Friday, September 20, 2013

Robbed of Personal Power - Beyond Your Story

I talk a lot about your story up until now and how you should not let it define you.

We all have had people in our past who have taken away our personal power. It might have been parents, kids at school that made fun of us or people who have abused us in some way.

In the words of The Bloggess, depression lies!

 I've been right in all these places. I've been told I was fat, even though I was beautiful. There was a man who told me that he loved me, then choked me until I blacked out. There was a man who, when he saw me walking around the college campus without him, told me that I was fat and that he was embarrassed to call me his girlfriend to his coworkers. Girls, so insecure with themselves while in my presence, that they systematically tore at my self esteem over years until by age 17, I didn't think that I was worthy of even drawing breath, anymore.

A picture of me at 17 - suicidal and believing I was horribly fat, ugly
and not worthy of drawing breath, anymore.

There are so many things that float around in our heads from these situations in our lives. They come back to us as we are driving down the road. They replay to us as phantasms behind our closed eyelids in the shower or before we drift off to sleep. These are horrible stories that we repeat in our heads and they hold us back in our lives.

"Oh, I can't do that because my family was . . . "

"I don't deserve to be happy because I'm too fat, too intimidating with my intelligence, too ugly, too . . . " any number of things.

All of these things that you tell yourself in your head, no matter who told you that? They were wrong.

A conversation my local grocery store with a cashier led me to make the statement, "I don't know why people are so mean to each other."

In my younger years, I was (to borrow a phrase from TRAPT) "a little piece of heaven raising hell." I was beautiful. With a dancers' build and modeling contracts, I still didn't think I was worth a damn. And because I let my past define me, I was angry. So angry. I watched this TED talk, recently, and I really know how this woman felt.


For years, I was so hurt. It started with my heart being broken by a good friend / high school romance and it built from there. But I never really allowed myself to feel the pain from that betrayal. I didn't see the outside influences on him. His parents, etc. Only my own pain.

I still had to go to school. I still had to care about getting good grades and getting into college. I had to pretend to care about so many things when, really, all I could think about was the fact that I felt I had lost the one and only person who had understood me and that I was alone in the world, again. I couldn't feel that pain or honor it.

Parents and well-meaning peers told me to "get over it," so I hid it. I "sucked it up" and it became tighter and smaller and it morphed in my heart into a black ball of anger that followed me. Situations and years came and went and my anger just knotted in upon itself and I raged.


I raged! And the more I raged, the more I found to be mad at - righteously (I thought). Patriarchy, sexism, racism, genocide, cruelty, the Native holocaust. Ani DiFranco sang "I'm not angry, anymore," and I screamed back at her. "Fuck you, Ani. I'm still angry!" Hundreds of personal and cultural and worldly slights to be mad at until I spun myself out of anger in exhaustion some time in my late 20's - right around the time Hubby and I started dating.


During my period of rage, I pulled back from any vulnerability. My anger made me strong. It made me goal driven. It gave me scholarships and grants and awards and accolades far beyond my schooling and years. It gave me fire and it gave me drive. It made me hard.

When I did form relationships, I was so terrified of being hurt again, I kept everyone at bay. Even those that knew me for years only had an illusion of intimacy. Two year relationships only scratched the surface of "knowing who Bri was." I couldn't be authentic because of my fear, so I sought out other broken, hurt and furious souls, like me. There was no way that these relationships were going to last, but at least the two of us could find comfort in someone who was just as broken as the other was, for a time. And if my partner was broken, too, they wouldn't judge me for my damaged self.

I'm not quite sure what has changed me. Maybe it was Hubby or age. Maybe becoming a mama has softened my edges. Maybe moving back to my hometown has made little Native me want to "bury the hatchet." Maybe picking my art back up, being in therapy, admitting to being in pain, finally getting medical attention, and regular writing are all contributing to my change of heart and mind.

Or maybe it's because I'm 32 and I'm finally ready to start growing into the woman that I'm meant to be in this life, ready to step up and be the creative, the medicine person, the healer that I was always been meant to be. And you will know me, now, by the way I dance with the fire and the wolves.


There could be a hundred different reasons that I'm not the same person, anymore. But I like who I am, now. And I like who I'm becoming. I like that I am content, most days, though I still do have the yearning to grow, to explore, to learn and to create.

