Some call her the Space Cowboy

The harvest moon competes for shine time with the illuminated crucifix atop Annunciation church, making for a high-in-the-sky signal straight out of “The Dark Knight.” Wall Street is in chaos, external and internal human noise has become the norm, and inside the Starbucks on West Diamond Lake Road, Carole Hyder talks about the power of the moon, torn up streets and their effect on the human psyche, and her area of expertise, Feng Shui, which she describes on her website as “the ancient art and science [of] championing the cause of harmony and balance in homes, hearts, and the world.”

Southwest Journal: I want to talk about how all this construction affects the city, but first I want to talk about that amazing moon.

Hyder: Isn’t it gorgeous? I was involved in a Chinese moon festival all weekend, which is in conjunction with the harvest moon. I’m on the board of an organization that promotes good Chinese-American relations. There’s all sorts of statistics and police records that confirm that during the full moon, it gets crazy. It can change tides, so it can certainly influence human beings. We’re 70 percent water, so it’s got to be impacting us in some ways. I think a lot of people just move past it or overlook it, or don’t make the connection. Gee, what’s the matter with me? I just feel out of it, or on edge, or not interested in anything. My husband doesn’t sleep during full moons, at all. There’s some internal clock in him where he just gets wired; wound up like a top.

SWJ: OK, the city has been in shambles for going on a year. What is your sense of how it affects us? How do people react to being rats in a cage?

Hyder: Let me put it in a Feng Shui context. Let’s say you call me on the phone and say, “I’m desperate. I’m in a rut. I’m stuck and I just don’t know what to do.” And I say, “Well, I can’t come out for two more weeks,” and you say, “I’m going to kill myself. I gotta get going,” and I will tell you to rearrange some furniture somewhere. Because what that does is make you walk through your space in a new way. And if you change “space” to “life” it’s making you walk through your life in another way.

Psychologists will say if you want a new experience, drive to work a different way, go home a different way, walk a different way. It changes brain synapses, it changes how you put your thoughts together. Now, what’s happened here in the city is that we were forced to do something different. We weren’t asked. It was enforced on us.

I live right by the little footbridge that’s closed on Bryant [Avenue]. And what happens is a bicyclist will come tearing down Bryant, heading for the bridge, and just about slamming into the “bridge closed” sign. And he’ll cuss and throw a fit, and I’ve actually seen mothers and their babies in their strollers and they practically push the kid onto the bridge out of frustration.

SWJ: So you’re seeing this on a micro level every day from your office. What’s the cumulative effect on the city, and what does the I-35W bridge reopening do to us?

Hyder: Everyone’s irritated. But with the bridge reopening, there’s an anticipation, an excitement.

SWJ: On a broader level, why is Feng Shui not embraced more readily in the West? And given your expertise on making places of peace in these times, why aren’t you a consultant for every smart business in town?

Hyder: Very good question. I don’t know. Maybe the day will come, maybe not, but a lot of the people who go through my program ( are Realtors. Which makes a lot of sense because they’re looking at houses all the time. They’re looking at houses that don’t sell. And a lot of times, Feng Shui can give them some help with that, like, how the garage is connected to the house.

A lot of money is coming from Asia, and when you get a building from Hong Kong, a Feng Shui person comes with that. You cannot build a building here without a Feng Shui person coming over with it, and vice versa. And Taiwan is the same way.

I’ve been in contact with real estate schools to get a Feng Shui course approved for them, and they absolutely won’t touch it. It is not important, it is not relevant, it makes no sense, and we’re not doing it. I don’t know what they’re frightened about, but on the other hand I was hired to be on the design team of the Hudson hospital in Hudson, Wisc., and I had a fabulous experience. I’ve never been in an environment where I had mainstream people who really paid attention. So we’re not there yet, but it will change.

Jim Walsh lives and grew up in East Harriet.