Feng Shui and Wall Affirmations

How can anyone hear themselves think with all these words shouting at them? One ought to be able to find some peace in the bathroom, at least. Photo by Dehn Bloom Design via Houzz

A single affirmation on a wall can be a powerful thing if it’s well chosen. A few days ago I consulted for a client and every wall of her home was littered with affirmations and positive words—and to no effect that I could tell. There was no place that felt visually quiet and calm. Every wall was screaming, “Love,” “Trust,” “Be Positive,” but it all felt like confusion and disorder. It seemed that she had bought every wall affirmation that Ross Dress for Less ever sold. It was one of the most depressing and negative consultations that I’ve ever had. The client’s mantra throughout the consultation was, “No can do…no can do…” Well, of course she could have made some changes in her living space, but she just wasn’t going to. Every time I’d make a recommendation, her face would harden and she’d look angry. So much for those positive thoughts on the walls. By the time the consultation was over, my bright spirit had sunk down to my toenails.

Years ago, my dear friend Noreen Riley told me that she did calligraphy. I asked her if she would copy an old saying onto some beautiful gold-flecked paper that I had. I put it in a gold frame and kept it up for years. It’s now in a file, but I take it out occasionally and my spirit soars.

“The removal of a portion of old habits is the gain of a portion of brightness.”

It’s from one of the very few books that I’ve ever read twice—the amazing autobiography Empty Cloud by the Chinese zen master Xu Yun.

My mother, whom I adore, is age 94, living in a veterans’ home—she was a five-stripe Marine sergeant in WWII—and she loves it there. I recently sent her a beautiful cloth wall hanging with this quote on it:

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power—the world will know peace.”

It’s by Jimi Hendrix, who she had never heard of. Her eyesight’s not great so she can’t even read it, but it’s a splash of color on an otherwise bare wall. I sent it to her so that the people who come into her room would know the kind of spirit that resides in her frail old body. (I got this from INE Imports, a company run by a very nice couple, the Samuelsens, who have graciously agreed to sell this one item direct to customers referred to them by this blog post. Be sure to mention my name and my blog, as they are otherwise a strictly wholesale business.)

Hanging scrolls with Japanese calligraphy are splendid examples of powerful wall affirmations—simple, elegant, and not always there. They are often rolled up and put away. Then when they are on display—they feel fresh and powerful. The example here speaks of sitting in meditation on a mossy rock on a mountain.

Words have power—I wrote an earlier post all about that. If you have wall affirmations, choose them carefully. The best ones are usually not the ones that you buy in a store, but ones that you make yourself by finding a quote that resonates with you and then spend effort applying in a visually beautiful manner on your wall. (That earlier blog post relates the case of one I found especially wonderful.)

Feng Shui for Gay People

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Here I am (kneeling with doll) with my mom & two brothers in 1959.

My mom’s 94 and I recently asked her, “Who else in our family was gay?” She exclaimed, “That gene runs in our family!” I found out that her father’s youngest brother, Perry Twitty, was gay. Also, Perry’s great uncle Hiram Twitty was gay. A little after the Civil War he was last seen (by a family member, anyway) in Mobile, heading for Galveston. Mama said that (almost without exception) gay people left rural areas and went to some town or city. I asked her when she figured out that I was gay. She said it was when I asked for a doll for Christmas.

JustsayIdo

Gay couples can use gender-specific imagery in their Relationship Corners by replacing genders where a mixed-sex couple would be similarly depicted, such as using two bride dolls in a lesbian home. (Photo by Davidlud (Own work), CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

I remember asking for that doll. I was staying with my grandmother (Lyda Twitty kept me while my folks taught school at Margerum, Alabama) and my Uncle Bradley was visiting in the kitchen. He caught me off guard while I was going from the den to the dining room. You had to make a brief visit through a little bit of the kitchen to get to the dining room. I was shy and expected to slip quietly into the dining room, and was surprised when Bradley all of a sudden asked me, “What do you want Santa Claus to bring you?” I’d already made it into the dining room, and I turned around and answered him honestly. “I want a doll.” “What kind of doll?” he asked. Even at that young age (I was probably six) I knew better than to continue with honesty, so I didn’t say bride doll—I almost did, but I said “Boy doll.” It was the most macho thing I could think of—this was before GI Joe.

