Debut author and certified clinical hypnosis practitioner Shauna Cummins joins us on the podcast this week to discuss her book Wishcraft. Shauna has been a hypnotherapist for almost a decade and she talks to us about finding creativity during difficult times, her creative process and the experience of writing her first book, and she shares a simple technique authors can start using today to retrain their mind to register productivity and progress over negativity.
- Shauna tells us about her career as a clinical hypnosis practitioner and the path that led her to this field
- She explains the common misconceptions surrounding hypnosis, including the confusion between entertainment and therapeutic hypnosis
- Shauna talks about how her debut book, Wishcraft, came to be, and she walks us through the process of writing during the pandemic, the challenges she faced, and how the content of her book actually helped her overcome these challenges
- She discusses the importance of focusing on manifesting happiness over gratification, and how this mindset can assist you in adapting to curve balls while focusing on your goals
- Shauna talks about her connection to her Irish roots and the Irish community in New York, and how Irish mythology is woven throughout her book
- Shauna tells us one technique authors can implement today to assist them in retraining their brain to overcome negativity and focus on positivity and productivity instead
Shauna Cummins is a certified Clinical Hypnosis Practitioner with a private practice in New York, author of Wishcraft (2021), holder of ceremonies, multi-disciplinary artist and founder of Divine Feminine School of Hypnosis and MindMassageHotline.
Transcription provided by SpeechPad
Joni: Hey, writers, you’re listening to the “Kobo Writing Life Podcast,” where we bring you insights and inspirations for growing your self-publishing business. We’re your hosts, I’m Joni.
Stephanie: And I’m Stephanie. This week on the podcast, we are talking to author, Shauna Cummins. She’s a certified clinical hypnosis practitioner with a private practice in New York. And she is the author of “Wishcraft.” She’s a holder of ceremonies, multi-disciplinary artist, and founder of Divine Feminine School of Hypnosis and Mind Massage Hotline. Shauna was great to talk to. I learned a lot that day.
Joni: Yeah, it was great. I really recommend this episode if you’re kind of struggling to get into the mindset of writing or, especially, we talked a little bit about how difficult writing has been during the pandemic for some people and the distractions and the kind of challenges. And so, she talked to us a lot about writing and being creative through challenging times and it was great.
Stephanie: Yeah. And we also talked a bit about manifesting. So, if that’s something you kind of practice or are interested in learning more about, you should definitely listen to the rest of this interview. So, here it is.
Joni: We are here today with Shauna Cummins. Thank you so much for joining us today, Shauna.
Shauna: Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.
Joni: Can you start by telling our listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do?
Shauna: Sure. So, I am a hypnosis practitioner, so that means I work one-on-one in a private practice using hypnotherapy. And I’ve been working at that now for I’m going on my 10th year pretty soon, which is pretty wild. But I also do kind of like this live experience called the wishcraft, which is self-hypnosis for manifestation. So, outside of my private practice, I offer these experiences, group experiences and sound experiences that kind of explain and teach self-hypnosis in a really fun, kind of easy, accessible, but also a way that you can really make it your own. So, like, you know, using self-hypnosis rituals and informations and, you know, making it special, you know, so that’s the “WishCraft,” and that’s the book I just published.
Stephanie: For anyone who’s unfamiliar with like hypnosis therapy. Can you kind of talk about the kind of reasons someone would come to you to do it?
Shauna: So, you know, there’s quite a spectrum for people who come to hypnosis, which I really like, because I really like working with all different types of people. So, you know, traditionally, anyone will come to hypnosis to quit smoking because they know it works. So, for example, somebody who wouldn’t go to something like so out there kind of maybe seemingly strange, like hypnosis, will like, “Oh, like, really, I got to quit smoking and I’ve heard this works. So I’m just going to do it, you know?” So, you’ll get somebody that necessarily isn’t into more like esoteric or meditation or kind of new-agey things. But they’ll definitely come to hypnosis, which is really nice because it can work really well for that. So, it really works well for, you know, behavior modification, you know, like changing your, you know, diet, to quitting a habit. But my specialty has really become over the years about increasing self-worth and kind of opening up to being your most creative best self, which is what I kind of you know, boil down and offer up in an accessible way with the Wishcraft. So, because I think that, you know, even with these habits, these habit changes that people come to hypnosis with, it always comes down to self-worth and your relationship with your inner dialogue and just changing that. And then, everything is easier, you know? So, then it’s like easier to make these little specific changes.
