Ep #125: How Feng Shui Can Change Your Life with Kate MacKinnon

How Feng Shui Can Change Your Life with Kate MacKinnon

You may have heard of Feng Shui, but what do you actually know about it? Feng Shui literally translates to wind-water in English and is all about bringing good energy into your space. The idea is that you can create a balance of flow in your home which, in turn, creates peace. It may seem a little woo woo, but if you’re open to the idea of considering how your home or space might be stopping you from having everything you want, you’ll love this episode!

Certified Feng Shui Practitioner Kate MacKinnon joins me on the podcast this week to tell us how to bring the transformative power of Feng Shui to our homes and explain why the spaces we inhabit should align with what we want in life. She’s here to express why good home design has good Feng Shui, and how we can all use energy to create a more peaceful home.

Tune in this week with an open mind to consider the ways your current environment may be affecting you and how you can apply the principles of Feng Shui to create a more clutter-free, organized home. Discover the science behind energy, and why clearing out what you don’t need and only keeping what you do can create space for more health, wealth, and abundance in your life. If you want to know how to use energy to attract great things, you won’t want to miss this episode!

If you want to keep this conversation going, you have to join my free Design You Podcast community on Facebook. We have great conversations over there about the podcast episodes and our podcast guests are in there too! So head on over and I’ll see you there! 

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • The principles of Feng Shui and how you can benefit from it.
  • How to create an environment that supports you.
  • Some simple tips to incorporate Feng Shui into your home.
  • Why you don’t have to understand Feng Shui to benefit from it.
  • The importance of getting rid of things that no longer serve you.
  • How you might be blocking great things from reaching you.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to the Design You podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 125.

Welcome to the Design You podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy. Here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hey everybody. Today we’re talking Feng Shui. Feng Shui, do you even know what Feng Shui is? I bet you’ve heard of it. We’re going to tell you what it is today with my guest Kate MacKinnon. So I loved having Kate on. I have a working knowledge of Feng Shui, it’s very related to the interior design industry, but I am by no means an expert.

And we talk about how to use Feng Shui in your home, in your office, in your space to really create the life that you want. And that might mean the life you want right now today or it might be in using it essentially to manifest or create the life you want in the future. And so there’s so many cool things tied to Feng Shui, if you love this kind of thing, if you like to think this way, and it’s tied to business, and money, and relationships, and health, and so much good stuff.

And if you are open to the idea of considering how your home or your space might be keeping you from everything you want, then you’re going to love this episode with Kate MacKinnon all about Feng Shui. Enjoy.

Tobi: Hey, Kate. Welcome to the Design You podcast. I’m excited to talk about Feng Shui with you today.

Kate: Thank you, Tobi. I’m excited to be here and talk about it with you.

Tobi: Yeah, it’s going to be fun. So what people don’t know is we’ve had three attempts to try to get on – I think, on each other’s schedules, then we had technical difficulties, then we had Covid, then we had – so we’re both extremely happy that this is actually happening right now, right?

Kate: Absolutely. They say three’s a charm and this must be the right time, right?

Tobi: Perfect. I agree. Okay, so let’s just jump right in. Why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about you and how you got to the world of Feng Shui. And then we’re going to get into a little bit about what it actually is to make sure people fully understand that. And then we’ll talk about how you’re using it, I think, which is very appropriate for where we are right now in the world. So first start with your story and tell everybody a little bit about you.

Kate: Okay, great. Well, thank you. Yeah, so I have a background in corporate. I was actually a Vice President of JPMorgan Chase for over 30 years, both as an employee and as a consultant. And my background, I started – I know a little bit about your background. I always thought that I – I started thinking I was going to be a therapist or a dean, by the way. But I always really was an artist and I just couldn’t figure out how I was going to make my career an artist.

And when I started my career going one direction, I discovered I had this aptitude for technology. And my career became about financial services and technology.

Tobi: Interesting.

Kate: Yeah. So I was in corporate for a long time, but I was always exploring various art things, like I’d explore textiles, I explored weaving and painting on silk, which ultimately brought me to Feng Shui. But I didn’t even know what Feng Shui was, but come – it was in 1999 I was going on a business trip to Hong Kong for the bank, and it was going to be a technology expo. And I was working with a coach at the time and we were always talking about what did I really want to be doing if I wasn’t doing my work?

And she asked me this question, she said, “When you were seven years old, what did you think about when you went to sleep at night?” And I said, “About rearranging people’s homes and buying furniture for my best friend’s doll house.” And she said, “Have you ever heard of Feng Shui?” And I said, “No.” She goes, “Well, when you go to Hong Kong, I suggest you go on a bus tour of Hong Kong and they might even have a Feng Shui bus tour.” And she said, “Explore Feng Shui in Hong Kong.”

