The Perfectly Imperfect Feng Shui Life

As I headed outside this morning to try to get the mowing done before impending weekend storms hampered any outdoor clean up, I mentally was going through my long checklist of things to get done.  Emails to send, contacts to make, updates and web pages…phew, you get the gist.  I was actually kind of cursing having to mow. “I have too much to do!”

Then, I rounded the corner to the front of the house where part of our career gua is outside in the yard.  [GASP, I know.  But some of us bought our house decades ago, before we even had a glint of what Feng Shui is all about.]

Checking that mental “work-to-do list,” I looked over and noticed the weeds first.

In. My. Career. Flower bed.

And then, the bird bath.  Crap; empty and dirty.

Was good career Feng Shui going to happen by leaving that and dashing inside for those all-important-emails?  Or was it better to take the time to “tend my own garden” so to speak.


It got me thinking of a conversation from a few days ago, with a dear friend who is also a practitioner and lover of Feng Shui…she felt one of the troubles of our industry, is that none of us want to share our own spaces.  It’s not personal enough; we don’t share enough of ourselves for fear of competition. [Duh, it’s Feng Shui people; stop that!]  Many popular bloggers or instagramers are sharing everything they do in their own house and that’s what makes them so relatable and sharable and watchable [I’m not even sure those are all words, but you get what I am talking about].  How many of us in Feng Shui do that?  Not many.

We seem to be all about: watching the other person, the client, imparting wisdom, and the dang perfect photo or quote to share – the perfect Instagram shot that’s been filtered and lightened and juiced up.  But we aren’t about ourselves.

Afraid to show that you might have something wrong in your space and need to fix it, that sometimes your own Feng Shui eyes get clouded and you need a fresh look…does that mean a potential client might not hire you. Gosh, I hope not. I believe there is an abundance of clients and we all resonate with those who are meant to find us.  [That being said, this is still a business, so get yourself out there and get cracking on your business goals.  It doesn’t happen by sitting on your bum simply loving the magic of Feng Shui.] 

I have thought about this conversation with my friend for a few days, and I actually take it one step further.  And maybe I will shoot myself in the foot and you will all think, “wow, she’s a mess.”  But, here’s where my mind goes…

Maybe it’s also about sharing our vulnerabilities. 

That we are good at what we do BECAUSE of [not in spite of] the things we have going (or not going) in our own “proverbial house.”  So………here’s me:

I tend to think of Feng Shui as not having a lot of shoulds – EXCEPT THE TOILET.  CLOSE THE LID FOR GOODNESS SAKE.  That’s a should. My training at the Western School of Feng Shui taught me a concept that works for me – there aren’t really any bad spaces; just less-than-excellent spaces.  So, I use that phrase a lot.

Yep, my career gua is partially in the yard.  I’ve got a flower bed with bird bath, flowers and evergreens, and a wind chime.  We have plans for some other enhancements in the future.

My wealth gua contains a bathroom.  [Don’t email me.  I know.  Less-than-excellent.  But as a Feng Shui practitioner, I know there are things I can do; and moving this bathroom would be a huge pain and maybe even stupid. And I am not going to move over it.]

Are there beautiful things I would love to have in my house?  Had my eye on a natural crystal or two?  Yes. But I also live with small clumsy people [cough cough kids] so sometimes practicality has to factor in.  How else can I do it?  You gotta be creative sometimes.

I have networking friends who have talked about meditation being really great first thing in the morning.  But with a feisty 6th grader who needs to get on the bus, that’s probably not going to happen at this stage of my life.  But sometime.

Would I love to have a rectangular house to make the bagua that much easier?  You bet.  But I don’t. I can still embrace where I live.

Do I wish the projects in my house were all done. Oh yeah.  But they aren’t…Yet.  It’s a work in progress.

For me, I love my 2 acres.  I love the nature that comes to my door such as deer (my spirit animal), birds, rabbits and squirrels; and just recently, I saw a bald eagle on the lake as I was driving down the block from my house out of the neighborhood.  Swoon. These things make me happy. 

