Feng shui (pronounced "Fung shway") means "wind and water." They are the two natural elements that move and flow on the earth and are the basis for our survival -- the air we breathe and the water we drink. The goal of feng shui is to help you maximize the beneficial movement and flow of chi (which is another word for "life force" or "energy") through your living space. Whether you are in your home or not, the energy of your home environment has the ability to lift or drain your spirits throughout the day. It is thought that if the flow of chi in your home is strong, it will support all your endeavors in and out of the home. Similarly, if it is weak, it will pull you down. You don't want the chi to move too fast and create anxiety or to move too slow and cause you to remain stagnant. You want it to enter easily in through your front door and move smoothly, like a calm breeze or gently flowing water, around every room in the house. Feng shui is like acupuncture for your home. With the use of needles, acupuncture is known to release any blockages in the flow of chi throughout the body in order to create a steady movement of energy to all areas, keeping you vitalized, healthy and full of life. Feng shui works in much the same way. Your house is similar to a second body, as it is where you spend most of your time and is an expression of who you are. The "cures" that you are going to use from the feng shui toolbox are like the needles in acupuncture -- they will help you release energy in your home in order for it to flow freely and for you to create a comfortable, relaxing and productive living space.
I was first introduced to feng shui in my late teens, but I took it seriously only later on, during a period when my life felt like it was falling apart. At the time I lost a job, my parents were both diagnosed with cancer, I split up with my boyfriend of three years and was suffering from an immune illness myself. To say it was a particularly trying time would be an understatement.
However, I tend to reach for a lifeline at moments in crisis and decided to throw myself into intense training to become a qualified practitioner of feng shui. As I made changes to my own home with feng shui, my life started to transform very quickly for the better, and my initial "prove it to me" attitude and skepticism were blown to pieces as I soon realized from personal experience how powerful this practice could actually be.
Since 2001 I have had the pleasure of helping hundreds of people by feng shui-ing their houses, offices and shops. Even as I started to write this book, a television writer came into my office and said, "Hey, Sophie. Do you remember me? You feng shuied my house seven years ago. I just wanted to tell you that a few months after you came to my home, I met my wife."
That same day I got a call from a client whom I had told to put flowers in the career area of her home. She informed me that a few days later an old acquaintance had called her out of the blue and offered her a fantastic new job.
Now, I'm not saying that this man met his wife solely because I feng shuied his house or that my client was offered a job purely because of the fresh flowers, but you would be surprised at how many times I hear similar stories from people whose places I have feng shuied.
My book "How Happy Is Your Home?" is formatted systematically so that you can focus on one room at a time and it contains my 50 top tips for creating a happy home. The tips are a combination of the practical and easy-to-use Western style of feng shui and my own "Happy Home" additions, to help you have a healthy, harmonious and empowering environment, which will in turn act as a powerful support system for you as you go out into the world and do what you feel you are destined to do.
I'll be sharing four of those tips this week here on the The Huffington Post, but before you read them, I'd like you to take the quiz below (you'll find a longer 25-question version in the book itself). The purpose of the quiz is to help you look at your home from a different perspective and to give you some practical and easy to implement ideas to help you to make it a happier and healthier space than it is already.
As you answer the quiz questions and read the tips, you will be amazed how each tiny adjustment intuitively makes a lot of sense and has the capacity to make a really big difference in your life. One thing is for certain -- whatever your personal circumstances are, you are really going to enjoy this process, because, above all, feng shui is really fun!
QUIZ: How Happy Is Your Home?
1. How often do you clear out the clutter in your home?
A. I find it difficult to throw anything away and tend to be
a bit of a hoarder.
B. I clear out the clutter in my home once a year.
C. I throw things out as I come across them and find they are no longer useful.
2. If something is not working in your home (for instance, a bulb needs changing, a broken window or a door needs fixing), how long do you generally take to fix it?
A. I wait a number of months to a year and then get a few things done at once.
B. I leave it broken until I just can't take it anymore.
C. I fix it immediately.
3. Which area do you feel you need to focus on most in your life right now?
A. Career and money.
4. Have you had problems finding a partner while living in your home, or have you had problems in your current relationship since moving in?
A. Yes, I have found it difficult to date or communicate well with my current partner.
B. I am not at a total loss, but the relationship area of my life could do with some improvement.
C. No, I am very happy with the relationship part of my life and it is going very well.
5. Do you have a bathroom located in any of these areas?
A. The back left-hand or right-hand corner of the house.
B. The center of the house.
C. Opposite the front door, so you can see it immediately as you walk in.
6. Since moving into your current home, have you found it easier to make money?
A. No, I have made less money.
B. My money situation has remained the same.
C. Yes, I have made more money since moving in.
7. How would you describe your hallways?
A. Messy, dark and enclosed.
B. Nice, but they could do with some work to improve
C. Bright, warm and welcoming.
Health Advice From Sophie Keller
Marriage Advice From Sophie Keller:
Love Advice From Sophie Keller: