Review: Love, Money, Home & Chinese Philosophy (Satis Shroff)
Sophie Boswell: The Power of Feng Shui Living Proof. Strategic Book Publishing, NY, 2008, 230 pages, Hardback $ 25,95
The purpose of this book is to give readers evidence of how the ancient Chinese philosophy works as the author herself is the ‘living proof.’ She’d applied it in her home-setting, relationships and business successfully. It’s a book about change and how to make it happen with you remaining in command. This knowledge is packed in the form of an enchanting love-story after two wrecked marriages, and a third endearing one, full of bliss and passion, thanks to Feng Shui.
Feng Shui? An Asian martial art? No, Feng Shui means ‘wind’ and ‘water’ and is the science of life in harmony with your direct environment. Feng Shui belongs to daily life in China. Wind and water belong to the taoistic knowledge that change is the fundamental principle of the universe. And we humans (and other species) as a part of this universe participate in a dynamic principle and are subject to eternal change. Feng Shui also gives you the opportunity to understand your fellow human being. Which theme belongs to this person? What does he or she have to know or discover? According to Feng Shui, your environ, working place, even your visiting-card reflects your personality. This is more than non-verbal communication. Sofia Boswell uses these ancient Chinese philosophical principles in modern western society and lifestyle with amazing success.
Your inner life begins to influence your outer world in a cheerful, positive way, whereby there’s a reciprocal exchange between the inner and the outer world.
Sophie’s story is topical and begins in Sydney in 1996, she travels through blue Hawaii, Newport Beach, New York and ends in Dubai in 2003. A perfectionist at heart, she doesn’t believe in failure despite setbacks in her business and in her private life. She regards a mistake as a chance to find another way to do and to go about things by using a change in perspective. There’s no room for headlong collisions in life. The gentle power of Feng Shui if often behind her decisions because she has internalised this philosophy.
Sophie’s grandfather was a successful businessman, and she has inherited his business acumen in her genes. Her grandmother, Kathleen Boswell, was a talented portrait painter and musicians, so the grandchild has an artistic streak and plays the piano and even writes lyrics today.
She reveals that the first ten years of her life ‘produced a strong minded individual’ which makes us understand that she didn’t seem to fit in with her peers. She was brought up as a proper English girl with all its connotations. There was ‘pomp and ceremony’ inside her house in far-away Australia but the family didn’t have much money to go with the aristocratic mannerisms. Brisbane wasn’t exactly the Cotswolds and was ‘dry and dusty with poisonous spiders and snakes; flies and mosquitoes came in plagues along with crickets and locusts.’
In addition to demonstrating that Feng Shui works, the narrative is humorous and true.
‘What are the author’s thought?’ you might ask. She does some fast thinking when an annoying man named Prem tells her, after consulting his tatty tarot cards: ‘Your life won’t begin until you’re sixty.’ He says further in his Indian English, ‘Vot you should do it is, is to let go!’ To detach oneself from things that bog us down. He tells her in no uncertain terms that she’ll change her lifestyle, travel and meet people she never dreamed of. All under a new flag.
But why would she want to change anything?
Sophia doesn’t seek psychics. ‘I never sought them out,’ she says. They seem to hook up with her whenever she needed help in life. In 1982 she met a psychic named Margaret Dent, after her first divorce. She had been living in a small rented two-bedroom house with her three little girls. Her husband had been a controlling man. It was a financial fiasco for her. Magaret predicted, ‘I see you sitting in a big house, in lush garden surrounding, near the harbour.’ And it came true. After 1984 she became rich through the use of her own resources in her home-based business and by putting all her energy into it. That one hour with Margaret Dent in Sydney had changed her life. The significance of this story is that women can get along in a men’s world through the understanding of Feng Shui, and is useful for female managers who have to assert themselves in so-called men’s business domains.
