, creativity, and stress level.

Concept: With Feng Shui the main goal is to direct the Chi inside the space in which we live or work so that it nourishes and supports a good flow of energy inside our body. Chi = universal energy, or the energy that permeates everything around us including inside our body, home, office, etc., as well as outside. Good quality Chi is vibrant, alive, fresh. Bad Chi is sharp, attacking, depressing. Shapes, colors, intensity, furniture placement, etc., etc., can all help achieve good Chi. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up and try to employ.

1) Practice the Wyatt Earpe doctrine: Never sit with a door or a window behind you. A solid wall at your back and behind your desk chair will ensure that you have support in your life, which will equate to support in your work. Additionally, try not to directly face a wall either. If you must, then use feng shui to make the wall ‘disappear’ with vibrant art work, plants, anything to make you breathe deeper, smile, keep you calm.

2) Arrange other furniture in harmonious positions so that chi is able to flow smoothly. The last thing you want to do is trip over a table every time you enter the room or leave your desk. Breaks the flow of good chi.

3) Never have the main door opening into your desk as the chi coming in will hit at your face causing more obstacles and problems. Also, try not to look directly at window when you enter your office. In my office I do have a window that I see immediately so I’ve created a ‘wall’ with a colorful glass wind chime that hangs in front of the window and directs my attention there.

4) The chi from the main entrance of your office should not first meet a wall inside the office. For instance, in my office, I positioned a small table with a plant and the corner of my loveseat in the path to break the direct connection with an opposing wall - but not enough to break the energy flow.

5) Place your home office as far from the bedroom as possible. I know. Not always doable but if you can, do. If you can, have a separate entry to your office, even though it’s in your home, that a real plus. I got lucky and I do have a separate entrance should I choose to use it.

6) Plan your home office with your well-being and productivity in mind. Use colors and images that make you feel happy, appreciated, successful and creative. And trust me on this – looking into what colors represent in Fung Shui is fascinating but that’s an entire other blog.

7) Make sure you have good air quality and plenty of natural and artificial light. This just makes sense. We all know that if our brains are starved for oxygen and we don’t get enough light, we don’t enjoy working no matter how much we love what we do. Air purifying plants can help with the air quality issue. No spiky leafed plants though – bad chi :o)

8) Use feng shui to deal with clutter in your home office on a regular basis as clutter drains your energy. Empty waste baskets daily, mark a day each week to declutter, etc.

Okey Dokey. What else? Oh. When you consider furniture placement also keep direction in mind. Ba Gua is an energy map to help guide you on creating the most harmonious energy flow in your space. North: Career/Path in Life, East: Health and Family, South: Fame and Reputation, West: Creativity/Children. The nuances of Ba Gua are many – including elements and colors – again – another blog.

So. Wha’da ya think? Is it phooey? Worth considering? Anyone out there practice elements of Fung Shui? If so, do you find them helpful? Anyone have other methods of making the most productive, happy, creative you there can be?


Helen Brenna said...

I love the whole concept, Cindy, and believe our space makes a huge difference in our lives.

Unfortunately, the decluttering is the first thing that doesn't get done when I'm busy.

I have had acupuncture done before, which I guess is releasing Chi in the body. That's a wild experience!

Can you please, please, please make your next post about the colors!!

Unknown said...

Thanks, Cindy for the quick lesson in Feng Shui. I did some reading on it years ago, but retained only a small bit. I do know you're not supposed to have the foot of your bed pointing directly toward the door. And the not staring at a wall thing-- that has good psychology behind it.

I finally got my own desk out of the corner. Had to sell a whole office system thingie and go for a whole new look. Now I face a huge sliding door out onto the lanai and can see the waterfall through it. When I don't have my earphones on, I can hear the waterfall, too. And the sound of running water is supposed to be great for moving chi.

I decided, if I ever build another house, I'm building an indoor waterfall in place of one of the fireplaces. I mean, we love those cozy fireplaces and spend a huge amount building them, whether we use them or not. Why not invest in the sound of real running water with some of that $$$?

And Cindy, I love your fireplace. . . and the fact that you can see it from your desk! What a cool idea!

Cindy Gerard said...

Helen - I'm just a dabbler in Feng Shui - obviously because I see I even mispelled it a couple of times :o) - but I do think there is merit to trying to establish harmony in any environment.

Betina - yes, I love my little fireplace. I can see both it and a big window from my desk. My bird feeders are right outside along with a grove of evergreens. But I also love the water element idea. I have a patio right off the door by the bookcase. I'm thinking next spring I'll add a water element out there so I can see and hear it when the window is open.

Michele Hauf said...

