A few years ago, I hosted monthly cooking classes in the stunning kitchens at the Interior Design Building in NYC (The lovely GE Showroom). Every month, Benjamin Huntington would attend my events and we soon became fast friends. Benjamin is an interior designer who specializes in Feng Shui, something I knew nothing about. Fast forward five years when I moved into my West Village apartment and Benjamin gifted me a Feng Shui session on how to decorate and style my home. I was blown away by how accurate he was with everything- it was like my first time going to an astrologer where I was like, “YES, YES, YES…How do you know all this?” It was wild, to say the least. But, I was at a point in my life where I was ready to hear all of this. Years ago, when I met Benjamin, I didn’t understand energy or energy work or the power of energy in our lives but now, after four intense years of energy healing and seeing profound results in my health and body, I get it.
So, today I’m sharing with you an interview with Benjamin. His work is incredible and I honestly recommend him to anyone who feels like they need a shift in their life. We’re all energy folks. Our emotions are all energy, our body is a ball of energy and life is all about energy- something I would have never believed until I saw the effects of energy work from the last few years with a group of genius healers. More on that to come later, but for now. I bring you a man who is talented and fabulous and so dedicated to his craft.
I hope this interview inspires you.
AV: Tell us what you do for a living. And how would you describe your work?
BH: Well I work as a Feng Shui Master and also I am a New York State Certified Interior Designer. Perhaps the best way to describe what I do would be Environmental psychology! Describing what I do is not quite as simple, let’s just say that I help my clients get the most out of life by making sure that their homes support their dreams and goals!
AV: What got you interested in Feng Shui?
BH: I first came across Feng Shui when I was at Kingston University working on my BA. One of the professors that we worked with had just come back fro ma two year trip working in Hong Kong and he spoke a little about Feng Shui and how it was used for many buildings in Hong Kong. I became interested in Feng Shui but, like many other people, I didn’t really understand how it could be used within our western culture. So many of the symbols & icons really didn’t translate into the “urban lifestyle” that I know so well. It wasn’t until I started training with my second Feng Shui master in America that I begin to understand the “science” of Feng Shui and how it could benefit anyone using culturally specific symbols.
AV: Is there a spiritual aspect to Feng Shui?
BH: Absolutely – much of the core value of Feng Shui is to do with “belief” or if you like “having faith”. Our instinctual mind speaks to us through symbols and, although powerful, this part of our mind can become “lost” if there is no faith in a greater purpose!
AV: What don’t people realize about your practice? What would surprise them?
BH: One of the things that many people don’t realize about Feng Shui is that when they have a Feng Shui reading it is all about what is going on in their lives right now and what is appropriate for them now may not be what will support them in the following year. As we learn and grow our needs change – a good example of this might be someone who is not in a relationship because they are still adjusting to a life changing event that would make it almost impossible to be in a committed relationship. So using Feng Shui to open that person to the possibility of a relationship would not be appropriate at that time. However in six or nine months time that person’s needs and goals may have shifted and they would then be ready for a relationship.
One of the things about Feng Shui that I think would surprise most people is that there is no “good” or “bad” in Feng Shui. The icons & symbols in our surroundings are just information about who we are and what is currently going on in our lives. Many times I have spoken with a client who will say “Isn’t it bad Feng Shui to have this here?” or “I know that this is supposed to be good Feng Shui but I don’t like it here! ”.
AV: Life changing book you’ve read?
BH: For me it was Edward T. Hall’s “The Hidden Dimension” in it he talks about Feng Shui but from a completely scientific view. It allowed me to reframe my understanding of modern Feng Shui and develop my personal style of Feng Shui which I call “Urban Feng Shui”.
AV: Tell us what your typical day looks like.
BH: My days vary very much but almost always start and finish the same way. I am always up early and after my simple morning rituals I like to catch up on world news (usually the BBC website). Then I take care of my current e-mails, I usually get around 200 a day. after that I am working which may be; meetings, writing, designing, or off to a Feng Shui reading. If I can I stop for a quick lunch, if not then it is snacks only. I like to finish my work day early, before 6pm so that I can spend some time with Adam, my son. Then I love to work with Elizabeth in the kitchen (she allows Adam +& I to sous chef) dinner around eight and then some entertainment, either television, or reading, then off to bed.
AV: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
BH: That is an easy one “Always tell the truth”.
AV: Morning ritual:
BH: My morning ritual is very simple – I work on the week’s affirmations that my coaching partner and I have agreed on from the week before.
AV: Of all the places you have traveled in your life, what destination has become your most unforgettable memory and why?
BH: On one of those gloriously long summer vacations, when I was a teenager, I travelled to a tiny island off the coast of Spain called Formentera. No one knew about it in those days and the only way to get there was by taking a short ferry ride in a converted fishing boat from the adjacent island. I went there to visit an author, that my father knew, who was living in a small artists’ colony. I slept in an old wrought iron bed under a fig tree and spent months as part of this incredible artist community. All of the families living there were true creators and their children were immersed in the creative arts. It was the most fantastic experience of my life and I will never forget it.
AV: What inspires you the most when creating your work?
BH: When I begin to get to know my clients I am inspired by striving give them the best possible surrounding to get the most from their lives!
AV: Favorite places to shop for home furnishings in NYC?
BH: For furniture I enjoy shopping at many of the simple mid century modern style furniture stores; West Elm, Room & Board, Design Within Reach, Restoration Modern, Hive.
AV: Favorite places to shop for home furnishings outside of the USA?
BH: I love to shop in Paris; you can buy the most amazing door hardware almost anywhere. The variety of home furnishing available is staggering and there is always some thing new to see.
AV: Give us your own definition of wellness and success.
BH: Success to me is knowing every day that you have “enough”… enough money to pay the bills, enough friends to share with, enough space to be comfortable, enough time to enjoy life. I am sure you have met people who are the opposite – all they want in life is more – sadly they will never have enough as they will always need more so can never be happy! I believe that being comfortable in your own skin and knowing how to listen to your body is the key to wellness.
AV: How do you stay healthy? What are your own rules about this that you have gained from experience?
BH: I walk everywhere and am careful to eat well and simply. I make sure that I never sit at my desk for too long, taking breaks to keep a balance. Also learning from experience, taking at least three vacations a year is vital to make sure that you are never too stressed, which I firmly believe is vital for your health and well-being.
AV: How do you balance your work with other projects that you have going on?
BH: An old, much used, proverb says that “if you love your work you will never work a day in your life!” For me all my projects are work and all my work is a project. I love to go to the flea market on the weekends and I collect unusual antique silver items, even that has become a project and occasionally become work. I just enjoy it all!
AV: Fill in the blanks:
- The future is: unwritten enjoy the journey!
- Happiness is: knowing you have enough of everything.
- There’s a time and place for: every emotion, the trick is to match the right emotion to the right time & place.
- There is too much: time wasted on things that will not really matter tomorrow!
- There is not enough: laughter in our lives
- In the end: what will you want to be remembered for?