I used to be hard, like a scalpel. I find myself, now, becoming soft. My arms, my belly, my eyes, hair, skin and smile. All soft. And I'm okay with this. I'm reclaiming my personal power. I am strong. I've moved beyond my story and am writing a new one.

And, the one thing I want to tell you, my readers, about all of this. I am not special. I'm just one girl, out here, in the middle of the corn fields of Indiana. Trust me. If I, with all my faults and foibles can move from a place of hurt and anger to a place of peace and calm joy, you can too. There is nothing special about what I've done. All it takes is the effort to try.


You, my readers. You are my pack. So, if your heart is aching. If your spirit is downtrodden. If you're angry or alone or misunderstood or feel like you're forgotten - know one thing. There's one soul, out here, who's been exactly where you are and has come through it to a better place. There is hope. There is a way. And you can find it!

Oh my lovelies, I hope this entry finds your heart in a place of joy. If it doesn't, I hope that joy finds you soon.

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

Love to All My Relations,

-Bri

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Costume Horns Halloween Giveaway

This time, Visionary Bri has partnered with Oonacat
to bring you the Costume Horns Halloween Giveaway!


AND

Halloween is fast approaching, so it's time to plan your costumes, now.
Oonacat makes custom horns that are lightweight and durable and
her work is the best costume work of this nature that I've ever seen.
Oonacat hand paints all of her creations,
and I have to tell you,
I've never been this blown away by my set of horns.
She really does some great work!
If you're looking for a cool accessory for stage, conventions, LARPs
or Halloween this year, then this giveaway is for you!

Check these babies out!


She even does ears!

For this giveaway, Oonacat has offered one lucky winner
their very own pair of medium - small horns
 Any style. No leather headband. Elastic band only.

I sent Oonacat a couple of photos for reference
of the kind of horns I'd like, and look at what she came up with
for me, Visionary Bri!


 They make me feel very satyr / wood nymph.

And just look at the detail on these little beauties!


Mine came on an elastic band and don't think I'd like the leather band.
The elastic allows me to get the horns very tight to my head
and a few bobby pins holds the elastic very snug.
I could dance and go gallivanting about in the forest
and these little babies would not budge.

As far as the weight goes,
I couldn't even tell that they were on my head,
except for feeling the elastic.

Each one of Oonacat's pieces is truly a work of art.
 
Really, this is another one of those things
where the photos don't do them justice.
The attention to detail that Oonacat puts into these
is amazing.

Enter the giveaway now,
and let Oonacat help you unleash your imagination!
Open to US only
Must be 18 to enter
Bloggers not responsible for prize fulfillment


Wardrobe notes:
Makeup by Visionary Bri
Original necklace and hair jewelry by Visionary Bri
Custom Horns by Oonacat

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Creative in the Kitchen: PB&J - Adult-Foodie Edition

It's been awhile since I've done a "Creative in the Kitchen" episode, so here's one for all you foodies out there.

Peanut butter and jelly is a childhood comfort food, here in the US. Now that I'm a mama and am chronically ill, I've been eating it a lot. It's quick, it's tasty and it's good fuel. But plain peanut butter and grape jelly can get a little boring, so why not mix it up a bit?

BEHOLD!


On wheat bread, the order goes as follows - for jelly L-R - strawberry, apricot and currant. For the peanut butter side - T-B - peanut butter, hazelnut butter and almond butter.

You can go and eat the whole thing and let the flavors play. But, for me, I like them cut apart into separate little flavor explosions, as you can see an "exploded" version on the bottom of the plate. Serve that up with a tall glass of milk? A foodie twist on a childhood basic.

And, in case you wanted to know, my favorite flavor combo was the currant jelly with hazelnut butter. But, then, I'm spoiled 'cause my mom-in-law makes the currant jelly and it is amazing!

Let me know what flavor combos you've tried and let me know which one is your favorite.

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

Love to All,

-Bri



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Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Puppy Is Here! ***UPDATED***

After much waiting and anticipating, my service puppy is here!

And, now, the moment you've been waiting for. I introduce to you . . .


***Torrie***





"Uki" was a name proposed by Hubby. It's a word in martial arts that refers to one's training partner. As Uki will grow up to be my service dog, a name meaning "partner," seemed appropriate.


***UPDATE*** - There was some confusion of the puppy being named "Uki" with my daughter, whom we call "Pookie." Thus, the puppy's name has been changed to "Torrie," the word for the other 1/2 of martial arts sparring partnership.


