Feng shui was not something I thought of growing up. It was integrated seamlessly into my mother’s daily life. My study desk was not placed in a way that would have me facing the door. You had to arrange beds in a specific way. The same applies to the arrangement of the appliances in the kitchen. We won’t even begin to discuss the process of house hunting when purchasing a new home.

She wouldn’t let us sleep with our heads towards the door. She would talk about the demons that were stealing our souls. You shouldn’t play with bells or windchimes in a reckless manner. Placement of aquariums was important in home decor. Mothers would get a little emotional when a fish died. Mother would talk to us about energy and Qi, and how our mess could affect our academics if our rooms were messy. It was all part of growing up.

My experience with fengshui as a child was based on absolute, often threatening maxims that were passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition. Feng shui maxims and principles were often extolled in hyperbole and often accompanied by a warning about doom and gloom if the paint wasn’t this color or that was not there. Knowing your zodiac compatibility was essential for most Chinese people. Feng shui made certain geographic areas “obviously rich” because they were located in high-fiving regions. Some were “obviously the poorer neighborhoods …. because feng shui. Gentrification? It could be called Gentrification.

It is easy to see why it took me so long to re-examine feng shui, and start seeing it as a philosophy.