Fast forward to late 1997. Here’s my favorite story from Feng Shui for Love & Money:

In feng shui, you’re using your home and your possessions to give out the message: “Send me the right person, please.” I arranged pink silk lotus flowers in the Relationship Corner of my studio apartment, and two seconds later my phone rang with a friend calling for a date. That quick response may have been my angel poking her elbow in my ribs saying, “This is gonna work!” Six months later I met my spouse. His partner was passing away around the time I was arranging the flowers. When I let those flowers go, I donated them to a church that used them respectfully.

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This “David and Jonathan” litho by Reuven Rubin hangs high up in the Relationship Corner of our living room. We also have “Lucky Bamboo” in the maroon wall pocket.

That story is a big part of the reason I decided to be come a feng shui professional. I knew from my own experience that feng shui worked, and that I was good at it. I, like many gay men, have an intuitive experience of interiors—and I know that’s part of the reason I have a good reputation for helping people create feng shui interiors that don’t look feng shui’d—they just look good, and feel great, and by golly, that influences people.

The punch line of this article is that there is no difference in feng shui for gay or straight people—how could there be! Different as we may be in some areas, we’ll all still human energy, and that’s what feng shui sets about to influence. That being said, if gay people use gender specific imagery in the Relationship Corner, the two beings should be the same gender, if the different genders are usually visually obvious. For instance, two bride dolls would be perfectly appropriate in the Relationship Corner of a lesbian home. My husband inherited this “David & Jonathan” print from his late partner. We both love it and it hangs in the Relationship Corner of our home.

 

 

 

 

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Feng Shui & Holiday Decor

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

This is an apsara, a Hindu or Buddhist spirit, similar to what Western cultures might call an angel. It has no Christmas association whatsoever and thus can be displayed year-round. Photo by Daderot, via Wikimedia Commons.

Decoration for holidays that occur near the end of the year, such as Christmas & New Years, should not be on display in homes before December 1 nor after January 15—end of story as far as feng shui’s concerned. Don’t I wish!

How often I’ve had to explain to people that their Christmas angel (or Christmas angel collection) shouldn’t be on display in July! They’ll say, “Oh, it’s not a Christmas angel. It’s just an angel.”

By World Journalist (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This nativity angel painted by crèche artist Bill Egan is one of those that someone might try to justify as “just an angel.” It’s not. Photo by World Journalist, via Wikimedia Commons.

Unless you can identify the angel as a particular angel with their own Old Testament name (such as St. Michael), it’s probably a Christmas angel. An exception is a guardian angel picture (with children included) for a child’s room.

Angels from non-Western cultures are fine any time of year because they are never associated with Christmas.

Items associated with a long-past holiday hold you back in the past and stymie your progress with future projects. The items are not a problem if they are put away in a box that’s labeled. Just don’t keep any holiday items on display beyond about two weeks past the holiday. That’s any holiday, any time of year.

Photo by www.personalcreations.com.

Live or faux greenery (that’s actually green, not dried) is suitable for all times of the year, and looks particularly nice during the Christmas season. Photo by www.personalcreations.com.

The good news is that fresh evergreen plant material, which is so appropriate this time of year, is fine in feng shui. The only plant material that is a problem in feng shui is old dried plants and flowers—like lei or wedding bouquets. If you are keeping them for sentimental reasons, box them and label the box.

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Feng Shui & Gift Giving (and Receiving)

These knickknacks were donated by my publisher’s staff for the purpose of this photo that appeared in “Feng Shui for Hawaii.” And, yes, they reported that MANY were “guilt gifts.”