Joni: How did you get into this?
Shauna: I got into it because, you know, like the typical story, like I needed it myself and I was very interested, you know, I had some training in my undergraduate too, you know, in social work and I kind of dabbled in that a little bit and decided it’s not what I wanted to do. But I was always interested in social services and counseling and helping. But I also studied English literature and creative writing. And so, I found myself like in my 20s kind of, you know, moving to New York, you know, throwing up all the balls in the air, and trying to be a creative and just experimenting with like working for a fashion designer, publishing a magazine, and like, wanting to be like an entrepreneur in a kind of a creative way. But it was all like great, you know, until I just felt like extremely burnt out and a little bit far away from my center. And so, after about five years of working quite hard and really feeling like, “This isn’t really what I should be doing I don’t think,” you know, I was like, “I’m going to go back and I’m going to really pursue social work.” But even though I really don’t want to, it’s just like that’s more who I am. That’s what I need to do. But at that point, I’d really been cultivating myself as an entrepreneur and an artist too. So, the idea of going back into like an institutional setting was like, I can’t see this happening really, but we just have to move in that direction. But so, at that point, I was doing lots of healing and I had been also in counseling and psychoanalysis for a couple of years and lots of exploration, you know.
And so, I met a friend of mine who was an acupuncturist who was like, you know, “Have you ever tried hypnosis?” And I was like, “No, but that sounds so fascinating.” And, you know, whenever I thought about hypnosis, I was always deeply fascinated by it, but a little bit scared too, and thinking like, “Oh my gosh, like what’s going to happen? Like, I’d love to try that, but like am I going to find out something really bad about myself or something,” you know, all those misconceptions around it. So, at any rate, I had been researching it for a while, but I also didn’t feel like I connected to any of the people that I found. It can really come across a little bit like creepy in a way. And anyway, I finally found this woman hypnotist that seemed really cool. And I booked a session with her and it changed my life. And then I did a training with her and then I just kept going. That’s it. I never left that road. I just like went all the ways into it. So, that’s it. And, you know, as soon as I started practicing, it also would just continue to change my life in so many positive ways where it was like, it felt like, “Wow, like this is absolutely what I’m meant to do, you know?”
Joni: That’s awesome. I’m curious. Like, you mentioned that there are a lot of misconceptions around hypnosis, which is definitely like we all kind of know about performers who do hypnosis on stage and that kind of thing. Are there any other big misconceptions that people have about hypnosis?
Shauna: Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot. I mean, also to define hypnosis is difficult, right? That’s probably where it first starts, you know, like all the different opinions about it and misconceptions around it. You know, so there’s hypnosis for entertainment, which is like the stage hypnosis. And then there’s hypnosis for, you know, therapeutic purposes or for, you know, transformational motivational purposes, which they use a lot in sports psychology, for example. You know, they’ll use like basic foundational hypnosis techniques in sports psychology, and a lot of life coaching, and a lot of like motivational, you know, techniques and speaking and stuff like that. So, hypnosis therapeutically is like, there’s a crossover. People will think like, “Oh, what you see in the Las Vegas stage shows is what’s going to happen, you know, in the hypnosis therapy setting.” That’s not the case at all. Like, for example, you fall asleep, and you don’t know what’s going on and the hypnosis has control over you. That’s absolutely not the case. In fact, you have total control. In some ways, you’re even more aware. You know, you kind of increase your awareness when you’re in hypnosis, but it is a really relaxed state.
And, you know, the intention is different. So, like, you know, when you’re doing stage hypnosis, the intention is for entertainment. So, they really kind of work with the slight of hand a little bit and perception and they play on people’s perception. It’s like a manipulative process to entertain people, you know/ And then with hypnosis therapeutically, we understand that trance state, you know, the hypnotic state is a natural ability that we all have and that it’s a practice and an ability. So, you know, in the entertainment purposes, they’re using it like not intentionally, not consciously. People are just like, “Oh, like, you know, whatever, like I’m going to the show to be entertained.” That’s the intention. And so, the hypnotist at the stage show will be playing with the spectrum of suggestibility. So, like there is a spectrum of suggestibility. Allegedly 80% of the population are moderately suggestible, 10% are highly suggestible, 10% are highly resistant. So, in the entertainment purposes, they do little tricks to eliminate people and get the most suggestible people and do it that way. But even then, the people who are there on the stage or whatever, they still, you know, have a sense and awareness of it, you know. But therapeutically, we approach it much more similar to, for example, a meditation practice or another kind of like mind training practice because it is a natural ability and a practice.
