One day last year, a friend of mine invited me to have lunch with her new friend, the legendary music producer Quincy Jones.
As a music producer, composer and musician, Quincy Jones has worked with the most famous musical artists including Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and many more. He notably produced Michael Jackson’s most popular albums: Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad.
Being a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s music, I wanted to meet the man behind my favorite songs. Of course I was thrilled to join them at his house and I was going to be asking him a lot of Michael Jackson questions!
Little did I know that I would also have a very unique Feng Shui experience...
The day of our visit, we entered his gated Bel Air property and drove down the curvy driveway.
As I do routinely with every new house I visit, I instinctively screened for Feng Shui positives and negatives.
Aside from noticing the beauty of the blooming bougainvillea and citrus trees, I remarked to myself that his house seemed to have particularly good Feng Shui attributes.
First, the driveway: not straight but circular, with a center island of grass and shrubs. Then, the pathway to his house: elegant and also meandering, inviting positive chi. I also noticed that all the stones and driveway pavers were earthy and reddish toned, which have a very grounding feel... not exactly the imposing blockhouse I had imagined.
As we walked into the foyer, I noticed that he had unabashedly adorned his walls with awards, platinum records, photos with famous people: Sinatra, Oprah, The Jackson family, The Clintons, Mandela, Bono, etc. I thought to myself: “wow, this would go well in a Fame and Reputation area!”
Then we walked through a circular atrium with luxuriant vegetation. How blissful to be able to spend time indoors in such peace and communion with the elements. It almost seemed as if that big room was the heart of the house with its strong distinctive pulse.
We then walked up the round staircase, covered in carpeting. By then, I was surprised not to find one "Feng Shui no-no". Generally, in a staircase alone I can find 4 or 5 flaws (too steep, too straight, not sturdy enough, too narrow, not well-lit, etc.). And in this case, I had traveled through the house without any Feng Shui reservations... it was a first for me. Since I began studying Feng Shui twenty years ago, this was the very first time this had happened to me.
We arrived upstairs and Quincy Jones came in to greet us. He exuded calm, warmth, intelligence and fun all at once. We sat down in his living room, a circular room with no angles whatsoever.
Of course, I could not wait to ask him if he had done some Feng Shui on his house but we did not immediately talk about it. We talked about his recent Switzerland trip, his passion for music, Michael Jackson (a lot), food, and the young artists he is currently producing through his label.
As we ate lunch, I was able to finally ask him if he practiced Feng Shui.
His answer was that not only he practiced it and believed in it, he had designed his house with the help of a Feng Shui master and that had taken him 6 years!
The round shape of his main room was meant to avoid corners or “poison arrows”, which are believed to create disharmony in the home (like an arrow shooting at you). Since most of us have angles in our homes, one easy tip I give clients is to hide angles with plants, lamps, music instruments, rounded side tables, etc.
Other Feng Shui choices were now obvious in his home: his choice of wall colors (off-white almost yellow, not white, which represents "earth" more than "metal"), the location and shape of his swimming pool (not in the South), the furniture and everything there left you feeling peaceful and rested, but alert, just like him. Plants (many fresh orchids in particular) were adorning the room. There were no beams on the ceiling. For those of you who have arguments in your homes, or a feeling of coldness, check that your wall paint is not a crisp white or a gray. These colors are "metal" in nature, and dividing, not harmonizing.
And while having a lot of money helps, I don’t want you to think that when you have money, you can just hire someone to do it and magically get the life you want. Quincy Jones really worked at building his house in the way that was going to make him feel comfortable.
He also does his affirmations every day. He even recited them for us, and they are about 3 minutes long! He knows them all by heart.
He gets up early and works all morning on his music.
He has a relationship with God.
He sponsors young artists.
He is very generous with his time. (Our meeting lasted 6 hours).
Aside from speaking several different languages, and being a music genius, he is the most alert 83-year old man I have met. He travels abroad all the time, plays concerts, is still composing music, and is very active and close to his kids and grandkids.
The point I am trying to make is that spirituality, balance, alertness and Feng Shui are not separate areas of life. They are all connected.
You don’t just use Feng Shui because it’s going to “get you” what you want: money, fame or love.
You practice Feng Shui properly when you are looking to be good, when you want to connect to nature, the elements, your house and your soul.
This is not to say that it doesn’t work just to get you what you want, it sometimes does. Donald Trump famously answered the question “Do you believe in Feng Shui?” by “I don’t have to believe in Feng Shui, I do it because it makes me money!”
But it does not and shouldn’t stop there. Feng Shui is part of the Tao philosophy, it is one of the legs of the Tao. It is a way of life. It should make you more complete, more empathetic, more connected to others.
Quincy Jones spent many years looking for all the right materials and finalizing every detail of his house when he could have left the process entirely to a team of architects and interior designers.
Try it one step at a time, or not at all, it’s up to you.
But if you try it, do it as a philosophy of life: generously, patiently and lovingly. I believe it will all come together in time with the right amount of effort and dedication.
What are some of the Feng Shui or Tao topics you would love to read about?
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