for a Better Life
by Pamela Williams
Feng Shui is a word
and concept that may seem quite foreign to many. In reality
the term represents a 3,000-year-old idea.
meditating on the markings of a turtle, Fu Hsi, Emperor of China,
discovered a pattern that would serve as somewhat of a Rosetta
stone for civilization. Combining solid and broken lines along
with the elements, wind, water, fire, and earth, he created
a series of 64 combinations, later named trigrams.
The broken lines
of the trigrams represented Yin energy and the unbroken, Yang.
From this concept, a nine-square energy map, the Bagua, was
created to be used as an overlay upon a studied site. The overlay
was originally used to provide ancient Taoist monks auspicious
burial spots. As the concept became more understood and translated
into day-to-day Chinese lineage, it became quite common for
households to practice the art of placement inside and outside
Today, in America,
the word Feng Shui is often associated with a faddish style
of interior decorating that helps enhance prosperity and relationships.
For traditionalists, Feng Shui is taken quite seriously as a
principle based upon an ancient understanding that all life
is made up of energy, is connected, alive and changing. This
is true for Sedona consultant Valmai Howe-Elkins.
of Adventures of a Feng Shui Detective: How outer clues reveal
your inner life, has been a consultant for more than seven years.
She feels that the way we arrange our home is a physical manifestation
of our current energy patterns. Her job is to spot these patterns
and then use them as a tool to help clients make the requested
changes they so desire.
is in relationship, then the houses we choose, the way we design
our living spaces and furniture, and the objects we place in
our dwellings, affect us," she said. "My particular
discovery in this area, is that not only do these relationships
affect us, but they also reflect us, which is what I show people,
and which also is the theme of my book."
that intuitively we organize things in a manner that feels
good to us. In the same manner, poor patterns in our lives that
block us from achieving successful relationships, careers and
lives can also manifest themselves.
use of Feng Shui techniques, harmony and flow will come into
your life," Howe-Elkins said. "With an outside perspective
from someone who clearly understands the Feng Shui principles
and human conditions, changing these blocks can help release
this flow, making one feel more energized, which results in
better use of potential and success."
Such is the case
with Janet and Ron Chase. Except the Chases went the whole way,
by having Howe-Elkins help design their home from the bottom
"After we purchased
our property, we had Valmai come out and look at it. She walked
the property and told us where we should place the house. We
gave her the dimensions and she told us where to place it and
with what orientation. She gave us a couple of options. We went
with the one where we didnt have to cut down too many
Janet said after
two years of living in their home they definitely have noticed
a difference. "The thing I can say for sure about this
is that our spiritual life has deepened, and that has been our
focus throughout our marriage, which is going on 23 years now.
Our marriage is the most connected to God than it has ever been
and I do believe that having the home built according to Feng
Shui principles has provided that for us."
Feng Shui is not
limited to private homes. Nor does one have to have their home
built according to Feng Shui principles to achieve positive
results. For business owner Leslee of Native Spirit Herbals
in Sedona, she had moved into a building with its own energy
pattern that she wanted to change.
have experience with Feng Shui before I met Valmai," Leslee
said. "She came into the store one day and asked if I had
heard of Feng Shui and then asked how business was doing. She
was seeing some things that could be changed and I was captivated
by what she said. She was right. She has been so helpful we
have her back every year."
the existing building and suggested changes such as cleaning
up the clutter from the prosperity corner and turning it into
a consultation office, adding a fountain near the cash-register
and turning a Buddha statue also toward the cash register. Leslee
said just these few things in and of themselves helped their
business. "Feng Shui works with what is and improves on
what is," Howe-Elkins said. "It is very rare that
a building cant be enhanced and modified some way. The
most important thing is to balance energy to achieve potential.
I look at balance and harmony."
But not all Feng
Shui advice is helpful, Howe-Elkins warns. There is, what she
calls, Party Feng-Shui, the quick-read of a book and the placement
of a few crystals around the house.
furniture or placing crystals in the relationship corners will
bring on changes . . . but they may not be changes that will
stick," she said. "In order for us to change old patterns,
we must take a look at the bigger picture of the whole house
and the energy patterns in it. I call this a holistic reading.
Secondly, if you hire a consultant, you need somebody who knows
what they are doing and guarantees your shifts. Bringing aspects
of a foreign culture into your home without proper understanding
is a double-edged sword. Lastly, I tell people to be careful
of any Feng Shui practitioner who has something to sell you
beyond their advice. Afterall, Taoist monks didnt pedal
book, you wont find quick cures or mirrors for sale here.
The book mostly demonstrates 36 of her most outstanding cases
and their success. What is unique about it though is the way
she goes about discovering how to solve her clients problems.
With an extraordinary sixth sense, Howe-Elkins can walk into
a clients home with little to no knowledge of their lives
and within one hour can give a complete assessment of the occupants
life patterns, blocks, and even what age they were when the
patterns began to take effect.
Her creep and
snoop process of uncovering these details that reveal
such secrets have a 100% guarantee or she said she leaves the
premises with no charge to the client as well as leaves the
business of consultation.
"I have made
a pact with the universe in that if I am not 100% correct on
my assessments as a Feng Shui consultant, I will quit and go
back to writing," she said. "So far I have been in
the business seven years and have been right on."
Feng Shui advice just about rearranging furniture and carefully
placing fountains? Hardly. Her "recipes" for clients
are very detailed and inscrutable. She says each persons
patterns are very individual and read like a fingerprint, therefore
their advice is very individual. Based upon goals and budgets
of the client, she said she works with their desires and does
not change that which does not need to be fixed nor that which
the client isnt ready for.
The steps she gives
are also staggered throughout a period of time so that the changes
are not done too quickly. She says quick changes will be overwhelming
for the clients health and may not really root out old
habits as they should. After the changes are made, clients are
asked to mail back a response in a self-addressed envelope so
that she may track her results. So far she has had many happy
home owners who have made large improvements in their finances,
relationships and work.
So is Feng Shui nothing
more than mere superstition that plays itself out through self-fulfilling
prophecy? Who knows? However it works. It works and has worked
for thousands of years.