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New London Day

Get back to nature - at home - and your life just might pick up
by Bethe Durresene
New London Day, May 5, 2001

If you were living in ancient China or Tibet and your home didn't feel just right, you might call on a wise master to come in and practice Feng Shui, the art of placing objects so as to create a balanced and healthy environment.

Today, you might call in Susan R. Pildis, co-founder of the New England School of Feng Shui, which is located in New England. For a fee which includes follow-up, Pildis will spend four to five hours in your home, checking out the Chi (the energy in and around us) in key spots such as the entryway, the bedrooms, and the garden.

No kidding, she told a group of mostly women Friday afternoon at the Mystic Art Association: The simple repositioning of a couch has been known to change people's lives. And if Pildis' fee seems a little steep, consider this. If the ancient masters concluded that your house didn't have perfect Feng Shui, there was only one remedy.


"I've done 350 consultations," Pildis said, "and only two times have I ever told the people to move."

Pildis was the featured guest at a fund-raiser for Mystic's Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, an organization with a keen interest in promoting a well-balanced natural environment. While Pildis' talk focused mostly on interiors, nature -- human and otherwise -- was the overriding theme. Letting nature into your home, she said, is crucial to emotional well-being, whether it means providing sunlight, adding a plant, or creating space for people to meander through rooms like flowing water.

The philosophy of Feng Shui (pronounced Fung Shway) has its roots in Tibet, said Pildis, and dates back 5,000 years. The Tibetans used it originally to select the most optimum sites for burial, since it was believed that taking care of your ancestors' comfort was the best way to ensure your own.

The best place to spend eternity, the Tibetans decided, was with a mountain behind you and an open vista in front. For present and future peace, that position still feels right.

Translating all this to contemporary home design, Pildis said that if you want to sleep well at night, you'd do well to support your back. Never put the bed where you can't see what's coming through the door, and don't place it so that you're looking straight through the door. Choose a sturdy headboard. Other ideas for the master bedroom, contained in the literature she passed out, include banning king-sized beds, photo of parents, and televisions.

Feng Shui has only become popular in the Western world during the last generation, said Pildis. Now, probably in response to our increasingly technological world, "It's exploding like crazy." Like yoga, Feng Shui is based on both spiritual and scientific principles. "You are a product of your environment," said Pildis, in much the way that people used to say, "You are what you eat." There's almost no limit to the ways you can put Feng Shui to work for yourself, said Pildis. But if you don't have the means or the time to complete a master study, here are a few more tips that she passed out:

Don't place mirrors across from each other, and watch to see what view they are reflecting. Create a pleasant entry. Choose oval or round seating arrangements and furniture. Finish projects, and remove clutter and confusion. Avoid sharp projections into living space. Avoid droopy plants. Balance the amount of influence and things you and your spouse have in main living areas.

And if you can't persuade your husband to remove the bedroom television (the audience was, after all, overwhelmingly female), at least unplug it and throw a cover over it at night.

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