For years the logic of Feng Shui has eluded me. I had a vague idea that it had something to do with making your space harmonious, but I did not know how it worked, or how it could work for me. Until now.
Last month a friend and peer, Nathalie Kyle Freeman, came to do a Feng Shui consultation on my apartment. Holy. Cow. She could see things that I have been blind to for years!
First, upon walking in she said, “Ariel! You are hiding!”
The entire entry hall of my apartment is always clogged with stuff: My bicycle with jackets piled on top of it. A Vacuum cleaner. Boots. Empty boxes. Fallen umbrellas… and much, much more. No matter how often I clean it, it’s suddenly clogged up again.
She also noted that the way I arranged furniture made the place like a maze, almost like it was full of booby traps. Upon hearing her insight, I could suddenly see the space, and myself, so differently.
This is when I realized that Feng Shui isn’t just about your space – it is about YOU – and the environment you create is a reflection of your inner life. By changing the environment, you alter the energies that are driving your choices and perceptions.
Kyle and I spent the next couple hours going over the “Bagua” and “Bazhai” methods – which are two different systems of analysis in Feng Shui that map the “Qi”
(loosely translated as Energy) of your space.
By the end we had dramatically changed my furniture around and the whole feeling of my space transformed. I’ll tell you more about this at the end of this post, but first I want you to hear more from Kyle about what Feng Shui is, and how she got into it… I was so inspired by the session that I decided to interview her…
1. What is Feng Shui?
Feng Shui refers to the Chinese philosophical study of our relationship to our environment both human-made and natural.
While there are many styles and lineages of feng shui, as well as different names for similar philosophies that date even further back, all stem from the basic observation that people are affected positively or negatively by their surroundings.
In the west I encounter a lot of people who misunderstand Feng Shui to be a religion or a superstition that only benefits easterners. The philosophy behind the art is universal. We are human regardless of what culture we were born into which means we all are influenced by our surroundings in very similar ways. In the west I translate aspects to adapt to western culture, but the basic principles are the same.
2. How did you get into Feng Shui?
I’ve always followed a very intuitive path. My late teens/early 20s appear to be a nonsensical web of indecision, but internally I was organizing and honing my intuitive skills. New York is an amazing city to do this in… so many worlds to move in and out of.
I went to school for architecture and art, and my early 20s were devoted to working in architecture designing and drafting.
It felt… only partially right, very limiting. So I moved on to expand my understanding of architecture in a way that felt more authentic. I started teaching yoga – exploring how the human body relates to space. I worked as a carpenter at one point and a sculptor at another creating objects and furniture that would later be sold and housed in homes.
I spent a few years working for an art gallery researching and writing about the artists that the gallery represented. Why are people attracted to certain objects and artists? To what extent do objects hold the energetic footprint of their maker? I had a lot of questions and was formulating answers through observation and experiences jumping from job to job.
One day in my late 20s (I think I was 27 which is actually a very auspicious Feng Shui number) I had a brilliant “aha” moment. I rushed over to an appointment with my (very patient) acupuncturist/mentor…
“I’ve got it!!!” I exclaimed… the elixir of holistic architecture! I manically described to him all that I had learned from my rogue exploration: how important it was that we develop relationship to each and every aspect of our surroundings and integrate the earth and land into design etc. He just looked back at me slightly bored and said:
“Yes, you are describing a 3,000+ year old philosophy called Feng Shui… go buy a book and read about it.” I left quite humbled but incredibly relieved that I wasn’t alone in my discoveries…validated by ancient philosophers.
3. What do you love most about Feng Shui?
Well many things… but overall I love that it gives me tools to consciously create a space that holds my energy in its most balanced state and when I’m feeling depleted or off-center I can come home to it and restore and orient.
4. Can you give an example of a client you worked with and how Feng Shui changed their life?
One of my favorite examples is such a simple one… which is really the beauty of it. When the client came to me for help he already had really great connection to his home and had carefully selected and placed all of his furniture, art etc. We didn’t need to do much tangible work on the home, but he wanted a feng shui perspective to see if there is anything more he could do to enhance his space.
After discussing his life and analyzing his space I saw two very clear but simple changes that would orient him better. I moved his workspace seat to a more supported position, and I changed the direction he faced during meditation. He wasn’t very impressed at first, but he called me a week later so excited to tell me about his work life improvements and how his meditations had immediately deepened. Sometimes a little reorienting goes a long way.
5. What can someone do RIGHT NOW to improve the Feng Shui in their home?
Fun! Ok… grab a candle and something to light it with (if you don’t have a candle use any light source and/or your presence). Sit comfortably in the middle of your home close your eyes and mentally take a walk through your house.
Start at the front door. Go in and out of each room, closets included. This doesn’t need to take long, a few minutes even … I can do my teeny tiny Brooklyn home in under a minute. Notice which areas and rooms you are able to visualize clearly in most detail. Don’t strain to visualize just allow it to naturally come or not.
Now open your eyes, stand up, walk to your front door and walk through your house again, physically visiting each room with your eyes open. There is most likely an area or multiple that you “forgot to visualize” or that you were able to visualize but details were fuzzy.
Take your candle place it in that area that you remembered least and light it with the intent of illuminating the area in your home and in your psyche. Our home mirrors our internal landscape. The “blindspots” we have in life are correlated with the areas in our home that we are less connected to or intimate with. By placing the candle (light) or awareness you are expanding the energy of your home to hold more of yourself.
6. Can you share a photo of a special spot in your home – why you love this spot, and what’s Feng Shui about it?
I love this area because I always keep it filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Bringing fresh, and nourishing food into my home feels so energizing to me. This in and of itself is a basic example of good feng shui… bring in vibrancy!
But to get a bit more technical this photo also shows how I worked with the Five-Element system. This area of my home was imbalanced with an excess of Metal element. Gray and white are both colors correlated with Metal element. The curvilinear shape of the fruit bowl is correlated with Water element intentionally placed here to balance the Metal. Metal nourishes Water, so by placing more Water element here some of the Metal is absorbed restoring balance to the Qi of the room.
Back to Ariel’s Apartment…
So… what Kyle did was help me to reset my furniture in optimal positioning with the Bagua map.
This meant moving my sofa to have the energy of “Fame” behind it, moving my altar to the position of “Creativity/Future”, and moving my desk to be powered by “Money”. (Among other things.)
Like so many “healers”, Kyle is an intuitive, which means she just kind of knows things about you – then uses the art of Feng Shui to support those insights. A couple big insights Kyle had was that I wouldn’t be living in this space much longer – energy doesn’t move well enough through it and it won’t support the next phase of my professional growth. So she just wanted to make the changes that would help me move on.
She also said I need to get rid of A LOT of stuff. And I will need to mourn as I go, because it will be hard, but there is much weight of the past in objects I’m hanging onto that needs to be released. I know, I know.
Since her visit I have gotten rid of hundreds of things, started exploring where I want to live next, and felt so many inner and outer shifts with the change in my space. My session with Kyle jump-started me into a new beginning… a beginning I am SO READY to embark upon!
Final review: FENG SHUI IS LEGIT. Go to: www.nathaliekylefreeman.com to book your own consultation with Kyle. And please do tell me how it goes! 🙂