In this episode, I sit down with Vancouver’s premier Feng Shui Master and Teacher Marlyna Los to discuss how Feng Shui can play an important role in how we plan communities and cities. Marlyna describes the energies of the City of Vancouver based on its particular geography. We discuss the principles one can employ when designing healthy, resilient communities as an approach to combatting the attitude of lack when designing communal and individual spaces.
[Michelle] Hi, I’m Michelle Fenton, and welcome to the Happitecture Podcast.
[Michelle] What would it take to develop resilient, sustainable communities? How do we design cities that support our collective happiness? Join me as my guests and I discuss how we can plan, implement, and foster places that allow us to flourish and grow.
[Michelle] Thank you Marlyna for joining me on the Happitecture Podcast. For our guests, we’re here with Marlyna Los, a feng shui master in Vancouver, and I am really thrilled to be able to sit down with you. This is our second chat, and it’s always been such a treat. Even when — I know that even when I leave you that there’s such a great energy that I bring with me. And I want to say that I appreciate that.
[Marlyna] Oh, you’re very welcome.
[Michelle] And I know we have a lot of really cool interesting things to talk about today, so this is this is a real treat for Happitecture. So thank you for your time.
[Marlyna] Oh, it’s my privilege. I’m excited!
[Michelle] Yeah, me too. Well, when we — when I first saw you speak, you were speaking with one of our premier architects here in Vancouver, Jim Chang. And you were talking about development in Vancouver, specifically one that he was working with, and you were working with him on that development. And I think it was the first time it occurred to me that we can bring a different knowledge and wisdom to designing urban spaces, when I heard that talk. And so, I thought, well I’d love to have you on the podcast. And it would be great to know how we got to this point where I was able to sit in an audience and see you speak on feng shui in such a big context, in an urban context.
[Marlyna] Ah, thank you! Let me actually just clarify how I came to talk with James Chang. So, I got approached by the AIBC, the architectural institute, to speak.
And I said, “Yeah, that would be great.”
And then she said, “Do you know an architect who could speak with you?”
And I asked a few of the architects that I do work with, with developers, and I was not surprised that they were reluctant to be associated with a feng shui master.
[Marlyna] So, I got back to the AIBC and said, “I don’t have an architect.”
And they said, “Well, can we find you one?”
I said, “Yeah, no problem.”
And so, I get a call from James Chang, and I don’t know who James Chang is.
[Marlyna] And I get this call — this really friendly lovely man on the phone.
[Marlyna] And he — I could tell he’s interviewing me —
[Marlyna] To see will he speak with me. Right? And so, he’s — we talked an hour and a half, and as we go deeper, he says, “I’ve worked with lots of feng shui masters from around, you know, the world on the many developments I’ve done.”
And I went, “Yeah, that’s great, that’s exciting.”
He says, “But you know, I don’t really know how it works. Can you tell me a little bit about what you know?”
And I start telling him about that I’ve been to China eight times and that I’ve studied with different masters, but I’m Vancouver born, so I’m not your — I’m Caucasian, I’m not your typical person at all you’d think would do feng shui.
And then as we start talking, he actually says, “Wow, you’re teaching me things that no one has ever taught me, because the feng shui masters that I work with don’t teach.”
[Marlyna] And he said, “I’d be honored to speak with you. Can you come to my office first and talk to my staff?”
[Marlyna] So then I went to his office, and he says, “Why don’t we integrate? Can you look at a few of the projects I’ve done and tell me what you think?”
And so, that’s what I was actually doing is we were talking about one the Shangri-La’s. So, he’s done the Shangri-La’s, and so we talked a bit about that. He had photos to put in, and then we talked about this — I don’t know if he actually put it up — this potential one that’s coming up on BC hydro or BC transit property. And yeah, so anyways, that’s how it came about.
He actually said to me, “You do most of the talking, and I’ll be there to ask questions after, or answer questions.” And so there I was.
[Michelle] He’s very gracious that way; he allows the energy to form as it will in the room.
[Marlyna] He’s one of the most lovely — oh, so — man, really — so then I asked him at the end, I said, “Can you tell me where you went to university, please?”
