The Feng Shui Consultant of the Month
Interview with Edel Cleary
The Feng Shui Consultant of the Month
Interview with Edel Cleary
An interview with Edel Cleary. Based in Dublin in Ireland, Edel has been working as an interior designer and feng shui practitioner since 1997. A graduate of the Dublin Institute of Design, and of the professional practitioners training of the Feng Shui Network International, Edel provides feng shui design consultations nationwide. Her expertise includes both classical and modern feng shui modalities, her commitment to continuous professional development in all areas of feng shui design is a life-long pursuit.
1. How do you describe feng shui to someone with no previous knowledge? Please finish this sentence: ‘Proponents of feng shui believe that ….” the application of feng shui to our living and working spaces creates a sense of dynamic balance and flow of energy through all areas of our spaces and into all areas of our lives. The resulting energetic improvement creates a space in which our personal energy and the energy of our life is supported.
2. In your opinion, what relevance does feng shui have in the modern western world?
In my opinion, feng shui has even more relevance for us in our modern world. In years gone by we spent the majority of our time outdoors, in nature, only coming inside for shelter and to sleep. Nowadays, this has largely reversed, we spend the majority of our time indoors and very little time, proportionately outdoors. Therefore the quality of the energy within our built environment and its impact on us is of much greater relevance than ever before.
Our homes and workplaces are living breathing spaces, an extension of our own energy, we are constantly in relationship with them. Feng shui provides a framework to “read” the energy of our spaces and our own energy and work to integrate and balance both for the good of all concerned. Modern feng shui consultations also often take into account the environmental stressors in our modern built environments such as geopathic stress, electromagnetic pollution and chemical pollution which also impacts greatly on our health and wellbeing.
If we agree we are in a relationship with the spaces we occupy, why not investigate ways to improve that relationship? Its simple common sense.
3. How did you get into feng shui? Where and how did you learn feng shui?
In the mid-1990’s having worked as a complementary health therapist for more than a decade, I recognised the impact environment has on our health and a general sense of well being. I went back to college gain a qualification in interior design and whilst there we had a visiting lecturer (Gina Lazenby, founder of the feng shui network international) on the subject of feng shui and I instantly knew that this was the “missing link” between our personal sense of wellbeing and our interaction with our environment.
In the course of the next four years, while undertaking my professional qualification in interior design for domestic and commercial interiors, I undertook the professional training program with the feng shui network international. This incorporated input from a variety of teachers with skills in different aspects of feng shui including classical and intuitive feng shui, Chinese and Japanese astrology, divination, dowsing, earth acupuncture, energy sensitivity, feng shui basics on room layouts and house shapes, feng shui for business, energetics of food, diagnosis skills, psychic development, bau Biologie, space clearing, geomantic knowledge and interpretation of topography. Our training included both classroom and practical onsite days in both domestic and commercial venues.
Once qualified with the feng shui network, I joined the feng shui society as a professional consultant member and have continued my studies with a variety of teachers in a wide variety of modalities ever since. In my view, we are never finished learning, there are so many approaches and tangents to this wonderful subject that the possibilities for further development are endless.
4. Why typically do people come to you for feng shui advice?
People come to me for advice for a variety of reasons. Most feel the need for a deeper connection to their living and working spaces. Often clients will report that although they may have lived or worked in a building for a number of years, they do not feel a sense of “belonging” or support from their environment.
Others still are experiencing a sense of “stuck-ness” or an inability to thrive on many levels and feel that the missing piece is their connection to or disconnect from, their environment and its impact on their everyday lives.
Many clients will call me in when renovating as they benefit from both my interior design experience married with my feng shui expertise and wish to integrate the two in order to create a balanced, dynamic and uplifting space to support their lives going forward.
5. What are your specific ethics in terms of working with feng shui clients? What are your key professional values for feng shui?
My ethics of working with feng shui clients is to always respect my clients’ privacy, acknowledge their own background and cultural belief system and to explain how feng shui can be integrated into their environment in such a way that it reflects and supports their own energy. Compassion, listening, care and close attention to my clients’ particular needs is key. Understanding their desired outcome and individual requirements informs the approach undertaken in each consultation. Each consultation is tailored to the clients’ individual needs.