So, simply, we’re working with the trance state and that’s a state that we go in and out of all the time. One of the most common hypnotic states that we’re in these days is, you know, scrolling on social media. You know, when you watch a movie, you’re in a light hypnotic trance. And so, hypnosis is really learning how to make this state of mind in this relaxed hypnotic state to work for us instead of against us. So, it’s actually a very simple, natural, and powerful tool to help like learn how your mind works and make it work for you instead of against you, you know. So, it’s a shame that it’s so misunderstood, you know, but I think it’s changing now as more and more people are open to these different modalities. But that being said, it also is still a very powerful, you know, tool. And it’s a powerful, natural ability that works against us and for us all the time, you know. So, I also, like, I don’t like to water it down so much either because I think a lot of people definitely want to divorce themselves from the misconception of it. But I like to kind of bring a little bit of the magic and the performative element into it because it is very powerful. You know, our capacity for change is very powerful and our capacity to be influenced is very powerful. So, like, you know, just to kind of pay respect to that, I think is important.
Stephanie: When you said going to a trance state when you’re scrolling on social media, my mind was like, boom, yes, of course, that’s what’s happening.
Shauna: It’s amazing. It’s so amazing how it works so well.
Stephanie: That’s so true.
Shauna: And how it’s changed us, you know, how it’s changed us because it’s like, you know, how you are, what you eat, or whatever, but it’s also what you consume. And it’s absolutely, you know, training and changing our networks and our brain and the way we respond and the dopamine and the likes and all the stuff like, you know, it has an effect for sure.
Stephanie: So, it seems like it would be a natural progression for you to write a book. So, I’m just curious how your book came about. Was it something you were approached by a publisher or something you kind of set out to have published?
Shauna: It was both actually. So, I had it in my head for a while. I was like, I really want to write the book of wishes. I really wanted to write… Like I said, I don’t like to shy away from like the more mystical side of hypnosis just because that is so fun for me. You know, that’s why obviously the play on word, wishcraft, you know, like I just totally went there with it, you know, because I just think it’s really fun. And I’m really interested in like, the more ritual aspect of it and things like that. So, I was like, I want to write this magical little book of wishes, which would be like a little bit, like kind of like, you know, self-hypnosis, haikus, that could work as affirmations, that could work as like exercises and blessings, meditations, like that. And so, I had that in my head and I wasn’t really doing anything about it. But I did get an artist residency for the summer kind of based on another project. And so, I was just like up there in the artist studio thinking about making the wishes, which I think is a big part of the process, right. I was like, “This is definitely going to happen, but how is it going to happen?” And then I was very lucky to… I mentioned to a friend of mine who had written a couple books and I also reached out to another friend who’d written a book and just started to put it out there. But the one friend that I reached out to that had written a few books was like, “Oh, well, you know, I’m going into the office tomorrow and I’ll just mention it to my editor.” I’m like, “Okay, great.”
And then the next day, the editor contacted me and she’s like, “Oh my God, you know, I just saw Semra and she said, you know, you have this wishcraft thing. And I was just going to sleep last night…I just went to sleep last night reading “The Secret.'” And she thought to herself,
“We need a modern version of this.” She was like, and then I saw Samara and she said, “That sounds like perfect timing.” And I’m like, “Oh my God, all right, let’s do it.” And that was amazing. She was like, “But I need that proposal in the next two weeks.” And I was like, “All right, we’re doing it right now.” And so, I just like stayed up all night just like for two weeks and just put it all together, which was really awesome actually because I think I work better that way anyway. And then I, you know, sent it out there and I was just like, you know, wishing on it. And they took it and I was like, “Oh my God, this is great. This is awesome.” So, that’s how it happened. So, it’s a little bit of a result of itself anyway.
Stephanie: Manifesting, I think. What was the writing process like? So, after you sent your proposal, do you have like a certain schedule that you follow or kind of a routine?
