"Chi" is the first of the five Power Principles of Feng Shui. Chi (pronounced chee) is the constantly moving and changing force around you, making you feel either good or bad in a certain location. Alternately spelled ch'i or qi, chi is the vital energy that comes from nature, and every person, object, and environment has the living energy we call chi. Chi is always in motion, swirling around people and around the objects that people place in their surroundings. The goal of Feng Shui adjustments is to stop the chi from rapidly leaving your space, and keep it flowing gently throughout every inch of your indoor environment.
Outside in nature, everything flows and moves like "wind and water," which is the translation of the words Feng Shui. However, in our indoor or “built” environment, we are all too often surrounded by sharp angles and straight lines or by objects placed in the locations that don’t support what we want to attract. All of this can block the positive flow of chi energy.
In your home or office the chi will flow in through the front door and head straight out the first window or door in its path. Chi can be either positive or negative. Consequently, it is often necessary to move objects or add new ones to bring about a change in the chi around you. Like Goldilocks, you instinctively know when the chi is not too strong, not too weak, but feels just right.
To better understand about positive chi, think about your favorite restaurant where you feel at home and linger over your meal. Can you remember the layout, colors, fabrics, the decoration on the walls, and the aromas that made you feel happy and welcome? Perhaps there are small tables arranged strategically to suggest intimacy, fresh cut flowers and candles on the tables, and inspiring artwork that transports you to the Italian countryside, all of which contributed to the positive chi that attracted you to the spot.
By contrast, think about an indoor space, such as an office, where you have felt uncomfortable. Remember the layout, colors, fabrics, walls, and aromas to get a sense of what aspects created its negative chi. For example, there may have been stark white walls, angular metal desks, harsh fluorescent overhead lighting, split-pea-soup-colored carpet, and generic or no artwork, all making you feel alienated, unwelcome, and unhealthy. You watch the clock all day and can’t wait to go home. That’s how it feels to be in a location that has an overabundance of negative chi.
In situations where chi gets stuck or blocked, it can have extremely negative effects on your surroundings and on your everyday life. We call this negative condition sha chi. You can be emotionally, physically, and spiritually affected by the negative energy of a home or office that is filled with sha chi.
When I conduct a Feng Shui analysis of a home or office, the first thing I do is look for the three major conditions of negative chi that can upset the balance and harmony of the space --
1. Things You Don’t Like
2. Things That Are Broken
3. Things That Are Cluttered
Once I identify these negative conditions, I recommend ways to correct them following my "Rule of 3Rs." That is, Replace, Repair, or Remove all items creating negative chi as soon as possible. Here is one example of how my client Sarah used the Rule of 3Rs to correct the negative chi in her home.
Sarah’s Bedroom Furniture
Sarah asked me to conduct a home consultation because she was thinking about a career change. We both quickly agreed that the one thing that represented negative chi for Sarah was her bedroom set. Neither Sarah nor her husband liked it, but Sarah’s mother gave it to her so she felt compelled to keep it or risk insulting her mother. When I explained how it represented negative chi for her, a whole new world of possibilities opened up to Sarah. That night the couple went shopping and found a new bedroom set they both adored, which was delivered on Saturday. The next day Sarah opened up the employment section of the Sunday paper and saw a job that was perfect for her. She applied for — and soon got — the job! The couple eventually donated the old furniture to a refugee resettlement project, which made them feel good about it for the first time.
When you furnish your home with objects that have negative emotions and attachments for you, you are living with all of their negative chi no matter how valuable they are. If you are surrounded by items that create negative chi, I urge you to move them out of your home and get rid of all the sha chi that goes with them. Go through the rooms of your home with a pen and paper in hand and make an inventory of the objects and furniture you no longer like or that have negative associations. Then decide how you want to get rid of each object — either by donating, recycling, selling, or disposing of it — and replace it with something you truly love.
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