We make a vessel from a lump of clay.
It is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful.
We make doors and windows for a room,
It is these empty spaces that make the room livable.
Thus, while the tangible has advantages,
It is the intangible that makes it useful.

-Lao Tzu

You are today where your thoughts have brought you.
You will be tomorrow where your thoughts have taken you.

-James Allen

Creating Sacred Space Wherever You Are

Several months ago I was asked to speak about the topic of Feng Shui.  My first thought was how can I share in twenty minutes what has taken me over ten years to learn?  I began to reflect on the impact that Feng Shui has had on my own life.  There are so many magnificent gifts that I’ve experienced from working with this invaluable tool.  The following is a very small piece of my personal, and most magical journey on the healing path of Feng Shui.

In the reality I have created, Feng Shui is a spiritual practice of connecting with my own true nature.  These things include, and are not limited to; the earth, my home, and everything that is around me.  These deep connections have gifted me the insight to be able to follow my own intuition.

"Just trust yourself, then you will know how to live."

-Gotha

What is Feng Shui?

As defined by the International Feng Shui Guild:
"Feng Shui, translated from the Chinese, means Wind and Water.  It is a system of philosophy, science, and art that has been used for thousands of years as a method of connecting Heaven and Earth.  Ultimately, seeking a balance between opposites in all aspects of our environments.”

Feng Shui is not just about furniture arrangement, or the placement of objects in one’s home to assist them in focusing their intentions.  Feng Shui is also a practice of becoming aware that everything is alive with vital energy, prana, life-force, God, or Chi.

Not only is everything alive with this energy, but everything is also connected with this same vital energy.  And furthermore, it is always changing.

Since we are constantly changing, it only makes sense that our environment needs to change as well.  We need to to be in tune, aware, and open to the messages that our environment is trying to communicate to us.  By becoming aware of our thoughts, and becoming aware of the people, places and objects that we surround ourselves with - we can begin to know what it means to create sacred space both around us, and within us.  Our homes can become sacred sanctuaries where we can anchor little pieces of heaven on earth.

Your home mirrors your life.  You are not separate from your home any more than you are separate from the air that you breathe.  The thought forms, personalities and activities of those who lived on the land that your home was built on also affects the energy of the house.  As you evolve, your home evolves.  Even the very earth that your home sits on evolves.  We are the microcosm, and we always affect the macrocosm.  Everything is connected.  There’s an old Chinese proverb that states, "Your home is talking to you all the time, make sure it has nice things to say!"

In every moment the universe is whispering to you.  Within each of us is the ability to read these signs.  I believe there are just a few changes you could make in your life right now that could get the energy moving in a positive direction.

1. Surround yourself with objects that make your heart sing.

2. Surround yourself with like-minded people.

3. Become aware of your surroundings, and what they’re saying about you!  Look into your mirrors and see what they reflect. Is there a nice view, or are you mirroring your clutter?

4. Get rid of the things that no longer serve who you are today.

5. Honor the earth.

6. Spend time in nature.

As a child, I loved spending time communing with nature.  I remember creating little tea parties with my imaginary friends on a dirt floor in the basement of our garage.  I remember the smell of the earth, and how comfortable I felt there.  I remember spending summers in the woods of our summer cottage.  The thought of spending hours upon hours in the woods intrigued me.  I would hunt for pollywogs and frogs, and bend sticks in search of hidden water. 

It was only later on in life, when I began my formal Feng Shui training that I learned of a process called Dowsing, which involves using rods to sense energy and locate underground water.
When I was a teenager I was constantly being asked by neighbors and friends to help them arrange their furniture.  It was said that I had a “knack for it.”   Everyone always seemed to love the way their space felt when I was finished.

After many years of nursing and working in home care, I started to see and feel a direct correlation between people’s environments and the state of their wellbeing.  Granted there were times where I encountered people’s homes that appeared cluttered on the outside, yet the energy still "felt" good to me.  I often wondered why there was this exception.  When I spent time chatting with them, it was always revealed to me that all of their possessions had sacred meaning to them.   A Mahayana Zen expression says, ”Just as the most beautiful flower, the lotus, grows in muddy water, so can one find clarity and compassion in the clutter of daily life.”

In 1994, I met my husband Matthew, who had been practicing Zen Buddhism for a number of years.  I became very interested in the practice, and quickly learned that Buddhism teaches the interconnection of all things, and the oneness of creation.  I began to apply some of those philosophies to my own life and noticed that each time I changed a thought, I felt like my environment needed to change as well.  Matthew would always say that he never came home to the same place twice.  The Chinese have their own saying, “If you want change in your life move twenty seven things.”

One Sunday afternoon, I felt the strong desire to go to a bookstore.  I was recently given my first book on Feng Shui by a friend, and felt inspired to find and read all the books on the subject I could get my hands on.  I spent hours that day searching for another book on Feng Shui.   At the time, there were only a few books on the subject, compared to the vast selection available today. 

Just before I was ready to leave the bookstore, still with no book in my hand, I was intuitively guided to the interior design section.  I looked up at the walls of books, and one literally fell off the shelf and onto my foot.  It was The Western Guide to Feng Shui, by Terah Kathrine Collins.

I immediately purchased the book, came home that evening, and began reading.  I found the book so captivating that I couldn't put it down.  I actually stayed up the entire night reading it from cover to cover.  Six months later, I was on a plane to begin my studies at the Western School of Feng Shui  in San Diego, California.   Finally, there was a name for what I had been intuitively practicing my entire life.  It was the Art and Science of Feng Shui.

I knew right away that this practice was right for me.  I could move my things and redecorate my home, while also learning to see into our three dimensional world.  I could finally face my fears, focus my intentions clearly, and begin my inward journey towards balance.  Every time that I did something on the outside, I would feel these powerful shifts in my external life.  As I continued to practice Feng Shui my external life was changing rapidly.  In fact, things were happening so quickly that sometimes the changes felt almost uncomfortable.  There were times when perseverance was required, and I always remained focused on my inner truth, believing that in order to create change in ones life, we must move away from what no longer serves us.
In the process of changing, my husband and I moved four times.  I don’t actually recommend that one has to move at all in order to change things in their lives.  In my personal consulting business I have never suggested that anyone move.  For me, it was the panacea for my situation.  There is always a perspective that comes from complete balance in regards to what feels right to a person.  When one follows this inner knowing, it will eventually lead to the positive change that one is seeking.  My daughter has a plaque in her home that once hung in my home, stating,  “The journey of  self discovery is not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes!”

I began doing outside consulting for clients, while simultaneously working with friends and relatives.  I was intrigued by how quickly my own life was changing and how others were having dramatic results as well. I continued my studies in various schools and with many other incridible masters and  teachers including Professor Thomas Lin Yun. Studying Feng Shui has become a lifelong journey for me.

In 2004, I was asked to teach Feng Shui at the Rowe Camp and Conference Center in western Massachusetts.  At the time, I was not aware that I would also be involved in a week long healing process with the longest running women's group in the United States.

The event was a weeklong journey into the self.  We fasted for days while we participated in Native American sweat lodges and a cornucopia of various healing modalities from all around the world. 
After doing a significant amount of inner releasing, it was time to compose myself and teach Feng Shui to this glorious group of women.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the classes I was teaching had never been clearer.

Despite returning from Rowe exhausted, I felt this incredible lightness of being.  Very similar to the lightness that I experienced when studying Feng Shui over the years.  It was so interesting for me to observe that when I left for Rowe, my house felt perfectly comfortable, and when I returned, I instantly knew that something needed to change again.  I had changed so much that my environment needed to reflect those inner changes.  I intuitively moved my objects and furniture once again.  The echoes of my husband’s words rang in my head, "Oh no, not again."  I was progressing forward spiritually, and as a result of the Feng Shui, his life was moving rapidly as well. 

