Feng Shui Tips

Get only the best tips, news, and advice from the world of feng shui. Get a helping hand in what can be an otherwise complicated and confusing way of life (as opposed to harmonized and balanced which it should be) - feng shui!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

San Diego City Council Looks For Wisdom, Harmony and Progress With Feng Shui

Regional Talk - Voice of San Diego: "Bringing Feng Shui to the San Diego City Council Might Lead to Wisdom, Harmony and Progress

Voice Guest Columnist
Monday, Aug. 1, 2005

San Diego's city government can use all the good vibes it can get.

Riding to the rescue this week is the Sixth Annual International Feng Shui Conference, 60 presenters strong, opening their three-day conference Friday at the San Diego Hilton on Mission Bay.

One presenter, Dr. David (Dak) Kopec, a San Diego environmental psychologist who has studied Feng Shui in China, agreed to visit the San Diego City Council Chamber last week, to see what might be done to bring new wisdom, harmony and progress to the business done there.

Feng Shui, in a nutshell (which would have its own Feng Shui), is arranging an environment to maximize the energy and potential of that environment. From its origins in ancient China, its root principles of "ch'i," "gua" and "bagua" have become globally familiar, and attractive enough culturally to inspire international conferences.

"Ch'i" is energy, and energy is what needs arranging to make an environment more energetic and effective. A "gua" is an area within a space - a room, a home, an office, a council chamber - that corresponds to one of nine basic life situations. The guas are skills and knowledge, family, prosperity, fame, relationships, creativity, helpful people, career, and health.

A "bagua" is an eight-sided figure in which the nine guas are taken together and arranged in specific order, like boxes stacked three across and three high. Across the bottom are knowledge, career and helpful people (or "benefactors"); across the middle are family, health and creativity; on top are wealth, fame and relationships. Direction and orientation come into play also, but those are complexities best left to attending the weekend conference.

To "Feng Shui" a space, the bagua is laid over the plan of the room, home, office, or council chamber. The entry is always at the bottom of the bagua, into the skills, career or helpful people guas.

This is the diagnostic brought by Dak Kopec, a professor at the New School of Architecture and Design, to the San Diego City Council Chamber, on the 12th floor of City Hall.. Feng Shui practitioners have become particularly interested in applying their awareness to business and politics, which will be the subject of several presentations (including "Real Estate Secrets") at the San Diego Hilton conference.

The council chamber, Dr. Kopec said, "has many features that compromise the overall Feng Shui of the room."

It begins with the shape of the room.

"The shape of the room in the wealth, fame and relationship areas mimics a slightly bent semicircle," he said. "On the knowledge, career and benefactors side, the room is shaped more like a trapezoid. This unique shaped room means that the council chamber has missing areas in the wealth, relationship, benefactors, and knowledge sections. Loosely translated, this means that there will be issues related to inadequate funds, public relations, civic and employee support, and not enough information for the most optimal responses."

"Missing areas" refer to parts of the space that fall outside the bagua footprint.

"Because both the wealth and relationship areas have missing areas, they are out of balance with the fame section," Kopec said. "This means that the fame section is volatile, i.e., a really good reputation or a really bad reputation."

Council member seats are located in the wealth and fame areas, and also council member seats are situated at different levels, Kopec noted. The four council seats in the wealth area are slightly higher than the other seats, supporting a hierarchy. Additionally, the benefactors, career and knowledge areas are covered by a ceiling (created by the media room above) that is much lower than the rest of the chamber.

"This means that the knowledge, career and benefactors levels obtained in the chamber cannot reach the same level as the other areas: family, health, creativity, relationships, fame and wealth," Kopec said.

Since the areas are interactive, the low ceiling also affects the four elevated council member chairs, meaning "those members seated in those four chairs are likely to act with reduced knowledge and little regard for helpful people," Kopec said.

Those four seats also are influenced by a feature in the career area, attributed to wall angles that create "a slight point directed at the four uppermost council member seats. This means that whoever occupies these chairs will be likely to feel greater pressure to promote their own careers, and probably at the expense of others. The missing areas in both the benefactors and knowledge sections support this assertion."

