Feng shui: achieving harmony through colors and furniture alignment

“He was known for being angry and cranky all day long; I went to his office [and] made a study. I found out that all what he needed was an aquarium in his office for him to feel better and smile. A month later he was happy; three months later, he started a new business in China.” This is how Jessica Khudeida, a feng shui consultant in Lebanon, describes one of her cases.

Feng shui (pronounced ‘fung shway’) is an old Chinese system that is used to improve people’s lives by receiving positive energy (Qi, pronounced ‘chee’). According to Khudeida, who has been a feng shui practitioner for 10 years, it is about “assessing the flow of Qi in a property and how this affects the residents. It is a metaphysical science; it deals with math, geography and physics.”

Khudeida first studied Business Administration at Saint Joseph University.  “The first time I heard about feng shui was by coincidence through a magazine from Britain,” she says. She started studying feng shui in Britain, but became disillusioned. “There are two types of feng shui, the modern and the classical [and] unfortunately in Britain their focus is based on the modern.”

Modern feng shui deals more with colors and home accessories. “There is what we call Color Psychology, which is an important aspect [and] I often use it in my work,” she explains.

On the other hand, classical feng shui has its roots in China, where, originally, it was just for kings and wealthy people, who used it to obtain business analysis. “Feng Shui was first called Chinese medicine,” explains Khudeida. “It is based on the five elements: water, fire, wood, metal and the earth element. These elements were used to analyze sickness. It has nothing to do with religion. It is a lifestyle that helps you achieve balance and accomplish a perfect life.”

“[Feng shui also] teach[es] you the basic elements; how to observe your surroundings, and how it affects you. I was in the States last month and we spent a lot of time just observing mountains and their colors,” adds Khudeida.

Khudeida’s ‘cure’ When providing a private feng shui home consultation, Khudeida first goes to the house in question and drives around observing its surroundings. Then, she heads to the roof and observes the geography. Later, she goes into the house and observes its architecture. “I look at how the rooms in the house are laid out and how it is decorated … I also take into consideration the personality of the people in question. I may realize that for one of the people red has negative connotations, so I won’t use this color. This is color therapy. Some people might be in need of water in their room for positive energy. It all depends on the person,” explains Khudeida.

Then, Khudeida takes the person’s year of birth and adds up the last two digits. For example, for the year 1985, 8=5+13. Then, she adds up the figures of the result; 1+3=4. Each number has a special direction, which means that each person has a different, suitable direction for their house; some people feel at ease facing southeast while other people feel better facing northwest. Khudeida recounts the case of a mother who liked to spend time in the kitchen, while her son preferred sitting in the living room; he called his girlfriend from there and even slept there. “My studies showed that the living room was his direction for Yanyam (love and social relations),” Khudeida recalls.

Khudeida stresses the importance of the building design. For example, if the elevator is located right in front of the entrance and there is not enough space between them then there will be bad energy. “I assure you that the inhabitants suffer from marital problems and health problems, and the owner finds it hard renting these apartments,” she explains.

Common sense, superstition or magic?Not everyone agrees with Jessica Khudeida about feng shui.

“You shouldn’t let the bed control you, you should control the bed,” said one woman to whom I tried explaining feng shui. Another lady said, “It is all psychological; I wouldn’t pay 300 dollars for anyone to come to my house and make me believe that he/she could make me attain love”.

On the other hand, Rola, 27, explained how she began using feng shui. “When I started reading about feng shui, I was very interested. I gave it a try; after all I had nothing to lose! I found out that the way I sleep is wrong and maybe that is why I was always having bad dreams and hating being in my room, so I moved my bed further from the door, and without noticing I started to sleep better.”

Alia, 35, also believes feng shui helped her to achieve greater wellbeing in her home. “It is just common sense; it is what our grandparents used to say and we used to laugh at them thinking how come? It made me more organized at home; where and how to put things, how to position the bed, what color of blanket to use in order to stimulate calm sleep, how important [it is] to keep the bathroom door closed [as otherwise] it would absorb all the good energy that is flowing around the house, and how important is to keep all your furniture unbroken because broken furniture presents obstacles,” she explains.

Lana, 37, started “believing” in feng shui five years ago. “I was in Dubai and I visited a feng shui shop there. I said to the salesman that I needed something for good luck and for me to find love. He gave me a gadget and asked me to hang it on the wall above my bed. I did and few months later I got engaged! I love feng shui!”

Maybe it all depends on your personality, and how willing you are to believe that Chinese science can help you achieve harmony and “perfection” in your life.

Feng shui tips for a more balanced home

In the kitchen

* As fire and water are opposing elements, keep the stove and the sink apart from each other, or place something wooden between them.

* Don’t place the sink, which represents the water element, next to the stove as this can result in financial problems.

* Don’t place any fire element, such as the stove, in the middle of the room as this can result in health problems.

In the bedroom* Don’t sleep with your feet aligned with the door as this may cause blood circulation problems or insomnia.

* Don’t sleep with your head towards the door or under a low roof as this may result in migraines.* To prevent nightmares, move your mirror so it isn’t the first thing you see when you wake up.* Don’t sleep under a window.

This article has been published in Hibr newspaper issue 6

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