They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.
Gentleness that is adaptable but also penetrating is the outer form that should proceed from inner calm.” The Book of Changes.

So first thing: this is a terrifying time. If you just want to talk a while, let us know. Who knows what’s happening? Or what’s going to happen next? Book a time slot. Email sheilaashworthfengshui@gmail.com and we can set up a Skype, FaceTime or Zoom session. If I’ve drafted your ba zi, so much the better.
We ask for a contribution to cover our costs, but it’s okay not to pay at all.

Next thing: where and when we do stuff is quite important right now. And the healing tools of ba zi, feng shui and Qi Men Dun Jia work as well remotely as in the flesh. But differently. A remote survey is more intuitive, less linear and often more immediately life-changing. I remain available for remote consultation. You bring the compass. No need to make me tea.
We do charge for this.

Third thing: If this enforced stillness inspires you to learn, I’m here to teach feng shui and ba zi one-to-one online at dates and times to suit you. I’ve been teaching and mentoring online via Zoom and Skype for years now. My starter courses are purpose-built as online tuition. And we’re scheduling more online group workshops including a series on the Book of Changes and another on forecasting using the Stems and Branches of ba zi.


Fourth thing: what the hell is going on here?

On one level this is Gaia, the Earth Mother shrugging. Did you see the clean air above Wuhan last week, previously one of the most polluted cities on Earth? We are not able to destroy her. She’s been through worse than this. But we do have to realise that her resources are finite. If we understand that, there’s a whole new way of life peeping through. Did you see the fish in Venice’s canals, clean for the first time in a very long while? That the Earth can start to recover is the best of good news.

On another level this situation is the inevitable conclusion of our own stupidity and short sight. As Joni Mitchell wrote when “they cut down all the trees and put them in a tree museum and charge the kids a dollar and a half just to see ‘em”, it’s only a matter of time before a Big Yellow Taxi takes away your old man. We have bought low-cost tat without thinking about who is being underpaid to produce it ten thousand miles to the East. Cheap labour has travelled as far East as it is possible to go. The World is round. Time to buy renewable, sustainable and local. And to consider the bereaved cows and tortured pigs and chickens concealed behind the walls of the factory farms.

On top of this we’ve voted in a series of “strong” men to make “hard” decisions on our behalf. That is “hard” decisions that mostly affect the vulnerable, the weak, the dispossessed, the homeless and the powerless. Looked at through the prism of the tao, everything is its own reverse. And these are not strong men. Bolsonaro, Orban, Trump, Putin, Erdogan, Johnson, Duterte, these are terrified men; terrified of foreigners, terrified of freedom and above all terrified of women. Why else would they think to legislate away reproductive rights? Why else would their fans threaten women with violence on or offline?

All these weak men know is deceit, force, terror and coercion. And they’re terrified of women taking power. That is women liberated by Roe vs Wade and the contraceptive pill. They think it’ll be the same violent, competitive, consumptive nonsense only in skirts. It’s time to ignore them. It’s only by cooperating and owning the interests of all as our own that we will survive.

And finally: if I’m so smart why didn’t I see this coming? Well I did. Up to a point. I have been forecasting the 2020 meltdown for a dozen years. I didn’t see it as a function of a virus but the Feng Shui Diaries on my website are a matter of record. And right now Sheila and I are pretty much self-sufficient because we have been gently buying for several months all the things people are fighting over in the stores. We even have plenty of toilet paper because – for all the right reasons – we recently joined the “Give a Crap” environmental group. This is the Tao.

It may also be why ahead of all the government announcements we didn’t get on our plane to Gran Canaria for our first holiday in years last Saturday. Indeed our timing may have been perfect enough to have been covered by insurance. And now I’m unexpectedly both on holiday and under (voluntary) house arrest and have time to write this.

My point is this: as Nate Silver makes clear in “The Signal and the Noise”, a forecast is different from a prediction in that it needs only to be 70% correct. The value of forecasting the weather, earthquakes, financial collapse or plagues of frogs is in the 30%. It’s in what can be done to mitigate or prevent. That’s why we draw up a Qi Men Pan. That’s why we do ba zi and feng shui: to forestall difficulty not to predict it. Which can be easily forgotten.

We will get through this and the world will be a different place. The old normal is gone. Make way for the new one. It’s all too easy to predict accidents and hideousness, the Chinese Masters tend to revel in them. And frankly prediction is so close to creation; let’s not. We are so much more powerful than we think.
Richard Ashworth 17th March 2020.
Back when things were normal – last week – I was due to be addressing the Feng Shui Society Conference in May. Normal is no more, so do stay in touch with them. Thanks.

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