Everything You Own Is You

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a feng shui consultant is, “Are the grounds surrounding my house included in the feng shui adjustment?” Yes, yes and yes.

The art of placement includes the terrain, climate, vegetation, water source, power lines, shape of trees surrounding the environment, color and shapes of gardens and landscaping; statuary shapes, subjects and placement of these objects; ponds, lakes, swimming pools, hot tubs and color and shape of planters used for your flowers, vegetables and herbs. Not only is your surrounding landscape important, any land, buildings owned, leased or rented by the client is included in the evaluation of a person’s feng shui.

The balance of one’s environmental, physical and mental harmony are all considered part of the whole package, of where you stand today!

The initial response from the client is a blank stare and overwhelming expressions. “You are your possessions,” I inform them. “Why?” they plead. “Because; ‘they’ belong to you.”

KvortexKeeping nature healthy is the responsibility of humanity. Harmony and balance, or feng shui, can be translated as when wind blows on water. This action gently infuses ions into the water, bringing life to the planet earth.

Are you doing your part? How much of the environment are you taking care of? Everything you own plus your neighbor?

If that information is too overwhelming, pull all of “yourself” back together and assess what action needs to take place.

  1. What do you rent? A storage shed? Why? If it is temporary, then that is a plus on your survey. My husband and I rented three storage units for seven years, because we couldn’t give up our stuff. After learning the principles of feng shui, we calculated the money “invested” saving our junk. The figures indicated we could have taken a wonderful six-week cruise or bought a little car. The symbolism visually and mentally showed a fear of the future. Clogged, stacked, old ideas. The outcome included additional possessions: We couldn’t remember what was in storage so we bought another drill, saw, mixer or rug, resulting in a Ph.D. in dumb. Feng shui has freed us from excess (almost)! Now, before leaving a store, I scan the shopping cart for impulsive items, which usually include several “grandma purchases.” Forfeiting two of these “fun” items definitely helps my son and his family retain part of their living spaces by not adding clutter.
  2. What do you clutter? Are you moving or between jobs? Leaving your necessary stuff in Mom and Dad’s garage is hopefully temporary, however this puts a damper on Mom and Dad’s life. Leaving possessions at the parents house can bring comfort to an adult child, subconsciously grounding Mom, Dad and child’s relationship. Leaving belongings at the folks’ house gives us a reason to visit or not to visit, depending on the relationship between parents and offspring. This inaction only causes procrastination for both parties in moving forward toward a change.
  3. What do you own? A business, a home, a boat? Are you a landlord? Again, the responsibility of maintaining the properties can be tied to your successes. Remember to ask yourself: Am I bringing harmony to mind, body and spirit of my home and community? What is my God-given purpose? You will begin to understand why less is more. It is easier to promote harmony when you aren’t bogged down with things. It frees the mind to pursue talents issued at birth.
  4. Look around your property. Is it beautiful? Chi or energy doesn’t visit the dwelling with overgrown shrubs, dead trees and lawn. If you can’t take care of spaces, sell or pass on the excess of land for parks, herb gardens, houses for helping children learn, land to plant and nature to heal. The color yellow helps detoxify the system. Fields of yellow flowers, herbs, foods and art work help heal humans and animals. If yellow is lacking from your décor, depression begins to seep throughout the house like a slow moving stagnant river.
  5. Does my yard need feng shui? Poppies Absolutely. When the bagua, or eight-sided octagonal-shaped grid, is placed over the dwelling in question, energy extends over the whole property. Landscaping correctly can make or break the consultation. Putting a fountain, swimming pool or hot tub in the fame area of the home can “drown out” the correction inside and outside the house. Placing the children’s play house, swing set or other toys outside or inside the partnership section of the home strains marriages. Such placements are detrimental to placing the five elements used in incorrect spaces, causing destructive action of the balance. Most medical communities of the world consider principles of harmony. Body types and their elements of the patient are determined by practitioners. Using herbs, the Chinese evaluate the systems of the body to prescribe medicines. Water, wood, fire, metal and earth are tested and brought back into balance to promote healing of the dis-ease. Example, the typical cold drink used to wash down a quick lunch forces the cauldron, or stomach of the body, to attempt to digest food with mucus or cold fluids. This action dashes the fire in the belly which results in indigestion. Am I guilty? Yes — most of the time. I love iced drinks. The sin is, I know — and should drink hot teas more often during meals.

If clearing yourself of old ideas, habits, fear, worry and doubts seems overwhelming, start with one drawer, one room; the yards surrounding your properties will become easier to tackle. If you have acquired too many things, sell, throw away or take to a thrift shop. Everything you own is you! If you love yourself, great; if you don’t, unload.

