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Anna G. Larson, Published January 24 2013

Serene spaces: Feng shui strives to bring balance, positive energy and flow to a room

FARGO – Hanging a painting in a certain spot, positioning a chair at a particular angle – you might be practicing feng shui without even knowing it.

Practicing feng shui doesn’t have to be complicated or consuming, says feng shui practitioner and life coach Cheryl Cullen.

“Most people unknowingly already practice feng shui because they place things in areas that look pleasing to their eye,” Cullen says.

At its core, Cullen says feng shui is the feelings that occur when a person is in a physical space.

To help people recognize how feelings are associated with spaces, Cullen tells people to close their eyes and imagine a house after a party. Most people wince and tense up as they imagine piles of dirty dishes. When she tells people to imagine that their home was just cleaned and organized by professionals, most people relax and smile.

Organization is crucial in feng shui because cluttered environments can overwhelm people, Cullen says.

Clutter inspired Cullen to explore feng shui after becoming a life coach. She had more items in her home than were necessary, and learning to let go of items she didn’t need led to greater fulfillment in her life, she says.

“You want to set up a space that feels supportive,” she says. “But feng shui isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when people are seeking change and fulfillment.”

Today, Cullen keeps her spaces tidy and practices feng shui to create a positive energy flow in her home and work environments.

Once people start making changes in their spaces, their energy levels and outlook on life can change, she says.

“Your personal energy impacts every relationship you have,” Cullen says.

‘All about balance’

Masseur Victor Facio was Cullen’s client and also practices feng shui.

“It’s all about balance,” he says. “It helps people to hopefully recognize and prioritize what it is that they want to do or not do in their life.”

In his downtown Fargo massage studio, Facio created an environment that is significant to him and relaxing to his clients.

He used the bagua – or feng map of sorts – to place meaningful items into nine different areas of the studio space. The bagua correlates with nine areas of life, Facio says.

Learning to place items according to the bagua can help create a harmonious environment.

The nine different areas of life in the bagua are health, relationships, career, finances, family, creativity, wisdom, reputation and helpful people, according to feng shui expert Jayme Barrett’s “Feng Shui Your Life.”

Each area relates to an element, number and color. For example, Facio placed his massage table in the middle of the room with a yellow blanket on top. The center of a room is the spiritual health and wellness area of a space, according to the bagua. The colors associated with that area are yellows and earth tones. The element, or energy source that impacts life, is earth.

“I really like to keep a clean, energetic flow,” he says.

‘Intuition is our soul’s voice’

Feng shui also focuses on intention and intuition.

“Intuition is our soul’s voice,” Cullen says. “Learning to align with our intuition leads to fulfillment because we are honoring our values.”

Intention is what a person intends to accomplish by placing items in specific areas of a space, she says.

Cullen studied intention-based feng shui, which focuses on living with purpose and engaging all of one’s energies.

“When everything has a purpose, this supports intentions that affect chi, or energy,” she says.

For instance, if someone wishes to eventually retire and spend their days fishing, placing a photo of a lake in a room could represent that future aspiration.

Images of achievement or endless possibilities create positive chi, Cullen says.

Anything that represents the past or regret and disappointment should be eliminated. Items related to a “should, guilt, the past or pleasing others” don’t positively impact a space or person, she says.

“You’re not being true to yourself, what you want,” Cullen says.

Cullen collaborates with her clients to ensure that their spaces reflect their desires, even if the spaces don’t follow textbook feng shui “rules.”

“She teaches while she’s doing it,” Facio says. “It’s all about your personality and balance, and everything comes together when you’re in balance.”

‘Comb your soul’

The first step to practicing feng shui is thoughtfully creating and documenting intentions.

“Comb your soul and think about what you want to manifest in that area,” Cullen says.

Next, people should organize their space and repair broken items.

The organization starts with a person’s intentions, she says.

“You want to be constantly attracting whatever it is that translates as positivity to you,” Cullen says. “If you don’t use it or love it, get rid of it. Don’t create mental clutter. And, ultimately, less is more.”

A room’s appearance doesn’t have to be minimalist, though. A visually full space can be uplifting, she says.

Spaces should also balance the yin and yang, or feminine and masculine elements, Cullen says.

Yin is the feminine or passive energy often associated with soothing, subtle colors, and yang is the masculine or active energy associated with vibrant colors, according to Barrett’s book.

Placement of items according to the bagua is followed by activating the space.

Activating the space is blessing the space, Cullen says.

The ways that a space is blessed must resonate with the owner/

inhabitant in order to be effective, she says.

Religious prayers and affirmations are some ways that her clients have activated their spaces. The prayer, chant or affirmation is said nine times in each area of the bagua.

Cullen likes to activate her space by lighting a candle in each area of her home to represent illuminating her intentions. Then, she blows the candles out to represent releasing the intentions.

She says she immediately feels better after the ritual, as do her clients.

“Your feelings while you’re in a space are the bottom line,” she says. “Make choices that represent the things you value."



What: Feng Shui Basics class taught by feng shui practitioner and life coach Cheryl Cullen. People will learn how to tackle clutter, implement feng shui, increase their energy and achieve their goals.

When: Two class times will be offered, and people can sign up for either class time. The night class begins at 7:15 p.m. Feb. 5, and the morning class begins at 10 a.m. Feb. 6. The class meets once a week in February.

Where: Total Balance, 1461 Broadway

Info: The four-week class cost is $108 and includes a one-month membership to Total Balance. Total Balance members can attend for $90. If you join the class with a friend, the cost is $81 per person.

For more information: To sign up or learn more, visit Cullen’s website, www.CullenConsult.com and click on “feng shui.” People interested in attending can also email Cullen through her website. Sign-up sheets for the class are also available at Total Balance. Those who wish to attend but don’t sign up before the first class can complete registration by coming early to class.