Simply put, the placement of your stuff—and the walls around it—are loaded with energetic meaning, some of it good, some of it quite gnarly. (The title of a popular book on the subject says it all: Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life.)
Reiko arrives at my apartment one Friday afternoon with her lo pan, a compass that functions sort of like a sextant does for a celestial navigator. Its readings help feng shui practitioners arrive at an equation that is the energetic blueprint or diagnosis for you and your home. From the lo pan, Reiko gleans all sorts of useful stuff, such as the facts that my daughter and I are already sleeping in the proper direction for our birthdates (good) and that the ideal spot for me from a relationship standpoint is in my neighbor’s front hall (bad).
“Honestly,” a friend snorts later, “do you really believe that stuff?” Do I believe it? Let me just say that, given the landscape of my relationships with the opposite sex, it certainly makes a heck of a lot of sense that the real estate that supports romance would belong to someone else.
But Reiko isn’t daunted. No matter, she says, there are other areas that might be ramped up. My bedroom, for example. It is sparsely furnished, with nearly bare walls and a gritty sisal rug, its dark-wood bed dressed in the plain white clothes it acquired two apartments ago, when I slept in the living room—my daughter had the sole bedroom—and I was trying to make the bed as couch-like, public, and unfussy as possible.