Thank you to all of you who participated in the puppy name poll. I look forward to sharing news of Torrie as she grows and progresses in her training.

For now, she's sleeping beside Hubby and I on the couch, adjusting to her new home.


Until next time, 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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Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Best Advice I've Ever Given

A few years ago, I went into a gas station in my hometown to buy cigarettes. The cashier was a friend of mine and he knew about my inspirational writing and the kind of "out of the norm" life I live. Outside the gas station sat a girl, all knees and elbows, around 15 years of age.

My friend said to me, "Would you sit and talk with her a bit? She's getting disheartened about her life." So I said, "Sure," and I went outside to talk to this girl.

I sat on the bench across from her, outside this run-down gas station and as I looked across the table, I saw myself looking back at me. Large brown eyes that shone both hope and despair. Long brown hair, brushed but not styled. And I thought back to myself at her age.

Given all the years and experiences that separated the 15-year-old Bri and the 27-year-old Bri, what would I say to my past self, if I was given the opportunity? In the humid August evening, I spread out my long cotton skirt. I sat and talked to this girl who could have been me.

"This is the best advice I can think of to give you," I said. I took a long drag of my cigarette and exhaled it for dramatic emphasis. "I want you to go out into the world and fuck up."


This young girl's mouth dropped open. That was exactly the reaction I was looking for. I knew, at that moment, she was hearing me. I knew that I had just cut through all the walls that all 15-year-old girls put up between themselves and adults. With those two final little words, I had her.

"Let me explain," I said. "The best thing that can happen to you is for you to finish high school and go on to college. From there, I want you to go out and explore this world. I want you to talk to people that you think you have nothing in common with. Become friends with them. Go out and have adventures. Make mistakes. Make HUGE mistakes. Inconvenience everyone around you - friends, family, lovers. Because through your mistakes and your fuck-ups, you'll learn not only who you are, but who and what you really want to be."

I talked to this girl for almost two hours. I told her stories of my life. I listened to stories of hers. In the end, she went her way and I went mine. I haven't seen her, again.

But my advice stands. And it's the best advice I can give to anyone, really. Everything transformative that I've ever experienced and every great story that I recount at dinner parties? They often started out as really bad decisions.

"Hey! I'm going to hop into a car with 6 people I barely know and go camping 1,900 miles away. There'll be about 30,000 other people around in a state park - none of which have showered in 2 weeks. There won't be any toilets or cell phone reception, but I'm gonna come back with a puppy!"

"Hey! I'm going to go and dress up in Medieval garb. At 11:00 pm, somewhere in Pennsylvania with myself dressed like a hippy and my friend dressed like a Catholic priest, we're going to go get carryout beer from the only bar we can find. It happens to be a biker bar and the guy who's staying with the car? He'll be crocheting a scarf in the back seat!"

"Hey! I'm going to strap myself to a guy I don't know and jump out of a perfectly good airplane at 13,000 feet with nothing between myself and death but a thin sheet of nylon!"

See? Bad decisions.

But each and every one not only turned out for the best, but gave me an experience and memories I'll carry, forever. Essentially, each horrible decision and each fuck-up, they made me who I am, today. I am grateful for each and every time I made a mistake, each time that I stepped outside my comfort zone and each time that I said, "Well . . . why not?" Each time, adventure happened. And each time, I learned a little bit more about who I was, as a person.

During our daily routine, we get stuck. We begin to think that who we are during our routine life is who we really are, at our core. This is almost never the case.

Camping with 30,000 other people, I learned that I am not alone in my strangeness and that there are many different ways of existing in the world. Walking into a biker bar dressed in crazy costumes? I learned that I can be adaptive in awkward situations. Jumping out of a plane? I learned that I am strong, confidant, brave and that I can FLY!


And that's the truth. So I urge you all to take risks and make some bad decisions. I encourage you to fuck-up and fail and flounder and be confused. Stretch and do something you've never done before.

My comfort zone expanding as of late? I auditioned for a movie (which I didn't get), and I'm competing in a landscape art competition this weekend. I've never done A) an art competition or B) landscape painting, so I'm really psyched to be pushing my art envelope in this new way.

What are you doing to push your comfort zone? What do you find when you're outside of it? Let me know. I'd love to hear your stories!