It’s lovely to give & receive gifts, but you don’t want to give something that will just be clutter for the recipient. Food, money, and flowers are all gifts that don’t have to be dusted.

Don’t be guilty of giving someone a “guilt gift” which is an object that they are keeping only because you’ll see it when you come to visit. And likewise don’t keep a guilt gift, if that’s really what it is. The objects you have on display in your home should be there because you use them or love them—no other reason.

Clothing is often a welcome gift, if it’s truly apparel that will be worn and appreciated. However, never give clothing with bold stripes since stripes portend arguments.

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I find these vintage pottery bowls (the green from Metlox Pottery, the white from Hull Pottery — the ONLY Hull item I like) quite charming. Other bowls might seem similar to someone less passionate about pottery, but would make poor additions to my collection. It’s always wise to ask a collector before buying something for them.

If you are giving a gift to a collector to add to their collection, make very sure that it will be a welcome addition. Remember, a gift does not have to be a surprise to be welcomed. I’m a passionate collector of vintage pottery—certain vintage pottery. Most vintage pottery is not to my taste—in fact I consider much of it quite tacky. Hull Pottery is a great example of this for me. I don’t care for any of it—it looks like saccharine Roseville to me. But there’s one exception—a sublime, matte glaze, white bowl in the shape of a large tropical leaf. Its charm is explained by the fact that Hull didn’t design it—they bought the mold from Metlox Pottery. It was part of Metlox’s “Leaves of Enchantment” series, which was made in glossy green. Hull changed the bottom slightly and that was all. Then after awhile they couldn’t resist making it tacky—really tacky. They put one bunch of purple grapes in the bottom and made it glossy—that version gags me. Oh, I have digressed—pottery does that to me.

If you need more motivation than this to be cautious about giving gifts that could become clutter, read Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. Here is my review of the title. It’s a very powerful book!

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“My Husband Will Love You” — Feng Shui & Masculine Energy

bedpillows

I’ve seen plenty of beds where 60% of the surface is covered with pillows, and while this is definitely an improvement over that—there are still more pillows than two people would need to sleep.

“My husband will love you.” I’ve heard those exact words three times in my career. The first two times were when I suggested to wives that they reduce the number of decorative pillows on their bed by half.

The third time occurred recently, when I was almost through with a consultation in a home under construction where the first coat of paint was soon to go over the sheetrock. I hadn’t noticed anything wrong with the ceiling so I hadn’t commented on it. My client casually mentioned that beams were going to be installed on the ceiling. I said, “Fake beams?” She misunderstood and said, “No, they’re going to be real wood.” I explained that what I meant by “fake beams” were beams that didn’t really hold up the ceiling.

ceilingbeams

These beams happen to be structurally necessary. (Fake beams are usually installed below sheetrock. It makes them scream “fake.”) Necessary or not, they exude a chopping energy, so certainly don’t add them if you don’t need them.

She innocently asked, “Is there something wrong with beams?”  I illustrated with my hands how beams chop up the energy in a room and cause harsh energy directly below them. The color drained out of her face—it became obvious that she and her husband had “discussed” this many times. She wanted the beams—he didn’t. I then started doing what I sometimes have to do—talk somebody into something that’s good for them. Finally, I convinced her not to install the fake beams. She said those five words, but she still had a shell-shocked look on her face.

Just a few days ago I consulted for a couple whose home is being renovated. I briefly met the husband, then proceeded to consult with the wife. At the end of the consultation we were outside discussing options for making a more direct stairway to approach the front door. The existing stairs meandered a good bit, and I finally said, “I think the best thing is to turn a switch in your head and see the existing stairs as good, because the energy doesn’t come charging quickly up the stairs in a straight line. Just cover the bare cement blocks with some stone facing and dress the area up a bit. It’s actually charming like it is.” Her response was, “George will love it!”

The way to a man’s heart is (usually) through simplicity.

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