Friday, December 28, 2012

2013 -- Gearing Up

Here at Visionary Bri, I'm gearing up for the new year. Normally, I don't make resolutions - I find them too easy to forget after a month or two. Instead, as 2012 closes, I am taking some time to regroup, reevaluate and plan 2013. These are not resolutions, per say, but goals I'd like to achieve and projects I'd like to complete.


I've got some great ideas that I'd like to put in motion. For instance, 2013 will see the first of my e-books published. I'm going to try to get the Visionary Voices classes up and running, I will be continuing and finishing the Art Wherever You Are project, AND I'm going to be looking into giving some lectures / talks. That's right, colorful little me out there on the road, spreading encouragement and inspiration. Maybe in a city near you!

But, all this takes a bit of time. It takes a bit of planning. It takes focus and determination and a bit of luck.

So, my darlings, I will be taking a brief hiatus from posting to this blog. The art in Art Wherever You Are will continue, however. When I'm back after the beginning of the year, I'll have a whole new crop of inspiration, guidance, giveaways and info for you to help you keep living your dreams.

If you're interested in shining your light out to the world and making the most of your year, I strongly recommend this planner and calender. It's the one tool I will be using most often, both this week and throughout 2013, to help bring all the magnificence of Visionary Bri to you.

I know that both I and every one of you, my dear readers, can create some magic in 2013. What big dreams would you like to see come into being?




Until the new year, please remember that we are all (yup, each and every one of us) visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,


-Bri



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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

I know that a new post isn't due from me until Wednesday, but I'd like some time to be with my family, so I'll post now.

I'd like to share with you a quote from my second favorite all-time Christmas movie, Scrooged, starring Bill Murray.

"You can still have fun tonight! Call people you haven't seen - a college friend, an old army buddy, your personal banker. . . I'm not crazy. It's Christmas Eve. It's the one night when we all act a little nicer. We...we smile a little easier. We...we...share a little more. For a couple of hours, we are the people we always hoped we would be."



And, even though I don't like most Christmas music, I love this song and I thought I'd share it with you. It's not a Christmas carol, per say, but please. The message goes out from me to you.

"If your heart is longing and you've been afraid to try
sorrow's kept you company and the dance has passed you by,
I'll lift you up and blaze with you across the moonlit sky
on the Night Before Christmas

And you don't have to be an angel to sing harmony
and you don't have to be a child to love the mystery
And you don't have to be a wise man on bended knee
The heart of this Christmas is in you and me"



From my heart to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my little corner of the world. May there be joy, family, and peace of mind to each of you. Blessings! 


Love to All,

-Bri

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Christmas Eve (with video by Bob Welsh)

This video was sent around on my family's email. When I saw it, I just knew that I had to post it for this beautiful day. It's Christmas eve, tonight. It's that one holiday that magic can happen. It's the time of year that people are giving, are kind, and that we are all the people that we truly want to be. So, without further ado, here it is:


So often that we get wrapped up in our own lives, our own tragedy, we hardly ever stop to think of the helpers. Maybe someone told you a truth that you didn't really want to hear, but desperately needed to hear. At this time of year, I think of endings and I think about the various people who have helped me. Tonight, I send warm blessings to all of them, whether they had to give me "tough help" that I really didn't want or bestowed friendly help.



This is the time that I remember those people in my life and how they are so much more precious to me, in this world, than jewelry or electronics or pretty clothes. At Christmas, we all turn into the best possible version of ourselves.

Through trying times and deep sorrow, still, there is hope. And there will always be hope. There will always be those of us who try to reach out, try to give more than we get and help our fellow humans.

Goodnight my dear readers. I hope you found this video as wonderful as I did.

Blessings and Love to All on this Christmas,

-Bri

Friday, December 21, 2012

Building a Business Without Breaking the Bank

Mindvalley is an amazing company. With its' only business plan scratched on the back of a napkin,














Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Free Art Supplies!


 I know that, getting started in a creative endevor can cost money because, starting out, you don't know what kinds of materials can do what. Oil vs. Acrylic? What's the difference? And it can get pretty expensive playing around with different things before you find your groove. I went to college for art, which means I got to try out a wide range of mediums with loan money. Still, being a professional artist, creativity specialist and blogger, I know we need all the help we can get.

But, never fear, my lovelies! Visionary Bri is here to help you once again.

This is a link to a Facebook page where you can request some free art supply samples to be sent to you. I signed up for mine, today. And I hope this will help you along your artsy, creative way.

Conte A Paris

Also, here's a E-How article which might be helpful, as well. I haven't used any of the things on here, yet. But, if you do, let me know how they turn out.

How to get Free Art Supplies

Until next time, my lovelies, know that I am eternally encouraging you. We are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.


Love to All,

-Bri


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Monday, December 17, 2012

The "Eyes" Have It

Any art that is done on paper or a surface is called 2D. 3D art would be sculpture. If you're interested in doing 2D art and want to draw people, there is one element above all others which will propel your art to the next level: learning to draw eyes.

If there's anything in 2D art that I've learned (in art school and in life) it's this: if you're going to draw people, spend the most time making the eyes as best that you can and your art will be well recieved. Why is this? Because of the way our brains work.

Think about it, if you want to know if someone is telling you the truth, you look into their eyes. If you want a real connection with someone, the eyes are where you will get it. Within the eyes, we feel that, not only are we really "seeing" the other person, but we are being seen, as well. That is all art, essentially, is. One human connecting to another. I've never heard of someone gazing lovingly into another's nostril, have you? The "eyes" have it.


