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Welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Life with Krisstina Wise. Dana Claudat studied Art History at Stanford University and is now a Pyramid School Feng Shui consultant. She helps not only design homes, but design lifestyles that ‘flow’. Your home is a reflection of what’s happening inside you, so it’s time to declutter and create space!
You can also click on the time stamps below to jump to those specific points in the conversation.
What We Covered
- [02:50] – Who is Dana?
- [11:30] – How important is aesthetics in all areas of our life?
- [17:15] – Is it true that a cluttered home also affects our energy levels?
- [18:55] – What kind of story does your house tell you about yourself?
- [21:55] – Clutter and debt are somewhat the same, they make people feel heavy and trapped.
- [26:15] – Why do we have such strong attachments to things?
- [28:25] – Everyone wants to feel happy, but the more clutter there is in our lives, the more we let it pile up.
- [31:05] – How does Dana handle the pack rats who can’t throw things away?
- [35:45] – Why can some people let things go easily whereas others simply can not?
- [40:45] – What is Feng Shui?
- [45:55] – Space is so important in all areas of our life. For example, mindfulness is all about creating space in your mind.
- [51:35] – Where does spirituality come into all of this?
- [57:40] – What tips does Dana have for those who want to declutter/ add more Feng Shui into their lives?
- [01:01:00] – What are Dana’s money beliefs?
- [01:04:20] – Dana busts some myths!
[Tweet “Art creates change in life. Art is not extra. Art is extremely important.”]
[Tweet “It’s in this place of crisis that we really discover who we are.”]
[Tweet “Your home is a mirror of your life.”]
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Read the Transcription!
You are at the intersection of wealth, health, and happiness. Welcome to the Wealthy Wellthy Life.
Today, I tackle money and health wealth with Dana Claudat. Dana is the master of designing of one’s personal space and of Feng Shui. She’s an expert about how these things impact overall health, wealth, and happiness. In her words, Dana’s mission is to help people rewrite their mission to give more of themselves to life and get more of what they want out of life.
Moving furniture around and decluttering to change your life might sound like a crazy idea, but Dana has developed a deep knowledge of science behind why and how it actually works. In her work, she’s integrated everything from quantum physics, holistic healing, management theory, art history, philosophy, sociology, even aromatherapy to help people live better lives. This was such an interesting and awe-inspiring interview. I bet you’ll leave this one with some new and exciting takeaways about health, wealth, and happiness. Enjoy
Alright Dana. It is so great to be here with you today. Thank you very much for taking your time to have this conversation.
Thank you. I’m excited. This is really fun.
So you’re in LA, right?
Yes, I am.
And I love your backdrop there. Are you in your house, your office?
Yeah, the sun is finally shining today. We’ve had like Seattle weather.
Yeah, you guys aren’t used to that, are you? I mean, you live for the sunshine.
No, but all my plants are so happy. You could see them all. They’re all so psyched. They’ve all been like so humid and so fantastic. The only one not psyched is me. I haven’t been out of my house in so long.
You look great. Well, thank you for being here. We were introduced through our mutual friend, Kim Love, and I think we both adore her for the same reasons, so a big shout-out to Kim. But she said, “Krisstina, I think you need to meet my friend, Dana. I just think you guys will hit it off and X, Y, Z.” So I do my natural thing, I go to Google, look you up, and never know what I’m going to find. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, this woman seems amazing,” and I really love your work, and your message, and how you’re sharing your work with others that tends to be somewhat unique and not unique. Anyway, I would love to delve into that a little bit, if you’re open to it.
Thank you. I’m so psyched. I’m so honored and flattered.
Yay! Well, before we get started, I’m going to ask you a few questions or whatever. Tell us your story, sort of what brought you to be where you are right now with your current work.
I never would have expected that I would be doing what I’m doing right now. If you had told me 10 years ago that I should be doing this, I would like, “How, what? Are you crazy? There’s no way.” There wasn’t even a world of this that existed yet. I went to Stanford. I had a very non-traditional career path. I studied art history. I had an idea walking up and down Palm Drive at Stanford. I used to talk to a friend of mine and just say, “I just want to know every artist in the world.”
That was my career aspiration. I had no sense of what I was actually going to do and I actually needed to make money and needed these things. I wasn’t one of those kids at Stanford that who had the luxury of just figuring it out for a few years. So, I went to New York, got a lot of odd jobs, and made it my mission to get to know all of these artists and find all the best art people in the world. I got very lucky and found a whole lot of the people that I really admired and somehow got to learn from a lot of them. So, it was like this really unique thing. What I didn’t understand was how to turn it into something that benefited me, because every part of the art world is like dealing or curating where it’s very institutional and all of that stuff felt very confining to me.
Ultimately, through a lot of twists and turns, I wound up doing commercials and moving to Los Angeles and it was like some way I could pay the bills while I figure out what I’m going to do with my desire to write and share all of this stuff about art. The thing that always got me about art was it creates change in life. For people who say art is extra, and I know that we’ll probably get to that later, art is not extra. Art is something that’s extremely important even in real estate, your background, the aesthetics of a home, sell the home. It’s part of what makes it feel like a home. You can’t say that aesthetics don’t matter or we would all be living in the same house. It’s such a big thing. I’m looking at all the big paintings behind you and I’m like, “You’ve got it. You know that aesthetics do matter.”
So I just had this sense and because I grew up very alternative to a lot of my friends, I was very poor. My mom raised us as a single mom. I always had a sense of being self-determined and I realize that boundaries and borders that people impose upon themselves don’t have to be real. I wanted, somehow, to mix this message of art which is all about breaking these boundaries and communicating with people with this idea that you could actually create your own reality. I was doing it. I went from this little town in New Jersey to Stanford and graduated with honors. I did all this stuff. I wanted to do it for other people because I would just constantly be so frustrated that people work were stuck and they couldn’t figure it out. By no means did I have all the answers. It took me a very long time and a lot of hard circumstances to get to where I am. I still don’t have it figured out. I’m still working on it every day.
