Where inspiration and whimsy meet on a lifestyle block.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Today I am having a wonderful interview with an inspiring Parisian lady in San Francisco: Catherine Grison, Soul Artisan for People and Spaces. I have met Catherine through the inter-connective world that is Twitter.
Catherine is a certified and stylish Feng Shui Master, and she implements this knowledge so she herself, and her clients and friends, can enjoy more joy, more abundance and also better health in their lives. Her credo is: "Life is not beige!" She founded Your French Accent, her “Decorator Extraordinaire and Beyond” consulting company in 2004.
She says: "When I moved to San Francisco, 10 years ago, and began to work in the furniture industry, I was shocked to see that most people were "matching" sofas and chairs, "blending" neutrals. The only real colors in retail were mostly dark reds on leather library chairs. I was then working at the brand new Crate and Barrel Furniture store downtown San Francisco, in the fine furniture department. To this day, I still remember how happy one of my customers was when he came back to me and announced: "I made it Catherine! I listened to you and I went for color! You can be proud of me!" He was holding a dark chocolate velvet pillow. Dark chocolate. To go on his all beige furniture... I had envisioned a more powerful combination like a hot pink or spring green to make the room happen... However it was a start and I congratulated him! “
Why did you move from Paris to San Francisco?
I moved to California to live with the (American) man I loved and met in Paris. It was heart breaking to leave Paris. It took me 4 years to feel at home here. We did not live in San Francisco but in Pacifica, a secluded coastal small town. Too much water… Pacifica is gorgeous but I am a city girl. I need Fire. At first I thought I will not survive when I came to Pacifica. I could not even look though the windows: all these small houses and the big ocean were so lonely too me. I was looking desperately for high energy, crowds, and tall buildings! Despite my job in San Francisco, I felt so isolated, dying inside. Then step by step, I met incredible people, developed new true friendships. I began yoga, enrolled in a 3-year Feng Shui program which I graduated from and uncovered my spiritual path. I founded Your French Accent, my “Decorator Extraordinaire and Beyond” consulting company. I learned so much during these Pacifican years…
As soon as we (happily) divorced, I moved to Potrero Hill in San Francisco. Here I could reinvent myself again, open myself up to possibilities.
How did you get your business started?
It's different here, how things work, compared to Paris. When I arrived I did not want to go back to coaching without knowing the culture; it would not have been ethical. I started exploring… In Paris I used to work in management, coaching, training. I have a master’s degree in Communication, Linguistics & Training. I used to design programs, coach store managers, and train sales associates. So when I started working in San Francisco I thought: the home environment is the best place for me to understand the culture. When people buy furniture, they tell you their story. If they don’t, you are not a good listener! In the meanwhile I had entered a 3 year Feng Shui certification program. My clients were asking me to furnish more and more homes; the logical next step was to start a business.
What is important to you?
I use an integrative Feng Shui to help other people improve their lives, their health, their level of happiness. I used to be a more black & white person, sure of how things "had to be". I was a personal development fascist! My vision is far more flexible now. I try to help others grow, and myself too, what is very important to me. My clients say I am honest and straight forward. I see people from the inside, I do not sugar coat. I have integrity and also humor. A lot of my clients have become friends. My best advertisement is 'word of mouth', which leads to work. I'm a very pragmatic person with her 3rd eye wide opened. I use my common sense and a pendulum too!
So what would be your Feng Shui advice for my readers today?
Any place is related to your life. Feng Shui means Wind and Water, the two elements which create life. Any place is a reflection of our own being. For example: I worked with a lady who had a 2 bedroom condo: she asked for decoration advice. The Lady did not want me to enter a particular room. Eventually I did see it and it was a disaster. It was filled to the brim with "stuff". It was very hard to walk around. The rest of the apartment was very tidy. It turned out that her father used to be living there, so she kept it closed, she didn't want to think about this room, let alone start cleaning it out.
The truth is that if you lock a door, the room is still there, and the emotions behind it are still there too. Blocked up areas will affect you mentally and your health, whether you realize it or not, whether you see them or not.
Keep only what is successful or enjoyable. Always find ways to enjoy life. Many say it's good to do "this" after.... after what? There is NO after, there is just that what is now. I have a ritual called “The Past is over” to help people move forward, and step in their Present. Together we burn the past, literally. It is a very powerful ceremony!
My advice is that you need to use every room in the house, every object. You can't hide from yourself. Feng Shui and interior decorating is not about focusing on what's wrong, it's about improving spaces and thus improving your life in general. If you deny a piece of yourself, it's best to address it now, observe how you have treated your house and your rooms. It will tell you more than you think! So Feng Shui has a lot of hidden psychology embedded in the flow of the house. The key is to let the energy flow as best as it can. Avoid having sharp corners, add greenery, colors. Think symbols!
How can Catherine help us?
Now look around you! There is nothing quicker and cheaper than adding a layer of fresh paint to change the energy and the look of a room, whether in a home, an office, a business, a restaurant... And if you know somebody you love and who needs a lift, you can even gift my services. It may change a life!
Fortunately for all of us, Catherine does remote consultations. I thought it was a delight talking to her on Skype and having a real time conversation together. This means that you can email and skype her too, book a consultation, sending a floor plan and photos over for her to perform a full analysis and help you clear the areas of your life and your space that you have found troubling or difficult to organize.
Check out her blog too:http://www.frenchshuicafe.com/ which she reorganizes now to provide more quick services and to-the-point advice, including spiritual guidance and deco tips, building also more global community…
You can of course “Like” Catherine’s services on Facebook: