Hi crystal lovers. Today, I am so very excited because I am interviewing the amazing Amanda Gates of Gates Interior Design on Feng shui and crystal energy. Amanda is a professionally trained interior designer, Feng shui practitioner, podcaster, and award-winning blogger. So, we’re really excited to have her.
Amanda has seamlessly married interior design and Feng shui together for almost 20 years, which is a pretty exciting thing. So Amanda, welcome. Thanks so much for being here. I’m so excited to talk to you about Feng shui and crystal energy.
Amanda Gates: Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to talk with you today.
Ashley: Would you mind telling everybody listening just a little about yourself and how you got started with interior design?
What motivated you to take more of an energetic approach to your work rather than a traditional approach?
Amanda: Actually, it’s a pretty funny story. I was actually not going to be an interior designer. I was pre-med and I was on my way to med school. I’m probably the only interior designer that has a degree in microbiology with a minor in biology and highly overqualified. But my then husband and I, we had purchased a home. I always laugh and say that we bought the worst house but in the best neighborhood.
We took it back to the studs and completely remodeled it top to bottom. At this point, I was not an interior designer, but I feel like I did a pretty damn good job based on not knowing anything. At the end of all of it, I’m looking around and I have this beautiful amazing kitchen with high-end appliances and granite counters and – this is back in the ’90s when nobody had granite counters, chandeliers, just this beautiful amazing space. And it just didn’t feel right to me. But I felt really entitled.
How is it that I could be in this beautiful 4500-square foot house in the most amazing neighborhood and not be happy?
Ashley: Oh, goodness.
Amanda: Right. Like, how dare I feel like that? So, I went down to a Borders bookstore, remember when those were still in business?
Ashley: I sure do. Yeah.
Amanda: I’m totally dating myself. But I went down to Borders and I’m standing in front of what seemed like 3,000 decorating books and I’m like, “If I could just make this house more pretty, if I can just make it prettier, it’s going to feel better.” I had the most surreal experience where this woman, by the name of Marlene, walked up to me and said, “Darling, you don’t need that book. You need those books,” and she pointed to this ominous F word that I could not pronounce, Feng shui, and the rest is history.
I opened one up – I sat down. Honestly, I think this is why Borders went out of business, because you could read books while you were sitting there. I devoured all of those books. And I was like, “Oh my god! This is why my house does not feel good.” It was like the angels were singing. It all made sense. I dropped out of med-school but I couldn’t find like a college that offered Feng shui or a way to get professional education in that area. So, I was like – well, I’m going to have to become a real estate agent or go into design or something so that I can do this work.
So, I chose the path of becoming an interior designer and picked the most prestigious school and the idiots accepted me and the rest is history.
Ashley: I love the story, Amanda, because there’s a couple of things going on here. So first, you’re talking about how you just sunk so much time and energy, and I’m sure money into stripping down this home and starting over from scratch. And when you’re all done, you weren’t happy. And I get what you mean about, “Yeah. Okay. Maybe that feels a little entitled,” or something like that. But more than that, I can’t imagine putting myself in your shoes how I would feel if I had just gone through that whole process and I wasn’t happy with the result. Like, that had to be super daunting in and of itself to feel like, “Why isn’t this right after all this work and time and energy and money?”
“Beautiful energy is what creates a beautiful space.” -Amanda Gates
Amanda: Yeah. And it’s really where now looking back, one of the things that we tell our clients is in order to really hone in on this thing called home, beautiful energy is what creates a beautiful space, and it’s not the other way around. And I feel like if you skip the energy part, it’s like putting a lipstick on a pig. It’s not going to work. So, it really taught me about the importance of sacred space.
Ashley: That is so true. So tell me this, Amanda…
Sitting there in that Borders Bookstore devouring these books on Feng shui, what was it that really stood out to you?
Like, was there kind of a defining moment during that that helped you realize this is what was missing from your home? And how did you transition from wanting to correct that for yourself to then wanting to go in and help other people do this as well?
Amanda: So the defining moment for me was I literally felt like I got hit by a two by four in the forehead because it was like, “Oh my god, we have this.” So in Feng shui, one of the most important areas of your home is your front door. It is known as the Mouth of Chi and it’s where all energy enters your home and literally touches all the goods in life. And without a good front door, you can’t thrive. The major areas of your life, like your career, your relationships, money, it cannot thrive or be nurtured without a healthy front door.
As I was devouring these books, and I’m reading this, I was like, “Oh my god! My front door had been nailed shut for almost a year because the house was under construction.” So the reason why I didn’t feel good and the reason I felt like I was suffocating, it was literally like my mouth was wired shut. So I always tell people to pay attention to your language because I kept saying, “I can’t breathe. I don’t feel like I can catch my breath,” and it was literally right in front of me.
Ashley: Wow. That is a really powerful story. So I see how that in and of itself could totally motivate you to want to help other people overcome really similar situations. So you kind of talk about the importance of the front door in Feng shui.
What are some ways you actually bring these principles of Feng shui into your designs? And why is this so important for people?