And he says, “Harvard.”
And I went, “Okay.”
[Michelle and Marlyna laugh]
[Michelle] You’re in the big leagues now.
[Marlyna] I’m in the big leagues! And it was like really funny, and it’s — he is super, you know — I’d like to say we’re friends now.
[Michelle] That’s a big thing to say.
[Michelle] So how did you start on this journey to become a feng shui master?
[Marlyna] Well, I certainly didn’t grow up thinking that’s what I’m going to become. I came to — I was born into Vancouver to a Dutch Christian family, but I have always — my whole life had a sense of energy and curiosity about life. And that has caused me to study different religions, different philosophies. And I even knew as a kid when I’d moved my furniture that the room’s energy would change, that it affected my sleep, that I could feel all that. And I didn’t even know there was such a thing as feng shui. I just knew about energy. and I actually studied astrology and different metaphysics things too, because I was just so curious.
And then at age 35 — and prior to 35 I had three kids, and I was working with people with mental illness and drug and alcohol problems, so I was more of a social worker doing supported housing — and just studying all these things on the side. And then at age 35, I came across a classical feng shui book.
And the thing that it said in the book was; there’s three factors that control our life, and they call it heaven, earth, and man. Qi, or being a word for energy and heaven, qi is the energy you’re born with. It’s like a blueprint of energy we all have, and it kind of shows — it’s — you can read in that your personality and kind of — I like to use, “What type of seed are you?” and “What season are you in?” It’s the best metaphor.
[Marlyna] And then 33% is where you live. Just like a seed needs a good garden, the garden determines how the seed flourishes. And 33% is what you actually do. We have consciousness, so: Are we lazy? Do we try? Are we doing drugs? You know. You can influence your life with those three factors. And that so resonated with me, that whole philosophy, that I was kind of hooked and needed to learn more.
And I was in a position that I could start traveling the world, where I could find feng shui masters. So, I actually went to New York first. This is in the late 90s. And then I went to Europe to find English-speaking Chinese masters. And then I started going to China, and then I found a teacher in San Francisco. And so, for the first — until 2004 really, it was — I thought it would be part time, and then — but because I was every year putting time with my holidays into doing these things, you become an expert.
And then people started asking me to teach. And I do believe in destiny; in a sense that we all have a calling. I can see this now when I look at people’s charts, and I can see this even in the houses we choose to live in. That there is part of us that is being — that we have a potential. Each of us has a potential, and I see clearly now this is my destiny, and the universe has just really supported me to be a teacher and consultant in this. And I work full-time here in Vancouver, but I get to travel internationally as well still. And I’m really blessed.
[Michelle] Yeah. You know, I think that the that idea of destiny is an interesting one, because often I think most of us feel that pull, but we don’t know what to do about it. Or sometimes the pull is so below the surface that we don’t actually spend the time to access it. So, and then it just takes one moment, you know, to click it on.
[Marlyna] I’m really blessed in that, you know, just as I start having the thought that — what should I be doing — I had actually a person who’d taken a class with me, a developer, say, “You should write a book. This is so important. I’ll pay for you to write the book.” And he wrote a check for fifty thousand dollars.
[Marlyna] And so, then I was like, “Okay.” I guess I could see the path.
[Marlyna] Right? It was like, okay, now I really get — and I think many of us have those types of opportunities, but we’re too fearful to actually take them.
[Michelle] Yeah, I agree.
[Michelle] Yeah. I mean it does take some fearlessness — well not fearlessness. I guess courage comes first, and then fearlessness comes after with much practice. But it does take some courage to step out of the path that you’re building, as opposed to the path that was chosen or —
[Marlyna] Right, absolutely. So —
[Michelle] Because you’re invested in that path that you’re building.
[Marlyna] It’s scary. I’m not going to tell you this has been at all easy. It hasn’t. But it’s fulfilling.
[Michelle] Yeah. that’s amazing. Well, when we talked the last time, and certainly at that lecture, you had very interesting ideas of how Vancouver was specifically set up as a whole geographically. So, if we can talk a little bit about that, because Vancouver is a very special place, and we can all feel it.
