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August 2005


Feng Shui, Conservation, and the Out-of-Doors

by Diantha Harris, FSII, ASID, IACT

Who would have thought, in the years before we in the West knew about feng shui, that one could even DO feng shui on the out-of-doors! We've now heard quite a bit about feng shui and gardens but there is not too much written about feng shui and conservation nor about feng shui and yards without gardens.

The basic ideal of a perfect feng shui spot for a home or office is one where there is water in front, a high mountain to the back, and supporting hills on either side, sort of like the back and arms of a high backed chair, with the house/office on the seat. This arose from the early beginnings of feng shui when they took into account the prevailing winds (northerly), and the shifts of weather (from the east and west) which brought in storms and inclement weather. Thus it began that a building facing south was the best feng shui placement as it allowed the back and sides of the house to be more solidly built against the winds and storms.

Today, in the West, we don't look at things in such a rigid way. First of all, our prevailing winds in most areas of this country are from the West. Secondly, we have heating and cooling systems that allow for comfort no matter what the exposure is. Third, the idea of water in the front is one that few homes or offices can manage but the idea of flow is not: we now have plenty of traffic coming and going in all but the most remote areas.    And even those have wildlife galore providing plenty of movement!

Fortunately, as a nation we are becoming more and more concerned and involved with preserving our natural environment. We now realize collectively that we can no longer develop our wetlands, pasturelands, forests, and fields without destroying the world as we know it. As a child of the cold war I used to worry about the Atomic Bomb but as an adult I have seen that we are destroying our planet by more insidious means: air pollution, soil contaminants, and over development of land. Feng Shui practices that encourage Tao, or our connection to nature, can help curb these appetites for over consumption of our natural resources.

The Tao is considered to be one of the main focus points of Pyramid Feng Shui. Tao is our connection, not only to nature but to each other. The Tao is one of the main points we focus on to provide environments that nurture and support us. We can take that Tao out of our homes and into our yards, our neighborhoods, our communities, and extend it into our country and into the world.

First is our recognition that there IS a Tao, or a connection, to nature that we all have. We are preprogrammed in our reptilian brain stem to respond to and interact with nature. This connection is one reason it is so important to provide green spaces within every large city environment. Without them, the people who live there become disenfranchised, irritable, explosive even. With them there is more of a sense of community, of belonging, of connection. And without the Tao, something is missing in our basic human makeup. Because it is so basic, we may not even notice when it is missing. Thankfully, there are plenty of new studies that suggest that green space is not frivolous or a waste of space.

For those of us lucky enough to live closer to nature we can easily appreciate waking up to see the sunrise over the tree tops, over the flowers, over green grass, over lakes, mountains, streams, fields, pastures or whatever our windows reveal. We feel the change of seasons in our very bones if we are one of these lucky ones. This is what we are designed to feel and experience. And why it is important to preserve the nature we have left and to re-create and preserve it in cities.

Second, we have an obligation to preserve and protect the natural environments around us whether they be city parks, conservation areas, national/state parks or our own lands. We can offer monetary support, or be part of the volunteer forces that annually clean public areas. There are many organizations you can lend a hand too, whether it be monetary contributions or a labor of love, where you join others and spend a few hours helping to maintain a pristine environment.   

Third, our personal commitment to the Tao. Keeping our own areas clean and tidy is a feng shui basic. We are taught that by taking care of our own bodies, our own homes, our own rooms and our own yards, we are contributing to a larger cause: the well being of the entire planet. If we each do our share, the rest will fall into place, thereby ensuring the Tao for generations to come.

There is an excellent tradition in some Indian tribes that with every decision we make we consider the impact it will have on the next seven generations. SEVEN !. How many of us even take into account the impact our decisions will have on the next generation? By keeping the Tao strong, we keep our planet's well being strong. By caring for the Tao, we ensure the well being of our families and our selves. And by teaching others about the Tao, we teach ourselves AND those who will follow us.

Enjoy the out-of-doors this summer, and remember to take care of it wherever you go. Your footprints should be the only thing that remains after you have visited the beach, the campgrounds, the woods, the rivers. And the strength and beauty of your commitment to the Tao will live within you and through you for the next seven generations.

Diantha Harris, ASID, FSII, IACT is a certified Pyramid Feng Shui Practitioner and author of Simply...Color . Drawing from her 25 years in the field of creative design, she teaches and consults in both disciplines. 231-599-9925; www.lifepnet.com; lifepnet@aol.com.

 

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