So, today, I’m doing Feng Shui my way.

I am taking a few minutes [after mowing – sigh – and before the emails begin] to clean out that bird bath and weed my career.  I am going to fill the bird feeders that sit outside my Fame and Reputation that I see from my desk; wildlife and animals are terrific fire element enhancements.    And that’s ok.  I will do what I can and what is best for ME and my career, right now, today.

That is good Feng Shui. To me and for me.

Different than yours?  Maybe.

But that’s ok.  It really is.



 Change happens. Embrace it or move with it finding ways to adapt.

Weeds do grow (faster than should be allowed). Pull them out.

Things break. Fix them.

Being vulnerable and messy is ok.

It’s not a one and done…remind your clients of this too! Feng Shui is a living, breathing love of our lives.  You gotta keep working it.

Above all…

Give yourself grace.  Showing your scars demonstrates that you know what you are talking about.  You’ve lived it.  You live it.  You love it.  Tell your story.


Deb Dermyer Lamb is a wife, mother, feng shui practitioner, and still trying to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.  She’s been the office administrator for the IFSG since 2007 and loves, loves, loves that part of her life.  IFSG members are everything to her.  She’s also the current IFSG CEO, since 2017, and previously served on the Board of Directors from 2006 through 2011.

Give her a shout if you have questions about the IFSG, or want to share your messes.

Missing Gua in the Bagua – A Case Study

When the bagua maps the space perfectly, making a feng shui assessment is straight forward. However, when a gua is missing, things can become more complicated. In this blog, Kristi Stangeland discusses how she worked with a client who was missing a key gua.

I was contacted by a woman who had left her corporate job to start her own company focused on bringing mindfulness and social innovation into large companies, but she was struggling to find clients.

When I met with her, I noticed that she was missing the Kan (earth) area in one part of her home since the entrance featured an inner courtyard that was surrounded by the Gen (mountains) and Qian (heaven) areas. This courtyard was not well maintained and included large pieces of driftwood, sprouts of grass and a desolate, barren area around the front door. We discussed how to enhance this area with new plantings and a fresh coat of paint on the front door. I suggested removing the driftwood and tending to the grass to improve its health and appearance. I also recommended hanging a wind chime near the door. Finally, I taught her the Black Sect tradition of blessing the items on auspicious days.

Approximately one month later she informed me that a large corporation had asked her to join their staff to integrate revenue opportunities with social innovation She was in disbelief that she would be able to do this work as an employee and not have to deal with the stress of running her own business. The outcome was even better than what she had imagined!

Kristi Stangeland, Bagua and a Missing Gua Case Study


Kristi StangelandKristi Stangeland is the founder of FSC, a company dedicated to helping corporate and private clients realize their goals using Feng Shui practices. Kristi holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a CPA license and trained as a Feng Shui practitioner with the BTB Feng Shui Masters Training Program. She is also IFSG Board Treasurer. Read more about Kristi.


The Feng Shui Element of Water

There are five elements in feng shui. Fire, metal water, wood and earth. Each has its own unique characteristics and role in feng shui. Read about this flowing Feng Shui element from Angela Davis.

Water is the Feng Shui element of inward reflection, patience, mindfulness, and release. It is soothing, calming, and comforting in its timeless power. Just think of how the Grand Canyon was carved with the Colorado River slowly, over time but with an amazing outcome.

The Feng Shui Water Element by Angela DavisWater is associated with the career gua and is the most yin, or feminine, of the elements. It is introspective, philosophic, receptive, and creative. To replenish your strength, sleep more, drink more water, and listen to your instincts. In Feng Shui, feeling safe is a Water Element trait, true to the core.

Need to get some happy Chi in your life to feel the soothing safety of belonging? Use any of the following ideas:

In the front of your home, plant beautiful undulating vines and plants like delphiniums, kale, and violets. Install a water feature to bubble and gurgle in your safe haven; make sure the flow is directed inward toward your home (for a fountain’s flow, never direct water away from your home). Re-do the pathway running from your street to your front door with a snaking, wavy pattern (the undulating shape of Water) to slow down the energy flowing toward you. This will welcome chi gently instead of having energy slam against you all day. This simple change in landscape can be also be achieved with lining the straight walkway with plants, staggered alternately, along the walkway. Now you have a spot to sit, stay, and relax.


