Flames flickered in the green "criss cross" of the glass door.
And the sounds and sights of our new wood-burning stove mesmerized
me. It occurred to me that building fires in a new stove seemed
like a perfect metaphor for looking at power in feng shui.
In the instructions with the stove, it was recommended to start
with small fires and gradually build larger ones. The directions
warned that building too hot a fire would harm the unit. Adapting
the stove to its full use was a gradual process.
I watched the whole room shift with the advent of the first firelight.
The glow on the walls creates a whole new feast for the senses in
our yurt. The room opens up to its new member. It gives our room,
dedicated to balance, another arm of expression - another layer
of resonance. The fire is small but the charm of fires is ignited
in the room. The fire goes out and the stove completely cools down.
We ignite a fire when we read our first article or first book on
feng shui. We open up to another aspect of expression or layer of
resonance to our living experience. We close the book and we step
back from the intensity of the fire and let the inspiration sink
in and blend with our whole life.
The force of the second fire brought out the smells of the new
stove. A lot of open windows helped diffuse the aroma that accompanied
the newness. This time I could really see the flames dancing inside
and began learning how much wood I could place in order to maintain
it "just right." Ah, the art of just tending a fire.
We dedicated this small green stove to Hestia, a goddess or archetype
revering the art of tending, maintaining and renewing. It is such
an ancient practice but applying fuel to our inner fires is an art
as well. To illustrate, I had a client call after a consultation
and say, " I finished all your recommendations for my house in three
days. However, as soon as I finished, I got really sick. What does
that mean?" "Well, I said, 'it means you did too much at once."
The intensity of her actions was burning too hot for her system.
She needed time for her "stove" to cool down and integrate. She
needed to slow down in applying cures to her environment. I use
a Chinese proverb from Master Lin to illustrate:
Take your Time
Savor the moment
Escape into the void whenever possible.
Tending requires rest periods too. These can be the most important
times, it seems, in the learning process with feng shui. I brought
the same items of match, paper and wood together and mixed them
together in a similar way to create the third fire. Will this smell
ever go away? This time with the larger fire, I can really sit and
gaze at the fire and just be with the flames. Fires can draw us
in to the experience of just watching, and with this third fire
there was more time for that wonderful pastime.
In feng shui, can we really appreciate the process of observing
and enjoying our present level of knowledge or skill? The learning
process includes repetition of the same activities such as reading
or doing cures with different perspectives each time. Each fire
used the same ingredients; but each time was different because each
day was different. And I brought more presence and experience to
Repetition is so important in developing effectiveness and strength
in feng shui. Master Lin will teach the same subject many times.
I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the description of
the ba-gua, a major tool for site analysis. Each time the concept
is explained I hear something different. Because I am different,
the group is different, the day is different. In my teaching, I
will repeat certain topics often and many students will claim that
the information was new. Our being learns in mysterious ways.
Finally with the fourth fire, the smell is diminishing. This gradual
process of making fires is making sense to me now. This fire kept
going out for a while. I had created fires three times so this should
work. But it didn't. It just means, try again.
Sometimes, results in feng shui don't turn up right away. One client
focused on her relationship corner to stir up opportunities. It
worked but not for her. Her roommate met someone right away. "Don't
get discouraged," I said. She refocused her intention and is happily
dating now. It is such a dance of applying action to insight.
The fifth fire - my final commitment to such fine tending - started
with ease. This time I could really feel the warmth and brilliance
of our little stove and could concentrate on maintaining the fire
now. There seemed to be a hum in the air, as all the parts of the
process seemed awakened and working. I wondered whether my musings
were generated with the activity of the fire or the rest periods
in between? Do we learn feng shui by doing cures and reading books
or resting afterwards?