I often use photos in my workshops to illustrate Feng Shui principles. Two of my favorites are of the palm tree and the garbage dump. I ask my students to imagine standing on the edge of a beautiful empty beach framed by a palm tree or standing on the edge of a large garbage dump. “Do you feel different in each of these environments?,” I ask them. Ah, yeah, is the usual response. That’s because according to Feng Shui principles everything is alive with energy, everything is connected and everything is changing. We are connected energetically to our environments by how we feel in them, what we do in them, how we interact with them and what could happen when we are there. And, if we don’t like those environments – like that garbage dump – we can change them.
My workshop illustration came to life for me when my family and I visited southern California a few weeks back. We collected our bags at the airport and stepped outside into the warm air after leaving cold Denver two hours before and were greeted by a long row of palm trees. I literally gasped with joy. Another way of thinking about being connected to our environments is to imagine them talking to us, and boy, do I love what palm trees have to say to me: Lorrie, you’re on VACATION!
Little did I know that we were on our way to a garbage dump.
No, we did not actually visit a garbage dump so I could make a point to my family about Feng Shui (they would not have appreciated that.) But we did visit a place where the over-consumption of modern life littered the landscape for as far as the eye could see: we were stopped in traffic on the 405. Eight lanes of cars laid out bumper-to-bumper inching along in both directions. Ok, so the 405 is not a garbage dump per se (the cars were way too nice, for one thing) but certainly our environment was no longer saying vacation, at least until we got to our hotel and jumped into the pool.
Environment mirrors consciousness because we are so connected to what surrounds us. You can choose how you feel in your environment by placing things in your everyday spaces to create the energy you want. Look around you right now to see and “hear” what your environment is saying to you. And here’s a metaphorical question: Are you standing on a beach or standing next to a garbage dump? A messy desk can feel like a dumping site. An organized space framed with a few things you love can feel like a space open to possibilities, maybe a little like an open beach framed by palm trees. Feng Shui reminds us that when we carefully choose what surrounds us we can create a personal paradise in our homes and workspaces.
Feng Shui also says when you find yourself stuck, whether its in traffic or life, remember that everything is changing and just like me on the 405, when you keep your eye on your goal and use your environment to help you, you’ll get there eventually.