Feng Shui: Helping With Harmony & Tranquility with Heather Melendez, Ph.D.
WebMD Live Events Transcript
Certified feng shui practitioner Heather Melendez will be discussing how feng shui can affect our emotions and better our health.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Moderator: Welcome to WebMD Live. Today we will be discussing Feng Shui: Helping With Harmony & Tranquility with Heather Melendez.
Heather Melendez studied under veteran Malaysian feng shui Grand Master Yap, who has an international reputation as the "creator of millionaires and billionaires." Melendez practices traditional Chinese compass school feng shui. She instructs classes at Holistic Health Centers, is a guest speaker at real estate functions, and occasionally gives lectures on the principals of feng shui to the Philosophy Department at Loyola Marymount University.
If you would like to ask Heather a question, type /ask followed by your question (e.g. "/ask How are you?")
Heather, welcome to WebMD Live. To start off, what exactly is Feng Shui?
Melendez: Feng Shui is a way of creating a surrounding in your environment to enhance your life.
Moderator: How does Feng Shui work?
Melendez: There's different schools and practices of Feng Shui. The goal of all the different schools is about balance and harmony, and aligning your home, office, loft, whatever it is... so that you are in harmony with the environment that surrounds you, which when you're at a balanced state, decisions are better, your mind is quicker, your health is at a better state... things like that.
Moderator: Is Feng Shui a science, art or spiritual practice? Why?
Melendez: There's different things out there -- Feng Shui is best viewed as a science, but it's more interpretive as an art. Some people believe that it has some spiritual references to it because once you become more balanced and centered, more of a spiritual nature emerges within the self.
Moderator: How can Feng Shui attract things to you such as a relationship if single, a job or even better health?
Melendez: The good thing about Feng Shui is that you can use the word Feng Shui or it can be any word. It's about focusing in on an intention that somebody has, whether it be love, money, health, balance, etc. And once you have focused in on the intention, you can do things in your environment to assist you in that process. You can enhance your environment.
Moderator: Do things such as what?
Melendez: Say, for example, somebody who was single wanted to attract a relationship whether it be male, female, gay, whatever... there are certain quadrants within a space of a house or building that can be enhanced to bring that to you. For example, through symbolism which is obviously a part of Feng Shui, the southwest quadrant of a bedroom is associated with love and when enhancing that area with certain symbolic references of love, it helps to bring that energy into your own energy field, and once it's there, then you can help attract it to you.
Moderator: What are some of these symbolic references?
Melendez: It varies through many cultures. I'll give a couple examples, because I don't want to insinuate these are the only ones. In the West, love birds are symbolic of love. The Chinese refer to "Mandarin Ducks". Rose quartz symbolizes love. A heart. Items that have two objects in them. Sometimes when people are single and are looking for a relationship, it's interesting because oftentimes in the bedroom, most of the pictures up have an image of only one person in them... or the bed is up against the wall so you can't get in from both sides. On a subliminal, subconscious level, you say that you want love, but you're closing it off so someone can't enter the bed from the other direction. So it's being conscious of everything, whether it be in your bedroom, or office space, or whatever.
Moderator: Is Feng Shui a religion?
Melendez: No. And it's unfortunate because some people don't entertain the thought of looking into Feng Shui because they think it's a religion, and it's not. A religion is where you're praying to something, but in Feng Shui, you're not praying to anything. You're getting into balance and alignment in your environment.
Moderator: Does it have to do with an energy flow?
Melendez: Absolutely. Everything is energy. If you take the human body, we're a ball of energy. So how energy flows or does not flow will either help us get what we want.
Moderator: How can I incorporate Feng Shui into my business?
Melendez: One of the things I see a lot in business is people wanting to become more successful, or people wanting to have more not be so stressed out all the time. A lot of the times, businesses or offices are very cluttered... there are piles of papers everywhere. Broken clocks or those that don't even work... calendars on the wrong month... looking at from an energetic standpoint, there's so much stuff around that there's nowhere to go. Oftentimes, people feel bogged down because when they look at their walls in their office, all of them are covered with posters and pictures... grid sheets, so when you look up, your mind has nowhere to go because every space on the wall is taken.
