Feng Shui by Clear Englebert

Feng Shui & Apartment Living—Hunkering Down

Feng Shui & Apartment Living—Hunkering Down

The internet seems to be clogged with people telling each other what to do while they’re stuck at home. Some say “stay productive” while others say “entertain yourself to death.” I tend to take the middle way—some of this, some of that. But the main thing is to be kind to others. If you’re stuck with other people, say kind things to them, and (if appropriate) massage them. If you’re home alone—don’t forget the old-fashioned voice telephone. It’s very reassuring to actually hear someone’s voice.

Since hunkering-down is a very yin thing, it’s good to balance it with yang activity. Plants that are growing are yang, and tending to them is a good way to pass the time.

People who are in free-standing homes with yards should plant massive gardens where there is good sunlight. But what if you’re in an apartment or condo? Houseplants are common, but edible houseplants are not. Many people don’t realize that they could easily grow their own food, namely sprouts. (Alfalfa and lentil sprouts are my favorites—that’s green lentils, not red lentils.) There’s also sunflower seed greens and buckwheat greens—all quick and easy. The instructions for growing sprouts and greens are quickly accessible on the internet, so I won’t do into the details of how to grow them.

Sprouts and indoor greens were first popularized by Ann Wigmore (and I’m thrilled to say I met her), and her student, Viktoras Kulvinskas, came out with his first book, Love Your Body, in 1972—the year after my first bookstore opened. The subtitle is complete organic diet on 8¢ or less per day. There been some inflation since then, but it’s still the cheapest way to eat a good diet. He later wrote the tome, Survival Into the 21st Century, which has been updated as Survival In the 21st Century. In 1977, Marcia Acciardo brought out her remarkable book, Light Eating for Survival, with a joyous Peter Max cover illustration. Note the word “survival” shows up a lot in these titles.

Moving beyond survival into thriving means staying active, and that’s easier said than done in an apartment. Bouncing is a very yang activity and doesn’t require a lot of space. I recommend mini-trampolines, which I just call bouncers. I use a jump rope with mine, but unless your home has a high ceiling, I wouldn’t try that. When I lived in an apartment in San Francisco, I used to put Dixieland gospel music on the record player and then bounce my way through several songs. It doesn’t get better than the Clara Ward Singers with the Dukes of Dixieland for this purpose.

Stay well!

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