SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

December 6, 2012

Multi-faceted Feng Shui

(Feng Shui is another of my delightful interests in life. Tho I had heard of feng shui, I never knew anything  of it or had the desire to until about 15 years ago when a neighbor friend began influencing me.  Everything about her surroundings was serene  and contemplative.  The sounds and sights caught my attention. Comment to follow.)

Feng shui guides design of offices

By Steve Wartenberg                                                                                                                                                                                                                   THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

There seems to be a familiar pattern in the evolution of Diana Garber’s feng-shui business, which focuses on commercial construction and renovation projects.

Diana Garber

It starts with an initial dose of skepticism from clients, followed by a growing interest and, eventually, an acceptance of this ancient Chinese method of maximizing positive energy flow.

“I wasn’t a real big fan at first, to be honest,” said Steve Casciani, CEO of Border Energy.

His company recently moved into a new, 10,000-square-foot office in Powell that incorporated several feng-shui design elements, including the shape of the building and the location of the entrance.

“Now, everyone who walks into the building has the same impression, that the energy just pops out when they come in,” Casciani said, adding that this seems appropriate for an energy company. “Our employees are ecstatic to be in a building that was well thought out and created for their needs.”

In addition to Border Energy’s new headquarters, Garber also was hired to apply feng-shui design elements to the expansion of the Tansky Sawmill Toyota dealership, scheduled to be completed in the spring. She also is working on a volunteer basis to help renovate the Breathing Association’s office space on Old Henderson Road to add positive energy.

“There are pockets of people who aren’t on board with feng shui,” said Garber, who runs Intuitive Concepts in Sunbury. “I think that’s based on their misinformation, and when they see how it works, and that it’s based on quantum physics and mathematical formulas, they say, ‘This isn’t what I thought it was.’”

  • Experts such as Garber use compasses, diagrams, mathematical formulas and an understanding of five elements — water, fire, earth, wood and metal — to achieve harmony and positive energy flow in buildings.

It is not, Garber said, rearranging the furniture in a room.

Using feng shui is the norm for residential and commercial construction projects in Asian countries.

In the United States, it is more common in homes and is slowly spreading to commercial projects. In Los Angeles, the $65 million Burton Way tower complex will incorporate feng-shui designs, as will a new, 213-unit apartment building in Minneapolis.

Garber initially did work on the home of Maria Collart, CEO of the Breathing Association.

“Like our bodies, buildings age and need certain things, in terms of positive energy,” Collart said.

What the Breathing Association’s office needs most is a paint job.

“It hasn’t been painted in 22 years,” Collart said, adding that she’s looking for donors to help with the $3,000 cost of paint.

Garber’s calculations have determined that a gray color palette will work best and create better energy throughout the two-story building, where clients come for a variety of lung and breathing-related medical issues.

Garber also recommended that Collart install a large clock above the elevator.    “It changes the energy of the entrance, so people feel better,” Garber said. “A clock is moving metal, and since it is always moving, it is working 24 hours a day, turning negative energy into positive energy.”

Garber initially met Casciani when his wife, Lisa, hired her to do a feng-shui makeover of their home. She then made some changes to his previous office space.

Her ideas for Border Energy’s new headquarters began with its shape, which was originally going to be V-shaped.   This, she said, isn’t conducive to energy flow, and Garber suggested a rectangular shape — and Casciani agreed.

“The energy is more stable and can settle more in the wide rectangle,” Garber said. “If the building was too narrow, the energy goes through it too quickly and affects business.”

The front entrance was put on the west side of the building.   Putting it here, Garber said, created water energy.   “Water means flow, the flow of money; and, for a business, this is important,” Garber said. “As each person enters the building from the west, they bring in the good energy with them.”

There are 20 employees in the building, and it is large enough to accommodate 50 as Border Energy grows.

Casciani’s skepticism has turned into acceptance.   “I believe there is most definitely a spot in my life for this,” he said of feng shui. “It’s not something I live my life by, but if you learn about it and see the results, why not do it?   “I see this as an investment that yields returns.”

Garber spent three days compiling her calculations at the Breathing Association, and used them to come up with her suggestions.

“What she does is not cookie cutter; it’s based on mathematical formulas and calculations and compass points,” Collart said.

And, feng shui is something that should be felt and sensed rather than seen.

“Feng shui isn’t something obvious. You shouldn’t walk into a building and say, ‘You’ve done feng shui,’” Garber said. “You shouldn’t notice it, and you should feel safe and secure and supported.” swartenberg@


(So, going back 15 years (+ or -), I was generally pretty busy taken up as I was with  my grand-daughters around the clock – – much to do.  Have always loved learning new things and find it exciting and fun.  Never  became really efficient doing it, but  sure had fun with it and enjoyed the changes I made. 

Bought a few books.  The one my friend suggested as the best around is “The Western Guide to Feng Shui” by Terah Kathryn Collins.  Its excellent, helpful and I love it.   Also found another one I equally love (on my own).  Its called “Feng Shui: Harmony by Design”  by Nancy SantoPietro.  She was one of very few women to have studied under the tutelage of Professor Lin Yun, Grand Master and Spiritual leader of the Tantric Buddist Black Hat Sect School of Feng Shui who had been trained and authorized to practice transcendental cures and blessing ceremonies.   She has much to bring to her clientele as well as the ten years prior experience as a psychotherapist.  I enjoyed her book so much because of the extra pleasure received as she describes her clients “needs and desires” with regard to the work she performs for them. 