Moderator: How did you get into Feng Shui?
Melendez: I got involved in it because I used to sell real estate in Manhattan Beach for 5 years. One of my clients at the time said something about Feng Shui, and at the time, they were moving to California from Indonesia. I said I had no idea what that was, and I started looking into it. And since I went into a lot of houses, I had the opportunity to really look into it.
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Melendez: I started studying with a master about 4 years ago.
Moderator: Can feng shui be divided up into good and bad?
Melendez: I don't like to say good and bad. In life, there's a balance. Hot-cold. Good-not so good. Black-white. Nothing is ever just good and nothing is ever just bad. In any space, there's better energy than other spaces, but doesn't necessarily mean that one of them is horrible.
Moderator: What are some benefits of practicing Feng Shui?
Melendez: The reason for me I got into it, is because I was in a career that was very triple type-A oriented, and one day, I realized there had to be more to this. At that point, I didn't know any tools to find balance in my life. So I started with my space. And once my space got more balanced, and even more I went to work everyday and get crazed, I could come home and my space would stop me. That's how I started to feel -- I had to live and feel the effects of balance, and it just went from there. I felt how powerful it was, and saw myself transform.
tuesday1_WebMD why is red such a prominent color in Chinese decoration and interior design?
Melendez: Red is considered in the Chinese culture as an auspicious color. On a vibrational level, it has a very powerful movement-type energy. It's considered to be extremely auspicious... so when red is placed in the right area in a home, it creates that fire energy... that upward powerful force of energy.
Moderator: Are there different types of Feng Shui? What is the easiest approach for Westerners to follow?
Melendez: There are several different types of Feng Shui. The first and original is the Form School. What that really does is take a look at the outside landscape, and really takes into consideration the shape and size, and looks at water courses and mountains, the four directions, and a lot of it has to do with landscape. The next type of Feng Shui is the Chinese Compass School Feng Shui, and that's what I practice. That's based on the 8 trigrams, and I Ching, and that's based on a scientific formulaic approach to Feng Shui. Most people say its about 3,000 years old. The newest form of Feng Shui, which is very popular in the West, is the Black Hat. That's been popular in America since 1986; its a more spiritual approach to Feng Shui. Its very popular here in the West, and it also has reference to the 8 trigrams as well. It was developed by a Thomas Lin Yun, and it takes that in any space, there's a career corner, wealth corner, that kind of thing. That would probably be the easiest form of it. And then there's Intuitive Feng Shui. Intuitive is what we all have; we all know when we listen to our intuition what feels right for us and what doesn't.
Moderator: What are trigrams?
Melendez: In western astrology, we break up things by the Zodiac signs, 12 of them. In Feng Shui, it's broken up by 8 trigrams. The north is associated with a color and it's associated with a member of the family, and there's different associations for different magnetic directions. The 8 trigrams have to do with 8 different magnetic directions.
Moderator: Could you please describe the Bagua map, and how it relates to different areas of one's life?
Melendez: For example, the south is associated with fame and recognition, and the southwest is associated with marriage, and the west is associated with children, and the northwest is associated with mentors and networking, and the north is career, and the northeast is education and knowledge, east is family and health, and southeast is wealth and prosperity. So that's basically what each direction resembles according to the Bagua.
Moderator: What do you practice?
Melendez: I practice the Compass School, which is more mathematically... based on over 200 energies that exist, and depending on when a house or building was built, and how it faces, the energy within that building is one of those 200. I'm not saying that the Black school is not powerful as well, and I believe the two schools can be used together, because both have good information.
tuesday1_WebMD One of the problems that I have with feng shui is that it presents an "absolute" about what is thought to be good or desirable way to live. From living with my husband I have discovered that he really likes clutter and that it makes him feel secure to have his things all around him. Clutter, to the extreme that he likes, would be thought to stagnate the energy. Comments?