I started accumulating, as I went, all of these tools. What happened was, in my great hustle through Los Angeles, I wound up getting extremely sick. I pushed myself to every single limit doing all kinds of freelance work while I was exploring all of these detoxes and cleanses and all kinds of things. I just really burned myself out. Wound up in the hospital with an autoimmune crisis and had to stay in my house for months. When I was in my house – and I’m sorry I’m talking so much but this is kind of how it happened – I looked around and I was like, “Who lives here?” I didn’t even put things up on the walls. I didn’t really feel like I did any more than like unpacked my clothes. I had no sense of being at home anywhere. In L.A., that’s a very common thing since this is a very in transient city in many way because so many people in the arts come in and out, freelancing. There wasn’t a sense of home, and that sense of home is something I needed in order to get well.
So, I started Googling like you Google, and it was over 10 years ago now and I found the ideas of Feng Shui and this ancient science and it all sounded very flimsy to me. I wanted something that was more grounded and something that I could wrap my head around. I wasn’t really into the idea of strings creating my good luck. I was like, “I worked so hard. I can’t imagine that a string is going to give me money.”
So, I kept digging because I knew there was something to this idea of environment because it was so prevalent and I came across a modality of Feng Shui that was actually based more on science which was Pyramid School. I had nothing to do for three months but get well, so I decided to sign up and get a mentor and start learning. It was all for me and I figured that, at the very least, if I became a Feng Shui consultant and had that, it would help me with my art clients, it would help me if I went to work in a museum, it would give me kind of an extra credential. I had no concept that this would happen.
That’s how it happened. It became slowly then quickly an obsession. Over the last decade, it’s become something that I’ve really personalized and it still shocks me every day how many people are moved by it to make changes in their space and consequently change their lives.
I love that. That’s such a great story. It’s sort of a common denominator in a lot of those that I’m interviewing these days and it certainly was with me too. But, it’s just killing ourselves and then it’s in this place of crisis and breakdown that we actually discover who we are and what we’re meant to do. Anyway, it’s almost everyone, I think, that I’m in touch with these days that are doing great work. It’s interesting how it comes out of some transformational moment. Thank you for sharing that.
I don’t what it is. Maybe this is why I was even drawn to some of your work. I can’t draw a stick figure. I am left-brained, always have been, even though I’m trying to tap more into my right brain. But, I’ve always just have an inclination for, let’s say, the aesthetic world. I can’t draw, I can’t paint, I can’t sing, I can’t play a musical instrument. Maybe I create businesses. That’s sort of my creative outlet, if there is one.
But, it’s just this sort of sense or sensibility about the importance of this sort of esoteric type importance of aesthetic, but I’ve never looked at it scientifically, I’ve never really thought much about it. My background is real estate, so like you said, it was very obvious to me that I could sell houses for more money when the sellers would work with me and we’d invest in getting the house, staged, and put a little into it to make sure it looked good. Sure enough, I finally turned it into a requirement that I’d only work with sellers that would stage their houses, and if they weren’t willing to do that, I wasn’t going to work with them, because I just knew it would take away from my ability to do a great job for them.
Anyway, that’s always been in the background. Like you said, you can see the paintings. I have lots of original artwork all over my house. So, that, I think, is even more obvious when it comes to the art world, the aesthetic. I’d like to even go I think that’s what interested me with this Feng Shui thing is beyond that, beyond the obvious, beyond buying a painting, or buying some furniture, or putting these few pieces together.
How important do you believe, now that you’ve done all this research and you’re an expert and you do designed work and consulting and writing and all this incredible work you do today that’s very deep and broad, what importance do you play on aesthetic like across the boards? Like you said, a sense of home. There’s brand, packaging sort of in the business world, but in our home environment, our office, bedroom, kitchen, aesthetic can like permeate everywhere. So, is it really important from your point of view to consider the aesthetic in all areas of our life like all of our environments?
Everywhere. What’s interesting is, I think, if I were an interior designer people would hire me for my personal aesthetic. People, I guess, read my blog and like my personal aesthetics, most of the people who read it. But, a lot of my clients have their own aesthetic. I work with people to bring out their own personal style. I often hear I can’t draw a stick figure, I’m not artistic, I’m not creative, but you are. It’s funny because we’re all creative on the very basis of our cells, like every single cell in our body is creating all the time and you could say, “Well, that’s a far leap to make,” but it’s not, because you are creative. You’re creating businesses.
Now, there’s a really high importance — it’s interesting, there’s a very good book. I would suggest that everyone who’s very focused on the business world read about the importance of design and art and being competitive in the new world. It’s called “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel Pink. I think it’s “A Whole New Mind”, I’ll double check my bookshelf, but it is so unbelievable because, basically, he talks about how jobs now are becoming more and more automated, more and more outsourced. Despite the political climate, right now, what makes a competitive individual competitive is their sense of high touch experience, their sense of aesthetics, their sense of personal engagement. MFAs are being recruited now to Fortune 500 companies more than any other percent more than MBAs, which is completely a flipped paradigm. Many companies invest more in design than they do in marketing sometimes. This is a really big thing because, right now, we present ourselves to the world half of the time based on our websites, our fonts, our social media accounts, the pictures we put on Instagram, all of these thing that never existed before. That is like the overarching, I think, environment of all of that.
When you walk into your home, you have this sanctuary, you have this space that’s just yours. It doesn’t have to look the way a magazine looks. It has look like what really connects you to home. There have been a lot of really interesting studies done about the imprinting that we get as small children. There are certain architectural features, certain colors, certain scents that make us feel more safe, more grounded, and more at home.
When you think about it, if you’ve ever been somewhere where someone is cooking something that smells like what your grandma used to cook, or when you see a blanket that reminds you of something that your mom had on her bed, or whatever it is, a perfume you smell that reminds you of your aunt, all of those things bring you home. It’s really important to really get into your house, look around, and the very, very basic is to say, “Does this really feel like me, or did the designer tell me to do this, or did I get this because I felt like it kind of went there?” which is what I hear a lot of the time. Then, you’re living with all of this stuff that feels like someone else’s home. Making those small shifts in aesthetics, you start seeing you everywhere and that’s enormously empowering. More and more, people are starting to make that connection, like understanding how wonderful it is to feel comfortable at home.
