Putting Feng Shui in Your Life

Posted by – January 15, 2016
Categories: Excerpt Health & Healing

Blank Q 6x9The start of the new year is a great time to restore balance and harmony to the spaces you inhabit. This year, set yourself up for success in every realm of your life by practicing feng shui in your home, office, and anywhere else you spend a significant amount of time. The following excerpt and exercise from William Spears’Feng Shui Made Easy, touches on each house of the bagua and will help you prioritize which areas of your life you want to focus on enhancing first.


Putting Feng Shui in Your Life

More than just the practice of geomancy, placement, or spatial arrangement, feng shui is primarily a philosophy and a unique way of seeing the world. It is important at the start to be both inquisitive and flexible, asking how things fit together as you move toward an ability to see the whole; however, as understanding comes, it is essential not to put your life in feng shui. Doing so almost always results in the creation of a mechanical monster, one that sees life as a series of fixed pictures and set patterns—a sure and fast road to arrogance. As extraordinary as this philosophy may seem to you, put feng shui in your life only as a point of reference at the beginning rather than the sole operating system.

For example, an architect or designer can use feng shui after he or she has used the creativity and skill needed to do the job. Then, as if putting on a new pair of 3-D glasses, the creator can look at the drawings using feng shui as a guideline and see what changes might need to be made. Do not try to create the ideal using feng shui as the template, as it will surely affect the creativity you need to come up with a unique design.

So much of what has come to us from ancient cultures has become dogmatic and, as such, limiting. When used appropriately, feng shui provides us with unlimited possibility in life, constantly changing and flowing, never restricting, always guiding. Beware of a tendency at first to “know” more than you have experienced. Observe, reflect, and build on your personal involvement with your surroundings and their relation to your life. You will soon see that no one could possibly know your own truth better than you. Feng shui will become, like a trusted old friend, an invaluable resource of wisdom and inspiration that simply gives you a new way of seeing your life.

The following exercise can be used as a prelude to making design changes in your home or office. After completing the exercise and the worksheet that follows, you will have a clearer idea of which areas of your life you might change using feng shui.


In each of the following sections, read the description, and then, in the four groups of phrases below it, find the one that comes closest to speaking your truth. Every phrase need not be exactly like one you might use. To keep track of your answers, circle a letter—A, B, C, or D—for each area on the Answer Form that follows the exercise.

The Journey

1. How do you feel about the work you are doing? Is your job in the field you want it to be in? Are you fulfilled by your work and acknowledged by the people around you in relation to your work? Are you considering a career change? These questions all relate to the area of your life that feng shui calls Water.

Water has to do with your path, your journey, the flow, or Tao, of your life, as if you are in a boat, sailing along through the years. It is not just your present job: you may be an aspiring artist temporarily working as a waiter while you wait for your first big break. And it does not relate to your salary or paycheck as a measure of success. This question evaluates your place on the “river of life”—whether you feel safe in the boat, whether you are flowing with the tide, crashing into or gliding by the rocks.

A. Life flows along quite well. I’m on the right road. I’m doing the work I want to do. I feel acknowledged by my coworkers. I am satisfied with the work I do. I feel productive. I have a good job. I feel fortunate to be doing what I really want to do and enjoying it. I feel I’m sailing on a beautiful ocean liner!
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. I feel like a salmon swimming upstream—definitely against the flow. I do not have a job. I am working, but not doing what I want. I’m thinking about going into a whole new field. My résumé is out there, but I am not getting any calls. I don’t like my job and am looking for a new one. I haven’t had much luck in the workplace these days. Help! I’m drowning!


2. How are your relationships with your friends, spouse, and colleagues? Are you single with an active social life, or are you isolated, finding it difficult to meet anyone? How is your marriage? Is it a fulfilling partnership? Are you considering separation? Recently divorced? Blissfully in love? Desperately seeking? These questions relate to the area of your life called Earth.

The meaning of this area is receptivity, the ideal state in which relationships develop. It has to do with all partnerships, close associations both platonic and professional, and marriage, though not just matrimony as such. This question looks at relationships in general, whether they are going along well or with great difficulty, whether there are a number of eligible choices or none.