Melendez: First of all, great question. There are no absolutes in Feng Shui. Because there is no one way in Feng Shui to do something. There are only suggestions. A clutter is something that's very personal-type issue to many people, and being someone who was a complete clutter person, I completely understand where you're coming from. The more things you have around you, there's not as much air that can circulate within a space. There's two different rooms; one room that has a lot of stuff in it, and one room that doesn't have a lot of stuff in it. One person walking into those two rooms would feel drastically different. I'm not saying that clutter isn't good for your husband, because if that's where he's at and feels comfortable, then that's where he is. But what clutter is, a lot of the times is just things and items. The more things your release that you no longer need, energetically that releases something in your body as well. It's interesting because even if you go to a closet in your house, and you go through it, and the emotional thing of taking out clothes you never wore in 3 years, or saving clothes that you wore when you were a size 4, it's like you're living in the past. When you remove those items from your space that you no longer use, and give them away or sell them, when they leave your house, you energetically will feel different. And that's only from a closet, but its a start. The whole thing is, that a person has to be ready, because that's a big energy shift. You have to live it, and you have to do it to now ... you can read books all day long, but until you actually live it and do it and feel it for yourself, you will never know the power of it. And if it doesn't work for you, you can add more clutter to your house.
tuesday1_WebMD It certainly stagnated mine!! I would like him to release many of his books and CDs. Is there any way to set him up to do this ... naturally? Like, by slowly changing some things in our common environment?
Melendez: Absolutely. I love books, but they hold a lot of energy. Books have a lot of information, and if they're in the bedroom, they're really a strong source of energy in the bedroom. But the best way to do it is to get three boxes, or two boxes... look at all your books, and if they're novels or books you read once that you will never read again, donate those to your favorite charity or library. And then the books that are research books or who you are, keep them on the shelf. And then there's the books where... you don't really know if you like it, or if you're not sure to get rid of it... that goes into the "I'm thinking of it" box. And you put that box into your garage or somewhere in your house and put it away, and when you go back to that box in 3 or 4 months, those books will not have as much attachment to you. Because you've now lived a little bit without them. Books are information sources, so the more books... I always look at it as if it's helping me, or if I can give it away to someone who it'll inspire. Because I already have the information. So now I can let it go to let someone else to get the gift. But if it's a reference book or collector's item, then keep it. But if you look at books like that, and the purpose of education, its easier to release it to others.
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tuesday1_WebMD Some traditions utilize the directions based on the front entrance rather than the actual North / South orientation. What do you think of this?
Melendez: I studied with two masters, one from Hong Kong and one from Malaysia, and both have different philosophies. I believe strongly in the magnetic direction and being in alignment with them based upon when you were born.
Moderator: How does my date of birth have any affect on my personal Feng Shui?
Melendez: It's based more upon the year of birth. Depending upon what year you were born, and if it's after February 5th... what happens is that each person is given 4 magnetic directions that are very good for them. And why this is so important and needs to be benefited by everyone in the world, from a little infant to a 100 year old person... what happens is that when you sleep in your best magnetic direction, you get a restful night's sleep because you are in alignment with the earth for your personal self. It's one of the easiest [ways] to get over insomnia, and sleeping disorders. Its a vehicle. When we're facing our best magnetic direction, our energy is higher, our memory retention is stronger, we're more active, we're more magnetically on, because we're in alignment with the earth.
Moderator: How do you find out what your best magnetic directions?
Melendez: There's many books on the market that have the chart in them. It's just a chart, and it'll say if you're born this year, these are your best magnetic directions.
Moderator: What type of Feng Shui do you practice?
Melendez: Its called The Compass School.
Moderator: What does a Feng Shui Consultant do?
Melendez: Feng Shui consultants, depending on what they specialize in... but what most do is they come in, and hopefully assist the person in balancing out the environment. What I've noticed is that when I go to somebody's business, its easier than the home... because they're more attached to their home space. So when we're very close to something, it's hard for us to see it. Sometimes its nice to bring in a third party to make suggestions or bring up something from another perspective that can be looked at to enhance a space.