Animals Big and Small

Animals Big and Small Symbolize Fame

A consulting business by Kathleen M. Karlsen, M.A., incorporates the principles of Feng Shui into design and fine art decoration: Color, sound and the impact of imagery create powerful effects for human wellness.

I agree 100%. She writes that there are three major types of animal forms: domestic, wild and mythical beasts.

  1. Domestic animals are indicative of conscious cooperation with nature through positive interrelationships between man and animals.
  2. Wild animals depict untamed nature and man’s own untamed desires.
  3. Mythical beasts exist in the real of the imagination and are especially compelling in their graphic representation of future potential and magical, unlimited resources.

One way to make friends is to acquire a domestic pet and go for a walk. Meeting new people won’t be a problem. A little ball of fuzz or a short-haired 200-lb. dog will draw energy or Chi to you within minutes. These cute or scary partners become attention magnets. People stop to inquire about your pet.

In China cats are kept to help keep the home free of rats and mice. Although these creatures are considered domestic, they also are connected to the mysterious, hidden forces of nature.

The untamed wild kingdom might include lions, tigers, birds or tortoises. Images of any animal can be used in the Fame or Fire section of the home located at the middle back area of the house. The wild nature of these beasts are used as protectors. Fu Dogs (Chinese lion dogs) or English-type lion statues might be at entranceways to the property or the front door of the dwelling. These visual pieces are symbolic of strength, flexibility and courage.

theguardiansThe dragon and bird like phoenix complete the third dimension to this animal symbolism. As a child, my mother and father took me to see the famous movie Wizard of Oz. Not wanting to show my mounting terror of the horrible wicked witch unrelentingly chasing Dorothy from Kansas, slowly I glued myself to the back of the movie theater seat, held my breath in silence and turned white. Since my parents considered me a fearless child, I wasn’t about to let them see my terror. Sleep became impossible. I wiggled to stay awake, counted the repetitive gaudy patterns of red, yellow and gold autumn leaves dancing on the walls of my room. The wild colors of Mom’s newest decorating feat left me awake until I fell into exhaustion. Using colors that are too Yang can keep the child’s “action button” caught in the on position! My bed position was a big Feng Shui no-no – placed directly under a window giving me a feeling of floating and abandonment. Poor Mom. Her instincts were way off base in her latest attempts to bring cheer to my room. I loved the action room during daylight hours, but as night approached, I began acting out, trying to escape the Oz dreams by hiding under the bed. This was the storage area for games, books, tablets and my favorite Crayolas. I snuggled securely into the clutter and fell asleep hiding from the witch.

During Feng Shui consultations, parents are cautioned on negative uses of color, bunk beds, under the bed storage, beds lined up with the bedroom door creating health problems, angled ceilings, child’s bedrooms located over a garage or a bed lined up with a bathroom on an adjoining wall.

Bathrooms are considered the weakest areas of our homes and need special attention. Color, design, neglected plumbing or buckling flooring need correcting according to Feng Shui principles.

As a a quiet child (believe it or not?), I didn’t confide my childhood terror to my parents until I was 40-something! They reacted with unbelieving laughter, surprised their now-fearless daughter was so traumatized by a seemingly innocent movie.

The mythical beast lurks somewhere in our past and present. Fear of the future, fame and reputation or maybe fear of finding your talent and destiny. Using a favorite mythical image or statue in the office, might give you courage for stepping into the unknown void of potential.

Today’s children are exposed and bombarded with wild images, and seem to have a better grasp on magical images such as dragons, dinosaurs and alligators then we did. Recently while stocking up at a local merchants’ outlet on grocery needs, a huge slime green 5-ft. beast peeked out of a toy bin. Wild yellow eyes set high on this alligator’s head lurked back at me. I thought I heard the monster say ‘you need me!’ in a slow deliberate hypnotizing whisper. “No, I don’t. You’re ugly and a bad color of green.”

As if in a trance, I reached for the ugly, bulky body and shoved into the cart. Trying to hide a 5-ft. green alligator in the shopping cart is not an easy feat. I shoved his tail one way and his head popped up looking into my eyes with a loving look.

Getting to the check out counter was an experience. No less than 12 children and adults petted this pillow-stuffed reptile. Cranky and stressed faces turned to laughter. Children giggled and parents wanted to know the direction of the toy’s birth bin. This ugly loving treasure became a source of unseen delight. “My grandsons are coming to visit soon and they will have fun with this stuffed green pillow,” I mechanically reasoned as the crowd passed us by. He rode home in the truck with his eyes on the road. Now that this protector beast is living in my home, he needs his space and will wait for the little guys during their vaction. Fame or maybe the Children and Creativity side of the house.

