Take it from Feng Shui expert Marites Allen: If you’ve had a rough 2018, there’s no need to turn your life upside down this new year just for the sake of doing things differently. So don’t go leaving your job yet, breaking it off with your current flame or start moving away from everything you believe to have been unlucky, in the hopes of a more prosperous and smooth sailing 2019.
In fact, according to Allen, there is much to be gained in acknowledging life’s difficulties rather than to deny or shun them. She went through the same progression in life before she finally found success as a geomancer.
Before she was dubbed a Feng Shui queen in the Philippines, Allen — who is a perennial The Sunday Times Magazine favorite resource person, especially this time of year — reveals she was more of a survivor in her earlier years. Picture her as a single mother, working a corporate job with a chaotic routine, living the same existence day in and day out all to support her three children.
Thankfully, fate — or more specifically, the art of Feng Shui — intervened when she needed it most, and taught her how to create harmony, balance and ultimately fulfillment in her life.
“Besides Feng Shui, however, I also needed to make an effort in maintaining a positive mindset through my personal difficulties, and more importantly nurture an attitude that it’s OK to try and try again,” she says with an encouraging smile.
Today, while she runs a successful practice of geomancy, which has branched out into retail via the popular Feng Shui clothing and accessories brand Frigga, Allen sees her profession as a call to help others achieve their goals and live a fulfilling existence.
And while she can easily talk about yin and yang, auspicious stars, dark stars and the like, Allen is always ready to share her history as well, if it will help a person gain new beginnings from life’s disappointments.
For the very first issue of The Sunday Times Magazine this 2019 — the forthcoming Year of the Earth Boar in the Chinese calendar — let Feng Shui master Marites Allen help you achieve the success that is meant for you.
The Sunday Times Magazine: Can you refresh us on how Feng Shui changed your life?
Maritess Allen: Around 25 years ago, I was a single mother with three small kids so you can imagine it never got easy. Even worse was I lost my mother in a tragic accident, and in supporting the children all by myself, the money was not staying in. I felt everything was malas at that time and I kept on asking, “Why is this happening to me at this point in my life?”
But of course I had to carry on. I was working in an international agency where my bosses’ wives happened to be into Feng Shui. They’d always give me tips [how to counter my misfortunes] by arranging my house in a certain way and so on. I never really took them seriously but one day, when things became the most difficult for me, besides praying and asking God for help, I finally gave in to the advice of my foreign friends.
They were happy I gave in and told me how Feng Shui has done good things for them and how it will do the same for me. I realized there’d be nothing wrong in applying the principles they shared with me so I went back home and got to work.
Immediately, I realized we’re situated in a very bad Feng Shui direction and thought, no wonder bad things were happening to me! I had fountains on both sides of my house, which according to Feng Shui represents tears, and yes, I was crying all the time back then. The back of the house also had a shallow cliff so there was nothing supporting the structure.
While figuring out what to do, a job offer came which meant I had to leave Cebu with my children and work in Manila. I only had P5,000 in my wallet but I went for it. I would still be working for the same bosses because they wanted me to work for their business [in the capital].
It didn’t get easy right away because I hardly knew the city. I lived in the north and my office was all the way in Makati. All the same, I stayed determined so I kept going. Because I knew that if I didn’t move, no one else would support my children and they wouldn’t have a future to look forward to. They were my driving force with the help of Feng Shui.
What specifically did you learn at that turning point in your life?
That when a person is being challenged or suffering, do not think you’re just malas and get all depressed. You should always make an effort to see the positive side of whatever you’re going through, like I did when I suddenly had to leave Cebu. But in saying that, do acknowledge the negative because it’s the only way you’ll be able to determine the positive.
Coupled with that attitude, I continued practicing Feng Shui and began to see my career getting better and in effect my salary, so I eventually managed to move to Makati afforded to hire a yaya to look after my kids.
The next step I took was to find love! I reorganized my office and made sure that when I worked, I faced my career direction, but when I went to sleep at night I made sure my head pointed to my love direction. I also carried all the amulets I could find as symbols of good fortune whether for my future husband or career.
I soon dedicated my days to doing Feng Shui but of course always started and ended with prayers as I still do now.
Long story short, I’m happily married to [British businessman] Nicholas Allen. We went to England with my children and even his parents love them as their own grandchildren. Feng Shui really works I tell you!
What made you decide to pursue Feng Shui seriously?
One day, my husband and I were walking around the Convent Garden in London, and I managed to find “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Feng Shui,” by Lillian Too in a bookshop. When I opened it, I was shocked to see the face of President Ramos inside, and the title [of his chapter] read something like, “Why President Fidel Ramos listened to the advice of cutting down two trees blocking Malacañang.” Apparently they were blocking the flow of energy, and as you know, we were named the Tiger Cub of Asia during his term.
That book got me thinking of making a career out of Feng Shui, and soon after, we went to Hawaii for my husband’s business event only to find endless Feng Shui trinkets in the lobby because it was Chinese New Year. It also turned out there was this huge gathering in one of the ballrooms, and guess who was giving the presentation but Lillian Too!
All the signs were there so I went on to study her lessons on the art of Feng Shui. In 2010, I also enrolled at the London College of Fashion to start my Feng Shui brand Frigga which has been running since 2012.
Now a successful Feng Shui practitioner, what does the art mean to you?
I’ve always believed that God will never give you anything to work on if it was not meant for you. I’d rather be useful than useless. Having a business is one thing but sharing is more important, so I would say that today more than ever, Feng Shui has given me purpose to help others.
I find it so fulfilling to meet someone, pass on my learnings to them, and hear that they’re leading better lives.
It’s no joke to practice Feng Shui, that’s why I am very careful and make sure I continue to do my research to better help people.
What then is your message for those hoping for a better 2019?
For the New Year, try to nurture that feeling of gratitude first of all. You have to always be thankful—thankful for the presence of other people in your life. You may be successful but it is all for nothing if you don’t make the effort to spend time with your family and friends.
Secondly, don’t allow past failures stop you from trying to reach your goals again. It’s okay to fail but after you do, don’t let it keep pulling you down; you’ll just delay your progress. Just carry on and take it one step at a time.