The Environment Around Us
It seems pretty obvious to say the environment around us affects us; that where we choose to live and work will ultimately affect the way we feel. When I lived in New York City, I often felt anxious. This anxiety was the basis of my daily mood for just about fifteen years. When I moved from the East Coast to Portland, Oregon, this “norm” of feeling nervous and on-edge became the abnormal for me. My days felt lighter, more productive and less competitive with the people around me. For me, the noise, pollution, and oppressive summers had created an environment that I felt generally uncomfortable in. I became more and more aware of this the longer I lived there and it became VERY apparent when I would go on vacation and return to the city. Many times, we are not aware of the space around us, especially when we have been in that space for a long period of time. Any sense of discomfort or dis-ease is brushed off as normal or the “way it is”. To me, interior design is a way of altering our environments to support our needs and wants. But it starts FIRST with “exterior design”; basically meaning to choose where you live with an informed opinion on the neighborhood and environment that will surround you! Below is a list of some exterior factors and situations that can influence our health and overall happiness.
1). The neighborhood in which we live is a huge factor in the way we feel on a daily basis. If you find that you are surrounded by individuals who are angry, rude, emotionally unbalanced , or violent, you need to acknowledge that this type of ch’i (energy) exists around you. This does not mean your life and/or health will be automatically or permanently affected by this. But it does mean that there is the possibility of it eventually finding its way into your home and life.
2). The amount of “life force” around your home can enhance or diminish your well-being. Life force, in Feng Shui, typically refers to the vegetation and nature around you, including animals and pets. When the vegetation around you is healthy, food could grow in the soil, and animals frequent the area, so to are you healthy and thriving. In the city, you would want to be aware of nearby parks and how green it is. Remember that you can always add plants and flowers into your own home if the life force nearby is lacking.
3). Living near an abundance of hospitals, graveyards/funeral parlors and even churches can energetically pull you and the ch’i down, as these institutions can symbolize death, illness, or spiritual unrest. If you are prone to depression or sickness, these places may create a gloomy environment for you to be living in. On the other hand, businesses like community-centers, schools, cafes, and theaters may uplift your mood. In the end, it depends on what types of businesses around you you want to frequent.
4). Exterior electromagnetic energy fields may impact you on a regular basis. Studies show that frequent exposure to these potentially dangerous energy fields contribute to a decrease in immune functioning. Sources include large transformers, substations, buried electrical cables and high tension wires. Obviously, the best solution is to avoid these areas when choosing a home and/or office.
In the end, you want to live and work in areas that feel “right”. Use your intuition and when in doubt, speak with a Feng Shui consultant to gain better perspective on the exterior environment around you.