Like any good Italian kid, as a child, I entertained fantasies of being in league with a powerful Mafia family, my grandfather of course being the Don. One day, fueling my musings, my grandfather shared with me Mafia’s most sacred rule of survival.
We’d spent the morning making our rounds around town and decided to stop in at my cousin’s pizzeria, a local hotspot for those wanting to see and be seen. We parked in the back, next to an old dumpster and a a few stray cats, and then entered unannounced through the kitchen door (hey, we’re family).
Corleone, I mean, granddad, took me over to our private family booth, a well-worn, leathery banquette nestled between the kitchen and the dining areas and smelling of cigars and tomato sauce, and whispered to me the golden rule of Mafia etiquette, “Never sit with your back to the door. Sit in a position so you can see everyone coming and going. It comes in handy if you know what I mean.” I knew what he meant.
The Feng Shui Command Position
In Feng Shui, we call this the “command position.” And like any good Mafioso knows, holding court from the command position allows you to keep an eye on the people coming and going from your space without having to twist and turn yourself do so.
The command position is usually diagonally across the room from the entrance. And what’s amazing is that this Mafia, err, Feng Shui rule can be applied to almost any area of the home or office, from the conference room, to the dining room, to the bedroom!
Feng Shui Command Position in the Office
The most powerful desk position is one in which you face the entrance, and far enough from the entrance that it is not hit by rushing energy from the door. Ideally, you want your desk and chair positioned so that you have your back to a solid wall (to give you support and backbone) and facing the room so that you can immediately notice when someone is coming in to meet or talk with you.
If this desk position is not possible, and you must sit with your back to the door or with your back to the traffic flow, it is highly beneficial to place a mirror in a position that allows you to see “behind your back” and thus eliminate any anxiety of having something surprise your from behind. A small mirror placed on your computer monitor, a mirrored picture frame on the desk, or a mirror on the wall you are facing reflecting to the entrance will provide you the comfort and confidence of a good Godfather.
We can apply the command position while in the conference room as well. Sitting in a position so that you are facing the whole room and the entrance gives you the command position. Those sitting with their backs to the door are left most vulnerable. It is almost symbolic of someone who lets life sneak up on them. At the very least position yourself in a way so that, even if you’re not at the head of the table, you can still see the entrance easily.
Feng Shui Command Position in the bedroom
A command position in the bedroom means that you can easily see the entrance of the room without having to turn your head while lying in bed. Ideally, the headboard is against a solid wall opposite the entrance to the room, but preferably not in line with the entrance, as that can cause rushing energy from the door to crash into the bed and energy from the bed to roll right out the door.
Visualize yourself lying in bed and someone comes in. If you have to roll around or whip your head to see who it is, it can be disturbing and upset your sleep as well.
If you find yourself in this situation, place a mirror that allows you to see the door from your reclined position in bed, but does not reflect back on the bed (see the previous Bedroom Mirrors and Boogieman post for more).
There is amazing psychological comfort in being able to comfortably see the entrance of the room without having to struggle to do so.
Don’t let life sneak up on you!!!
Hopefully, the only people entering your space are friends, not warring factions of Sicilian families, but keep in mind that sitting with one’s back to the door can be unsettling. To help people feel comfortable, arrange conversation and dining areas so that no one is left in this vulnerable position of not knowing what’s coming up from behind. And if you wish to show someone the ultimate respect, give them the command position of the room. (Great first date suggestion Granddad!)
If it is not possible to seat everyone facing the door, use reflective surfaces and mirrors to provide a command position to everyone. When you think about it, why do you think there are always so many mirrors in Italian eateries?!?!
My grandfather was never actually in the mafia, I know, it burst my little Italian fantasy as well. But I have to thank him dearly for entertaining the idiosyncrasies of a crazy boy and teaching me the Mafia/Feng Shui rule:
“che può vedere lontano può vederlo tutto,
che può vederlo tutto può vedere lontano”
(“He who can see far, can see it all.
He who can see it all, can see far.”)