Shauna: Well, you know, the proposal, I kind of first wanted to do a little bit more of a creative book and do more like the wishes and make it a little bit more mystical. But I think I was also afraid of writing kind of a guide or how-to book because it’s absolutely just not how I write or communicate or anything. But the publisher was like, you know, “I think we really want to call it the WishCraft, not the Book of Wishes.” I’m like, “Well, that is what it’s called, you know, so that’s awesome.” And they wanted it to be like, you know, practical guide, but also like, you know, what wishcraft is, but kind of like in an accessible way. Like, so that kind of changed it for me a little bit. So, it wasn’t just like going into like the super creative space. It was more a challenge to put together my process and communicate it in a very clear way. You know, it was like no adverbs or no, you know, long-winded sentences. I mean, there’s a few, but like that’s usually how I write. So, it was definitely very challenging for me. And I was very, very busy the fall, you know, that I got the book deal. So, I had kind of planned to do it during the winter. And I actually got an extended artist residency at that same place. So, I had like a winter writing retreat planned, you know, but then I kind of delayed on it a little bit and I was putting a lot of research together. So, it was like research and kind of just sitting with it all and like, you know, it was really fun to do that part in the wintertime, but it was such a mess too. Like, that could never have made it into a book, but it really was like, it brought me back to, you know, writing poetry in college and wanting to write. Like, I think one of the first things I ever wanted to do when I was a kid was to be a poet and write.
And then, you know, I abandoned that a long time ago, but it was really cool to get back in that process although I realized I was like, you know, had a long way to go and it was very rusty, but it was so fun to get back into that wellspring of creative life force energy. But then when I handed in my first, you know, draft, they were like, “We got to really boil this down. You know, so we’re going to do it in parts.” You know, so anyway, and then that was really happening, that writing started happening about like a month into the pandemic, which was a really weird time to be writing wishes. And then my business had changed drastically. And then, extremely unfortunately, my mom suddenly got sick and passed away in the final stages of it. So, that derailed it, you know, and it was like the greatest tragedy of my life. So, it was a very, you know, difficult and weird thing to get through the process. And I had to delay that final stage because that’s when my mom came home from hospice, you know, and I was there for like a month. And then when I came back, you know, my publisher was very understanding, but when I came back, I really only had like two weeks to finish it. But in a way, it was kind of a gift to be able to focus in on that. And it kind of lifted me out of this like deep grief space. And it’s kind of allowed me to transmute it in a way where I don’t know what else could have done that, you know, so that was pretty beautiful.
But, you know, it’s amazing because I had had this idea that I was going to…what a gift to write this like, you know, book of wishes and, you know, it’s going to be such a nice indulgence, but in all honesty, it was really difficult. It was really difficult. And I think even in post-production, I mean, there was just a lot of things out of my control because of the pandemic. And I think the publisher had a lot of problems because of the pandemic and the supply chain and everybody working from home. But I do feel like now that it’s come out, I’m like my God, this has been like a real soul journey, you know. And even releasing it, the vulnerability of putting it out there, you know, I feel like it’s great. Like, I wrote this book of manifestation and wishcraft thinking like, obviously, you know, I have something to say about it, but the book really taught me what it was about, which is like, you know, it’s about, it’s not about, you know. It’s not about the wishing or the having. It’s really about the process, you know, and being able to like, just move through that and surrender to it, you know? So, yeah, it turned out to be quite the experience, to say the least.
Joni: Well, that sounds incredible. So, basically, you used what you wrote about as a technique to get you through last year and to get you through the process of writing it. It’s very meta.
Shauna: [inaudible 00:18:29] But I was like, wow, this is, like, what I’ve created. But also that’s why I think, you know, it is quite a different book, you know, than “The Secret” or, you know, like a more straight-up self-hypnosis book or a straight-up manifestation book because… And I could see why people coming to it looking for like, okay, I want to manifest this house or this car, you know, they’re probably like, wait, what is all this self-compassion, collaboration, like, self-healing? That’s what it’s really about, you know? And because I know that through my work as a hypnotist, like, yes, you’re going to think about that thing you want to focus on and you can get it, but it’s not about that. You know, it’s really about that we can get even much more than our conscious mind can conceive. And it’s about the process of expanding into possibility, but being able to see things as they are at the same time, you know.
Joni: I like that approach a lot more, like self-compassion rather than manifesting the thing that you want. It just seems like a nicer way to go about it.
