Feng Shui Solutions For Living In A Hollow

Natural, upward growth is the feng shui remedy for a house embanked on a downward slope. Don’t forget to fix the front door!

Dear Lynn,

My boyfriend and I live in a rental house located in a hollow. The house is on an acre of land and the front door faces the east. We don’t use the front door because it is warped (water damage/settling) and almost impossible to open/close. The hollow slopes down from the street and continues sloping down to the backyard. Our house is “embanked” into the slope. The driveway also slopes downward from the street so we slip and slide trying to get up and out of the driveway all winter long. Drainage issues are ongoing. The bathroom sink doesn’t drain quickly and the same goes for the shower/tub, in which you’re often standing in an inch of water by the time you’re done showering. The house had a leaky roof that caused stains and damage to the ceilings, but the roof was completely replaced last summer. No more leaks but the stains make the house feel “unclean,” no matter how thoroughly I vacuum, mop, dust, etc. Overall it contributes to a feeling of sluggishness and inertia. — Elizabeth


Dear Elizabeth,

Before we get creative with feng shui remedies I must ask, have you called a plumber? Have you called the town or municipality to evaluate any sewer back up that is their responsibility? It sounds to me as if the conduit from the main water source is part of this problem. I understand that the geography of a hollow does increase the risk of drainage issues, but let’s start with what is easier to change: your house.

That stuck, warped (probably moldy) front door, whether used or not, is the formal entrance and access to your house. Clean it up! Front doors are important for reasons almost too numerous to mention. They represent, and literally are, the membrane between your public and private life. Doors are both boundaries and openings. They should be able to open completely so that your home is fully oxygenated, literally and figuratively. To not be able to do so would be similar to inhaling only minimally because you can’t completely open your mouth or have blocked nostrils.

There is a sense in which the representative parts of our homes correspond to the equivalent in our bodies. The front door is your home’s mouth, so if there is decay, stuckness, misalignment, etc., in your front door, in time it could affect your dental health. If you wear dentures, the door and doorframe should always be a good fit. I don’t know which comes first, the door or the dentist, but you get the idea. And don’t even think about living in any ongoing way with a front door that is somewhat stuck if you are pregnant as the door also corresponds with the birth canal of the human body.

Appeal to your landlord to repair, re-hinge and replace this door as soon as possible. Fixing this door, no matter how extensive the work necessary to do so, will be cheaper than money you end up spending on health issues, especially your dental and emotional health. When this healthier entrance is created, paint it knowing that smoother access is now made available to you in all life categories and whatever you deem important. Stabilize the entrance and enhance it with two sturdy potted plants on either side.

Install a light — solar, on a pole perhaps — and make the approachway to your front door as inviting and functional as possible. If you see litter or planters with dead plants or old soggy newspapers on the way to your door, there will be a lowering of your frequency even if you consciously dismiss it. You may feel relief once inside, but the detritus you slogged through will still be with you on a certain level. The doorway is a portal. It should “entrance” in the best sense of the word. The transition should be smooth and pleasant. Make it easy for life’s good stuff to find you.

Let’s transition now to the property. I probably don’t need to tell you that leaving your property is an uphill climb and returning home to it, a descent, with corresponding sensations of effort and defeat. I suggest a stone wall for this property — good old-fashioned New England style —stable, enduring and pleasing to behold. Create a terrace-like feel, with different stopping points that slow the grade both down and up. Levels can be demarcated with style, perhaps a chair on one level, some grounding lawn art, boulder or plantings on another.

The overall “hollow” aspect is downward and wet. Introducing plants and bushes could use up that water. If there are already some plantings in the area, clean them up. A grove of growth would be just wonderful. Nettles are an extremely healing and nutritious New England herb that do well in wet, marshy areas. Once you know how to avoid the “sting” in harvesting the leaves, use nettle tea as a potent and delicious healing liver tonic or substitute in recipes with spinach for a rich mineral and vitamin boost.

In terms of balance using upward solutions, consider talking to the owner of the property and housing a wind farm! On a smaller scale, Oriental grasses — upward, indestructible, flowing year round (especially zebra grass) — are robust and have a special presentation throughout the seasons of the year. Natural, upward growth will be the medicine for this situation. Don’t limit ways of achieving this to my suggestions only; create what makes you optimistic and engages you. It doesn’t have to be the Hoover Dam. Everything has its upside in a natural living way.

The late Lynn Taylor was a senior feng shui practitioner, teaching and consulting in the United States and Mexico for both business and home environments.