[This is an actual Feng Shui consultation; all names and identifying features have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the client]
I drove up through a suburban subdivision, viewing the large homes with their expansive three car garages and driveways. Approaching my new client's home I couldn't help but notice that the front door was almost completely obscured by laurel hedges and large trees. The gold colored house numbers were almost invisible against the brick walls of the house. But I was happy to note that once I figured out where the front door was, it was a curved path leading up to a symmetrical entrance, flanked by two ceramic lions.
The lady of the house was a pleasant looking woman in her late 30's, dressed casually for a Sunday afternoon. Sally led me through the large foyer, which was punctuated by a large, curved stairway to the upper floor. On the left side of the foyer was a living room, tastefully decorated with an Asian feel, in tones of brown, beige and navy. To the right was a formal dining room. It contained two large china cabinets, four chairs and no table. The missing table would later be explained.
As Sally led me to the back of the house, there was another seating area to the left, also tastefully decorated in beiges, browns and dark blues, also in an Asian style. Both of the seating areas looked as if no one ever sat there.
We seated ourselves around a kitchen table. As usual, I asked the million dollar question: “Why am I here?"
Sally had two elementary aged boys. She also had a missing husband - soon to be permanently missing due to a divorce in the works. Remarkably she seemed calm and free of anger.
Sally was concerned about both the past history of the house and its implications for the present and future. It seems that she and her husband had bought the house from a divorcing couple. Along with the house, they had purchased the entire dining room set; table, china cabinets, rug and chairs; in its entirety. When her husband decided to leave, he took the table - but not the chairs. Sally had no idea why he decided to leave the chairs.
Was the presence of a former unhappy marriage a factor in her situation?
I find the bagua map a very helpful tool in analyzing a home's energy. In addition, I keep my feelers out for color, art, furniture placement, and general feelings of the home to detect ways to improve the flow of Qi; life energy.
It was very obvious that this house was empty. Most of the rooms were unused. As a matter of fact, both during the time when the husband was present and after he left, the favorite room in the home was the “bonus" room over the garage. In this smallish room was a sectional sofa, TV. books, games, two desks, computers - in another words, it was the nerve center of the home. Luckily, it was placed in the knowledge and wisdom gua on the second floor; a good spot to have homework stations for the boys.
Upon further exploration, the downstairs bagua revealed an almost completely empty love & marriage area. This strange space was part hallway leading up to the second level but not really. It was a room but it felt like it was a place to pass through. It was so empty that it echoed due to the high ceilings, hard wooden floors, and lack of furnishings. Even more telling was that the husband and wife had never decided on what the room's purpose was. Was it a place for a pool table? A couch? The kids’ toys? An art studio? A TV room? As they pondered the purpose of this large area, it became emptier and emptier until the day I walked through, when it contained a few boxes of toys, a folded up ping pong table and little else.
Sally related the story of her marriage as one where her husband slowly drifted away, spending more and more time at the office. He began taking night classes which took him further away from the family and the home even more. When he was home, he was studying, reading or distancing himself on the computer. Later she found out that he had become emotionally involved with a woman in his office.
Whether the love/marriage gua became empty because the husband was drifting or the husband was drifting due to the empty room was a question I did not feel capable of answering. However, looking at that same gua on the second floor alerted me to a very inauspicious problem there as well.
The love/marriage area was located directly in the master bath. In my understanding, Feng Shui masters have never really been that crazy about indoor plumbing due to the deleterious effects of Qi running down the drain, literally. But indoor plumbing has been around for quite some time, so there are Feng Shui cures or fixes for this issue. However, I'm never very happy to see the love/marriage area situated directly in a bathroom.
It was interesting to hear Sally tell the tale of the purchase of this house. She had loved her old house and didn't want to leave. But her husband persuaded her that the house was too small and they needed a larger yard for the kids and areas for them to grow into as they became teens. So they purchased the house they were in, obviously without having a Feng Shui consult. If they had had one before purchasing, hopefully the practitioner would have pointed out the unfortunate placement of the love/marriage guas and the divorcing couples’ energy and advised against it.
But she was there for good, at least for the upcoming time period, because she didn't want to disturb the kids anymore then they needed to be with their dad moving out and the divorce becoming final. So we concentrated on the two love/marriage areas and brainstormed ways to fix the energies in them.
First stop was the ground floor hallway/room space. I encouraged Sally to make a decision about what its purpose was. As most of the walls were painted white or beige in the home, I also encouraged her to allow more color in the home, starting with this room. The love/marriage gua resonates with reds, pinks and peaches, so Sally started considering those colors to paint the walls. This would have a dual purpose of increasing the love/marriage vibrations of this room and also filling it up, creating warmth where there previously was none. That could only help attract energy into this space.
We also talked about putting some cozy chairs in the corners, so she could read to her sons and also use it as a quiet reading and meditative place for herself, again filling the room up with comfortable and happy energy. We moved a large silk plant from upstairs into the love/marriage corner of the room, which symbolized growth and new beginnings - that is, once the plant was dusted off!
Sally had artistic aspirations and once had the idea of creating a large collage with her sons on one of the walls of this room, using magazine photos and glue. Her husband had nixed the idea but I thought it would be great for the three of them to create a family vision board expressing in pictures the new family dynamic they would be building together. I offered the idea that covering the wall in poster board or foam core might be a good idea in the event they wanted to sell the house and the removal of the collage would be a simple one.
As we brainstormed ways to fill up the room with purpose and energy, Sally got more energized and excited. She did confess that since her husband left she found herself singing more and more - bursting into song with her sons and by herself. Apparently, the separation of this couple was not entirely a negative thing for both parties.
As for the bathroom upstairs, we immediately closed all the drains on the bathtubs and sinks. The toilet seat cover was to remain down at all times. Painting the walls peach was another idea to infuse the area with love energy. In addition, Sally was to be on the look-out for objects in two's - two plants, two figurines, and images of two's - to increase the “coupleness" potential of this area. We also discussed hanging crystals in the bathroom corners to raise the Qi quotient.
I left Sally with a large list of Feng Shui cures or fixes for other areas of the house and entrance way. She appeared optimistic and energetic - excited to get on with her life and provide a stable and loving home for her sons.
I'll check in with her a few months to see how things are going.
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