This Open Spaces Feng Shui interview with owner Ann Bingley Gallops demystifies some of the misconceptions of using feng shui to remedy chi energy in your home and business. Ms. Gallop shared some of her views on running a feng shui consultant business with LoveToKnow's editor, Sally Painter in this exclusive interview.
Open Spaces Feng Shui Interview
Ann Bingley Gallops first became interested in feng shui during her divorce in 1996. She explained, "Work felt meaningless and I had a less-than satisfying social life. In my search for meaning, I took a feng shui course and read a few books. I realize in hindsight that this was a huge breakthrough for me since I came from a straight-laced, corporate background that included an MBA from Columbia University."
LoveToKnow (LTK): What did you experience when you first started learning feng shui?
Ann Bingley Gallops (ABG): Feng shui's principles asked that I use the power of intention to guide me as I set up my new solo apartment. The more I developed my awareness about what I kept around me, the better my life became.
Practicing Feng Shui
LTK: What school of feng shui do you practice?
ABG: I base my practice on the "form school" of feng shui, in which the Bagua Energy Map is oriented from the entrance to the home or office. This is where chi energy begins its nourishing journey around the space.
Life as a Feng Shui Consultant
LTK: What was your path to becoming a feng shui consultant?
ABG: Becoming a feng shui consultant was the furthest thing from my mind when I first learned about it, but one happy outcome was that it led to my transition from full-time employment to freelance consulting work.
Meanwhile, I discovered my talent for helping people create beautiful, well-organized spaces. In 2003, I launched a successful business as a Professional Organizer, and it didn't take long for this to lead right back to feng shui. For instance, my clients loved it when I talked to them about enhancing their lives through simple adjustments to their Relationship or Prosperity areas.
So in 2006, I traveled to California to receive my Practitioner's Certificate from the Western School of Feng Shui. My first client was a "non-believer" who was eager to help her husband regain his health; after I advised her to remove a particular piece of artwork from their bedroom and make a few adjustments to their living and dining areas, she was convinced. Three years later she is still recommending me to her friends.
Surprises Found in Feng Shui Applications
LTK: What is the one thing that surprised you the most about using feng shui in your life?
ABG: The thing that surprised me most was how feng shui encompassed every area of my life, and that it really worked! I realized the joy of discovering my intentions, using my creativity and imagination to anchor them in my space, and experiencing positive outcomes.
For instance, I discovered right at the start that before I could expect to heal any other part of my life, I needed to improve my relationship with my family. I anchored this idea in my new apartment with adjustments which served as a constant reminder of my intention and strengthened my resolve.
Ultimately, I developed a new harmony with my family which allowed me to move on and enhance other important parts of my life. To take one wonderful example, I eventually remarried; my second husband and I just happily celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary.
Misconceptions about Feng Shui
LTK: What are some of the misconceptions you find that people have about feng shui?
ABG: I'm sorry to find that some people seem to think feng shui is a form of magic. This cuts two ways: one type of person believes that by simply visiting their space I will be able to fix all their problems and fail to appreciate that it's within their power to create the change they desire. The second set of people are skeptical; they scoff and laugh, dismissing the possibility that their unhappiness is reflected in the things with which they choose to surround themselves.
A Little Advice
LTK: What do you feel is the one most important feng shui advice you can give readers?
ABG: Start creating good feng shui by clearing clutter, defined as anything you don't love, use or need. In clearing away things that don't support you, you will be left with a space and a life that feels clearer and more open, containing only the things that nourish and sustain you. It's a wonderful feeling, and the beginning of the path to great feng shui.
LTK: What was the biggest feng shui challenge you faced in a feng shui project?
ABG: Every feng shui consultation presents unique challenges. Perhaps my biggest challenge occurred with a client who needed to deal with her new husband's hostile ex-wife, who seemed ever-present in their lives despite living over 100 miles away. The energy in the home was so negative that I wasn't sure we'd be able to cut through it, but during the course of the consultation I discovered that the ex-wife was indeed symbolically "present" in the house.
Working together, the couple and I made feng shui adjustments to things including the configuration of their king-sized bed, artwork in their bedroom, and other objects both inside and outside their home. By the time I left that day, their feeling of relief was palpable.
LTK: What is a typical consultation like?
ABG: A feng shui consultation starts when my client fills out an advance questionnaire about their personal and professional challenges, their goals and aspirations, the history of their space and more. An examination of their floor plan frequently alerts me to feng shui issues right away.
On the day of the consultation we walk through their space as I create a plan addressing the feng shui issues I've discovered. We review feng shui principles including yin and yang balance, feng shui's five elements and the bagua energy map, resulting in a plan that may include interior and exterior recommendations from art, color and lighting to furniture placement and the positioning of walls and doorways, taking practicality and budget into account, of course. At the end of the consultation the client has everything he or she needs to make the changes we've discussed.
Teaching Feng Shui
LTK: When and how did you start teaching classes? Did any single thing or person inspire you to teach?
ABG: I guess I am so very eager to communicate the benefits of feng shui that I couldn't resist the opportunity to teach. I started teaching feng shui classes almost three years ago, starting with very small groups and working up to audiences of over 100 people.
Many feng shui teachers have inspired me, but the person whose teaching style I admire the most is Terah Kathryn Collins, who established the Western School of Feng Shui and is the author of The Western Guide to Feng Shui. Her easy way of communicating the sometimes complex principles of feng shui, her empathy, and her sense of humor make her a joy to listen to and learn from.
Special Thank You to Ann Bingley Gallops
LoveToKnow would like to thank Ann Bingley Gallops for this Open Spaces Feng Shui interview and for sharing her expertise and love for feng shui.