Chapter 1: Prologue to the Journey

I went on an incredible journey, with an incredible couple! The journey, like the birthing of a beautiful butterfly, from its chrysalis stage to full maturity, took some time…and indeed, may still be continuing.

The following is my real-life story of the cathartic and metamorphic Feng Shui journey of Dan and Helena Sanderson (not their real names), to whom I owe so much.


“I found that a distance of a thousand miles, abyss and discovery, and … metamorphosis, separated me from the day before.”  ~ Noces

The Prologue to the Journey 

Prologue 2My first “consultation” with Dan and Helena Sanderson was anything but formal. I did not do my typical Feng Shui “thing”. In fact, we were just talking as friends. There was no official appointment, no red envelopes being exchanged, just a lot of open heart and friendly suggestions. And little did we know that on that beautiful, sun drenched, late summer day in September of 2003 that our Feng Shui journey together had just begun! Nor could any of us have imagined then the bumps and turns that our journey would take.

It all began when my son went to play with the Sanderson’s younger son, Cash. On that fateful, September day, while standing in a very cluttered, unorganized kitchen, Helena Sanderson began telling me in very graphic detail of her frustrations. First, it was with her home, which she considered to be too small, and second, she was upset with her schedule at work, which didn’t allow her to keep her house the way she would wish to, and it was the lack of money from the two jobs she and husband were working.

The Sandersons worked hard, but on opposite shifts, so that one or the other could be home to watch the kids. Their daily routine was just that—a daily routine. They felt stuck, unmotivated, and in conflict with each other over how to proceed to change their circumstances. She wanted to move—he didn’t even want to think about it!

This was a great segway for me to suggest the opening up of the energy flow in their home by the cleaning and clearing of just one small area. I told Helena that I thought that if she tried to de-clutter just a wee, little area, she’d be amazed at the results. It would free up more energy to eventually tackle more. This was something she felt she could do. She told me she had read a book on Feng Shui, and how it talked about the need to clear the clutter. This was another segway for me, for up until that moment, she did not know that I was a practicing Feng Shui consultant.

We talked a little bit more about energy flow and I mentioned something about just taking one room and making it special. Both she and Dan wanted to start immediately with the living room, the easiest room to clean. They wanted opinions about what to do, where to move this, where to place that—any aesthetic suggestion I could make. I made a few, pointing out some placements for some of their most beautiful items that were not being effectively displayed, and they took it from there.

A few hours after I left, they called me to tell me, that at my suggestion, they had moved the sofa, lowered a picture to raise the appearance of the ceiling, placed it over the sofa for better aesthetic enhancements, moved the lounge chair away from the door and the entry walkway, put a bureau on an angle for aesthetic interest and highlighting, rearranged the display of miscellaneous items over the fireplace, replacing them with some elegant fine china and crystal pieces, and moved a large piece of furniture that had blocked the window over to another wall.

“The living room has been totally transformed,” they said when they called me. They were excited. They loved the new look. They wanted more information about what to do next. It was at this point that I asked them if they would like for me to “Feng Shui” their entire house. My question was met with a resounding, “yes”!

We agreed to get back in touch within the week with times and days that worked for all of us. However, before I could set the appointment for a formal consultation, I received another phone call. Helena told me that her folks had just come to visit. She said that they usually only stay a short while, but this time they stayed for hours. She attributed this to the fact that the living room was inviting, comfortable, and flowed well. She said that she and Dan couldn’t wait for our appointment together.

Sanderson's Piano Area - Organized, Beautiful, and says, "We are a family."

Sanderson’s Piano Area – Organized, Beautiful, and says, “We are a family.”

The Metamorphosis continuesThe Background

PDF (no pictures): The Metamorphosis – The Entire Story
PDF (no captions): The Metamorphosis – Photos

Chapter 4: Inside the Chrysalis

I went on an incredible journey, with an incredible couple! The journey, like the birthing of a beautiful butterfly, from its chrysalis stage to full maturity, took some time…and indeed, may still be continuing.

The following is my real-life story of the cathartic and metamorphic Feng Shui journey of Dan and Helena Sanderson (not their real names), to whom I owe so much.


“Agonies are one of my change of garments.” ~ Walt Whitman

Inside the Chrysalis

WEAVING THE CHRYSALISIn February of 2004, I called Helena to schedule a follow-up appointment. She said to me, “Oh, please come over today to take some pictures. We’ve just cleaned and organized. Today is a good day.”

And so I went — camera and all! I was amazed at the transformation of the main living areas. They had cleared out so much clutter. The house looked like a normal, lived in house. They made changes based on things we had talked about before, and other changes that they thought were Feng-Shui friendly; most were not. At that moment, I did not tell them that they were not good changes. Besides, intention is everything, right?

