Every so often, you come across a phrase or a statement that is breathtaking in its perceptiveness. This is what happened to me when I read the following quote from The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard:

“The main benefits of the home, I must say: the shelter during the day, the home protecting the dreamer, the home allows one to dream peacefully … the home is one of the greatest forces of integration for the thoughts, memories and dreams of humanity. The binding principle in this integration are daydreams. “

The Importance of Daydreams - How Your Home Affects Your Ability to Create the Future You Desire

Of course, you need to keep in mind that Bachelard had this book first published in 1958, he was 74, so he was writing predominantly from a bygone era, and from a European (specifically French) sensitivity. However, he writes on a theme so universal that it still resonates strongly in even the most contemporary urban psyche. Similar to the work of Carl Jung, and of the same era, Bachelard writes about the conscious and unconscious allure of the dwelling we refer to as home.

As a Feng Shui consultant with a background in counselling psychology, I have always conducted my assessments from the position that a client’s home reflects a great deal of their inner life. So when Bachelard’s put so much power into the term “daydream”, a term we now often use derisively and dismissively, it struck a powerful chord within me.

On pondering his elevation of the status of the daydream, I could indeed see the intimate connection between reverie, and the actual path someone’s life might take. After all, daydreams reveal our predilections, our yearnings. They are where our vision for our life is conceived. They are where solutions to our dilemmas are germinated. And daydreams can best flourish in the quiet nooks and crannies of our mind, supported by nooks and crannies of our actual dwelling. Daydreaming is a solitary activity, only occasionally shared with a trusted other.

Those who live in overcrowded places, or in close proximity to noisy neighbours would certainly understand how precious a bit of peace and quiet is, and how much we are missing the chance to get inside our own heads awhile.

Sarah Susanka, author of the Not So Big House, writes that the reason that many modern homes seem to be getting bigger and bigger, is that people are trying to escape the noise of the television (including the neighbour’s), simply trying to find pockets of peace.

How many of us, as Feng Shui consultants, work at creating such pockets of peace for our clients? Is it not to foster the art of daydreaming? Sure, you might like to call it by more powerful names, such as meditation or stress management. But by calling it daydreaming, it gives you permission to simply “be” and not have to “do” something.

It also struck me that those of us who work with the Bagua school of Feng Shui, are simply facilitating the daydreams to be drawn forth in the various life areas. Are we, as consultants, not simply giving our clients the permission to daydream, when we instruct them in the art of creative visualisation or strategic placement of representations of their ideals?

One of the saddest things of modern life, I believe, is the impoverishment of our sense of self-awareness. The majority of people in our society have no idea of what it would take to make them genuinely happy and at peace.

The glut of consumer goods, the drive for bigger homes, higher salaries, exotic destinations, trading in spouses for younger or wealthier versions are, at best, only short fixes in the pursuit of happiness. Most of us live in a perpetual “if only” world. Unless we are at peace with ourselves, we will always come up short.

I consider this a direct result of an impoverishment of quality daydreaming opportunities, both in the structure of our lives and time, which is almost certainly reflected in the lack of suitable recesses in our dwelling where we can daydream in peace, deliciously undiscovered.

Our puritanical work ethic abhors us “sitting and doing nothing,” which is why many of us disguise our daydreaming as knitting or gardening or similar activities. Indeed, many ills of modern home design owe their existence to the rise of the industrial age and to the overemphasis on productivity.