A Simple Definition of Feng Shui

May 11, 2024
A copy of the octagonal shaped Bagua Map and a copy of the Feng Shui relational chart setting on a table with candles.

Feng Shui is a very involved, complicated practice. However, it doesn't have to be in order to reap its benefits. But how do you explain Feng Shui in simple terms to someone who thinks it's nonsense?

Three years ago, my husband and I bought a piece of property. The location was great. Very private with lots of visiting wildlife, pasture for my horses, and a big shop for his small trucking business.

Unfortunately, it also came with a house. An old, outdated, definite fixer-upper. Its only redeeming feature was a fantastic view from the living room deck.

I agreed to the purchase of the property with the promise we would make the necessary changes to the house. The owner made us an offer that quickly sealed the deal.

My husband went right to work organizing and setting up his shop. He was happy to finally have a workspace large enough to pull in his equipment. No more laying in the dirt or battling the wind, rain, or snow when making repairs.

On the other hand, I confronted a house with small rooms, a cramped kitchen, lack of storage space, windows that didn’t open, and unusually placed plug-ins and light switches.

With no logical flow to the house, it was impossible to keep the clutter down. I felt so disorganized. Just walking in the front door zapped my energy and creativity.

An example of negative Feng Shui

I mentioned my frustrations to my husband one day as we entered the house. Immediately upon opening the front door, we faced the stairs leading to the second floor.

“This is such bad Feng Shui,” I said to my husband.

“What the hell is that?”

“Hmmm, it’s like the flow of energy through your house.”

It’s a little more complicated than that, but I struggled with finding a way that would make sense to him. Especially since I don’t totally understand it all myself. Yet, I’m serious about learning more.

Here’s what I do know.

Feng Shui, which translates to wind and water, is an ancient Chinese system of arranging your environment to improve the quality of your life.The purpose is to draw in positive energy, also known as “chi” (the life force), by creating balance between the natural environment and the spaces in which we live and work.

There are several different “schools” of Feng Shui, some older and more complicated than others. However, they all seem to center around some very basic principles.

The balance of energy between Yin and Yang, the laws of heaven and earth, the use of colors and light, understanding the placement of the five elements (fire, water, earth, wood, and metal) are common foundations.

The Bagua is a tool used in Feng Shui to help determine the placement of objects and the use of colors. It is an eight-sided figure (octagon) that correlates with compass directions.

Each side of the Bagua is associated with a direction on the compass as well as an area of life, a number, and a color. For instance, north is associated with career, as well as death. It is assigned the color black, the number one, and the element of water.

Feng Shui is a very complicated and involved philosophy. A person can go really deep into the history, principles, and applications for it use, if they so choose.

My husband is not one of those people.

A simpler Feng Shui description

He approaches things in what he considers a “practical” manner. Meaning he doesn’t care about the house being perfect as long as he has a comfortable chair. And he doesn’t want to spend a lot of money on some “woo woo fad.”

I assured him it wasn’t some fad. Feng Shui has been around for thousands of years. It’s not a religious or magical craze invented by someone to make a few bucks on adoring followers.

The basic idea of Feng Shui is to improve the quality of your life by arranging your furniture, windows, and doors to allow good flow through your home. The coordinated use of color, light, and direction can also improve your “chi.”

When he started rolling his eyes, I realized I was losing him. My explanation was still missing the mark.

Finally, I asked him if he ever went into a room and felt instantly good, comfortable, and relaxed? Yes? Well, that room had positive energy. There was balance and a sense of harmony that contributed to the good vibes of the space.

Feng Shui is all about that. Creating a happy and healthy environment which in turn affects your relationships, your attitude, your energy, your creativity, your career, even your wealth.

“That does make sense, I guess,” my husband said with a little more interest. “Although, I’m not sure I totally get it yet.”

No problem. You don’t have to have to understand how Feng Shui works to benefit from the practice. As long as you accept the idea of a universal flow of energy, positive and negative.

My husband understands this better in terms of good vibes and bad vibes.

Where do you start?

Start with your intuition and think about how a room or space makes you feel. Then do a little research to see what steps you can take to improve the energy and flow.

Small steps are best because the information, options and tools can be overwhelming. As  long as you believe in the connection of ourselves and our environment, it will be well worth the effort to try a few strategies.

It is also important to remember; your personal style, how you use the space and your intentional choices are essential parts of implementing the practice of Feng Shui. Choosing colors and décor you like is as important as choosing a color because it represents “growth” or “clarity.” Find a sweet compromise and let it be the intentional, visual reminder of its purpose.

If you notice an improvement in your emotional, mental, or physical wellbeing, even a small one. You are on the right track. And it’s time to delve a little deeper.

Simply stated-

Feng Shui is not a decorating style. It is intentional use of color, shape, texture, light, the five elements and their placement to be visual/physical reminders of their purpose.

It is about enhancing your environment to bring in a flow of positive energy to benefit all areas of your life.

And for someone like my husband, that’s about as practical an explanation as it gets.



Coming soon – “Feng Shui the Country Way”  a book written by me for people like me! Those who enjoy a country living lifestyle and want to increase the positive energy in their home. Feng Shui the Country Way is a simplified, countrified explanation of Feng Shui basics.

For more info on Feng Shui basics, check out my other posts on the RuralWriter. Blog.




Get a quick start to bringing in more positive energy flow with "9 Easy Fixes to Bring in More Harmony."  CLICK HERE!


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