Until about a month ago, I knew very little about feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of arranging a physical environment for spiritual benefit. Though I've always believed in "Eastern" principles like creating your own reality, self-study, and sacred energy, I never understood how any of those could translate from my inner experience to my outer world.

To put it simply, I wondered if rearranging some furniture could really make a change in my life. Would feng shui help me get unstuck in my life and make space for new energy and creativity?

Two days after considering such a possibility, I received an invitation to work with feng shui goddess and relationship coach, Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway (factoid: Brockway is the former editor-in-chief of Playgirl Magazine!). She told me that the ability to manifest your desires is a crucial skill when feng shui-ing your life. Her unexpected presence was evidence that I was already on my way!

Brockway and I had a series of four phone consultations, once a week, for a month. Our goal was to revamp my physical environment to make room for the new romance I desired (at the time, I was stuck in a negative pattern with an ex-boyfriend) as well as a more balanced, full life. When we first spoke, she started by taking me through a "bagua," a fundamental tool in feng shui that traditionally utilizes an octagon, (but in our case a tic-tac-toe-like board with nine squares) to divide the room into sections, which correspond to the parts of a person's life (think: energetic blueprint). The sections are knowledge and wisdom; career; helpful people and travel; creativity and children; center of balance; health and family; wealth and prosperity; fame; and love and partnership. Brockway explained that she practices a style of feng shui she learned from the Western School of Feng Shui. The idea is to energize the different parts of the bagua, called "guas," to bring balance and optimal energy flow to a living space.

My first assignment was to purchase a binder with three sections, and use it to articulate my vision by writing down my ideal mate, ideal life situation, and the qualities of my ideal career. The process was empowering: As I appointed myself the directrix and creatrix of my life. I realized I didn't have to wait for it to happen, I could identify my desires in each area of my life and move toward manifesting them.

The second assignment was to take photographs of my bedroom, as that is both my main living space and the only room I have complete creative control over. Brockway had me do this so she could offer tips and feng shui "cures" for areas of energetic stagnation. When I was done taking the photos, she had me ceremoniously put fresh sheets on my bed to symbolize the beginning of this cleansing process. It felt like I was already creating new opportunity and change.

As per her suggestion to create order in my room, I put all of my cluttering objects in a suitcase—A mask made of musical notes, pictures of my family, a ceramic clown, holiday cards, and a silver key ring silver with jewels and charms. Feng shui suggests that by clearing our environments, we clear our lives for what we want. It was more important, Brockway explained, to have a clean slate now and sort the clutter later. I spent a lot of time that week writing down thoughts about the kind of life I wanted to create and attract, even as I threw away everything that was broken, both literally and figuratively.

Brockway worked with me on two levels when feng shui-ing my room. She gave me general tips to create balance and also focused on charging up the various sections of the space with romantic energy. I relocated my bed to the center of the room, turned my dressers at angles to optimize energy flow, added curtains to the windowsill so the energy wouldn't be tempted to "jump out," removed my laundry basket and garbage pail from near the door (the idea is to have energy move in and out effortlessly), and added a giant bowl of coins in my "wealth and prosperity" corner. She even told me to sleep with a little bag of change under my pillow.

To infuse the various guas with romantic energy, Brockway had me arrange everything in "twos." I removed any images of single women or objects (goodbye, my painting of a single red rose!). Brockway had me arrange my single candles in pairs. I bought two red candles (red, pink, and white are love colors) and placed them above my bed on the middle of the windowsill. I was instructed to find photos of couples in loving situations that spoke to me, cut them out, and put them in the corresponding guas—so, for example, a successful, professional, loving couple would go in my "career" corner. The whole time I kept returning to my binder and refining what I desired in the areas of life situation, career, and relationship. I felt like I was in a cocoon preparing myself for the final unfolding.

As I worked on implementing her suggestions, I recognized that feng shui—like creating the lives we want—is a process that will continue way longer than a few weeks. I can say that many of her suggestions yielded concrete results (though I'm not one to kiss and tell). I felt an overall openness and excitability around my life and my living space, almost as if I could breathe easier. I felt empowered to make the changes I needed--to let go of old habits, relationships, and mindsets that no longer served me or supported my self-growth and happiness.

So did feng shui work? I don't know, but for me it was the start of a new journey, a new chapter in my life. My work then--and now--is about continuing the process: flowing, adding, changing, and refining what it is I desire and letting my environment be a reflection of my innermost hopes and wishes.
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