I was sitting here in my new office listening to the rain this morning, while working on calendars for date selection. The sound of the water and the idea of “a good date” got me to thinking about a couple that I worked with around ten years ago. They found me via my website. At that time my business name was Double Fire Feng Shui. I had only been consulting for about 5 years and was making the transition from Black Sect to Traditional Chinese Feng Shui.
Andrew and Kay* were an up and coming young couple, working in tech companies and living in the suburbs. They were a little competitive with each other about their careers and Andrew seemed to feel Kay was winning.
Before they hired me, I had multiple telephone calls and emails, mostly with Andrew. Each time he wanted to know more about my methods, by which he meant an explanation of what I would be doing at their house. Since I hadn’t been there yet, I could only explain it in the most general terms. He wanted to see my curriculum vitae. I am always happy to provide that.
Andrew’s approach was very consumer driven, like “What do I get for the money?” and “How do I know your stuff works?” At that time there were so many people who had hung out a shingle after a weekend course in Feng Shui that I don’t blame him for being suspicious. Kay was more concerned about whether or not I would take a look at the whole situation rather than just beds, stove and the front door. She was looking at it as a holistic remedy. I felt honored that they were so meticulous and yet they still wanted to hire me. Finally it came down to me and another consultant they had in mind.
During the final phone call from Andrew, he asked me whether or not I meditated. This was not a question about my Feng Shui skills but rather about my spiritual practice. The question came up because meditation was a selling point for the other consultant they were considering. Her value add was that she would meditate, specifically about your house, before she arrived to do the survey. To me, that sounds like divination or prayer – not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s not Feng Shui. I told Andrew that while I do think it’s important to have a spiritual practice to go with almost any skill set, it was probably best to just go with the person who he considered to be the most competent, and left it at that. I got the job.
At that time Andrew and Kay had not revealed that the main reason they wanted Feng Shui was to assist in having a baby. They were ambitious in their careers but also anxious to start their family. They felt it was taking too long to conceive and had already investigated the medical side of things. They discovered there were no physical obstacles to conception for them.
The first thing that came up when I arrived at the house was that Kay and Andrew not only wanted to have a baby, they also really wanted to have a fountain. It was actually Andrew that wanted a fountain to accelerate his career. He felt it was stalled out and things were going too slow. I think he wanted to catch up with Kay career-wise but probably was also thinking about being the single breadwinner in the near future. Purely based on divination, I pointed out that they lived in a cul-de-sac and that if you looked at it from above, their house resembled a snail on a turtle’s back. To me that means progress will be SLOW.
Based on Feng Shui principles their double doors on the front needed some adjustment, as well as the lot which was shaped like a badly cut piece of pie. The house was shaped like a key; very irregular with lots of glass on the back side. There were other issues that I won’t go into here. Still, Andrew was not as interested in implementing my suggestions as he was in placing a fountain.
I really wanted to help them, and to place the fountain as Andrew wished, but at that point in my studies I only knew enough about water placement to realize it is probably the most powerful implementation of Feng Shui. If you do it wrong your result will be something like Aunt Clara’s spells on Bewitched: a muddled and unhappy surprise. In short, I didn’t know how to place water and if I had known they wanted that, I would have admitted it before they hired me.
During and even after the survey I had to refuse over and over to place the fountain or give the idea any sort of approval because I was concerned that placed incorrectly it could thwart or delay Kay and Andrew’s dream of making a family. Andrew called me two or three times asking what kind of fountain to get, did I think it would be okay by the front door, etc. In retrospect refusing to place the fountain is probably one of the kindest things I could have done even though he was disappointed. My understanding of my own ignorance was a benefit to them. I happen to know the person who was my competitor for the job didn’t know how to place water at that time either, but I’m not sure she understood that.
Kay and Andrew did make some of the changes I recommended and Andrew got a new job, Kay got pregnant and they had a healthy baby girl. I know I was helpful to them, but some of the success probably has to do with timing. Timing was another aspect of Feng Shui that I didn’t yet understand then except in the most general terms. Even so, three years later they did ask me to come back a second time when they were trying to conceive, and they were successful again. I must have done something right.
I found out on my second visit to their house that after Kay got pregnant the first time, Andrew went and bought a fountain and placed it by the front door because he had read in a book that it would help his career. He pointed proudly to the fountain and asked for my opinion while I tried not to shudder. My answer: “It’s very pretty”.
The end of my story? Feng Shui is a lifetime study and I’m sixteen years in. I will still refuse to do things that aren’t knowledge based, both for your safety and mine, but if Andrew called me back today I could tell him when and where to place the fountain. I could also tell him that while putting thing A in position B at time C might get him a promotion, it might also create “side effects” he doesn’t want. I think it’s important to consider the choice.
*not their real names