We keep telling her: You're not overweight. You're not too old. And though she might think it has something to do with her mother, we sincerely doubt that Mrs. Walker is to blame.
It's just her chi. And Liz Brown can help.
A local practitioner of feng shui, Brown took her first class on the ancient Chinese tradition in 1996. She had spent the previous five years working at an architecture firm, and the eight before that at an engineering job. All that time in the science of structure, Brown explains, was simply preparation. When she discovered the art of feng shui, she says, "My love of building took on a whole new analysis. It was perfect."
Now she consults and teaches classes, including one this weekend on the principles of placement with a focus on the bedroom. But don't expect instruction from the classical school of thought. "I don't find it necessary to analyze your birthday or what sign you are or which direction your house faces," Brown says. "People really yearn for that complexity, but I think the simple has so much power. It's just basic common sense, how the energy moves through the space."
And her most basic suggestions?
First, don't put yourself in a vulnerable position. "You should always have a view of the door," she says. "Then there's not that edge, where you're constantly thinking, Is someone coming? You can relax more."
Second, there should be no obstacles in your path. "You want a smooth flow," says Brown. "I always hear people say, 'Oh, I can walk around it. I can squeeze by.' Why are you putting up with that? That energy pattern ... those are the same people who are squeezing by in their finances or who didn't get the promotion but didn't get fired."
Other advice? Clear the clutter. "We have so much stuff in our homes, and it insulates us from having to feel, from having to think, from the outside world," she says. "Boy, do those emotions come up when people start going through the clutter." Also, Brown says, surround yourself with things you love. "If you hate the sofa, get rid of it. No matter how much it cost, how beautiful it is, whether it's this great antique or your ex-mother-in-law gave it to you if it doesn't inspire you, move it on to its greater good."
Now about that bedroom.
Brown stresses that it's an especially powerful room, that health and relationships are centered there. "Anything you bring into that room that doesn't have to do with rest or romance cuts a little piece out of the pie every piece of workout equipment, every computer, every television." So if you could use a little heat between the sheets, lose the entertainment center. And while you're at it, the mirrors. "In the bedroom? No. One or fewer. Every mirror doubles the energy of that space, wakes it up. That space should be about cocooning and nesting." She also advises pairing items. "You want twos of things. You want coupling energy. Two candlesticks, two paintings, two vases. You don't want threes." (Well, OK ... most people don't want threes.)
"It's not this magical thing," Brown says. "But feng shui offers a multitude of ways to change your world."
Megan, are you listening?