Interview with Ranvita la Cour by Kirsten Stendevad, journalist, writer, columnist and author of several books on female leadership.
attracts your angels
Feng shui as an Act of Love, Common Sense(s) and Consciousness
by Kirsten Stendevad
Entering Ranvitas home is like visiting an apartment in paradise. A red doormat greets you outside as a loving reward for climbing the stairs in this charming old house, located in the inner heart of Copenhagen. She answers the door dressed in white, her long blond curly hair down. As soon as she lets you peak into the space behind her, it becomes clear why the company she runs with partner Rishi – another multitalent – is called ‘HappyLiving’. Because how can your soul be anything but happy in these surroundings?
“I love to create sacred spaces” she explains. “I love to create spaces that nurtures the soul, support peoples development and heightens their consciousness. That’s the whole point of Feng Shui: to create more than just a home.”
Ranvita herself is much more than a smart indoor architect or a popular Feng Shui consultant. Over the past 20 years, she has trained with great masters from a wide variety of disciplines from ‘satsang’ and osho meditations to astrology, tarot, clairvoyance and of course Feng Shui, the latter with star teacher Karen Kingston, among others. In addition to all this inspiration, she has been blessed with a waterfall of creative talent which makes her able to turn any space into divine nourishment for the soul.
I know because this is the third home of Ranvita’s I have experienced. With all of them I have felt like moving in and never moving a thing, because it all felt so delicious. But Ranvita herself is not attached to things. She moves often, and this is part of her philosophy: Life changes, you change. So there is no point in keeping the same surroundings; your old surroundings won’t support the new you. Even when she stays in one spot, she moves something on that spot every day. Which, surprisingly, makes the place even more delicious! For example, she will replace regular curtains with pink Indian saris, sparkling with gold. Or she will ignore the regular electrical outlet in the ceiling and instead let small white christmaslights embrace the windows. In the kitchen, she will place a large mirror along the stove and sink area, making the room appear larger and more exquisite. And so on …
We sit down in her kitchen, and she gracefully serves Egyptian liquorice Yogi tea, water in golden painted wineglasses, fresh fruit on an elevated plate and raw almonds in a small cylindrical glass. I have become curious about the art of this Danish Feng Shui celebrity, and long to find out out how she creates these magic spaces, and whether the rest of us can learn a trick or two.
What is the philosophy behind Feng Shui? What makes it different from normal interior decorating?
“Well, in Feng Shui we see every building and every room as a living organism – just like a human being. Therefore, a room can have a certain energy, or even a ’character’, just like a human being has his own personality. Feng Shui offers a whole toolbox of ways with which we can analyze a room or a building – and transform it, so it supports and nurtures us fully. Living in a home that doesn‘t support us, is like walking in shoes that don’t fit; they annoy you, they may even hurt you and you can’t walk properly. Feng Shui is about making the shoes fit, so that you can walk freely and in peace – or run fast like a panter if you wish!
Basically the whole philosophy is based on three important statements; everything is alive, everything is connected and everything is changing. These are the glasses we look through when we do Feng Shui. When you understand the deeper meaning of these ’truths’ then you understand how and why Feng Shui works.”
So tell us about how and why it works?
“As I see it, Feng Shui is not about rules, or ’to do, or not to do’. It’s about understanding the basics of nature of existence.
So when we say, everything is alive, we mean everything. Your chair, your clothes, your pen, – everything is alive, because everything vibrates with energy. You can say everything speaks. So you can look at every piece of furniture in your livingroom, and ask yourself; what does this tell me? Does it say something nasty or something nice? The old sofa you dislike and only keep because you can’t afford to change it, might speak to you in a less friendly way. When you look at it, it certainly doesn ́t raise your energy. On the contrary: if you are annoyed by the sofa, your energy drops every time you look at it. It steals your energy, so to speak. This explains the second statement, – how everything is connected. The sofa is not just a sofa – you have a relation to it. As well as any other relationship can suck away your energy (like a bad relationship or a relationship in crisis) while a happy relationship gives you energy, everything affects us.