[Michelle] But it’s interesting to hear your perspective on that.
[Marlyna] Yeah, there’s no coincidence that there’s such a huge Asian population living here, right? And our economy has really been relatively quite stable compared to the rest of the world. Here, you know, like, we haven’t had the type of fluctuations in real estate and business, the way even Eastern or middle Canada has had.
[Michelle] That’s true.
[Marlyna] Right? So, the philosophy behind feng shui is that 70% of the energy of any building is determined by location.
[Marlyna] So, it’s —
[Michelle] It’s a sizable amount.
[Marlyna] That’s a sizeable amount, yes, exactly. So, you take the building I’m living in, and you put it in the heart of Downtown, and it’s going to be completely different energy. And you put it up on a mountain, and it’s going to have completely different energy. The second I say that, people go, “Oh yeah, that makes some sense.”
[Michelle] Right, yeah.
[Marlyna] So it’s not the building. It’s actually first the location. So, Vancouver on a macro has beautiful mountains and beautiful water. And then this huge — what we call in feng shui “beautiful water” — why is it beautiful? Because it’s actually quite flat. It’s not like the on the outer side of the island where there’s huge waves and wind. We’re quite protected in here, right? And so, there’s — and “wind and water” is technically what “feng shui” translates into.
And that phrase comes from as qi travels along the mountains and stops at the water’s edge, wind moving, that’s where the energy collects. So, we have these massive mountains coming into Vancouver, ranges of them. So, there’s energy traveling through all these mountains, and then we have these beautiful water edges, and the qi stops and it collects here in the Fraser Valley.
[Marlyna] And so, the mountains form a circle around the whole valley. There’s the island holding in the chi. And so, the — on a very macro level, the embrace of the mountains. And this is a perfect example of yin and yang. So, mountains are yin. Flat land and water is yang. And when they’re in balance or in good proportion, it’s like fertility occurs. And so, Vancouver has this fertile energy. Now, it doesn’t have the fertile energy, say, that Silicon Valley has, or things like that. Like, we don’t produce billionaires the way they do.
So, when I went to China on one of my very first trips and toured several cities with different masters, the masters would point at different mountain features and say, “Because of that mountain, we have here Olympic prize winners.”
[Michelle] Oh, interesting.
[Marlyna] Yeah, and, “Because of that mountain, we have generals.”
[Michelle] So there’s a direct correlation.
[Marlyna] “Because of that mountain, we have scholars.”
And I was like, “Okay, I want to know how you can look at land and see that.”
And I now know how you can look at land see that. And so that took many trips into China. Like actually learning how to read the shapes of the land, the directions it is to the water. And the ancient feng shui masters would determine where the palaces would get built, or where the governments would get built, because it was felt if the leaders had good feng shui, the country would have peace.
[Michelle] Yes, right. Well, it makes sense, you know. And then, so — we also talked a little bit about energy of Vancouver in particular. This energy that collects into the shoreline.
[Michelle] What primarily is that energy made up of?
[Michelle] I mean —
[Marlyna] That’s a good question. Yeah, you know, it’s actually — what happens — there’s energy everywhere. The thing is, where does it stop?
[Marlyna] So, like, for instance, the British properties is the highest concentration of high-end properties in one place in Vancouver. And the — and here, actually, on the west side as well, along the water, there’s a ridge and there’s lots of high-end properties in this area as well. They’re two of the higher price points. And in the presentation, when I talk to architects and land developers, one of the things that I try to say is, there’s a reason why certain areas have double the value in housing than others. And it’s because there’s more qi present. And it’s not just because it’s near the water, because if that was case then White Rock would have the same value.
[Michelle] That’s true.
[Marlyna] And White Rock does not have the same value.
[Marlyna] Right, and part of the reason there is it’s windier. And the forms — there’s a cliff and it’s —
there’s just some different features there. And not that it’s not beautiful, but each of those has — and — or Richmond would also have more land value along the water, and it doesn’t. So, there’s — it’s the combination of the way the mountains are shaped and the water.