So I did that and it was interesting because there is a bus tour, and a part of it was Feng Shui and they did talk about the buildings. And we went to a place called Island of Kowloon, Repulse Bay, which has one of the best examples of really an area that is Feng Shui city with full light, water, food, protection, and I just got it.

Tobi: Awesome. Okay, so tell us about that, tell us what is Feng Shui and what is there to get about Feng Shui that most people don’t get? Because I think people are like, “I don’t know, it’s like this kind of eastern thing and you move some things around. And there’s maybe something about money.” But I don’t know if they even know what it is from there, right?

Kate: Right, right. No, that’s been my experience too. So Feng Shui, what it literally means Feng Shui in Chinese means wind-water. And if you think about the two most basic elements of life, wind being air and water, we can’t live without either of them. Wind-water stands for life force or chi energy. So Feng Shui at the most elemental level is about bringing good energy into your space. And space can be your home, it can be your office, it can be your garden, it can be a lot of things.

But it’s about creating and balancing energy and flow in your home. And what that does is create harmony and peace. So that’s at the most fundamental level what Feng Shui is.

Tobi: Okay, interesting. So what about – and this may be too big of a question or too big of a topic, but what about the people who are like, “That sounds way too woo woo for me, or it feels like it’s against my religion or should be. I don’t know about this energy thing.” There’s a lot of people that I think would be skeptical. You and I are not, but there’s a lot of people I think that would be skeptical when they hear some of these descriptions of what you’re talking about. So what’s your response to that?

And like a basic level, do you have to buy into that whole concept of the kind of the deeper more woo version of Feng Shui to benefit from the practice of Feng Shui?

Kate: No. So that’s a great question because people can’t see me, they don’t know me. But I come from a very corporate background. I’m very, on many levels, very practical. And so my job is I read the energy, I understand. But when people come to me they don’t have to believe it, they don’t have to understand it. But when they come to me they understand there’s something they want to change, but they don’t know what it is.

Tobi: Right. Like something’s wrong kind of in my space or with my body or my health, or something, something is happening, right?

Kate: Exactly. So people come and very often they’ve tried various things and they say, “I think it might be my home. I think there’s something going on here.” They call me, and so what I do is in talking with people, I’m much more interested in finding out, well, what is going on? What is it they want? If they want a career change, I’ve had people come and say, “I’m trying to get pregnant, can it help?” “I have health issues, I’m trying to find the love of my life.” I mean there is a lot of things that come out.

Tobi: Make more money.

Kate: Make more money, live my vision, do what you did, transition careers. I mean it really – so at that level we’re talking about their life level. And what we do is, I always say, this is not woo woo by the way. But I always say that, “The choices we make in our external life are a reflection of what’s going on internally.” So when I’m working with someone’s external space and we’re adjusting energy and going through and making Feng Shui corrections, their internal thing is shifting in them; it’s a very inside outside experience.

I call it acupuncture of the home, or acupuncture of the soul. So as we’re adjusting it and people have that experience, I mean they really feel that transition because it’s not just the house, it’s who you are in your space, the choices you have made. And what we’re doing is addressing the space to support you and align what it is that you want in your life. And that actually is very practical, we’re moving things and we’re removing things. And people have a lot of blocked energy a lot of times, there’s clutter.

And I always say to people, “Tell me where you don’t go in your home,” because that’s the clue. “But tell me what you don’t like in your home.” That’s a clue that there’s something wrong there that’s not right. And we go and we correct it, we adjust it and we get the energy flowing.

Tobi: Yeah. And what I love about what you’re saying, because I definitely buy into it and I’m not afraid of a little woo, I like some woo. But even with what you’re saying, I mean energy is science, it’s not a made up construct or anything weird, it’s actually science. And then even just thinking about whether it’s a placebo effect or not, when you open up space or you get more organized. Or you have more sunlight, or you have less clutter, all of those things we can envision even just in our mind, how they impact our energy, they support it or they drain it or whatever.

So like you’re saying, I love to break it down even almost from the standpoint, if you don’t believe more of the eastern kind of approach, even just from a science standpoint it makes a lot of sense, right?

Kate: Yeah. I’m really glad you say it like that because I always say, if I – in another lifetime I would be a quantum physicist because I understand energy on a scientific level, however, I feel it. And it surrounds us, it’s everywhere. And the thing that I usually do when I work with people or if I teach a class, I start with having people do an exercise and I have them close their eyes. And I say, “Tell me, you know, think about a place that you’d like to go that feels really good.” And it’s always some place outdoors, it’s never indoors.

