“Mindfulness is to open all your senses and to feel the surroundings, to be aware what is going on. When you’re doing service, for example waiters; you’re standing on the floor and your mind is on the floor, you need to be sharp. Whoever is coming, whatever someone is doing, you need to be aware of the situation. It is not only about caring plates and serving, it is like playing chess, you need to plan your next move. I think the most common problem we have now is moving our boundries and focusing on tasks. So, let’s say, stop for a moment and think and take time for yourself!”
Who is Rainee Wang? Describe yourself in three words.
I am a mindfulness meditation and yoga teacher. It is really hard when you need to describe yourself, but let’s say I like to think I am a warm and friendly person and I am a hardworking and good team player.
Many people are not familiar with mindfulness. Can you describe it in few words?
The word mindfulness comes from Buddhism, it means the unity of mind and body. Now people use this practice to clear their thoughts. Nowadays we are busy, our mind is always busy with daily work, but hardly in our body, like we are planning for dinner, thinking about our job and our family, but hardly taking time for our own body. Sometimes we really need to sit down and take a moment for ourselves. Mindfulness is to open our awareness, being aware of our body and mind without any judgment. Open all our senses and bring ourselves into the present moment, not the past, or future. In Buddhism, we don’t believe in the future, we don’t believe in the past. Everything is happening right now, so mindfulness is a state of mind in the present moment without judgment.
What are your most recent projects you’ve worked on?
As you know I am a mindfulness meditation and yoga teacher. I am also a hospitality trainer working with hotels and restaurants for employee training. Last few years, I helped with pre-opening employee training for Maslina Resort on Hvar island. Besides that, I’m a Chinese language teacher, so if anyone is interested in learning Chinese, you know where to find a teacher, haha!
One of many things you do is training programs. What can you say about your experience with training the DMC eployees?
For the DMCs, it really depends on the company culture. When companies are hiring, different companies attract different groups of people. For example, Maslina Resort is very conscious of environmental safety, and an eco-friendly approach. They always attract like-minded people, then it is easier and more interesting to have training with their employees.
In Croatia, people understand what is mindfulness, but they don’t practice it in daily life. It is not like in Asia. Because of different lifestyles, employees understand me or can sync with me much easier and quicker. For example, in India, they get me right away, I don’t have to explain too much, they just know. I like to work with different people because with the same subject, I always have different reactions and feedback. It is really amazing to see how different people react to the same subject in different ways, and I can learn so much from each one of them.
Mindfulness is not only to feel yourself but also to feel your surroundings. We can not be in ourselves all the time. We are social animals. We are always with people. Mindfulness is to open all our senses to the surroundings; to be aware of what is going on. Service is not only paying attention, it is attentiveness itself. To deliver exceptional service, we must be there and not be there at the same time. For example waiters, you’re standing on the dining room floor and your mind is on the floor. You need to focus on your task, but at the same time, you are aware of everything that is happening in the dining room. Who just arrived, who needs to pay, who is waiting for the food, etc. A good waiter has control of the entire situation. It is like playing chess, you need to plan not only the next move but also the next two or three moves. They make plans in their head. With mindfulness, we open our awareness and open all our senses to hear, see, receive, to feel the situation we are in.
Besides training programs in DMCs, you’re doing workshops for Aspira’s students. What are your observations when it comes to young people getting to know the mindfulness philosophy?
I think it takes time. I did a workshop last week, Normally I start my workshop with one minute of silence. I told them we’ll have one minute of doing nothing. Just sit and relax, take this minute to yourself. And then they were like“What do you mean, do nothing?! „ and they started laughing. They said it is weird to do nothing. They must do something, be on the phone, read or at least pretend to do something. You tell them to do nothing and they are confused. It is hard for them to concentrate on their body and to experience the present moment, it takes practice. The younger generations are too influenced by social media and the internet. Their mind is changing really fast, and their concentration is very short. Mindfulness is to stay and focused on the moment and relax. That is why it takes practice. But, on the other hand, I would say that people in Split are in a mindful state of mind more often. For example, when you see people sitting on Riva and staring at the sea or sunsets, you ask them what they are doing, they would say nothing!
If you can go back to 20 years old yourself, would you do anything different? What would be the advice you would give yourself back in a time?
Wow, 20 years, I would do many things differently, haha! I thought I knew everything when I was 20. I left my home in China and went to Holland to study. I thought it was brave. But now when I look back I would laugh at my stupidity. I was clueless and had no idea what I was doing. I made so many mistakes. I guess this is life, I don’t remember who said this quote but it really makes sense: „Making mistakes is part of growing up, so we can be wiser when we are old.“
Is there any advice you would give to young people (Aspira’s students or others) when it comes to mindfulness and letting it into their life?
Slow down or stop for a moment and give yourself some time. I think the most common problem we have is we are so busy doing things and focusing on tasks, and deadlines, and want to see results right the way. „we must do this, we must do that.“ We should stop, and give ourselves a moment to think! What are we doing? why we’re doing what we do? Does it make any sense? So, my advice would be: stop for a moment and take some time for yourself! Think about what you really need and want. And don’t forget your body. Be mindful!