The third statement is that everything is changing. This is true too, isn’t it? The relationship you have – either with a thing or a person – will change – eventually. The energy-connection between you and a certain furniture might loose its energy, you might feel like replacing it or getting rid of it. You change – therefore your environment should naturally change too. We change on the outside, as we get older and more and more beautiful … (laughing) – and we change inside, as the challenges and experiences of life leave their mark on us. ”Everything is changing” is a fact of life, and on a deeper level, Feng Shui encourages us to know and remember that, – even in the midst of a ’personal storm’. The unpleasant feeling will change … and the pleasent feeling will change too … as day turn to night, and summer turns to winter, – everything is changing all the time …
The point with Feng Shui is, that when your home is changing with you, you live in harmony with the changes in your life. For instance, if you are divorced and still have your ex-husbands nametag on the door, that is keeping you tied to the past, and maybe even hindering a new man to enter your life … I actually see this among my clients quite often! Many of us simply don’t update our interiors to the present circumstances, and to who we are today. However, once you know that ‘everything is talking’ and giving – or taking – your energy – how can you afford not to change your surroundings accordingly?”
There are many different “styles of Feng Shui”, but what is your approach to the old wisdom?”
“For me Feng Shui is an act of love. It’s about creating a sacred space in your life, just like I have organized my living room in a way so that it feels inviting to my angels. Its a way of living. You could also say ’conscious interior decorating” or ‘interior decorating with awareness’. Basically, Feng Shui is about commen sense and consciousness, the meeting of earth and heaven. Let me explain:
We are here – in the physical world, – but there is also the non-physical world … Feng Shui is about this meeting. The integration of the two. If we only live on the material level, we will suffer at some point. Desiring things and being attached to them will not make us happy. However, if we only live in the higher realms, we will suffer being on this planet! We simply need to integrate the two qualities. Being a spiritual being, living on planet earth!
For me Feng Shui is about raising our consciousness to include all levels of life. The seen – and the unseen. The seen is the building, the furniture and objects, etc – the unseen is the energy those things contains and radiate, and our connections or ’bonds’ with those things.
That’s what I do when I’m working: I sense these connection between people and their things and environ- ment. And this is why, at some point, it became relevant for me to further educate myself into healing and clairvoyance. Because sometimes I experienced that my consultations were not just about moving furniture around. Rather, there was something fundamentally unhealthy about the energy in the room – it needed what we call “space healing”. At other times the people who lived there primarily needed to move some “inner furniture”.
Do you also tell people to place an old, green Chinese frog here and there to attrack luck?
(laughing) “No, I will have to disappoint you. I work with the Western style of Feng Shui – since I’m educated at The Western School of Feng Shui by Therah Kathryn Collins and inspired by teachers like Denise Linn and Karen Kingston. The Western style, has extracted the essence from the old Chinese wisdom and updated it to our hemisphere and time. So no old frogs in the livingroom! This symbol of wealth made sense 4000 years ago in China, but in order for Feng Shui to be effective, you have to work with the symbols and objects
that are meaningful to you today. “
You are famous in Denmark for teaching people how to take care of their bedroom, why is that so important?
“Well, given that everything is interconnected, my life partly depends on what circumstances I offer myself. And if we take the example of the bedroom, the way I place my bed, will affect my sleep, my sleep will affect my energy level, my energy level will affect my working day and my way of being with my surroundings etc. So if my bed is placed in a position that nurtures and supports my sleep the best way possible, this creates a positive circle, but if it is placed in a position that drains my energy, I create a vicious circle.
Working with Feng Shui, you can consciously BREAK the negative circle, and change it to a nurturing circle instead. But if you don’t know where the problem is, you cannot fix it …
So it’s important for us to think: Everything is energy – what do I want to ’take into’ my energy-field Imagine that we all changed colour when we interacted with someone whose energy was not good for us. Actually this IS what happens – we just can’t see it with our eyes.
Just think about your own life: Have you ever been somewhere, either in a room, or with a person, and felt like taking a shower afterwards? You simply felt unclean ..and intuitively you wanted to clear that energy out of your system. This can easily hap- pen if you live in a neighbourhood where the energy is not good for you, or you have a neighbour that is not good for you, or even a vase or sofa you just don’t like. You tend to take this energy into your system, so it ́s a completely different ballgame if your are surrounded only by things and people that you LOVE! In that case, love becomes something you are, not something you feel or have or give. Thats why I call Feng Shui an act of love. You give love to your self when you perform Feng Shui on your environment, and that starts a circle of love-exchange. It even becomes less important if you have a lover or not! You are fulfilled from experiencing all the love that is already here.
