More Than Interior Design | How Feng Shui Can Make Our Life Easier Ep 30
We are here today with Dina Wolf and she is going to be sharing with us some tips about how Feng Shui can make the life of us working mothers so much easier. So Dana, it's a pleasure to have you in our podcast today.
Thank you for having me.
Yes. It's so wonderful to have you. So Dana is originally from Vienna. She was born in Taipei, but she emigrated to Austria when she was just three years old. And so different jobs and her Corporate Communications at multinational companies. brought her to places like cologne, Mannheim, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei and Singapore. And now also because of the job of her husband, Dana spent several years in Prague, but now since 2018 is living in Singapore so she is a true mom. Boss abroad. She here in Singapore she started on new paths and because it is one of the most important Feng Shui Centers in the world, she could follow her passion for this practice that was first kindled in her during student times. Already right, Dana? Yeah, so she studied with three masters to get the best out of all the centuries schools and schools of thoughts. And yeah, so now as well. She combines two unique things together because of the small places and apartments in Singapore. And she has four children of her own right. She also does focus on the KonMari method and turning the magic of turning smaller spaces into just sufficient space to live right and together paired with the Feng Shui practices. It's such a wonderful, unique methods to help families just live the best life that they can. So it's wonderful, wonderful to have you here. We can't wait to talk about all things Feng Shui so yeah, tell us what, what kindled this passion of yours and when did you decide to actually make this business, your passion business?
I cannot tell you why I was so interested in this. But I was always when I was a child in libraries. I was looking for Feng Shui books. And yeah, I was already reading books when I was small about it. And then as you said, we came to Singapore and then I thought ‘oh, yeah, there's so many Feng Shui masters here’ and I talked to many friends, especially Singaporeans were really most of them are really into it or they know some basics already, because just the Chinese culture here. And so I thought, ‘oh, maybe this is the thing now’ and I gave birth to my fourth baby already. So I knew this is the family planning. It's done. Now it's my end as a mom and to be realistic with four kids. My career as in a corporate world, it's over. I it took a bit of time to admit this. But when I realized it and accepted it, I embraced it and said ‘okay, it was closing a door and maybe opening a new one’ I hope, so COVID hit and before COVID hit I already started with a Feng Shui Master in Singapore and expect that it was so hard to get the knowledge to learn because as I told him, I want to learn it. I'm so keen to learn it. I pay you whatever you want. But they were not keen to teach me so it was really hard to get masters who were willing to teach me
Wow, was there a specific reason that they said why they were hesitant to teach you?
I think they're scared because I don't know if actually Masters they have the secrets. They don't want to give everything away. And I could feel it so one would say like, you are asking too many questions. And so it was really strange feeling, you know, even I pay them he said it to me. You know, I want to learn it and it's I think it's so interesting. I'm so passionate about it. I just want to learn it. And at the beginning I was not thinking to start a business with that. It was just kind of yeah, my kids. It's cool. I can start to do something for myself. And then it got to a real big passion. So I was looking for a second Master to teach me and his method was it was not so convincing for me so that you know there are different Feng Shui Schools. That's why I learned so many from so many Masters because, yeah, you need to believe what you're doing. And with the first master, so I knew already the basics. So if the first Master he's combining all the schools, and he was really and he's still keen to teach me so if I've still have a random question, if I go somewhere, why is this like this and this I will just message as I found like this this during my work out there, what do you think about it? So he's really nice. And all that it's I heard from other people who are keen to learn that it's really hard to find someone in Singapore as the market it's so small.
Yes, yes. The market seems to be so small but like that desire of people to understand and especially because they know what difference it can make to their home is just a norm. But let's go back a little bit. Can you maybe explain a little bit what is Feng Shui? What is this the sacred practice in a way and why do people need to consider that for their own, like harmony in their own home?
It's really hard to explain because it's all about energy. Energy is not something you can touch you know, it's like acupuncture. I mean, insurances. Most of the insurance are now I paying acupuncture, but you cannot see the difference between Western medicine and Chinese medicine immediately. So it will take time. So for example, if I change something in your home, it takes about three months, that you see a difference. It will not happen immediately. It's about an ancient practice, based back in China about 4000 years already. So it's about how do you live with your environment. So you are in harmony in balance with your environment. So if you come in in your home, you can feel that it's moved. It's a flow you know, because I went to a client and she said oh I just moved in. I had the interior designer here, but I still don't feel comfortable and at home. I could feel it I cannot say why but I came into her home and it works like this. So a client will contact me and will give me the floor plan and then I can already see what's wrong with this home. So I could see if they have a lot of fights. I can see if they were divorced. I can see the kids
So just the floor plan not even stepping into the home.
Yeah. So and for this client, for example, she got everything right with the interior design. And I stepped in and I could feel immediately with the first step that it was such a heaviness on my shoulders. It was just the energy of this home. And I was a well what's going on there because I couldn't see so much on the floor of them. It looks okay. I mean there were some issues where I can see she cannot sleep. But the energy of this homeless so how does it not so positive? And she said I don't know what to do because I thought I did everything right. But since she moved into this house, her kids are not sleeping. They're already always sick and she cannot explain it. And so it was the position of the bed of the kids. It was a position of her bed. It was where the staircase was in where the main door was. And there were so many things. Yeah, so it's really I cannot explain why that's this but it's just like that.
It's incredible. I mean, it reminds me as well. Sometimes I walk like you just described: I walk into somewhere and I feel I don't feel at ease. Right I feel like I cannot fully relax. It happens to me sometimes in hotels, I mean it can be such a gorgeous place gorgeous hotel really nice. But I don't know I just don't feel it or there used to be like a coffee shop. I went to go work at close to my son's school. I couldn't concentrate on it. So I had to find a different place and then someone asked why don't you want to go there and I cannot tell you why I couldn't put my finger on it. And then I went to another place. And it was it was just flowing. I was so productive during that time. It was just Yeah, it's incredible to think so you mentioned that you look at floor plans. But of course there's structural things that cannot be really changed in homes. But what are for example, some of the things we could change with the way we do the interior designing or the interior decorating or just the placement of furniture or mirrors I know play a big role. So what are some hands on things?
So the first thing, don't have mess in your home. Don’t have a chaos. So here comes the KonMari Method. So if you come home the first thing you step in, it's full of shoes. It's full of school bags
you come in and it's already subconsciously stressful for you. So, Feng Shui, the first thing you need to declutter, you need to get rid of things which no longer serves you because this will ease your mind so it's a combination of with KonMarie now. So and it's also I cannot change much if there's so much clutter and even with few niches. So yeah, the first thing you need to declutter, this is the number one and then you already feel better afterwards and then we can start with the Feng Shui.
Decluttering is the first step. What about, okay, so what about we go through that stage and we say, Okay, we have the cluttered, but coming from somebody that for example, did not know about Feng Shui and how does it work and then you come in, is there hope in case you know, somebody chose the wrong apartment in the sense that the layout is not so it was specious. Or that as they say they mentioned like certain structural things that cannot be changed, like the location of I don't know where the bathroom is in regards to other areas of the home. Is there fixes or remedies that can be used? Or are there instances where you say there's really not much that we can do here?
So if I see a floor plan, which is not so good, and in regards to Feng Shui, I will ask my client, Did you rent it? Did you buy the place? So if it's bought then you need to be practical, right? So I can do remedies but it's not ideal. So let's say my dad has an apartment in Vienna, and in the middle of his apartment is the toilet so this is just a bad thing. And he will not she will not move with his age anymore. He will be there forever now. And so the only thing he can do is always close his toilet or keep it always clean. And that's the best we can do. And it's also the toilet is facing his bedroom. This is just I don't know really close. So it's about one meter. This is also a bad thing because it will affect his sleep. So I told and he has difficulties for long years with sleeping. So the only thing is I could tell him if it's so bad with your insomnia, just move to your living room to sleep. And the funny thing is, his sleep got better. So yeah, I really cannot tell you why this all happens. But it happened. And I'm able to help people with it because it's such a passion of me and I can see the differences afterwards. And especially with moms because I think as a mom of four we are tracking so many plates, and it's just so important to stay healthy, especially in bed, lay healthy. And so I think if you come home and you don't feel cozy, you don't feel comfortable, you don't feel like it's a place where you can recharge, you are not functioning well. And you need to renew as the main part of the family. I mean, my case with four kids, my husband's always traveling so if I've been knocked out the whole system would not work. So I think it's so important your home that you feel at ease that you feel like you can recharge here. So that's why I most of my clients are women and it's time to give back because I struggled a lot before I learned this because it's so much as I said so much juggling in your daily life with kids. So this is the place where you can you should recharge to be here for your family. And for your kids.
Can you work on just one specific area of your choosing? When you mentioned that you work with moms like what can we actually improve in terms of our lives or money wise or career wise? Is there anything that is specific that we can do with Feng Shui and bringing someone like you on board and saying can you help me with this?
Yeah, so many. Okay, I'm most of the things where women will ask me to come is they have difficulties to sleep, or they have a lot of fights in their home. So one of my last clients I got the floor plan. And okay, I already saw some issues. But when I went in, I realized she has three doors to get into her home, which is really unusual. And this means she has a lot of fights in her home, especially with her husband and additional. She has the stove in line with her fridge. That means is the cache of metal and so fire and water. Well, this is also she has all these things with fighting, you know, yes. So she said she has such a bad time with her husband at the moment. She doesn't know what to do anymore. So I can see some things in the floorplan already, but when I go there I can see even and so what we could do is that we will move one door out so it was just voted for mosquitoes. So but you need to open so many doors to go to her living in this is just one remedy she could do and she has three fire things how to say this on the stove where she can cook so that that one that stove which is in line with her fridge. I told her she said yes and to put clay pot there. So she should use the other two which are not in line with the fridge. So they are some just small things, but I hope I just went there a few weeks ago I hope it will help her and she was really frustrated and desperate. Because she really doesn't know what is going on. And I was asking her when did all this happened? And she said yeah, when the kids came which is normal right when kids, newborns, you know it is really stressful. So the situation is horrible, right? Like asleep and oldest but additional with all this in your house. It will just maximize the energy. Yeah, so yeah, so I'm so happy that I can empower the women with Feng Shui and most of them they have some issues normally. Yeah, if everything is fine, they will not of course not contact me.
Exactly. Wow. That is incredible. And is there do you think like a top mistake that you see in people's homes? Like there is like a common thing that like let's say we can action today we can look around our own home and say, Okay, where is my bed placed in relation to the window or where's my mirror place where it shouldn't be? Is there anything that you see again and again, that you like that alone? That little tweak could make such a difference?
Yeah, I mean, there's so many things. Already are this and this and this and this but I'm really practical because I think you need to be practical, especially in Singapore with small apartments. So I will not tell you, you must do it. Because maybe sometimes it's just not possible with circumstances of your house. How it was built and so and okay, the no-go that many people would do is that you put your bed facing the door and that your legs are facing the door. That that means is a grave position. So imagine in olden days the people that that people were carried out on this disposition. So this is the grave position and this is also not good for your sleep. Because it's just you open the door the energy flush in so you need a little bit of cozy space where you put your bed and also there's this special bed arrangement that say you need always need to face the door that you know who is coming in. And don't put the mirror in front of your bed. Because mirrors have the thing that of course it will reflect good energy, but it calls also negative energy and you don't want to gamble with that right? So many people will put it also in opposite the main door and you don't know what's coming in in your main door right. So these are just basic Feng Shui rules you should consider.
So interesting. And I love how you depict these things and you have a fantastic Instagram account. And I love following that and we'll definitely we'll share the link later on or your handle but the way you use Lego pieces to just address these issues like never put this here never put that here. I think it's just genius and it's so fun to watch and I've learned so much. So everything should really everyone should really follow your Instagram account.
Thank you so much. Yeah, it is so fun
As and entrepreneur I got so much feedback from all the tips and you know what I just bought shoe closet because of your Instagram post about don't have a messy entrance
It's just so fascinating. Dana that you can share this. You know this millenary wisdom and knowledge and bring it into this like new post pandemic world because a lot of us we think that as you said and how we started the episode today talking about energy and it's something that we cannot see but we know that it's there. Everything is made of energy, right. So it's really great that we can have access to practices that have been withstanding for so many centuries already. And they go back to this basic principles. As you said, it's all about the feeling. It's all about whether we feel recharged when we get home or we're feeling even more depleted, or even more drained. So it's great that you are risking all of this in a very playful way as Jessica mentioned through your beautiful Instagram account that illustrates things like very succinctly but it's a lot of fun to watch. And that goes way beyond just moving a couch type of idea, right that a lot of people think that thing she is like oh, it's about moving a couch and then I don't know hanging something from here but it goes deeper into that and it is so necessary that as women we have access to all these different modalities, that their purpose is to make us be the best that we can be so that our children can thrive so that our families can feel in harmony. We love that word and that we also feel that we can step into the projects and the plans that we want, you know, we've had different energy altogether. And I also wanted to touch as well a bit about when you shared how the corporate path for you was no longer an option after having children and how you mentioned it I just want to rescue that again because you had in the past always been drawn to Feng Shui and then circumstances led you to explore it now as an out business for yourself instead of going back to the corporate route. And if you can just share with us a little bit what that has been like for you into embodying this new identity for yourself because I know it would help a lot of our listeners to see that. It doesn't have to be an end ride, even though we were in this type of identity in the past, but we can always become this new version of us that we love because we have our children now. They bring so much joy and happiness also a lot of challenges. And it's a lot of, as you say a little bit of chaos along the way. But how you have this amazing philosophy of saying like yeah, that was you know, that was a part it had. It was a chapter that ended for now. This is what it's opening up for me.
Okay, I have to say very honestly, that it took me a long a very long time that I accepted this fact that my career is over. So for me, my pre-career as in corporate was really, really important to me. And I even when I had two little kids. I was still working in Germany and I was I was lucky that my former boss was really supporting me and she was really believing in me. So she said, ‘Okay, you have kids, but you can still have a career.’ But now I think that's not true. Because as a woman, you always need to decide you cannot be 100% here and 100% there. And I tried it because I thought, oh, I can do it. I'm full of energy. I was young. And okay, I was not sleeping well with two little babies, but I can still manage it. But I got into a burnout. And this was the time when we said okay, let's go on our expert journey because I was always saying no when my husband said let's go abroad because my career was so important to me. And I always have very responsible positions. Because of being in chalets and 20 years ago in Germany there were no many in corporate communications, who could write in German, but also good in Chinese. So I was always responsible for the Asia Pacific regions. And I was very young, but I had employees from Hong Kong to Shanghai so it fulfilled me. And then my kids came and everything was out of control, you know, so my belief was always you can work very hard and you get what you want. Then my first child came and this belief was over. I mean, as you have a baby you cannot control the baby, right? So all moms knows this. And then I struggled a lot in Prague, we've got the third baby in Singapore, we got the fourth baby and it was, I have to say, just to fulfil my days, I always want to go back to work, but there was still all these babies and the kids, you know, and then after four kids I said, Okay, now it's time again. It's time for me exactly right for me, my life again for so many years. And the situation in Singapore became for expert wise really, that after during COVID So the change the policy that we are not allowed to work anymore as the dependent Passholder. So you already get this name dependent. So I have to say I have a lot of fights with my husband about it. But he's always said oh, I cannot do anything about it is the policy of this government, right? I mean, I don't want to say something bad about Singapore. I love Singapore, but just this part, because many expert wives are well educated, they want to, they want to give back something to society, we are just not allowed to do. So the only thing I could work again, was to start my own business. So and as an entrepreneur, all the entrepreneurs in this world knows that we were facing a lot of is this. Am I worth doing this? I'm good. Am I good enough to do this? You know, so I'm struggling with this a lot. Even I got a lot of feedback. It's just my high expectations of myself. And yeah, and if you're not working for the holidays, you don't have any income. Right? So it's, it's up and down. Right. And so I was about more than one year. I was really struggling with this. Should I go back to corporate or should I go back but it's not possible for kids because I need to choose right, especially in Singapore where there's not much part time jobs, and I want to be here for my kids. So it was not that important that I take a full time. But it was important enough that I really want to work again. So this was the thing that okay, just right. Let's do it. And I started it. And yeah, it's just hit the market. I was so surprised about myself because I didn't go in with any expectations and Okay, let's try it. I have nothing follows. And yeah,
So it's amazing. I mean, we've been following your journey and you're featured so many magazines already. And it's just amazing. Also the difference you can make and I love your story and I can really relate to it. It's about you know, it's really an identity crisis we go through as moms isn't that I had to say I had a really good role in the hospitality industry and I also had to make a choice. I knew I cannot go back to operations. But then I so for many years, actually, I did start my own company, but it was always related to that industry because I felt when I speak to people, I need to justify what am I doing? I'm not just a mom. And it's horrible to think that right? Because it's enough, but to say that's what I'm doing and it needs to be something worthy. I'm not going to tell them I actually love working with essential oils and I'm not going to tell them because I'm doing executive search for hospitality or something. So it took me a long time to really say okay, what made me happy in the hotel world it was making guests happy, leading a team developing a team, but I can translate all of that I can now empower other moms, I can I have a team that I can lead and that is I find my fulfilment in similar ways, but different right? And I'm finally following. I mean, I was passionate about it before, but we need to pivot once we become moms, we need to change and it's a journey and I really respect you for following through that journey for finding that thing and look how you're taking off now. It's amazing, right? It's beautiful. And I love the word empowerment that you use. It's really we're here to empower and you found your way. Eva and I we have found it an hour away and that it comes back full circle of that is what fulfils us at the end of the day seeing other people succeed. So it's yeah, it's a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that with us.
Yeah, so your talents and your skills don't need to be, you know, dumped or it's wasted. You can actually recycle them and upcycle them into a new into a new iteration as this new businesswoman that you're that you are now in terms of running your own business.
So Dana is also working on so many exciting things and she loves collaborating with others. She loves collaborating with yoga instructors right where they bring in their yoga expertise is and she brings in the Feng Shui elements of it. She also works with an interior designer about how to really make your home a home right in terms of design but also in terms of incorporating all of the Feng Shui tips that she also touched upon today. And then also with a sleep trainer for adults about how we can get like parents especially to sleep better, right and then so the sleep consultants obviously Tara teaching sleeping techniques, but she will go in and share water, the fixed rate tips that will really make a difference in that. She is also hosting workshops for helpers because in Singapore, a lot of families have helpers but that's also where a lot of the problems start and lot a lot of the opinions clash and by helping these helpers to know about the ways to know about the KonMari method that may be the families would really like to follow it that alone will also create a lot of harmony in their lives. My question that of course comes up Dana can people that don't live in Singapore also benefit from your services. And I'm just going to quickly speak on her behalf here and because she shared with me that it absolutely doesn't matter where in the world you are, we can do zoom consultations and she can give us all the tips that we need to live a better harmonious life to see what we can do. The little tweaks and the bigger tweaks we can do in our home, just to have the energy flow there. So again, thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom with us today.
Thank you so much, Dana for chatting with us today. And if you want to connect with Dana as you can see, you don't have to be based in Asia. The she can she can do consultations from anywhere. So you can find her on her famous Instagram @anjialivingcom. And we're going to put it in the show notes as well as her website. And we want to thank you so much Dana for sharing with us today.
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Dana was born in Taipei but immigrated to Austria when she was three years old. Different jobs in corporate communications at multinationals companies brought her to Cologne, Mannheim, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, and lastly Singapore which led her to new paths. As one of the most important Feng Shui centres in the world, she could follow her passion for this practice that was first kindled during Dana´s student time. She studied with three masters to get the best out from all the Feng Shui schools.
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