When working with clients to make a home or work space welcoming, accessible and without barriers, one can incorporate the ancient art of Feng Shui.
Feng Shui (pronounced fung schway) is for everyone. How a house or work space is designed, decorated and put together can ultimately influence your clients to experience positive energy tied to happiness, fulfillment and harmony.
To start, there are four classifications of Feng Shui:
Practical Feng Shui, where you logically design a space for happiness and success;
Energy Feng Shui, where types of energy openly flow through a space, which ultimate affects a person's well-being;
Symbolic Feng Shui, where personal belongings reflect a person's personality, passions and mementos; and
Personal Feng Shui, where physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energies influence a person's path to fulfillment.
To fully embrace Feng Shui and all its components, it's essential that you open a particular space to the many levels where the ancient art has meaning.
Start by walking into a room/space with your client and ask them what they see. If the response is lots of clutter - stacks of papers, bills and unopened mail; clean laundry that needs to be organized and put away; or hoards of collectibles without any true "place" - then the natural flow of energy is displaced, scattered and has created a feeling of "chaos". If the response shows meaning - deep connections to pieces of furniture, décor, and artwork that are present in the space - then your client has already begun to create a self-made sanctuary that is fulfilling and replenishing of the mind, body and soul.
This is just one of many examples of the power behind Feng Shui.
To incorporate Feng Shui into a space, start with the following series of simple steps that will help your client see and feel the positive and lasting impacts of this ancient art:
- Clean up the clutter. Actively work with your client to keep their home or work space clean of clutter in order to create a space that promotes happiness, efficiency and peacefulness.
- Make room for the things that matter most. If a space is overwhelmed with "stuff", ask your client to prioritize the items that matter most and store away the things that he/she won't miss.
- Let there be light. Natural light instantly boosts your spirit, expands your vision and enhances feelings of life, creativity and productivity. Don't let your client close themselves in with darkness - which is associated with feelings of confinement, hibernation and sadness. Instead, open the shutters lift the blinds and let the natural light shine through!
- Bring the outdoors in. Nature creates natural feelings of harmony and healing to its surroundings. Incorporate some natural greenery into your client's space - the added oxygen from plants or the soothing sound of flowing water create feelings of serenity, calmness and relaxation.
- Experiment with colour. Colour has a powerful influence on your mood. Help your client bring in colours that speak to their personality and energy levels - Red and orange colours spark feelings of passion and excitement; blue and green colours create feelings of calmness and relaxation; and yellow and gold colours add feelings of wealth, optimism and influence.
- Have a dedicated work space. Create a room/space that's dedicated to your client's work, which gives them the freedom to leave their stresses behind and soak in the positive energies associated with the other rooms of their space.
- Display positive pictures of you and your loved ones. Encourage your client to hang photos that capture feelings of happiness, healthiness and confidence - this will automatically make your client feel more happy, healthy and confident.
These steps are the first of many that can be done to improve accessibility and enhance a client's space as they overcome any physical, mental or spiritual barriers in their own life. Accommodating mobility, cognitive or sensory impairments will be of primary importance, but why not consider some Feng Shui concepts as a secondary goal?
For more information and steps to incorporating Feng Shui into a home or work space, visit your local bookstore and pick up the book, Feng Shui Your Life, by Jayme Barrett. This book is a game-changer and will help your clients learn to love their home and work all over again.
Marnie Courage, OT Reg. (MB)
Director & Inclusive Design Consultant
Enabling Access Inc.