Uncommon Wisdom: Denitza Zafirova
“Uncommon Wisdom” is about sharing those habits or stories that we wouldn’t normally think to share. There’s so much talk about morning routines and self-care practices these days but a lot of it can seem kind of superficial or maybe just predictable and repetitive. This is why we asked a bunch of high-performing creatives and entrepreneurs a few questions about awareness, energy, and productivity. We wanted to learn something a bit more unexpected, and here’s what we found out.
Who is Denitza Zafirova?
Denitza Zafirova is a Paris-based artist working with a wide array of disciplines – from acting, performance, art modelling, and physical narrative to design, poetry, the healing arts, and social activism. She is happiest when she finds ways to intertwine them, yet loves existing in their separate processes. At the moment, Deni is in rehearsals for a show on zoo-archaeology for the Theatre of Wonder festival taking place in September 2021. Over the past couple of years, she has inspired hundreds of art pieces and artists from every continent on earth with her art modelling and body image work. With such a multidisciplinary path, Deni shares she feels the need to stay grounded and look inside. Her daily practices include a silent meditation she picked up at age 14, neural reprogramming, Vedic and Kemetic rituals, and more. In fact, her loved ones like saying she practices competitive self-care. If that seems too complex, Deni sees herself simply as any other person with many interests – a bit too obsessed with modern fiction, really into dancing nude when home alone, always keeping up with the current exhibits in town, and often enjoying wine evenings with interesting people. As a reminder of the world around, she collects sounds from places she visits and moments she ends up loving.
#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?
I lost my mother four years ago, suddenly. From one day to the next, she was gone. I couldn’t even say goodbye. Grieving a parent, especially a mother, is a complicated process. I was unprepared, and it left me feeling completely lost and abandoned. Later I realized the loss had colored my entire life. It had become my story. For a long time after it happened, I operated from my wounded self which often hurt me and those around me. I am now learning to be better than my wounded self and better than the story I’ve been telling myself. I stay with and recognise the survival-based unhealthy thoughts, instead of giving into action that doesn’t reflect my personal values and perpetuates a negative cycle.
#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?
Here are a few things that give me energy! During lockdown when things felt out of control, quietly arranging and beautifying a room that was previously messy or working to improve a corner of the house – this process helped me calm down and revive while staying creative. Then it rippled to other areas. In work and when taking care of my life, seeing and experiencing chaos catalyses me to create – the next step, project, or chapter. I also love having lunch somewhere quiet without my phone and without keeping myself busy. ‘Worst case scenario’ would be I read or write. I learned doing this in my teens and it stuck with me. I get the incredible feeling of space and capability to hold what’s going on in the outside world after I’ve spent some time alone and gathered my thoughts.
#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?
Spending the first part of the day playing and giving myself what I really want and need. I’m a recovering perfectionist, so it takes a lot of self-discipline to not launch into doing right after I wake up. If I invest some time in following what gives me pleasure first, I can always count on myself to discover more in work and fulfil what I’ve set out to complete. If I don’t, then I will usually feel out of sorts the rest of the day. I sometimes write out all my tasks on small papers, put them in a bowl or a jar, and then let that determine the order they get done. It fights my potential for resisting and procrastinating and keeps things light.
#4. What does your morning ritual look like?
I love my mornings! They’re all about being, care, and dreaming, but with different nuances each day. The first steps are checking in with how I am feeling and what I want – then giving it to myself. This often but not always involves a cup of cappuccino and getting in my body. From then on, it really depends on where I’m at in life. A meditation on a subject or a practice. I love neural plasticity, dance, tantric and Vedic tradition, Kemetic yoga, starting the day connected to heart. The only rule is that it has to happen and agree with what comes up in the morning and what’s important to me at the moment without restriction. If I’m working on a piece, my imagination work often starts a bit after.
#5. What does your evening ritual look like?
Relishing in the day we created, looking at what I would repeat, and what I’d rather not do again. Delicious food, music, quality time with my loved ones, a show, a film, a book. Shower, maybe another yoga or meditation if I feel like it.
You can find Denitza at @denitzazafirova
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