Interview: Bhavana Nissima
‘Sprinkle some dream dusts…we are all work-in-progress’
Bhavana Nissima wears several hats. Scholar, researcher, Bharatanatyam dancer and writer, she holds a Doctorate in communications and served as faculty with two universities, Program Director of a rural development foundation; and as a Communications Director with a media startup.
Bhavana Nissima is behind The Lightweaver Consultants that aims to enrich lives and helping people explore their full potential. A Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) Master Practitioner, Nissima speaks on the Lightweaver consultants, her true calling, and the struggles but at the same time, believes living in the present. In this interview done on Facebook, she also discusses on the creativity that helps an artist become a whole entity, healing and her blog The Earth Woman where she writes on the power of the divine.
The journey of Bhavana Nissima is incredible where she boasts of an impressive achievement in connecting the dots and help people to spread the love as well as tapping their inner potential as humans. Check her blog The Earth Woman and her venture The Lightweaver which is making waves through a series of workshops across India. She is also behind several behind several social projects such as the Taskforce to End Hunger in New Mexico, organic farming movement worldwide, actively involved in relief activities in India and supporting issues such as gender equity and gender violence.
What are the Lightweaver consultants all about? Can you share the purpose that it serves in touching lives and to free the deep emotions that we love to protect?
There are three reasons why I conceived the Lightweaver project. First, I realized that it is my natural ability and something I have undertaken unconsciously for years. The time to make it tangible and own it has arrived.
Secondly, it is my belief that the creative aspect of living is a powerful force and can change the universe of things. However, the creative art world is beset with standards, rules and awe about celebrity artists. It is one area where we are afraid to put ourselves out in the open and scared about responses as well as feedback that makes us insecure and uncomfortable.
Thirdly, the Lightweaver Consultants strive to help creative folks to rediscover and realign themselves in order to pursue what they want in a joyful and easy manner.
The issue with mainstream counselling is that the focus is on problems and blocks which is a negative approach to find a solution. I believe that we can adopt a positive approach to counselling by putting forth this basic question: What do you want to do? After this question is answered, we can help people achieve that. During the process, if there are old issues and patterns that are revealed, it can be resolved as it emerges.
The focus remains on the present moment and where the person wants to go from here. I don’t buy this ‘heal fully’ to do something discourse. We have peppered our life stories with trauma. Let us sprinkle some dream dust instead. What do I have to work on to be able to do what I want to? Work on that. Rest is irrelevant at the moment.
- Coach, NLP Practitioner, consultant and motivator. How do you juggle time to wear several hats in order to make a difference to lives around you, be it business or your social engagement?
I don’t juggle time but manage my tasks by assigning priority to what I want to do, say, in a given week. During Navratri, I decided that I would write and do less of my business work. I normally respond to messages and emails from clients as swiftly as possible. Sometimes, when they send me articles for review, I may give them a time frame to respond.
NLP is used in every aspect of my day and at any given point of time, I am wearing only one hat.
- ‘I am the Lightweaver. I weave idea-streams, thought-concepts, people, places and objects into new possibilities for future. I coach folks to enable, rehabilitate and rejuvenate their creative flow – whether writing, music, dance or technology’, read your bio. In every person’s life, a defining moment or what many call a spiritual awakening hits them and how or when did this moment struck that brought you face to face to be a light weaver to bring perspective in people’s lives?
I was writing on this earlier today (Saturday). “I was the Earth woman for a long time, working on social projects, with organic farming, healthy food and women-oriented writings and work. However, I felt that it was not my calling.”
In my NLP Master Practitioner program, I stared to explore my true purpose. Shortly after the programme, a technique that I worked on helped me to move out of an old pattern and a spontaneous vision of a woman weaving light thread unfurled in front of me. She embodied both the curious and joyful child as well as the wise adult.
The realization struck that it was something I had done for years. I briefly wrote about that vision: “I step into the playground and integrated the child into me. The sun willingly reveals. I pull his many light-threads and twined it around my fingers, step out of the confines of designated playground. The world is my playground and weaving, my play.”
- How do we get such vision or calling and in your case, do you feel there is a greater power or energy behind it through this ‘woman’? Is it similar to Shakti-the power which is the source of everything?
I had bought into trauma stories and desperately wanted to heal. The memories and stories of childhood abuse, a very unhappy marriage, exile from my birth land, couple of terrible affairs, a sexual assault all piled up that led me to lose faith. As a result, I was severely depressed and did not believe that I could live or work normally. It is this self-belief that pushed me down the black hole.
I spent decades of my life to figure out a way to heal and move on. In my journey, I came across several healers and doctors where I was able to benefit from each one of them. It helped me to emerge slowly. However, after my Dad passed away and an attempted sexual assault, I was triggered massively that led me to withdraw.
During those rough months, I reached out to an NLP trainer who coached me. As I healed, I realized the aspects in me that were in full bloom and that I knew a lot. Lightweaver is integrating all aspects of me to become who I am naturally.
I worshipped Mother for a very long time. I have written about her extensively. But, there was a disconnect in the sense that my relationship with her looked similar to what I had with my birth mother. It was toxic and didn’t serve me. I changed the old ways of relating to Mother and finally reconnecting Her with the power in me.
This integration came into full circle as I healed further. However, the first step towards my work was this simple fact-I wanted to break free of past events. Finally, I did and found my path.
I must reiterate one fact, we are all work-in-progress. When I say that ‘I am healed’ it means I am healed from some significant issues. I am still working on myself by changing and growing every single day. Working on the Lightweaver project is a healing project itself.
5. Based on your interaction, how easy or complex it gets for creative people to release their energy and why speaking openly on struggles, be it mental, emotional or physical gets so tricky that somehow blocks the creative process of learning, un-learning and re-learning?