Angela Davis, Green Feng Shui LadyAngela Davis The Green Feng Shui Lady is a Red Ribbon Professional through the International Feng Shui Guild. She earned her Black Hat Feng Shui Certification through Karen Rauch Carter’s Academy of Exquisite Living as an “Inspired Practitioner” and is a part of Karen’s lineage under Grandmaster Professor Lin Yun. Read more about Angela.

The Impact of a Stand Desk

From Portland, Oregon based Feng Shui professional and clutter expert, Sugeet talks about his journey toward a stand desk.  Why did he do it?  Fad? Physics? Productivity? 

My old office arrangement, even when I had cleared most of the clutter still looked, well . . .

A Stand Desk, by Sugeet

– – cluttered.

I had recently finished working with a couple who worked from home. She had build a rigid standing desk and loved it. He was building one for himself. They were both enthusiastic for them. They had many positive things to say about them. I became curious.

I saw a Kickstarter campaign to build a reasonably price standing desk that could be both – a sitting desk and a standing one. The campaign was very convincing – lots of studies extolling the benefits of a standing desk.

Research was needed.

A Stand Desk by SugeetSitting is the new smoking.

What began as a curiosity has provoked a great deal of studious inquiry. Results?

  • Reduced risk of obesity
  • Reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes and other metabolic problems
  • Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced risk for many kinds of cancer

Wow! And that’s just what the Smithsonian Magazine reported. (March 26, 2014)

Sitting six hours a day ups he death rate by 20% for men, 40% for women!

That’s scary while some other research says otherwise, but the consensus indicates we should be standing/walking at least 2 hours a day and then work up to 4.

OK – I got into the Kickstarter campaign and got my desk a couple of months ago.

I had to rearrange my office.

Time to declutter.

Pounds and pounds of files into the trash, Scan others.

4 file drawers to 2.

Fewer printers, fewer everything.

And the result?

A Stand Desk by Sugeet

What a difference! Take a look just at the top:

A Stand Desk by Sugeet

No, I don’t stand all the time, but I’m standing more and more and sitting less and less. I find not only has the simplification made me more focused, but much more productive. I love the top – it’s bamboo, my favorite building material.

You can jerry-rig a standing desk for yourself and try it. I like mine because I can take it up or down, and stop it any place that suites me or my arms or my chair (all at the touch of a button.) A programmer friend just bought himself one that uses counterweights to go up or down. He has a bit of a weight problem, so this is going to be good for him as well! And a major client I just worked with we designed his office so not only could he have a standing desk, but combine it with a treadmill!

If you want to see the one I bought, (also because I support new companies) go to


SugeetAn expert in lighting and Feng Shui – Sugeet was a gallery art director for 12 years! Certified in both the basic and Advanced levels of BTB Feng Shui, Sugeet has been serving clients from Northern California to the Candian border since 1999. He has taught Feng Shui for the home, business and landscape design at Southern Oregon University; as well as private classes in Clutter elimination.


Article/Image Source: The Impact of a Stand Desk

Bring Your Home Office to Life with Feng Shui

Terah Collins, Feng Shui officeOne of the most popular trends these days in home design is the Home Office, and for good reason. Working from home eliminate the rush hour commute, gives you much more flexibility, and can save you significant amounts of time, money, and aggravation.  Read Bring Your Feng Shui Home Office to Life by Terah Collins

For many people, a year’s worth of work-related expenses, including transportation, clothing, restaurants, rent, and childcare, far exceeds the cost of remodeling and furnishing a home office.