So, if your artwork that depicts another human has well-done, good looking and believable eyes, the viewer feels a connection with the work. It's a simple principle and a simple trick, but it works.

Now, I'd love to be able to sit down with you and show you how I draw eyes. But, if I did that, it would only be teaching you how to copy my style. What I want is for you to find your own style. In that way, keep in mind these simple rules.

1) A part of the iris is always concealed by the eyelid.
2) There will always be a shadow on the eyeball which sets it back from the lid.
3) Within the eye, there will always be a white spot which reflects the light source. The location of this white spot will also direct, slightly, where the eye is looking.
4) The eye, when done, is never fully white. There are pink triangles at each side and the side closest to the nose will always have a circle, which is the tear duct.
5) Eyelashes start (at the side nearest the nose) as short and sparse. As they move to the outer edge, they get longer, thicker and are more frequent.

Those five simple principles are really all you need to know to draw realistic looking eyes. Color? Shape? All of these other things will be determined by your artistic interpretation.

Since I can't sit down with you, this internet medium being what it is, let me give you this video which is a quick-draw of a very good eye.



In drawing people, even "fantasy-type people" with cat tails or blue skin, drawing realistic eyes will grab the viewer and make your art more compelling. And, the more compelling your art is, the more people will want to see of it.

In fact, some compelling work can even be done with just eyes as the subject matter --


Experimentation with the pupil

 A close-up photo of an actual eye. Isn't that amazing?


 To see my work with eyes and re-imagined portraiture, see the project Art Wherever You Are

My dearest beings, I hope this post has helped you on your path.

Until next time, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.



Love to All,


-Bri


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Friday, December 14, 2012

Excuses? Invalid. Try Again.


I found this picture around the internet and I thought I'd share it for this week's weekend inspiration. Seeing this prompted me to get up the gumption and ask my assistant to send some inquiry emails that I'd flip-flopped about sending. Emails that might move this Visionary thing I've got going on a bit further. After seeing this picture and realizing everything that this man must've had to go through to get where he is, it gave me a bit of a kick in the pants.

My dear ones, I still have that little voice in my head, sometimes, that says, "I don't know if you can do this." It's okay. We all have it. And it doesn't matter that, no matter how much you pursue your dreams and your goals, that little voice still persists. What does matter is not letting that little voice rule you. 

Dream, always. Reach, always. Try, always. Go, always. Get up again, always.

A friend of mine who's been single for quite a while called me up this week. "I don't want to drive all that way for this date and maybe get stood up." "Go," I encouraged her. "Always go." It's the difference between 'I believe that this might take me closer to my dream of a partner to go through life with' or 'I've given up on this dream.' I told my friend about some of the absolutely horrific dates I'd been on, how I'd been stood up and much worse. Then, I told her what a friend did for me, in my time of doubt.

My now-hubby and I, in the beginning of our relationship, broke up. By happenstance, there was a large social gathering of my friends happening on his parents' property that had been planned months before. Two hours from where the party was taking place, I danced from one foot to the other saying, "I don't know if I should go." Finally, my friend took me by the shoulders and pushed me toward their van. "You're going," they said in a very forceful tone.

This situation had the potential for major personal drama and a horrific outcome. However, had I not gone, hubby and I probably wouldn't have ever gotten back together and I would not have my Precious Pookie and the life I do, now.

When times are the hardest, it is then that we need to persevere. When it seems most dismal and most bleak, it is then that we have to look even harder for that spark to guide us. So, no matter the situation, I will always say, "Go. Dream. Dare. Do. Risk." Always. For without the going, the dreaming, the daring, the doing and the risking, miracles can't happen.

I watched the movie Men in Black 3, this week. If you haven't seen it, stop reading right now and go watch it. Don't worry . . . I'll wait . . .

Did you watch it? Good.

That movie is now added to my top 20 movies of all time for the character of Griffin. Such an amazing character. One of his quotes is this, " A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway."


 My lovelies, miracles are happening every single day. That, you can bank on. And there's no reason that a miracle can't happen for you, no matter what you're wishing for. There's no reason that it can't happen to you, today. One small step is all it takes. Trust me on this. Miracles aren't announced with a flourish of trumpets, anymore, but they certainly can happen and (often) in the most unlikely of places on some idle Tuesday.

What have you been dreaming of, dears? What steps toward your miracle could you take? Try to take a tiny one, this weekend. Let the universe conspire with you for a change.

PS -- Don't forget to dance!

Here's a song to get you started --

 
 "The Logical Song"


Until next time, my beautiful ones, please remember that we are ALL visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.


Love to All,


-Bri


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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Either The Laziest or The Smartest Person Ever: I Failed Walking -- Twice

I went to college. 3 of them, to be exact, but I never graduated. The first college I went to was Ball State University, a big state school where a little girl with crazy colored hair (who was the leader of the outcasts in her high school) could fit in, be creative and find other geeks, freaks and weirdo's to be friends with.

In my time at this college, I failed my Walking class. Twice. And the story of how I managed to accomplish this feat is Why I Am Either The Laziest or The Smartest Person Ever.



Now, to the tale. I'll say it, again. I failed a college class called Walking. Twice. Now, this might be understandable if, say, I had legs that didn't work. But I was going to raves all the time and dancing my little butt off. Clearly, my legs work fine. The reason that I failed Walking twice is either that my mind is way too overactive or that I am lazy.