There are two things. The outcome of the process lies in the client’s hands. I am the facilitator. If the client is open, non-defensive and willing to examine or move, whether it’s is an artist or not, the session becomes simple.
However, in the event that they resist, become afraid, defensive, adamant, then I challenge and provoke as best I can. Then, I let it go. Drawing on my experience with budding artists, I can say that it has been very positive working with them, for they are open about their struggles, desiring to create and do what they want. It is wonderful to work with them.
Experienced artists have a tough time to come to terms with the ups and downs of creativity, being vulnerable about the blocks as well as fears. However, I have met and known wonderful artists who are committed to their creative side, who are open and willing to explore themselves in deep ways. I am thrilled when I sit down to work with such folks for what they produce after the session (s) is outstanding.
I don’t teach any new method but help folks to unblock and uncover their voice, trust that voice and work from that space.
As far as the rest of the learning and unlearning, it is up to the artists. I play the role of the facilitator and don’t get to the story of struggles. As a NLP-based creative coach, I work on areas where clients feel disempowered and help them to find inner resources to resolve issues that they face. My work is non-intrusive and quick.
I don’t allow clients to relive old stories of pain and hurt. They want to create something and therefore, I work with them to remove the obstacles without regressing wholly to the past. The work is in present tense.
- Why do you stay away from the struggle part and don’t you think that facing the past or finding justification can somehow be empowering?
Our past is sugar and salt. We have both pleasant and sad events. Sometimes, we tend to become so obsessed with sad events and use it to color the pleasant aspects of life. So when our stories become black or white, all or none, we are not in a resourceful state.
I don’t deny sad events happened in the past. Next, when we begin to identify ourselves based on traumatic events, we give them and the people power over the rest of our lives. It means that they take our present, future and our possible moments as well as all the art we could produce or people that we could relate to.
I empower my clients to be in charge of their lives, write and do what they want to help themselves re-identify as powerful beings. I help them rejuvenate and rehabilitate.
- The Lightweaver workshop 2017-Nurturing a Relationship with Writing is reaching out to several corners of India where recently you were in my city Pune. Can you give us an insight of your experience in the city with the programme that empowers & give wings to dreams?
A young friend from Pune helped me to organize the workshop. What I loved in the workshop was the openness, eagerness, and willingness of the participants to learn and work. It was a diverse group of participants in terms of culture and folks already had the wings. I showed them that they could flap it at will in the way they wanted to. I loved seeing them light up and smile as a burden was dropped and they eased up.
- How would you describe NLP as a practitioner where you are reaching to places like Chennai, Vizag and Pune, among many? What difference do you intend to make in touching souls through the spread of NLP?
NLP is a down-to-earth pragmatic approach to our everyday life, whether in work or relating to others as beings. In simpler terms, it is an empowering do-it-yourself toolkit. Once you have it, you will know how to work through an issue, get rid of unnecessary fears, phobias and limiting self-beliefs as well as relate effectively to self and others.
I want more folks to have access to this toolkit, move out of the un-resourceful ways by which we self-sabotage and limit ourselves. I want people to live well. Through my Discover NLP sessions, I hope to kindle interest in the people through this approach so that they are able to seek proper training from a qualified NLP Trainer.
- What has been the response from folks taking NLP based on your interactions and how do they react to the DIY aspect?
I don’t teach full-fledged NLP. I am not qualified to do so. I make use of it as a way to help my clients overcome their creative blocks and show them that they have the inner resources to do what they want to do. So far as the sessions go, I have been 80 percent effective.
As a result, folks have started projects such as starting to write, helming book projects or restarting them after being stuck for a while. There are also folks who had other deep issues which surfaced later. When they reached back, I helped. When they don’t reach back, they don’t.
These sessions are initiated by clients and if they want, then only I can help. The choice is theirs. If they clamp down, then so it is. You can take a horse to the water but you cannot force it to drink. I create a conducive environment to encourage participants to be aware of their thirst and the resources within their reach. That’s it.
10. Your blog ‘The Earth Women’ is a medium where you speak about identity and healing from shame. In the series of posts, ‘Sa Ham-I am She’ you openly discuss about Mother Durga and what makes the woman embody the Goddess which is true. How do we reconcile the human identity, perception of us and the divine form in everyday life?
There is no need to reconcile. We are She. If we stop externalizing Her and thereby limiting ourselves as ‘Humans’ which means lesser, inadequate, weak, not fully capable, imperfect unwhole beings, all is well. The divine is not an abstract concept. It is us in our most exalted powerful state.
- Do you think meditation can help treat depression and why fear makes us socially ill or choke/block us to grow?
Meditation slows down the thought process and allows you to observe things around. In order to treat depression, either change the way you have imaged your universe or deal with the core issue. It can be done through language. The metaphor of movement method is an excellent approach to help folks emerge from stuck metaphors.
As far as fear is concerned, it is about a future that has not happened. When a person returns to the present moment, he or she is cognizant of resources that we have and how best to use them. There is no fear. We tend to simulate a bad story and then suffer from it.
This is similar to the horror movie that we create for ourselves. Once we realize that we have created this movie and we are not in it, we emerge from it.
The inability to live in the moment is the mother of all social ills. We are either stuck in the past or are scared and anxious about the future. NOW is where it is resolved.
- Do you have plans to penning a book in future to speak about your learning, knowledge and sharing your experience with readers?
Not yet. I want to write fun books and the ones I am currently working on are: Travelling in Indian Public Transport, Love Unbound, The Other Memoir. I enjoy tickling and amusing people. I like challenging narratives. Writing is something I love for myself. It is how I feel healthy.