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By Brandy Stoner

It all started three years ago when my sister gave me a book on decorating using the Eastern principle of Feng Shui (pronounced fung shway). Now I keep my toilet lid down and the bathroom door closed to keep the negative energy from the sewage from entering my home. I am convinced that not facing a water source, and the energy shooting off the sharp corners of the office buildings in front of my home that year, contributed to the downfall of my marriage.

Now, some people think that makes me a little kooky, but Feng Shui, at its core, is about creating balance in one’s environment. Many corporations, government offices, and individuals consult with Feng Shui experts, not just in Eastern culture, but also in the United States. The same principals used in their offices can be incorporated into your writing space. Perhaps it is time for you to rethink your writing environment.

The Feng Shui office contains items that represent five essential elements: water, wood, metal, fire, and earth. There are simple ways to incorporate each of these elements into your work environment.

Water
Include a small fountain, or a rain sounds CD. Keep this in mind, as well – glass can be used to symbolize water. Although glass may seem solid, it is actually fluid on a microscopic level. Glass is also the element that balances out fire, so a glass candleholder is a perfect addition to your space. You can also incorporate blues and greens to represent the colors of water, in order to bring about the needed balance between fire and water.

Wood
It is usually rather easy to bring wood into an office. Furniture is naturally made of wood, and there will, by necessity, be several wooden pieces in the area where you write, such as the desk, tables, and chairs. If you have a more modern office space, with a lot of glass, and metal or plastic filing equipment, then you can bring in picture frames, a bonsai, or a pressed paper lampshade. It is important to include plants in your home office, as they symbolize growth.

Metal
Picture frames can also be used to introduce metal into the areas where you write. Include candle holders, or use sterling silver baby cups to hold your paperclips, instead of something more plastic and less inspiring.

Fire
As an author, the items you use to represent fire are extremely important. Fire elements affect your fame and reputation. Bring candles into your space as a quick way to add fire to your writing. Pay special attention to the look and quality of your lighting, and bring in natural light, or mirrors to reflect the light (and balance the fire element, since glass functions in that way).

Earth
Bring in plants and stones to represent earth. A clay pot covered in moss can hold your pencils. Stones in a fountain, dish, even used as paperweights, add an element of earthiness to your environment. Hold them, touch them, roll them in your palms, and note how much more relaxed and grounded you feel.

The strategic use of color is important in Feng Shui design, as well. Use yellow to encourage a bright start for your bright future. Blues and greens represent health and family, and are especially helpful on the main wall of a room.

Including such things as stones, plants, bark, and other items from nature in your room adds to the serenity and balance. Movement created by a breeze or fan opens up the flow of energy in the room. Include some dragonflies for luck -- my pens are in a clay pot the color of stone, square to represent the earth element, with dragonfly impressions in the clay. The green moss along its edge makes it flow seamlessly with the large photo of a crumbling stone abbey that rests on the shelf behind it. The repeated pattern of its rounded arches is calming.

Rounded corners, even on square items, are important in a Feng Shui room. Energy travels in planes, and the effect of energy shooting off a corner can make you feel attacked or trapped. It’s a sentence for writer’s block.

Whichever items you choose, group them in threes if possible. This is a Feng Shui design principle, as well as a mainstream design principle. A loose triangle is the best arrangement. Try not to group different items that are all the same shape on surfaces. Wall art in triptychs is also encouraged.

I am a Feng Shui enthusiast, not an expert, and its principles and applications are far more complicated, as certain elements balance others and enhance each other, and certain colors and shapes represent different elements. It’s almost a science in itself. Once you have taken steps to enhance your writing space, and therefore your writing, with Feng Shui, you might want to research it more and keep going on the rest of your house. Starting with the toilet…

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