Red Envelopes

Envelopes_and_CoinsThe giving of the red envelope is a tradition in China.

Red envelopes are used to enhance luck, happiness and prosperity. They are also utilized as protection against inauspicious qi (or chi) and to prevent negative events from occurring. Red packets are considered very auspicious when received as a gift.

Images used on the front of a red envelope wish blessings, long life, prosperity and good health. Through the years, artists have found new ways to improve the message of good tidings such as carp swimming amongst flowering lotus, the fabled creatures of dragon and phoenix, Chinese zodiac animals depending on the year being presented, peonies in full bloom, the three immortals, golden pineapples, Buddha’s and children. They are actually very beautiful and the varied designs we have seen over the years have been outstanding. As a company we hand pick every design as the quality and presentation is very important.

Red symbolizes power, protection and good luck. Payment to a Feng Shui Master is made in previously unused red envelopes for a Feng Shui Consult or when Feng sacred knowledge is transmitted for several reasons:

  • To show respect for sacred knowledge given during a consultation.
  • To increase the effectiveness of cures.
  • To protect the Feng Shui Master from harm for revealing sacred knowledge and from taking on energy of concerns discussed or cleared during the consultation.


Recipients of Feng Shui methods present payment within one, three or nine new red envelopes. Because nine is the number of completion, it is the preferred number. Eight envelopes can contain one dollar each and the last the balance of the consultation fee.

If you cannot find red envelopes locally, they can be purchased online from many sources, or you can make them yourself with red construction paper. It is your sincere intent that is most important in this tradition.

Bagua in My Bedroom?

Dear Caroline,

I live in a house with two levels. I have my bedroom in the second level. The bedroom is accessed by stairs and they are on the left side of the main door of the house, that is on the Knowledge area – I guess.

I don’t know if I should consider the stairs as the main entrance of the bedroom or still use the main door of the house as a reference point.

I have also tried to use a compass to find out for example where the Relationships area is. In theory, it is in the southwest part of the house. But when I use the bagua and use it according to the main entrance situation, the result is completely different.

Could you help me with this? Thank you very much.

With Best Regards
A Reader

Dear Reader,

Please contact me again this weekend to let me know if you are using Black Hat Feng Shui or Compass school? It can be confusing having different books giving different ways of mapping your home.

BaguaAs a consultant, I have found the system which works best for the novice is the school of thought which aligns the Bagua or 8-sided octagonal shaped grid. Master Lin Yun brought this school of Feng Shui to the United States in the early 80s. His teaching of this ancient form of harmony and balance began at Berkeley, California. His schooling began at age five in China, and the world has never been the same. When attending his classes, I witnessed his humility, spiritual awareness and honesty when presenting Feng Shui to Americans.

My newspaper column called West Meets East, archived from the Benicia Herald, can also be read on my website. The archive contains more than 100 stories and teachings to help inform and answer questions pertaining to Black Hat School of thought. Many of these might answer your questions.

Black Hat School can be used without the compass and provide excellent results. I began my career using Compass School, which works very well also, but is complicated for the client. My goal was to educate the client, so the client could take control of his or her life with the diagram or floor plan of their home or office after I left the home. Each of my consultations became a private lesson. This is a very empowering gift for the owner of the dwelling.

So, according to Black Hat methodology, place the Bagua over the house centering the grid with the center of the house as closely as possible. Also include the garage if it is built onto the structure, as most garages nowadays hold 2-3 vehicles and are a large part of the floor plan. Place an invisible thumbtack in the center of the Bagua and swing the Career section of the Bagua to your FRONT DOOR. For most home this works. Now the architectural front door becomes the “mouth of the Chi.”

Next, there are two options at the top of the second story. In Master Lin’s early teaching, the second level was considered a second and new Bagua alignment, and in this second phase the Career zone started at the top of the stairs. Although this mapping is still used by many consultants with success, I find Terah Collins, author of many Feng Shui books and a San Diego school, advice quite helpful. Terah’s idea is, as below so above. (She is also a past student of His Holiness and follows many of his teachings.) This system also works very well on homes with multiple stairways.

During one of Master Lin’s workshops, I heard him contend, yes, the second floor could be considered as below so above. He feels the Bagua is a part of your being,  and this invisible energy or Chi is always changing and always flowing. Life is never the same from second to second, and we must adjust to the Chi’s changing and life forces.

