Marianne Michallet Gordon is a Paris-based certified Feng Shui expert who consults worldwide using modern technology.
She helps her clients establish balance in their lives through her signature mind-body-home awareness techniques.
INSIDE OUT: Introduce yourself.
Marianne Gordon: My name is Marianne Gordon, I am a Feng Shui expert. I grew up in Lyon, went to business school in Paris, then spent 2 years in Buenos Aires, Argentina, followed by 13 years in the US (Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans) where I worked in finance, entertainment and wellness. After living abroad for most of my adult life, I recently moved back to Paris with my husband and two kids. I became Feng Shui certified in 2014, but had been consulting for over 15 years. I acquired my initial knowledge of this method when I was just 14 years old, as it was at this time that my sister began her studies in the field.
I/O: Share your genesis story.
MG: When I was a kid, my parents sold the beautiful 18th-century house where I had grown up, to downsize into smaller modern house that they had designed and built. I later learned that our former house’s proportions were based on the “golden number” (not dissimilar from Feng Shui calculations). The change created such chaos inside of me and inside of my family! Everyone basically started fighting all the time. This began my awakening to the importance of a space’s energy. My sister then started studying the Tao (including Feng Shui and acupuncture) which I in turn learned from her. My sister’s studies helped dissipate the chaos and helped my family re-adjust to the change thanks to her practice of Feng Shui in the home. I guess something in me was telling me to study Feng Shui, because I knew in my bones that it was the key to wellbeing. I was always attracted to architecture, but Feng Shui became my preference because of its spiritual nature.
I/O: How would you describe Feng Shui?
MG: Feng Shui is the ancient art of balancing homes in order to create happiness and vibrancy in one's life. Feng Shui is to the house what acupuncture is to the body.
My Mission as a Certified Feng Shui consultant is to change people's lives by listening, transforming and empowering. I essentially help people balance the flow in their spaces so that they can experience more happiness and more equilibrium in their lives. On one level, this includes suggesting changes in their homes and decor ideas. I can also be involved in finding a plot of land for clients; working with architects, designers or anyone involved in the construction or renovation of a building; working with real estate agents to find a an apartment for their clients...
My technique is a holistic approach that combines mind-body-home awareness techniques. I listen to my clients carefully and respect their styles, tastes and particular situations. The way I practice Feng Shui is very practical, and does not alter my client’s style, unless they specifically ask for it.
I am passionate about finding the right homes, objects and pieces of furniture that will enhance my clients' well-being. Unlike most traditional Feng Shui Masters, I am also passionate about the aesthetics of a home or an office. I choose not to compromise style or comfort just for the sake of following rigid Feng Shui principles.
This is the way I work:
- I ask people to give me their birth dates so I can calculate their best and luckiest directions. I ask them to give me floorplans and photos so I can calculate their bagua maps and have an idea of their style in advance. The bagua map is a map that correlates areas of your life with areas in your home. For example: your laundry room in the back right corner of your apartment will mean that it is in your “Love” corner, which we will then rebalance according to the law of the 5 elements.
- Then I create a secret Pinterest board with my client, so we can share inspirational photos with ideas for their space. It works beautifully.
- For my remote consultations, I like to use Zoom as a video conference provider because I can automatically record our sessions. But I also use Skype, Whatsapp, FaceTime, whatever works for the client and record our consultation on a separate device. They can really hear what I have to say as I talk as they don’t have to take notes. I send the recording right after, along with the bagua map and some take-away worksheets (bagua map, elemental cycle, 10 best enhancers).
If I see my clients in person I generally perform a house blessing. You can watch a session online here.
This technique clears the space of negative energies and calls on vibrant new energy into the home, especially when we use affirmations which I ask my client to write themselves.
In California, I did some staging*, too, but it is not so prevalent in France.
*Staging is a technique used when you want to make your house look great before putting it on the market for sale. It entails storing all personal belongings and then bringing in an interior decorator who brings in furniture and decorate the house so it looks aesthetically pleasing, slightly trendy and more minimalistic. Potential buyers love buying staged houses as it provides them with a “vision” for their home. In my case I stage with Feng Shui in mind so that the potential client feels immediately at ease!.
I teach online as well. I have one course so far, called “How to Find your Soulmate with Feng Shui.” It’s a mix of Feng Shui and mindfulness. If you are single, you should try it, it works wonders.
I/O: What are your plans for the future?
MG: I am working on creating more online courses in order to provide people with valuable and reusable tools to have a happier life. And from the privacy of their own homes. I do these courses with my more introverted students in mind, so they can benefit from my teachings without having me come to their home. Some people just prefer learning online and at their own pace, rather than have a consultant show up at their house.
I am also working on a meditation project where I teach agitated executives meditation techniques. I want to revolutionize the work environment to make it a happy place, which it is not, right now. There is such disconnect between people’s work personas and their social personas. I have always been allergic to compartmentalizing and being another person in the corporate world. That is why I could not continue working on Wall Street. So many people walked around with this cutthroat attitude, when really, deep down, a lot of them were actually nice.
I/O: What percentage of your clients are women?
MG: About 90 % of my Feng Shui clients are women and 50% of my meditation clients are women.
I/O: What are your thoughts on feminism / female empowerment?
MG: I am a feminist! But it can mean so many things. To me, it just means to acquire equality of rights for women. It does not mean to beat men. I have no resentment towards them. In many cases, I feel like men who disrespect women are just unaware, not malicious. I see them as scared little babies. But the ones who are in power and consciously perpetuate inequality at work for their own benefit are going to have a little surprise soon: women have been honing their skills and biting their tongues for centuries and are about to finally shine and fly!
I/O: What particular challenges do you find women are facing these days?
