Chit Chat With . . .
A soul sister, a nomad and a backpacker who has traveled far and wide to experience cultures, food, history and spirituality. She is also a sound healing alchemist and practitioner. Other modalities she specializes in include mindfulness, yoga and the co-founder of Conscious Kenya. This month our Chit Chat is with Narissa, who talks about herself, her experiences on her travels, her morning routine, and winding down.
Tell us a bit about yourself, who is Narissa?
A wild child of mother nature. A soul of love. A conscious revolutionary.
My wish since childhood is to see all beings happy, and almost every significant action or initiative I undertake is towards this aim. In terms of work/play, I am a sound alchemist or sound healing practitioner, as well as a teacher of meditation, mindfulness, pranayama breathing and hatha yoga. I also co-run Conscious Kenya, soon to be Conscious Africa, which is a culmination and convergence of my life paths – spiritual seeking, nature loving, and conscious community building.
As a nomad girl and the countries, you have visited, which one was the one that captured your heart?
I would say specific people and places in several countries. These are the ones which I “decided” to go back and live in after leaving. Not that I have moved there yet!
Ethiopia – the people, the culture, the food, the history – hold so much truth, rawness, and power.
Nepal – the Himalayan Mountain range is a spiritual centre of the world. The birthplace of Buddha, Lumbini, holds a vibration that I wish to experience more of. Tansen hill station, the family that hosted me and the forest behind are so dear to my heart. And my sound healing teacher lives there, so I definitely need to return asap.
Peru – I stayed in an eco-village by a river that is my favourite intentional community of all time. Made a dear friend there who is a sister for life. The vibe was spiritual, connected with nature, community-based and harmonious. Also, I had my first experience with master plant Ayahuasca in the Peruvian side of the Amazon rainforest, which changed my life.
India – so much to learn in this motherland. So much spice in this country filled with both beauty and shit, ignorance, and the deepest wisdom. I plan to return for a year of travel and learning.
Vietnam – I stayed at the nunnery next to Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery for 10 days, which was an experience of a lifetime. The Vietnamese people are also some of the kindest I have ever met.
Zanzibar – I learned from the musicians of the Dhow Countries Music Academy lessons of presence, joy, friendship, and not taking life so seriously. They taught me how it’s really not necessary to be so busy, and that true happiness is found in moments of friendship, connection and stillness.
What inspires you when you decide to go backpacking?
The vibration of love and kindness that most humans on this Earth walk with. When you are out there solo backpacking in a completely foreign place, you meet the most amazing humans and beautiful souls. And you realise that the world is essentially good, despite the nonsense the media tells you. I always feel safe and taken care of in this knowledge. I walk with trust. The core vibration of existence truly is love.
What was the most bizarre thing you did on your backpacking journey?
The start of this lifestyle: Dec 2016. Quit my wonderful job that I was passionate about and paid me well. Left behind my apartment, car, and relationship… And bought a one-way ticket to Colombia!
Also, a bizarre thing that I love to do while backpacking is to hop on a bus to a new location without knowing exactly where I will end up or sleep that night. There is something about sitting on a bus bumping along narrow mountainside roads staring out of the window and not knowing what comes next that gives me so much peace! It brings me so entirely into the present moment that my life just comes into clear perspective every time. It’s a meditation like no other.
As a child of the Earth, where does this come from and what does it mean to you?
My spirituality has always revolved around nature – guidance from the moon, power from the mountains, cleansing from the ocean, grounding from walking barefoot on the earth, serenity from the lakes, peace and joy from the rivers, strength from the sun, wisdom from the trees….
Child represents my playful nature, and my innocent way of interacting with the world when I am in my authenticity. Child of the Earth specifically represents how the Earth energy is what guides me during my sound journeys and energy work. Mother Nature is my ultimate guide in life, in spiritual practice, and in my healing work. Acknowledging that I am her child is a statement of humility, remembering that when I channel medicine songs and healing energy, it does not stem from me personally, but comes from a greater divine source (of infinite Love) (that we are all a part of, like drops in an ocean).
Where and when did you learn to play the Indian bamboo flute (bansuri)?
My journey with the bansuri is a special story. I used to play the western (metal) flute in school. One day I watched a performance of the Kachumbari 7 band and fell in love with the hypnotising bansuri music. I told the musician, Kirit, how beautiful I found his music, and he invited me over with my dad and gifted me a bamboo flute! This flute hung in its case on my window grill for 12 years, gathering dust. When I was traveling South East Asia in early 2018 grieving my best friend (the same journey that led me to the singing bowls), I had an urge to pick up the bamboo flute. I bought two from a roadside shop in India and started studying online tutorials from a teacher I found on YouTube called Himanshu Nanda. When I got back to Kenya, I immediately contacted Kirit to ask for classes, dusted off my bamboo flute from 12 years ago and went to see him. Kirit soon informed me that Himanshu Nanda was in fact his teacher, the flute he had gifted me was from Himanshu! Full circle!
