His business card reads "Gil Gordon-Hall, Intuitive," but the one-time restaurateur is better known these days for finessing the spiritual energy of local businessmen. Gordon-Hall is a feng shui master who specializes in tweaking the yin and yang of corporate types who believe that where they park their Rolodex will have an impact on their workday.
Gordon-Hall and I wedged ourselves onto a sofa in a dark corner of Zen 32, where I hoped to learn a little something about the ancient Chinese study of energy. I got more than I bargained for.
New Times: Let me see if I've got this right: Feng shui is the belief that inanimate objects have energy, and that where we place these things in our homes has an impact on our lives.
Gil Gordon-Hall: Pretty much. It goes beyond that, though. It's about the placement of your home on its property, based on your birthday, your wife's birthday, and so on. It's about working with your environment, not against it.
NT: So where I put my table lamps has a direct impact on the size of my bank account.
Gordon-Hall: And on your health and your relationships, too. It sounds crazy, but it's based in 8,000-year-old scientific principles. The Getty Museum is set up using these principles. Oprah uses feng shui.
NT: Well, there's an endorsement. So if I go home and move my sofa, what will happen to me tomorrow?
Gordon-Hall: If you put it in your southeast corner, you'll start to notice that your finances take a dive. Because you're sitting on your money.
NT: Right now my sofa's in the northwest corner.
Gordon-Hall: That's the sector of knowledge and wisdom. So if you're sitting there balancing your checkbook, you can't help but do well.
NT: What if I'm lying there in my underwear, watching reruns of The Golden Girls?
Gordon-Hall: Well, you'll be getting the most from whatever show you watch, because in that corner of the living room, your brain activity goes up three points.
NT: My life is going nicely. Does this mean I accidentally put all my junk in the right spots?
Gordon-Hall: You might have, but most people don't. I know a lot of people who have constant problems in their relationships, because their bedroom is in the southwest corner of their house. They argue all the time, and their love life drops off. I've seen this time and again. The worst is when they have a mirror in their bedroom, which you never want to do.
Gordon-Hall: Well, if you're having a fight with your lover in the bedroom and you look into the mirror, that bad energy can get trapped in the mirror. So whenever you go into that room, that bad energy is lingering there. And nobody wakes up looking like Brad Pitt in the morning. If the first thing you see every day is yourself looking awful, it sets a precedent for the day.
NT: People pay you to tell them this stuff?
Gordon-Hall: People and businesses.
NT: What the heck is corporate feng shui?
Gordon-Hall: That's where you look at where the office of the CEO is located in his building. What direction does his desk face? When was he born? What kind of table is in the boardroom, and is it in the corner with the best energy? CEOs always want a wall of windows behind them, which is terrible. It looks pretty, but they can't see what's behind them, which is a bad business practice. Ask any Italian.
NT: Yeah, thanks.
Gordon-Hall: I just did a store in Chandler called Jackie O. I came in and said, "No sharp corners! Track lighting here, here and here! Here are the colors you're going to use!" I put the cash register in the money corner, and the money is just pouring in at that shop.
NT: Okay, give me some feng shui pointers.
Gordon-Hall: Well, master suites should always have a door on the bathroom because lovemaking goes on in the bedroom, and you want to keep that yummy energy away from the bathroom. If you get up in the middle of the night and use the toilet, you could flush all that good energy down the toilet. And always keep your toilet seat down!
NT: I'm sorry. What?
Gordon-Hall: It's important, especially if the toilet faces east. Keep the door closed and the seat down, and keep the drains closed when you're not using them. Otherwise, you're flushing all your money energy and potential prosperity down the drain.
NT: That's not what I usually flush down the john. So what do I do if I want more money?
Gordon-Hall: Put water in the southeast corner! Water is a symbol of prosperity.
NT: Well, I sort of have a kitchen in that corner right now.
Gordon-Hall: Well, that can be good, but you have to be careful, because kitchens have drains in them. If the drain is in the southeast corner, every time you run the water, it's sending all your good money energy down the drain. Ideally, the stove should be in that corner.
NT: How about this room? How's it doing, feng shui-wise?
Gordon-Hall: Horrible. When I came in, you had to get up and walk around that stupid chair to shake my hand. I say free up the room so that people can walk in and sit down. And you should never have sharp corners, which are bad for energy in a room.
NT: It's hard to have a room that doesn't have corners, though. It's sort of an architectural standard.
Gordon-Hall: My home has all rounded corners. Because if you send energy into a corner, it bounces off and, if there's a door there, it can escape. But if the corner is rounded, the energy will travel around the corner and head into the next room. So it will stick around, and you'll get more use out of it.
NT: Where did you learn this stuff?
Gordon-Hall: I studied with a professor from the Beijing University in Memphis. Because after my accident, I wanted to figure out how to make my home a sanctuary, a safe place where I could heal.
NT: What accident?
Gordon-Hall: Several years ago, I was struck by a drunk driver going 55 miles per hour, on my motorcycle. I was in the hospital for three and a half years, learning to walk and talk again. My right arm sustained so much damage that I can hardly move it. I was working in interior design, and I started to hear through the grapevine that people didn't want to hire me because of my disability. Hello! It doesn't take more than one hand to carry in a bunch of fabric swatches! I'm not the one who's gonna be moving your stove! So I started doing feng shui. Same kind of work, but a different approach.
NT: That's really a drag, though.
Gordon-Hall: The accident? Yeah. The doctors said, "The trauma to your head was so severe, we doubt you'll have much use of most of your faculties. The best you can hope for is to get a job tearing tickets at a movie theater." I'm lying there thinking, "My modeling career is over! I am so screwed!" All of a sudden I felt like an ocean wave traveling over my body, and I heard a man's voice in my ear saying, "You're going to be fine!" And after that day, I could do predictions.
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Gordon-Hall: Yes. I predicted the 1993 earthquake in Los Angeles. I described exactly what my niece was going to look like before she was born. There are tons of bootleg videos of me on the market, where I'm channeling a spirit named Sananda, who heals people through me.
NT: You sure have a lot of different talents. Is there such a thing as feng shui in punctuation? Because I noticed in your resume that you insert an apostrophe after the "s" in every plural word.
Gordon-Hall: That's not a principle of feng shui, but I like to put in little twists, like punctuation where it doesn't belong. You'll look at a page that I've written and you'll say, "Well, that comma doesn't go there," but somehow it works. I love little changes like that. Because without change, man will never evolve.