In feng shui, we use the word “chi” to describe life force energy. In many ways, it’s similar to the way we use the word “vibe” or “vibes” in everyday speech, in that chi can be positive or negative, depending on the context. For example, we might say, “That place has good vibes,” “I got a weird vibe,” or “There was absolutely no vibe at all.”
Naturally, one of the most important feng shui considerations is choosing a place to live where the very land itself possesses positive chi, and then increasing the positive chi quotient as much as possible. Or, if you’re currently living on a plot of land or in an area that doesn’t have particularly vibrant chi, one of your most important feng shui considerations would be to shift that condition. (Which, by the way, you can totally do – read on.)
But how might you begin to sense the qualities of chi in certain areas or plots of land? Well, here’s an example. I live on a street that is literally the border between two sections of Los Angeles. But above and beyond the way the map delineates the neighborhoods, the energy of the area to the south of the street has a certain quality of chi, and the energy of the area to the north of the street has another. I’m sure you can think of places like this in your part of the world.
To break down precisely what it is that so palpably changes the vibe, I might describe the way one neighborhood is situated on a hill overlooking the city and ocean, which gives it a vista, while the other one is in more of a basin. Additionally, the neighborhood on the hill feels more lush: the grass seems greener, the plants seem healthier, and there’s more shade. The other neighborhood feels just a tad thirstier and more ragged around the edges. The same subtle differences can be noticed in a more microcosmic way from home to home and plot to plot. Of course, everyone takes these sort of subtle differences into account when choosing where to live and how much to pay for where they live, which is why some neighborhoods and buildings are more affluent than others.
And isn’t the word “affluent” interesting, especially in this case? It is derived from the same word root as fluid, or flow, and affluent neighborhoods are neighborhoods where the chi is definitely flowing. From a feng shui perspective, this is one reason that “the rich get richer.”
But if you’re not in the position to move to a high roller place just yet, never fear – feng shui is here! Always remember: you are in the perfect place for your most ideal unfolding in this moment, and there is plenty you can do with what you have to increase and activate positive chi.
When it comes to increasing the positive chi on actual plot of land where you live (or just around the outside of your apartment), consider the following outdoor chi-enhancers.
Fountains or waterfalls generate negative ions (the scientific term for good vibes) while imparting a feeling of lushness, vibrancy, luxury, and health.
Birdbaths are great alternatives to fountains for smaller spaces or places without electricity. And, in addition to the lush water energy, they draw our feathery friends, who also increase the chi! If you’d like to throw some negative ions into the mix, and just to keep the water fresh, you might try a solar powered water wiggler. And, if you’re in an apartment with limited space in the front (like I am), you might try a hanging bird bath. (They’re both pretty and compact!)
Bird feeders also draw those feathery air spirits (AKA birds), who empower our outdoor areas with happy bird songs and vibrant life. Alternatively, you can just sprinkle birdseed or breadcrumbs.
Healthy plants are the tried-and-true remedies to outdoor areas that can use a bit more positive chi, especially when they feel lush and friendly (perhaps no cacti or overly spiky plants).
Flowering plants, of course, will add their beauty, fragrance, and positivity. (For ideas, check out my brand new book!)
Wind chimes send beautiful, cleansing, uplifting, enchanting energy throughout their environs. Just make sure you choose ones with a sound you adore (because you will be hearing it a lot!)
Colored or shiny mobiles brighten the outdoor area with beauty and movement.
Buried crystals can energetically shift and improve the vibe, especially when chosen and placed with intention. This is a cure that I recommend to my clients when I sense that the front or back area of the home could use a serious chi infusion. For example, you might choose four clear quartz points that you resonate with. Then, run them under cold water, cleanse them with white sage smoke, and empower them by placing them on a clean white cloth in bright sunlight. While they’re still in the sunlight, direct your palms toward them. Close your eyes and envision/imagine/feel/embody vibrant chi. Perhaps imagine a beautiful waterfall and lush tropical plants, and direct this energy into the crystals. Perhaps say a grateful little invocation, requesting the crystals help with holding and increasing positive space in your yard like little chi batteries. Then bury one at each of the corners of your yard or lot, point side up. (If you’re doing the front and back yard, you could do four more for the back, or just do four total for each corner of the lot.)
Prayers, invocations, and intentions will also shift the vibe, and these can of course be employed anytime, anywhere. For example, if you live in a big apartment building with no freedom to add things to the outdoor areas, you can still connect with the spirit of the land while you’re meditating. Visualize the natural area the way it was before humans built anything on it, and honor that space by marveling at its beauty. You might also envision watering it with divine, healing water, or planting etheric, ever-blossoming lilac trees throughout it. Or, you could simply ask the Divine/God/Goddess/All That Is to bless the space with vibrant chi, and then envision a sphere of glowing white or emerald green light completely surrounding and encompassing the area where you live.