What other instruments do you play?
Voice and bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) are the main lyrical instruments that I play for tunes, self-expression and channelling. Then for healing sound and vibration, I work with the Himalayan singing bowls, the gong (currently Vietnamese dragon gong but I am also looking for an Indian gong), the Kalimba, rattles, shakers, and a few forms of percussion.
You use the Tibetan singing bowls as a means of sound healing, tell us more about sound healing and the use of the singing bowls.
Sound healing, also known as vibrational medicine, uses sound and vibration for healing on the physical, mental and spiritual levels. Everything that exists is vibrating with energy, including the body cells. When an organ or tissue is unbalanced, vibrating ‘out-of-tune’, disharmonious, not at ‘ease’, it leads to ‘dis-ease’. Sound healing works to restore the bodily organs to harmonious resonance with the whole being.
Nada Yoga is union with the divine self through sound/vibration. It is an ancient Indian metaphysical and philosophical system based on the premise that the entire cosmos and everything existing in it (including humans) is made up of energy vibrations. Sound as we hear it is merely the audible range of these vibrations.
Singing bowls can be used for healing on the physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual levels – via resonance of water molecules, sound waves, and alignment with the chakras (energy centres).
More details on the singing bowls, sound healing and the full story of my personal journey can be found here on my blog: https://nomadgirltales.com/sound-healing/
Tell us about writing, what sort of a writer are you and what inspires you to pen down creative material?
- Travel blogger (solo backpacking specifically)
- Fiction – fantasy and magical realism
- Spirituality and consciousness
I get inspired by any experience that touches my heart, or by beautiful scenes of nature that spark my imagination, or by lessons that I go through on my own inner journey.
You are one of the founders of Conscious Kenya, tell us more about it?
Conscious Kenya is the hub for wellness, healing and consciousness in Kenya. It is conscious community and functions via an online holistic wellness village, Consciouskenya.com. It contains directories of practitioners of holistic wellness and healing, of conscious venues and businesses, a marketplace for wellness and eco-friendly products, a schedule of conscious and wellness events, online courses, community forums, groups, and a multimedia blog. It is a place to find like-minded seekers as well as resources for personal journeys of transformation.
The long-term vision is to connect healers across the African continent, with the vision of collective consciousness rising, starting from the motherland of Africa, with all her wisdom.
Narissa, Sound Healing Alchemist
Do you have a morning routine to set you for the day?
Vipassana meditation at least an hour. Then a form of conscious movement of body or breath and prana – Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, Pranayama, dance, walk in nature, etc. This is ideally before I eat, touch technology, or interact with any other human.
What’s your go-to way of winding down after a long day?
Curling up with a really good book :) My hobbies include reading, writing, playing flute, singing, hiking, camping, meditating, and dancing.
What is the one word that you want people to associate you with?
What are the challenges you face in your profession?
As a sound healing practitioner, marketing, logistics and admin. I would really rather focus on my healing work, art, creativity, intuition, and personal practice, that have to bother with those aspects that are necessary to live off this profession. And this is one of the issues that Conscious Kenya is solving – taking that hassle of marketing and logistics off healers’ and creatives’ hands so they can focus on doing what they do best!
As a writer, it just doesn’t pay your bills immediately when you are writing what your heart desires rather than what other people want you to write. If I didn’t have to worry about paying rent, buying food, etc, I would spend a few months doing nothing but writing my book that I’ve been dreaming of for years! Soon, soon...
How do you contribute towards the society/community?
Almost everything I do is geared towards betterment of society in one way or another. I used to run Save Lake Turkana Movement which a group advocating for the world’s largest desert lake. I used to host Love Brigade at my old apartment, where we would discuss and dream up new ways of living based on love. I currently organise the Spirituality Beyond Religion gatherings at the Nairobi Arboretum which is a beautiful gathering of conscious community, led each time by a different person who wants to share their gifts or knowledge with the community. Then, with sound healing, I plan to record soon to share healing sounds more widely. And with Conscious Kenya, it’s all about healing, wellness and consciousness. We also plan to share more about indigenous healing and herbal knowledge, in different ways – stay tuned...
If you were not a sound healing practitioner & co-director of Conscious Kenya, what would you be doing?
This is already my dream to be honest. Literally living it. The only thing I wish to be doing more of is traveling once again, in a caravan or a 4X4, which will happen soon. If I wasn’t doing this precisely, I would probably still be be writing, creating music and bringing together community for conscious causes – in whichever form that would manifest.
How can people contact you?
For sound healing work - www.nomadgirltales.com/sound-healing/
For writing work – www.nomadgirltales.com
Conscious Kenya website: www.consciouskenya.com
Facebook: Child of the Earth & Sound Healing Ke & Nomad Girl Tales