At this picture-taking session, Helena was eager to point out that she had purchased a bagua mirror for the tool shed in the relationship area and that she had placed a red watering can there. (I didn’t quite understand the reason for the can, but I’m sure she had a Feng Shui purpose in mind.)

The changes made in the master bedroom were phenomenal! They had moved the TV out of the bedroom into the living room. They put curtains up to cover the closet that did not have doors. They organized the clothes in the closet. They purchased a chest of drawers that fit right into the closet, providing more space for clothes. They bought a really nice laundry container. They placed pictures of themselves as a couple on the side of the bed in the relationship corner. They put a fountain in the bedroom (the wealth area of their home), and they put more pictures of themselves on the shelf under the fountain. The fountain has a very pleasant, soothing sound. Dan said he now slept better in this room.

The kitchen was a miracle! The kitchen counters were cleaned and organized. The computer-station disorganization was gone, the refrigerator having taken its place. They had placed their microwave on a nice wooden cart and had placed pretty little kitcheny, decorative items around. This kitchen was actually quite pretty. You couldn’t tell that before. It was now very inviting, very friendly.

The hallway leading to the kid’s rooms (which on my first appointment belonged to Dan’s children) had been cleaned and organized. The blockages to walking through the hallway had disappeared. There was now a nice, clear pathway to the outside door and to the kid’s rooms. And to my surprise, they had already implemented one of the changes that I had planned to talk about on this appointment.

Instead of having the bedrooms of Dan’s kids in one section of the house and Helena’s kids in bedrooms in the other part of the house, they moved the children so that both girls (Helena’s and Dan’s) had the eastern section of the house, and the boys (Helena’s and Dan’s) had a room in the western section, effectively blending the two families—finally! Hurrah! What a wonderful step towards Feng Shui-harmony for their family.

The boys had a room in an area with some problems energetically, and the Sanderson’s had unfortunately also made some changes in the living room that disrupted the flow and aesthetics of the room–but all that could wait for another day. They were making progress, lots and lots of progress!

BEFORE - Cluttered Dining Room Table

BEFORE – Cluttered Dining Room Table/Computer Station

BEFORE - Cluttered Kitchen (Yes, really!)

BEFORE – Highly Cluttered Kitchen Stove Top and Counters/Computer Station

BEFORE - Kitchen - Sink Side

BEFORE – Cluttered Kitchen Sink Area

BEFORE - Back Hallway

BEFORE – Cluttered Back Hallway Leading to Bedrooms/Refrigerator/Laundry Room

AFTER GALLERY – Pull Up on the Bottom of the Photo for a Caption

THE METAMORPHOSIS continues – The Emergence

PDF (no pictures): The Metamorphosis – The Entire Story
PDF (no captions): The Metamorphosis – Photos

Chapter 5: The Emergence

I went on an incredible journey, with an incredible couple! The journey, like the birthing of a beautiful butterfly, from its chrysalis stage to full maturity, took some time…and indeed, may still be continuing.

The following is my real-life story of the cathartic and metamorphic Feng Shui journey of Dan and Helena Sanderson (not their real names), to whom I owe so much.


“What the caterpillar calls the end the rest of the world calls a butterfly.” ~ Lao Tzu

The Emergence

Emergence 3On March 13, 2004, we began another phase of our Feng Shui journey. I intuitively knew this one would be difficult, as it indeed proved to be. I explained to Dan and Helena how there are layers upon layers in Feng Shui and how we would be looking at Feng Shui in a different way today. I was planning to go deeper with them, adding astrology, Ming Gua numbers, and some element work. I also planned to tackle the issue of the extreme clutter in the children’s rooms, a touchy subject, I was sure.

I eased into this appointment by re-explaining the basic Feng Shui principles. I could tell they felt this was ‘old hat’, and that they were thinking, “Get on with it, alright, already!” After all, wasn’t this the couple that had explained Feng Shui to their parents and friends after working with Feng Shui principles themselves after our last appointment?

I continued anyway, explaining how when we go deeper, sometimes it opens up things in our lives that we need to be ready for. I suggested that if anything became uncomfortable to just say so and that we could explore those areas in other ways. They were eager, however, and were not dissuaded from proceeding on the journey.

I began with their living room again. They had basically, but not intentionally, undone what we had created during the last appointment. They had moved the sofa into the middle of the room, with its back to the door, and had moved their recliner back against the window. In order for us to talk (I was sitting in the recliner), they had to turn their backs to face me. It was very awkward and uncomfortable. They quickly saw that this arrangement wasn’t working, not physically, nor energetically.