The key professional values for feng shui are integrity, honesty, clarity, and empowerment. Education and encouragement in the application of feng shui to their individual space so that they have a clear understanding of why the recommendations made are pertinent and relevant in their individual case, is key to their achieving their goals with the application of feng shui to their space, in my experience.
6. What has been your most challenging feng shui job and why? What did you learn from it?
Often the most challenging aspect of a feng shui consultation can be when the client has read conflicting advice from a variety of sources; generally online articles of nebulous provenance.
There is a “fear based” approach to feng shui in some online articles which people find worrying and which immobilises them for fear of “doing it wrong”.
People can often get fixated on one tiny aspect of feng shui and lose sight of the big picture. Once I have clearly explained the under-pining fundamentals of feng shui and how best to apply them to the clients individual space for their particular energy at this time, I find people relax into it and begin to enjoy the process.
What I have learned from working with clients in the past 20 years is to first listen to where they are in their knowledge of feng shui, understand what it is they are trying to achieve and then clearly explain my recommendations and why they are particularly relevant to them at this time.
7. Describe a feng shui project that you found particularly interesting or rewarding.
I worked with a community project early on in my practice. It involved the conservation and renovation of a watermill and adjacent buildings and its conversion into a working museum, craft spaces for local artisans, coffee shop and community space.
I worked with the then manager while it was in its early development and planning stages. It was interesting to design ways to repurpose this very old building so that it still retained its clear identity but also became a workable and inviting space in which to work and thrive for all concerned. I have watched it grow and develop over the years into a thriving hub for the community at large; a very rewarding project to observe in its evolution.
I have also worked with a nursing home in the redecoration of their bedrooms and communal spaces, specifically with their dementia unit. A project very close to my heart. It was important to use colours, imagery and demarcate spaces to create an environment that felt calm, reassuring and homely for the residents. With a disease that afflicts people’s memories and sense of self, providing a living space that they “recognise” on some level as being a place they “belong” is crucial. Colour, imagery, layout, scent, etc all play an important role in creating atmosphere and giving a space a personality that is recognisable as comforting and enjoyable to occupy.
8. What aspect of feng shui are you most passionate about?
I am most passionate about creating a deep sense of “belonging” for my clients. A deep and personal energetic connection between people and places so that both are acknowledged as being part of a supportive, symbiotic relationship.
9. In terms of your feng shui consultations and/or teaching, what is your USP (Unique Selling Point)?
I provide holistic feng shui design consultations, taking in every aspect of a space, its feng shui, its history, its decoration and design and the clients own energy signature. Looking at how best to integrate person and place for the good of all concerned is the goal. I employ all of the tools at my disposal i.e.
My feng shui training; reading the energy of the space, understanding the personal energy signature of the client and creating a dynamic balance of the energy of person and place over time; my interior design training; to ensure that the spaces work on an ergonomic and practical level taking into account the quality and availability of light, aspect and proportions of each space, material finishes, colour etc; my complementary health training: including healthy homes, aromatherapy to cleanse and improve atmospheres etc.
Essentially, I integrate all of these modalities into my consultations seamlessly so that the recommendations made have a many layered approach, the end result of which provides living and working spaces in which my clients feel they belong and can thrive on every level.
10. What direction is your feng shui work currently taking you? What lies ahead?
I was recently awarded the prize of a self-publishing package at the Hay house writers workshop in Dublin, for my book proposal “Connecting with your home, a blueprint for belonging” which I am currently editing, for publication in the coming 12 months.
My passion is empowering people to deeply connect with their environment at home and at work, teasing apart which elements within a space may be stressful and creating stumbling blocks (physically and energetically) and which elements can be maximised to improve the overall dynamic of the space for the good of all concerned.
I run foundation level workshops on feng shui to this end and give corporate talks and community information evenings to encourage others to investigate these connections for themselves.
11. What advice would you give to a new feng shui enthusiast?
Never lose your sense of curiosity. There are many many approaches to this wonderful subject, investigate as many as you can, delve deeply and look widely at this vast world of feng shui. Study with many tutors so that you find the style and approach to feng shui which resonates personally with you.There are also many supportive modalities which involve information which is ever more relevant in todays busy technology-driven world.
Keep an open mind, there is always more to learn!
More info:- www.fengshuidesign.ie
Read more about Edel Cleary as FSS Consultant here