And I say, “That’s Feng Shui, that feeling you have is what we’re now going to bring into your home, we’re going to bring into your office, we’re going to bring into the studio. And we’re going to create that space.” Because what we’re doing is creating an environment, first of all, it’s crazy out there. It’s crazy out there, but to have a home where you feel supported, and safe, and [inaudible], that you get restored. It creates peace and health, and reduces stress and it happens at a lot of levels. And people feel that [crosstalk].

Tobi: Right. And you mean it’s crazy out there like out in the world, not just here in coronavirus but just in general. There’s technology, and there’s chaos, and there’s traffic, and there is – I don’t know – smog, or there’s a million things happening out in the world. There is noise, there is all the things. And then the other thing I was thinking about when you were talking is if we do name a space that feels good, if we’re not saying, “It’s when out in nature,” or whatever. If we are naming a space it’s usually like a spa or a hotel or something that has been engineered.

And whether they had a Feng Shui expert or not they still were likely following a lot of these tenets of the elements, and color, and layout, and light, and all of those things that come into play with Feng Shui. We could dissect those spaces and I’m sure we would find very many of the elements of Feng Shui were present in those spaces where we feel our best, right?

Kate: Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. People often say, “I didn’t know I understood Feng Shui.” Because they are bringing those things in, but like you say, some of these other places they go, public places that just feels so good. Generally they have had Feng Shui, but if they haven’t, they’re using some of the principles of it. And as you know good design, I think good design has good Feng Shui, it kind of goes both ways, yeah.

Tobi: Yeah, it’s inherent in it, yeah. So before we get into it, because we’re going to talk about creating an environment that supports you now and also supports you with where you want to go. So it sets you up for your goals or like you said, a transition or a decision. But before we do that, can you just briefly touch on some of the key elements or components of the practice of Feng Shui? Besides the term energy, and getting the energy and the chi right, what is it about?

Because I know there’s a handful of tenets at the very basic level, not for you to teach the whole thing, but just kind of help people understand what you’re looking for and what the principles of Feng Shui are built upon.

Kate: Okay. Yeah, so there’s a couple of principles, as you mentioned, there is the elements, we have a tool called a Bagua, which is a compass. And in that compass there are what we call nine areas of life. And so what we do is overlay that, if we’re looking at a floor plan, if we’re looking at a lot, and how we place that tells us a lot about sort of what’s going on in somebody’s life in terms of their – let’s say if they want wealth and prosperity, in their wealth and prosperity area. What’s going on in their family area, what’s going on in their career area?

And related to each area of life is an element, sort of there’s many levels, but the most basic is there is a color, there is an element. And so when we’re looking at someone’s space I look at it structurally. And Feng Shui is very balanced, so a lot of these sort of newfangled homes with lots of angles and cantilever are not really considered good Feng Shui. They’re looking more for sort of more rectangular or square.

And then in that, balancing sort of where are those areas that water should be? Where are those areas that we should have more plants? And so using that as a guide based on somebody’s floor plan we can start saying, “You want to have more wealth and prosperity. Well, we’re going to adjust the area in the wealth and prosperity area. We’re going to move the desk in the wealth and prosperity area.” And that’s the placement piece.

So there is the Bagua we use, we look at the structure, we look at the elements, we look at what people are looking to enhance in their lives. That’s probably the biggest piece, yeah.

Tobi: Okay. So let’s talk about then, because I know you work with lots of clients and you had some wonderful stories when we were just chatting. But how do you start this process of helping people create an environment that supports them right now? And right now for a lot of us means the fact that there’s a whole bunch of people in the house all of a sudden, or there more often. Or we can’t get maybe out in nature as much possibly.

And then we could take these in two parts, but then how to also be mindful of kind of where you want to go. So if you’re like, well, right now I have three toddlers, but before long I’m going to have three teenagers, how am I thinking about where I want to go?

Kate: So that’s a great question. So there’s really two parts of that.

Tobi: Yeah, start with today, let’s start with meeting us where we are and then we’ll talk about then what we might be mindful of in the future.

Kate: So when we’re looking at where people are, and I’ve been sort of writing a lot about this because I call it embracing being at home, because we’re all at home. And home has been so important, what do we need to do to create that sense of really balance and peace? And we have young kids home and schooling, college kids, more people, extended family and stuff like that. And how do you create the space to make that happen?

So a lot of it was looking at how do you use your space, particularly with people working at home, how do you create workspaces that support people? This is probably the most common thing that people talk about and want to know. It’s like if they’re working at home right now, how do they balance that and being at home? And the thing we talk about most about working, or having wealth and prosperity to support us. So having the proper desk, having the proper position of the desk, where you’re putting it.