Finally, fixed seating for the public is in the family, health and creativity areas, indicating, Kopec said, "that people in the council chambers will not be as flexible in regarding issues of family, health care and identifying creative solutions as they could be."

Solution: "Seats for the public should offer a slight swivel and/or reclining motion," which will help reduce the rigidity in the areas.

"In Feng Shui, there are a host of 'cures' that can be used to solve problems," said Kopec. "Common cures involve the placement of mirrors along walls where there are missing areas, the use of plants and greenery to soften the rigid nature of the room, and room screens to even out uneven walls.

Kopec suggested a redesign of the chamber into a symmetric floor plan, "either in the shape of an oval or rectangle, with ceiling height uniform throughout the chamber.

"If an audiovisual room is required to be in a superior position to the ground level, then it should be suspended over an adjacent room," he said. "Council member seats should also be evenly distributed across the wealth, fame and relationship areas and arranged in a semicircle in order to maintain balance. The four highest seats should be situated in the center, as I would assume their contributions directly affect the image and reputation of San Diego. The current arrangement creates an imbalance in the wealth area, meaning that wealth is unstable (we have lots, or we have none)."

No cure, he said, should be considered that would detract from "an image of professionalism; such cures might detract from the mission or intent of the council members."

Kopec, a member of the American Institute of Architecture and the Interior Design Education Council, is the author of the first textbook (published by Fairchild Publishing) on environmental psychology specifically for the design professional.

Journalist, author and educator Michael Grant has been putting his spin on San Diego, and the city putting its spin on him, since 1972. His Web site is at www.michaelgrant.com."

Simple Feng Shui Tips For Your Home

The Seattle Times: Living: Real-estate agents studying feng shui to help sell houses: "Feng shui tips

Feng shui (pronounced 'fung shway') strives for harmonious interaction between the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water while creating a place where energy can flow freely. Here's an edited list of suggestions from Anne Mansfield, executive director of the International Feng Shui Guild, for buying and selling a home with feng shui in mind:

Don't buy a house at the end of a busy 'T' intersection, which puts you in the path of dangerous 'chi,' or energy. If you're selling such a home, add hedges or other barriers for protection.

Reduce entryway clutter to create a welcoming atmosphere.

Think of the home and its environment as one place. Both should work in harmony.

The front door should face the best direction for the site. Avoid homes that face hillsides and mountains, where 'energy is coming right at you. ... You want to have it behind you, supporting you.' Cliffs are also bad, she says — your front door is associated with wealth and relationships, and you don't want that kind of energy to fall away from you. Other considerations: sun and other weather forces, as well as any cultural preferences.

Avoid living next to power transformers (too much "fire" energy) or a cemetery (inactive or downward energy).

Negative energy left by former property owners ("predecessor chi") can be improved with a space-clearing ceremony.


Cynthia Chomos, Feng Shui School for Real Estate Sales, www.cynthiachomos.com, 206-919-0107

Anne Mansfield, International Feng Shui Guild, Portland, 888-881-4374

Sheila Wright, www.fengshuiseattle.com, 888-689-2378"

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Real Estate Agents Studying Feng Shui To Help Sell Houses

The Seattle Times: Living: Real-estate agents studying feng shui to help sell houses: "Real-estate agents studying feng shui to help sell houses

By Marc Ramirez
Seattle Times staff reporter

The master arrived from the north, fluent in Mandarin and the ways of feng shui. In the balance hung the condominium Phillip Chan had planned to call home — until Mom stepped in to object.

For Mom, the living room had issues. Angle issues. "It was not completely square," explains Richard Tao, a John L. Scott agent who'd helped Chan in his search for an Eastside condo. It all added up to bad feng shui.

Chan's mother had consulted her Vancouver-based practitioner, who suggested not buying the place at all. Dueling feng-shui practitioners ensued: Tao called in Cynthia Chomos, a Seattle consultant who last year opened the Washington State-certified Feng Shui School for Real Estate Sales.

His offer to Chan: He'd pay for the consultation if Chan decided to go with Chomos, who believed a few improvements could go a long way when it came to fixing problems.

