|Empowering the "Goldilocks Species"|
Instead of making another New Year's resolution to change your life, why not give yourself the power to make the change? Terah Kathryn Collins, founder of the Western School of Feng Shui, sees the ancient oriental art of Feng Shui as one of the best ways to give you that power.
But check all those "chi" clichés, indoor fountains and wind chimes at the door. For Collins, the power of Feng Shui can be invoked by anything from a bouquet of flowers in a hotel room to the U.S.S. Enterprise ™ in the boardroom.
Crescent Blues: For our readers who may not be familiar with the term, tell us a little bit about Feng Shui.
Terah Kathryn Collins: I define it as the study of how to arrange your environment to enhance the quality of your life.
"Feng Shui" literally means "wind/water." The whole philosophy behind Feng Shui is how the seen and the unseen -- the wind and water -- interact and become each other. It's a whole yin/yang, seen/unseen play between the polarities of our universe.
Feng Shui sees the environment as a display of a person's consciousness. And our consciousness is affected by our environment. It's the play between the unseen of our inner world and seen of our environment. One becomes the other.
Crescent Blues: It sounds as if the Feng Shui you practice is very individualized. Are there any absolutes?
Terah Kathryn Collins: There are absolutes, like no one can stand up straight if the ceiling is four feet off the floor. Most of the time, the absolutes have to do with extremes.
Feng Shui is a study of how humans beings interact with their environment. Not polar bears or lizards; you would have a whole diffierent Feng Shui for them. I call human beings the "Goldilocks species." We like things not too high, not too low, not too hot, not too cold -- not too anything. We have this comfort zone, and we know when we're in the presence of this comfort zone. It's not too big, and there are certain things we need to survive. We're always looking for that.
For example, people love the ocean. People will spend zillions of dollars to be by the ocean. So they think if it's fun to be by the ocean wouldn't it be fun to live by the ocean. But Feng Shui points out that although we love to experience extremes -- go skiing, walk close to a volcano, go to the tropics -- we only want to do it for a little while. Then we want to return to the comfort zone.
In Southern California, so many people have all moved to the cliffs, where their houses fall into the ocean, or where there is an extreme view. Their houses are hanging like eagles' nests off the edge of the cliffs to obtain these extreme views. But being in an extreme environment day after day will begin to show up in their lives and will create extreme symptoms. Environment is a display of consciousness. If my environment is the side of a cliff, it will affect my whole consciousness.
Crescent Blues: It's important to look at your own personal comfort zone, then.
Terah Kathryn Collins: Yes. I practice very personal Feng Shui. What works for you is not necessarily what works for me. For me to walk in and tell you that you need four mirrors before I even find out if you like mirrors is inappropriate. Or [telling you to use] fresh plants if you have a black thumb. All that has to be considered on a very personal level.
Crescent Blues: Could you explain the concept of "chi" as it pertains to Feng Shui?
Terah Kathryn Collins: "Chi" is defined as the vital energy that is in everyone and everything. It's looked on as the life force that animates everything from our rugs to our couches to our art to our pets, our computers, our cars, and ourselves.
There's no distinction made between my computer and me, both molecularly and in our association and thoughts and memories. Chi is in everything. It is alive with our impressions. Understanding that leads to a huge, incredible, lifestyle change about living exclusively with what brings about positive impressions.
That's our power point, and that's why Feng Shui is as popular as it is today. Today's trend in spiritual growth and development is to be personally empowered. For that, our environment can be like our game board. If I want my consciousness to be full of happiness and prosperity and abundant thoughts, why not have my environment completely display and feed back to me those impressions?
And for you that [positive environment] would be different than mine. Look in any New Age store and you see lots of things many people like -- rainbows, angels, polished stones. But what do you, Donna, like. That's one of the most interesting aspects of Feng Shui -- pulling the most personal things out.
Crescent Blues: Then the personal things that have power don't have to be traditional Feng Shui objects?
Terah Kathryn Collins: Absolutely not! I'll give you an example: this couple who owned a company were having trouble with their financial officer. He had taken more control than he should have. They were feeling like their power had been usurped, and they were trying to rebalance the power play.
I asked them what was a personal symbol of their power, what they felt identified them as a couple, because we needed to put a symbol nearer this man. We needed to give him the idea that they were near and watching him. I said think about what identifies you as a couple, your interests.
The guy just lit up. "The U.S.S….