There’s two types of main ways of doing feng shui. The first one is looking at the — what you see — physically see. And then there’s a part that’s invisible, and I like to call that magnetics.
[Marlyna] Right because — North is different than South.
[Michelle] Yes, magnetically.
[Marlyna] Yeah, magnetically, plus the light.
[Marlyna] And feng shui actually has several schools — classical schools — attached to it that use formula. And with formula — these are hundreds of years old — we can determine by the direction a building faces, the location of a mountain, in what location, and things like that. It tells you about the blueprint of the property. And so, it’s — my training has taken me to that level where we’re — so, where qi — so, the direction of the water and the direction of the mountain all play into that as well.
[Michelle] Interesting, like really interesting. I find this — the fact that you’re being called by lots of developers in the city is actually quite promising. Because one of the things that we see in the city is the hurry to put up a building regardless, or not regard the ground plane or the public realm. And so, perhaps feng shui could start to inform good and bad design, I don’t know.
[Marlyna] Yes there are. I work a lot with Lark Group in Surrey, and they’ve done all the city centers near Surrey general, and they build hospitals across the country, which they fly me to look at the land before they purchase. And I’ve also looked at — they build care facilities and to look at the care facilities — the big thing with the care facility is, if the staff is really happily supported, and of course, all the people in the care facility will be heavily supported. Right? It’s like and — so he really understands that.
Yet, though, there is always a discussion of, “Well we can only have this much square footage because, you know, I have to sell this much.” And he has people on the boards.
My dream is that — it’s a really important thing for a place to have good energy — is that there’s lots of open space for energy to flow, like in Europe there’s the squares.
[Marlyna] And more — and there’s park space, and there’s those types of things. And it’s really important that we — in order for places to be safer and to support people — that we continue to allow for that type of thing. And what’s happening more and more in the urban environments is that there’s shorter setbacks.
[Marlyna] Shorter setbacks, smaller foyers.
[Marlyna] Just squeeze — we’re squeezing the energy. And the more we’re squeezing the energy, the bigger impact it’s having on people’s overall well-being. They’re still making money, but the well-being and the happiness in marriage, the happiness in relationships and things like that, I see is a direct correlation to some of the spaces that are now being designed. And yes, some of them are open to doing things differently, but not even — I still would like it to grow more.
[Marlyna] Because I really think if people understood that they would choose differently.
[Michelle] Yeah, well, I think there’s two things that come at this, right? Where the people who are developing these properties are looking for the highest output or highest return, but then, you know, the more we are educated as buyers —
[Michelle] The market starts to shift in the direction of better design and more considerate design.
[Marlyna] Right, yes.
[Michelle] So, I don’t know. Do we have a long way to go with that one?
[Michelle] Are you seeing a shift right now in people being educated enough about space, about openness? That they’re making these informed decisions?
[Marlyna] I think we’re just at that place that people are aware that they need to start thinking about it. There’s been, you know, because our economy has been growing — like, when things are growing, people don’t really think too much.
[Michelle] That’s right.
[Marlyna] Like, “Oh yeah we don’t need to fix what’s — we just need to get more housing out there.”
And now, you know, this year the energy is different for various reasons. And so, people are — I can feel that inside people — Now, the question’s being asked, “Is this consciously correct?”
[Marlyna] You know, am I, you know, there’s a bit of a disturbance now happening inside people, and I think it’s enough that even the fact that you and I are talking, and this is happening, that it’s changing the question. And I’m so — I was so excited to meet you and to hear that you’re doing this, because just asking the question, you know, changes it.
My book is called “Do You See What I See” because my daughter who’s an engineer, she was telling me years ago, “Mom, I see everything as physics.”
And as she said that, I thought, “Oh, I see everything is yin and yang.”
[Marlyna] Right? Like, just everything.
[Marlyna] And then I was like, “If you understood yin and yang, and how we need yin qi in the proper proportion to support people in relationships, and how we need yang qi to support opportunities, and when it’s in balance then things flow.”
[Marlyna] We would do things differently.
