I REARRANGE YOUR FURNITURE TO ENHANCE YOUR WELL-BEING
Lydia Pawelak, Feng Shui Consultant
By Philippe Jourdin / published in the magazine Dernière Heure
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese art which makes it possible to live in harmony with the environment. After almost 4000 years it is finally being adopted by Western culture, thanks in no small part to the tireless efforts of people like Lydia Pawelak.
Feng shui (pronounced "fong shway") is the art of arranging our environment. Lydia Pawelak adapts the ancient principles of feng shui to modern life in order to create a balance with the energy lines of the earth and to stimulate the circulation of positive energy. In addition to making the most of her talents as a consultant in feng shui, Ms. Pawelak is also a recognized photographer. From the United States to Belgium, passing through Canada, she knew how to use photography to capture those magic moments lived on the stages of some of the largest theatres in the world. Feng shui became a natural extension of her talents as a photographer. By examining her client's environment, she can recognize the details that obstruct the personís path to progress in life.
Ms. Pawelak, what is your background?
I was born in Belgium, from Polish parents. My mother tongue was Polish until I learned Flemish, one of the official languages of the country. I was a "sporty" girl, very close to nature; I loved the open air. So I studied to become a physical education teacher. I adored gymnastics and volley ball, but a bad fall on my back, during an exercise at the asymmetric bars, destroyed all my hopes of a career in sports. The practice of yoga was the one thing that helped me make it through this dark period. It constituted my first conscious harnessing of the energies that circulate through our body and around the earth.
Is it at this time that you discovered feng shui?
I went through an additional stage, photography that is, before coming to feng shui, which became for me a profession and at the same time a true passion. At the time, my intention was to work in the film industry. So, I studied photography at a university in Belgium. I had a real fascination for the dimensional lighting commonly used in the black and white films of the 30ís, with legends like Greta Garbo. I then left for New York City, to work as assistant to Broadway photographer Gerry Goodstein. His techniques were a real source of inspiration. He had a very personal style for harmonizing and capturing light and movement on stage. After that, I toted my camera from London to Paris and I ended up settling in Toronto. Perhaps the artifice of the entertainment world drove me towards Eastern culture, closer to the true nature of an individual.
What form did this discovery of Eastern culture take?
I was raised a Catholic, but I had difficulty finding myself in its doctrines. When my father died, it was time for my inner journey to begin, and I was inspired by books on Chinese spirituality. I also practiced tai chi chuan, a slow gymnastic form increasingly popular in Western culture, chi kung, a discipline made up of movements which encourage self-healing, and shaolin kung fu. In all these derivations from Chinese culture, elements of feng shui were always present. I then launched into a profound exploration of feng shui itself while studying with a world-renowned Chinese Master, Jes T.Y. Lim, in Toronto. I also completed a course in dowsing, which is one of the components of feng shui. One thing led to another and my interest evolved from photography towards feng shui, two arts which are connected by the visual aspect they involve.
What is feng shui?
Feng shui, in Chinese, means wind and water. This art allows you to organize your environment in order to live in harmony with it. Some 4000 years ago, the Chinese had a custom of burying their deceased in locations deemed more propitious in order to attract happiness and prosperity to the family. These favorable locations quickly became their places of residence. Thereafter, feng shui was a secret tool that the rich of the country used in order to maintain their power and privileges.
How can feng shui be applied in our everyday life?
By creating a balance between yin and yang, the harmonization of energies can be applied to all the spheres of our life. Those little grains of sand that get into the gears of our daily lives can cause a subtle erosion. Thanks to feng shui, it is possible to recover health, to give wing to lost creativity, to find success in business, to find employment and even to find your soulmate.
Do you really think feng shui can help you to find your soulmate?
I always interview my clients to identify the aspects of their lives that they wish to modify or improve. I then inspect the physical space in which they live, or the one they intend to occupy, a lot where they want to build, or a house they want to buy. I take many detailed notes on the orientations, the positions, the interior and exterior. I use these notes to carry out my calculations, applying formulas from the various schools of feng shui.
What are these schools?
The oldest school is the form school which was born in the south of China. The four poles of the compass are represented by animals that correspond to the shape of the mountains located in this area. The traditional compass school uses a compass, the eight trigrams of the I Ching, the octagonal symbol called Ba Gua and the Lo Shu square. The school most known in North America is the black hat sect, which was brought over from China by Master Lin Yun. It is now also called the Ba Gua School because its old name caused fear in spite of its inoffensive nature. The fourth school is intuitive feng shui, where the consultant must rely solely on his or her intuition. These four schools draw on the same guiding principles; only the process differs. In cases where a house is already built, I use the techniques of the Ba Gua, or the compass school, while for a construction or renovation, I always call upon the traditional compass school and the form school.
How do you proceed after examining the environments?
First I recommend colors and adjustments to furniture placement. It is always astonishing to note to what extent the positioning of a bed, a kitchen table or a desk, on which we work every day, can have an impact on our life. I can also install mirrors, crystals, plants, or a water element. But my actions are always informed - it's a principle I adopted - by respecting the preferences of the people who consult me. The interior style will always remain theirs.
What basic tips would you give people who wish to live in harmony with their environment?
It's very important first of all to remove all stagnant Chi by eliminating all the objects that you no longer use. You should also keep the main entrance clear and visible and avoid placing mirrors in the bedroom. Moreover, you should never sleep or work under a structural beam. Last, flushing a toilet is symbolically synonymous with the loss of prosperity, so keeping the toilet seat down is recommended. It is also best to keep a bathroom door closed.