The latest indication of how feng shui (pronounced fung shway) — the Chinese art of arranging items or surroundings to attain harmony with one's environment — has become mainstream might be the growing number of real-estate agents schooling themselves on the practice.

Once dismissed this side of the Pacific as a New Age fad, feng shui is now taken seriously, with Donald Trump, Disney and British Airways among those reported to have considered it in building designs. Meanwhile, a more multicultural society is prompting realtors to reassess the realities of doing business.

"Certainly when something new comes in, you have people saying, 'What's the value of it?' " says Ginger Downs of the Seattle-King County Association of Realtors. "But as diversity grows, there's better awareness on the part of agents that they need to serve that diverse community."

Chomos is one of several feng-shui practitioners the association works with, offering instruction and hands-on workshops for agents who may not completely buy into it, but see the upside in knowing about concepts important to their clients.

Chan, an industrial engineer, told his agent he'd found the home he was looking for. He agreed to go with Chomos, who suggested mostly minor changes, such as plants and mirrors that would "extend" the condo's "sha" points, or troublesome angles.

Chan's mother again consulted with her feng-shui master, who granted his blessing. Although there are a few things she'd like her son to do that he hasn't gotten around to yet, "they're very happy now," agent Tao says. "That place has appreciated very well."

Feng shui nationwide

The Portland-based International Feng Shui Guild considers itself the profession's umbrella organization, with 22 schools and 30 chapters across the U.S. and Canada. With about 400 members, "we're here to raise the bar so the public feels safer," executive director Anne Mansfield says.

Real-estate-focused feng shui is a rising specialty in the community, she says. Consultants target agents looking to feng shui to satisfy buyers for whom the idea of being in harmony with one's environment is not just a nice idea but rather a necessity, who believe that clutter in their homes creates clutter in their lives.

As Seattle's Chomos says, "If they can find feng-shui-harmonious homes, clients will be happy, and down the road it will be easier to sell that home."

Actually, many feng-shui principles can be found in staging, or dressing up a home for sale, a practice attributed to former Bellevue real-estate agent Barb Schwarz and accepted for years by realtors. Like feng shui, staging involves clutter reduction and the use of furniture to address foot-traffic flow, but it's strictly concerned with selling a property.

Millennia-old feng shui goes further to address the "emotional appeal" of a home, the reaction one feels when approaching and entering a home. "If you talk to agents," Chomos says, "that's the one thing it's hard for them to put their finger on."

Last month, she dished expertise at a workshop for nine agents gathered in a Lake Union hotel conference room. All had their own reasons for being there, starting with the three clock hours they'd earn toward required continuing-education credits.

Said one: "I had a couple clients ask me about feng shui, so I figured I'd better know a little more about it." Another puzzled over a buyer who insisted his future home's front door face east. ("I don't know what that was all about," he said.) And Julie Seaborn of Coldwell Banker Bain said she'd dealt with Chinese families who wouldn't buy homes near a graveyard or at the end of a block.

All about chi

Chomos nodded. Twelve years after giving up a public-relations career to pursue feng shui full-time, she'd heard it all before. "Feng shui really looks at the psychology of how we react to the world around us," she said; it was all about chi, or energy, and how it flows — too fast, too slow, not at all.

She unveiled a slide show of problem situations — homes built on slants, below roadways, at the ends of cul-de-sacs. Some problems were small but glaring, such as sharp-pointed plants in passageways — "a very aggressive energy to encounter," she said.

Inherently iffy problems

From a home's surroundings to its design to how items are placed within that design, many of the problems she addressed at the Lake Union workshop were the kinds of things a sensible homeowner might inherently feel iffy about anyway. Others, like ghosts and lingering negative energy from the problems of previous owners, were decidedly more ethereal.

Though Coldwell Banker's Seaborn said concepts like lingering bad vibes have to be taken with a grain of salt, "every home has an energy to it," she said. "You can feel it when you walk in."

Windermere's Eve Whitman says much of feng shui's philosophies come naturally to her. There are homes she refuses to show clients. "Whether I can be specific about it or not, there's something wrong there. It has to do with the bones, the karma, the history of a house. It's so real, it's amazing."