We recommend, you know, people like to use bedrooms for their offices. And for Feng Shui that’s not considered good because your bedroom is really about rest and restoration. So at this point, and I just saw it the other day where people were having to use a hallway. And they were having to use a bedroom, try to have a couple of things where if you’re working in your bedroom, have a solid chair, have a solid desk.

And really the most important thing about working and for any desk is people think of looking at the wall. You really should have a wall supporting you and then you looking out. And that creates, first of all, support, literally support your back, you’ve got your back supported and you can see people coming and going, so you’re not going to be surprised. And we call it the commanding position where you’re sitting and you’re able to see everything, you have your back supported and you’re going to be much more relaxed when you’re working.

So if somebody has a bedroom and they don’t have a desk and they’re sitting in a chair, what I always tell them is, “Bring your computer in, you work there, get a table, work at the table if you can. And when you’re done at the end of the day, you’ve got to close it up and put it away. Don’t leave your electronics in the bedroom. Don’t leave your work stuff in the bedroom. The bedroom should really be your bedroom.”

So that’s really important too in terms of – because that’s about – the other big thing about Feng Shui is in terms of health having – your bedroom is where you get rested and restored at the end of the day so you can go back out and be in the day again. So your bedroom is really, really, really important, having a good bedroom without the electronics, without the paper.

Tobi: And I’m very, very guilty of doing the opposite. My favorite thing in the world to do is work from my bed and with my laptop. And we have a television in our room as well. So all non-Feng Shui things, but if that’s the case are there things you can do that counteract or balance? So one thing you’re saying, I could close up my laptop, take it upstairs where I am right now and put it away in the office and leave it there, close it at the end of the day and not take it with me. But if I did decide to work in there for a little while, definitely I can put it away.

But are there other things that you can actually introduce to a space that start to sort of counteract these other choices or is that not a possibility? Do you not get to keep your TV as long as you put plants in there or something, or is there any compromise in Feng Shui?

Kate: That’s such a good question.

Tobi: You’re like, “You’re asking me all the hard things, Tobi, all the hard stuff.”

Kate: Well, no, it’s really funny because when I work with people I always say, “The ideal is,” and then there are a few no, nos. So we really don’t, we don’t recommend TVs in the bedrooms and I’ll tell you this is why. Because it’s really about rest and restoration and intimacy, and so a lot of times people have big TVs and they’re focusing on the TV. And it’s not about taking care of themselves or being, if they have a partner for instance, being together. And also the electromagnetic energy affects your sleep.

So, TVs have electromagnetic energy, your alarm clocks, your computers, your phones. And I will say, Tobi, that I am just as guilty as you are, I did it this morning. I say every once in a while I just want to have my coffee in my bed, bring my computer in, it feels so nice. And I feel – I don’t know, it feels very…

Tobi: Indulgent. Indulgent, yes.

Kate: Yeah, it’s indulgent, that was exactly this morning. I said, “I haven’t done this since so long, it feels so good, I know I’m not supposed to be doing.” But I do it. It’s just not doing it on a regular basis. It’s not like making the place where you work all the time. And so in this time with Covid, that’s been a problem for a lot of people because they have spaces they don’t know where to put people. So what I say is if you have a lot of people working, work at a dining room table. It’s kind of like now when you go to like – I don’t know – some of these…

Tobi: Starbucks or something, yeah.

Kate: Exactly. You go sit at a table, you have a bunch of people sitting at a table, it’s communal. But again, then you want – the big thing is about picking things up and putting them away and not leaving them out. The papers, your equipment and I always say, “Everything has a place and every place has a thing.” Pick a place where you’re going to put it, and put it away.

So the other aspect of this, particularly in these days is what would look like clutter, there’s just so much stuff, it’s important to have places where you put things away and then take them out. And it’s funny, when I worked at corporate, we had to do that by the way, we had to clear our desk. And it was a really good practice, at the end of the day, you work, and I always – the other thing I say to people is, “Don’t bring everything out, but just bring out what you’re working on because otherwise that gets very cluttered too.” Your brain gets overwhelmed.

Tobi: Yeah, that’s good, that’s really, really nice, yeah.

Kate: Yeah. And then when you’re finished, put that away. And I always say I’m guilty of everything I’m talking about. I know how easy it is to do the other. But I also know when I don’t do it, what a difference it makes in terms of my productivity, my focus. I have a project to get done, just focus on that project, otherwise I’m scattered.

