“Performance ”, Shauna Cummins and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Ironically good sleep is one the best thing you can do to feel more fully present and focused. Giving yourself permission to feel rested is a great habit to cultivate. Nightly sleep rituals, good sleep hygiene and consistency go a long way. As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal […]

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Ironically good sleep is one the best thing you can do to feel more fully present and focused. Giving yourself permission to feel rested is a great habit to cultivate. Nightly sleep rituals, good sleep hygiene and consistency go a long way.

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewingShauna Cummins.

Shauna Cummins is a professional hypnotist and multi-disciplinary artist and is the founder of the Divine Feminine School of Hypnosis and The Wishcraft. She is also the author of WishCraft: A Guide to Manifesting a Positive Future. Shauna teaches workshops, conducts ceremonies, creates hypnotic sound art and installations, and holds a private hypnosis practice in New York City. Her work has been featured internationally at The National Gallery of Denmark, The Queens Museum of New York, The Center for Contemporary Art Glasgow and in publications such as The Independent, YAHOO News, Refinery 29 among others. She lives in the woods in upstate New York.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I’m the youngest of five in a big Irish family. Both of my parents immigrated from Ireland and met at an Irish Dance in Chicago. Even though I come from a large family there’s quite an age gap between myself and my siblings. I spent a lot of time alone, but I always had a strong sense of belonging — sort of the best of both worlds. My favorite memories are visiting Ireland with my mom. I remember being very enchanted by the majesty of the rolling green hills and moss-covered cliffs and there was a sense of mystery and magic that didn’t exist in my life in concrete streets of suburban Chicago. It had a profound influence on shaping who and what I am today.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

It’s hard to name one person inspired me to pursue my career as I feel so many people supported and influenced me along the way. I would say it comes down to three people I met along the way: 1. The first being a supervisor when I was considering a career in social work and interned at The Department of Children and Family Services. He was an amazing activist and also an artist. He founded an arts development program for children in foster care. I remember him telling me — imploring me — to follow my dream of being a writer and artist and to not pursue social work. He said that I would help more people doing what I loved. It took a while for me to really do that but the seed that he planted was very powerful. 2. A long-time yogi woman that lived at an ashram I was visiting while recovering from burn out. She randomly sat next to me one day after lunch and slowly just started talking to me. I listened to her story of how, after her kids were grown, she decided to travel and live off the grid. It was the first time I ever really considered what life could be like to totally go your own way. She was completely present in the moment and seemed totally content — it was remarkable. 3.The third is Melissa Tiers, my original hypnosis teacher. If it wasn’t for her maverick success in this field or her generous support for me, I wouldn’t be doing any of this.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I’d have to say both my mother and father have both been amazing forces of encouragement and support. In fact, I dedicated my new book, WishCraft, to them. Sadly, my mom passed before my book went to print this summer and now that it’s out in the world, I certainly hope she can feel my unlimited gratitude to her in the heavens. Even though I didn’t have the easiest childhood, in the end and most importantly, in my adult life I knew they were always there and rooting for me no matter what. Even though most of the time they didn’t quite understand or have a reference for the life I was pursuing, they lived to give their kids a better life than they had. They wanted the absolute best for me and always just wanted me to be happy and to be exactly who I am, which is a beautiful thing.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I traveled two and half hours by bus to do a WishCraft event and the bus I was on got re-routed and resulted me missing my connecting bus. I ended up catching the next one and it brought me to the event an hour late. Unfortunately, my phone died as well and so I couldn’t get in touch with anyone. I was doing the event for free and I felt bad about being late and did my best to make it there, however when I showed up, even though there were only two attendees remaining, I made the most of it. The person who hired me was upset and sort of shamed me by saying, “What kind of person is an hour later to work event?” In my head I thought, “Lady, I’m doing this for free and traveled two hours to be here”. I got the feeling she never really had to worry about money or have a job herself. I decided from then on only to offer my services for people who are truly in need and appreciate it.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I would say don’t listen to everyone else. You can rely on one of two trusted sources but even then, learn to listen to your heart. Trust your instincts and surround yourself with well-wishing people.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Anam Cara by John O’Donahue is a book of Celtic wisdom. It was the first time I was able to really make sense of how Celtic spirituality informed Catholicism in Irish culture. The notion of Anam Cara, or “soul friend”, is a sort of underlining spiritual tenet that I grew up with but did have a name for. It’s the idea that one of the most precious gifts is to have people in your life that can see you with total, unconditional well-wishing and that you can do the same for them.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” — Oscar Wilde. It’s a quote I’ve loved since I was young, even though I’m ironically pretty serious. I think the mystery and absurdity of life is best experienced with a sense of levity and a sense of humor — especially for oneself.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

During the pandemic, my school, The Divine Feminine School of Hypnosis, launched a community support hotline to help anyone in need. We named it Mind Massage Hotline, and anyone could call up and speak to a real human, in real time and receive a guided mind massage (hypnotic deep relaxation mediation). I love the sense of abundance and creativity that happens when people come together and share their gift and talents for their community.

Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

I’ve always struggled with routine and structure, but I’ve found that when I put all my energy, commitment and attention into what I love, the easier it is to live the life I want and deserve. I realized that the more I focused on my daily habits of self-hypnosis, prayer, wishing well and gratitude, the easier it became to get rid of the bad habits, like drinking too much.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

One of the most powerful habits I engage in is a mind training exercise of self-appreciation. This involves reviewing your day and thanking yourself for things you’ve accomplished. Thomas Edison once said, “Never go to sleep without making a request to your subconscious mind.” My rest, sleep and dreaming are precious times for me, I treat them with ritual and respect.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

As I mentioned above, shifting your attention to what’s good is the most sustainable way to make change in the long run. Coming from a place of compassion and collaboration with yourself. Shaming yourself into change can work but often times it rebounds.

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

Wellness — Mind your Mindset. Bring awareness to how you speak to yourself, about yourself and about other people. Do a gossip detox and cultivate an appreciation for yourself. Your energy and thoughts will radiate out and attract into your life a more supportive, well-wishing environment and community.

Performance — Eat nourishing and delicious foods that you enjoy and give you energy. Clean foods translate to clean energy — a car runs much better on quality gasoline. Taking time to enjoy and have ritual around food goes along way as well. There is more serotonin (the happy hormone) in your stomach than any other part of your body. Being relaxed and happy when you are digesting is important. There is a reason why humans have been blessing their food with grace and prayer since forever. It brings us into the moment and makes us appreciate what we have.

Focus- Meditation and exercise are the best brain training, stress releasing habits for me — especially out in nature. The fresh air and shift in perspective really work to open the mind and clear out mental clutter, leaving you more present and focused. Forest bathing and deep listening techniques are my favorite ways to exercise focus and feel the benefits in other areas of my life.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Daily self-appreciation hypnosis (thanking yourself for different things you do for yourself and others) increases self-worth and self-intimacy.

Taking time to be present in your body greatly helps you to reduce stress and anxiety and creates more space for better performance in the moment.

Deep listening is an active mediation technique that increases your awareness and provides a reprieve of deep focus.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

1. Ironically good sleep is one the best thing you can do to feel more fully present and focused. Giving yourself permission to feel rested is a great habit to cultivate. Nightly sleep rituals, good sleep hygiene and consistency go a long way.

2. Looking at yourself with kindness. Try complimenting, comforting and encouraging yourself as you look at yourself in the mirror.

3. Surrounding yourself with positive supportive people that inspire you. As they say, you are a composite of your 5 closest friends.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Create rituals around bed that you look forward to — nice sheets, lighting a candle, turning off devices and reading etc. Work with some positive affirmations and begin to speak to yourself just as you speak to people you love. Notice how you feel around people. After spending time with someone, do you leave feeling inspired and recharged or drained and negative? Is it a reciprocal well-wishing relationship? Does the other person rejoice in your success? Try to surround yourself with people that you wish well and that wish well for you. It will give you energy and inspiration.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

Mantra mediation, like Transcendental Meditation, helps to train your brain and focus your mind. Making it a habit to remove gossiping from your habits. Anytime a thought or urge to gossip comes up, simply bring awareness to it and try to redirect to something supportive or interesting in a positive way. Get into the habit of volunteering and helping out some one in need. Dedicate time to a cause you are passionate about as it creates a sense of purpose and abundance that grows and grows.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Take a mediation class and try to join a mediation group to help keep you accountable.

While you are traveling or in transit, use it as a time to look at your thoughts and build up the habit you’re trying to form with awareness. Create a well-wishing circle with some friends that help you stay on track with your goals. Go with your well-wishing circle as a group to volunteer — you’ll find when giving you receive as well. You can foster good relationships and habits that help one another.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Flow state is a sort of total mind / body trance state — a great example of how not thinking too much can actually be very productive. Often times in the flow state we are not self-conscious, and we are more trusting of ourselves, making for better decisions and outcomes. Finding an activity that engages a few of your senses simultaneously and helps you feel productive is a great way to be in flow i.e.: swimming, dancing, painting, knitting.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be?

I would have everyone send a letter to someone they know and say thank you. Tell that person how they’ve helped you and what you’ve wished for them. Then I would have the writer and recipient get together and help someone or something else — a collective well-wishing activism.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

Maybe a tie between Angelica Houston, who I imagine is a wonderfully thoughtful, down to earth and evocative conversationalist and Oprah because of course she is the ultimate well-wishing activist.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Instagram @thewishcraft and You can also order my new book, WishCraft: A Guide to Manifesting a Positive Future an Amazon at

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