The Bagua can be placed over the home, car, boat, property, the body, the face and the nation.

Choose your consultant wisely and ask questions. If someone suggests a doorway be boarded up or tells you must follow their advice only and predicts scary situations, run, don’t walk to a known and proven consultant. Good Luck!

PS: I am available consultations by email. This service can be done by fax and phone with an appointment.

Caroline Patrick

Feng Shui Moving Adventures

Wealth_SymbolLast week I left you at an Oregon motel contemplating my future. Married to my partner for almost 43 years, I now felt a sort of security and familiarity and mature love that comes with the good times and not-so-good times that bind two people into some kind of comfort zone in making major life decisions. After 43 years, marriage survival techniques have already been established and hopefully understanding your partner’s dreams as well as your own have been voiced and noted.

We met in high school. Our parents were in the resort business. Both of us worked on the lake with customers who loved fishing, hunting, hiking the Ozarks and boating. My family owned boats all of my life, so I practically lived on the water working and playing. My husband’s family owned a store, fishing dock and cabins for weekend customers. We talked many times over the years of our desire to only view the water after the long hours of dealing with the public. We owned a few boats throughout our marriage and fishing trips did happen but not to excess after the early exposure, associating work with the craft.

Suddenly, planning retirement brought back the good memories of those times and my husband began talking about boats again. Part of choosing a new location for our newfound freedom was to fish again. I love the outdoors but get very wiggly after an hour in a boat; but bringing along a few artist’s paints and a small canvas to paint a picture keeps me a “happy camper.”

Large_Scale-SceneNow back at the motel after a long day of house hunting, I have phoned our son and daughter to explain our latest adventures on looking for a new location with good Feng Shui, a lake nearby for Dad’s fishing and a three-car garage. My usually calm mate was becoming increasingly hot tempered as he listened to my view of the days events, especially when I mentioned a certain housing development on the north side of the community. What was his problem? I could not get him to ‘fess up at his apparent disapproval. As I was teasingly explaining his grumpiness to his children, a roar of explanation suddenly erupted behind. “There are no bass fish in that northern lake and I’m not going to drive clear up there to fish for the wrong kind of fish,” he roared. I began laughing, thinking he was teasing, which made him worse. He has fished for all kinds of fish, but I did remember him saying many time, “bass are fighters, they are a challenge and I love a challenge.”

Suddenly realizing the location of my next home teetered on a bass, I became speechless. “Life is weird,” I surmised. Sitting on that bed with the phone in my hand, I decided I was living with a stranger. Who was this person that couldn’t drive 15 minutes to a southern lake to bass fish? We have driven seven hours in Arizona to spend six hours to fishing for trout. A simple divorce seemed appropriate, or maybe I should sleep on it.

We went to dinner next. He talked happily throughout dinner as I sat quietly, only observing his facial expressions, as he now seemed unburdened by his confession about bass and the water of the northern lake being too cold to foster the species. Also knowing the flip-flop of this man’s behavior, he sometimes changes his mind at the drop of a hat. “Yes, I will wait until tomorrow to announce my plans for divorce,” I thought. I was as calm as a cucumber as I calculated and rehearsed my speech for dividing up the assets before this next phase of our life became too complicated. My reaction bothered me somewhat as it seemed a shame to split after many years, but it was more than the bass, it was “Who am I?”

The next morning rain sprinkled, the wind blew and we ran to the realtor’s car. An ocean lot was our next stop. Raw land, he decided, was the way to go. Driving toward the property, the trees lay tight against the earth, all facing away from the ocean where the wind with its constant force shaped the bare exotic branches. A smile filled my partner’s face as he “walked” the next piece of a sand dune. Don’t get me wrong, I usually go with the flow, because around every corner is another adventure, new people and a lot of purpose. I began to see the sparkle in his eyes. “Okay, I can do this,” I thought. “Plenty of room for a three-car garage, good resale and location, location, location.”

Back in the car and out of the wind, I asked the realtor for the land maps checking the shape of the lots and plots with lucky numbers. Feng Shui is very definite with the energy of mathematics. Numbers play a big part in choosing the correct combination. My husband has long been convinced of the Art of Placement’s advantages, watching over the years the success of choosing places with good Chi. Our realtor was becoming fascinated with my selections and was full of questions. “Oh, please come to our town to live, I want to learn all about Feng Shui.” “Okay,” I replied, “just help locate an office space, I think my husband is happy with the lots, let’s make a bid.” Looking over my shoulder, I could see he was thinking again, as he gazed out the back window of the deluxe automobile. Not a good sign!