The principles from the ancient Eastern art of Feng Shui can transform a home into an inviting refuge from a busy world, or turn a small firm into a thriving business, according to Leesburg’s Beverley Tisdell.
Feng Shui (pronounced “fung shway”) may seem mystical to some, but it’s really just an environmental science. The origins are obscure, yet simple: The ancient Chinese practiced Feng Shui to create efficient agricultural systems and to increase harmony and prosperity in their surroundings. Today, companies like Microsoft, British Airways, and Hewlett Packard apply Feng Shui principles to their businesses for the same reasons.
Former art teacher Beverley Tisdell of Leesburg uses Feng Shui to create comfortable environments for homeowners and businesses. Real estate agents often call her when they need to solve dilemmas in houses where bad design may stall a sale.
Beverley became convinced of the benefits of Feng Shui when she and her husband Tom were thinking of selling their Orlando home to move to Lake County in the late 90s. The house across the street had been burned so badly that a succession of real estate agents had been unable to sell it for nearly two years. The neighborhood eyesore would undoubtedly lower the value of their property. Beverley happened to be reading a book about making bubble bowls (small fountains) for her art class at Dr. Phillips High School when she came across information about the Western School of Feng Shui.
“I called the school to ask them what, if anything, I could do about the ruins across the street,” she says. “We discussed several ‘cures’ and in the span of two weeks—even before completing some of their suggestions—the unsightly property was sold and a beautiful home was under construction.”
Beverley’s first reaction was “Wow! This is fun,” but she decided that she wanted to know more. When California-based Western School of Feng Shui offered a training course in Atlanta in 2000, she enrolled and upon completion began a new career offering workshops and consultations in Feng Shui.
Through her workshops she’s met realtors and real estate agents who want to use Feng Shui to improve the homes they are listing. Agents agree that knowing Feng Shui principles helps when telling homeowners they should change something to have a better chance of selling.
“You have to be very careful not to hurt their feelings, because people’s homes are very personal,” says Leesburg real estate agent Carol Jensen. “Feng Shui gives you a basis for telling them why they should repaint with a different color or move a piece of furniture.”
Carol was so impressed with Beverley’s knowledge that she invited her to help improve her own home a couple of years ago.
“My home office just never worked,” Carol says. “She suggested that I
switch it with the guest room and it is much, much better. I also followed her advice to de-clutter, and that has really made a difference.”
Beverley agrees that clutter is one of the biggest obstacles to finding balance in life—and balance is one of Feng Shui’s key principles. Clutter is such an issue for most folks that she even has worksheets for clients who need help to part with their clutter.
“We all have too many possessions,” Beverley says. “Order and balance are basic to life. If something doesn’t feel right in your life, it’s because it’s out of balance. Clutter can be one of the culprits.”
Just as the Feng Shui masters did 3,000 years ago in China, today’s Feng Shui practitioners look for the correlation between the cause and effect of environmental energies.
Feng Shui, which literally means wind and water in Chinese, stresses five elements for harmony and balance: wood, fire, water, earth, and metal. Each of those elements need to be stressed equally either literally or symbolically for a room to feel balanced.
“Everyone remembers the decorating trends of the 70s with a shudder,” Beverley says with a laugh. “Do you know why? All the avocado green appliances, wood paneling, and orange shag carpets represented the wood element too heavily. The energy, or “chi,” was totally out-of-balance.”
Color plays an important role in Feng Shui as does arrangement of furniture and types of accessories. Is there any accessory that represents a perfectly balanced element?
“An aquarium,” answers Beverley matter of factly. “That’s why they are so good for stress reduction, and you see them in so many doctors and dentists offices.”
She explains that most aquariums contain some wood in the form of moss or aquatic plants, a black metal frame, water, and sand which represents the earth. The fish and other living creatures are symbolic of the fire sign.
Some of Beverley’s clients find that just a few simple changes are all it takes to improve their surroundings. Lee Conger, an A.G. Edwards financial consultant and trust specialist, hired Beverley to incorporate Feng Shui principles at the A.G. Edwards office in Eustis.
“Little by little, we’ve been incorporating Beverley’s suggestions,” says Lee. “They were very simple things like rearranging groupings of paintings to be more attractive and repositioning furniture to create a better energy flow.”
The foyer was Lee’s main concern because she wanted it to convey a feeling of prosperity and abundance. Simple suggestions like swapping cloth chairs in the foyer with black leather ones from another room gave the foyer a richer feel.
“I think putting your best foot forward is a matter of honor,” Lee explains. “We want to make our clientele feel valued.”
Beverley is the first to admit that there are many schools of thought when it comes to incorporating Feng Shui, but they all stress order and balance and cause and effect.
“It takes time to discern between the different philosophies, but they are all related,” she explains. “Feng Shui is a matter of your own personal growth. Your environment is a reflection of you, your personal energy, and the energy around you. By making subtle changes, you can create abundance, peace of mind, and your own private paradise.”
Want to know more?
5 Ways to Feng Shui
Feng Shui practitioner Beverley Tisdell offers a few simple tips to help make your home a private paradise:
If you have some things that you are not ready to part with, divide them and store into a few boxes. Rotate items with the seasons, and they’ll seem new to you again.
- Change Is Good:
Sometimes the office will function better as a guest room, while the guest room may be better for your office. Rooms have natural energies depending on their locations.
Make sure your partner is agreeable to changes. If you can’t agree, get an objective third party to look at your surroundings and make suggestions.
- Get Creative:
A treasured quilt may become an attractive wall hanging, thus bringing a new focus to a room.
- Curb Appeal:
Feng Shui emphasizes the need for a welcoming entrance. The right paint color, lighting, and plants are a great beginning.