Among other things, I had bought some lovely crystals to hang here and there,  some little water fountains and a little sound machine to bring in an assortment of lovely nature sounds such as the ocean waves  washing up on shore,  forest sounds and so on.  It was fun.  Most of that stuff is in the basement now.  If I didn’t have so much going on, I swear, I’d jump back into feng shui again – – it is such fun and so absorbing. No matter that Ms. Garber’s thrust is to the commercial and industrial  areas of our community, she also did use it to redo  the man’s office and had already done their home.    So it does indeed have to do with design, colors, as well as furniture placement and of course – – so much more.  Feng shui is a very broad field incorporating ALL  the elements of life.  One can deliberately strive to enrich “any part” of  one’s life. 

If one is conducting business from home – – it would be smart to head down to the library and pick up one of these books and see what you think. If you are crammed in a corner with a cluttered mess all around you, you could use a little help.  Desk placement within the room, in the propitious corner of the room with a little help from feng shui can liven up that business direction, bring in business and increase money flow..    

A lonely person who might want a companion and/or a happier romantic part of life should perhaps take a good look at the bedroom.  Bed placement;  mirror placement, clutter, boxes and/or garbage, exercise equipment stored there,  pictures of ancestors hanging on the wall glaring down at you – not necessarily a good influence – – none of it.   You get the picture without even reading the books.  Stuff can be done with any or all of life by means of feng shui.   So yeah, I cotton to it, and maybe one day, you might want to give it a try.   Just sayin’. . . . . Jan)




  1. Hi Jan, Thank you for sharing about Feng Shui! As you’ve pointed out, Black Sect (now called Western Feng Shui) is a more tactical approach to Feng Shui using crystals and placement of objects. It is fun and easy to work with. I applaud anyone who wants to connect with their environment to create more positive flow. Having survived over 20 surgeries and the loss of children, I needed something more strategic … thus I gravitated to Classic (aka traditional) Feng Shui. This starts with the land, then man’s impact to the land (roads, bridges, parking, buildings, etc.), then people in the space, and lastly tactical influences (decorating). Think of it this way, one (Black Sect) works from the bottom up, whereas Classic works from the top down. My background is in disaster recovery and business continuity, and Black Sect doesn’t deal with timing. Timing is a crucial factor when looking at the potential of a building. As an example in one of the testimonies on my website, the business owner’s building predisposed the business to employee thefts, auto accident, and ultimately loss of life. It unfolded before his eyes when he didn’t take action. Both Black Sect and Classic Feng Shui are helpful in their application. If your followers are inclined to read more about it, start with the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Feng Shui 3rd edition or visit my website. Happy Holidays, and thanks again! Diana Garber, Feng Shui Master.

    Comment by Diana Garber — December 7, 2012 @ 8:59 am | Reply

    • Hello Diana and welcome. I am overjoyed that you took the time to acknowledge this post and contribute personally with further relevant thoughts. Very nice to understand that the very long ‘name’ is now Western Feng Shui, I thank you.

      You are obviously so knowledgeable and devoted to your path, wish we could duplicate you now for some cabinet post since our president is honing his department heads for the coming term. We sure could use some land management which has so much more to do with the sacredness of the land and the health of us all, rather than simply indiscriminant use toward profit management.

      I cannot ignore the harshness of your personal health history and loss of children – – heavy load. It is stunning tho I will not pry out of respect – – not disinterest. Your smiling face reflects an inner beauty and even joy which presumably is gracing your life as you create this beautiful path you tread. Good fortune to you precious lady, for what you do is hugely beneficial to our world. I will come to your site, for as I have stated – – I love Feng Shui. Readers who may wish to visit can go to fengshui@intuitive Jan

      Comment by Jan Turner — December 7, 2012 @ 6:51 pm | Reply

      • Hello Jan, Thank you for responding! Funny you should mention the President as one of my goals is to Feng Shui the White House. In my former corporate life, I worked command centers for the NY terrorist attack; hurricanes Isidore, Lili, and Andrew; the Ft. Worth tornado; the Houston flood; etc. By day I’d follow established procedures and processes (which included interaction with FEMA but prior to Homeland Security); but by night (and weekends), I’d run the numbers from a Feng Shui perspective. If we were only more proactive — we’d save ourselves a LOT of grief. Thus why classic Feng Shui is my choice for working with commercial and residential clients. When we can minimize risks and maximize results, why not do it. I love this Native American saying which sums it up for me … we did not inherit the Earth from our forefathers, we are borrowing it from our children. Blessings to you and your readers. Diana

        Comment by Diana Garber — December 11, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

      • Greetings again Diana – wonderful to hear from you. What a great and ambitious goal – – to Feng Shui the White House. Hope you go for it, I’ll be holding good thoughts for you toward that end. Now that would really be a blessing for us all, for it would surely trickle down. (though “trickle-down,” per se, has been proven not to be reliable for the American people – – so far)

        There is much inner strength, ability and fortitude to have led you through all that you have been involved with in your life Diana, . . . I salute you.

        Visited your site and it is lovely, beautiful and extremely interesting. Checked out your blog as well. My head is swimming still . . much to enchant anyone who goes there. In my previous life, I was an astrologer (among so many other things), but that background did not equip me to understand the Chinese influence of the Four Pillars as an example. But now I know where to go when I have the time to indulge myself in that area.

        … we did not inherit the Earth from our forefathers, we are borrowing it from our children. Diana, I love that, thank you so much. You are a joy. Jan

        Comment by Jan Turner — December 11, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

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