Amanda: I really put the energy at the forefront of everything that we do. I feel like the interior design and the pretty part is kind of like the bonus. Like I said, beautiful energy is what creates a sacred space and a beautiful space. So it’s really important that you get the energy right. Ultimately it doesn’t matter how pretty you might get it, or how many updates you do to your home, if you do not get this energy aspect right, it’s never going to feel good and it’s going to affect every aspect of your life.
I believed in it so much and it made so much sense to me that I was willing to drop med school and completely ditch my whole entire life plan to go into this. It felt like I truly realized that everybody needed to know this and understand this. I wanted everybody to experience the changes that I felt after opening up my front door.
Ashley: That’s so funny. Our listeners are definitely familiar with that kind of story. Actually I, myself, was a botanist specifically studying mycology, when I stopped that path and went full head on into crystal therapy because that’s what made more sense for me.
I love that you have followed your path and really listened to your heart.
This is such a good lesson for people out there who are wondering, “Well, is this really something that I could do?” But you know what, the thing is, this is such an inspirational story because although you had this pivotal moment where you came to this realization, there wasn’t necessarily anything different about that story than for anyone else’s life who feels like, “I’m so excited about this thing.” Anyone can choose to make that pivot and make that change and really start kind living more in alignment with their souls calling. And I think that that’s really beautiful that you are able to share that with us.
Amanda: It wasn’t so common back in the 90s, but I feel like now the alternative therapies and the more holistic approaches to life are far more accepted and common. We are embracing this idea of energy and how it is all around us, even though we can’t see it. It plays such a huge role and can cause a huge positive shift if you get it right. And even when you ignore it, you may not be able to see it, but you’re experiencing its effects. It’s showing up in your life every day.
Ashley: That is so true. The other thing that I love that you were talking about with folding these Feng shui principles into your design work is how you have to start with the good energy first. So kind of bouncing off of that idea for everyone out there listening…
Can you explain the importance of creating positive energy in your space and the importance of really having a sacred space in our lives?
Amanda: I feel like now more than ever we have to have a space almost like a portal, where you can get away from your day and away from all the bullshit and all the chaos of people. Where you can walk into your home and just kind of take a deep breath and rinse it all away. The thing that I love about Feng shui is that there’s this unseen thing that’s going on in the walls of your home. Depending on the details of how your home is laid out, there are things that are showing up in your life.
Too often, people only look at external things. I know I did. I was thinking let’s get more chandeliers, let’s get prettier floors, let’s add more art. So I kept looking to those external things to get this feeling to go away when an actuality it was getting the energy right that was going to make the difference. I think that that’s the one aspect that everybody fails or doesn’t pay attention to. They look to these external things, like if I eat better, if I get more nutrition, if I go the gym, if I read more self-help books, if I have a bigger bucket list, then things are going to go right in my life. But just like with me, it was literally right under my nose.
As soon as I fixed the energy, everything was fixed.
I just went to a workshop over the weekend. It was quantum physics energy course and the gentleman was talking about higher consciousness and how the average collective consciousness is about 200 hertz right now, and that’s pretty low. That’s in fear, anger, disappointment, frustration. What happens is that when we go out in public, each and every one of us has personal Chi. We have this personal Wi-Fi around us. And so, what we don’t realize is when we are collectively together, we’re like one big pot of Chi soup, and we’re all mixing our energies. And so that’s why you get drained and don’t feel good because you’re mixing with all those low vibe things. Like I can’t stand going to Costco or the mall or the Apple store.
Your home is a place to come back to and get rid of all of that cluttering energy and just feel at peace.
So, if you can get the energy right, that portal can literally vacuum up all that gross energy and really boost you up and then that’s how you’re going to get beautiful energy. That’s how your space is going to feel beautiful and feel like a warm hug. Who doesn’t want that, right?
Ashley: That is so true. And like you were saying earlier on, if we don’t have that at home, where else do we have it? Because that’s the one place that we have left, really.
Ashley: Now, what I also hear you saying is this is kind of about a return to basics and stripping things away and getting down to that root or that foundation of what’s going on in our lives. And I’m definitely no Feng shui expert, but dabble a little bit. So I’m wondering for those out here that are listening who this is a new topic for…
Could you explain the connection between your space and the energy in your life and how these two are so strongly interconnected?
Amanda: Yeah, without a doubt. So your home is a direct reflection of what’s going on in your life. It’s like a mirror. So, you’ve got to really pay attention. I always tell people to go into the fourth dimension and look at their home differently because your home is a third skin. And so, when her systems start to shut down or her systems are acting out, that means that there’s something in your life that you need to be paying attention to. If your HVAC system breaks or your plumbing starts acting haywire or the electrical isn’t going right, pay close attention because your home speaks to you.
So often, the things that show up in our lives are showing up in our home.
It’s because of that personal Wi-Fi that we have, everything is energy and everything is talking. So it’s just a matter of kind of stepping back and looking at the bigger picture and really taking notes or paying attention to what’s going on around you because the energy really matters.
