Harmonious home: Annie practices a little feng shui

Feng Shui practitioner Tammy Long, right, advises Annie Payne to emphasize the purple in the table runner made of Indian saris in the dining room. Purple is the color of wealth, Long said, and a good choice for the dining area.

I’ve been interested in feng shui for years, so when a friend told me about Tammy Long, a local feng shui practitioner, I welcomed the chance to have her come to my home for a professional consultation.

Feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) is a 3,000-year-old Chinese philosophy that works on the principle that people feel better in an environment that is in harmony with nature.

Feng shui uses the elements to achieve aesthetic balance. That’s why when people think of feng shui they may think of water features, wind chimes and crystals.

The goal of feng shui is to promote positive, healthy energy flow, or ch’i (pronounced “chee”).

Long uses her knowledge of feng shui to help people create “a space with purpose” that is reflective of their desires, interests and goals.

“Feng shui is about ridding spaces of clutter, surrounding yourself with those things you love, feeling the comfort of nature’s harmony, impacting all the senses (taste, touch, smell, sound), and artistically aligning spaces to inspire the fulfillment of dreams and goals,” Long says.

To understand my dreams and goals, Long began her consultation by asking me to fill out a confidential questionnaire on her Web site.

Quesitons included: What do you cherish most in life? What inner qualities would you like to develop? What does being prosperous mean to you?

The questionnaire helped me to thoughtfully reflect on what I wanted for my life and family.

A few days later, Long and I met at my home and she presented me with a red folder tied with a red ribbon. It contained a Feng Shui Personal Aspects Report based on a combination of my answers to the questionnaire and my birthday as well as a report for my husband, Secret Agent Man.

From the report, I learned that my element is water. Secret Agent Man’s is metal. Our elements together are stable and our relationship is supportive (I could’ve told her that). The report also included lifestyle tips based on our elements.

Then Long and I started the tour of my home.

Let me first say that there are different levels of cleaning. There’s the level of cleaning you do to daily maintain your home and then there’s the level of cleaning you do for a room by room “inspection.”

It’s been awhile since I’ve had every room in my house clean at the same time. My children were so impressed by the higher level of cleaning that they enthused, “Mom, is this the cleanest our house has ever been?” Perhaps it was.

Long never shamed me about any lack of order she may have perceived (ahem, in the garage). She was encouraging and understanding of the fact that I am a busy lady, and I live with children. Her business isn’t to judge but to inspire and improve.

Long explained that feng shui utilizes a tool called the bagua (pronounced “bah gwah”). The bagua divides a house into sections or “guas” such as knowledge, career, children and prosperity.

Each room is assigned a gua dependent on its directional orientation.

As we went room-to-room, Tammy gave “enhancement suggestions” based on my needs and the room’s purpose, according to the bagua.

My garage, for instance, is in the travel and helpful people section of my home.

Because I am an unrepentant homebody, Long suggested I paint the garage a cheerful color and hang travel posters to inspire me to get out in the world and explore new things.

For Secret Agent Man’s office, Long suggested we show off his awards by hanging them on his “fame wall.” Also, to remind him to have more work/play balance in his life, she suggested the other wall display art or pictures of the things he enjoys, such as sports and music.

My family room happens to be located in the love, marriage and relationships section of my home.

Long recommended I place a crystal in the family room and another in my bedroom to connect the two rooms.

Now, I’ve been to Sedona, but I don’t know enough about crystals to believe they have any power. I do believe in the power of suggestion, though.

I know that if I’m downstairs watching “Project Runway” at 10 p.m. and Secret Agent Man is upstairs reading in bed, and I catch a glimpse of a crystal that is supposed to be romantically connecting the family room with my bedroom, I’ll consider shutting off the TV and joining my husband.

Long says in feng shui there’s no “one size fits all.” Intuition matters. If any of her suggestions didn’t feel right to me, she would recommend alternative enhancements until something can be found that fits.

We spent two hours discussing paint color options, furniture placement and even ways to improve my creativity and motivation.

Working with Long helped me to focus on creating an environment to inspire me to achieve my life’s goals. The time I spent with her was invaluable (pronounced “in-val-yoo-uh-buhl”).

To learn more about Long and her services, visit her Web site: http://www.asuitespace.com.

For more on an unpredictable variety of other topics, visit Annie Payne’s “Anniethology” blog online at Anniethology.blogspot.com.


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