And that feeling of walking into your house, into home, and just having a love affair with it like, “Oh my god, this just feels amazing,” versus, “It’s a roof over my head and it’s great, I paid the mortgage,” but there’s not this sense of, “Ah, this feels so good.”
It definitely doesn’t rely on economics. I worked with artists who don’t have tons of money sometimes, but they flood their homes with their personal visions. I have almost every single one of my clients, barring a few, where it would be more of a struggle than a fun project to make their own art, especially the ones who think that they’re not creative. So, if I was working with you, you’d be painting next week.
That’s awesome, that’s awesome. Let’s take this maybe even a little bit deeper that’s like sort of the ideal aesthetic that it feels good, it feels home, it calls us, it feels like our aesthetic and our home, not somebody else’s. But, we live in this.
I’m a money coach. What I notice is a lot of people overspend on stuff, really. Being in a real estate background, I walk into a lot of houses, as you can imagine, and houses are just packed with clutter, and stuff, and things on the floor, and on the bookshelves, and cabinets are overflowing, and papers everywhere, and toys. Not that that’s inherently a bad thing, but I knew, again, for me, if my space is cluttered, especially my workspace, or the kids have been home, and if things are all over the place, I feel out of control. I feel like I can’t get into any flow or sense of peace. Is this just me or is this something else that you notice that there’s sort of this woo-woo symbiotic relationship between environments that flows, feels like home, has our aesthetic and energy, and how we process energy, and how that affects us in many different levels?
It’s interesting. This is where I really understand where the more metaphysical ideas of energy and the more practical ideas of energy really merge. For thousands of years, Feng Shui has taught in all different schools, even the superstitious ones and the practical ones, that your home is a mirror of your life. So, what I consider to be science is my experience for 10 years. Because, if I could see it over and over again demonstrated, without fail, for thousands and thousands of people, then I know that there is some validity to it. Even if no one in lab coats went and did statistical analysis on it, there is something to be said about how much your home is a mirror of your life. That’s like one fundamental principle.
Would an example would be that if your house is cluttered, maybe your life is cluttered?
Yeah, so very simply, if someone listening to this goes, “My home is not a mirror of my life,” then I invite you to just walk through your house and look at the story that it’s telling you, and it does tell a story. Like, if you can look and just walk around very simply, you’ll see how much life there is, how comfortable you feel, how welcome you feel, how open it feels to you, how much you feel like relaxing. Do you see your desk prominent in your house, which is very common with people who work all the time, is the only space you really inhabit your kitchen? Where do you spend all of your time? And you see it does mirror your life in one way or another.
When you have things like clutter and massive amounts of disorder, that is something that stops the flow of energy. There is a lot of science now about clutter. It’s very interesting. There have been an enormous amount of studies done about clutter and cortisol. Cortisol, of course, is a stress hormone. When you live a chronically cluttered environment, studies have shown, especially for women, elevated levels of cortisol. I don’t like to do gender stereotypes but in general, I find women to be more sensitive to their environments just in general, possibly because a lot of the women I work with spend more time in their home than their counterpart. Whoever spends more time at home tends to be more sensitive to the environment.
Elevated levels of cortisol, increase in weight gain. I’ve had people in my clutter camps that I run every year, I call them catalyst camps because people emerge kind of catalyzed and renewed. One woman lost 130 pounds. People lose so much extra weight when they get rid of clutter. This, again, has been studied. There’s a lot of science to this. People in addiction recovery, often, now in very high recovery centers or very progressive ones, they send someone to the house to work on the environment because clutter has, in it, environmental triggers that can trigger all of those old habits and old patterns. So, when you remove those triggers, which are clutter, you create a sense of more hope and new patterns can emerge.
There’s a lot of interesting science that also supports this ancient idea that your home is a mirror of your life and that when you have things that are obstructions to that flow — you know, people say, “Oh, the chi isn’t flowing.” If your chi is obstructed, chances are you could now find some scientific studies that back up why that is happening. If you want to save yourself the research and the time, you could just clear the clutter and you’ll feel and see the difference, and that can be your own empirical experiment.
Yeah, I even look at in the money category where I teach money, debt is clutter. It’s just heaviness. When I say, “How would it feel if you were debt-free?” They’re like, “Oh, I’d feel light and free.” These metaphorical terms of heaviness when you have debt, and same I think with clutter, that even until we talk about it and realized how debt, for example, is making them feel so heavy. I’m wondering, again, this clutter thing, how it sort of have us feel trapped or it’s taking over, we feel heavy or tied down, or it’s coming in on us?
Okay, so now I’m going to be a tiny bit metaphysical, but not really. The entanglement theory in quantum physics states that we are actually entangled with every single object and every single thing in our lives. If you are entangled with everything around you, if things around you are broken, if things around you are falling apart, if things around you have really negative memories attached to them, if things around you are neglected, which is very common when it comes to debt. It’s almost like you want to hide, and so things pile up, especially I see files pile up, paperwork pile up. People who have a hard time getting rid of papers can’t confront all those stuff on those papers, so they just kind of build, build, build. All of that stuff is all entanglement. So, for every single piece of paper you pick up, you look at, you handle, you shred, all of a sudden, that’s one entanglement that you are free off on a quantum level. That might sound bizarre but quantum theory has been proven. It’s not just something that lots of people like to spew about.
I think the law of attraction is wonderful. It’s also done a great disservice, I think, in many ways to the cause of becoming more effective in life, because it’s very true that, if anyone hasn’t heard of the Law of Attraction, it’s this idea that your thoughts become things and your life a mirror of you, and if you want something, you need to vibrate at the quantum level of the thing that you want. All of that stuff is true, but it also negates the idea of having to do the work of going in and doing the clearing and taking the action, and a lot of people missed that step.