I think what’s so important about Feng shui is that too often people – especially when I go out to a workshop or something – somebody will say to me, “Oh, you’re a Feng shui practitioner, you move furniture.” And in actuality, I don’t touch furniture. I don’t do anything to do with furniture. Everything that I do in my practice is one hundred percent based on the energy. I can look at somebody’s floor plan and I can see or not see what’s going on in their lives based on the energy.
So I just read a someone’s floor plan last week and I could see that she was experiencing possible infertility. So I asked her if she was trying to get pregnant. She said, “We’ve been trying for four years.” And I said, “It’s in your floor plan.” The energy isn’t right. Anxiety, high blood pressure, stress, marital problems, it’s all based on the details that are within your home. They’re affecting you and showing up in your life. So if you pay attention, not only to your language, but the things that are showing up in your home, she’s often speaking to you. We just are so busy that we don’t slow down long enough to pay attention.
Ashley: That is so true. Now, Amanda, let’s say that someone was experiencing one of these problems…
What kind of recommendations would you have for someone trying to shift the energy in their space, especially, of course, using crystals?
Amanda: Crystals are a great thing.
I always recommend to my clients first and foremost to have an altar.
It’s always good, especially when we’re talking about creating sacred space at home. It’s a good idea to have an area of your home that is set up with your crystals and the things that are meaningful to you. I actually have my altar right outside of my master bedroom and I’ve been collecting stones for over a decade. So I have not only a collection of stones, but feathers and sticks and this cool stuff that I come across and I’m like, “Oh, this is going on the altar.”
What’s really great about having an altar space is it forces you to focus. Like I said, we tend to be really busy and scattered and hectic. But with an altar space, you have the crystals there and they change the energy. It also helps you to collectively take a deep breath, clear out your energy, and get yourself focused – whether it’s at the beginning of the day or end of the day.
I also recommend putting crystals throughout the house.
I have a huge amethyst crystal in my living room. My living room is connected to my kitchen and my dining area. I like having that amethyst there because I feel like it just kind of grabs all the junk and transmutes it into positive energy.
The other thing that I always recommend for people to have is black tourmaline. I have a massive black tourmaline. It’s probably, I don’t know, 24 inches long and about a foot in diameter. It’s massive. I have that on my altar and I like that because it gets rid of negativity. So, if you’re in a business where you have to go an office every day or you have to be out and about, I always recommend having black tourmaline because it helps grab all the junk and ick out of your energy system. It clears out and removes all of it so that you can vibrate at a higher level, which is so important.
Ashley: Yeah. These are such amazing tips.
I just want to recap for everybody listening so that they don’t forget these three things:
- So the first recommendation you made was to create an altar space. We talked about the importance of connecting with this energetically a few times a day and just really focusing in on the present moment. Taking that deep breath, and taking that time to just pause for a moment.
- The second tip you had was to put crystals throughout the house.
- The third tip was using that big black tourmaline crystal. This will help with transmuting any negative energy and creating a little bit of protection for your home space.
Now, I have a question about tip number two. Was it a large amethyst geode? Is it the shape of this that you like for catching all this energy? Or is it the amethyst itself that really draws energy when using the stone?
Amanda: Yeah, it’s the amethyst itself. It’s so great at just absorbing negative gunk that’s in our energy field. It’s not something that I have to do regularly, but I’ve worked with crystal experts in the past and they’ve said that one of the best things that you can use to really grab gunk from your energy field is amethyst. So I have a big mass of amethyst in my living room along with a big mass of rose quartz in there to promote more self-love.
I love using amethyst and rose quartz to really just boost the energy and the love within my home.
Amanda, thank you so much. Those were amazing tips.
Amanda: Yeah. And I would add another one to that. It’s a little bit harder to find. But if you go to a rock show, they will often have Herkimer diamond.
Herkimer diamonds are really good in Feng shui because they’re great conduits of life force energy (or in Feng shui, we call it Chi).
So oftentimes again, when you go out and about and you’re mixing with other people and their energy fields, your chakras can get out of alignment. So having a large piece of Herkimer on your altar is a great way to help get your chakras going and get tapped into your life force again.
Ashley: I love that. Now, Amanda, tell everyone who’s listening because I’m sure that they’ve taken a lot of notes and gotten some great information from you today…
Where can people find more information about you and how can they stay in touch?
Amanda: Probably the easiest way to find me is to go to my website, which is Gatesinteriordesign.com. I do have a fantastic podcast with all sorts of free Feng shui information, which is called home, energy, design. And that can be found on iTunes. If you’re more of a visual person, you can go on over to YouTube and just type in Amanda Gates. I have a ton of free videos on floor plan readings and also free Feng shui tips that are fantastic to get you started in this idea of getting the energy right in your home.
Ashley: You also have a couple of other really cool things on your site. You had a free meditation guide that is amazing. And be sure to check out Amanda’s shop as well at Gatesinteriordesign.com because she has some phenomenal crystals and space clearing items for sale there too.
Amanda, thank you so much for joining us today and for sharing everything with us about Feng shui and the importance of it – not only in our homes but in our lives. We really appreciate you being here.
Amanda: Thanks for having me on!