I can't remember exactly what I did that day to change my environment, but I can tell you that my space had NEVER FELT BETTER!  From that day forward my life took on a certain magical fluidity as though a connection to heaven had been consecrated.  The clarity and synchronicity of the messages I was receiving captured my awareness now almost effortlessly.  It is my belief that where we place our attention expands the vibrations of that particular area/thing immensely.  I was wide open to pay attention to my outside world, and as a result the guidance to charter my interior world was being presented to me in crystal clear detail.

A year prior to all of this, my husband and took a vacation to Sedona.  I recalled walking into a crystal store and being so moved that I began to cry.  Seconds later, I heard the words, “you have to move.”  The words were clear as day.  The tears came rushing out of me, and I realized that the reason for them was that I did not want to leave my family.  I have two wonderful grandchildren whom I love dearly, and if I listened to this guidance, I would have to leave them.  I cried for two days.  When I returned home, I disregarded the words simply because I did not want to move.  I was not ready to integrate the idea of leaving my grandchildren.
Regardless of what I was ready for, I quickly learned that one could not escape their destiny.  It wasn’t long after returned from Rowe, and making all of those changes in my home that I began to notice a pattern with the people I was meeting.  Everyone seemed to be saying the words North Carolina at some point during the course of our interaction. 

One day I walked out of my home to water flowers and a neighbor told me that she met our old neighbors when she was in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The following day the home of the old neighbors, who had moved to Charlotte, had a moving van there.  I drove by and an old friend of my son's came out of the house.  It had been years since we had seen one another.  We began chatting, and she told me she had moved to Asheville, North Carolina and thought of me while she was there.  She even went as far as to say, "You belong there!”
It seemed that everyday there was a new message about North Carolina.  I began asking the universe,  “What was this North Carolina thing was all about?”  The answers always came swiftly.  When I was in my car, every time I asked the question, a car with a North Carolina license plate would cut me off from the right side.  The more I asked the question, the more the messages came to me. 

They even came from perfect strangers. One day, we had placed a want add in the local newspaper for a table we were ready to sell.  A man answered the ad, and came to purchase the table.  As we were making the transaction he looked up at us and said, “Are you moving?  You look like you belong in North Carolina.”  My husband looked at me wide eyed and asked  “What is this thing about North Carolina?”  He began asking his own questions, and sure enough he started to get the signs as well.  One day while driving to work he found himself lost on a random road.  In front of him, was a truck with a huge confederate flag on the back of it.  The answers were everywhere, and they were all leading us to North Carolina.

Regardless of the magic, and the irrefutable signs, still, I could not accept the messages I was being given.  I loved where I lived and had no clear intention of moving.  It is clear to me now that the universe had bigger plans for us.

During this same time, I received a phone call from a woman in Asheville, North Carolina who wanted a consultation.  We took this as an opportunity to visit the place that seemed to be beckoning us to come.  While planning our trip to Asheville, I was scheduled to go the International Feng Shui Convention in New Jersey.  During my time there, I met an old friend who I studied Feng Shui with years ago.  We had not seen or heard from one another in eight years.  She just happened to live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina!  When she heard I was doing a consultation in Asheville, she invited us to visit with her.

We took her up on her offer, and after the consultation in Asheville, we made our way to Winston-Salem. 
While we were there, it became very clear to my husband and I what the message I had received in Sedona was all about.  The two of us felt an amazing connection to North Carolina.  As soon as we returned home, we made plans to sell our house. 

Our journey of intuition and synchronicity was beginning to solidify itself in our physical world.  We were moving.  Although I felt afraid to leave my family, I was also compelled to do what I needed to do, regardless of the fear.  I truly wanted to practice what I believed... "If your afraid do it anyway"!!
It took a while to sell our home, as I needed time to adjust to the pain of leaving my children, and I simply wasn’t ready to let my space go. 