Stephanie: Like, that’s going to be more useful in your life long-term.
Shauna: Exactly. Exactly.
Joni: Or bring you long-term happiness as opposed to gratification.
Shauna: Totally. And because I think… You know, I found that myself. Like, you know, when you get the thing that you’ve been, you know, wishing for exactly, and I’ve seen this with my clients too. Like, they really, really are so set on that one thing. And some people are really good at that, you know, manifestation formula. And they get exactly what they want and they’re terribly unhappy, and they can’t receive it. They can’t receive it and it’s like, that’s almost worse than having it at all, you know? But then what I really feel like is the most beautiful thing is to be able to cultivate this self-collaborative mindset and then find yourself, you know, instead of a penthouse on the upper Westside, but like, you know, in your beautiful backyard in Brooklyn really happy and really in the moment and really knowing that you have your own back no matter what’s going on around you, you know, and open to creative possibilities and solutions. And like, that’s what it’s all about for me anyway, you know.
Stephanie: I feel like these are a lot of kind of like practices that writers should be doing just because I feel like writing can be so competitive and you’re always focused on like, I need to hit “The New York Times” bestseller list or I need to hit these certain sales or I need to get a book deal. So, do you have any tips for them on how they can implement kind of this thinking into their daily life when they’re trying to be a writer or trying to create projects and trying to be creative?
Shauna: Well, yeah. I mean, I definitely like going through that on another meta-level right now because I like, you know, you do have to promote yourself all the time, so you know, that kind of thing too. And then what other people think, you know. I remember my sister got it last week. I was like, “Okay, she’s reading it.” But you know, and I’m like waiting for a call, like, “What does she think?” You know, like my whole self-worth was latching on if she likes it or not or whatever. But that’s why, you know, this even the last two weeks has been an amazing journey because I’ve been able to recognize that putting myself out there in this very vulnerable way, you know, really brought up some old patterns of deep insecurity and, you know, control issues and a negativity bias, you know, that was kind of like shrouding, filtering everything with my experience and really, you know, activating a lot of stress and cortisol and adrenaline. So, I was like, you know, and the energy that I was having towards the book was like a neurotic controlling negative mother, you know. And then all of a sudden, I was like, wait, but that was all based on my perception of other people and the fear of other people’s opinions of me and the book and whether or not I was gonna be successful or not externally, materially. But then I was like, you know what? I like switched it. And I was like, “That’s not the kind of mother that I want to be.” And I love this book. Like, I love this book. I love this process, and it’s a wonderful thing. And I believe in it and it’s going to find the people that it needs to, and they’ll find what they need out of it.
So, that was amazing. And so, by me shifting the energy of the love for the book and letting it go, it’s not me, but I do love it. And, you know, thereby, like I brought the love back to myself because it is not me, you know, but I did the best I could, you know, and it’s a process. I’ll continue to improve it. So, I really think that practice of self-appreciation really shifting that inner dialogue from the negativity bias because it’s like our brain works that way. One bad thing happens, one bad review, that’s all you think about. The 10,000 good reviews, you don’t think about. So, you know, really, really practicing self-appreciation and, you know, thanking yourself for your hard work and your effort and how awesome it is to get to do what you love, to get to have done what you love, to continue to do it, you know. So, just really like thank yourself. So, it’s even better than gratitude. You know, gratitude is an amazing state, but we really have to have our own back, you know, and not depend on what’s going on around us I think.
Stephanie: My next question was how can you manifest your dream life? But I’m like, that’s not the right question I should be asking anymore.
Shauna: Well, no, I mean, I think, you know, there’s definitely that in it too, you know. It does really help to, you know, dream, like open up to the creative field of possibility and think of yourself as, you know, a co-creator, a co-collaborator with yourself and the world, you know, to make your dreams come true. But, of course, you’re in a much better position to do that when you feel like you can, when you feel like you’re worthy, when, you know, give yourself a chance to do that. So, coming from that place of like, you know, self-worth and permission just one step at a time, and then opening up to the imagination. Like, I call hypnosis the medicine of the imagination. And by extension, I call wishcraft the medicine of the imagination. And it’s like, it’s working with your imagination to work for you instead of against you. So, imagining what you want and feeling as if it’s real, that’s amazing. It’s like writing the book, you know, like you’re writing the book. Like, before I got the book deal, you know, waiting for them to respond, I had the book in my hand. I was feeling it. And then fast forward a year later when I had it in my hand, I was like, “Damn, this is exactly what I was thinking about and it feels the same.” You know, that works, you know, but that’s a technique.
