A New Voice Makes His Mark
Community Activity Guide Spotlight: Cassius Mishima
Cassius Mishima (right) in the SOS meditation garden with Director of Meetings Amy Juneau
(Photograph: Asia Starley)
Meditation and mindfulness are well-known to many as powerful tools which can help to manage a long list of mental health conditions and challenges. From coping with severe anxiety disorders and responding to panic attacks, to managing stress and finding ways to fight back against depression, meditation has helped many people to take control of their thoughts and feelings.
Another more recent development is the growing popularity of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response), which many people describe as a relaxing or even euphoric sense of well-being which begins with a tingling sensation and is often triggered by audible stimuli.
In particular, ASMR has become a fast-growing genre on YouTube, where more than 13 million ASMR videos have been published in recent years. In these videos, practitioners use either specific sounds or their own voices in order to trigger ASMR.
One of these ASMR YouTubers is Cassius Mishima, an active member of SOS since 2019, who has now brought his skill into Second Life where he hosts a popular Community Activity which fuses the benefits of both ASMR and meditation into an hour-long storytelling journey every Friday at 12pm SLT.
This performance is also broadcast live on SOS Radio, and has been described by listeners as “relaxing” and “absorbing”. Cassius reads invented and sometimes spontaneous stories in his own voice, which some people find stimulates ASMR while others appreciate simply for the way that it helps them to focus into a meditative state.
“ASMR meditation is an experience-based event,” explains Cassius. “It’s all about relaxation, just sitting down somewhere you feel comfortable and allowing yourself to be transported to a new place in your mind. As long as you’re willing to give it a try, I can promise you it will be a new and interesting experience. I hope the people who attend find themselves both spellbound and relaxed."
While ASMR is a new addition to the SOS calendar, Cassius has been developing his skills for many years, after he first realised that his voice has a soothing and positive impact on other people.
“I’ve been learning this skill for almost a decade,” says Cassius. “I realised I could lull people to a state of extreme comfort when on a bus ride back from Indianapolis, I put the entire marching band drumline to sleep with a story about a cow.”
Over the years, Cassius has used his voice to great effect while roleplaying in the Dungeons & Dragons community, and has also turned his hand to narrating audiobooks, but it was in 2015 that he began to seriously consider the idea of performing for an audience.
“I was relaxing with an old girlfriend, and I wanted to do an audiobook for an extra buck, so I asked her to listen and give me tips about what I was doing right or wrong,” he remembers. “Halfway through the reading, she suddenly fell asleep!”
Back then, Cassius had never heard of ASMR, which was only just beginning to garner attention on YouTube and other platforms. It was several years later, in 2019, when he launched his own YouTube channel.
“At first it was just a random idea to put some of my experiences in audio form,” says Cassius. “I had the urge to tell the story of my childhood friend, a cat named Slippers.”
After attending an SOS Community Activity, Cassius decided he really wanted to get involved. He volunteered to host a new ASMR Meditation activity, which was launched earlier this year. It proved to be a perfect fit, with Cassius eager to share his skills and SOS members excited to experience something new and potentially powerful. He also believes that performing for SOS members has been hugely positive for his own mental health.
“I really wanted people to understand what my skills really are, and I love sharing, and a part of that is learning to share what’s going on in my mind,” he says. “The chaos I feel constantly, and the ridiculous amount of words running through my head, find clarity and come to order when I do these performances. This is the kind of sharing and creation that I crave.”
The live performances and radio broadcast have added another dimension, and Cassius experiences a particular sense of satisfaction from this kind of real-time connection with his audience. While YouTube is a great way to reach a large number of people, the live performances at SOS can be a more intimate experience.
“A live performance seems to have more impact for me, rather than just doing a recording alone in a room with a microphone,” says Cassius. “I find that doing something to soothe people in real time turns out much better. I feel more helpful, more chill, and it really shows. Doing these performances has helped me to realise that I have a talent which people appreciate and enjoy.”
Cassius has been a member of SOS since last year, after returning home from a spell in hospital. He has been grappling with mental health issues for some time, and feels his recovery has progressed well as he’s continued to put negative thoughts and feelings behind him. He found SOS to be extremely beneficial in his own recovery.
“I value not only the ability SOS has to help members shape their mental health, but also the way that it represents the good in humanity and the unity of our best efforts, as well as the care to be there for others who have nowhere to turn,” says Cassius. “I would definitely recommend hosting an activity to other members.”
SOS relies on its members to host social events and activities like meditation sessions, and Cassius has some advice for anyone who is considering whether they might be able to share some of their time or skills with the group. He recommends careful planning and attention to detail.
“If someone is even considering becoming a host, make sure you look at your idea with a professional eye,” he says. “Consider what you’re doing, what you expect of your audience or guests, and what the time spent at your activity will consist of.”
As for his own future, it’s full steam ahead for Cassius who plans to continue developing his skills and looking to establish himself in the world of ASMR, including on social media where he has a growing number of subscribers and supporters.
“The numbers may be small compared to some people, but it means the world to me,” says Cassius. “For now, my main goal is just to keep a consistent schedule, work hard, and improve my ability alongside my audience.”
With ASMR continuing to grow in popularity, and with the remarkable progress which Cassius has made in such a short time, he seems well-positioned for the future. This emerging YouTube star has found SOS to be another positive platform on which to practice and develop his talents, especially when it comes to working with a live audience, and he also believes that hosting an SOS activity has been personally helpful in his own recovery.
SOS is a great place to develop your own skills, whether related to a specific area of interest or simply in terms of social interaction or public speaking. It’s a safe environment where members can do this in the company of their peers, who are non-judgmental and genuinely want you to succeed.
Anyone interested in learning more about how to host a Community Activity at SOS should contact Amy Juneau for more information. Cassius can be found here on YouTube.
by Amy Juneau, May 2020