It was Elyse, a girl-friend of hers, a spiritual soul with a great knowledge about people and why they did things called her. She advised her to ring Rupert White, a person who could unblock trapped energy and show her which way to go in life. Mr. White was a Feng Shui expert, and the story of change begins here.
The component part of the book contributes to the purpose of the book for Sophie is an open-minded person and she seeks advice from psychics and clairvoyants when her normal logical, western thinking fails to help her in life problems. This is the beginning chapter, which is followed by an introduction to Feng Shui, Grounding, Letting Go, Closure, Hawaii’s Magnetism, Destiny, An Unbelievable Answer, Taking the Plunge, Popping the Question, Popping the Cork, A Blessing from Heaven, Metamorphosis and Living Beyond the Dream. There are also some poems: The Angels Must Have Sent Him (dedicated to her beloved Zayid), Earthly Angels and seven Hawaiian landscape paintings done by the author. Another poem ‘I’m Watching Over You’ was written, according to Sophie, after Zayid died on December 9, 2009. He communicated via a medium and mutual friend, who then took it down and emailed it to her.
A comparison of the work to others within the same genre: Whereas Sophia Boswell already has three daughters and two divorces behind her, and has mastered her life, environment and business successfully, Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ (published in 2006) is in her thirties, settled in a large house with a husband who wants to start a family. However, she doesn’t want any of it. After a bitter divorce and a rebound fling she emerges badly bruised. She goes on a quest to find out what’s missing in her life across Italy, India and Indonesia. I Rome she enjoys the Italian cuisine and handsome Giovanni, her Tandem Exchange Partner, almost Latin-lover, and puts on weight after all that pasta. In India she finds enlightenment, in an ashram frequented by westerners like her, through scrubbing temple floors. Liz even learns to chant the entire 182 Sanskrit verses of the Gurugita, the great, purifying basic hymn of the Hindus. She professes having felt happiness: better, truly than anything which included salty, buttery kisses and even saltier and more buttery potatoes. After that she’s glad to have made the decision to stay alone.
Unlike, Sophie, Elizabeth finds a toothless medicine man who reveals a new path to peace. She’s ready for love again. Filipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship, says he needs towards the end of the story, he needs Bali because of his biz, its proximity to Australia where his kids live. Much like Sayid and Sofie, Liz and Felipe are also survivors of divorce. Felipe needs to be in Brazil often, because that’s where the gemstones are for his biz, and he has his family also there. The quest is over and Elizabeth returns to her family and friends in the USA. Can they build a life together divided between America, Australia, Brazil and Bali? Liz says, ‘Hey—why not?’
In Sophie’s story Zayid, her tall, handsome, Bedouin Arab brings her to life because she’d been in a mental rut. Zayid had humour and for Sophie he was the most interesting man she’d ever met and she had nothing to lose and dreamt of Lawrence of Arabia’s world with her Arabian hero. As a woman in love she notices every nuance. Zayid smells of Verace’s ‘Blue Jeans’ cologne. When he visits her in Hawaii she says, ‘Stars fell on Honolulu this night.’ He, on his part, kept on saying, ‘Life is short,’ which was perhaps a premonition of things to come. Another of his favourite expression is. ‘It takes two hands to clap,’ and he thanks her for inviting him to Hawaii. To Sophie, he’s her soul mate, a wild yet gentle man, and she even seems to know that ‘We were man and wife in another lifetime.’
Whereas Elizabeth Gilbert describes a major catastrophe in the form of a tsunami of staggering destruction in Southeast Asia, in Sophie’s Boswell’s ‘Power of Feng Shui’ she’s in a plane with fire-men from other states who were coming out to help out in the aftermath of 9/11 and the captain gives these brave men a bird’s eye view. Sophie describes thus: ‘In the distance we saw smoke still soaring skyward, highlighted by searchlights. The digging continues non-stop. The Captain asked us all to sing Amazing Grace as he headed for GuardiaAirport.’
Sophie’s poem ‘September 11’ still lingers in my mind.
On page 225 were the words she’d scribbled for me: To be continued..