You don't have to sell architect Dianne Kett on the financial benefits of feng shui, the ancient Chinese discipline of placement used to enhance the flow of energy through your home or office. She has seen it work wonders, both in her own office and in the homes she designs for others.
Three years ago, Kett, owner of DK Studio in Austin, Texas, took advice from feng shui consultant Stacy Davenport on how to energize the left rear corner of her office, the section that in feng shui corresponds to money, abundance and power. Her accoutrements include a wooden bowl, a fern, a money tree plant, purple amethyst crystals and two statues of Lakshmi, the goddess of abundance. She lights a tea candle as she focuses on her intention. Her fortunes have been on the upswing ever since.
"Whenever I need a check to come in, I talk to Lakshmi and light candles for intention," she says. "If I light a candle and say I need a check to come in today, it usually will show up that day."
|10 feng shui money tips by Davenport|
Would Kett's studio have fared as well without all the "woo-woo?"
"It probably could have, but I don't know if it would have grown as fast or that it would have been as direct," says Kett. "I think it's a really direct approach."
The DK clients who have allowed Kett to align and design their new homes using feng shui principles agree.
"One client used feng shui in building their home and Stacy came in after it was built and gave them a few more tips and the money just flew through the door," says Kett. "Her business soared and he got a raise and a promotion."
Isolated incidents? Luck? Chance? Perhaps. But when such bottom-line uberdevelopers as Donald Trump and Disney include feng shui in their blueprints, even the skeptical among us have to pause and wonder, though some do consider feng shui a pseudoscience at best.
Since its introduction in the West in the 1970s, feng shui has become almost mainstream, as Davenport found out when she recently realigned the energy flow in the classrooms and offices at an Austin middle school.
"I was using dowsing rods and all sorts of tools that I work with and everybody walking by just goes, 'Thank you!'" she says. "It's definitely a different day."
Feng shui cram course
Feng shui (pronounced "fuhng shway") evolved more than 4,000 years ago in China, where the earliest practitioners observed that physical objects and their orientation seem to have an effect on the flow of energy (called qi or chi and pronounced "chee") around us.
Feng shui posits that all aspects of life, from career and health to relationships and even childbearing, can flourish or flounder based on how well or poorly qi is flowing through the corresponding sectors of our immediate environment.
We humans also are the sum of our personal qi, hence our individual energy makeup and orientation is of equal importance in optimizing our environment. The goal is to have neither too much nor too little qi, but a balance thereof.
"Qi is the life stuff that we are as people; who you are is actually your qi," says feng shui consultant David Daniel Kennedy, author of "Feng Shui for Dummies."
"In the West, we've kind of gotten the idea that if I'm not in my body, I must be my mind, that's who I am. But the Chinese viewpoint is, you really are your qi. All of these different areas of your life are based on your qi."
Since the presence or absence of qi can be felt but not measured, Western science has tended to pooh-pooh feng shui as little more than folkloric mumbo jumbo. But like such other Eastern imports as acupuncture and martial arts, feng shui's popularity continues to grow as Westerners see results from using it.
Show me the money
To no great surprise, our No. 1 question of feng shui practitioners is: Can you show me the money?
It was the first question Davenport asked a decade ago when she was working in corporate America. After picking up a feng shui book on a whim, she activated her abundance, money and power corner using her 10 feng shui money tips.
"Within two weeks, I got a large bonus and a $250 a month raise," she says. "In that moment when my boss was slipping me the check, he said, 'Do not tell anybody! We're not giving raises.' I knew that, because of what I did in my space, I attracted it in."
Davenport soon left to study feng shui under Berkeley, Calif., Grandmaster Thomas Lin-Yun. Today, she offers feng shui services in the home for $100 per hour (a typical home takes two to three hours), and to small businesses at $150 per hour. Her corporate and nonprofit consults start at $500.
Kennedy says having intention, in essence putting your qi out there to manifest in results, is particularly important to shift your fortunes for the better.
"The intention is related to attention, and one of the rules of energy is that energy flows where attention goes. So what you put your attention on is what you get in life, which is the whole point of having goals. What is tracked or looked at is what tends to improve," he says.
Even consultants can benefit from an outside feng shui consultant.
"There is also what psychology calls personal blind spots, where even if you went and took all the feng shui training and even became a practitioner, you still couldn't see your own house like an outside party would," he says. "The outside viewpoint is critical because the person can see you objectively in your context, and that's impossible for you to do."
A feng shui license?
Not everyone is pleased with the proliferation of feng shui practitioners, some of whom may have only rudimentary knowledge of this ancient discipline.
Betty Stone, a consultant and assistant to Master Larry Sang at the American Feng Shui Institute in Monterey Park, Calif., says Sang is working with colleges in the Far East to offer feng shui certification in hopes of helping separate the true practitioners from the wannabes.
"Feng shui is very scientific; it's all done by mathematic calculations of how the energy evolves on our plane," says Stone. "A lot of the myths and misconceptions that people believe, the do-this and do-thats, are easier for the everyday person to understand, but they don't have to explain to you why you need to do it. So many practitioners out there are using folk beliefs versus being scientific."
How do you find a well-qualified feng shui practitioner? Stone admits it's a lot like choosing a good doctor: Ask for references and check out their credentials -- who they studied with, courses taken, certifications earned (the American Feng Shui Institute offers one) and the feng shui disciplines they use. As with doctors, there are greater and lesser choices in every price range. Stone says fees vary too widely to estimate. But experience definitely counts.
"Some people are just naturally gifted," she says. "But even a doctor, if he graduated from the best medical school without practical experience, he's not going to be great."
Stone says one thing is certain: When you've found a good feng shui consultant, you'll know it.
"There are a lot of people out there just wanting to sell remedies, so that's how they make their money," she says. "Feng shui is actually a balance of energy, and with people who are actually trying to help you, you will see immediate results. If it takes you a while before you even see anything happening, you know that definitely that's not the case."