The core concept of feng shui is “living in harmony with nature, in tune with the heart.” Dr. Hsu always reminds us to live in accordance with nature, following her patterns. This means we should rise at sunrise and rest at sunset. We should also eat regional and seasonal foods. But, today, with all our conveniences and lifestyles, it is a hard concept to diligently follow. Staying up late is normal. Many major cities never sleep. We consume food from all over the world to satisfy our cravings. Information on the internet never stops. So, I try to make realistic adjustments to suit our circumstance and lifestyle. But, this past weekend, a storm made me do some realistic reflecting and thinking.
Saturday, we lost power in our neighborhood due to a storm. I was running errands and came home around 1:00 p.m.. The first clue of the power outage was when I tried to get in our garage to park and the garage door opener wasn’t working. At first I thought, “no big deal”. But as I tried to do things around the house, it made me realize how dependent we are on power.
We still had daylight, so lighting wasn’t a concern. But, when I tried to check my email, I realized our WiFi was disconnected – so no internet. I could use my phone, but I don’t like that small screen. “Well, I’ll just do some work on my laptop, at least I still had some juice left in my battery,” I thought. Just before I was settled at my desk, I thought I’d make myself a cup of tea. Unfortunately, our stove top is not gas so I couldn’t boil the kettle. Then I took a quick look around the kitchen. Hmmm….can’t use the espresso machine, can’t use the microwave, and can’t use anything here to boil water. The only option was to get that portable gas burner we have in the garage.
I left the house for an appointment and returned at 5:30 p.m. Coming off the freeway, traffic was very heavy. Ah, all the traffic lights were not operating….still no power. Now the inconveniences at home were noticeably greater. We had no light, only candle light and flashlights. You really can’t do much with no light – even reading is a real strain. I also noticed the temperature in the house dropped as the furnace stopped too. I wondered if I could still take a hot shower, well, I guessed it wouldn’t be hot anymore. What about the food in the freezer and refrigerator? Better not open them unnecessarily. Wow, our lives do rotate around power.
It was a real eye opener for me to realize how much of our daily basic functions center around power. Without it, we really lose the ability to operate. Even a hot shower becomes a luxury. I admit, I do take all these things for granted. What if we didn’t have power for days, weeks or even longer? How would we survive without our comforts? I know I have become very soft and spoilt.
For practical purposes, if you have an electric range, I suggest getting an Asian portable gas stove to have on hand as a backup. They are cheap and work well, costing about $20.00 -$30.00. You need to purchase the gas canisters as well, about $2.00/can. You can usually find this at your local Asian grocery. I use this stove to make hot pot, or nabe in Japanese that we can set on the dining table without any cords. Also, make sure you have a few candles handy. If you live in cold country, if the heat goes off, a wood stove always is a good backup as well.
From a philosophical perspective, as a student of feng shui trying to “live in harmony with nature”, I realize I must reassess what that phrase really means in my lifestyle. Where do we adjust? Can we adjust? How do we adjust? Maybe it’s a message to re-evaluate our way of life. Food for thought.