here’s what i need you to know about our first SUPER SHUI STAR: he is whip smart and his posts make me sit up straight and take notes. in our message chats, he always makes me laugh out loud at least once (he probably doesn’t know that!) – and it is so unexpected, which is my favorite. and his insights – incredibly generous – will shift how you see and honor your space. so, it is truly my pleasure to introduce you to Mark Ainley.
S/S: what got you started in Feng Shui?
Mark: my introduction to Feng Shui was quite unexpected – as can be the case with many important things in our lives. i’d been living in Japan (early 90s) and as a Westerner living in an Asian country with different rules, protocols, and perspectives than what was considered ‘normal’ at home, i was fascinated by the different ways we perceive and process reality (including the impact of different language structures). when i moved to the UK in 1996, i was talking to my new roommate about these ideas and he asked if i’d heard of Feng Shui. i had no idea what he was talking about. he had a book on it and the moment i flipped through its pages, i knew this was something that spoke to me. i was intrigued by the fact that there might be a secret ‘language’ or ‘program’ to how reality operates – as a child, da Vinci was my hero – and so i started exploring and experimenting … and it’s been nonstop since!
S/S: what inspires you creatively?
Mark: nature and music. as you know, nature is the source of Feng Shui wisdom – the principles that govern harmony in the outer world, when applied in our living spaces, can bring alignment and creativity. so, i love spending time in nature (in a balanced way – preferably not with mosquitos). and music is harmony in experiential form. a quote i love: ‘art is how we decorate space; music is how we decorate time.’ music brings the unfolding of the present moment into tangible experience, and i couldn’t live without it.
S/S: what is the biggest misconception people have about Feng Shui?
Mark: Feng Shui can bring fast results. it leads people to believe that it’s a one-time quick-fix thing, that you do it once and that’s it. but just like your home will look and feel great after you mop the floors, or the kitchen will feel cleaner after you wash the dishes and put them away, Feng Shui is an ongoing practice. i think that also because Feng Shui can in some cases resolve sticky situations quite quickly, people hope and expect that it will be that way for every single thing in their lives and that if they do it properly, they’ll be walking on water and living a life with no challenges. Feng Shui helps you meet the inevitable challenges of life with more grace and adaptability – so that an obstacle is no longer an obstacle but simply a circumstance that helps direct the most aligned course of action.
S/S: if you could leave people with one FS action they can take today, what would it be?
Mark: enliven your corners. this is where three straight lines intersect – you generally don’t see straight lines in nature (notice how cactus and porcupine quills are sharp and aggro). corners of the home are where dust bunnies and clutter can accumulate. when you enhance them with something to offset their linear shape – a curved lamp, a beautiful decor item, a vase of flowers, some furniture you use – you bring life to a space that can so easily become stagnant. this process of anchoring the corners of your rooms and your home brings some grounded life-nurturing vibes to the entire space, supporting changes you’ll make elsewhere in the home.