Penny Stanley and family

I have chosen to interview Penny Stanley because from the first time I stepped into her home and did her feng shui analysis, I knew she was no ordinary woman. Yet at the same time, I know many women can relate to her. Highly intuitive, career-motivated, and family-oriented, Penny holds her friends in great care and esteem. She is an inspiring woman who plays the roles many of us do.

Can you tell us a little about your background and your work?Wow, this is a hard one. I have worn so many hats in my life, it's hard to narrow the "what do you do" question down. I'll start at the present and work backwards. I am currently working as a Private Chef, a job that entails a tremendous amount of physical energy as well as organization. I have a coterie of private clients whom I cook for on a scheduled basis. Creating delicious wholesome meals for my clients is challenging and rewarding at the same time. I really enjoy my time in the kitchens working with food.

When I am not cooking for clients, I work as a freelance medical meeting planner for a PR firm in New York. This work is challenging in a totally different way. There is a lot of travel involved. I am often working pharmaceutical conventions and trainings, which has me working with hundreds of people. This work is very detailed and attending to the logistics of conventions and conferences is not only mentally, but physically demanding work. Our hours can run from 5 AM until 10 or 11 at night, straight through for many consecutive days. When I complete a job and return to the solitary work of the kitchens, I am always happy to be back chopping and sautéing. Although, after a few weeks of this, I begin to miss the energy and excitement of travel and working with the public. I consider myself to be a very lucky person to have both of these very different occupations. Never a dull moment!

When did you first become interested in feng shui? How long have you been practicing feng shui in your home?I have been interested in feng shui for over 30 years. I was first introduced to the concept of feng shui when I was a Pan Am flight attendant. On trips to the orient, I would often hear and read about it, especially in Hong Kong, where businesses were frequently being readjusted for the New Year. I read whatever was available on the subject or asked a lot of questions about feng shui, so the practice was something that tweaked my interest long ago. It wasn't until 1998 that I actually started to have our home adjusted by Jenny. So, it's been about 9 years that we've been actively involved with feng shui.

Thinking back in time, do you remember how you felt about your first feng shui consultation?Oh yes! I remember being overwhelmed by all that I had to do to prepare our home for the New Year. We had never had an adjustment, and since our home is not ideal for all three of us, there was a lot of adjusting to do. We had no plans to move, as we like our home, so it was a matter of making adjustments that would make our home more compatible to our personal directions. There were so many different articles to procure and some mental readjustment, too. I had to prepare my husband and my daughter for the changes that were about to take place. I had to instill in them respect for the practice and the articles that were to be placed around our home. It has gotten a lot easier through the years of adjustments. I have most of the items I need, and bring out just the ones I need for each current year. I do have my eye on a few paintings of Grand Master Liu's that I would very much like to add to my feng shui collection.

How has practicing feng shui affected you, your family or your life? Can you give us some examples?I have a deep respect for the practice of feng shui, although the more I know, the more I don't know. It is a matter of trust for me. I don't read or consult other masters. I have just consulted with one directive, the Liu's. In retrospect, I can see more clearly the differences that feng shui adjustment has made in our lives. Over all of these years since the first adjustment, I can see that we have weathered storms both actual as well as emotional, and that we have increased our well-being with each consequent year of adjustments. Most impressive was a critical readjustment we made during our daughter's teenage years. I think the extra protection we gave her helped her (and us!) through her teenage challenges. College applications were also a time of family stress, when we needed some extra feng shui help with her studies and applications. We had some mantra charms prepared for her car when she was learning to drive. So far, so good. She is now a sophomore at USC (last report card, all A's!!!), and she is turning into a very stable, energetic and happy young lady.

What are your feelings about Chi Art? Can you tell us about some of the pieces you own?I have a few paintings that I dearly love. My favorite piece is a very large painting of peaches and bamboo. It is hung at the center of our home. I think it brings great tranquility, harmony and unity to our family life. Many visitors to our home comment on the peacefulness they feel when they enter our home. The paintings I have in my office are to enhance business. One has the energy of 6 fishes, and the other is a somewhat mystical painting of the universe that encourages growth in finances and business. My husband has a scroll that was painted for him by Grand Master Liu in his office at work. As he works in a busy hospital (lots of negative feng shui energy), he has this added protection at work. The scroll is so beautiful that many who have seen it comment on its beauty, not knowing of its real purpose and just see it as a beautiful decorative piece.

You have a full schedule all the time, how do you maintain your energy and youth?I attribute my good health, and ability to maintain a very busy schedule to a few personal disciplines I have adhered to for most of my life. Every day, I try to get at least an hour of exercise in. I either do some cardio work, such as running or spinning and on alternate days, I practice yoga for about an hour and a half. For the past 35 years, I have been an active meditator, and know that this centering practice is a key ingredient to being productive, happy and resilient to stress. Other than that, I try to balance my busy work life with my family life. This is a true blessing.

Do you have a message for our readers?Choose your feng shui masters well. Follow their directives as best you can. Believe with all of your heart in the flow of good energy into your home and life, and then keep a keen eye out for the miracles, both large and small that you will witness. Your awareness of the blessings of your life will be proof enough that a positive flow of feng shui energy in your life is present.

"Believe with all of your heart in the flow of good energy into your home and life, and then keep a keen eye out for the miracles, both large and small that you will witness."

~Penny Stanley, Chef