Monday, December 10, 2012

Muncey in Muncie: Turning Teenage Drudgery into Awesome!

Here, in Muncie Indiana, one teen is turning drudgery into awesome.

Brannon Muncey, 18, got his job at Little Caesar's pizza on the corner of West McGalliard and Walnut just 5 months ago. "I stood in life for three hours, waiting, and got hired that day," says Muncey.

We've all had our share of horrible jobs in our teens, usually in food service. Your truly breaded chicken and worked a drive through. Many high school and college kids in the Muncie, Indiana area have a different type of job. For barely above minimum wage, they stand on corners and hold brightly colored signs by busy streets, trying to bring attention to a business.  Driving around Muncie, I've seen many students with this sign-holding job, but Brannon stands out from all of them.



Not just content to hold his sign, Brannon has become a local phenomenon for dancing with and performing tricks with his sign. I caught up with Brannon on a dreary, Saturday evening in December. Though it was drizzling slightly, Brannon remained undeterred. "They don't make us hold signs bad weather, but if it's not too bad out, I tell them that I'll go out and, you know," Brannon says as he nods toward the worn patch of soil near the busy street. What is Brannon getting known for?  Click here for a video of Brannon performing.

"I have my moves," Brannon says, "but I'm working on new ones all the time. Sometimes a move doesn't work out, so I try something else." In beaten up sneakers and a bright orange shirt (sometimes with a sweatshirt over that), Brannon is hard to miss. Passing cars honking or waving at him is common. When asked if he's gotten any bad reactions to his dancing, Brannon replies with a smile. "Yeah, but I think it's just people trying to mess with me."



Brannon is a senior at the local Central High School. Soft spoken and genial, almost shy, he seems amazed about the press he's gotten. Yours truly has not been the only one to interview him. The local paper, The Muncie Star, did a story in the "Life" section on him and the Ball State University morning show interviewed him as well.

But Brannon's not out there alone. He's got his tunes. As I interviewed him, ear buds hung out from neck of his bright orange shirt. When I asked what he was listening to while dancing, he said, "Rap and hip-hop, mostly. The new stuff like 2 Chainz and Tyga." When asked why he started dancing, he laughs and says, "To pass the time. You know, to make it fun."

I told Brannon that I appreciated what he was doing. I told him that, if he approached life the same way that he'd approached this job, that he would go far. In fact, for me, it was an honor to shake Brannon's hand and every time I see him, dancing with his sign, it brings a smile to my face and gives me hope for other dream chasers, out there.

The Visionary Van outside Brannon's branch

Brannon Muncey, everyone here, at Visionary Bri salutes you. Keep doing what you doing and help people to remember . . .

We are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Until next time, my dear readers. Have a magical day and keep on dancin'!

Love to All,

Bri



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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Don't Take it From Me - Here's Neil Gaiman!

You don't have to listen to me encouraging you to follow your creative passion. After all, who am I? I'm just one girl in the world, crying out to the wind in order to attempt to inspire others.

Maybe my name isn't prestigeous enough for you. I haven't been on TV talking about this (though I have made television appearances). You haven't seen me come to your town with my name on a billboard in lights, yet (though I have given lectures at colleges). And maybe you've never seen my name on a book in Barnes and Noble (even though I have independently published 4 books). That's okay. There's something to be said for fame and notoriety. One day, I hope to have enough of each to be able to reach a wider audience and maybe give this "Visionary Bri" name a bit more clout. Maybe I could even come to a city near you, wherever you are in the world!

So, don't take it from me. Instead, here's Neil Gaiman encouraging artists. If my encouragement isn't doing it for you, how 'bout listening to him?


Want to be a writer? Here he is, again.


Would you like to see a commencement speech he's given? Well, here you go.



In general, take from these videos what you'd like. It doesn't matter who or what inspires you to live your dreams. All that matters is that you do pursue them, that you do chase them down and that you don't spend years in wishing and putting things off.

My dears, please don't wait. Your ultimate life is waiting for you! Your ultimate joy is calling to you! It's there. All you have to do is seek it. This world is waiting for you to share your gifts with it.


And please, my lovelies. Please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel. Until next time.

Love to All,

Bri


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Monday, December 3, 2012

"Put it in a Pocket" and "Bookbinding"

While researching smash books, I came upon this video. Now, I don't know about you, but my sketchbook does a lot of traveling with me. (Yes, I bought my purse big enough so that it would fit specifically in there.) As I go about my life, I often find things I want to save. Business cards, napkin doodles and the like. Sure, I could just put them in my purse, but little things like that tend to get lost or mussed up.

My current sketchbook has a pocket in the front, which I just love. The tradeoff is that the cover isn't as sturdy as the kind of sketchbook I normally get. So, what a wonderful thing to find -- how to make pockets in your own smash book, sketchbook or journal. (Her voice is a little soft, so you may have to turn it up.) Now I can have the sturdiness of my favorite brand of sketchbook AND the pocket that I love. Woo hoo!




Also, there was something I learned at the Buddhist university that I attended-- making my own books. I only did this once, in the class, but I look forward to doing it, again. "Sounds hard," you say. Not so! In fact, it's pretty easy and can get addictive. Here's a video that explains the basics using widely available materials.





Well, my dears, I hope these videos inspire you this week. Feel free to post pictures of what you've been up to. I'd love the see them.



And please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel!


Love to All,

Bri


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Friday, November 30, 2012

Sleepy Toon

When hubby and I first started dating, we made each other mixed CDs. I know! Isn't it just so cute?

