Feng Shui – A Personal View by David Kurita-May

By David Kurita-May

Life is about energy, and energy is about flow. So, to get your life situation to flow, it must start with the energy. Feng Shui is the ancient practice of achieving this flow of energy by making certain alterations to your personal conditions – be that within your surroundings, your body, your current location, or your activities.

Feng Shui - A Personal View by David Kurita-May

The practice originated more than 3,000 years ago, when Chinese farmers developed the art of placing objects and arranging their environment in a certain way. This lead to successful crop yields and harvests, and enhanced their lives and the lives of those around them. Feng Shui (meaning ‘wind and water’) is a method to unblock negative energy and allow positive energy to flow smoothly. In Chinese culture, it is believed that when positive energy (known as ‘chi’) is blocked, it will yield bad fortune. These techniques began to become established within people’s homes as well as also influencing their understanding of how to live a healthy and prosperous life. Aspects of Feng Shui transferred over into our Western culture during the 1990s, spawning many TV shows about interior decoration and clutter clearing.

So, what has this got to do with garden design? Well, as the art of Feng Shui began with external spaces, it makes absolute sense that it might also be applied to gardens. As well as considering your home’s interior layout, taking some of the philosophy out into your garden space ensures that the energy flow does not come to an abrupt halt by your back door, so to speak.

At this point, you might feel that this is just a load of mumbo-jumbo, and that’s fine! There was a time I thought the same, especially with my Western culture conditioning… but then I suddenly realised something. Around twenty years ago, I acquired a book on Feng Shui. It was a time when I had just finished training as a garden designer in London and times were challenging as I tried to establish a client base and secure new commissions. As I read the book and began to apply its practices and suggestions, little by little, the positive energy began to flow. Looking back now, those few years proved to be some of the most productive of my life up until that point! After starting to see my business grow, I was able to purchase a flat in London and once I applied Feng Shui principles to the interior of my new home, even more happened! From meeting and marrying a beautiful woman, through to having several successful professional ventures, followed by the birth of my precious son – all of this happened because the positive energy was flowing through my life.

Feng Shui - A Personal View by David Kurita-May

Fast forward to the current day. While I totally love and am flourishing in my role at Nicholsons, other aspects of my life have challenged me. I confess, it took me some time to start this article for example! I could not work out why this was happening to me until about two weeks ago when I happened to stumble across the Feng Shui work of Marie Diamond, and this in turn led me to another book by Karen Kingston. Suddenly the penny dropped – it was since I had stopped following Feng Shui principles that so many things had gradually ground to a halt in my life. I began to apply the principles set out in Karen Kingston’s book straightaway. I realised that my surroundings (and how I was using them) were seriously blocking the flow of chi. Every little step or improvement I have made since then has been like removing bricks, one-by-one, from a solid wall, and watching as the sun’s rays shine through again. If you want to apply these principles to your life and see what immediately begins to happen, then I thoroughly recommend Karen Kingston’s book, Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui.

‘But what has all of this got to do with gardens?’ I hear you cry – once again! If you truly want the positive energy to flow in your life, you must apply Feng Shui to all your surroundings, including the garden.  Karen Kingston’s book touches on this, and in part two of this article, I will go into more detail on how you can incorporate this into your garden. But for now, I have realised that the shed at the bottom of my garden is dreadfully cluttered. Although it feels ‘out of sight, out of mind’, it is seriously slowing down the energy flow in my life!  So, I am off to sort that out, and I hope you look forward to the next instalment when we explore some simple Feng Shui principles you can bring to your own garden and begin to make the magic happen!