Setting Clear Boundaries

When working from home, it is vital to set clear boundaries between home and work life. The biggest challenge is to stay in control of work hours and not become “ruled” by the proximity of the office. This means that a serious home office is best located in its own room with a door, not an alcove in a room that also serves another purpose. Ideally, your work world is self-contained and private enough that you can concentrate on the tasks at hand, and then close the door at the end of the day and “go home.”

Any room can be transformed into a home office. Feng Shui observes that work actively focused on communicating and connecting with people is best located in a room at the front of the house, while quiet introspective work is best placed in a room toward the back. When your work includes visits from clients, customers, or patients, plan for a separate entrance that takes them directly into your home office and a nearby bathroom. Again, this keeps your work world contained and your work-related visitors from wandering through the house!

Desk Placement

No matter where your home office is located in the house, space planning is key. Of primary importance is the placement of your desk (or primary work surface) in the room. The ideal spot is where you have a direct or peripheral view of the door(s) from your chair, a pleasant view out a window, and a solid wall behind you. This provides you with a commanding view from the front and a sense of safety and support from the back. Achieving this often means “floating” your desk in the room, rather than pushing it against a wall. This can present an aesthetic challenge unless your desk is attractive from all angles, without exposed nests of wires or unfinished sides. Whenever possible, include an electrical outlet in the floor under the desk, and choose a desk that is designed with a front “modesty” panel and an opening that
allows wires to unobtrusively disappear behind the panel. Or, enclose wires in a tube designed to hold them (available at office supply stores) or run them safely out of harm’s way under area rugs or existing carpeting.

While it’s ideal to have a view of both door and window from your desk, a view of the door is most important. If you lose a good window view in order to see the door, install a mirror to capture the view while youíre at your desk. When a window is directly behind your desk, enhance your sense of security and protection by placing something substantial like a credenza between you and the window. When you cannot bear to give up your window view – or a built-in desk provides no view – install a mirror so that you can see the door from your desk. A freestanding or wall-mounted mirror can be placed so that it reflects the door behind you when you are seated at your desk.

Furnishing Your Home Office

Feng Shui maintains that you can reduce work-related stress and irritability by choosing the right furniture. One important rule of thumb is to choose furniture with rounded corners, even when the overall shape is square or rectangular. When you must include an item that has sharp corners such as a filing cabinet, make sure to place it away from the room’s traffic flow, or store it in a closet.

Most people work best on a surface where white paper contrasts “just right.” Paper tends to disappear on pure white surfaces and contrast too dramatically on black surfaces, and either extreme can cause eyestrain. Clear glass desks seem to disappear beneath paper, which can also strain the eyes. Most wooden or medium-toned surfaces provide the right amount of contrast without causing visual strain.

Terah Collins, Feng Shui officeWhen choosing a desk chair, select only the best. Your capacity to produce and prosper is considerably enhanced by a great desk chair. Treat yourself to an ergonomically correct chair that has features such as excellent lumbar support and adjustable height. And always test drive a chair before you buy it – that’s the only way to know if you’ve truly found the right one for your body. Consider the other furnishings you’d like in your home office. Perhaps a comfortable reading chair or couch would be the perfect place to open mail, return phone calls, and receive visitors. Or, you may need a conference table or other work surface in addition to your desk. And every office needs storage – lots of storage! Being organized in your home office is not an option – it’s mandatory. If your office has a closet, outfit it from top to bottom with shelves, built-in filing cabinets, and drawers. Or purchase furnishings that specifically meet your work-related storage needs such as a cabinet, armoire, or credenza.

Your home office is a launching pad for your prosperity… make it dynamic! Any bold, dramatic, or empowering color you love belongs here. Select “Wow!” art that stimulates your creativity and inspires your productivity. Hang fabulous art, awards, and diplomas on your gorgeous walls, look around, and congratulate yourself. Your success has found its way home.


Terah CollinsTerah Kathryn Collins is a best-selling author and the founder of the Western School of Feng Shui®. She is also the originator of Essential Feng Shui®, which focuses on the many valuable applications Feng Shui has in our Western culture while honoring the essence of its Eastern heritage. Read more about Terah.


Article Source: Bringing the Office Home

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