While she doesn't advise filling every corner with mirrors and water features, she says that being sensitive to clients' surroundings can make a difference in a referral-based business.

"It's not just about being a numbers person," she says. "It's about walking into a home and feeling it. ... It's being sensitive to what people say and picking up on the energy of their lives."

"Some clients say, 'I don't want that,' " says Tao, the John L. Scott agent. "Others absolutely want it. It's all about keeping the client happy."

Marc Ramirez: 206-464-8102 or mramirez@seattletimes.com"

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Feng Shui: Your Questions Answered

Feng shui: Your questions answered!

Got a question about Feng Shui that you'd like answered? I've posted a question form at this site and I'm looking for youur questions. I'll be going through your questions a few each day and posting my responses here. I have almost 100 questions so far!

Get answers, get active, more feng shui tips to come!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips

Encourage Wealth With These Feng Shui Tips

Feng shui tips: encouraging wealth: "Using Feng Shui to encourage wealth is easy to do. There are many small changes that you can make in your home and office to attract prosperity.

The Chinese art of Feng Shui has been around for a very long time. It is basically the ancient art of attracting positive energy to your space in order to have a balanced life. It is about bringing harmony to your environment. Have you ever entered a room that simply feels 'right?' It is probably because the room takes advantage of the five elements, which are the essence of Feng shui. They are metal, wood, water, fire and earth. These five elements influence our chi, which is the energy of everything around us. Using Feng Shui techniques to improve your space allows your chi to flow naturally and gently between yourself and everything else.

It is possible to use Feng Shui to attract wealth. However, wealth is not just about money. The Chinese have long believed that wealth includes everything from finances to health to our family relationships. There are many Feng Shui tips that you can use in your home and office to increase your prosperity. One of the most important tips is that if you work out of your home, make sure to keep your home office separate from the rest of your house. It is imperative that business and personal matters remain separate.

The first thing to do is to get three I Ching coins and tie them together with a red ribbon or string. The color red is thought to attract wealth. I Ching coins have a hole in the center, so it is easy to weave the coins together. Hang this on the back of your front door. This is a popular wealth symbol. Another way to use I Ching coins to attract wealth is to buy a fern and bury 9 coins in the soil of the pot. Place this pot in the furthest left corner of your home. As the plant grows and thrives, so will your wealth.

Water is considered the element that is allied with wealth. Pooling water represents wealth that is collected. Purchase a fountain, aquarium or some other kind of water feature that has visible pools of water.

Color is also important in Feng Shui. The colors of blue and black are synonymous with wealth. Burning candles that are white, gold or silver will also display your desire to have prosperity in all aspects of your life. Plant a few conifers or cactuses in your yard; these are also symbols of good fortune.

None of this will help, of course, if your home is filled with clutter. Your home should be a sanctuary for you. Clutter blocks the flow of positive energy and interferes with every part of your life. Try to simplify. Throw, sell or give away things that aren't being used. Get rid of all the paper that comes into our homes every day. Find a place for everything and then put it away after use. The simple act of clearing clutter is a powerful way to invite positive energy to reside in your home.

In your office, never have our back to the door. This leaves you open to attack by negative energy. Don't place your desk facing the door, either. Doing that allows you to be overpowered by incoming chi from others. The best choice for your desk is with your back to a wall or angled away from the door. Hang a picture of a water feature on the wall behind you, or an abstract design in shades of blue or black. A crystal paperweight should be on your desk, as well as something red. Pictures of your family are important, to remind you why you want to have prosperity in your life. If the view outside your window is less than inspiring, hang a wind chime to improve the area. Keep a plant in the furthest left corner of your office, to symbolize the growing of wealth at your workplace.

The art of Feng Shui can be a powerful force in your life. If you believe that the universe is dominated by chi, then you can use it to influence your life in a positive manner. Once you have started noticing a difference in your finances, try introducing other aspects of Feng Shui into your home and life. There are endless books and other resources to get you started being in person who is in harmony with their life and the world around them. "

Awesome tips! Enjoy!

Sam, Feng Shui Tips