Mindful Homes, an Interview with Anjie Cho
It’s a special week here at Mindful Design School, as our very own Anjie Cho has just published her second book, Mindful Homes: Create healing living spaces with mindfulness and feng shui. In this post, Laura interviews Anjie to learn all about the book!
Laura: Tell us a little about yourself and your new book, Mindful Homes.
Anjie: In addition to teaching feng shui practitioners online and hosting the Holistic Spaces Podcast, I’m also an architect and a meditation practitioner. I wrote my first book, Holistic Spaces, about nine years ago, and my new book, Mindful Homes, is a reflection of all of the things that I do in my life right now and how they weave together.
Laura: What’s the main difference between this new book and your first book, Holistic Spaces?
Anjie: I think the main difference is that when I wrote Holistic Spaces, I had only been practicing feng shui for about a decade, and I felt very confident in offering tips and guidance. That’s also when the world was very into listicles, so it was easy for me to write a book with a very instructional tone. Holistic Spaces is a collection of 108 tips that can stand alone or work together. This new book is quite different — I’m older now, my experience of feng shui has shifted, and we’ve been teaching for five years. Also, the world has changed dramatically in the last decade. The world has sped up, and we had a global pandemic that shifted more focus onto our homes. Mindful Homes is a reflection of my perspective on feng shui as not only a lifestyle but also a dharma practice, and a means to understand yourself and connect to your home and community. It’s less about fixing and doing, and more about observing, understanding, and having curiosity.
Laura: What are some of the themes in the book?
Anjie: I go over some of the basics, but I set it up in such a way that there’s an unfolding. I start with qi, which breaks down into yin and yang, which further unfolds into the five elements, which expands into the eight directions, or the bagua. I also highlight some awareness practices that are not just for your home but also your inner environment. Then, I look at the bedroom, kitchen, workspace, and community. So it starts with something small and gets bigger and bigger.
Laura: What does “mindful homes” mean to you?
Anjie: “Mindful homes” encapsulates my understanding of feng shui as a mindfulness practice. It’s not just about trying to move things around to try to fix yourself, meet a partner, or make more money, but it’s a practice to look at how your environment is connected to you. When we can become more mindful of the details in our homes, whether that is dust that has accumulated, the position of our bed, or the colors that surround us, these things all affect our qi. When we become more aware of this, it’s amazing how much wisdom we can receive from our homes. Mindful Homes challenges the reader to look at your home as a way to get to know yourself better, and to observe and see things in a different light. It’s also about acceptance. You might notice how you have preconceived notions of what a beautiful home or a good life looks like, and notice how that compares to what is actually present in your life. Then you can accept what is without trying to change it. It’s a balance of mindfully paying attention to the details and then using that information to create subtle shifts.
Laura: That was very well said! What was your favorite part of this book to write?
Anjie: I really enjoyed writing the introduction and acknowledgements, which I wrote last. When I wrote these sections, I had gotten over the hurdle of writing the book and I was also on retreat in France, on this beautiful land in the country surrounded by oak trees. It was very emotional for me to write the acknowledgements, because that’s where I thanked the people who had supported me. It was also meaningful to look back at what I had written and write the introduction.
Laura: My favorite part was the section where you talked about awakening the deity of your bed — I think that’s a really beautiful way of thinking about the energy of this particular part of your home. Can you talk a little bit about this section of the book?
Anjie: In the bedroom chapter, I wrote about the bedroom as a symbol for you and how to activate the bagua on your bed. Then I included a ritual to awaken the deity of your bed, which is a different way of looking at things. Sometimes we really take our homes and our things for granted. When you think about it, our bed is always there supporting us, and it doesn’t ask for anything in return. In feng shui, we believe that everything is alive. This ritual is a visualization that you can do to connect with your bed, and give a gift to your bed and acknowledge how it supports you.
Laura: I love my bed, and I’m feeling inspired to do the meditation! I like how you’ve shared this concept of honoring individual parts of your home. Is there anything else you want to share about the book?
Anjie: I wrote this book because I felt it was important to redefine feng shui according to how I’ve been practicing it over the last two decades. It’s really a mindfulness practice and an awareness practice, and like meditation, it offers you an invitation to connect with yourself and become more friendly with yourself and your home. Your home can be a tool to start to see things in a more enlightened way, and there’s a lot of wisdom in one’s home. It’s also very timely because I believe people are much more connected to their homes than they used to be, and also because mindfulness has become more of a household term. I felt that collectively the world needs this right now.
Laura: This book feels like a gift, a meditation, and a jewel. It’s not an instructional feng shui 101 book, but more of an unfolding, and the pictures inside are all so beautiful. I thought it was lovely!
Anjie: I couldn’t have done it without you, Laura! When I was about to have a meltdown, you stepped up and proofread it one last time, and I’m so grateful for your support.
Laura: Aww. It was my pleasure. Congratulations on the publication of your beautiful new book.
Mindful Homes: Create healing living spaces with mindfulness and feng shui is now available wherever books are sold!