Anyway, one of the CDs that he made me contained this song. I'd never heard it before, but as soon as I did, I was hooked on it. For weeks, it played on repeat in my car. I just imagined myself dancing to this at some street fair, my skirts and hair flying in the wind.

It's such a wonderful song by a band that's not well-known. So, I thought I'd share it with you all. Something new to tickle your ears, my lovelies. Without further ado, I give you "Sleepy Toon" by Wolfstone.




Well, I hope you enjoyed and I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.



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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Nightmare Should Be Over: Dealing with PTSD

♫ And though the nightmare should be over
some of the terrors are still intact
I hear that ugly, coarse and violent voice
and then (s)he grabs me from behind
and then (s)he pulls me back ♫


The lyrics above are from a song by Meat Loaf called "Objects in the Rearview Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are." 



Those lyrics strike very close to home for those of us with PTSD. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can happen for a myriad of reasons. Basically, it boils down to a person being exposed to stress where they feel that their life or safety may be in danger. If this happens often enough over a period of time, the body and the mind can be effected long after the stressful situation has passed.

For those of us who have survived abuse or trauma, our lives can be ruled by the effects of PTSD. We avoid certain places. We alter our habits. The most seemingly innocent things make us uncomfortable, scared, or even (in the cases of war survivors) violent.

I am not the first of my family to have PTSD. My dear father's father killed himself by carbon monoxide poisoning when my dad was 18. My dad found the body and tried to perform CPR on a body that had already gone through rigor mortis. To this day, the smell of car exhaust fumes in a confined area makes my father sick to his stomach. It reminds him of that horrid day and brings up all the emotions associated with how his family fell apart, after that tragedy.


 My father at 18 years old

In the case of having been abused either by a parent or lover, after one gets away, they may unconsciously put themselves back into a different abusive relationship. And a person may do this because that is what "feels normal" to them. I know that's what I did and it took some real inner work to break that cycle.

Throughout my life, my mother was severely psychologically and emotionally abusive to both my father and I. There was physical abuse thrown in there, as well, but it happened less frequently. My mother controlled what we ate, how much we were allowed to sleep, what clothes we could wear, almost every aspect of our lives. She accused us of "crimes" we didn't commit. She spread rumors about us, lied to us, stole from us and generally made our lives miserable. If her whims weren't satisfied, we paid the price. 

My father and I even developed our own sign language to communicate with each other so she couldn't hear us. It got so bad that she even manipulated how my father and I could even speak to each other. And, when we did speak, she pitted us against one another.

When you're a person who is trapped, living with a crazy-making person like my mother was, you almost develop a sixth sense. Other abuse survivors I've talked to have this sense, as well. This extra sense is the ability to read the energy of a room. You learn this as a survival trait. If you can "sense" when your abuser is mad, even before seeing them, you can try to preemptively soothe them or maybe steer clear and avoid their wrath. 

To this day, I notice very small modulations in people's speech, tiny differences in the way their face moves that may indicate either anger or sadness. When I think someone may not be 100% on stable mental turf, I still try to almost instinctively soothe them. Living a life on the edge of distaster with an abusive person made me hyper-aware of changes to my surroundings.

It wasn't until I was 27 and my parents got divorced that I realized how bad it really was in "The House of Unending Hostility." Once I got some physical and psychological distance, I realized how badly she had effected both my father and I. Five years after their divorce, my father and I still talk about it, we still try to process those years and we still sit in disbelief. Yes. It did happen. No, we're not crazy and we're not making it up. It really was that bad.

When an abused person gets out and then goes back to what we think is "normal," the cycle is incredibly hard to break. When I left college at age 20, I moved in with a boyfriend who turned out to be an abusive alcoholic. For 2 years, our electricity got turned off periodically, but there was always whiskey and beer in the refrigerator. 

Living with him was a dark time of high drama and he literally tried to killed me, once. There are times, still, in my nightmares, when I can still feel his hands around my throat, feel myself losing breath and see the world going dark.

And now I still believe (s)he never let me leave
I had to run away, alone

So many threats and fears, so many wasted years
before my life became my own


Now that I haven't spoken to or even been in my mothers' presence for 5 years, I can see how bad it was. Now that I can begin to distance myself and reflect on the relationships of my past, I can begin to heal the wounds and scars that they left.

The day before Thanksgiving, I went to the store where the abusive alcoholic boyfriend was employed while we were together. I haven't spoken to him in 9 years, but I live back in the town where he and I lived, together. It's hard. There are businesses I refuse to go in because of the association with him. There are people I am afraid to talk to, even though I'd like their friendship, because I'm afraid that information about me will get back to him and I'll have to run for my life across state lines, again. It's irrational. I know this. But that's how PTSD works. The fear for your safety is so ingrained that it turns into either fight-or-flight or complete shut-down when the memories are brought back up.

Through counseling and medication, I've come to accept that the abuse that has happened to me wasn't my fault and that I don't have to let those past traumas rule me. I can begin to retrain my brain to remember that I'm no longer back there, in those situations. I am safe. My daughter, Pookie, and my hubby are my reality, now. 

I haven't completely been able to forgive the perpetrators for their actions, but I've begun to challenge and beat the fear.

Today, I went to his store. I hadn't set foot in there for 9 years. I used to take him his lunch every day. He brought home dinner from this store. I walked in there, so many times, with a smile plastered on my face, yet afraid that someone could read on my face what was really going on. He had made it very clear that, for office politic reasons, it was important that I impress these coworkers by being a "dutiful girlfriend." I was terrified of displeasing him. I was petrified that they would see through my eyes and down into my heart, all the way down to my wrenching desire to be loved and the desperation I was experiencing.

I parked The Visionary Van outside and I looked up at the store's sign. Even 9 years later, just seeing the logo of the store made me want to run, to pass on by, to avoid. Deep breaths, I thought. Deep breaths. He's not here. He hasn't been here for a long time. None of the people that work in there would probably even remember who he was. I talked myself into walking across the parking lot, opening the wide glass door and going into the store. You're safe, I told myself. 

Still, I found myself glancing at every employee, ready to run. See? They're not even wearing the same uniforms. It's okay. You're just a customer. Look around.

As I browsed the store, I noticed that the various departments weren't even laid out in the same manner that I remembered them. That helped. Making my way through the new layout, I wandered down aisles. To any on-looker, I was just another customer perusing the shelves. But, inside, this was monumental. My heart wasn't pounding in my ears. My feet weren't backing away. 



You don't own me anymore, I thought. You're not going to live rent-free in my head anymore. You can't hurt me. See? I am strong. I'm getting over all the crap you beat me down with. I'm not angry, anymore, and I'm not scared. I will not let this rule me.


I looked at Christmas gifts for my Precious Pookie. Amid all the colorful softness of the toy aisle, I felt so thankful that I had come so far. I had the little girl I had always wanted, but never thought I'd have. Holding a stuffed lady bug, silky soft and sweet, I just knew that Pookie would giggle with delight when she saw it. In that moment, my eyes welled up with tears of joy. To come full circle and to stand on the exact same cream and brown tile floor, so happy, where I had once stood and been so sad and scared, my heart broke open and I wept.

I wish that, when I left that store, that it was magical. I wish I could tell you that I walked back to The Visionary Van with my fist raised to the sky in victory. I didn't. I wish I could tell you that I fell to my knees and thanked every god that ever was for helping me on this road. I didn't. I just walked back to my purple minivan.

That was it. Plain, simple and innocuous. No triumphant music gave any clue to the world what I had just stared down. Memories. Past. Fear. Helplessness. To any observer who doesn't know my history, who doesn't have these memories or this heart that was crushed by people who professed love, the title of this blog post would have been, Today, I Browsed Christmas Gifts In a Store.

Dear souls, as you go about your lives, please occasionally try to remember this. That person who just cut you off in traffic? Maybe their sister just died. That lady who was three cents short for the ice cream? Maybe she just faced down a personal demon and was rewarding herself. (Psst! That was me!) 'Cause we don't get theme music rocketing down from the ether at significant moments in our life. We're just people going about our day and living. We're just little beings, trying to make the best of the hand we've been dealt. And, in my book, that's worth a little ice cream, from time to time. 


 My father (today) with his awesome girlfriend and my daughter, Pookie


Lovelies, this isn't the end of my story or my struggle, no. This Earth-shaking day was only one step in a process. Coming out the other side of trauma and abuse can have a happy story that follows it. No matter what you've gone through, your story can continue past fear. It can continue past pain, past betrayal, past hurt and lies, negative self image, anger and the urge to run away.

And maybe your path will take you far away. To mountains and oceans. Maybe you'll be known by a different name. And maybe, just maybe, the road will wind and bend you gently back to the town you started in, to friends and family that will sing triumphant out-of-tune songs with you while passing the chocolate syrup.

 

Whatever you're facing, my dears, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.


My heart goes out to you and joins with yours.
I send you hope and serendipity.
Love to all,


Bri



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Monday, November 26, 2012

Doodlers, Unite!

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about a fun approach to start working in your sketchbook called Zendoodle or Zentangle. You may ask what the point of this is, just having fun with drawing. "I'm not creating 'serious art'!" you say. "I'm just muddling around."

As it turns out, this "just paying around" in your sketchbook has great benefits for all of us. See: this video.




See?

I'd like to take this one step further. Not only is "doodling" considered inappropriate in the work place, but in the realm of "serious art," it is looked down upon. The world of serious, professional art has a high level of critique. "Why did you use that brand of paper?" "What did you mean to invoke by using blue, here, instead of (say) yellow?" "Is this a cultural commentary?"

In fact, outside of elementary school (and even in there, some times) the art of play, of puttering around, of being absentminded or creating just for the joy of doing it is looked down upon and I have never understood why.

At our most fundamental levels, we are mammals and all mammals engage in play. Not only as children, but as adults as well. It facilitates social connections keeps us physically and mentally sharp and releases hormones that increase our sense of well-being.

"Playing around," both in your sketchbook and in your life has nothing but 100% positive implications and effects upon you. I encourage you to step outside of your box, your rules, your thoughts of "I wanted to draw a horse, but a horse doesn't look like that," and let yourself play. Play in your sketchbook, play in your life. Let go of rules and "should's" and "can't."

Let us free spirits, us joyful beings, us doodlers and muddlers and dreamers unite and spread the word. Rigidity and sternness break. Flowing and merriment endure, enliven and invigorate!


Keep playing, my dears. And please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.


Love to All,


Bri



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Friday, November 23, 2012

Goddess Leonie: Inspiration Woman with Freebies!

During my late-night web browsings, I came upon this woman. Leonie Dawson. Upon browsing her site, man this woman is cool. Can I just be honest, here? She's become one of my idols.






