In my bio I often talk about the flat from hell and how it was this experience that really brought home to me the idea that where you live can impact how you live in very significant ways.
My description often raises eyebrows as if I’m being melodramatic.
See what you think about this series of unfortunate events….
At the end of the 1980s my very new husband and I bought a flat in a newly converted building. It looked lovely and we felt so lucky to have managed to get it during the booming market.
Almost immediately my husband got a new job which took him away for months on end. This was ok as it was an exciting opportunity for him; it was before the internet but all was good.
Not so neighbourly neighbours
Not long afterwards the flat below us was sublet to a new tenant. He was out most nights and he left his dog alone. The poor dog howled all night! It seriously affected our ability to sleep. Our offer to look after the dog overnight wasn’t welcomed.
The tenant’s night-time routine turned out to be nefarious – selling drugs – so the police became regular visitors to the building.
Around this time, I was advised that my lovely job was going to be relocated to the new company head office over four hours away. It wasn’t viable to move so far away from friends and family so I took redundancy. Of course this meant that I was spending more time in the flat.
This was just as interest rates peaked and the property market crashed. Our flat was worth less than half what we paid for it and we were in negative equity*.
The owner of the flat below was clearly intimidated by his tenant and didn’t have a proper tenancy agreement in place. The tenant effectively had squatter’s rights. Our complaints about the noise only led to a really unpleasant situation. Court proceedings had to be instigated to evict him and somehow I was due to testify against him. The tenant’s behaviour became threatening, which was so unpleasant that I often stayed with family rather than spend time alone in what had become the flat from hell.
Making a break for it
During most of this time my husband was on a long-term contract in Italy but finally an option of a secondment to Glasgow came up. With my older brother acting as my bodyguard, I went back to the flat, packed my bags and drove to Scotland.
Eventually the drug dealing squatter was evicted. (This was delayed because apparently you can’t evict someone who is in prison.)
Then, as we couldn’t afford to sell the flat, we tried to rent the property out. This was always problematic; sometimes people didn’t stay long, other times they left without paying. The property never covered its expenses.
Finding the positives
As with any awful time or “period of transition” as I like to describe it, there were some positives to be found. I read about this “new” trend of Feng Shui.
It was an “Aha” moment for me. I was fascinated by the idea of a system to identify the reason why some buildings feel good and others don’t. I certainly had enough direct experience by then that where you live affects your luck.
By the time I was safely ensconced in Scotland I had been to a few seminars and met up with Irene Macmillan who was also interested in the subject. Together we read about a traditional Feng Shui Master, Master Chan Kun Wah and we organised for him to come and do a talk. Within a few months we were all working together; Irene looking after Master Chan’s diary and me driving him all over Scotland as he taught us how real Feng Shui worked. We were probably the most unlikely looking “dream team” ever!
What made it the flat from hell?
While Western Feng Shui couldn’t identify why there was a problem with our flat – I had chimes and crystals galore – traditional Feng Shui showed that the compass readings of the property fell into the centre of the northeast – the Ghost Gate. This orientation brought with it misfortune, mischief and difficulties.
To make matters worse, the flat sat within a building with the same orientation and had the front door with the same reading too.
In addition, the irregular shape of the flat meant that there was no space for the lead male. This exacerbated my husband’s situation. The flat was weak in terms of yang/male support. No wonder my husband was never there!
We were finally able to sell the property in 1999 but it still hadn’t regained the value of the mortgage.
Was it a coincidence?
So was it just coincidence that this happened while we were living in this flat from hell?
The problem I have when trying to explain about Feng Shui; there is no real way to blind test it against another property.
The flat below ours had the same reading and was the same shape and it’s clear that the owner didn’t have a lot of luck either. (Clearly neither did the tenant who was literally taken away.)
The developer of the building went bankrupt as several of the properties didn’t sell before the property crash. There were about 15 flats within the building so this multiplied their misfortune.
Moving on from the flat from hell
I have lived in lots of properties over the years. In some I felt happier and healthier than in others. As my experience with Feng Shui grew I was able to experiment and change the energy of some of the properties. However, regardless of their looks I have resisted properties with the northeast/southwest orientation. (Sometimes these properties seem to tempt you in!)
I’ve since met many people who lived in northeast properties that didn’t support them. Interestingly there’s a pattern with the trickiest properties that when people leave, they often move to another country. In my case it was just to Scotland. But I know of people who have gone much further afield as they make the leap out of difficult properties. It’s as if you have to take a giant life change to get away.
I should point out that not every northeast property is as bad as this one. In our flat, three of the key readings had the worst compass orientation possible.
I think that you would know if you have a flat from hell but if your property doesn’t feel right or life feels out of control, you might find your Feng Shui is out of balance. Please get in touch!
*Properties with good Feng Shui keep their value and are more sought after than properties with average or unsupportive Feng Shui.
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Find out more about the origins of real Feng Shui at The Chue Foundation website
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