When Lydia Griffith first arrives at a home, she is looking for more than an address. Griffith is a certified feng shui consultant, and her trained eye takes in many elements at once. How the home is positioned on the street, if it's in a cul-de-sac (a modern American invention that pools negative energy), the direction in which the yard slopes, the presence of high-voltage power lines and whether the house sits higher or lower than neighboring houses are but a few factors in the overall equation.
When asked to "feng shui" a home, in addition to evaluating the physical space, Griffith draws up Chinese astrological charts for each occupant. "You are trying to create a marriage between the people and the home," she explains. "Basically, the whole point of feng shui is to live in harmony with nature and to set up your home to flow with that energy."
Griffith's interest in feng shui was sparked when she picked up one of the many available books about this ancient Chinese custom. "It resonated with me; it just made sense," she says. But when she read another feng shui book following the Black Hat custom, or the Americanized model, she found much of the information contradictory. "I wanted to learn the traditional ancient Chinese philosophy directly from the source, so that's what I did."
In the spring of 2002, after studying with both Master Paul Yan and Master Peter Leung for four months, Griffith received her certification. Since then, using a ba gua, or octagon-shaped map detailing energetic qualities based on the home's floor plan, Griffith has served over 100 people around the country, some of them through long-distance consultations by phone or e-mail.
Freelance journalist Liz Finnegan consulted Griffith when she and her family in Long Island, New York, were adding an extension onto their home. Finnegan's husband was suddenly diagnosed with lymphoma, and her sons started to have difficulties at school. "During our renovations, there was a significant amount of clutter in our life, which disturbed the flow of positive energy, or chi, in our home," says Finnegan. "Once that was cleared, allowing chi to flow properly and even adding a different color rug -- though that suggestion initially seemed strange the whole feel of the room changed. It seemed to cure what ailed the house by clearing the air. Following Lydia's good advice, which is always given with compassion, has greatly enhanced our lives in a very positive way."
Typically, changes are subtle: shifts in the position of furniture, rearranging artwork or replacing wood with metal. Occasionally, however, a major overhaul is required. Griffiths has even advised clients to move out and to move out fast.
"Sometimes a person's health is severely affected by what's going on with the home or some part of their life is in a really horrendous state," she says. "Each direction is associated with a different element as well as different parts of the anatomy and aspects of your life, such as health, prosperity, career and marriage." When the house is not in harmony with the environment, problems arise.
The spring, Griffith says, is an excellent time to clear the energy of your home by opening windows and changing air filters. "Live plants, especially peace lilies, are really good for absorbing toxic energy," she says. "This is a great time of year to plant seeds and put flowers in window boxes. Try to bring nature into your home."
Lydia Griffith, also the owner of Just Be Yoga at 2219 West Main St., can be contacted at www.kharmakhameleon.com or by calling 678-8568.