Uncommon Wisdom: Zornitsa Tomova
“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 Zornitsa Tomova?
Zori sees herself as a human being passionate about supporting the unfolding of the love that we are by creating spaces to explore and deepen our connection with ourselves, one another and nature. Over the last 5 years, she has lived in and drawn inspiration from Bali, Peru, Guatemala and Bulgaria, and put her passion to practice as a purpose alignment coach, shamanic guide, group process facilitator and founder of the Connection Playground online community. She likes bringing her earlier experience in innovation and IT startups to the field of creating spaces for human relating, healing and transformation. She currently lives in San Marcos la Laguna – a little Mayan village on the shores of lake Atitlan, Guatemala. She loves people, learning about indigenous cultures, rituals and spiritual processes, taking long walks in nature, making weird sounds at random moments and living in places where you smile and say hello to everyone you meet (sometimes including the rocks, the volcanos and the ants).
#1. What's something unexpected or uncommon that made you more aware?
A practice called circling. I still remember my first encounter with it in Bali when a friend of mine refused to explain what it is and said, “it is one of those things that have to be experienced rather than understood, as words really don’t do it justice”. He was right, it has been the deepest experience of coming home to myself I’ve ever had. I have no idea how to communicate what it really is and the value it has generated in my awareness, relationships with people, community, and business. But to give you a sense, you can imagine it like a meditation done in the context of sitting with a bunch of people in a circle and authentically relating. You take turns to share what you each notice in the present moment in your sensations, emotions, thoughts and spirit, and together you explore the ways you impact and are impacted by one another. Unlike regular meditation that I’ve often lost patience for, it feels like something infinitely engaging I love returning to. Over the last 5 years of practicing and holding space for it, it has helped me learn to keep my awareness high in relating with others, where I spend the majority of my time. It’s also where the most tricky parts of human experience usually arise and it’s easiest to lose awareness.
#2. What's something unexpected or uncommon that gives you energy?
Plant medicine. Each morning, I have a cup (or two, or three?) of hot ceremonial cacao. Just like coffee, it increases energy levels, but it does so in a much softer way, opening the heart while both activating and relaxing the nervous system. Less regularly, perhaps on a weekly basis, when I feel low energy or have something I want to explore and face within myself, I work with a sacred medicine from the Amazon called rapeh. It’s a kind of snuff that you blow into your nose with a special applicator and the one I like the most, Apurina, has about 40 different plants ground to fine dust. It helps me return to my body and connection with nature, cleanses the energy flow, alongside throwing some powerful insights my way every now and then. Last but not least, ayahuasca and psilocybin mushrooms have been incredible in opening deeper energetic blocks, as a result of which I have access to more of the energy that is naturally in the body by default.
#3. What's something unexpected or uncommon that makes you more productive?
Having no plans, checklists, and goal setting. I just have a long term vision and trust myself fully in staying present and following the best way my energy can flow towards it in any given day. Oftentimes I am surprised by what is possible and what emerges from this way of being, both from within me, as inspired action, and from around me, as opportunities. As a result, I get a lot done without pressuring myself or planning for it.
#4. What does your morning ritual look like?
I wake up at 6.30am and as soon as I get myself out of bed, I go for a swim in lake Atitlan, next to which I live. It is rather cool in the mornings, so it’s a bit grrrr for me until I get in the water. The nature around is absolutely amazing, with 1 active and 3 unactive volcanos nearby and lots of greenness and birds singing. I often watch the sun rising as I swim, feeling so much gratitude in my heart for the privilege of witnessing this beauty and creating a life that allows me to be here. I usually have a chat with a local Mayan fisherman friend on my way back, again while being a bit grrrr and we laugh and share a lot with one another, despite my clumsy Spanish. I return for a quick shower, prepare some cacao for me and my landlady (who is an incredible mentor and inspiration for me), and have a quick breakfast of freshly made guacamole and sourdough bread. Sometimes I have some rapeh, but most days I have no time for it, as I have to jump into coaching sessions and/or group gatherings at 8am latest, as that’s the best time of overlap between my timezone and Europe, where many of the people I work with are based.
#5. What does your evening ritual look like?
I always have a shower as soon as I come home. I put on some candles to help me transition towards sleep and sometimes I burn some copal (a kind of local resin incense), as I really enjoy its smell and it helps me relax. I do a little light work and attend to anything important I didn’t get to during the day. I clean and tidy my room and do a little bit of free flow dance. I check about the Mayan calendar energy of the next day, which helps me attune to the local culture and feel more connected to the land and its people. I usually fall asleep very fast, but if I am not too tired, I read for a few minutes. When I say a few, I am usually out within 5 minutes, which is why I am reading the same book for what feels like a million years. It’s just how my body works and I actually really love the book. I would highly recommend it if you are interested in learning more about Mayan culture from amazing storyteller Martin Prechtel: The Secrets of the Talking Jaguar.
You can find Zornitsa at @zoritomova
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