Leonie Dawson is the creator of LeonieDawson.com, one of the longest running creativity, spirituality & business blogs on the web.

Leonie is a writer, blogger, retreat leader, globe-trotter, visual artist, mama, and vessel of wild creativity & sage guidance for the 20,000 Goddesses who orbit around her virtual altar each month. Her strategic musings & practical wisdom have been featured on Problogger, Tiny Buddha, spirituality magazines like Goddess, Spellcraft, Life Images and Spheres, and in three of SARK’s best-selling books on creative fulfillment & freedom.

Purposeful, passionate & unendingly prolific, Leonie published her first book at 22, held her first art show at 23, began leading women’s circles at 23, created her first retreat at 25, launched the Goddess Circle — a subscription-based women’s community for creatives of every color — at 27, and has guided 4,000 women through transformational Circle experiences over the past 3 years. She’s also released 5 e-courses — including her signature workshop for entrepreneurs, Become A Business Goddess — 4 meditation kits and 2 workbooks into the digital ether, building a multiple six-figure business in the process.

Leonie has walked labyrinths in the moonlight, wept atop mountains in the middle of a storm, danced with a baby in an old cow shed as a Filipino tribal chief sang, and once married herself in a public commitment ceremony — witnessed by goddess maidens of honor that she’d met on the Internet.

No stranger to praise, applause & offerings of gratitude, Leonie has been called an “illuminated creator,” “inspiring, wise and oh-so-talented,” a “healer, guide and sacred teacher” — and she’s here to help you bring your soul-stirring dream into reality, and become the Goddess you were born to be.




Ho, this woman is neat. I hope to meet her in person, some day. Personally, I snagged her 2012 Creating Your Goddess Year workbook and I love it. I found this video which shows you all that's inside it. 




Aren't you excited to work with it? The new 2013 one was just released with 2 separate editions. One for life and one for business. You can bet your booty that I've got both. ;-)

One of the things on my Christmas list, this year, is Leonie's book. Entitled 73 Lessons Every Goddess Must Know. I've pointed it out to hubby numerous times, saying, "Want it, honey. Want. Pleeze?"

I don't know about you, but what sold me on this lady and everything she's doing was her Freebies! It gave me a glimpse into what she was doing before I committed to buying anything. Now, I'm hooked. Her poster, "How to Be a Goddess" is the Desktop wallpaper on my laptop.  

Whenever I'm feeling down, confused or just looking for a little support, there's always something on Leonie's site or YouTube Channel that catches my eye, seems to fit and gets my creative juices flowing. Take a look around there during the weekend and see if you don't feel inspired, as well. Her optimism is contagious!

I also want to tell you about one last thing. Leonie's 2013 Create Your Incredible Year Workbooks. Oh my, honey pie! The Create Your Incredible Year In Biz + Life workbooks are DIFFERENT. They are powerful catalysts of change that not only inspire a new direction but make you feel good about yourself and your work at the same time. They call out your highest potential, and your ability to make it all happen. It uses simple yet powerful techniques to help you not only dream your biggest dream and set your goals, but to actually MAKE THEM HAPPEN too.

Many miracles have been made from using this workbook. You’re going to read the words of women who’ve been using it every single year and swear by it for making their new years their very best ever. It’s something I use religiously – and I’m constantly amazed when I review each year’s at just how of my dreams and goals came true.

This woman, her videos, her art and her products are truly amazing. I would absolutely never, ever endorse anything I didn't adore and Leonie Dawson is it. I can't wait to meet her in person and chat about spirituality, business and mama-hood (one of my dreams).

I hope that you can find as much inspiration from Leonie as I have.

Dream big! Live bigger!

  
As always, my lovelies, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.


Love to All,

Bri



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Friday, November 16, 2012

A Healthy Dose of Narcissism eg. Evita

When you're trying to create a one-person movement (aka trying to market yourself and what you do to an audience), there's something in a person's personality that is always 1) criticized and 2) required. And that thing is a healthy dose of narcissism.



Ah, yes. Take a page from The Diva, herself, who made her place in the world through sheer grit and talent.


One of my friends who shall remain nameless offered this opinion about blogs and bloggers:

"blogs=ballooned sense of importance. you don't need your own entire damn website. that's what FB is for. see: (his FB page) speaking on behalf of the blogees, nobody gives a shit about your cats or what flavor coffee you prefer. if we did, we'd probably ask you about it. we didn't ask, so don't tell. here's an idea: write in a journal, then the only person constantly lambasted by your every waking thought is you. this goes out to no one personally, just a musing. you could call it my first blog entry, if you like. PFFFFFFT."

For some, I can see how this opinion might hold true. It also may just be that the blogs this person is reading aren't catching his interest. To each their own. But I would like to use this quote from a man who is round-about poking fun at what I do to make a point. 


When you put yourself out there, when you lay yourself out on the line for public view, not all the opinions about your work will be supportive and nice. That's okay. Everyone has their own perspective. When I receive criticism, I always try to put myself in the person's shoes. Maybe your critic is just having a bad day. Maybe they're jealous 'cause they, too, are a repressed creative and can't find the courage to put themselves out there. Or maybe the medium you're working in just isn't their style. That's no reason for me or you to quit what we're doing. It's no reason for us to not be "High-Flying Adored."





For instance, personally, I don't read romance novels. I don't like the genre. I find them trite and repetitious, but I'm not going to go around criticizing people who either read or write them. I know there's a big market for them, so somebody's gotta be reading. They're not my personal style, so I just leave them be. Some people, instead of leaving be what others like that really isn't harming anyone, they feel the need to lash out. It's okay. It's not personal.

