As a Feng Shui Consultant, I find myself constantly looking at the world through Feng Shui eyes. How is the ch’i flowing? Not just in a building, but between businesses, organizations, between different people and how they all flow with nature. On a recent visit to New York City, my husband and I wanted to find an alternative to staying in a hotel. I am not a huge fan of hotels as these places are often feng shui challenged. We also prefer to live like locals when we travel and was pleased to learn of a relatively new social website called airbnb.com. It connects people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay; a nice exchange of ch’i. Everything from a spare room to an entire top floor penthouse was available. We settled on a loft in an historical district of the city. It was apparent our host also practiced Feng Shui. Pleased to see and feel the intentionally placed items aligned with the bagua, our home away from home was a perfect match.
On our walks through the neighborhood, I discovered a spa with inviting ch’i. I was sold on their attractive brochures advertising the spa as “feng shui’d for a calm and sacred environment”. I was delighted to spend my last day of vacation being pampered so I booked a treatment for my some sore legs and feet. (New Yorkers do a lot of walking!)
The spa entrance was beautifully arranged and designed, but I sensed some deficiency. When shown to the lounge and changing area, I spotted a bleach bottle in the shower. I was taken aback by the toxic odor in this healing environment. They used artificial air fresheners (the plug-in type) and offered body lotions, cleansers and creams high in propylene glycol, PEG and Benzoic (all potential carcinogens and endocrine disrupters). These products were incongruent with vibrant ch’i and health. This got me to thinking. Is a space truly feng shui’d if we do not pay attention to everything we bring into it? Is it our duty as feng shui practitioners to be stewards of the environment and educate ourselves about the harmful chemicals we bring into our homes and work places? If so, where do we begin?
Here are five steps to take to start looking at your home products through “Feng Shui eyes”:
- Start reading labels. Just as we should be reading the labels on our food, so should we read the backs of toothpaste, cosmetic products and cleaning supplies. These all make direct contact with our personal ch’i and the health of our physical body.
- If you do not know an ingredient, educate yourself. A credible website for consumer products and the environment is called the Environmental Working Group They list recommended products and what harmful ingredients to watch out for.
- The more ingredients there are the more likely it has toxic ones. A great reference for beauty supplies is a book called “No More Dirty Looks” and can be accessed via www.nomoredirtylooks.com
- Start slow and be wary. As you purchase new products, take your time and find out what your alternatives are. Many “natural products” have unhealthy ingredients. There are no standards for using the word “natural” on a product and many “organic” products can contain toxic chemicals too. My favorite online store for beauty supplies is NuboNau Every product they carry is tested and Nubo Nau has high standards that I trust.
- Utilize your food cabinet for more than just dinner. White vinegar is one of the most versatile products in my kitchen. I use this in my dishwasher as a rinsing agent, a window cleaner and a spot remover. I also love to make honey masks for facials and add sugar to soap as a body scrub.
Looking at the world through feng shui eyes has encouraged me to be open to new ways of doing things. I have become more earth and health conscious. I have let go of old habits and discovered healthy new ones. It is an ongoing process, but I am grateful for the journey.