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Planting the Seeds of Success? You Can Say It With Flowers


Question: Does feng shui address landscaping? My goals are happiness and success in my career. How can I landscape my modest front and back yards to help?


Long Beach

Answer: It definitely must be spring because I've received a wheelbarrow full of inquiries about gardens and feng shui. Adaya Maserow-Nissan, Pin Kee Lee, Jesus Perez and Lillian Glass also e-mailed requests for information on feng shui and landscaping.

The answer to Sharon's basic question is yes: Feng shui definitely addresses landscaping.

This ancient art is, first and foremost, about living in harmony with nature, and the yard and garden you create can be an important part of achieving this harmonious balance.

The initial considerations in planning your landscape should be to balance the yin and yang and to create serenity and beauty.

Many formal Chinese landscapes do both by including rock gardens and meandering paths. These design elements promote tranquility and reflection while they balance the essential yin of the garden (earth, plants, flowers) with the yang of the building materials (rocks, wood, concrete, etc.).

Plant a flower garden in the southeast (the direction of wealth) to bring the kind of luck that generates money.

Cultivating flowers in the colors associated with this money-luck direction--purple, plum, violet, deep reds--will be especially auspicious.

A koi pond at the north end of your yard will promote success in your career because water is the element associated with north, which governs career and business success. Those with smaller yards might consider a water garden in a large container.

If fame, fortune and festivity are your idea of happiness, try capturing the feng shui symbols of the south (fire, birds, the color red) by planting a bird of paradise in that part of your yard.

For happiness related to good health, plant anything lush and green (perhaps even a tree) on the east side of your yard because green and east correspond to good health and growth; the tree brings in wood, the east's element.

Mirrors Can Shatter a Good Night's Sleep

Q: Every reference book I see is very foreboding about mirrors facing the bed. But there is truly only one wall my bed can go on--physically and in terms of all other feng shui guidelines.

Unfortunately, this puts it directly opposite a wall-to-wall closet with three mirrored sliding doors. The only semi-solution I've come up with is to slide away the mirrored panel directly opposite the bed.

Please don't tell me to cover the mirrors, as most books advise. That connotes death in several spiritual practices and feels very bad to me, especially since we're talking about a solid wall of mirrors. It's sort of like the cure being worse than the illness.

What remedies or antidotes can you advise?


West Hollywood

A: Lorrie is not the only reader losing sleep over feng shui, it seems. Sue Ray in Yorba Linda is curious about mirrors in the bedroom and wants to know how to arrange the bedroom for a good night's sleep. K.P. in Ojai reports "disturbed sleep" that actually confuses her sleeping and waking states.

I suspect that K.P.'s bedroom has one or two serious feng shui problems and that one of those could have to do with a mirror reflecting her bed as she sleeps.

Mirrors produce excellent feng shui in many rooms of the house, but never in the bedroom. Mirrors in the bedroom create chi that is much too strong for a sleeping person.

This strong chi (or sha) is a poison energy that can wreak havoc on an individual's life, causing anything from health and career problems to marital discord. Disturbed sleep is just the tip of the iceberg.

I agree with Lorrie that draping an entire wall of mirrors can give a room a distinctly grim look, and I think she's onto something by partly sliding away the mirrored door opposite the bed.

Feng shui cures should enhance the good feeling of the room and should never be depressing or reminiscent of death.

The ideal solution, of course, would be to rearrange the room so the bed isn't caught in any mirrored surface. But if your bedroom's size and shape won't permit that, you might place a decorative screen between the bed and the mirrors. If the screen crowds the room, keep it folded and off to the side in the daytime, opening it only at night.

Smaller mirrors (and television sets that reflect the bed) should be covered at night. Consider using a decorative cloth, a tapestry or a scarf.

For good feng shui and a peaceful night's rest, the foot of your bed should not point directly toward the door. This is known as "the death position" for several reasons, including the vulnerability of the sleeper to negative energy rushing from the door to the bed.

If it's not possible to move your bed out of direct line with the room's entrance, put a chest or plant at the foot of the bed to break up the force of the chi coming toward the bed or hang a crystal from the ceiling somewhere between the door and the bed.

Place Cleanliness Before Candles

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