I’m very big on people engaging with their clutter and breaking those entanglements. Sometimes, because it is so heavy — like, you work with people and debt, so you know how emotional, and how heavy, and how many things are tied into that stuff. I tell people to go slowly and to really start on peeling away all the layers of the attachments that they have. When they’re done, by the end of whatever it takes to get their piles and get through their flies, they really feel free. It’s that freedom and it is really freedom on a cellular level. So, it’s pretty amazing.
There’s something I quote that’s called “creation over consumption” because we’re in such this consumption culture and there’s this inclination to buy. Like, marketing is coming at us all the time. We walk through the mall, and add to our closets, or add to our houses, or something’s on sale. We’re always buying stuff, and that stuff starts piling up because we’re buying stuff and not really necessarily getting rid of stuff, and usually buying that stuff does cause the debt. So, it’s this really downward spiral where it sort of feeds on itself that, ultimately, people sort of, I think, wind up in a place where things feel out of control. They don’t even know why but they’re in an environment that’s reflecting their life, for example, like you just said.
I don’t know. I forgot how many, almost a billions of dollars are spent each year on storage units. Our houses are full, and storage units are full. So, how do you confront this? I guess, even my first question is I’m sort of a minimalist these days. I’ve gotten rid of all the excess stuff and it’s very freeing. Everything, more or less, has a place, or we’ve gotten rid of it, and really working that even the themes in our house that they have meaning. There’s some meaning or attachment, or there’s an aesthetic value to that that does add to, let’s say, the environment like this is my home. What is it that causes this attachment to these things and we just keep piling it up and we can’t let go and then we have the storage shed, we have the full closet? Question 1 is, why are we inclined to do this? Then, two, how do you work with people to help them sort of break that?
That’s both awesome questions. This is the reason it was interesting when I thought of making immersion camps online to work with all these people that I have all at once. I had the thought was, “I’m going to do a creativity camp. It’s going to be so great. I’m going to send people creative material,” and I’m doing all this stuff and I’m so overwhelmed with this concept. Then, my sister came to me and said, “No, it needs to be a clutter camp,” and I was like, “Oh my god, you’re right.” It’s like the fundamental to everything: why people aren’t creative, why people are stuck, how it all happened.
The why is a multitude of whys. I don’t think there’s one why for everyone. I’ve noticed that the overall overarching theme that happens with the people who joined my camp there are now so many, so many hundreds of them that, in some way, things became overwhelming and it became easier to put things off for later. Self-love kind of dwindled, self-care dwindled over time as these piles and these things piled up. It’s almost like a graph where the higher your self-care and your self-worth, the lower your clutter and the inverse.
It’s not because people don’t want to love themselves, don’t want to do self-care, don’t want to invest in their well-being, don’t want to do things like meditate, don’t want to have all of these things. I think every single person, even if they’ve never or have no interest in the metaphysical world have an interest in wanting to feel good. Everyone wants to feel alive, and vital, and happy. I think it’s just a chronic — at some point, there was some crisis, or overwhelm, or something happened and the chart started to flip, and over time, it’s like a demoralizing cycle. The more the clutter piles up, the less, the less, the more guilty you feel. I have a lot of people who feel guilt for taking the time to like clear a drawer because they have so many other things that they have to deal with, because their life has become so chaotic, people who feel so guilty for taking a bath because they have so much work that they haven’t completed.
There’s a real component of – and again this sounds really airy-fairy, I know, to some people – a component of self-love and self-care that is absolutely critical and it really is a graph. I see it all the time. The more people start making some space in their home and I have everyone start working on whatever it is that’s going to feed them in their life, the graph starts to switch. It can take a while because you’re undoing habits that have been there for quite some time
But, if you’re consistent, even in little baby steps, you can flip that graph around. If it’s overwhelming for you to control or confront the clutter, the debt, the whatever it is you have. I tell everyone to start with at least a little bit more self-care every single day, whether it’s a 15 minute walk, or 10 minutes of meditation, or whatever it is that makes you personally feel really good and make that non-negotiable. From there, everything else can start flipping.
I love that. I actually teach money attached to self-love and self-worth because net worth itself —
Wow. That’s so cool.
Believe me, I’m a believer, sort of a pragmatist, practical, left-brained business person. I really think that there’s this match up and mesh up where we can be equally balanced with some of the more metaphysical, then it tends to be most powerful. So, totally agree with that, and the self-love piece, I think, is sort of underlying everything, and sort of everything bubbles up from there.
Maybe it’s this attachment theory that you mentioned or whatever, but sometimes it’s so hard, even for myself, who’s pretty much not attached to too many things, a minimalist by philosophy at this stage in my life, but there’s still just something that cleaning up the junk drawer and thinking, “Well, I may need that someday.” How many things do we hold on to that really aren’t necessary that might even be easier to just go rebuy in the slim chance that you ever do need it again? How do you work with that, for those that are like, “Yeah, I am really ready to declutter but I know I’m going to be looking at something and thinking, ‘Well, maybe, I should hold on to that'”?
Like the hole punchers that I have from like 1980 in my drawer that I swear I’m going to make confetti with one day, we all have things that we hold on to that we think, at one point, will be useful. To some degree, I say, if it’s small, if it’s a Microplane for lemon zest and it’s small, it’s not taking up much space, and it could be useful, keep it. It’s fine. I think that it becomes this grand negotiation where it’s like, “Oh, I might need this whole room full of crap one day.”
That, I’ve had with many, many clients, one-on-one clients, and one that stands out particular who was involved in a natural disaster and lost all of her stuff, and as a result of that, she started to hold on to everything because it was the shock, the trauma, everything about it made her want to hold on so tightly to everything she was accumulating after she lost everything. I’ve seen this in multiple people who’ve had these situations, but this one springs to mind because she said to me, “I really need to start believing again that the world is a good place and that I will be able to get this stuff in the future, for lack of a better word, that the universe has my back and that I’m not going to get into this place where another disaster is going to strike or another shoe is going to drop.”
I think it’s really whenever I encounter people who hold on too tightly to things because they’re afraid they might need it one day, I often ask them, “Do you think there’s something bleak that’s going to happen in the future where you won’t be able to get another white t-shirt or you won’t be able to get — you know what I mean? I’m not a big fan of just dumping things for the sake of dumping them. I’m very into donating, upcycling, recycling. That’s a real thing.
