Think Like A River


How can I bring energy to an area that is too small for real art or plants but is in desperate need of some movement?

  • C., from Los Angeles, CA


I wish I could see a picture because I want to know if there are windows or doorways in the small space...? Regardless of the quantity and types of openings, here are some thoughts on the idea of energy “movement.”

First thought: when you walk through a room, you have a destination. When energy moves through a place, it, too, has a point of origin and a destination, just like a river- the qi (or metaphorical river) is trying to either circulate around the room or shoot like a fast rapid out of there- it’s trying to stay or leave.

Imagine you are a tiny paddler, steering a gravy boat-size canoe through your space, following a river flowing throughout the room. You probably want to pause in your imaginary canoe to take in the view, rest your tiny little arms, and you’d like your little boat to be able to move unimpeded, yet in an interesting and meandering way through the rooms.

In your case, if your sense is that a room needs movement, it’s likely you’re responding to the feeling of energy needing to either circulate more or meander more, depending on what the function of the room is in your house.

  • To get energy moving more inside a darker, cramped space, either try to add more lighting or hang a mirror- both of these decorative elements are active. They activate movement. 

  • Stagnant energy tends to have a sinking quality. Think about raising the qi. Uplighting works well in some spaces. You can use shape, color, and lighting to draw the eye (and Qi) of the room upward.

  • You can also use “active” colored objects or on the walls: reds and bright springy greens. 

  • For a powerful injection of lively qi, you can bring in the wood element, which creates the fire element- both of these elements are activating. 

  • Tall, rectangular, vertical shapes can create a more vital feeling. 

  • If you feel like the space needs a more gentle, flowing sort of movement, and the area could benefit from some energy “pooling” in the center before moving on out of the room, think about the water element: add darker blues and some black colors and add curvy shapes. Pictures of water are fine, but you don’t have to be literal. 

  • For the walls, you could use small pieces of framed art, hanging them at eye level, or staggering their heights, so the eye moves up and down, like it’s following a waveform. Or a drunk bee. Or a dancing Chinese dragon. 

Hear these tips as if I am a Bob Fosse and you are the dancer interpreting my directions. Your job is to interpret the feeling of what I’m describing. When I say “jazz hands!” you think “activate and meander the qi!”

The basic idea for creating movement: if you change on how your body moves in a room, as well as change where the eyes travel when in a space, you change how you feel, and a place then comes alive with those changes. 

When it comes to analyzing out how the energy is moving through any space, inside or outside, I love what one of my favorite teachers, Richard Feather Anderson, says:

“Think like a river.”

If you need some clarity, some change, or a refresh either inside or out, you’re on the right website for that help. Aubrey Thorne is an astrologer, coach, and feng shui designer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.