Whether you live in an apartment surrounded by buildings or a temple surrounded by mountains, your space is sacred. By being aware and conscious of each element in your environment, you can create a place to manifest your dreams and to enhance the quality of your life.

The essence of feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, is the creation of a harmony and a dynamic balance between your "inner" space and your "exterior" space. In order to create happiness and peace within yourself, it is best to exercise mindfulness at many levels and dimensions. Therefore, in addition to your daily activities and routine chores, it's important to take time for a massage, exercise or yoga practice, to eat fresh foods, or simply spend some time holding hands with someone special. You also need to support your physical self with spaces that are spiritually nurturing as well as beautiful and functional.

First of all, ask yourself: What does this space mean to me? How did I get here? Where did I get these objects or furnishings? From whom? What is their history? Am I collecting too much stuff? Are all the different aspects of my life balanced? Once you become mindful of these questions, you realize that your physical space is a mirror of your life. With the utmost attention to the details of your surroundings, you can increase your sensitivity to the balance or imbalance of your life.

The Chinese have developed a very interesting logic as to how we can enhance success in our life. By practicing proper feng shui, doing good deeds, and continuing studies for self-knowledge and development, we can improve luck and destiny. In the philosophy of feng shui, self-knowledge includes the study of the symbolic associations of "shapes," "altars," and "colors," all of which help to reinforce our intentions and the spiritual essence of life.

Round symbolizes heaven, and square symbolizes earth. When these two shapes come together, it is a universal recognition of the balance and harmony between heaven and earth. Integrating these two simple geometric shapes into the design of your space is a wonderful way to create a harmonious and spiritual environment. Some decorating possibilities to create this include placing a round mirror on a square wall or positioning a round coffee table surrounded by comfortable pillows on a square or rectangular oriental carpet.

A good example in feng shui is an arched door representative of both the physical and ethereal forms of the human figure. Walking through an arched opening is a much different experience than walking through the typical rectangular door opening. The arch welcomes you into another dimension of space and time.

Altars or sacred areas in your room need not be filled with deities nor angels to become a spiritual place. The essence of an altar is to create your own special area that supports, focuses, and enhances your inner being as well as the dreams you are manifesting in your physical world. An altar consists of the four natural elements: earth, wind, fire, and water. Placing a large rose quartz crystal or beautiful, lush green plants with rounded leaves or a colorful bouquet of flowers on an altar supports the earth element. Buying flowers for yourself symbolizes good luck and enhances your self-esteem.

Wind can be symbolized by the gentle fragrance of incense, an aromatic essential oil, or simply the feather from a bird. Fire can be symbolized by the candles that bring positive light energy into your cherished space. And the simple ritual of changing a small cup of water three times a day can cleanse and purify your space.

Colors can literally paint a spiritual space. Colors can calm, excite, or simply make a creative space for life visions. For example, rainbow colors represent healing. The sun shining through a multifaceted crystal creates a rainbow of colors that permeate your space, as Mother Nature uses her own palette of colors--red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet--to enhance your physical and spiritual surroundings.

There are also color systems that can enhance our energy (or ch'i). The color palette of the Six True Colors in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery--red, yellow, blue, green, white, and black--can support and sustain the spirituality of your life.

Additionally, certain colors are associated with specific emotional states. Red in China, for example, is the color of luck and as such is frequently present in celebrations or holidays, such a New Year's festivities. It is also related to fame and carries connotations of strength, energy, and sexual power.

Green is the color of growth and is associated with the family. Thus, in the case of a divorced woman who was experiencing conflict with her children, I suggested that she paint a wall in her living room an apple green to promote growth and renewal and to encourage her to find dynamic ways of strengthening her relationship with her children.

A deeper understanding of the ancient art of feng shui can help us understand and embrace our surroundings, drawing support from the elements we live among. Feng shui is the language of space. It is thus a great gift, a blessing, which I now commit to your keeping.

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