Tobi: Clutter is so noisy, and so heavy, and so distract, it’s all the things to me. Right now in this moment my bedroom downstairs, I wasn’t working from there necessarily, but we were gone for the weekend and you know how it’s so easy to not unpack all the bags and put all the things away. And I walked in there yesterday, and I’m very tidy, but occasionally I just get busy and it looks to me like a bomb went off. I have a desk, actually that’s my bedside table and it’s so easy to pile books on there.

And my daughter and I both were just like, “What happened in here?” Because we’re so used to it being tidy and things put away because I know I feel completely different. You’re right; my energy is completely different when that stuff is out than when it’s put away. And when I designed my home this time I made sure I had spaces to put things away. So it’s not a lack of a place for it to be, it’s just kind of getting busy or being lazy, which happens to all of us.

So I think we have to make space in our schedule, in our days and like you said, create a habit around it. But just make some space. And when I notice I’m putting meetings back, to back, to back, to back, to back, which is not great in general. It also impacts my space and kind of my habits as well, right?

Kate: Right. And the thing you’re talking about which I think is really important too just in general, people always bring it up. But to really understand the impact of what we call clutter. And that it’s stuff that stays there or piles up, everything – and this is really important. It goes back to everything is energy and whether we know it or not, energy is like dust on a table or a wall, so things retain energy.

Do you know those papers that are so heavy you can barely pick up because they’re so laden with something, and we just kind of pile them and pile them, and then go, “I can’t go look at that. I can’t go into that corner, I can’t do that thing.” That’s blocked energy, and just in the same way, breathing in air, when we bring fresh energy into our space, those things block our energy, and actually on some level, choke us. And part of that’s what you partly, you feel the part that like shuts down or just feels heavy.

So clutter is a really, really important thing to really, yes, sometimes things get messy, yes, we’ve been traveling and things [crosstalk]. But there’s the stuff that stays, and stays, and stays, and that’s the stuff that a lot of times people don’t realize is really holding them back, or holding them down in a really big way.

Tobi: Yeah, I agree with you. I think it’s such a fascinating phenomenon to me, and one that I try to make sure I don’t practice. But it seems to me that most of the drawers, and cupboards, and closets are used to store things that people don’t actually use. And then all of the things they use are on tops of the tables and in the corner. And it’s so fascinating to me because I’m like, if the stuff that’s in the drawers you haven’t touched in years, either get rid of it or store it somewhere else, that doesn’t make any sense.

And actually use the things in your home, your cupboards, your drawers for the things that you’re actually going to be using. And I think that’s just, that’s so fascinating to me that so many people do the opposite. And even have a belief of, well, if I put that away I’m just going to have to get it back out. Or if I put it away I’ll forget to take my medicine or whatever. And that’s not really true, we can totally train ourselves and set up our homes, which is what you do so that we know right where things are, it’s not a problem. But it creates the kind of energy or chi that we want, right?

Kate: Right, exactly. I mean it’s so funny you say that, I mean I just picture all the times I go into a space and one of the things we do – and I ask lots of questions, it’s part of what I do. Is like, “How do you use this space? Tell me about Tobi in the day and the life of you in your home.”

And we kind of talk about how that flows, and then I’ll look at a kitchen counter that has everybody’s, you know, people do it all the time, they have all their vitamins out. And I say, “Well, how many of those vitamins do you actually take and how often?” “Well, I don’t take them all the time but I just want to remember.” And so we create a system…

Tobi: But you get so used to them sitting there you still don’t remember and you still don’t take them, because they’re just like a fixture, and it’s like the light fixture in there, yeah, interesting.

Kate: Yeah. And so that’s a very really common thing, and we look at closets and we look at a lot of their stuff. And I just helped a woman move her entire life. She went from New Jersey, she was in Utah, went from a house, went to a one bedroom apartment. Everything came with her and it was so amazing, I mean she just finished and it just, it’s a totally different place. But what she did was she picked the things that she really loved. And I always say, “Tell me about this picture, tell me,” because they all have history. Some of them are not such good history.

So there is that too, it’s like why are you keeping something from your ex boyfriend that you had this disastrous break up? And then really that retains energy and then when people let go they go, “That feels so good.” They didn’t even realize that. So for her was a lot of stuff where she ended up giving it away, selling it. People love selling their stuff. And what she ended up were the things that really supported her in this new life now.

Tobi: I love that.

Kate: And it was amazing, yeah.

Tobi: Yeah. And to that point of creating an environment that supports you now, I think that, to connect the dots of what we were just saying. If you have a bunch of things that you aren’t going to use now, then why do you still have them? Is it a rainy day thing? Are you afraid you might need it? You’re having money scarcity that you couldn’t afford to get it again. But yet you hang on to it and you never use it. That is the whole reason to say, “How do I create an environment for right now?”