A. My relationships are great. I get a lot of attention from my mate. My social life is very active. My spouse is wonderful. I meet new people every week who ask me out. I feel as if we are still on our honeymoon. The phone hardly ever stops ringing. I’m recently engaged.
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. My social life is a disaster. I’ve tried everything to meet my match, but there just doesn’t seem to be anyone interested. I feel jinxed. I’m in the process of separating. I just moved to town and have found it very difficult to meet new people— one date is easy, but they never call back. I thought celibacy would be better than this. I’m thinking about taking vows!


3. How would you characterize your relationships with your parents? Do you have a meaningful relationship with a teacher, mentor, or elder whom you consider an important part of your life? Even if one or both of your parents are deceased, how doyou carry the memory of your life with them in your mind today? This area of life is represented by the symbol for Thunder.

Like the resonating bass of thunder that comes before a rainstorm, this question also relates to the foundation or root that preceded you, the ancestors who came before you and, in particular, your mother and father. It corresponds to our concern for family, parents, elders, teachers, and those in a superior position, such as your supervisor.

A. I get along very well with both my parents. I had a special relationship with one of my grandparents. My boss at work is a great supervisor. I have a mentor from college with whom I still keep in touch. I have a lot of teachers I highly respect. My dad died a while back; we finally came to peace over a lot of unresolved issues before he passed on. I’m grateful for so much my parents gave me. I have a deep respect for my ancestors.
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. I haven’t spoken to my parents in years. My grandfather was a horrible man, and I never liked him. My boss is mean and insensitive. My mom and I argue all the time. My teachers never liked me. I don’t usually get along very well with old people. One or both of my parents never really loved me very much. Don’t ask!

Fortunate Blessings

4. How often in your life do you feel blessed? Is money a real problem for you? Are you terribly concerned with your bank account? Do you have positive cash flow, or are you always in debt? Do you feel fortunate, or are you on a seemingly endless streak of bad luck? This area of life feng shui calls Wind. It generates the energy of blessings from the material world—not just in hard cash but also in the general sense of fortune or “good omens” creating a state of auspiciousness. The wind brings good luck in the form of fortunate blessings from the material world.

A. I feel blessed with good fortune nearly every day. I make money and have a good income. People call me lucky. Money is really not a problem for me. Things show up just when I need them.
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. I’m broke. I could barely pay my rent last month. I do not have a job. I’m pretty far in debt right now. When it comes to luck, I’m having a bad streak these days. It’s really hard to pay the bills recently. Blessed? Ha! How ’bout cursed!


5. The central number five, located in the middle of the cardinal numbers one through nine, relates to the area of life called the Tai Chi. Regarded as the center of the universe, the Tai Chi is the place where heaven and earth meet and divide, creating the very breath of life force and all the other elements. There is no direct way to evaluate this area other than the sum of the parts, because the Tai Chi has a part of every one of the eight other energies in it. A special section in Feng Shui Made Easy talks in greater detail about the significance of this central area as it relates to health.

Helpful Friends

6. Do you have a lot of close friends or helpers you can depend on in a crisis? Do you consider yourself helpful to others? Are you generous and supportive with your time and money, serving either as a volunteer, donor, or patron to a group less fortunate? Are there lots of people in your life who show up as helpful friends or “angels” of the visible and invisible type? This area of our lives is symbolized by the word Heaven and relates in the broadest sense to philanthropy.

Like a gift from heaven, the selfless acts of volunteers, friends, and “angels” in our lives are beyond measure; at the same time, our efforts as helpful friends in the unconditional service of others is truly one of life’s greatest blessings.

A. I am an active volunteer in many organizations, giving both my time and money whenever I can. Many friends would do anything for me, as I would for them. Sometimes I feel I have a guardian angel watching over me. I try to give generously to those in need. A lot of people have helped me in times of trouble. I am amazed that, whatever you give, you always receive much more in return.
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. When I’m down and out, I’m on my own. I’d like to help others more, sure, but I’m just so busy and I barely get by myself. People don’t usually think of me as someone to depend on for support. I don’t see many volunteers that help our group. Everyone is in it for the money. Giving unconditionally is impossible. UFOs are all a government plot. There is no such thing as an angel except in fairy tales.


7. Are you creative? Do you have children? How are your various projects going? Do you have writer’s block, or do the ideas seem to pour out onto the paper? As a parent, is your relationship with your offspring rich and joyful, or full of turmoil and sadness? This area of life corresponds to the image of the Lake.