This explains why I see people shine when they start not just doing, but also living Feng Shui. They are in love – in love with their life. Some- times people will come to me and be unhappy about their lives. But soon they are on a different path – com- mitted to play an active role in the change for the better they want to experience. They leave the victim attitude and begin to see life as a mys- tery – just waiting to unfold in front of their eyes. And they come back to me and report about all the ”magic” that’s suddenly happening in their lives …”
Is Feng Shui really about magic ?
“No. Not the way I see it. It’s more like making room and space for the magic to appear in your life, rather than creating it. We simply ”invite the guest of magic” into our lives. Magic is already happening around us all the time. But we have to open our eyes to see it! Most of the time we are so busy, that we don’t see the magic, because we have our mind somewhere else. Maybe our mind is focused on realizing the will of the ego, and it overlooks those many miracles that appear in our lives everyday. Seeing this, you begin to live in gratitude of what you have, and what is already working in you life, and that attracts more. The only magic in Feng Shui is knowing that two alikes attract each other, so that ener- gy attracts energy, love attracts love, beauty attracts beauty etc. What you radiate is what you will attract. So look around your house and notice: what does this house attract, considering that like attracts like? More mess – or more beauty?”
But if one is already happy inside, does it really matter if you live in a dump?
“If your are really happy inside, you will most likely not live in a dump. It’s not my experience. When I meet happy and successful people in my life, I often see this clearly reflected in their surroundings. You cannot separate the inside and the outside. Naturally, a successful person has a good deal of energy. However, if you have a messy office, and lots of clutter, you are most likely to postpone deadlines, appear disorganized and be(come) a less happy and less successful person …”
Can Feng Shui make you happy then?
“Nothing outside of yourself can make you happy. If you paint a wall red, place a bowl of goldfish in front of it, and then sit down to wait for happiness, my guess is that not much happens. My feeling is that it is not so much the colours or things that create positive changes, it is more the fact that we start to take proper care of our environment. When you start making Feng Shui changes you are starting an awareness process, and that is actually what creates the changes in your life. It like a prayer – it is not the prayer itself, it is what is happening inside you when you make that prayer, that makes it work. Likewise it is not the object itself, but what happens inside you, when you place that object that fosters new beginnings.”
How did you get in to Feng Shui yourself? Did you know already as a little child ”I wanna work with Feng Shui?”
(laughing) “No. Basically I have been wondering al my life about “what to become when I grow up” – and I still do (laughing). For many years I thought of Feng Shui as something a bit far out, and considered it Chinese superstition and since I am not really the superstitious type, it didn’t appeal to me. But looking back, its fun to notice how I always loved to decorate my room as a child. My parents were moving almost every year, so I had the chance to decorate a lot of rooms throughout my childhood! And come to think of it, my friends and family have always praised my décor. So when I met Feng Shui I got a framework for my intuitive talent – a context and a deeper understanding. It felt like coming home. I knew all this deep inside, it was more a recalling than learning something new.“
In fact, even if I have always felt like I was on a wrong track earlier in my life, when I look back I find I have taken the most ’direct detour’. What in the moment can seem like detours, often turn out to be valuable pieces of the big puzzle…
But what was your background before Feng Shui ?
“In my twenties I had a promising career in the TV-business, where I had been working since college. I was trained as a TV documentary director from The National Film School of Denmark, and was working in the industry until the end of 1999. I had lots of interesting and different assignments, i.e creating and hosting a show about films, working as a news reporter, working as a reporter for morning TV, creating documentaries and even hosting a huge live TV-show (the Danish Eurovision Song Contest, Melodi Grand Prix 1995). But somehow I wasn’t really happy. I realized I was working only for the money. Money that could buy me freedom to take off from work and study different alternative studies like meditation, NLP, astrology, aurasoma, you name it … or to travel to be with spiritual teachers and gurus around the world.
At the end of 1999 I decided this would be my last TV-job ever, and that this time, I would use the money to buy a ticket-around-the- world. So straight after new years eve 2000, I took off, alone, and spend two months in Australia and 2 months in the US, working as coordinator for a spiritual meditation teacher. I only knew that when I came back I would NOT go back to my ’old life’. I would draw a line in the sand, so to speak. And so I did. When I came home, I had no idea how and with what I would make a living. Fortunately I had just enough money to get by without working for some time. I fell in love – with the man who later became the father of my child – and basically spent one year not knowing the next step – just enjoying being in love, which was already a sign of this “new life and new career”. And then – as always with these matters – by ’accident’ I was introduced to Feng Shui. By ’accident’ I was invited on a Feng Shui course for free! By ‘accident’ I was chosen to host a series of TV-shows about Feng Shui … and well, what can I say. I’m so grateful for all these ‘accidents’ (laughing) because I could never have made up this plan myself.“
How does it make sense to create a TV series about Feng Shui after leaving behind your early career as a TV star, swearing you would never go back?