The criticism above was not aimed at me, personally. It was said, however, by someone who 1) knows I have a blog, 2) knows I have access to where this was posted and 3) said "yes" to my putting some of my stickers in his shop for his customers to pick up. Do I take offense to it? Nope. Do I have hard feelings toward the man that said it? Not one bit. He's always been nice and jovial with me. He just happens to have an opinion that runs contrary to mine. No big deal.


It would have been very easy to take this criticism personally. I've put creative efforts out into the public in the past and, when they weren't met with 100% favorable opinion, I took it hard. Very hard. For a long time, I stopped making my work public. But then I realized that, no matter what anyone else said, that I and what I was doing was pretty damned cool. As the song says, "Sometimes it's very difficult to keep momentum / if it's you that you are following."





Not everyone may agree with me, that I'm awesome, but that's okay. Not everyone thinks Madonna is awesome, but she's still rockin' after all these years.

So, sometimes, in the face of negativity, it takes a healthy dose of narcissism to look in that mirror and say, "Know what? Screw them! I'm pretty damned neat and I'm not gonna stop doing what makes me happy!" You could call it other things: self esteem, a thicker skin, or any of the myriad of other expressions. 




None of the picture of Madonna as Evita, here, are mine. They just illustrate my point so perfectly. For me, there is no more inspiring movie to watch when I'm feeling glum about criticism than Madonna's role in the movie-musical Evita. The catchy songs always seem to reflect some aspect of what's going on in my life at the time and I can say, "I'm just in 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall'" or "It's just 'Peron's Latest Flame.' There's still a lot of story to go!" And that gives me the fortitude to push on.

Evita may not give you the kick in the pants you need to keep yourself going. That's all right. The movie Frida is also a great and inspiring one. Whatever you need to do -- watch a movie, put on some music and dance that negativity away -- do it! Your creative work is way too important to abandon it over someone's opinion. Chin up, babies. Forge on. Launch your own "Rainbow Tour" and bask in the glory when it comes.




"Stand back! You oughta know whatcha gonna get in me / Just a little touch of star quality" 



Until next time, dears, please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.



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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WOYWW

So, I don't have a "work desk" per se. My apartment is small and I don't have a work desk, yet. Though hubby does have one planned to build me, so here's hoping.

To participate in WOYWW, I'll show you this. My workspace is not a desk. Confession time -- most of my creating is done in bed. That's right. I write my blog in bed, I paint and draw in bed, I sew in bed. Everything. Mostly, my creative time is late at night while my Precious Pookie and hubby are sleeping. Three cheers for long hours of uninterrupted time to focus!

An unconventional WOYWW, here you go!

First off, there is my bedside table.


Here you see my Bath and Body Works lavender vanilla pillow mist, lotions, my "geek stick" jump drive, colored pencils, a cowrie shell, my medications, fruit and grain bars, a pocket knife, a nail kit, my large cup of hot tea, my water bottle of iced tea, my Prismacolor pencils, a bag of sharpies and my box of creativity reference books.

Second, how I keep everything organized:


Here you see the shelves above the nightstand and my bulletin board. In the black binder are completed writing prjects. The green binder is projects for the baby next to my sketchbook. The brown container is full of jewelry I have made. Next to that on the shelf is tape, a mini muffin tin that I mix paints in, tape, headphones and thumb tacks. On the bulletin bard are blog post topics, daily to-do stuff and mail I need to address.

Finally, my awesome shelves that hubby made me this week:





On the top shelf is fabric and other "to mend" projects. The middle shelf is painting supplies and business cards. The bottom shelf, I have already described.

So, an unconventional WOYWW.

Disorganized space for the win!



What does your work space look like?



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Welcome!





I would like to take this moment to welcome all my new readers in the following countries:

Albania
Algeria
Angola
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bangladesh
Belgium
Belize
Bosnia
Brazil
Brunei
Bulgaria
Burma
Canada
Cayman Islands
Chile
China
Columbia
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Ecuador
Egypt
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Ghana
Guam
Herzegovina
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Jamaica
Kazakhstan
Kuwait
Latvia
Lebanon
Lithuania
Macedonia
Malaysia
Malta
Mexico
Moldova
Morocco
Myanmar
Nepal
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Romania
Russia
Saint Lucia
Saudi Arabia
Serbia
Seychelles
Singapore
Slovakia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Taiwan
Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago
Uruguay
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Venezuela
Vietnam
Wales


And the list keeps getting longer and longer. I am so inspired and encouraged by this. Thank you, everyone!



No matter where you are, I hope that you're chasing down your creative dreams. I hope you're living the life you've always wanted to live and are rejoicing in each new day. I hope that you're filled to the brim with the possibility that each dawn brings us and with the peace of knowing that you're not alone in this world. We're all here to make our lives better and grow as people and that transcends any boundary line.

So, welcome to you all and I send you a great big hug! I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you and sharing in this journey, together, that we call "a creative life."

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Hustle" aka "Marketing"

Otherwise known as yelling, "HEY! I'M DOING SOMETHING OVER HERE! LOOKIE LOOKIE! PAY ATTENTION!!!"




Living an independent, creative and free life requires a fair bit of what I call "hustle," which is known in the actual and real business world as "marketing." Now that may sound like a daunting concept to you, but think of it this way. Unless you know me, personally, my marketing has reached you. You've found me and you're reading this. Take a look at all the countries that people live in who read my blog. Impressive, isn't it?  All of these readers, including you my dear friend, can be attributed to my hustle regarding this blog.