We moved on to the front entry, where we discussed the front door as the ‘mouth of chi’ and how chi likes the front door to be very inviting and welcoming, like a special guest. So they realized that they needed to make a few changes there, because they had dead plants by the entry, piles of firewood, and lots of children’s toys. We also talked about their best directions, their Ming Gua numbers, and the elements. The charts in the addendum explains what I told them.

We proceeded to the children’s bedrooms to take a look at the rooms in terms of the command positions and the children’s best directions. Candice, the youngest daughter, had her bed in the doorway. (On my first visit, this was not the case. I’m not sure why it got changed.) Not only was the bed in the doorway, it was not in the right direction for her. I suggested placing it in her most favorable direction, and on an angle to create aesthetic interest.

Candice is primarily water, astrologically speaking. Her deep, sensitive soul seemed to require more order and stillness, but her room was busy, cluttered, with far too many “things”. The floor on all three occasions was filled with ‘stuff’. We talked about her spiritual need for stillness and order.

Rhys, who is also a very sensitive child, had a better bed placement, however her room was still quite cluttered. She had tons of toys in her rooms, but nothing to stimulate her “air”, astrologically speaking. I suggested that she have some more books in her room, to appeal to her mental nature and to foster more of an interest in learning.

James and Cash’s room presented a myriad of problems. Architecturally, their bedroom was one large room, created from a garage. Not only did they sleep in this area, but they also played here in a playroom created out of the space. There were two architecturally designed entries into this space, but one of them was blocked. On the second appointment, they had unblocked it, and recreated the doorway. In addition, between our first and second appointments, the Sanderson’s rearranged the boy’s rooms, providing space for each boy to have his own individual cubicle to sleep in. Though the cubicles were not very private (due to the lack of real walls), it was a start. I suggested they provide walls for more of a sense of privacy by using curtains, or by the actual building of walls.

James Bedroom - BEFORE

BEFORE – James’ Bedroom – Cluttered, Doorway Blocked by a Board and the Bed

BEFORE - Cash's Bedroom, Cluttered

BEFORE – Cash’s Bedroom, Cluttered and Busy

BEFORE - Candice's Bedroom, Cluttered, Toys Everywhere

BEFORE – Candice’s Bedroom, Cluttered, Toys Everywhere

BEFORE - Computer and Play Room

BEFORE – Computer and Play Room, Clutter Everywhere

BEFORE - Play Room from Another Direction

BEFORE – Combined Play Room and Bedroom, Unorganized

BEFORE - Play Room, Even the Dog Looks Sad

BEFORE – Messy Play Room and Bedroom, Even the Dog Looks Sad

AFTER GALLERY – Click on a Picture for a Slideshow with Captions

In this area, the Sanderson’s also had erected a combined computer-play area for the boys. I was concerned about the computer energy (there were two), but my gauss meter did not indicate excess energy. I still felt this was too much for a sleeping area and suggested fuzz busters.

In looking at the best directions for the boys, it was necessary to move their beds, or at least the placement of their pillows. They had each assumed a position that was not the best direction for them. I also suggested moving the entry way into James’s cubicle to another side, so that he could place his head in a different direction without the bed being in the entryway.

Each of the boys had beds with drawers underneath. The beds were expensive and the drawers served a very utilitarian purpose. After ascertaining that the drawers only contained clothes, I bypassed mentioning the problem of having items under the bed. However, we did discuss the effect of clutter and disorganization on impressionable, young children growing up in their formative years, and their need for a model of organization.

During this discussion, I noticed that the Sanderson’s had painted the boy’s room “red”. Whereas, it was a beautiful, soft shade of pinkish-red, I felt it might be problematic for two already ADD boys. Because Helena really seemed disappointed and attached to the color, I suggested that they could probably get around this by painting the actual sleeping areas a more soothing, yin color.

This appointment was difficult. Though the Sanderson’s listened, this appointment did not flow as easily as had the first appointment. I felt I was hitting a lot of resistance, and was not sure whether I should continue or stop. Because they continued to ask questions about what I was saying, I answered them cautiously. When I left this appointment, I felt uneasy. It was not with the cathartic feeling of the last appointment. Something felt undone about this one, but I had given my all. I did not know at the time that we had very definitely penetrated deeper into their ‘psychological space’. This appointment had hit home, and how!

THE METAMORPHOSIS continues – Metamorphosis Unveiled!

PDF (no pictures): The Metamorphosis – The Entire Story
PDF (no captions): The Metamorphosis – Photos