Whenever it’s a chronic thing, I always wonder, is there some source of scarcity mentality? Is there some sort of projection of doom? Or, “Got to save up in case the apocalypse comes,” and often there is. Often, there’s some sort of scarcity thing happening where people are so afraid if they get rid of that evening dress they hadn’t worn for seven years that they’re going to suddenly be invited to a black tie event, they’re going to have nothing to wear. It’s like, “But, wouldn’t it be fun to get a new one since you don’t like this one?”
Yeah, and how much of it is the idea of letting go? I mean, that’s such a metaphor too that how much in life do we just need to let go of? Like, we’re holding onto too much stress or too much control or too much need, and so much of the work that working some of my customers now is like this first piece is this letting go of this need to be perfect, letting go of certain controls, letting of things that we’re attached to that aren’t serving us.
So, I think about that, like the closet, or even the storage unit. I keep going back that when I see it in people’s books, they’re spending $200 a month on a storage unit and they’ve not stepped foot in it for three years. But, it’s just trying to figure out what is that so that maybe we can solve that issue or take care of that and get the $200 off the books like in a very practical sense, but in the more life happiness sense, get rid of that heaviness also.
There’s a really interesting book, and again, it’s going to straddle science and I always quote where these things come from because I think it’s really important if people are interested in the concept that they can look further, but it’s called “Power vs. Force”. It’s by David Hawkins. Have you read it?
Isn’t it a great book?
So is Daniel Pink’s, by the way. I mean, all the books you’ve referenced are excellent books, so keep going.
Oh, thank you! I spend all my free time reading, and learning, and experimenting with things, and Power vs. Force was one of the most interesting books that helped me to explain, at least to myself, a lot of what I saw happening. You know, for some people, it’s very much of an effort to do a lot of things, and for some people, things seem to flow very easily. I always wondered is it just people are luckier than others? That doesn’t really make sense why is it that some people can easily let things go, can easily be free, and some people feel stuck. And in Power vs. Force, again, it’s like straddling the line of science, but kinesiology is used to test various emotional states.
It’s funny. One of my clients was one of the people who helped develop kinesiology and there was a lot of empirical study that went into developing it in the chiropractic world. So, in kinesiology, if someone who’s listening has never tried it before, there’s something called “muscle testing”, and the theory is that if something is near your body that’s not in harmony with your body’s energy, not in sync with it, it will make your body go weak, and if something is around your body that is in harmony with your body, it will make you feel strong.
The way that I say this is imagine how you feel when you’re in the best museum you’ve ever been in looking at a masterpiece or you’re in the greatest home, or you’re in the greatest mood, and everyone around you is happy, how strong and powerful do you feel? Then, think about what happens when you’re in a scary place, possibly an unknown neighborhood in a dark alley, how weak and vulnerable do you feel? It’s very clear, like you feel it in your body.
People actually have emotional states that they’re most used to. They have a general baseline of an emotional state that they’re used to hovering in. Does that mean they’re a bad person because they’ve been overwhelmed with anger, or anxiety, or fear? No. It’s sometimes just a lack of tools, a lack of awareness, a lack of knowing that there’s something they can even do about it.
There’s a scale that was created of human emotion, and the book talks about how people that live beneath a certain level of emotional awareness or emotional happiness basically live in more force. Everything becomes really hard and it becomes extremely hard to let things go. If you think about it, when you’re very, very angry, it’s so hard to get rid of that feeling and it’s so hard to get anything done. It’s so hard to function. But, if you even feel at least reasonable in your mind and you get it together and you calm down and you’re rational, suddenly you’re above that threshold of emotion where things are hard and you can start piecing together a solution.
So, when you find yourself immersed in a lot of clutter that becomes overwhelming, especially financial clutter – that is so debilitating for people and it’s mirrored in a home in actual clutter as well in so many different ways – I find that the level, just like I said, that self-love curve, I find that the emotional level that people are functioning on is closer to fear, anxiety, like everything is very much force. So, raising up your level of happiness, raising up your emotional quotient actually makes it easier to start letting things go. When people become even a little tiny bit happier, it becomes so much easier to stop those loops of worries, and anxieties, and thoughts. You become more present.
All of these things are talked about really specifically in the book and a lot of what David Hawkins talks about is the process of letting go. And as you continue to let go, and let go, and let go of ideas of patterns of loops of physical stuff, and all of it, you rise up the chart and life becomes easier. I could tell you from firsthand experience, it’s true. Life does become easier. I encourage, a lot of the programs I do are all based on rising people up higher and I do it with them, because things could always be easier.
Right, and there is some of the faith piece where you just have to believe some of this and let go and have faith that it’s going to work that, “I can let go, and slowly but surely, we feel lighter and better, and then that sort of cycle, maybe, can take over.”
Alright, let’s switch gears a little bit. Beyond being an artist, a designer, art history, working in New York, working with clients, helping them declutter, the things that we’ve just talked about, you really are a master in a school of Feng Shui, and Feng Shui would have been one of the things I would have kind of called BS on in my old. It’d be like, “Feng Shui, really? How silly or airy-fairy.”
But again, I think there is a lot more science to this now. And like you said, there’s different schools of Feng Shui. It sounds like those more traditional, and like you said, less scientific and more not spiritual necessarily, but superstitious, I think, is what you said. But, tell us, what is Feng Shui, like what is it, and why does this philosophy and methodology resonate with you in such a way you teach it, you use it, you inspire others with it. Obviously, you use this methodology and philosophy to work with your clients. So, tell us about that.
Really basic, Feng Shui is the art and science of changing environments to change your life. That’s like the easiest way that I could sum it up. The basis of Feng Shui, there’s many practical. It was based, basically, on survival. It was created to help people survive in times where things that we take for granted that we could survive weather conditions, we could survive various attacks from people. It was really founded on these very basic principles in nature: how do you survive, how do you build so that things are more protected? All of these fundamental principles came from observing the people who were surviving and developing an art to ensure that more and more people could survive, and thrive, and prosper, and be able to carry on a lineage. This is thousands and thousands of years of people working with these ideas.