MG: Women are facing a mix of:
- The patriarchy’s attempt to push us back;
- Our own insecurities or the “good girl” syndrome;
- Objectification by marketers for the past 4 decades;
- A general state of chronic stress (due to the difficulty in achieving a good work-life balance in a world that demands a lot of them and gives them back less than they give).
Women currently are expected to wear too many hats: wife, worker, mother, lover, homemaker, house manager etc. Their mental charge is immense.
I/O: Through your work you are a caregiver and strength builder for so many people. So tell us, who takes care of you?
MG: Three great men in my life take care of me: my husband and my two small boys, aged 4 and 2. But there are a lot more people also providing care: my friends, my family, my Feng Shui Master and sisters, my gurus, my meditation coaches, old thinkers (Seneca, Spinoza, Lao-Tzu).... But the biggest one is Mother Nature! There is no place I feel better than in nature.
I/O: How do you achieve harmony in your life?
MG: With two small kids, I can just sneak in my meditation routine (20 minutes daily), a yoga class here and there, a monthly acupuncture session, and maybe a day at a Korean spa (when I’m in LA). I love the clay and Himalayan salt sauna rooms.
Most importantly, I try to practice the way of the Tao, which is the middle way. I try to be wise and grateful. Every day, I read one page of the Tao, or of The Book of Changes (which was written a few centuries after) and I take it in. Generally, I open a page randomly, right before bed; I spend 10 minutes contemplating on it and then fall right asleep.
I/O: What does your community consist of?
MG: I am part of an existing community of Feng Shui consultants: The Western School of Feng Shui. But I actually rarely meet women who do the same thing as me in my daily life. But my tribe is made of my wonderful female friends who are strong sources of inspiration. I also admire many men in my life, but I am currently seeking more and more the company of strong and empowered women.
I/O: Who do you admire?
MG: As experts: definitely my teacher Terah Kathryn Collins; Srikumar Rao, a mindfulness teacher and writer in the US; and NY-based Gordon Scarritt, my first meditation teacher. On a global level, I admire the activist men and women who fight for human rights; the people who take initiatives and participate in the improvement of the world by doing humanitarian work. And then, as well, some relatives, my husband, my friends and great spiritual writers like Marianne Williamson or Gabby Bernstein. I believe every single person is an expert at something, and I try to learn from each person I meet.
I/O: What are the challenges and obstacles you encounter on your current path?
MG: I am facing the challenge of maintaining financial stability while working in two places. I consult remotely, and had a stable business in California where I consulted in people’s homes, as well as in companies; everyone seemed interested in Feng Shui there. Having relocated in France, I find that people are also interested, but less ready to give it a try.
I am also facing the personal challenge of having too many projects and ideas at once. I’m a Wood person (in Feng Shui), that’s why! Lol.
I/O: A motto?
MG: Dream like a bohemian. Work like a boss.
I/O: Three words.
MG: Empowerment. Truth. Kindness
I/O: Tell us about your rituals.
MG: Fitness wise, I love yoga, tennis and skiing. I also read a lot, fiction and non-fiction. I read a page of the Tao a night, I meditate daily, I play with my kids. I clear my space with sage every week.
I/O: Do you ever ‘fall off the wellness wagon’? What does this mean to you?
MG: I do fall off frequently when I don’t cultivate my “Chi”. I know I’m off kilter when I start to experience anxiety. When my “To Do” list gets too long, when a kid gets sick, when my husband leaves for an extended period of time for work, all of these can lead to my losing my inner balance. As a result, I start seeing worries and fears versus possibilities. That’s when things don’t feel right.
What I do to avoid falling off is meditate daily. It keeps me happy, motivated, and engaged. If for some reason I cannot get to it, my husband will notice my mood shift and will remind me to do it.
I/O: What role does travel play in your life? Where have you been and what’s next?
MG: Travel is my life. I was born into a family of travelers originally from Bretagne (think: sailors, travelers, explorers). My grandfather was born in Milan, my grandmother in the UK, and all of my paternal cousins live outside of France. So, it was very natural to follow in their footsteps and move to Argentina when I was 21. Prior to that, I had already traveled to far flung places for extended periods: I had a taste of Quaker/Amish life at 15 when I spent a month in Pennsylvania; I went to spend a summer with a Mormon family in Utah at 16; did an internship in Canada at 17; I did a humanitarian mission in Lebanon at 20; After Argentina, I moved to New York City when I was 24. Within the US only, I have lived on the East Coast, the West Coast and in the South.
I/O: What role does music play in your life?
MG: Music is a huge part of my life. I play guitar (not as well as I should) and my teacher is pulling his hair out because he thinks I could be a very good guitar player, but I don’t practice enough.
My favorite power song is “I Follow Rivers” by Lykke Li. I also love “Without Conditions” by The New Pornographers, “Many Peaks” by Electrolane, “Where do I Begin?” by Shirley Bassey. My favorite songs are “Just Breathe” by Eddie Vedder, “Per Te” by Jovannotti and anything by The Smiths.
I/O: What makes you happy?
MG: Happiness is being with my family in nature. We don’t have to talk, we can just be. Or dinners and fun with friends. I love listening to Jazz live.
I/O: What do you do when something makes you unhappy?
MG: I shift my energy inwards. I meditate.
I/O: What inspires you more than anything else?
MG: I am inspired by doing good, and by people who do good in the world.
I am inspired by people who ask themselves questions about life, who stop just desiring the materialistic. There is nothing to be ashamed of in being spiritual, in caring for the world, in caring for the planet and for humans and animals in need.
I/O: A wish, intention or manifestation?
MG: My wish is for nature and humans to get along again. And for Monsanto executives to go to jail.
I/O: Where can our community find you?
MG: You can find me working at my house near Paris, or online at www.fengshuiwithme.com