Until next time, remember that every single one of us are visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,

-Bri


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Monday, July 22, 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Source of Strength

Through the course of writing this blog (it's almost 1 year old!), there is a comment that keeps coming up, time and again. It's not one that I mind, but it's one that confuses me.

I write to inspire. I write to encourage and I write to share my story. I written about testifying in court against my mother and how I'd like to approach my own death. I've written about what it's like to skydive, what it's like to have a stroke and what it's like to have PTSD.

The comment / compliment that keeps coming up, throughout my sharing stories with you is about how strong I am.

To this compliment, I normally reply, "At the end of the day, we're a lot stronger than we think we are," and this is true, but it's not the end of the statement.

Yes, I've had a lot happen to me in my short 32 years. Yes, I've had many adventures and weathered many storms, but I don't think I'm necessarily "stronger" than anyone else. When it comes down to it, there are two options of dealing with what this world can throw at you. You can either weather it and let your story continue, or you can let it break you.

Gandhi has a nice quote about this:




Most of the time, I've chosen to weather things, seek help and try to move beyond them. I choose to not surrender. Most of the time, even through depression and Lupus, I convince myself that my story isn't going to end with the latest setback. I remind myself that my story isn't all written, yet, and that there are many shining and brilliant days awaiting me.

Maybe that, in itself, is strength - refusing to "go quietly into that good night."

But, again, I don't see myself as a "strong person." I merely see myself as a person who decided to not let the bottoming-out define me. We all have failures. We all have tragedies and mistakes and oopsies in our past, but we don't have to let them define who we are, forever.

Yes, I'm depressed and have anxiety. Yes, I grew up in an abusive home and I have health problems. But those things are merely facts about me and things that happened. They are not "me."

In the movie, Dark City, a race of aliens is searching for the existence of the human soul by swapping people's memories between different bodies. At the end of the movie, the aliens state that the soul is more than just the sum of our memories. Our past influences who we are, today and in the future, but we are more at our core than just the sum of our memories.





From what I can see, all "strength" is, really, is the ability to pick yourself up when you've stumbled along the way. And if I or any of my readers have done this, then maybe we're all strong people. We all have falling down moments, but in the world of Oriah Mountain Dreamer in her poem, The Invitation,"

"It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children."

That, I think, is real strength.

So, my lovelies, do you think that you are a strong person? Why or why not? Are you willing to own your strength? Tell me about it.

Until next time,

Love to All My Relations,

-Bri

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Daylight: Meeting Your Own Death

All of us, every single one, will die. It's not pleasant to think about and we mostly avoid thinking about it. But sometimes, during the course of living your normal life, death comes a little nearer than you'd like. Maybe you've lost a loved one. Maybe, like me, you've had strokes and chronic illnesses that shut down your body. Or maybe you passed a very bad wreck on the highway and thought, "There, but for the grace of Spirit, go I."

Today, I heard a wonderful song by Maroon 5. (I get the best ideas for posts either driving in the car or in the shower!) I know it's meant to be about a relationship, but I saw the song as an extended metaphor. Take a listen.

The chorus goes as follows:

And when the daylight comes I'll have to go
But tonight I'm gonna hold you so close
Cause in the daylight we'll be on our own
But tonight I need to hold you so close



This got me thinking. When we die, it is said that move towards the light. No one can accompany us. No friends or family can hold our hands. Death's Door is one we must walk through, alone.

I got a small notion of this when I had my daughter. Even though Hubby, my father and numerous friends were there to support me, ultimately, I was the only one who could bring The Precious Pookie into this world. The Door of Motherhood was one I had to walk through alone.


I like to think that I'd meet Death the same way I met Motherhood. Calm and resolute, with my head held high. I'd like to think that I would not need any help in navigating the Bardo. I'd like to think that I would move past this world and its cycles and on to whatever great adventures lie beyond this plane.

Thinking about death, in general, can be a great subject for art. What kind of impact do you want to leave this world as your legacy? Think of what creations you want to be remembered for, after you're gone and work on them now, while you still have time.

'Cause babies, when that Door of Death opens and you can see daylight, brighter than you've ever known? It's time to go. You will pass into the light, alone. So, now, embrace your art. Embrace your creative dreams. And, above all, embrace all that you want to remember from this plane. Every person and situation that made you the beautiful soul you are, today - hold them close.

