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by Lydia Pawelak / published in Maison du 21e Siècle

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of arranging our environment so we can live in harmony with our surroundings. It is pronounced "Fong Shway" and means "wind" and "water." An age-old and well-developed system dating back at least 4,000 years, Feng Shui has only been known in the Western world for the past hundred years. Demonstrating great respect for ancestors, Feng Shui was originally designed to determine the most auspicious location to bury deceased family members in order to attract honor, health, long life, prosperity, and luck for future generations.

Present-day Feng Shui has been adapted to the Western world to take advantage of this ancient environmental wisdom, and is often referred to as the "acupuncture" of a building. Just as an acupuncturist adjusts the body's energy flow with needles, the Feng Shui practitioner uses objects to either enhance or diminish the flow of energy to create a healthy and balanced environment.


The concept of Feng Shui first entered my life about 15 years ago. I had finished my studies in photography, immigrated to Canada from Belgium, and worked for a number of years as a professional photographer. I enjoyed the highlights greatly: taking photographs of famous performers such as Liza Minnelli, Julie Andrews, Rudolf Nureyev -- and also had my first book published.

All during this period of creative growth, I explored the world of Feng Shui from a number of directions. Being fascinated by the Chinese culture I delved in the ancient lessons of the I Ching. I was deeply inspired when I discovered my favourite book, "Tao Te Ching" by sage Lao Tsu, and I learned to work with energy through the martial arts forms of Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung. I knew that this path was leading me somewhere: it's as if I was climbing a mountain of creative experiences, and Feng Shui would become the top of that mountain. From this peak I had a panoramic view of how all of this knowledge was related and interacting -- a wonderful discovery!

Significantly, at this point in my quest, I made the acquaintance of one of the great Feng Shui Masters of the present day, Dr. Prof. Jes T. Y. Lim. I was fortunate enough to be able to study with him and with other masters to become a qualified Feng Shui consultant myself.


Feng Shui has become a real fad in the past year, a reality that has positive and negative aspects. It is a joy to see this ancient knowledge becoming so popular and integrated in today's lifestyle. People are realizing the impact their environment has on their lives, they are becoming more aware of how energy flows and they are eager to improve their quality of life through good Feng Shui. Two years ago most bookstores had about two French books on Feng Shui; nowadays you'll find at least 30 publications. People want to be informed, the knowledge is spreading.


The downside to Feng Shui being treated as a fad is that the media has contributed to misinforming the public about Feng Shui. I have seen several articles published which gave misleading and possibly damaging information.

One magazine published a cover story on Feng Shui -- but the photograph on the cover showed a Zen style interior, in which the positioning of all the furniture opposed the basic rules of Feng Shui! People get the impression that Feng Shui is an oriental design style, and that therefor the interior has to include Chinese or Japanese style furniture. This is untrue: you can have great Feng Shui in a European decorated home, and have bad Feng Shui in a Zen style interior.

Another publication indicated that having your front door facing West will attract sickness and misfortune. While there is a school of Feng Shui (Flying Star) that calculates which directions are most and least propitious according to the cycles of the years, when this information is taken out of context, it creates needless stress for people who have their front doors facing West and who will fear there is no remedy for them. Feng Shui is designed to help people, not to scare them. For every Feng Shui problem, there is a Feng Shui solution.

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