Now, there’s a part of it that veers off into what I call “black magic”, and also into a lot of superstition, a lot of a form of Buddhism, which is really provisional and not valid today, which is called “Black Hat”, and there is a lot superstition involved. Again, people say, “Don’t bash what you don’t know.” I actually have seen people get very damaged by this, so I’m very, very up front in talking about how much I do not condone these things. People who are terrified by the idea of having bad luck because of certain objects in their house, or people calling me, flipping out that their bathroom is in their wealth area, and are they going to go broke and, “Am I going to get divorced because my bed doesn’t face northwest?” these are the ideas that have been propagated over time, these terrors. It’s really fear-based stuff.
I don’t work with any of that, but yet there is this lineage and tradition of how space affects life. So, how I work with Feng Shui is really looking at your space, the story that your space is telling, and on top of that, using these tools which have been passed down, which now are gaining more and more validity over time like how much clutter do you have, the colors that you’re using, and how colors actually psychologically impact us as well as the elemental nature of those colors, looking at how your home is set up and how you’re using it, and what areas correspond to what parts of your life, or looking at the messages that you’re sending in your art, that you’re sending in everything around you.
The reason I’m so intrigued by it is because it’s an overarching philosophy. It’s what I said at the very beginning. What I’ve always wanted to do is teach people that you can use all these aesthetics. You can actually be creative and you can construct your own reality, and the biggest thing that I help people with is rewriting that life story and understanding that for those of you who’ve done a vision board, or heard about that in personal development courses, with the kind of Feng Shui I do, your home becomes a vision board of your life.
That’s really the most powerful thing. You’re living inside a paradigm that you’re creating, a whole new paradigm for yourself and it really influences your lifestyle. I work a lot with lifestyle shifts. I’m friends with many, many experts in different modalities of wellness, including doctors, actual doctor doctors, and actual certified nutritionists who are very well-known, and you people who are doing a lot of amazing work in different modalities, and I really bring together as much as possible to support people in making those changes in their space and in their life so that it all fuses together.
We’ve talked about a few things. We’ve talked about environment, energy, aesthetic. What about the word “space”?
Space is everything, right? I mean, if we don’t have mental space — intrigued actually, now there’s been a lot, a lot of studies now that meditation is becoming so valid and such a huge study, the ideas of mindfulness, creating space in your mind is a real thing now that Marie Kondo released her book about the magical art of decluttering and creating space in your closets is becoming a real thing. Creating space in your actual schedule is a really big thing.
There is a philosophical idea, and again, this is something that I think there is some physics behind it, but it’s applied very philosophically, so please go with me on it. But, there’s an idea that nature outpours a vacuum, so that when you create space in your life, it’s almost like you suck in new things. “Out with the old, in with the new”, that whole philosophy, people notice, “Oh, I donated a whole bunch of stuff, and then all of a sudden, I made more money.”
It’s like all of these ideas of creating space and making room for the new are ideas that permeate history. Right now, I don’t when this is going to air, but right now, we’re on the Chinese New Year’s Eve and everyone is cleaning their houses, because in China, it’s a tradition before the New Year to clean your house so you have room for prosperity for the New Year. You have to make space for the new. All of the books, like The Secret, talk about making space in your bedroom so that you have room for a partner to appear. Space is extraordinarily important.
So, is downtime, which is also being scientifically proven, so is giving your brain a rest, so is taking vacations. Vacation days are so important. Now, all of this data is coming out that’s supporting all of these ideas that people in the wellness woo-woo world have been talking about, and it’s exciting because, really, the science helps everyone. It helps everyone to say, “Give yourself a break, give yourself some space. It’s actually going to make your whole life better. It’ll make your business better, your mind better, your body better.” Everything benefits from space.
Yeah, and there’s so many of these now Eastern that have sort of been poo-poo’ed or pushed aside. These Eastern philosophies, and practices, and beliefs are really starting to emerge in the Western world, and we’re seeing how healthy they are, like Ayurvedic medicine that’s been around for centuries, and Chinese traditions, like Feng Shui and others, and meditation, like a lot of the yoga.
I mean, these are Eastern philosophies and practices that have been around for thousands of years and have helped civilizations survive and thrive, and yet we’ve sort of put those out there like, “Oh my god, that’s woo-woo or whatever.” But, it’s very fascinating to see how we are seeing those principles really start to emerge and the importance of them, and there’s no reason why they’ve lasted thousands of years. I mean, there is a reason.
There is a reason and I’m always welcoming in new practices and new things. Ayurveda, I think, is so fascinating, and it’s such a big study, and I’m just starting to play around with the principles more in my own life. Usually, I’ll test something for like a year or two before I start really working with it and incorporating it in bigger ways. But, there’s an exciting world of disciplines that have been actually tested and proven.
So, for people who are listening who think that it’s just too weird or too foreign or too out of my comfort zone, it’s simple things like the idea that now you can get acupuncture through your insurance company in many cases. Like, it’s an actual science with doctors. It’s not something that someone’s doing that’s unqualified sticking needles into you. These are all things that are now emerging as more effective, in many ways, than the alternatives of medications and other things that can be addictive and don’t work.
I really encourage people to not necessarily wildly expose themselves to things, but to even just Google an alternative to something they need. I mean, something as simple as turmeric instead of Advil, try it. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You might still have a headache. That’s all that can happen. You know what I mean? Like something simple. And that’s how people get addicted to this stuff, in a good way. That’s how people’s journeys begin is just a simple thing.
My friend started mindbodygreen, the big website, because he had a back problem and he was going to need surgery and found yoga and tried it, and it worked, and it saved him from having to have back surgery, and suddenly, this whole lid came off of a wellness world that some have science, some doesn’t have science, but it’s all interesting and useful, and if it works, people say, “Well, isn’t Feng Shui a placebo effect?” and I say, “Well, if it is, and it works, who cares?” Would you rather be miserable or just be happy and thriving?
So, let’s go out since we’re sort of straddling the edge here of scientific-proven, and maybe a little bit more metaphysical what we’ve sort of thrown in the woo-woo airy-fairy categories. Let’s go even further out and talk a little bit. I’d like to know, where does spirituality fit in here? Because, you’ve had a health issue, I’ve had a health issue, and so much of going through that was sort of this healing journey, but the healing journey, for me, was a spiritual journey that really changed my perspective for me as to what spirituality is and how it’s important. But then, it sort of offered me an opportunity to be connected where maybe I was disconnected before. So, what’s the spiritual component that you see that factors in here of letting go, of being rid of the clutter? The spiritual, and then the physical, like the health, the wellness?
Wow, that’s an awesome question. I have my own spiritual practice that I actually re-emerged with, like you said. After my own health crisis, I really committed myself to my Buddhist practice and that’s been the fundamental underpinning of my own work. Now, of course, I’m not a Buddhist priest and I’m not going to go and tell everyone that they have to practice Buddhism. But, the spiritual principles behind Buddhism, I think, purveyed every single thought, religious, as spiritual practice ever, and at the very basic basic, it’s the idea of being connected to one another, that we’re all connected. I think that everyone, on some level, can agree with that.
The other principle is cause and effect. So, really taking responsibility for the causes that we’re each making in life and then the effects that we are receiving. A lot of what happens when you decide to take control, I think, of one area of your space: your home, or your debt, or your relationship or whatever it is, it’s 100% responsibility that we have to take for what we’ve created.
For a lot of people that have been living with the effective things, “Oh, it just keeps happening, I have bad luck, I have this, I have that,” a lot of what that spiritual aspect of what I really espouse is the idea, without blame, understanding in some way, or shape, or form, we’ve created this. Yeah, there are tragedies and there are things that happen, but an everyday level, if you have a spending problem, it didn’t just happen and you didn’t inherit it. You know what I mean? Like, on some level, you reached into your pocket and pulled out your card and swiped it. That’s a cause.
Same thing in your home, the clutter didn’t just appear. You made the cause of turning a blind eye. Does that mean you’re a bad person? But, it also empowers you. If you created it, you can uncreate it. If you caused it, you can change it. I think that’s the difference a lot when it comes to wellness.
In Western Philosophy, often people say, “Oh, it just happened,” or, “It’s genetics. Nothing you can do about it.” But, real science is proving genetics aren’t even really a determining factor in more than 1% of diseases. It’s your lifestyle. It’s the causes that you’re making every single day, what you’re creating, and then you experience the effects of them. Does that mean that you created your illness? No, it’s not like that deep. But, it is important to see how life, how it all has come together to contribute to this so that you can undo it.
If you live in a world where things just happen to you, then where do you go? Talk about terror, like wondering what’s going to happen next. That’s one of the things I’m very, very passionate about is the idea that we really can create a new reality, and that goes for wellness as well. So, really, on a basic level, that idea of connection, and that happens very much more easily when you feel connected to your space, and then the bigger part is how we’re creating all of this, and then we can uncreate it.
In a spiritual aspect, I think those are two concepts that are inclusive to all people. I don’t like anyone to feel like their beliefs are being invalidated. These concepts are so broad, but they’re really, I think, universally applied.
Yeah, and we have to have space to connect. If we’re too busy and just hurried all the time and it’s frenetic energy, we don’t have time to sit down, and talk, and connect. We don’t have time to listen, and be present, and laugh, and enjoy life. We’re just running, running, running all the time. You can’t connect and run at the same time. They’re sort of mutually exclusive.
It’s the worst feeling. I mean, isn’t that everyone’s kind of fighting against right now? We all want to be able to have room to breathe. It’s so important.
Yeah, and it’s how much have we complicated our lives with clutter, with stuff, with all these concepts we’ve been teaching versus maybe just being okay with things being simpler.
I’m a big fan. Whenever people say that one of the things they got from the programs they’ve done with me is that they’ve started buying less stuff, I feel really good about that. That’s like a big deal. It’s almost like saying, “Now, I’m more full, so I don’t need to buy things to fill me up unnecessarily.”
Yeah, that’s great. Then, we buy more things and then we have to go faster in order to keep up with the payments. Your world and my world really align very well. In fact, so much of what you’re saying, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s a total mirror.”
That’s a big thing I’ve been seeing more and more. It’s like, “You want to make your life more complicated, go buy some stuff you can’t afford.”
Perfectly said. Alright, just a few more things. I know you’ve got to run off here in a minute, so thank you for the time you’ve given us so far. What sort of tips do you have? Are there any tips you can give just to sort of help people maybe take that first step or two to start unloading?
I think one thing that’s really fun, and I know it’s winter for many people, but it’s still really fun, and if you’re willing to go on the journey just to see the difference between stagnation and flow, open even one or two windows, turn on a fan if you have a fan available, and really sit in a room when everything is closed and all stuffed up, and then open things up and let things flow for just a few minutes. Then, you can close everything and put the heat back on, but feel the difference of stagnation and then flow, and in your life, strive to have more of that motion. That’s like a really simple thing. It’s the easiest space-clearing. People know about burning sage and all of those things, but for some people, it’s too complicated.
Another thing you can do if you want to just instantly change your space is clap in the corners. The sound and the action also helps to wake things up where they’ve been stagnant and stuck. And for those of you dealing with money issues, stagnation and stuckness has a lot to do with debt and that feeling of drowning in things, overly stressed.
So, it’s a really simple, practical thing that people can do. Cleaning house is a big one. I really like people to clean their own homes at least once in a while even if you have a cleaning person that helps you or a staff of people that helps you. It’s very important to make that connection to your space. You will learn so much about your space while you’re cleaning it, and the more fun you have with cleaning, the better. That’s a really big one.
I am very, very emphatic about going through at least one room, and you might want to start with your bedroom, because even though we’re sleeping, we spend almost the most time in the bedroom, of all places. And start ridding it of everything that you don’t absolutely love. That subtraction, alone, is so empowering. It might mean that you get new bedding, it might mean that you donate your comforter and get a quilt, it might mean that you changed the art on the walls or finally put art on the walls, get things out of your closets.