*insert self-congratulatory pat on the back here*




The word "marketing" is one of those big, scary, business words that intimidate the sometimes shy, creative temperaments of artists like me. It's an intimidating word like "deficit," "revenue," "optimized," and "consultation clarity meeting." It's one of those words that, honestly, makes people like me run for the hills. "Ah! Scary professional thing! Don't understand! Too intimidating! Let the suit-wearing people deal with those words and just let me play with art and create nifty stuff!"

And that's fine, if you feel like that, when I use official-sounding business words. I used to feel exactly the same way. But I quickly learned that, right now, I can't afford a P.R. person or a savvy personal assistant or any other suit-type person to take care of the "fitting crazy little me into the actual, real world" duties. I'd either have to learn how to do them, myself, or be like Henry Darger who's impressive body of work was not discovered until after his death. In short, if you don't share your work with the world, honey, it's gonna take a long time for the world to recognize that you're doing anything, at all.


 One of Henry Darger's paintings


Personally, I'd like to be alive to hear when someone either likes or hates my creative projects, so that left me no choice but to tackle the big, bad, normally-reserved-for-people-in-ties jobs, myself.

Let me explain to you some concepts and what I mean.

Basically, no one knows that this little corner of the internet called "Visionary Bri" exists unless I go out and tell people that it's here. Every time I make a blog post, I visit a few key sites that I've found and post the link there so people can come and look around.

As I go about my daily life, I have stickers with my blog address on them that I won in a contest from PrintRunner and I hand out the stickers. My website is also on my business cards which I hand out, as well. If you don't know me and I happen to come across you, chances are good that either one of  both of these things will be given to you.




Any time you go out and actively tell people about what you're doing, letting them see your face and directing them to where they can see more about you or your product, is called "active marketing."Attending seminars, joining committees and rubbing elbows with like-minded people. In internet world, "(a)ctive marketing campaigns are designed to drive traffic to a site immediately. Often times, active campaigns are paid placements that only drive traffic so long as the ad is running and once completed, traffic begins to dwindle immediately."

"Passive marketing" is simpler, but some thought has to be put into it to maximize its efforts. Any billboard you see, any sign hung outside a business, any radio commercial you hear, any link you see is passive marketing. You make the initial effort to create a marketing plan (commercial, sign, etc.), but you don't have to be there every time someone sees it. In internet world, it is placing an "ad one single time that produce(s) sales for five continuous years. Customers stream in to your company saying they remembered the ad spot you ran years ago and they still felt compelled to work with you and your organization. Too good to be true, right?This is exactly what passive campaigns are designed to do."

Once you know 1) who you're trying to market to and 2) what would be the optimal venue for your advertising, marketing is pretty easy. It doesn't have to be a huge multi-million dollar campaign, but it certainly can be, if you have the money to throw at it (which I currently don't). Think Super Bowl commercials. So much money spent on one commercial and who in The United States can forget the donkey that wanted to be a Budweiser Clydesdale?




Once you understand the concepts, marketing is easy!

To start out, scope out the 'hood like a thief in the night. Start out right where you are, either at your computer or your home town. Start off with friends. If people know who you are, first, the chances of them being interested in what you're doing is higher. Do you know any local merchants who might let you put your business card or a flyer up in their store? Ask them about it. Always ask. The worst that they can say is "no."

You can search the internet to find communities of like-minded people and I'm always in favor of this because I can do it late at night without having to get out of bed!

Now, I am lucky enough to live in a town where there's a university and it's pretty sizable. People overlook universities, but they offer a substantial population of all kinds of people who would be interested in what you're doing. Plus, there's a new crop of them coming in every August, so take advantage of that if you can.

One of my marketing schemes that I came up with (and you can feel free to steal if you like) was my little marbled boxes. First, I cut the bottom off of a graham cracker box so that I had the bottom plus about 1 inch going up the sides. Then, I took some computer paper, took out my marbling kit and marbled some paper.


I then glued the marbled paper to the boxes with some plain white glue and affixed a little sign.

See the pretty marbled paper?



"Please Take One" finished Marbled Box with stickers



So, I made 2 of these little boxes. I put them in my purse and I hit the streets of my town. My first stop was my local university. I had to park The Visionary Van and walk for a bit, but it was okay. I used to attend this university back when I was younger, but it took some doing for me to find the "free for all" bulletin boards where you can post anything you want. Eventually, I did find one, though. I took two thumb tacks and stuck the box to the bulletin board at about eye level. Now, the little box sits there, waiting for people to find it.



Did people look at me funny, walking around a campus looking a bit confused on a Sunday. Yes and no, but I did spy some college boys checking me out, so I don't think my presence was entirely unwanted there. ;-)
I also took a box and put it in the local "when I was in school here, I spent more money here than I did on tuition" coffee shop. It's got a different name, now, and is under new ownership. But there was still a place for local people to put business cards and the like.

Marketing isn't all that hard, once you break it down. I encourage to come up with your own ideas to get your work out there in the public eye or steal mine. Maybe you won't be able to make a living off your creative work, yet, but it's better to give people an opportunity to be interested in you so that you can work on making a living at it.

Keep creating, my dears. Don't shy back from telling the world what you're up to and don't wait 'til it's "perfect." Get out there and show 'em what you're made of!



And please remember that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel!



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