It’s not all. It’s not everything. We can’t hold on too tight to it because, of course, when I got that book in my hand, there was all these things I didn’t know that were going to be in the case. I didn’t know that my mom wasn’t going to be here. I didn’t know there was going to be a pandemic. I didn’t know it was going to be snowing out. You know, you don’t know, you can’t control. So, like we have to like surrender and like have fun with it, you know. So, I think that definitely creating the vision boards, writing down exactly what you want, feeling into it as if it’s like, you know, you’re directing my movie, your life, but then, you know, having fun with it, that’s the main thing. Letting it go and having fun with it. And then, you know, if there’s a curve in the road or, you know, a switch in the directions, being able to be like, “Okay, you know, how can we make the most of this?” You know, being able to shift your mindset and not be so rigid, I think, is maybe the best way, you know.
Joni: You might have already covered this in what you just said, but I’m curious anyway because I think last year was so, so challenging for so many people. And it sounds like your year was even more challenging than most, and yet you kind of had to be creative throughout it. Is there any strategies or anything that helped you look after yourself in a really difficult time and still foster creativity?
Shauna: Well, I think for me, it was really going after what I really wanted to do, which is writing the book, like not giving up on that, like really pushing myself to do it no matter what. Like, you know, I’m not going to be perfect, but I’m going to do it anyway. So, for me, like, it was like that ultimate like you’re going to do this no matter what, you know. And that’s just kind of the way I work. I have to have it like has to be really fun, really exciting, really motivating, really driving, and then that drives all my other things, you know. So, it was kind of like this train that drove me. So, I kind of surrendered to like my greatest wish coming true and then just like went for it a 100%. So, you know, in all honesty, my self-care maybe wasn’t the best, but I invested in this, you know, retreat, the artist residency, you know, so like nature’s around me, like grass on my door so I can just go and feel that, and it’s so beautiful and so inspiring. So, I don’t have to, you know, have this crazy regimen of things. It was very easy, you know. Like, I just like prioritized it and like that gave me joy and purpose, I think, you know, to kind of override all the other stuff if that makes sense.
Stephanie: Yeah. That makes sense. Perfect sense. I’m wondering if you could tell everyone to start doing one thing today to help them in their creativity or their job or their life, what would you suggest that they do?
Shauna: So, I would suggest, and I say this a lot because I believe in it so much and I think it’s one of the things that helped me. It’s so simple, but cumulatively, if it’s practiced, it can be really, really life-changing. So, that’s before you go to bed, you know, you’re going into that hypnagogic, like, you know, hypnosis state and you’re nice and relaxed. It’s usually the end of the day, so don’t have so much energy. So, you’re more suggestible in that state. So, that’s a great time for like prayer, affirmations, you know, and stuff like that. So, just take a moment and review your day. So, you know, there’s many mind training memory exercises. It’s like review your day, you know, from the start to the finish and it’s good for your memory. But this one is about bringing your attention and encoding on a deeper level to enforce self-appreciation and self-collaboration. So, review your day and choose three things that you can thank yourself for that day. And they can be whatever. So, good things, bad things, anything. You just bring your attention there and then you thank yourself as if you’re your own best friend. And so, you could do this like some people visualize. Some people just, you know, review it, like they’re saying it to themselves. Some people just feel it. You breathe it into your body. Everybody experiences it differently. But just the main thing is to be specific with it. So, like, “Thank you so much for calling your mom. That was really nice. She appreciated that. Even though you didn’t have time, you did that. That’s really nice.” “Thank you so much for not being so hard on yourself.” “Thanks so much for, you know, showing up to work.” You know, you didn’t have to but you did. So thank you very much.”
