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What do you do with your dining room? Mine mostly sits empty with a floral arrangement on the table, looking pretty. Instead we eat in the family room. But, the dining room is a wonderful place to linger over breakfast and read the paper or a magazine, to share lunch with a friend or spouse, or to relax or refuel and enjoy conversation over dinner.
How often do you share this space with your children or with friend?
Growing up, we ate each meal as a family. It was a ritual that drew us closer together. We talked about the upcoming day in the morning and of the day’s events in the evening. My father even came home from work to share lunch with us during the summer.
Today’s working parents seldom enjoy this luxury, and in fact, miss this time to bond as a family.
In feng shui, the dining room is related to the earth element. It holds the central place in the replenishment of our bodies, of appreciating and sharing in the earth’s bounty. Yet, in today’s fast paced world we often eat our food while standing, on the run, in the car, never quite savoring delicate flavors and food’s nuances. We miss our connection to the earth and the plants and animals that provide our food by eating on the run and eating fast food.
In doing this, we damage our bodies and our spirits. Consider all those in the chain of food distribution that make it possible to eat foods of every kind and description. When doing this we have the opportunity to be grateful to all those who provide for us and for the earth itself. We should eat with thoughtfulness and slowly so our bodies and spirits are properly nourished.
Because food is so important to us, feng shui teaches us to create a serene, pleasant dining environment. You can do this for at least one meal a day. Turn off the phone and the television. Arrange furniture, plants, area rugs and other ch’i enhancements to define your dining area—one that supports thoughtfulness and thankfulness.
The more hectic your day, the more important it is to have this space where you can slow down and appreciate the bounty in your life and become aware of the ch’i qualities of your food. As living things, living food imparts living energy to you as you consume it. Make your dining area a place where you can nourish both body and soul.
A delicious dining chair
To get the most benefit from dining you need to be comfortable. The ideal chair should mold to your body and not have protruding angles that poke you while you sit. No matter how beautiful it is, if it isn’t comfortable, don’t use it.
The perfect table
The ideal feng shui table is a hexagon, the shape of the ba’gua, but round will do just as well, as will an oval. These shapes allow everyone to feel equal and they promote chi’ flow.
Chairs should also enhance the dining experience. Do the chairs fit comfortably under the table? Are you sitting too high or too low to be comfortable? Can you scoot the chair easily under the table without bruising yourself on edges or protruding supports?
Size is also important. If there are only two of you dining at a table that sits six, sit at one end and decorate the other with plants, candles and things you love looking at.
An aside on fans
Our climate requires ceiling fans, but one hung over the dining table can be a hazard if hung too low. No one wants to bump up against fan blades. Also, the moving air will cool your food too soon if the fan is too close to the table.
Art plays its part
The art that hangs on your dining room walls can nurture or disrupt your dining experience. Still life art depicting flowers, fruits and vegetables is appealing to most people while dead animals are not. That is another good reason not to put stuffed animal heads in the dining area. Land and seascapes and picnics are also good subjects for dining room art.
Mirrors are not good choices for dining rooms. They can over activate the room’s ch'i and cause people to hurray through the dining experience. And people in general, don’t want to watch themselves chewing food.
Honor yourself and your family and friends by creating a serene atmosphere in which to dine. Use colors, textures, scents, sounds and tastes that you love and include candles, flowers, table linens, china and glassware, and soft music to enrich your dining experience. Then sit back and enjoy.