We discuss life transitions, yoga nidra, how everything is hip gnosis, and why a “regular” Shiva Nata practice is overrated.
Simone! We got to meet at The Great Ducking Out Rally last November.
Since that time, you’ve made some really big changes in your life, including founding/welcoming the House of HipGnosis, quitting your job, and beginning to teach (sold out) Shiva Nata classes. What spurred it?
I am embarrassed to quote Danielle LaPorte at this point, but the following quote did change everything: “If you try to keep your most sacred ambitions off your weekly calendar, or your most divine traits off your resume, then you’re missing the power of true integrity.”
By Fall 2011, it was abundantly clear that my most sacred ambitions had no place in my weekly calendar (I worked mostly around people that thought yoga was something that people in Brooklyn did). My most divine traits were all but invisible in my resume (my resume said that I was a goody-two-shoes high-achieving office employee.)
There were parts of me that were deeply invested in being on the path that I had always assumed I wanted — a prestigious academic career — and there was confusion and identity crises to work through. But what spurred the dramatic shift?
Mainly, I got really, really bored. And my boredom destroys all in its path. It sounds silly and frivolous, but it’s not. I recently wrote about how I am striking the word ‘ADD’ from my vocabulary because I now see every crevice and fold of my personality and disposition as sacred and legitimate. Well, my “ADD” was telling me to get the hell out. And my deeper inner self was telling me to listen.
How has it been for you? What is helping?
It’s been scary as hell, exhilarating, soul-awakening, occasionally mundane. There are moments when I pinch myself because I can’t believe I get to do things that I would do for fun and passion anyway and I get to call it business.
What is helping? Oh, one word: community. Weirdos have to find each other. I literally could not and never would have done any of this without the rings of friends and loving supporters that I slowly but surely found (and kept!) You’ve got to know that your right people exist, that they’re out there, and that they are finding you. That is everything.
I recently bought your Yoga Nidra package and have been reaping the crazy benefits of this type of meditation. I want to listen to your recordings multiple times every day! How do you use Yoga Nidra in your life?
Yoga nidra is the lazy person’s road to enlightenment! Sleep your way into insight and peace! A drowsy meditation!
Of course, I say this a tiny bit facetiously, but not entirely. I was first attracted to yoga nidra because it (1) always put me to sleep even though it wasn’t ‘supposed to’, (2) it spooked me out because I couldn’t understand why it was doing what it was doing. I was confused and I was drawn in.
Once I started to delve into deeper study of the practice as well as hypnosis, things made a lot more sense to me. And I really felt the need to package and explain the experience of the practice without jargon, without dogma, without cheesy background music.
To me, yoga nidra is an application of hypnotic principles; harnessing the power of your own mind’s suggestive abilities for relaxation and deep insight. It seems esoteric and magical in its effects but it makes a lot of good sense to a hypnotist like me.
HipGnosis! I love that spelling and the concept it implies. I’ve heard you say that everything you teach is a form of HipGnosis. How do your various techniques and approaches interact with one another? Tell us more about your HipGnosis sessions.
One of my superpowers is to integrate seemingly disparate concepts (in fact, I can’t help it; my brain does it automatically). In college, I wrote papers about the converging principles of Christianity and Buddhism. I wrote about 13th century Muslim travelers as modern heroes. I talked about theology in my admissions statement to public health schools. I wrote about the convergence of Havi and Hiro’s teachings about sovereignty and the Work of Byron Katie. I think Shiva Nata is a form of kinesthetic hypnosis.
Again, I don’t try to mash up concepts in my head. It just happens and I finally gave myself permission to present how things look inside my head to other people.
HipGnosis, defined in the simplest way, is curiosity and play. Curiosity about our multiple levels of consciousness and experiences, as well as playing with these concepts to get desired change and pattern-shifting. So, of course, everything is HipGnosis to me.
Can you tell us a little about your Shiva Nata practice? I’ve noticed that a lot of Shivanauts have a very off and on practice – intense flailing for a while followed by a resting period. What frequency works best for you?
I am still figuring out my ‘frequency’, my relationship with Shiva Nata since I haven’t been practicing very long! Something tells me that, as with everything else in my life (I don’t do very well with regularity and so-called ‘balance’) my routine will continue to be somewhat.. un-routine.
And that’s fine. Things might change. It is very important to me that I have a guilt-free, permission-filled relationship with Shiva Nata that flows well with the aforementioned “crevices and folds” of my personality.
I play. I play with my practice ‘schedule’. I play within my practice. If there was one thing I want my students and clients to walk away with, it would be to adopt a curious and permission-filled way of making Shiva Nata work for them.
Do you have any approaches to or creative innovations in Shiva Nata that you’d like to share with us? What makes a practice especially brain-breaking for you? What makes it easier? I’ve heard you say you want your classes to be extremely silly – how does that work?
Oh! I love this question! It’s something that I am thinking intensely about. And I also suspect that I’ll never be able to completely answer this question because I will always be experimenting, learning, playing and innovating.
I have said above that I see Shiva Nata as kinesthetic hypnosis. The core power of flailing is that it destroys and scrambles your patterns (so that you can make new ones!).
There are so many ways to augment this process. Numbers. Words. Colors. Symbols. Imagery. Sounds. Smells — these are all ways in which our brains interpret and store information. Bringing in as many of these elements as possible and playing with them should make flailing extra brain-breaking.
I am in the process of coming up with different games one can play with Shiva Nata. Particularly ones involving words, to solve different types of problems.
More to come! As I said, I am thinking about this question actively and will be teaching/sharing what I come up with.
Is there anything Ollie would like to add? (We love Ollie!)
Ollie doesn’t care for words much. (Which is why I love him.) At the moment, he is bouncing around, looking quite content and curious at the same time.
That’s how I aim to be!
I am, as usual, astonished and inspired by Simone’s ideas and insights. And so grateful that she and Ollie shared their time with us.
With sovereignty and love, of course.