Melendez: A consultant has been trained to look for several things. Feng Shui is like an artichoke, and there are many layers to it. There's no black and white, there are many rules and this and that. It's never just one way and the only way;
tuesday1_WebMD Really my questions pertains to how I can change my husband's, uh, tendencies toward retaining every type of item that ever comes into the house. Can I create certain areas of the house that are more streamlined so that will inspire him to have other areas that are clear, too? We get along so famously except for our different aesthetics as they relate to "stuff".
Melendez: Number one, its always hard to change somebody else. What I would suggest is at some point, you need to make a space in your house for yourself. And you need to be able to respect that he has a way that he's living, which is making him comfortable at this point, but you also have to have a space in the bedroom, or in the house, that gets to resemble who you are as well. So both people feel that they're being honored. Because if you go and take everything away and say this is how we have to do it, then you might not be able to get the results that you're looking for because of the resentment. And people's spaces are very sacred to them, so it's a delicate matter. The more you start living what you believe in, and you see that there's some validity in it... and see positive changes in yourself, you can ask him to try if some items can be removed from the bedroom, just to see how it feels. But make suggestions as a team. Suggest taking some things out from a certain space, just to see how it feels like. At the end of the day, it's all about things... and how many things you have to have attached to you.
tuesday1_WebMD We live in a small two bedroom apartment. One room is the study and the other the actual bedroom, technically.
Melendez: If there's a lot of clutter in the bedroom, that will affect many things. It will affect sleep, relationships, it could potentially affect health, so if there's a lot of clutter in the bedroom, that would be something that needs to be addressed. It affects all these things because the bedroom is the one room we go to re-feel our body, and that's where we sleep. And if we can't go into our bedroom and feel harmony, tranquility, and restful... we can't re-fuel the body. A lot of times, people have so much stuff on their headboards and nightstands next to their bed, all these electromagnetics with a TV... there's all kinds of stuff. Sometimes there's workout equipment in the room. That's not conducive for coming home and to bed. The bedroom is where we go to re-fuel our body, and we need to program our mind so that when we go into the bedroom, we go to sleep. If we go into the bedroom and watch TV and read all night, your mind isn't in the mindset to go to sleep when you enter the bedroom.
Moderator: So you recommend not reading in bed?
Melendez: That's a hard one -- I wish I could get out of that personally, but I do that, too. I have found that if you read in another room and go to bed, you'll get to bed a lot quicker because you've programmed your mind that when you get into the bedroom, it's about sleep. It's a good one to do if you can. Research has shown that people that watch TV right before bed have a higher rate of depression. What happens is when you turn off the TV set, there's electromagnetic energy coming out of the TV set even when its off. Mirrors in the bedroom also affect sleep. They're too active for the bedroom.
Moderator: Wouldn't you need mirrors in the bedroom for dressing, etc.?
Melendez: In most of the architecture we have here in the West, oftentimes the bathroom is adjoined to the bedroom, or a lot of times people have these mirrored closets, and those are people that have the biggest amount of insomnia because they can't get to bed. Energy comes in and, although it's invisible, it beams off the mirrors and starts circulating through the room. Once again, you have to live it. When I first started studying Feng Shui, I didn't know if I believed in the mirrors. I took them all out of my bedroom because I wanted to see if it was true, and I noticed that I did sleep better when all the mirrors were out of the bedroom. I feel so much better not having it there. A lot of the stuff that comes out, you have to live it and try it, because if you never try it, you'll never know if it'll work for you. Some information will resonate, but at least try it.
tuesday1_WebMD I have successfully banned the TV from the bedroom, but we are still living amongst boxes from when we moved in 9 months ago.
Melendez: First of all, until you and your husband unpack the boxes... what you're trying to do is create a home and roots. Every night you go to bed, it's like you still haven't completed moving in yet. In the back of your mind, you're still thinking of the boxes and how you still have to unpack. Until you unpack, you probably won't fully feel that you have a new space, and that you own the space. So it's really important; I suggest ... even though you're moving into your space, try to get them out of the bedroom and into the living room, so you're forced to go through it. Not dealing with it doesn't make it not go away, and if the boxes haven't been used for 9 months, there's probably stuff that you don't need. Those might be some items to let go of.
tuesday1_WebMD If magnetism is related to restful sleep, do you think that sleeping on a magnetic pad is helpful?