And you could literally, I’m sure, look at what do I do, like you said, a day in the life, of the things I own what do I regularly use in a week? And we would be shocked to see how few things that actually is wouldn’t we?

Kate: Right, yeah, it’s spot on. We all do it and sometimes it’s like we have blind spots, we can’t see it ourselves. And then as soon as somebody comes in and says, “Why do you do that?” “I don’t know. It’s just been there forever.”

Tobi: Yeah, I’ve been walking by that same thing for seven years and kind of didn’t even notice. And sometimes people even have to walk around something, it’ll be in their path and they’re like, “I don’t know, that’s just always been there.” It’s so funny. Okay, so that’s how to think about right now, a day in the life and what are you using, and how do you want to feel? And maybe even like you said, some specific scenarios you want to create or results you want to create. There are certain things that a Feng Shui expert can help you figure out.

So what about looking into the future, if you’re like, “Well, here’s where I want to go. I want to have a spouse and I don’t have one now.” Or, “I want to make more money.” Or, “I want to move to a different house or a different town.” How do you start thinking about things using Feng Shui to essentially, I guess, it’s kind of to manifest the future that you want, right?

Kate: Yeah. Yeah, it’s such an interesting question because it’s a combination of, really if I could simplify it.

Tobi: Yeah, please.

Kate: Because I do it with people but in finding out what it is that they really want and helping them get clear about what they want. And then look at where maybe it’s not working or they have an office set up that’s not supporting them. And I’m just trying to think of examples where the environment isn’t set up to support them for where they are today.

It goes back to some of what we were talking about. It’s like things are set up, they’ve been a certain way for a long time and now they’re looking to sort of move forward, but can’t do it because they still have stuff from, you know, somebody, I was telling you earlier, a widow, three years. She’s trying to figure out leave one house and move, not just from her current house, but move to another entire location. But she can’t move because she has all this stuff from her old life, old house, and needs help saying, “You can let this go. You don’t like this.”

It’s amazing how many things she goes, “I don’t even like that. I don’t even know why I have it.” I say, “Good, well, we’re going to get rid of this because it no longer serves you, but this is what you want now.” So we’re adjusting stuff in the bedroom that supports her where she is now, we’re suppressing, adjusting things in her office for what she wants to do in her career going forward. People keep a lot of history that they no longer need.

I helped somebody, just an example, who’s a designer, a graphic designer who just kept all this stuff that she just no longer needed. And she was surrounded with her stuff and she had a hard time letting it go. But when she let it go, she’s getting an award this year for her work. She’s getting more clients than she’s ever had and they’re coming in, and coming in. And she’s starting to clear up other parts of her life and other parts of her home.

Tobi: Yeah. I don’t know if this is technically Feng Shui, but one of the things I love so much about – I think it was actually in Marie Kondo’s book, if not, it was in a money mindset book. It may have been in the Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass at Making Money. But it was kind of in the same vein of saying, if you have so much stuff in your house, but you keep not making the money you want or having the abundance you want. And you don’t have any empty drawers or cupboards you’re not making room for more to come in.

And you’re literally blocking more coming to you, because the message of I’ve got more than I can even handle, kind of how could I have more? And that always resonates with me so much to think about that very thing. It’s like we’re saying one thing but we’re doing something entirely different. And I’ve always been a person that loved getting rid of stuff and cleaning out. But that even got my attention more, to think hanging on to this stuff and not having some space in my life is potentially preventing a lot of the abundance I want in my life.

Does that align with the Feng Shui philosophy? Is that rooted in Feng Shui or what do you think about that?

Kate: Yeah. No. The simplest – I’m going to answer it on a couple of levels. But the simplest answer to that, for instance, one of my easiest sayings, like abundance mentality is, “Look at your wallet and see all the pieces of paper you have in there. Clear it out.” Clear it out, clear out what you don’t need and only have the things that you need in there. It’s that same idea of creating space for more to come in.

The thing that you said that I wanted to say, there are a couple of things I want to say that are really important. One, about Feng Shui is about intention. And we say intention is everything. So when you talk about the money mindset and you talk about what it is, when I work with people we work to get clear on what is their intention, and get really clear. And so the adjustments that are made are supporting that intention, including letting go of things that no longer serve them, letting go of things that are from old relationships that are just dragging them down.

And they energetically start moving in that direction and start attracting. So there is that love, abundance, there is that intentional way of being that moves them forward. And I want to give two examples of this. There was, I was working with a sort of writer, director and she had me come to her home. And we were talking about – and she’d just moved, she went from a small dark apartment with no windows, and realized if she wanted expansion, she was going to move into a bigger apartment with more light.