My fellow visionaries, it's now that I embrace you and all this plane has to offer - all of its inconsistencies and beauties and intricacies. All the way out and down to its limits. While I am still incarnated here, I will continue to love every single particle and experience and embrace them all.


I hope you enjoyed this post and please remember, my lovelies, that we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All My Relations,

-Bri


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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Giveaway: Batikwalla

It's time, once again, for another one-of-a-kind Visionary Bri giveaway!
This time, I've partnered with Batikwalla to bring you some unique, funky batik fashion.

AND

The first time I saw Batikwalla, it was on their Etsy store
I loved the vibrancy of the colors and the flowing lines in the dye. 
I was captivated by these amazing clothing pieces, so I'm especially excited 
to be able to bring you this giveaway!

Check these out!



Aren't the just amazing? Batikwalla carries everything from hoodies to shirts to yoga pants. 
Vibrant and eye catching, I've received numerous compliments 
whenever I wear my bodysuits out and about.

The first one I was sent was the Batik Sorbet Berry Dance Leotard.
I am absolutely in love with it and it shows off
my backpiece nicely.




The second I recieved was the Midnight Blue Dance Leotard.
None of the pictures do these products justice.
They're all so vibrant and beautiful



So, now, to talk about the giveaway. Batikwalla has offered a $65 gift card to their store. 
That's enough to get pants, a shirt, or even one of the amazing hoodies! 
With one of Batikwalla's striking pieces, you're sure to get noticed.

Giveaway Runs from 7/4/2013 to 7/18/2013
Must be 18 or older to participate
Only available in US or Canada
Upon entering, I understand that my email address maybe used for marketing purposes 
by Visionary Bri or Batikwalla only

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Resistance and Spiritual Line Work

"All spiritual practice brings us face-to-face with our particular resistance. It's important to remember that resistance isn't what keeps us from our spiritual work. It is our spiritual work."
-Rabbi Avram Davis

This quote rang true for me in my reading, this week. It rang true to me, not only for spiritual work, but for creative work, as well.

I'm in the middle of doing a very large mixed media piece. It's 2 1/2 feet wide by 2 feet tall. All the detail work is very intricate and complex. It's Zendoodle and Zentangle plus some. And it's a very intimidating piece to work on.

Every day, I come to this piece and every day I meet resistance. I come to the paper and look over the work from yesterday. The resistance comes. "That section looks like you were just trying to fill space." "You didn't even try to make it pretty, there, did you?" "Why did you put that color there? It throws off the whole piece." "Wow! That's all the better you could do? I hope you're not planning on showing this to anyone. It's embarrassing."


Resistance. That voice in my head that tells me to stop doing art because I can't draw hands well. That voice that tells me that I'm no good at spelling and therefore I shouldn't write. Resistance comes from that voice in my head that tells me, no matter what, I will always fail. Every single one of us has that voice in our heads.

My art and my spirituality are fundamentally linked. To me, they're one in the same. I make art that reflects the spiritual beauty and oneness that I see in the world. My line-work shows the base intricacy of energy in the process of existence.

A very abstract concept, I know, but basically I try to represent my impressions of the energy of life in visual form.

Flower Line Work
8 1/2" by 11"
Mixed Media
Framed print - $19.99

Every time I approach the paper or the glowing computer screen, I meet resistance. The practice of making art is not the not-having of resistance in your mind. The practice of making art is hearing that resistance and not listening to it, not letting it stop you from making your art.

In this way, it could be said that the process of making art may be more of an accomplishment than the actual finished piece, itself. It takes great bravery to show up to the page, show up to the computer, show up to the wheel or the paints or the canvas and to push past your own demons of resistance. And I urge each and every single one of you to hear the resistance, but not let it rule you.

The process of making art can be just as great as the finished piece. Take joy in your practice and tell that inner resistance voice to shut the hell up!

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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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Original Art: Lovin' It

Lovin' It
8 1/2" by 11"
Mixed Media
Framed Print - $19.99
Secure Transaction Through PayPal

Friday, May 31, 2013

Divine Decluttering


Living out your creative dreams isn't all glitz and glamor. This week, I rolled up my sleeves and got some organizing done around the house. I'm not really a big one for cleaning - I can always find something "better" to do with my time (like researching various aspects of creative business). But this week, I felt the need to organize, tidy up, and make my life more efficient.