[Michelle] Well, it’s interesting that you talk about this awareness, because even in my own journey through building a business, one of the things I’m looking to do is build a practice that’s a little bit more aware, a little bit more conscious, not just of how we work, but the work we put out there and what it — the energy of that work and how it supports the people that eventually use the space.
So, in our in our work, we have our client. But you know, we try to say — we try to impress upon that client that if we support the people who you’re actually building this for, we’re actually supporting your success. And so, it is cyclical, and it is that yin and yang that have to actually go together. And they’re not quite opposing ideas as — I think when you see the way development happens in Vancouver, there’s this zero-sum —
[Michelle] You know, this idea that if you can’t have this with — and have that as well.
[Marlyna] I’m excited as you say that, because I can see the next time I need an architect to speak with me it’ll be you.
[Michelle] Well —
[Marlyna] Because, you know, and that — I have clients who ask me for architects, right? And it’s to be — even just to be open to the discussion is already a big, you know, step. And Kirk Fisher for sure; he’s very open. He actually says there’s a video on my website, you don’t build a building without water, he would never build a building without feng shui.
[Marlyna] That’s how important it is to him. So, I’m so lucky that that he’s open to that, and that we’re — he builds hospitals, right?
[Marlyna] Care facilities and things like that.
[Michelle] There’s a huge need for —
[Marlyna] Yeah. Yeah.
[Michelle] For that energy to be there.
[Marlyna] Yes, and he’s willing to compromise some of the square footage of retail space, where things — in order to have larger foyers and larger hallways and things. Because he gets that the overall success of the building will improve with that.
[Michelle] And you know, we — I think we have to stop thinking — one of those things that we tend to rally around is the sense of lack. Right? Like if we don’t give up that square footage, we’ll have more money, we’ll have more resources, but when you talk about this idea of what the overall is not being paid attention to, and what does that overall look like —
[Marlyna] Well, he told me with one that he just recently put together, that the square footage on this particular building as it sold on the ground floor went for 30% more than they were thinking.
[Marlyna] So he made the money.
[Michelle] That’s right.
[Marlyna] So, it went more than market value, and I said, “Yeah, because people even on a plan can feel it, and it, you know, works.” Yeah.
[Michelle] So, when I’m talking to you and I’m thinking about this whole idea of this compression of space and this idea of lack. If we don’t maximize every square footage for a purpose — quote unquote — then we’re missing out on something. Is there — what’s the disconnect in development that you see here, and how can we switch that disconnect between providing better design spaces that support our well-being.
[Marlyna] Yeah. This is where a little bit of old Eastern philosophy needs to come in, versus, you know, what they’re — it’s happening there as well. I think that North America defines success as always greater returns,
[Marlyna] And returns in terms of money, usually.
[Michelle] Financially, right?
[Marlyna] Like, you’re successful, you know, if you had a 30% mark up that year. You’re successful, like, you know, and it’s like we’re not even happy with 10% anymore, it has to be at least 30%.
[Michelle] Yeah, right.
[Marlyna] And we’re not looking at — and actually we are. There are discussions happening. I took a university course a couple years ago on the discussion of happiness and consciousness in the workplace.
[Marlyna] You know, so that did happen. And there are places like Whole Foods, and places like LinkedIn, and things like that, that are trying to look at not just making money, and also supporting staff and things like that. But I don’t know if they’ve incorporated feng shui. You know, because if 33% of your life is also affected by feng shui, to me it should be all part of the equation.
[Marlyna] And so, the lack, I think, comes from just a paradigm that we’re caught in, and not looking at —
[Marlyna] I just think, you know, since — and I think many of us are born with lack programmed, coming from — with — through parents that have been through wars —
[Marlyna] Or parents that have struggled, you know —
[Michelle] Intergenerational trauma, as they say.
[Marlyna] And if you read “Think and Grow Rich”, it actually says it’s easier to be rich if you were born into a rich family.
[Marlyna] Because you actually have the vibration that it’s possible. It’s in your subconscious. Whereas most money in North America is new money.
[Marlyna] And if you look at old money, they’re the estates —
[Marlyna] — with lots of space.
[Marlyna] They’re not living in these cramped little things.
[Marlyna] And so, new money doesn’t actually quite — hasn’t all caught up with how to feel relaxed with it.
[Marlyna] And the energy of creating feng shui where you’re relaxed and have trust Is different than small cramped spaces.
[Marlyna] And I’m trying to get people into their bodies and out of their head so they can actually experience this. And I have lots of clients who do that, because they understand that they need a house that supports them, so their marriage is more stable, their health is more stable.
And you know, traditionally, the Chinese, they stay married. They support their families.
[Michelle] Mhmmm. There’s a very strong culture of family.
[Marlyna] Yeah, and they understand — and somebody in the family knows how to use feng shui enough that they live in places that support that.
[Michelle] That’s really interesting. Well, if only we can translate that to how we design and build cities, not just —
[Michelle] — our apartments.
[Michelle] You know, the whole — I mean, one of the reasons I was excited to talk to you as a designer, as an architect, is we are called to build buildings, and in some cases urban spaces. And if there can be that dialogue that gets started in the beginning; what is — what does this do for the well-being of the people that will inherit it?
[Marlyna] Right, yes.
[Michelle] And also the conversation about return and how those two things can support each other.
[Marlyna] Right, yes.
[Michelle] I think we have an amazing opportunity to build one of the best cities in the world.
[Marlyna] 100% yes.
[Marlyna] Yeah and to just have —it would be awesome to have an open-minded discussion with city planners —
[Marlyna] — and the larger scale developers with just education,
[Marlyna] You know, and an awareness of what is happening, and why, you know, in — I have a friend in Mexico who’s as trained a feng shui consultant as me, and the developer that she’s been working with there for 10 years, when she originally started with him was only six employees, but now they’re building cities in Mexico, like, literally 30 000 units of housing with hospitals in a university and things like that, and he’s now the top —and they’re in the lower end, but what they’re doing is they’re taking the energy of that area, and they’re — how they’re building it is making it higher so that people can come in at entry level, and then it’ll take them to the next level.
[Marlyna] Right? And, so that it supports people so, you know, it is happening.
[Marlyna] It’s just, you know, more — it’s in select areas.
[Michelle] Yes. Well, I think it comes back to the idea of awareness, you know, and awareness is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot these days, but I’m okay with that because as long as we’re moving in that direction, you know, these things always get a little bit excitable in the beginning and —
[Michelle] People start to actually feel it and experience it as opposed to intellectualize it. So that’s kind of my agenda for this particular podcast.
[Michelle] Great. So, we talked a little bit about how feng shui can start to inform how we design cities. What’s the next step in terms of introducing this idea to city planners, people who actually build cities?
Where is the process in that? From the idea that feng shui is good. Getting the education, is there —
[Marlyna] Actually, I should introduce you to — I understand that there are some municipalities in the greater Vancouver area that do have think tanks that are looking at their growth, and I think Surrey is actually one of them, and we should look into that.
[Marlyna] And see — and people fly in for that. So, it’s almost —
[Michelle] And if you need a model.
[Marlyna] But I don’t think feng shui — I know feng shui hasn’t been part of that discussion yet. And I’ve been approached, and I just — it just hasn’t happened. But I know there are places that are experiencing huge growth, and it just needs to be — you know, and I think awareness is happening. My developers are starting to ask for it, and obviously, you know, we’re doing this. But it would take that, you know, where cities are, how do we grow, and how do we grow consciously. And I think actually, you know, I don’t love the word consciousness, but it’s — again this kind of awareness, right? It gets thrown around a lot. But I think people are feeling a pull.
[Marlyna] Right? And it’s like, okay, how — and I —maybe, let’s say come from our heart instead of our mind or both —
[Marlyna] You know, and —
[Michelle] Well, the mind is useful when we don’t overuse it.
[Marlyna] Actually, I have a really good metaphor too; is that feng shui is about connecting to energy,
[Marlyna] Which means as humans, we actually have to be part of that process to connect back.
[Marlyna] Right? And that’s the thing. It’s like asking — and I think what’s happened a lot is we’ve stopped connecting. And so, if people are actually open to connecting, then you will actually see the world differently. Right?
