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Here & Now

I hate taking tests. no matter how good at something I think I am, give me a test on it, and my brain matter turns to chocolate syrup. I haven’t used a No. 2 pencil since I walked off the University of Georgia campus never-mind-how-many years ago. Still, I managed to fail a test the other day. She felt really bad about it, but Feng Shui consultant Debbie Roddy had no choice when she handed me that big fat "F."

Here’s what happened. Last month’s issue featured ways to improve your life in 2008. I don’t smoke; my weight’s OK; and if I gave up sugar and white flour my brownies would be a slab of baking chocolate topped with a raw egg. So I decide to tackle the "balance" issue. Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement (as in furnishings and objects in your home) for balance and harmony in your life. Not to mention prosperity and romance. Ah, romance! Since there doesn’t seem to be any lurking around, I engage Debbie to evaluate my little cottage for clues. An exam, if you will.

Debbie explains that in the Pyramid School of Feng Shui, the right wall of your bagua (floor plan in Feng Shui-speak) is the Relationship Wall. Listen in on our little home tour:

Debbie in the foyer: What’s this on the [right] wall here?
Me: It’s a face sculpture.
Debbie: A woman?
Me: Yes.
Debbie: Where’s the man?
Me: No man.
Debbie: Oh, a woman alone.

Debbie in the living room: Ah, here on this pedestal [along the right wall] is a beautiful crystal ballerina.
Me: Yes, it’s a Hans Godo Fräbel.
Debbie: Where is her partner?
Me: No partner.
Debbie: Ah, a woman dancing alone.

Debbie in the bedroom: What do we see in this picture on your [right] wall?
Me: It’s a woman leaning against a stone wall, watching the ocean.
Debbie: Is there anyone else in the picture?
Me: No.
Debbie: I see.
Debbie: Now, who are the people in these framed pictures?
Me: Those are my children.
Debbie: It is time to get your children out of your bedroom. And what, may I ask, is that painting over your bed?
Me (proudly): Those are flowers, like lovers send.
Debbie: But they’re in cans, for goodness sake! Find some art with two people—a couple—in it. Now, may I see your closet? I wonder if there’s room for a lover’s clothes."

I ace that one. A recent clutter clearing has left an entire rack completely hanger-less—coincidentally, I swear, on the right wall. I had in mind a trip to Waterside Shops, but Debbie has other thoughts. "Good," she says, "plenty of room for a man here."

I get a small nod in the living room, for the jeweled, red pillow I picked up in India (red is the color of passion), and the fresh, white motif with lavender accents (very feminine, very good, she says). But I lose big points for the camera equipment all over my dining room table (no room for wine glasses and candles here). My big score is the office, where Fireman Mark in his, ah, pared-down uniform, grins at us from the Houston Firefighter’s Calendar on the [right] wall.

On Debbie’s advice, I replace a single decorative box with a pair of seashells. I also dust the leaves in a planter (you can no doubt interpret the significance of dusty leaves), and put a (passionate) red textile on the dining room table.

While I await Fireman Mark’s knock at the door, I hear about Jean Haner’s upcoming book, The Wisdom of Your Face (Hay House, February 2008) based on the ancient Chinese art of face reading. Jean, who learned the art from her Chinese mother-in-law, has been practicing for 25 years. By studying the face with "eyes of compassion," the news release says, she can tell a lot about your life history, your challenges and struggles, and what you attract—or don’t attract—into your life.

Feng Shui for the face! Though she prefers her readings to be face to face (naturally), she does work from photos. She agrees to take me on from California via e-mail. Bracing myself for another F, I answer her call. The conversation is long and fascinating, and, no, I’m not sharing it all. We talk about my ears, hairline, chin and the inner corners of my eyes. There are no right walls, but the handwriting is on the cheeks:
Jean: Your very strong cheekbones indicate that you are highly sensitive and that you pick up more information than other people.
Me: Oh, that’s good.
Jean: You also have full cheeks—what I call "power cheeks." The Chinese call this "bossy woman" cheeks.
Me: Moi?
Jean: You are inclined to share your opinion—perhaps unasked—with others.
Me: Ummm …
Jean: I see by the "lack lines" in your lower cheeks that you have given too much of yourself to your own deprivation. As a remedy, keep the company of lighthearted men who make you laugh. I suggest redheads and bald guys. Be romantic without being serious. We don’t advocate plastic surgery, because, if you nurture yourself, lack lines can be reversed."

Lack lines? Wrinkles that reverse themselves? That does it. Redheads and bald guys need not apply. I’m thinking spas, chocolate and shopping.

The phone rings. It’s my handyman, Jerry. "I hope you don’t mind," he says, "I had to remove your glass ballerina while I work on the floors."

Oh, no! Put her back! And the minute I finish writing this I’m going straight home to transfer some girly clothes onto that empty rod in my closet.

Happy Romance Month! There’s still time to get in balance. At the very least, pay attention to your right wall. And savor the moment.

Contact Debbie Roddy of Lotus Blossom Feng Shui, Marco Island at (239) 404-0678; www.l-bfengshuidesigns.com. Check out Jean Haner’s Southwest Florida workshop schedule at www.wisdom ofyourface.com, or call (800) 625-6307.

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