Whenever I complete a project, I make sure to document it. Whether it's on a Pinterest board or in my 2013 Calender and Workbook. I find that going back and seeing what I've accomplished helps remind me, on my bad Lupus days, that I do get things done. It may just take me a little longer than most people.

Pinterest is a site that I just love! It's tons of helpful hints, hair advice, fashion inspiration and artistic input that I know what to do with. I can't rave highly enough about this site, so come follow me!

Seriously, these two resources have done more for me, my business and my creative journey than ever before.




What did I do this week? I'm glad you asked! I went through my clothes and cleaned them out. If you want to have more coming in, let some stuff go. Then, after I had weeded out everything I was going to get rid of, I reorganized what was left. My armoire has so much room in it, now! It's all about how you fold. Check this out!

I love divine decluttering. Even the smallest act of cleaning can be a sacred, spiritual and creative act. All it takes is the intent. I am happy about my decluttering and don't see it as a "chore" because I'm making room in my life for all the wonderful things that are on their way to me.

I love it when I find some tip to make my life run efficiently, don't you? What other tips for efficiency in life have you come across? Which ones do you use? I'd love to hear your tips and tricks! How do you divinely declutter your life?


Remember, my lovelies, we are all visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel.

Love to All,

-Bri

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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Forgiving Dr. Mengele: Episode 2 - Surviving the Angel of Death

Read Episode 1 Here

Awhile ago, I wrote a review of the documentary on Netflix, Forgiving Dr. Mengele and how much the subject of the documentary (an amazing woman by the name of Eva Kor) inspired me regarding the psychological aspects of my own troubled past.

At the end of the documentary, I was shocked to learn that not only was she alive, but that she lives in the same state as I do. Eva, with her message of hope, forgiveness and healing, was right in my back yard. I waited awhile, mulling over what I should do with this information.

On Mothers' Day, this year, my in-laws came to visit my family in our new house. Being distinguished and recognized in his field, I asked my father-in-law if he'd ever heard of Eva. "Oh, yeah," he said. "I served on a panel with her and Maya Angelou, once." The man always makes my jaw drop. I told him of my idea about Eva and he gave me encouragement. I sent out the email that day.
 



Hours later, I logged into my email, intending to clean out the clutter of the day. To my surprise, a familiar name popped up. Eva Kor emailed me back! Not only did she email me back, she granted me an interview with her!

So, my lovelies, sometime after mid-August, you can expect a breakthrough interview with Eva from me on this very blog. I've got my photographer all lined up and the times are set. Needless to say, I am over the moon with this news. Eva's message is on par with Mahatma Gandhi's and I feel so blessed to be granted the opportunity to sit down with this woman face to face.

Elie Weisel said, "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." In order to fully do justice to this story, I bought Eva's book, Surviving the Angel of Death. I felt I needed to read it so that I could really know what Eva went through. On the day that it arrived in the mail, I read it cover to cover. So detailed is the story that I had to take breaks every few chapters in order to mentally digest all I was reading, but I wanted to bear witness. True and fully informed witness.



I've been coming at this story in a round-about way for years, now. When I was in 7th grade, I took a trip to Washington DC. There, we were shown the Holocaust Memorial Museum. I can remember walking through and just not understanding how in the world something like this could happen. I've never understood hate that runs to those depths.

The image that sticks in my head the most was a pile of shoes in the museum.


Shoes confiscated from prisoners at Majdanek, on loan from the State Museum of Majdanek, Lublin, Poland. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

I walked through the whole museum on that trip, completely silent, but I knew that I was witnessing something important. That trip, that museum and that pile of shoes does and will influence me for years to come.  

I am a visionary. I use my art, my writing and this blog to bring to light issues I care about. I care that people are mistreated all over the world. I care about human suffering and I care about inequality. I know that I can use my voice, my ability to write and all the other gifts that I have been given to speak out against hate and to speak up for peace, for healing, for beauty, for fun and for creativity.

Art can be activism. Art has power and can be used as a catalyst for change. Sue Hammond West, my art professor who influenced me the most, taught me that.

The only thing I can do, my lovelies, is hope to do justice to Eva and her wonderful message. I look forward to this adventure and to sharing it with you.

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

Love to All My Relations,

-Bri

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

This is Water: Changing How We Think

This week, I found this wonderfully amazing video. Before I go on to my thoughts on this subject, please watch it.