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Melendez: It's awesome. I do energy work on people, and there are many clients ranging from professional athletes to people who have major arthritis or ailments. And I know they have magnetic mattresses and pillows.. and the magnets help to balance the body and help to absorb pain. And the magnetic mattress is amazing.
Moderator: Where can I get a magnetic pad?
Melendez: I was at Macy's a while ago, and I know they had magnetic items there... but I don't know if they had a magnetic pad. But they have magnetic pillows and things like that, so I'm sure they have access to it.
tuesday1_WebMD My husband tells me that when he was single he lived with boxes and newspapers for almost a year. So he is improving. Slooowly. He is just a packrat. Or dysfunctional when it comes to "stuff'.
Melendez: First of all, he's not single anymore. What happens is that when he's looking at those boxes, he remembers that's how he used to be when he was single. So I suggest getting rid of the boxes, because when he's in a marriage and committed relationship like now, he's not a bachelor anymore and sharing his space with somebody else. In this area, you might need to be the one that has the encouragement type energy... you might need to assist him with "hey, can we put this in a box of 'let's think about' and put it in the garage downstairs?" You might need to take the initiative there.
tuesday1_WebMD We don't unpack because we are too tired at the end of the day, and too busy on weekends. And because I am the only one who cares about unpacking.
Melendez: This is the whole thing about life -- it all comes to priorities. For me personally, when my home is not in order, everything in my life is chaos. Because our house and space is a mirror of who we are. I haven't seen too many people with chaotic homes and a lot of stuff, be really organized and completely together outside of that... because you're living two worlds. You have to start somewhere, and usually our home is our root and the base of where we come to feel safe and regenerate ourselves. And if our space doesn't feel comfortable and right, how can we get to the next level of where we want to be? You have to get your roots and base ground situated before you can get to the next step. So I realize that this takes a lot of time, and I understand that completely. But it'll be the best time you can spend... even if you take one night a week to address it. You'll be able to make a lot of strides, you'll feel so good.
tuesday1_WebMD Thank you. You are definitely on the no junk camp. There is a strong 'junk is good" camp in my household.
Moderator: If I have a door in my relationships area, will I have trouble with men who cheat or will want to leave? How can I remedy this situation?
Melendez: Folklore says that if you're a woman and you have a mirror in your bedroom, there's a high likelihood that a third party will enter the relationship. A lot of people ask if their mate is cheating on them... and one of the biggest things is that most of the people who ask this have a lot of mirrors in their bedroom.
tuesday1_WebMD I think I just need a maid! Someone neutral that will just do it. Sorry to highjack your feng shui discussion with my packrattiness.
Melendez: Once again, organized clutter or sloppy clutter is still clutter. The stuff is still there. What happens is that the more furniture, the more things that's in a room, then there's not enough space for movement of energy and air to circulate through the room. You have to have open space, so there's movement.
Moderator: How can I help boost my love life within the parameters of Feng Shui?
Melendez: Number one thing is... whether it's men or women, when looking for a relationship... sometimes you need to program your space for love. Good things to do are -- make sure all the pictures in your house have two people in them. Things that symbolize love to you should be around your house. Rose quartz is great to have around, because its the stone of love. And remember, crystals come from the earth... they make up the crust of our earth. They're powerful energy sources when used in positive ways, and rose quartz helps you love yourself so you can have somebody else bring love into your life. You have to be able to love yourself first, and heal your own heart, before you can let somebody else into your heart. Rose quartz is something to wear on your body or have in your space. And also if you're looking for a new relationship or you're recently divorced, the person who gets to keep the mattress in the deal is the one who takes the longest to heal. When two people divorce, it's better to get a brand new bed... because the person sleeping on the bed you've used for all those years together will have those memories still.