Here, the energy of creativity gathers, making possible the children, ideas, and projects to which we give birth and all that springs forth from the deepest internal spring that feeds our lives. The joy and beauty we see in all that we create is characterized by this open energy, like our children emanating a great depth of spirit.

A. My children are everything to me. I am very creative. I have no shortage of ideas or projects. Kids are great, and even though I don’t have any, I really love them. As an artist, my creativity is my life, and I am very fortunate to be blessed with lots of it.
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. Children should be seen, not heard. I haven’t had a new idea in years. We’re having trouble conceiving. I can write poetry—if rhyming words counts—but usually I feel pretty blocked. The last big project I worked on failed miserably. I want kids, but I think I’m infertile. My children and I don’t get along at all. I feel less creative than a block of wood.


8. What is your relationship with the spiritual world? Do you meditate, pray, or chant regularly? Are you an atheist, an agnostic, or a devout skeptic? Are you an active member of your church or temple, attending regular services and observing religious holidays? Our capacity for inner stillness is called the Mountain and signifies meditation, contemplation, and introspection.

It is not necessarily about organized religion or beliefs but relates more to our sense of the sacred and spiritual in life, often felt most strongly in the solitude of a mountain or cave where we can tune into ourselves.

A. My life is full of spiritual meaning. I meditate every day. I love reading scripture and teachings of the masters. I am religious in my own way. I’ve done a lot of searching in this area, through many avenues, and have gone through lots of changes. Life is a mystery.
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. I’m pretty skeptical about what science can’t prove. I’d like to meditate, but I’m too busy. Books on religion and the “spiritual world” bore me. I used to believe in God, but when I see all these religions fighting with each other, I’m not so sure. What you see is all there is; the rest is all manufactured for mass consumption. The New Age is a marketing ploy. Prayer makes no difference in my life. God is dead. I don’t understand this part.


9. Do you care what other people think of you? Are you recognized in your field for the work you do? Are you fulfilled in life, or is there something still missing? Do you feel that all the answers to your problems are inside you, or do you need the guidance of others who “know” more? If you learned that you might die very soon, how do you suppose your life would change? The final area concerns the energy of Fire and relates to illumination or enlightenment.

Sometimes referred to—inadequately—as Fame, this area is more than just reputation or prominence; it has to do with the light that shines within. As the time comes when our lives draw to a close, we will understand more fully the meaning of enlightenment, as we grow closer to an inner brightness often present in the eyes of an elder sage. So, although the spotlight of media attention can make a movie star or a politician into a household name, being in the light is more about illumination within than public recognition.

A. Every day is another miracle. Sometimes life feels like dream. I have a good sense of myself and do not live to please others. I am usually very clear about my direction in life. People find me a source of inspiration. I feel contented to be alone, even though I enjoy other people in my life, too. My good intuition is a sign of my clarity.
B. As above, but less so.
C. As below, but less so.
D. How others feel about me matters a lot. I feel confused about half the time. Someone will show me how. Nobody really respects me for the work I do. It will be a long time before I’m anywhere near enlightenment. Death is a terrifying concept to me, and I am not ready, no way, not yet, please. Yeah, sure, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and me are good buddies—not!


Self-Evaluation Answer Form

Self-Eval Form

Putting Your Priorities into Perspective

Once you have completed the Self-Evaluation Worksheet, it should be easier to see the areas in your life that are the most important to approach with feng shui. If, for example, you circled D under Thunder and C under Lake and A or B for the other areas, then these are the priorities that will need to be addressed in your living environment. The spaces around us reflect our inner worlds, so it is very likely that when you identify the actual areas of your house ruled by the energies of Thunder and Lake, you will see ways to change and improve this part of your living (and working) space.

Exactly what to do with this information will depend upon your ability to begin to relate to the invisible world of energy around you in much the same way you have explored the vibrational and emotional world within.


Adapted from Feng Shui Made Easy by William Spear.

Tags: William Spear Feng Shui
About the Author

After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2007, Julia was delighted to find out that “professional book recommender” was a job. She has been working in marketing and publicity with independent Bay Area publishers ever since. She joined North Atlantic Books in 2014. She lives with her husband and two very nice cats in Oakland.