So, like, whatever it is, but the main thing is that you receive it. Like, you know, you start to build this intimate well-wishing support connection with yourself, which then, you know, really trains your brain then to register progress and positivity on a more cumulative basis. And that is the antidote to the negativity bias. So, for example, that one bad review or the one bad thing that somebody says, it triggers cortisol and adrenaline. And also because it’s our art, because it’s our work, because it’s our baby, it’s very hard not to think that ourselves, right. So, when we have attack, you know, with words or, you know, our reputation, then it does activate the fight or flight, the amygdala, the fight or flight network, which feels like we are actually in a threat, you know. It’s like love, you know, because we love it, because we’re so close to it. If someone says something bad, then it’s a shutdown, and that activates the fight or flight, which means all or nothing. So, we can’t see so that one bad thing is everything. When you do this little exercise every day, your mind starts to engage the prefrontal cortex, which is the opposite of the amygdala. It registers in a collaborative mindset. So, it starts to look for things that are similar and possibilities, solutions like… So ultimately, let’s say you do this for three months, like religiously. You’ll see in your waking day the bad thing will come up, but then you’ll more quickly be able to have your own back and be like, you know what? Yes, this sucks, but you did this and you did that and you can always do that, and it’s okay. So, that’s the ultimate because it’d be able to hold the two things at once. Then you can really be like, “Okay, why not? Let’s go for that. Let’s try that, you know?” So, I think that’s my number one. It’s in the book.
Joni: So, Shauna, we were connected to you via our co-worker, Siobhan, who is Irish. And I know that you wanted to talk a little bit about the Irish stories that made it into your book. Is that right?
Shauna: Yeah, definitely. Yeah. You know, I love Siobhan so much. She’s so awesome. But I love working with the Irish community in New York. I think, you know, a lot of times….and my parents are Irish and so, you know, my Irish heritage has informed me so much. I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. I went to study abroad there in Queens University in Belfast. And it’s just a huge part of, you know, my background, my heritage, my spirituality, all the stuff. And yeah, I love that like I have this little contingent of Irish clients in New York because I think a lot of times Irish people can be quite skeptical, even though they’re totally intuitive and mystical and they have this like, you know, like Scottish, like this all mythology, the Celtic mythology behind them and everything. But yeah, I love that I can have that connection. And so, with wishcraft, you know, I made the connection myself to kind of… You know, it just like made so much sense to me to kind of, you know, tie it back into my own sense of spirituality. So, when I was doing the wishcraft in the beginning, I was like, you know, when people are in self-hypnosis, their mind becomes a proverbial wishing well, like an ideal place to plant their wishes. And I made that connection inspired by the origin, the alleged origin, of the wishing well, which comes from ancient Celtic tradition where they believe gods dwelled in the water. They regarded waters as sacred, and everybody went to the wishing well in the center of town. And they surrendered their worries and their wishes to the gods. And I felt like that was such a beautiful metaphor for working with self-hypnosis to, you know, kind of cultivate a collaborative, compassionate mindscape because when you have a self-hypnosis practice, you can really start to like work with your mind to work for you instead of against you, you know.
And the wishing well metaphor is just so beautiful because it’s like it also is so community-oriented. Like, the well is poisoned. Then, we’re all poisoned, you know? So, I just went really deep into the metaphor of like Celtic mythology, the wishing well, and also the wishes, particularly the wishes for giving are inspired in this form of the Irish blessing. So, you know, for me like this idea of wishing is extension of my own spiritual kind of journey coming through being super Catholic as a kid, praying all the time, and then expanding out into, you know, a more kind of universal spiritual context. But I know that power of prayer and focus and also the mythology, the Celtic mythology, the Irish blessing, the story. Like, that all influenced me so much. And I think that when I learned self-hypnosis I was like, “Oh, like, I understand how I can really, you know, share this and share it with other people. I don’t have to put my belief system onto them, but it’s their belief system that they can empower the power of wishing, you know.” So, yeah. So, in particular, the wishes at the end, you know, are very much inspired by the Irish blessing. Like, they start with the word “may” you know, like this kind of word of benediction as the Irish author, John O’Donohue says. And he was a very big inspiration for me too because he’s kind of like this, you know, Celtic spiritual thought leader and yeah. So, I’ve infused it in there, but it is also a very kind of now age book, you know, written, you know, with lots of illustrations like for millennials. But I hope that it really translates this kind of, you know, my love for like the Irish mythology and…
Stephanie: Can you tell everyone when it’s available in case they want to know more?
