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Going with the Flow

If the bottom line is bottoming out, it may be time for a feng shui

Feng shui. It’s not just for your home anymore. Pronounced "fung schway," the ancient Chinese art of creating harmonious living environments has increasingly become everyday business around town.

Glenda Anderson, Details International’s interior designer, has been using feng shui (literally "wind" - "water") in her work for a little over a decade. She understands the confusion surrounding the art.

"No one will ever understand everything about it," she says.

According to Anderson, she has adapted Western attitudes to her brand of feng shui and stresses the key element in any feng shui project: balance.

"It’s how you work with the forces around you," she says. "The whole of feng shui is the individual ... and the complete universe and how they affect one another."

Elemental change: Sherissa Y. L. Chun, the islands' only Feng-Shui Realtor-Associate, from all the right angles.

Because business can be so taxing on your emotional health, having good ch’i (energy) at the office is almost as important as having it at home. If the bank books don’t add up, it may be because of the ch’i or the lack thereof. "You go with the flow. That’s ch’i," says Anderson.

Anderson provides a free 30-minute consultation in her store then charges $100 an hour for full holistic advice.

Energy is in all sorts of shapes and forms, according to feng shui principles. "Color is energy. Energy is light and light is color. They’re all the same thing," Anderson says.

For example, blue is the color of relaxation and gives off a type of floating feeling. "A lot of people in Hawaii lie around with Polynesian paralysis," says Anderson, attributing it to an abundance of blue in the environment.

The colors in feng shui correlate directly with each of the five elements that need representation in work or living areas.

Sherissa Y.L. Chun, the Islands’ only feng shui realtor, advises that to increase productivity and general happiness, office cubicle users can improve their ch’i by utilizing the five elements in any way they can. A lamp or a candle can be used as fire; in and out trays represent metal; picture frames can be wood; for water, a mirror, preferably rounded, and for earth, a plant or a picture of a nature scene can be used.

"Just using those five elements, that’s already good feng shui," says Chun, who has taken classes from Hong Lio, the feng shui consultant who worked on celebrity homes, including those of Mel Gibson’s and the British royal family.

Her passion is integrating feng shui into real estate, and Chun believes that she has found her special niche.

Recently her services have been in great demand. She has consulted with the Filipino Community Center, Ward Centre’s Kakaako Kitchen and Alan Wong’s Marketplace, located in Liberty House, among many other projects.

"I think we had relocated our cash registers ... it was where they had to be better positioned," confirms Alan Wong’s Marketplace manager Leigh Ito. "The money and cash has to be positioned in a certain way so it doesn’t move out the door. You don’t let things leak out."

Chun charges $175 an hour, but also has price adjustments for those on a budget but are in need of good ch’i.

As for Bishop Street, Chun has bad news: "High rises, dark energy. Long wind tunnels. Not the greatest feng shui."

Some things are just set in stone, or, in this case, concrete.

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Hawaii Business,September