I feng-shuied my office years ago. Unfortunately, there's no possible way for my desk not to sit directly across from the door, but I did know you shouldn't sit with your back to the door. Now my back is to a wall. And it's open, with not too much clutter. But I didn't know you're not supposed to have your office close to your bedroom. MIne is three steps away. Why is that?

Cindy Gerard said...

Michelle said: "...didn't know you're not supposed to have your office close to your bedroom. Mine is three steps away. Why is that?"

To that I reply - "It is just the way, grasshopper. Some things we dare not question."

I'm sure there is a more profound explanation but like I said, you're not asking an expert here, just a dabbler. My best guess, however, would be it has something to do with rest and restorative chi juxtaposed against active and creative chi. Anyone out there know for certain?

Unknown said...

I know nothing about the Shui Way but I do know you have a beautiful office, Cindy.

I worked in my basement for years, but moved upstairs when my youngest son went off to college. What a difference. I decorated it in earthy tones and jewels, have lots of things I care about around me. The horse pastures are right outside my window and I moved the pond fish inside for the winter so I have the sound of running water all the time as well as the idea that summer will come again and the koi will be back amongst the creeping sedum and waterlillies.

But Betina, what is this about a waterfall outside your window?

Cindy Gerard said...

Lois - how do you move a fish pond inside??
I love fish. Have been toying with adding an aquarium to my office - also a great element for the Feng Shui way

Debra Dixon said...

Well, my back's to the door! However that's a trade-off because I have desk area literally covering three walls of the room. (Other business career plus writing fight for space.)

But I do sit with my main area tucked into a corner with two large windows to my right. I don't actually have to turn my head to see the windows. But they are more to the right than in front.

I'm still working on clearing the office out and starting over. That's a spring project this year. I now have shelving we put in, all around the top of the room but it's empty. Hopefully the new shelving and the "clean sweep" approach of taking *everything* out, cleaning it, and tossing clutter will re-energize the room!

Christie Ridgway said...

I love the concepts, Cindy, but some are hard for me to follow in the space i have. Lucky for me, my office is downstairs and bedroom upstairs. my desk is an L-shape, so you could say I don't face the door or I do. And you could say I don't face a wall and I do.

I just decluttered because I finished a book last week and will start another next week. I really like the idea of a decluttering day so it doesn't pile up so much!

Unknown said...

Lois, there's a little waterfall between hot tub and pool that runs 12 hours a day or so-- whenever the pool filtering system is on. (This sounds exotic, but is in fact very common in Florida.) So I get this great waterfall sound all through my office and the family room, the living room and my bedroom. It's sort of a dream come true for me. I'm a real water baby. Or is that water BABE?

Cindy Gerard said...

Betina: I vote for "Babe"

And Christie - congrats on finishing the book! I'm working on some major revisions now and just praying I can make them work!

Playground Monitor said...

I took Bella Andre's online feng shui course about two years ago and learned that it's probably impossible to do EVERYTHING according to the bagua map. But two of the things I did was to put red curtains on my window, which is in the fame & reputation part of my office and to hang I-Ching coins in the wealth and prosperity section of my desk. You can apply the bagua map to your house as a whole, to a specific room or to a smaller part, such as your desktop.

Anyhoo, a month later I sold my first short story. A year later I was re-decorating my office and the decorator told me I should put black and tan curtains on that window. Sure, it would probably have looked better, but I bought red and tan ones instead and have just kept on selling short stories.

Now if I could just figure out what to do to make me finish that damn novel. :-/

If you want de-cluttering advice, try the Fly Lady and some of her techniques --


Cindy Gerard said...

Cool, Marilyn. My curtains aren't red but are burgundy - which is close enough :o) And I have coins on my desk in a little dish - foreign coins, BTW as I'm thinking global wealth, not just national :o) What the heck. Think big, right?

Playground Monitor said...

Oh yeah, baby. Think big cause size does matter. *g*

Michele Hauf said...

Cindy, I like that idea of coins on the desk. I have to dig out my Euros and put them on the desk!

Carol Burge said...

Thanks for the FS info. My office is in our extra bedroom (right across the hall from the master bedroom). There is a window straight across from the doorway. Behind me is the closet door, and when I sit at my desk, I'm facing south. Guess I'd better read up on Feng Shui, looks like I might need to do a little furniture rearranging. :)

Cindy Gerard said...

Carol - the great thing about feng shui is that there is always a fix for situations that can't be changed. You'll find there is something you can do to adjust the flow of energy to achieve positive Chi.
Good luck!

Playground Monitor said...

Some bagua maps orient toward the compass points and the one I use simply orients things toward the entrance to the room. That's been much simpler for me to use. And yeah, there are lots of little things like candles and wind chimes and just emptying the waste basket.


Verification word: wznwqunb Whew! I got my little finger typing practice today.