Jewish World Review Oct. 18, 2002 / 12 Tishrei, 5763
Robert L. Haught
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com -- WASHINGTON If everything doesn't always go the way President Bush wants it to, he can always blame it on bad "chi" in the Oval Office.
That's "chi," not "Cheez Doodles" -- reported to be a favorite snack of the nation's chief executive.
Bush's work space simply is not conducive to high performance, according to Sara Schroerlucke. She is a 22-year career employee of the federal government and currently is an Internal Revenue Service official. But that's got nothing to do with White House furnishings. She is not in charge of tax code regulations on home offices.
Schroerlucke is a voice of authority because she is a certified practitioner of feng shui (pronounced "fung shway"), which is not a type of Oriental cooking but the ancient Chinese art of placement. The idea is that a person's environment should be in balance and in harmony with nature.
In an interview with the Federal Paper, Schroerlucke shared some interesting findings of her audit of the layout of the president's office. As her interviewer, A.B. Stoddard, reported, "the president experiences trouble getting people to listen to him because the Oval Office suffers from poor feng shui."
So what's the problem?
"Unfortunately for the nation's boss, and his predecessors," Stoddard wrote, "the president sits with his back to the window, robbing him of essential 'chi,' or energy, which diminishes support for administration policies.
"There are also too many doors in the Oval Office, providing multiple escapes for chi."
Well, then, what's the solution?
"Schroerlucke recommends that Bush reposition his desk with his back against a wall."
All presidents surely have had days when they feel like that. So before Dubya calls in Dick Cheney and some other guys with muscle to start shifting furniture around, consider what else the energy-efficient interior designer advises.
Wearing lots of purple and red (yang colors) would boost confidence and authority, she suggested.
"She also recommends that he surround himself with symbols of strength, compassion, motivation and wisdom," the article said. That's Laura Bush, but she can only be in one place at a time. Besides, the first lady has better things to do than be a floor lamp.
One suggestion might not be too hard for Bush to follow. The "chi" consultant, a Las Vegas native, seems to believe in luck -- not from a rabbit's foot but from a small green elephant. She has one next to her telephone.
"The elephant who puts his ear to the ground hears for miles and miles," she counseled. The Republican Party symbol wouldn't be out of place on Bush's desk -- maybe close to the hotline.
Skeptics might ask, does feng shui really work? Schroerlucke can point to her own experience as a government bureaucrat as a testimonial. After 18 years of federal service, she was still a GS-13. She redesigned her living room, getting rid of a statue of Hamlet holding Yorick's skull, and is now a GS-15 managing a multimillion-dollar information technology project.
If Al Gore learns about that kind of success, he might try to hire her as a
campaign adviser for 2004.
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