Faces of the North Fork: City Woman Re-Organizes Life in Greenport

Debra Riva uprooted her life in Manhattan and started over on the North Fork at age 70, bringing her Feng Shui company with her.

Debra Riva always longed to live by the sea.

So after spending the month of July in Greenport last summer, the 70-year-old simply decided it was time to start growing some new roots. The Manhattanite packed up her condo, rented it out and moved all her belongings to a small home in Greenport.

"There's something delicious about Greenport and the entire North Fork," she said.

The only thing Riva knew for certain was that she would be painting and working on her collages in the tranquil North Fork setting.

Her first couple of months were spent settling in and she admits it hasn't always been easy. There have been times when she has been lonely because she does not really know anyone yet. She said she needed the quiet time for introspection, and affirmations along the way have convinced Riva this was the right decision.

Now she is ready to branch out and connect with people through Feng Shui and as a professional organizer. 

According to Riva's website, "Feng shui is the ancient Chinese art of placement and in using these principles, spaces are created allowing ease and flow of energy or ch'i."

Prior to becoming a professional organizer and Feng Shui practitioner, Riva worked in the corporate world. A series of personal tragedies set her up for a life change and she began her own business more than 15 years ago.

"It's a spiritual journey and my life journey," Riva said.

She said her profession allows her to be the "therapist" she always wanted to be. Helping people to get to the heart of why their space is cluttered and helping them create new habits is the core of her business. Her Feng Shui training allows her to help people create spaces that are in line with nature and promotes a flow of energy.

"There no judgement on my part. Everyone's on their own journey," she said.

Throughout the years she had given lectures and workshops from Ireland to New York and many places in between. She hopes to bring her workshops to the North Fork soon. In the meantime, she is starting to branch out and met new people.

Although she is 70, Riva said she feels like she is 25 and she said is happy in her new home. The major life change has proved to her what she has always known.

"I am very courageous," she said.

Riva will be giving a lecture on Feng Shui and art at the Terrence Joyce Gallery in Greenport on Sunday, April 15 at 1 p.m.


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