Feng Shui and the Art of Leaving—The Yin Aspect of Moving

Before you leave, be sure to clean the windows thoroughly.

The future is yang and the past is yin. What is new (for you) is yang and what is old is yin. When a person moves to a different home, the future home is usually what is emphasized. That’s understandable, but the future is built upon the past, so it’s important to give proper consideration to the old home that is being left behind. The basic rule is to always leave a place nicer than when you moved in. That will make it much more likely that the next place you move to will feel like an improvement.

Leave in place any hidden feng shui cures such as tiny mirrors, because (if they stay in place) they will benefit the future resident. But the main thing about leaving is to clean the old home thoroughly—and I mean thoroughly. This is not just politeness; it’s a way to insure that the new home will be satisfactory. Leaving and arriving are like the yin and yang sides of the same coin. If the yin part is done well, the yang part will fall into place nicely.

Here I am installing a tiny mirror as a feng shui cure. It’s exposed, so remove it when leaving. If you are selling a home, never leave obviously oddball things around. They say to potential buyers, “Something is wrong here.” Renters should probably remove visible cures in order to get their full deposit back.

Here I am installing a tiny mirror as a feng shui cure. It’s exposed, so remove it when leaving. If you are selling a home, never leave obviously oddball things around. They say to potential buyers, “Something is wrong here.” Renters should probably remove visible cures in order to get their full deposit back.

I have no intention of ever moving from our Kona home, but I’ve moved many times in my life. My mother told me that she moved a good bit while she was pregnant with me, and that is considered to be an indicator that the offspring will move around a lot. Even before I practiced feng shui, I intuitively knew that it was right to clean the old home—not just for the deposit, and not just for the good karma—but because it felt right to do that to a place that had sheltered me.

Once you’ve left the old home and are arriving at the new home, introduce yourself (full name) three times, and also express verbal gratitude in whatever way feels appropriate to you. If a name comes to you intuitively as the name of the home, feel free to use that name when referring to your home. I recommend Carole Hyder’s excellent book Conversations With Your Home for anyone who is moving (and also for those who are staying put, like me).





Is Clear Englebert Your Real Name?

This is my school picture from 1960 when I was about 9 years old and still called Bitty.

Well, yes it is. It’s on my driver’s license and Social Security card, but it’s not on my birth certificate from 1951. I was named Clarence after my maternal grandfather, Clarence Twitty, and my middle name was Robert after my father, Robert William Englebert. But nobody called me either of those two names because they belonged to other people. When my parents brought me home from the hospital, they introduced me to my two brothers as “Little Bitty Bob” and thereafter I was “Bitty Bob” or just plain “Bitty.” I was Bitty all the way through the fourth grade, but when I transferred to a larger school I felt that I should have a more official name. By that time my grandfather had passed away, so it seemed okay to take that name—but I never identified with it. It always seemed like my grandfather’s name, and my family still called me Bitty.

In 1980 I was living in rural Tennessee, and my neighbor—a dear friend from high school—was also a lawyer. He mentioned that in Tennessee it only cost $5 to change your first name. He did the paperwork for free, so it really did only cost $5 for me to get Clear for a first name. I liked Clear because it kept a little bit of Clarence, but it felt more like me.


This photo was taken by my friend Roy Simmons, in my solar underground house in Tennessee, around the time I legally changed my first name to Clear.

The main feng shui concern about first names is that they be spelled as ordinarily as possible—otherwise some chi energy is going to miss you. If a person’s first name is spelled oddly, it’s a bit like having the front door of the house on the back side.

It’s probably a good thing that I changed from Clarence; otherwise people might confuse me with my colleague Clarence Lau, the number-one Compass School feng shui consultant in Hawaii. Hawaii is the only state to have its governor’s mansion feng shui’d and Clarence Lau is the one who did it. I admire him because he’s brilliant, and I’m quite pleased that we frequently see eye-to-eye on feng shui matters. On one occasion, we were discussing Hawaii’s capitol building and we both agreed that it has tragically bad feng shui.

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.



Feng Shui & Guest Rooms

Home Office with Zoom-bed

While this guest room arrangement is far from ideal, I wouldn’t hesitate to sleep there (as is) for one night. If I were going to stay longer than one night I’d move the things off the shelves that are directly above the bed. Then I’d neatly put them back each morning so my hosts would never know that anything had gotten moved. Fortunately, this home office-guest room has a laptop, not a desktop computer, so that’s one less thing that needs adjusting. However, this room needs green to help balance the overabundance of gold tones. I’d like to credit Susan Levitt with the simple, easy suggestion of using green bedding on the bed. Photo by Zoom-Room Murphy Beds via Houzz

A guest room is quite handy, but if it is used infrequently, it can impart a stagnant energy to the home. Check the bagua for the entire home to see what aspect of your life corresponds to that room. The most problematic area for a guest room is the Fortunate Blessings (Wealth) corner. It gives the guests too much power in the household, it’s a problem if they don’t keep the room neat, and it can even be a problem when no one is visiting. The Fortunate Blessings area of the home should never feel stagnant. It should seem alive and vibrant.

Don’t try to apply the bagua to the individual space of a guest room. It’s not used by the same person enough for that application of the bagua to matter. Instead, see where the guest room is in the bagua of the whole home, and enhance it based on that larger bagua.

Any guest room benefits from enhancements that liven it up. Such things could include a faceted lead crystal, especially in a window that receives direct sunlight, a wind chime, especially near a window that is occasionally opened for fresh air, or a small decorative light that comes on for a few hours each evening. It is especially good if the light is visible to someone passing by the room. You can also use a fountain that runs all the time. It is fine for guests to turn the fountain off when they are staying there. The easiest way to do this is by installing an on/off switch that the fountain plugs into.

If possible, keep the guest room door open when no one is staying there. A closed-up room always says “stagnant.” A guest room is, of course, less stagnant if it is a multipurpose room—doubling as an office or a workroom. If the guest room also functions as an office, cover any monitor screens while guests are there. Laptops with their closeable screens are ideal.



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.


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!