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Enhance your life

March 20, 2007|by LYDIA HADFIELD

For many, the term feng shui implies mysticism and something to do with rearranging furniture.

But what is it exactly?

"The key to feng shui is to bring harmony and balance your environment," says Jodi Spickler, a retired teacher living in Hagerstown, has been a practicing feng shui consultant since 2001.

Feng shui (pronounced "fung shway") is a Chinese system for arranging spaces to achieve harmony with the environment.

Spickler says the goal of feng shui is to create unity within the chi, or energy, of an environment. This creates balance in personal life.

Feng shui philosophy is based on three conclusions about the world: 1) Everything is made of energy. 2) Everything is connected. 3) Everything is constantly changing. The basic tenets of feng shui guide practitioners in creating a comfortable and harmonious environment.

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Spickler says that feng shui is an intuitive art, and it's a beneficial and useful art. She says the ancient Chinese principles apply to modern life and can improve our environments and well-being.

To create a harmonious environment, negative energy must be eliminated and positive energy nurtured, Spickler says.

"The other principle of feng shui is: You always want to live with safety first, then comfort, then beauty," Spickler says, "So many times in the U.S. we tend to put beauty before comfort."

She suggests that the first step toward building a positive environment is to eliminate clutter. To achieve positive feng shui, "you live with what you need and what you love." Unused and unnecessary objects are stagnant and block the positive chi of a room.

"If nothing else, organize," Spickler emphasizes.

The bagua is a tool used by practitioners to evaluate and enhance a space, such as a bedroom. The bagua is a square divided into nine equal sections (see graphic). The center square represents the center of the earth. The remaining squares represent the eight "treasures of life." Each treasure is associated with a symbolic character, color scheme, and element of the earth: water, fire, wood and metal.

Feng shui dictates that areas of the chosen space that correspond with areas on the bagua should contain objects that enhance the treasures. Spickler said that if you want to cultivate a certain facet of your life - for example, your financial well-being - you can place a chi enhancer in your wealth and prosperity corner. Enhancers are specific to the particular treasure - a bowl would enhance or empower the wealth and prosperity corner. Achieving positive energy in your environment results in personal positive energy.

Spickler studied Black Hat feng shui, also called Essential feng shui, at the Western School of Feng Shui in California. In contrast to Compass feng shui, which dictates that possessions must face certain cardinal directions (north, east, west or south) to channel positive chi, Essential feng shui uses the bagua to enhance a house, a room, a garden or even a desktop. In feng shui, the map serves as a template for organizing the energy of the space.

She indicated that people used to ask her for proof that feng shui works. She said that the only proof she has to offer skeptics are case studies of people who have used feng shui and said they felt its positive effects.

"When you enhance your outer world, that will automatically enhance your inner world. It brings more peace and prosperity," Spickler says, "Everything is really intuitive; there's no magic. It's really just focusing on a positive goal."

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