Moderator: Where should I place my bed? If its headboard is facing North and the door is in the southeast corner, is this OK, or is it in the "death position?" It is just out of the flow of chi from the entrance to the bedroom...
Melendez: To answer that one, I need to know when you were born ... and if you're a man or woman.
Moderator: How exactly does Feng Shui affect one's health? Can you describe a good way to boost one's health?
Melendez: Sometimes there's energy in the bedroom that has sickness in it. In general, if somebody finds that -- this is a very generalized statement right now -- In general, if someone finds that they're getting sick a lot, try adding metal in the bedroom... whether in metal weights... at least 100 pounds, because metal absorbs unwanted energy. See if that makes a difference. When there's unhealthy energy and lots of clutter in the room, it keeps the unhealthy energy in the room. Clutter will clog bad energy and good energy. If you have abundant prosperity in the bedroom... then you're soaking it all up. Because there's no room for the energy within the room to circulate, and all the clutter is clogging it. So you're clogging your own prosperity. So clutter could actually enhance sickness in a room because it clogs it in, and it can also stop or slow down good energy because it has nowhere to move.
Moderator: A friend told me that he had a Feng Shui practitioner come to his house who told him that the southeast corner of his lot was the marriage and family corner. He has read two books, which says the wealth corner is the southeast corner. Mr. Lee wants to know if things can be that different between practitioners? Shouldn't there be standard in which point of the compass corresponds to which subject?
Melendez: The southeast is marriage and family, but if he had a compass reading, that could be very well true... because that's more specific and the good relationship corner. Its just like an attorney; you can have information... five attorneys can look at the same information and come up with a different analogy. Everyone can look at a situation differently. There should be standardized and depending on the school, there is standardized information... but everyone can analyze something differently.
Moderator: I read somewhere that exposed beams can be detrimental, especially in the bedroom above a bed, how can I resolve this in my home?
Melendez: The best thing with a beam, is that you want to be going in the same direction as the beam. So if your bed is underneath, it's better to be in the same direction. And if you can, sleep between the beams... because wherever the beam resides, that's the part of your body that will have pressure on it.
Moderator: How can I can find out about the effects of colors chosen for rooms? Specifically, if someone plans to paint their kitchen. If you would like something light and cheery?
Melendez: There's a lot of great books on color and color vibration, because color is huge.
Melendez: In Feng Shui, there are suggestions of colors... but it's not about saying you have to do this or that. At the end of the day, its about what makes you feel good. Feng Shui is just principles and suggestions of what many years of practice have come up to. But if it doesn't feel good to you, then is it good Feng Shui? No. You are in control of your own destiny; these are just tools of what you can do to play around with it, but you still are the master of your life. You make your own decisions.
Moderator: There are so many restaurants that use aquariums. Do they bring prosperity to businesses? How can I utilize this benefit in my workspace?
Melendez: Water brings money. So anybody that's interested... Donald Trump and all his casinos and hotels, when you see water, it's been strategically placed because water brings money. Most of those hotels in Vegas have been Feng Shui'ed.
Moderator: What kind of clients do you have? Is it a cross section?
Melendez: Most of my clients are either in the medical industry; I deal with a lot of people in the entertainment industry. Architects. I deal with the gamut all over the place.
Moderator: Does Feng Shui require a lot of work and how can someone make changes inexpensively?
Melendez: The best way to do it is to walk into each room of your house and take a look at it... and say, "Is this who I am? Does it resemble who I am?" And if it does, then great. But if it doesn't, then move things around. Re-hang pictures in other rooms. Change your vibe and perspective.
Moderator: Is it true that if you have a stairway directly lined up with your front door you should place a chime above the front door so that it activates upon opening to get the "Qi" (chi) moving correctly?
Melendez: That's one way of doing it, yes. People put chimes so energy will start circulating through the house.
Moderator: How can one find out about more your services?
Melendez: They can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Moderator: Thank you very much for joining us, Heather. Please join us every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST here in the Spa Auditorium. Next week, we will discuss "The Gentle Are of Pampering" in a special audiocast with "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" host Robin Leach.
Melendez: Thank you.
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