Every time we take on a new learning there is nearly always a new language to go with it. Whether it be computers, health, astrology and now Feng Shui, there is a whole new language, actually in this case a very old language of meanings and characters which I have discovered mean very little or nothing to the average Chinese speaking person.
My first lesson was in land form and finding the balance between the language, the poetic descriptions and their actual meanings was in retrospect quite funny as I floundered in my very Australian upbringing.
We started looking at Melbourne as Master Liu had been studying it himself for years ever since he arrived from China, and I was taken to places I didn't even know existed.
Melbourne has amazing land form and the city itself has many stories to tell. The city is well placed between mountains and the water, and the Peninsular arms of Port Phillip Bay create crab arms to feed chi to Melbourne.
At that time Southbank was still not very developed and I learnt how everything including land development has its time and the importance of time. Southbank is now a thriving area with many activities, events, dining, living etc to be found there.
There are also many shapes that support us, from bottle (gourd) shapes to square, flat, curved and wavy, and shapes that depleted or attacked us. I was shown 'robbing the back pocket' of a big department store, and indeed watching that store over the following years I saw the effect until they made changes.
Each visit to Master Liu was a 5 hour round trip as I lived 2.5 hours from Chinatown in Melbourne where he had his office. Occasionally he would come to the country and we would look at the 'land form' along the way. One place he really enjoys is up on Mt Major which is only 350m above sea level, however it sits in a big wide valley and from the top you can see clearly in all directions for many miles, showing the Great Dividing Range coming from the north (China) and see it curve and head down to Melbourne. Its a fantastic view of the Dragon and the chi is very strong.
I of course spent hours learning the 10 stems and 12 branches in Chinese and the best part was recording Master Liu so I could learn these strange and yet familiar words, spending hours going over and over them, with my family giggling in the background as my tongue stumbled over the words, and my hand trying to write these new characters.
Master Liu is a very patient and considerate teacher. He seemed to be able to read me at each step and regardless of what the translator said he would not push on until he knew I had really understood what he was trying to get across and he also knew when I seemed to be at capacity.
After one visit when I was driving both a sleeping Master Liu and the translator home, I was quietly calculating peoples dates of birth on my hand and I heard a chuckle from the back seat. On enquiring what was funny, Master Liu said he was happy that I was practising the calculations and he could see that they were now my own. I was for a moment very content, I felt like I was getting somewhere.
Many a time Master Liu would call me and ask me where I was, and if I was available we would go to a consultation together. These were great times as I would follow him around and it would all make total sense. The most challenging of these was the first time we went to a cemetery for an actual burial, but I will save that story for next time.