We speak to Feng Shui expert Amelia Bamberger on happiness at home
Developed over 5000 years ago in China, Feng Shui is the ancient tradition of restoring balance in the home. Most commonly practiced, ‘Pop’ Feng Shui includes broad remedies such as placing a mirror behind your stove for prosperity, but we spoke to Amelia Bamberger, expert in ‘Classical’ Feng Shui to get some insight into what this version of the time-honoured practice can do for your modern home.
After studying a degree in Sociology and Childhood studies at Bristol University, Amelia moved to LA for four years, going on to become a certified expert in the Feng Shui practice. Offering a personalised, specialised service, there are just a few prerequisites before she can start her work: a detailed questionnaire involving personal reflections, construction notes on your house and the way you currently feel when you step inside your home. It’s not about “completely changing the whole style of your house, but remedying things that we don’t see”. ‘Classical’ Feng Shui works on the principle of energy flow; a bad ‘flow’ in certain areas of the home, will create bad vibes in corresponding areas of your life. Amelia can source the fix for you, for example, using heavy metals that she places under your bed. She believes that any home is remediable and that the environment plays a greater part in our mental health than most of us imagine.
Her Feng Shui interest stems back to her own childhood, where she felt “very aware of the effect [her] environment had on [her].” She remembers her peers teasing her for bringing keepsakes from home to her boarding house and constantly rearranging her bedroom. Especially interested in pregnancy and fertility, Amelia is extending her website MetaMaison to include a new site called MetaMaman, which will be launching this year. When it comes to creating a harmonious space for children, she says, although each household is unique, there can be simple remedies such as having soothing colours in a child’s nursery, with rounded corners on furniture. Instead of placing a mobile over a cot, “place it over a changing table, where they can still see it but it doesn’t disrupt their sleeping place”. Also very important she explains, is that he or she can see the door from their bed. When it comes to the much-discussed subject of co-sleeping, she’s very much in favour of attachment parenting; “as long as you don’t place storage under your bed…it disrupts the energy flow in the room.”
As anyone knows perhaps the trickiest part of harmonious living, is tidying and storage. Describing it as “acupuncture for the home”, she goes by the Marie Kondo method of keeping your home happy and neat. The method was propelled into the limelight recently with Marie’s cult-status book ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up’. When it comes to decluttering, Amelia goes by the guideline of getting rid of “anything that doesn’t spark joy”, meaning you have to be completely ruthless for it to work. This could be a difficult task with children and all the paraphernalia that comes with them, not to mention endless cycles of laundry, groceries and after-school activities, but it is definitely something to aspire to.
Amelia’s top 5 tips for decluttering:
1. Tackle by category: all clothes first, then books, then papers, then toiletries, miscellaneous
2. Only keep items you absolutely love, and that bring you joy when you see them.
3. Don’t hold onto anything out of fear of letting go, if you do this you are preventing the new from entering your life
4. Work fast! Rather than doing little and often, try to dedicate a whole weekend.
5. Once you have finished decluttering clear the space by ether burning sage or paolo santo wood sticks, and ‘smudging’ (wafting) them in the air around the edges of each room. This resets the energy.
Words by Katie Stalker
Picture by @thislittlehouse_