Remember that everything around you in that room really is the greatest sanctuary that you have. So, if you could just take the time to do that one area and stop working in your bedroom, or on your bed, or with your phone in your bed, 100%, if you could take that leap, it’s very life-changing for multiple reasons.
Those are all very small, I think, very doable things that can get you to start feeling the difference between disconnected and connected, stuck and flowing, and in general, start making that person/place connection.
I love that. Alright, two more questions. As you know, I’m a money author and coach, and we’ve talked about that a little bit here, and I really love how our two worlds really do match up. But, what are your money beliefs? I mean, you’ve alluded to some of the money clutter, debt, these different things. But, how does money factor in to what you teach, your own personal philosophy, and what you’ve noticed?
I run a cash camp every year, which is based on all of these principles in an energetic sense. So, with what you do, you’re dealing with – I’m not a financial expert by any means – I deal with the energy part of it. I deal with the home part of it, the story part of it in a tactile way. Definitely, I’m not a psychiatrist, nor am I a psychologist, nor am I anything but a space-maker.
My personal money beliefs, and I’m very big on this, is that we really do get what we give. I think giving is the most important principle of all of it. I give a lot away. I constantly give, give, give. I am really not concerned about people saying, “You give away so much stuff for free and so much material,” and I’m like, “But, that’s like saying I don’t have enough.” Of course, I want everyone to be able to do this. Giving is really, really, fundamental to everything that I do. It’s a big part of my camps.
Also, making space. I know that if something is blocked, it’s because, in some way, I’m blocking it. And finding that in my home as well as in myself, really examining my beliefs, if I can’t get something to move easily, why, and looking at what I’m doing and how I’m creating it. That’s another big principle that I apply a lot. Seeing, in my home, where I could put more energy, where I can put more intention, working with that kind of energy and intention rather than haphazardly just randomly doing things.
Really being mindful of a schedule, which is something that I’ve resisted as a creative person for a long time. I couldn’t keep a calendar until a few years ago, when it got too busy to not. I used to think I could just store everything in my mind and things would just work out. It doesn’t work that way. Organizing time and space is a big, big thing. I work with clients a lot on those things, and I find it dramatically influences money, production, all of it.
I think, probably the most fundamental thing that I work with, which I think is an intangible thing, is a feeling. Like, I want to leave every single client and every single person feeling happier and lighter. That’s something I can’t quantify. It’s something I just feel. I know when a report is done, I know when a home is done, I know when a client isn’t quite ready or there yet, and I know that now intuitively, and that’s kind of like the X factor.
Same thing with the blog posts I share, the things that I do. I’m really interested in that feeling, and once I have that feeling, I know I can share it. So, that’s the unquantifiable X factor, but I think it really does make a difference in terms of abundance and prosperity and all of those things.
I love that, so thank you for sharing. Okay, one final question that I ask all of my guests is that there’s so many myths out there that we believe in, we abide by, especially, probably, in your world that are just not true. So, they’re sort of negatively impacting our lives one way or another. Is there a myth that you just bump up against on a regular basis with your clients, or in your life, or wherever that you just want to bust saying, “That’s just not true. Here’s the truth of the matter”?
That’s awesome. That’s a great question. I think, for me, because of the basis of Feng Shui, in many ways, of how it’s been assimilated into culture, the thing I come up against constantly is the idea of luck. The idea of luck, and lucky, and lucky charms, and lucky things, and lucky stones, and lucky this, and lucky that, if I relied on those things as a kid, I would still be sitting where I grew up with the same problems that I had when I grew up. I wouldn’t have believed I could have more money, I wouldn’t have believed I could have an education, I wouldn’t have believed that I could change the things that I’d changed, I wouldn’t have believed I could get well when I was sick. I would be waiting for luck, and that just doesn’t work.
I can only know, inherently in myself and in the people around me that I’ve worked with, we’re all — I think there’s this mythological idea that some people are luckier than others, and I just don’t think that’s true. I really believe that, yes, some people have accumulated more momentum toward their cause at this point. They’ve worked longer and harder towards certain things, or they’ve put more energy and thought into certain things than, perhaps, you have at the moment. But, there’s no reason why you can’t make your own luck, there’s no reason why you can’t build that positive momentum, there’s no reason why you can’t change whatever it is wherever you want to go and have more of that synchronicity, have more of that ease, and more things come together for you.
It involves doing, not just thinking, not just wondering and meditating, and all of those things that are wonderful, and visualizing. “I love every single tool, I love crystals, I love all of it,” but ultimately, it comes down to, “Are you going to show up every day and do it?” and that’s it. So, you really make your own luck, and if there’s anything I can leave people with, it’s that it’s so important.
That’s perfectly said. That’s a great completion point. Thank you so much for your time today. This was a really fun conversation. I love to dance, sort of, on the edge of the physical, metaphysical, and thank you. You’re amazing. I really love how you teach from so many different sort of philosophical, and traditional, and more modern beliefs and practices, and merged all those, meshed all those together to really create a beautiful holistic approach.
Thank you so much. It’s been such a fun honor to be here. I love what you’re doing. It’s so, so incredible and so important for people.
Well, thank you so much. We’ll talk soon.
And so ends another episode of the Wealthy Wellthy Life. This was one more millionaire mindset that will make you wealthy while keeping you healthy. Before you leave, if you want to learn how to become rich, healthy, and happy, then sign up for my free money training at mindfulmoneywebinar.com. You will learn my signature formula for transforming your life from debt into a healthy multimillionaire. It’s the only moneymaking system that makes your health your number one asset. It’s helped thousands of others and it can help you too. If you’re curious how it all works, visit mindfulmoneywebinar.com and sign up today. Again, that’s mindfulmoneywebinar.com. Remember, it’s free. And as always, be sure to subscribe to my podcast to make sure that you catch next week’s millionaire mindset. This is Krisstina Wise, your personal guide to having it all, signing off. Here’s to living a Wealthy Wellthy Life. I’ll see you next time.