“That’s so …funny, actually. Never say never! Yet this time was very different. I was not producing or directing, I was hosting as the Feng Shui master, redecorating peoples houses according to the Feng Shui principles. It felt much more true. I could just be me, didn’t need to be ’a tv-director’ or ’news-reporter’. This time I was speaking about something coming from my own heart.
Your company HappyLiving.dk is also known from international interior- magazines where you feature socalled ’nice homes’ – how does that connect to your Feng Shui work?
“Thats’s true, since 2000 I have been producing features about interior décor from around the world in cooperation with Rishi and our company “HappyLiving”. This has nothing to do with Feng Shui, but this work has hugely inspired me as well. For example, I have seen many practical problems solved in genious ways and done many interviews with great interior designers. This enables me to suggest very specific solutions to the people I consult. I have also seen a lot of bad Feng Shui in some otherwise so called “amazing homes”! For the magazines are purely about looking good, whereas Feng Shui is about feeling good.
What your future plans?
“Well, last year (2005) I did a lot of private counseling in peoples houses, this year has been more about lecturing around the country. In the future, my focus will be on teaching, hopefully soon outside of Denmark too, and I am working on my first Feng Shui book as well. However, I enjoy both. I’m this kind of person that draws on many strings in my professional life: I also work with design of CD-covers, websites and books – and run my webshop selling Feng Shui items. Whether I am designing a cover, doing a counseling or teaching, it ́s all about receiving and giving energy. And about creating beauty in the world, inside of us, as well as outside. I must admit I am quite addicted to that.” ★
Ranvitas most important Feng Shui tips
- If your partner doesn’t like your Feng Shui style, let him or her have a room or a space for themselves where they can decorate
- Create a sacred action every day. Like making a cup of the for yourself. Really enjoy it; choose the most delightful teapot and cup, choose the most delicately tasting tea you could wish for, and make the tea with you full attention, love and care. Sacred and mindful actions like this support your inner sacred space and give you a blessed break during the day. I do this several times a day, and its really a holy act for me:-)
- Finally, don ́t forget the “Inner Feng Shui”, so your “inner” furniture, i.e. a broken heart, is not blocking for new “fur-niture”, i.e. a new lover. It ́s a really good idea to clear old patterns that may block you. For this part, I recommend meditation, a walk in nature or some yoga exercises every day. The inner clarity will supply you with energy to keep your house spiritually uplifting – and maintaining a good spirit in your house will support your inner peace. Its a constant exchange, and working from both angles will speed up your process.
- The main thing is to remember that Feng Shui is not something you do once and then that’s it. It ‘s an ongoing pro- cess. Essentially, it’s a love-affair between you and your home.
- Location is the most important thing. You can change a lot inside of your home, but the location, the neighbourhood, the building itself, is more difficult. So to save yourself trouble, choose the right site from the beginning! Notice the energy in the street or the area, look carefully at the building and especially what you see from every window: is there a nice and uplifting view?
• Upgrade your house with candles and beautiful fresh flowers. Its so simple, but it can change the energy in an entire room instantly.
- Keep your house clean, clutter- free and make sure you air it every day.
- Create a sacred space of your own, a whole room, or just a corner or a shelf somewhere. Turn this into your per- sonal ’temple’ with favourite items, candles and flowers. Those small sacred places will uplift your spirit during the day. It will also give you a sense of belonging and a space to connect your inner and outer worlds.
- Work on your bedroom. Be-cause here we recharge our own personal energies. And the quality of your sleep will determine if you have the energy to realize your dreams. Also, the bedroom is where both men and women connect to our feminine and intuitive sides. It’s where we relax and go inside in stillness and silence. These are qualities that the modern lifestyle doesn’t really support, so we have to create them for ourselves in order to be balanced.
Bloggers and journalists are welcome to copy this interview or partss of it as long as you link to http://www.ranvita.com, thankyou.