photo courtesy of Martin Kenny.
I've not blogged before about the feng shui of Doha city itself.
It's not that I don't think Doha has good feng shui. It's just that I hadn't found where the good feng shui hangs out yet.
How do you know naturally good feng shui when you're upon it?
You feel relaxed. Everywhere you turn, is pleasing to the eye. There's a slight tingle of anticipation in the air, like there's the possibility of a great adventure. You'll spot something in the decor that jolts a memory, or reminds you of a song, or inspires you with an idea. These are all the signs. Feeling good feng shui can't be done by reading the compass.
Upon arrival here, I did go in search. In other cities in the world, I've found naturally positive feng shui in the botanical gardens. Cathedrals. Summer palaces, where rivers meets oceans, on bridges, and at lookouts.
Prague's Old Town square.
in a valley in the mountains of Vorarlberg.
Standing in Galway Bay looking to America, and on the golf course at Long Reef on Sydney's Northern Beaches.
So I don't think I've been unfair to Doha, by not going to the museum for Islamic arts, or the Spiral Mosque, which are traditional landmarks here. All the places of natural feng shui I've ever stumbled across, I've been drawn to.
Here, I gravitated to the Four Seasons. The Ritz Carlton. The major shopping malls. No natural feng shui.
The Four Seasons Spa (which has been feng shui-ied, incidentally), with it's five elements menu, luxurious hydrotherapy baths, candlelit hallways and soothing music came closest. Hot on it's heels (this was in December) was the walk-in gingerbread house filled with divine goodies in the Ritz Carlton. The magic of Christmas filled the air, and good chi meandered around the silver foil packages, jelly buttons on the wall and shiny gift hampers.
But both these places, however pretty they were, only offered a "sugar-hit" of good chi. They may be feng shui themselves, all elements in order, but do they offer others a feng shui experience- the energy to nurture and inspire?
No. No strong positive energy to uplift and support and sustain.
Many new buildings and hotels have this problem. Because it's only 2 things that can create this nurturing energy somewhere:
1. The Earth's magnetism itself. The energy of the earth's positive meridians, which has directed architects and builders to choose a special place, and over time seeps into the building and infuses all the rooms with it's beneficial magnetism, creates strong positive and nurturing chi. New buildings which keep original features or elements of the old one can inherit this good energy straight away. (think; Establishment in Sydney or London's Docklands)
2. The power of human intention. We ourselves change a space offering zero natural feng shui into a space that can heal and nurture. It takes a strong energetic being to create this quickly, but humans over time in their environment naturally power up this energy, and it doesn't follow us when we leave- it stays behind and can be built on by the next nurturing being.
And then... I went to La Cigale.
The newest five star hotel in Doha, I'd been curious to see La Cigale but couldn't quite believe it would be anything other than standard luxury (yawn). It's also in one of the ugliest areas of Doha, at the top of Al Sadd, a hectic, dusty street where new car showrooms shoulder each other, vying for customers to finance up to the hilt.
But I was invited by a lady of strong positive energy, and we entered together. The chi almost bowled me over. Wow.
It wasn't the positive energy I have felt in Europe, like a strain of delicious music that stops you in your tracks and you prick up your ears to hear again... this was like being jumped on and covered with licks by a labrador puppy. It felt good and -hey, there's something real here.
Everywhere you look, a whimsical object or a fascinating colour catches your eye. Textures and patterns are intriguing- glass and wood meld on the floor, purple stands next to red next to big brave plants. An aquarium tucked inside one wall makes you blink unexpectedly. It works.
The restaurant on level 1 we took lunch in, Le Mercato, is reminiscent of a childs play room, orange and green snug chairs hug the tables, who remind us to behave with their beige linen tablecloths. The wasabi offered with our sushi was artistically created into a life-like turtle. And above it all, huge glass cases filled with coloured wrapped sweets add an explosion of colour that makes you just want to celebrate.
The enjoyment I received from the ambiance here has been unmatched anywhere else in Doha, and whilst I can't announce to you that it was built on a meridian line, there is some great feeling to be got from hanging out here. It's not strong- but it's got some natural feng shui. How?
Remember the 2nd way an environment that offers it's occupants nurturing energy is created? The power of human intention. "We ourselves change a space offering zero natural feng shui into a space that can heal and nurture. It takes a strong energetic being to create this quickly..." Or many energetic beings. The sweets in the giant glass cases that add an explosion of colour and celebration energy to La Cigale are actually thousands of polystyrene squares, which were hand-wrapped in coloured paper by the staff in their residences, as they waited for the hotel to open. Can you imagine the excited energy they would have had, handwrapping these "sweets" to trick guests? These workers from the other side of the world, who had just been recruited to open the "finest new hotel in Doha" and were wrapping the squares, eagerly looking forward to their new job? This strong positive energy has been transmuted to the environment, and now we can all enjoy!
There are other feel-good elements to the decor: the market-place theme downstairs with it's selection of cheeses and patisserie, the unashamably girly giftware, chocolates, and all other delectable goodies on offer. And I predict with committed people in nurturing roles, offering their professionalism in hospitality within the hotel, it's natural feng shui could soon be further empowered, making this hotel one of Doha's first truly good feng shui places.
As Husby said yesterday about the town, as we were stuck in traffic, gazing at skyscrapers piled on a heap of dust- "It'll be nice when it's finished."