Q&A Sunday: Feng Shui for Sensitive People

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Feng Shui cures for HSP/empaths. How can a very sensitive person create a haven of peace, calm and beauty to sooth his/her overwhelmed senses?

Giuliana G., Lille, France

Hi Giuliana,

Thank you for your question; it's a great one. Undeniably there are many different types of people, each with different tuning levels to their emotions and the emotions of others. Highly sensitive persons (HSPs), also known as empaths, are gifted with the ability to feel almost all emotions in their immediate surroundings, often picking up the energy of others as well, whether positive or negative. With a trait like this, settling down and finding calm can be a bit difficult, as spending time around others in any capacity often results in an overwhelming collection, and range, of emotion.

Thankfully, some aspects of feng shui are excellent for use in creating a safe, calming space for a HSP, and I can suggest a few simple cures for an overactive emotional field. One of the most important characteristics of feng shui is awareness of one’s environment, and this is especially necessary for empaths. While it may seem self-explanatory that HSPs are aware of their environments, this applies to the physical space surrounding them in addition to the emotions and energy they pick up from others.

Two major focal points for empaths when creating a personal healing area are neatness (lack of clutter) and privacy. Having a clutter-free space, as you may know, is important in any balanced home, but even more so for empaths, as they are already overwhelmed by emotional clutter. As you’re likely to pick up a wide variety of energies outside your personal space, it is especially vital that you create a clean personal space free of clutter and dedicated to positive energy.

One great way to do this is by regularly smudging the space in which you choose to relax. Whether you use your own separate space or the family den on off hours, take care to ensure that your area is clean of all energies so that you do not pick up any additional emotional sludge. You can use any of the methods I’ve discussed, palo santo, sage or orange oil to smudge a space.

Another way to make the most of your personal space as an empath is to incorporate daily meditation, even if only for a few moments. After being flooded with the energies of others, it is very important to spend some time alone to clear these energies and define your very own mood. Consider also including the elements Earth, Fire and Water in your space, as these elements are able to convert negative energies to something better.

Finally, look into healing crystals, stones and essential oils. These products are all very beneficial in balancing emotions and energies, and if you’re willing to take time to find the right stones and oils for you, they can be incredibly helpful in preventing overload for an empath.

by Anjie Cho

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Space Clearing with Palo Santo

Lately, my favorite method of space clearing has been smudging with palo santo. While we traditionally use orange essential oil in feng shui for space clearing, I love the smell of palo santo. It is especially useful on an everyday basis to refresh your home if you've had guests.

While white sage is the most commonly used substance for smudging, or clearing a room of negative energy, there are also a significant number of people who choose to instead use palo santo wood, or “holy wood/stick.” Palo santo is derived from specific trees found in the South American rainforests of Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Peru and has been used for most of known history for a variety of healing including medicines, native ceremonies and, especially in Incan culture, spiritual clearing of a space, crowd or person. In addition to its ancient uses as a purifying agent, palo santo wood also harbors a better smell than sage and can be used in place of it as a matter of preference or to avoid allergies.

For the most part, using palo santo wood for space clearing follows the exact same steps as using sage. As with sage, the wood should be ignited then gently blown down to an ember to allow for spreading smoke around the room. Guidance of smoke to different areas of the room including corners, inside closets and in each direction of the compass is important. Also, be sure to allow the wood to produce enough smoke to fill the air. Though palo santo wood and sage are the same in regards to meaning behind smudges and ability of use in this situation, there are some perks to palo santo wood that sage does not share.

It is important to ensure you have a fire-proof container for resting the palo santo as well as extinguishing the flame once your smudging practice is complete. Many cultures who use palo santo or sage for smudging choose to use an abalone shell, which symbolizes the presence of water, thereby balancing the remaining elements of air, fire and earth. By the same element system, however, other cultures feel that involving the water element in this practice cancels out the effectiveness of the element of fire. As this is not an original feng shui practice, either is acceptable for your practice. Just be sure that whatever tool you use is not flammable and will withstand the heat of burning palo santo and ashes. 

The most obvious difference between palo santo wood and sage is the smell. Many people find the smell of sage less than pleasant, but palo santo provides an aromatic, often desirable smell. In addition, the smoke produced from burning palo santo can actually be used to ward off mosquitos and other insects (aren’t they really the source of negative energy anyway?!). Perhaps one of the most useful differences between sage and palo santo is the fact that palo santo wood can be snuffed and relit, whereas, once sage begins to burn, it will often continue to burn completely. Regardless of what substance you choose, both sage and palo santo are time-tested and ancient tools for clearing space and releasing negative energy.

by Anjie Cho