Shauna: Oh sure. So, the book is available now on most like online websites, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, stuff like that. And bookstores, I think it’s coming into more bookstores now. And yeah, you can always go to my website, shaunacummins.com, for more information. There’s like a little page about the book there and yeah, it’s “WishCraft: A guide to manifesting a positive future.” I’m also on Instagram @thewishcraft and every Sunday, I do a well-wishing support circle. So, I have people send in their wishes and then I do like this wishing bowl ceremony. And yeah, I’m doing all sorts of wishing that involves like ceremonies and rituals. So, if you look up on Instagram, you’ll probably see some of those events and things like that. But yeah, definitely, the book is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah.
Joni: Even though we are an e-book retailer, we recommend this one in hardcover. It’s very pretty. So, for once, don’t get it from Kobo. Get it from your local bookstore and we’ll include links to your book and to all of your social media. Oh, and Steph, you haven’t asked your favorite question.
Stephanie: I feel like this is kind of related to something you do already, but what have you been loving lately?
Shauna: What have I been loving lately?
Stephanie: Yeah. It could be anything.
Shauna: That’s such a good question. Honestly, I’ve been loving like looking at my window at the snail and feeling like, yeah, like, you know, this wintering kind of trend that’s happening, this idea of like just being able to rest and go inside and like, “Yeah, okay, you know, I’m just gonna stay inside today.” And it’s cozy and nice because obviously, you know, we’ve been doing this for a long time now, but I’ve been thinking this is really nice because soon it won’t be here. You know, soon the spring will be here, so I’m appreciating it for what it is right now.
Stephanie: Joni, you had snow today
Joni: I’m in Edinburgh and we do not get snow very often, but it looked very, very pretty today. And I don’t even like snow, but even I thought it was lovely today. You are based in New York, right?
Stephanie: I mean, I’m loving snow.
Shauna: Well, you know, right now, I’m upstate New York at this, you know, my artist residency and that’s why because it’s like a veritable winter wonderland here. But in the city, I probably would not be saying this in the city because it’d be like gray, slush, like difficult. But here it looks like a storybook and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, it’s so nice, you know.”
Stephanie: Go on those winter walks.
Joni: Perfect. A perfect note to end on.
Shauna: Thank you so much. This was so nice. So nice to chat with you.
Joni: Thank you so much for coming on. We really appreciate it. This was great.
Stephanie: I learned so much and I’m going to try to implement these things, I swear.
Shauna: Well, soon, I’m going to be on my website. I’m going to be having hypnosis recordings of the wishes, which are in the back of the book so people can listen too and that can help them. But anyone who read the book, like, I would love…I’m happy for them to reach out to me if they have questions or want to work with it, you know, because it is such a process. It’s like an embodiment of my workshop experience. So, that’s also something I want to put out there too, you know.
Joni: Oh, and before we go, actually, do you still practice like one-on-one hypnosis sessions? Is that something that you do based in New York?
Shauna: Yes, I practice and I also have a school. I have a school, so I see limited people every week, but I still see people and I love seeing people. So, I have like six slots available every week. But then I also have the school, The Divine Feminine School of Hypnosis, which is kind of like, you know, a little bit like the wishcraft. It really brings it back to like the healing arts of hypnosis and maybe a more, you know, ceremonial aspect to hypnosis really based in compassion, collaboration, community. So, yeah, The Divine Feminine School of Hypnosis too. If anyone’s looking for a hypnosis training, it’s a pretty like robust training, like six months to a year and it’s a very small group of people that I work with. And yeah, that too. Just put that in there.
Stephanie: Yeah. Definitely. I feel like it’s a lot of stuff people might not know about and they’d be interested to learn more. So, these are great. Well, I’ve linked to them on our blogs so they can check it out too. But thank you so much. It’s been great talking to you.
Shauna: Yeah. You too.
Joni: Thank you.
Shauna: Thank you. Thank you.
Joni: Thank you for listening to the “Kobo Writing Life Podcast.” If you’re interested in checking out Shauna’s book, “WishCraft,” it is available on Kobo. We also recommend checking out the hardcover copy because it’s very lovely. But we will include the link in our blog as always and in our episode description.
Stephanie: This episode was produced by Stephanie McGrath and Joni Di Placido. This episode was edited by Kelly Robotham. Music was provided by Tearjerker. Production assistance provided by Rachel Wharton and special thanks to Shauna for being a guest on our episode. If you’re ready to start your self-publishing journey today, sign up for free at kobo.com/writinglife. Until next time, happy writing.