I believe that our attachments hold energy in a place of stagnicity.  I asked for one more sign from the universe to let me know that despite my fear and pain of leaving, that I was still doing the right thing.  That following day we sold our house to a couple from Charlotte, North Carolina.  The universe is undoubtedly generous beyond any of our wildest dreams.

In the days that followed there were so many extraordinary synchronicities and blessings leading the way.  One week after arriving in North Carolina we purchased the first and only house that we looked at.  When we spoke to the builder, and he told us that this house began construction the very same week we placed our house on the market.  Furthermore, the week that our house sold was the same time that this new house in North Carolina was complete.

I believe that our homes choose us and it was up to me to accept it with open arms.  After all, I had created a collage of what I wanted my home to look like, and several years later here it was, a carbon copy of what I had envisioned.  I knew that when we looked at this home, despite it being the only home that we looked at, that it was without a doubt our home.  I believe the angels were the architects communicating with the builder, and the end result was the co-creation of our own perfect domicile.

When I sit in my home today, and reflect on the events of the past year, I often wonder why I was guided to move to North Carolina.  Even though I live in the house of my dreams, I have more friends than I've ever had, and my relationship with my husband and family has evolved in a most positive way, this home still has it’s share of Feng Shui related issues.  Yet in spite of those issues, in this home I feel free to face my fears, live my dreams and I always know that I am supported within this space and within myself.  I am convinced that we must be stronger than our fears, and we must strive to be stronger than the houses that will always reflect our inner struggles.

At times I still find myself asking the question why?  What was this message from the universe to pack up my entire life and move to North Carolina really about?  I still don’t have all the answers.  What I do know is that I followed my heart.  I’ve recently been getting the message that we don't have to always know the big picture.  What’s important is that we are clear enough and strong enough in our own hearts to be open to the messages of the universe, and to know that only love exists.  It is from this place that we are able to follow our own inner guidance, even when we don’t know the answer to the question why.

Over the years my Feng Shui practice has evolved to new heights.  I now live in an idyllic place, and have the home of my dreams.  I often ask myself, “what if it all went away?”  We are all hearing of global warming, Mayan prophecies, and earth changes.  The events of hurricane Katrina and 9/11, to name a few, have altered the lives of many people here on earth.  So what if we didn't have the places, objects and the houses to support our dreams?  Could we still create a sacred space in ourselves?  Could we still move forward on this earth and create the life of our dreams?

You are the most powerful element in Feng Shui.  Not your furniture, not your home, not the objects that you surround yourself with.  It is you, and you alone.  The journey is always within.  As within so without.
The outward practice of Feng Shui has given me the awareness, and the ability to pay attention to the energy that surrounds me.   It has enabled me to see exactly what I am creating in every moment through my own fears, intentions and desires.  Our internal work is to be that chi, life force, prana, God, or whatever term you wish to give it.  It is in our best interest when our homes are clear, free of clutter, and filled with positive affirmations.  This is the recipe that creates the sacred space needed to feel safe and protected in this world.
In Feng Shui, mirrors are one of the most powerful tools, often referred to as aspirin.  We must learn to wipe the fog that exists in our mirrors, so that we can see the truth of who we truly are.  We are powerful souls beyond measure.  Do you believe that God is everywhere?  Do you believe that you are that energy?  Everyone can live this way.  It is a natural process of learning to let go of beliefs and habits that drain us and interfere with our ability to love.  So, what are you waiting for?
Would NOW be a good time to let go?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness, that frightens most of us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. Their is nothing enlightened about shrinking so other people won't feel unsure around us. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone. As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
 
-Marianne Williamson

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the very first time.

- T.S. Elliot

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Louise Ann Klein CFS, CSC
Certified Feng Shui Consultant | Certified Senior Soul Coach

louise@windandwaterdesign.com
WINSTON-SALEM NC | RHODE ISLAND
401-440-5317

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