[Michelle] So, I want to ask a roundabout question here, because I’m interested in the idea
if we are starting to feel disconnected, I wonder if space has something to do with that?
[Marlyna] Absolutely. I see a direct correlation, yes. With the apartment buildings, the size, the glass,
the way they’re — the shapes of them, and how more and more, we’re going into our computers and our phones as some type of connection. Like you’ll even see people in restaurants with phones not talking.
[Michelle] Right, yeah.
[Marlyna] People are not connecting anymore, because we’re in a trance, if you will.
[Marlyna] Yes. And yes, there is a direct correlation to where people are living. Where I see homes where the family has had children that are going to university, are educated, are connecting with mom and dad, supporting, and the marriage is strong, the feng shui is different than a place where there’s divorced parents, and kids that are struggling, and doing those types of things.
[Marlyna] And it’s — yeah, the energy is very different.
[Michelle] Well, I mean, I’m hoping that our audience hearing this will either be planners themselves and developers, but also just the average person who can start demanding or even start paying attention to, you know, if you go to even rent a place, what does that look like?
[Michelle] And start informing maybe from the bottom up if the top down isn’t getting — isn’t meeting in there, meeting the needs, you know, perhaps —
[Michelle] That’s where the pressure comes from, right?
[Marlyna] And educate yourself.
[Marlyna] Right? Like I — you know, at a minimum I have tons of blogs that I’ve written in the past on my website, and then I do one day classes. Change your space, change your life. You don’t have to invest into my three-week program, you know, like you could just start learning how — about what energy — like the — actually, I even have an online course “Live with Purpose”. It’s just one hour, and that one hour is
similar to the talk that I gave you guys that you could just see, and then things you can do.
[Marlyna] You know.
[Michelle] Yeah, well I think it’s one of those things I’ve come to be interested in over the years. Well, I wouldn’t say over the years. Probably the last year and a half. I attribute it to being middle-aged, but you know, I think this this energy of becoming a little bit more aware and living in the body as opposed to living in the mind starts to really inform how you present, or how you put your experience together, you know. And being able to experience something as opposed to intellectualize it. One of the things I’m starting to reflect on is that we need space to reflect.
[Marlyna] Oh, we need space to reflect, yeah.
[Michelle] So, we don’t just need space to, you know, have activities and have parties. We also need space to reflect, and that space needs to have a certain kind of energy, and be supported by the other spaces as well. And it would be it’d be great to see that starting to reflect in the buildings that we design as architects, in the cities that we plan as urbanists and planners, and even in the policies that we start to develop as politicians, and as policy makers in our city about what is in the best interests of people’s well-being.
[Marlyna] I think you’re a very sensitive person which makes you a great architect, because you’re observing, and I think to be observant and actually take in what you’re seeing is the first step of change, in that people will often say to me, “Do you think this has good feng shui?” Right?
I’ll go to their house, and then my question is actually, “How’s your life? Are you getting opportunities?”
[Marlyna] “Are you happily in a relationship? How’s your health? How are you doing?” Because good feng shui is actually reflected by “How’s your life?”
[Marlyna] It’s not about the marble and it’s not about the moldings.
[Marlyna] Right? It’s not about any of that. It’s about “How are you?”
And yes, there are other factors, but if you’ve been in a house for a while, it’s like you have an idea, like is the house —and again, use the analogy of a garden. How is that seed growing in that garden? Is it thriving? Are you thriving? And just by asking that question, starts then being into — you’re now interacting with your environment in a different way.
[Marlyna] And once we get kind of disturbed enough, we’ll make some changes.
[Michelle] Yes. That’s a great way to end.
[Marlyna] Yeah. Thank you very much.
[Marlyna] Thank you very much.
[Michelle] I really appreciate it.
[Marlyna] You’re very welcome.
Michelle: For more information on this or any other episodes of the Happitecture Podcast, you can find us at happitecture.com. h-a-p-p-i-t-e-c-t-u-r-e dot com.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Khora Architecture and Interiors. Designing places for being.
Post-production by Vanessa Hennessy.
[Transcribed by Amy Bao]