Fairfield Now - Fall 2008
Class of '80 profile
Ellen Whitehurst: The Empowered Lifestyle
By Carolyn Arnold
Do you want to have a sweet and happy New Year? Refill all your sugar bowls! Do you want to stay ahead of the flu season? Drink lots of green tea. Do you want a more prosperous life? Place a purple orchid on the dining room table. These simple Feng Shui tips go a long way to creating health and happiness in life, said Ellen Whitehurst '80.
Health, happiness, and prosperity are fixtures in Whitehurst's life. With a new book, Make This Your Lucky Day, a monthly column in Redbook Magazine, and articles online and in print, she is practicing The Empowered Lifestyle principles that she preaches.
A professional focus on the rules of fortune and luck wasn't on Whitehurst's mind post graduation. She got a job on Wall Street working for E.F. Hutton as a writer in their Commodity News Department and eventually moved beyond writing the nightly wire to managing millions of dollars for corporate accounts and individual investors. "The job was so exciting," said Whitehurst, "but ultimately not my destiny."
Whitehurst's decision to change careers came when both of her parents became chronically ill. At the time, there was little focus on palliative care in mainstream medicine, so Whitehurst took the opportunity to study holistic therapies. The subject piqued her interest and she eventually became immersed in alternative methods and the ways that they could complement mainstream medicine. Through her studies, she found strong connections between holistic healing, Feng Shui, and aromatherapy, which she combined into her own unique brand.
Soon, her outlets encompassed everything from teaching and private consulting to web journals and TV appearances. By partnering with a Fortune 500 company, she created the popular "Feng Shui In A Cup" mugs, soon to be available in the Starbucks cafes of all Barnes and Noble bookstores. She wrote tips for getting a job on Monster.com's message board and is currently a monthly contributor to Redbook Magazine, writing a column called "Shuistrology" (Astrology + Feng Shui).
Writing about inspiration and motivation is something Whitehurst is particularly fond of. A look back to her days at Fairfield even shows a glimpse of her future interests. "Upon reflection I see the connections between my interests and what I do now," she said. Her favorite courses included English with Dr. Leo O'Connor and "The Philosophy of Religion" with Dr. King Dykman, which "completely enthralled me," said Whitehurst.
She believes that every challenge holds the seed for great opportunities and believes we can create those same opportunities in our lives. As she said in her book, "Some people have all the luck. The rest of us make it." She does, of course, deal with skeptics of her work. "They are vocal, but not educated on the topic; I've had to develop a pretty thick skin as a way to dismiss their dismissals." Her response to them is that, ultimately, these ancient disciplines are based on theories and philosophies. Using energies around us for support can be ascribed to a premise surrounding quantum physics. For example, scientists theorize that everything in the universe is made of energy. Feng Shui is a 5,000-year-old theory that supposes that anyone can harness the energies in their environment to support their own intentions. "Energy is all around us. Attract it. Use it. Now, how easy is that?" said Whitehurst.
And what is Whitehurst's top tip for good luck? Clearing out the clutter in your space. "Think about it, the very first thing you see in the morning has an impact on the entire rest of your day," said Whitehurst.