By Amanda Stoll / Photography by Craig Stocks
There are times when we can all use some help, whether it’s help organizing a closet, an entire household, or our life’s goals. That’s when many people turn to life coach and Certified Feng Shui Professional Tori Michaels. With some coaching and a new take on a 4,000-year-old art form, she’s helping people transform their lives.
Tori got her start working in a retail store and helping people feel good about the clothes they wore. That’s when she started changing lives. “It was my favorite thing in the world to do,” she said. “Anybody can look amazing if they know certain rules… I love dressing people.” One customer was so impressed with her guidance that she asked Tori to become her personal wardrobe consultant. Tori accepted – and she soon began working with more people.
It started with picking out clothes and organizing closets. “I’d go into their closets and pull out what didn’t work. And this is where I really I started noticing the pathology of the closet,” Tori said. “[People were] holding on to the past… Without realizing that’s what I was doing, I was coaching people to let go of the past and live in the present.”
She began taking classes to become a life coach, and combined that with her love for organization; the two met at feng shui. Feng shui, which translates to “wind water,” revolves around the idea that our environment affects us, much as water is affected by wind blowing over it. Our environment includes our homes, offices and cars.
As a life coach, she helps people decide what they want from life, and she then helps them get there. She believes that when you understand yourself, you love and respect yourself, which in turn helps change your life.
“You’re not going to get into a relationship that doesn’t honor you. You’re not going to take jobs or be in a work environment that doesn’t honor and respect you,” she said. “You’re more likely to be giving and compassionate, because when you love and appreciate and approve of yourself, you have more love to give.”
She believes that without feng shui, there is only so much the coaching can do. Without changing someone’s environment, the life changes won’t be as dramatic. “It’s a very holistic way of coaching,” she said. “That’s why I integrate the two together. They are very important for me in my practice.”
There are many different schools of feng shui, and Tori takes a modern and western approach to the ancient art and science. She practices BTB Feng Shui, which uses a bagua map to sense the way energy flows through a space.
It’s more than organizing, moving around furniture and changing wall colors. According to feng shui teaching, everything is energy, and everything is connected by that energy—whether it’s a photograph that we associate a specific emotion or memory with, or a book that we associate a specific feeling with.
When changing someone’s home environment, she begins in the bedroom, where she says people spend the most time, and their most vulnerable time: sleeping. Having balance in the room, she says, begins with two matching bedside tables and nothing under the bed. “Everything has energy. You’re energy. I’m energy,” she said. “We’re connected by energy, seen and unseen.”
She said everything has a feminine and a masculine side, left and right respectively. Pushing the bed against the wall or having things under the bed blocks that energy and can cause people to have trouble sleeping and even back pain.
Besides personal life coaching, Tori teaches a class called “Your Best Year Ever”. Many people take the class repeatedly to continue improving themselves.
“I love teaching so much,” she said. “My very favorite thing to do is to get a group of people and have them visually see other people changing. It inspires change within themselves.”
Her life coaching program is a 20 week commitment, and her goal is that her clients will be unrecognizable to themselves at the end. Visit her website and contact her if you’re interested in having her transform your life—both inside and out.