Which she did and she went from a one bedroom to a two bedroom with her husband, and we were working – so they moved. We figured out where to put all the big things. And then when they moved, I went and I spent time with them, with her in the office. And we started talking about, “Well, how do you work, how does your husband work?” Well, he likes to work at Starbucks and she likes working at home. And we created this space to support both of them to be able to work in that office.

And I walked out and he called and said, “Is Kate still there?” She goes, “Yeah.” He goes, “I just sold my script to Hallmark.” He’d been trying to sell it for a year. So in that intentional clarity, the energy moved to support them. And I see it again and again, it sounds like magic, but this is where the power of energy comes in, because suddenly people are in alignment with themselves, they’re in alignment with what they’re supposed to be doing, and it’s so powerful.

And the other example I was going to give that had just happened was a client I have, big farmhouse, her husband wanted to be a gentleman farmer upstate Hudson. They were from LA originally. Anyways, long story short, she was like, “This house doesn’t feel right.” And he was really dead set on not leaving. And she kept saying, “There’s something not right with this house, but we were going to make it work.”

So as we worked on the space and we aligned it to support them where they are today, she went away in January to visit her family, she came back and he goes, “Do you know what, I think I’m ready to sell the house.” She didn’t even have to have the conversation, and that’s the power of it. And then their kids were on alignment and they’re selling their house and they’re moving to Pennsylvania. And it’s a better deal all the way around for all of them.

So that’s the power, it’s like we sort of work towards just arranging it to support them where they are today with the intention of where they want to go.

Tobi: Yes. I love that. And I love it, because like I said earlier, whether you’re a believer in it, or it sounds too woo woo, or any shade of grey in between, even like I said at the beginning, if it’s placebo effect. If what it’s doing is changing your own focus and just what’s happening between your ears and that moves you to think in a way that moves you forward, who cares what the actual reason is behind it?

And we know that when we rearrange things, when we open things up, when we get rid of clutter we do feel different and we do think differently. And so at the very basic level, to me, if it doesn’t do anything else or if you’re like, “That’s weird and that sounds like magic,” just opening your mind to the fact that cleaning up your space, opening up space, having sunlight, having the right air circulation, having the right lighting, all of those things. If they make you feel differently or think differently then you absolutely can create a completely different life than what you have.

Because if he felt more confident in that space then he’s going to go pitch something that maybe he could have pitched seven times before. But he wasn’t doing it for some reason, or in the right way, or in the same words, or something wasn’t happening. And so that’s what I love about it. Why not set yourself up to think and feel in a way that creates what you want in your life? I mean I do love to kind of take down the – even though, again, I’m totally into open-mindedness and anything woo. I love to just bring things down like you said from the beginning to something really practical.

Because if at the end of the day it’s just really about you thinking differently, that is enough for us to create completely different results in our life, right?

Kate: Right, right, right.

Tobi: So good, so good. Okay, so anything else – I love it. I want to support you now, looking around your house and seeing if there’s things that need to go that you’re not using, that are weighing you down, that are making you feel heavy, that are attached to an old story or any of that. And then thinking about the future and saying, “Even what kind of energy would I need to be in, or mindset would I need to be in to create what I really want in my life?”

Those are kind of the two takeaways people could use to start looking at their home and seeing how it feels for them, and what they’re creating in their current environment.

Kate: Absolutely. And I’m going to give a few tips.

Tobi: Okay, perfect, give us the tips.

Kate: Kind of really concrete things that people could do.

Tobi: Okay, tell us, tell us what they are.

Kate: So for people who are, you know, so I’ll do it areas of life. So in Feng Shui we always say they’re, “Honey, money and health.” Most people are interested in wealth and prosperity, relationships and health. There are other areas but those are the ones that we focus on. So for wealth and prosperity, it really is important about your desk and having your desk be in the right position.

And like we were talking about being able to have it against the wall. And really if I, you know, key is like if you were walking into your office, you’d want to have the desk, the ideal location would be across the room, sort of not with a window behind it, but facing out. And you want it not right directly across from the door, because energetically that’s too powerful. But it might be on – if your door’s on the left, your desk is on the right or vice versa. But you sort of have your desk back where you’re sitting and you are facing the doorway without being in it is a powerful position.

And in your far left hand corner if you can, you have enough light, one of the things that we put in, you see plants, so plants are a very typical thing we use, to have a big beautiful alive plant in your far left hand corner is going to energize your wealth and prosperity area. And that can be in any room by the way, that can be the far left hand corner of your house or the far left hand corner of a room. So that’s actually really great.

So when you get that plant and you set up, you want to set your intention for envisioning that you’re bringing in this live energy and it’s attracting money or whatever that means for you. So that intention of not just putting it there, because that’s good, but actually what is it that you want to be bringing in? And really sort of focus your intention on that area when you do it, actually reinforces your intention, so that’s really powerful.

The other thing is for love what we always say, it’s really important to have pairs, so a good bed, have a good bed, this is very design too, and tables balance, generally matching, nice lighting and not have anything under your bed. A lot of times people store things under their bed. And I always have people do – it’s such a simple thing, but again it’s a way of setting intention is so the love area in your room is the far right hand corner.

And I always say even if you just get two beautiful roses and you put them in a vase in the far right hand corner and you’re visualizing bringing in love into your life, a new relationship or enhancing your relationship you have. That pair of roses, or it could be candles, energize that area. It’s a very simple thing to do but it gets your – what we were talking about, in terms of your intention, set in those areas. So the far left hand corner, the wealth and prosperity area of your room or your home, far right hand corner is the love area, relationship area. Those two areas you can energize.

Tobi: And that’s like if you’re standing in the doorway looking into the room?

Kate: Standing in the doorway looking into the room, that’s right.

Tobi: Awesome. Okay, any other last tips before we wrap up? I love this.

Kate: I’m trying to think, there’s just so many.

Tobi: Maybe they just need to find you and follow you, so how do they do that? If they want to hear from you regular, they’re like just lighting a fire in me and I want to know more, where do they go to learn more about you, or to work with you, or to hear your other philosophies, where do people go?

Kate: Absolutely. So my website is kate-mackinnon – M.a.c.k.i.n.n.o.n.com, and there they’ll be able to send an email to me. They can find my Instagram, they can find my, you know, on all the social media. The easiest thing, my name is Feng Shui Kate, that’s easy on Instagram, Twitter. And I also don’t want to forget I have a little gift, if you will, if people are interested, I have nine easy Feng Shui tips, they’re nine easy Feng Shui tips and they can get that at kate-mackinnon.com/designyou, and they’ll be able to get that.

And that will give them a lot of really good practical tips touching on some of the things we’ve talked about and some other things that are surprising that people wouldn’t think are Feng Shui.

Tobi: Awesome, I love it. Okay, so go get the guide of the nine things and it’s/designyou, is it just spelled like the podcast, like design and then y.o.u. like the podcast?

Kate: Y.o.u. yes.

Tobi: Perfect, okay. So yes, Kate, and we’ll put that in all the show notes and everything so you guys if you’re like, “I don’t know, it’s too much to remember.” We’ll put it in our notes so you can just go click on the link, which is great. Okay, well, that’s wonderful. This has been so much fun, thank you for teaching us. I love your practical approach to this and I definitely – I mean I’ve studied it a little bit, but as an interior designer, I’ve taken a little bit of continuing ed and things in the design industry.

Sometimes I choose the Feng Shui classes because they sound more fun than some of the other, you know, I don’t know, non-slip flooring in a commercial space or Feng Shui. I’m like, “I’m taking the Feng Shui continuing ed class.” So I’ve done a little bit of it, but every time I talk about this topic it really interests me to study it more. So I will definitely check out your tips and thank you for sharing with us today.

Kate: Thank you, Tobi, thank you so much for having me share the thing that I love the most, it’s been such a pleasure, it’s been so much fun, thank you.

Tobi: You’re welcome, it was so fun.

Okay, so Kate is really cool. And I love how practical she is. And I think that’s been true of a lot of our guests lately. Super practical, to the point, makes sense, commonsense, how to apply the things they’re teaching us and really put them into practice in our lives, and I think Kate was no different. So if you want to get Kate’s special gift that she promised us, a free checklist or downloadable of easy Feng Shui tips then head to our show notes to get that. We will have that linked for you.

And if you want to find Kate on Instagram and follow her, it’s Feng Shui Kate, so F.e.n.g. S.h.u.i. K.a.t.e, Feng Shui Kate. And you can find her there, and of course it’ll also link to her website and all the other exciting things she does. But I hope you loved this, I hope it was super fun for you like it was for me. And gosh, I just – with the last few episodes I feel like we’ve been having a masterclass in really optimizing and maximizing our thinking in our homes, in our lives, in all the things. And this is just one more great addition to that list of amazing experts we’ve had.

And so I hope you enjoy implementing Feng Shui, or at least learning about it for your life. I’ll see you back here next week with another great episode of The Design You Podcast. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to the Design You podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at TobiFairley.com.

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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