Wow! I don't know about you, but that was one of the most amazing videos I've seen, this year.

As much as I try to live my life outside of what people call, "the daily grind," sometimes it sneaks in. Sometimes I do have to go someplace during rush hour in a big city. Sometimes I do need food at peak grocery store hours. Sometimes, life's little annoyances happen to me, too.

And, as much as I try, sometimes I forget my goal. I go into a grocery store in my hometown and see the little brother of an ex-boyfriend. I'm sure he doesn't know why my body posture goes stiff when I see him. I'm sure he doesn't understand why I have to strain for polite words. But his eyes, the eyes that his brother also has, reminds me of a time of great emotional pain.

It is times like these that I remember that I am still struggling with keeping myself grounded, that I am still (despite all my inner work) having a hard time forgiving and that I am not a 100% enlightened being, yet. Still, I do try. In the parking lot, sitting in The Visionary Van, I try to calm my heart rate. I try to find that wise portion of myself which is capable of distancing itself from the memory this boy invoked. I try to feel what it would be like to extend to him, to his family, to even his brother the handshake of friendship and shared experience that I try to offer all of humanity.



My art, my writing, my creativity, my inner emotional and spiritual work. These things are not separate. They are all intrinsically linked to each other. Back before my loads of inner emotional and spiritual work, my art was about pain and longing. It connected with people on an emotional level of shared sadness and suffering. I even received some minor notoriety for it, publishing 3 books and having 1 art showing.

As I began to change and heal, my art and writing began to change. I began to see how we can connect with each other through the shared experience of beauty, joy and (the most basic heart response) love. I began to put my lifelong quest for modes of healing into my writing, into this blog, into seeking out others who are shining out the same light I am.

I know I am not alone in this journey. I know that there are a million souls out there on this planet and beyond that are seeking a connection with each other. We are seeking something more than what we've been shown. We are looking out into the night sky and deep into the eyes of our neighbor, asking each the same question, "Is there anyone that feels like I do?"




Well, I can tell you, my lovelies - YES! There are millions of us out here. You are not alone!

When we change the way we think, when we change the way we view our own world, our lives begin to change. Nights that were once spent alone and terrified of our aching need to be loved are replaced with nights where we are alone and comfortable in our solitude because we know that we are never, ever really "alone." No matter what we have gone through or what we desire to create, another soul in this vast place has felt and desired the same thing.

No matter where you are in your journey, just keep remembering that what you look for, you will find. Just keep reminding yourself to be kind, to seek your truth, to be as creative and joyful and peaceful as you can. We will meet, one day. Of that, I am certain. And, oh do I look forward to that meeting. I can't wait to see your eyes as you see that, yes, I am a real person and, no, you aren't really alone.

Choose what you desire your life to be and seek to make it so. Remember - this is water!


Until next time, 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, April 5, 2013

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review: Diva Dreads

Today, I (Visionary Bri) want to tell you about this abso-freaking-lutely awesome company, Diva Dreads.

Are you interested in dread falls? I am. I love the look of dreads, but I also love the feeling of running a brush through my hair and massaging my scalp, so I'm just not ready for the dread commitment.

I found those videos on YouTube. You know the ones. "Make your own yarn dreadfalls!" Well, I bought two things of yarn and got to work. For a week, I dilligently made my dread falls, excited that I'd soon have an awesome hair piece to rock.

But I was sorely disappointed. I'm sure that if you're trying to make them for fun colors, they're okay. But the final product looks less than stellar.

"But I wanted 'em to be beautiful. . . "

After doing some research, I came across a wonderful company out of California called Diva Dreads. Looking at their site, I sent them an inquiry email immediately. I think that this has been one of the absolute best hair decisions I've ever made. Diva Dreads far surpassed my expectations, as a company.

All their dreads are hand-made by a mother and her two daughters. Send them a picture of your hair and they custom blend colors to match and compliment your real hair. And how lucky am I? Diva Dreads sent Visionary Bri my very own custom dread falls to review. 

Now I'm one stylin' chicka and I want to wear my new dreadfalls everywhere!

This is the picture I sent for color matching.


Now, here's a picture of the dread falls Diva Dreads made for me. Notice all the different tones and colors that make these dread falls just *pop*!

See those pretty orange flowers? Those were included!
Every pair of dreadfalls by Diva Dreads
gets a pair of complimentary flower clips!

Somehow, I expected the dreads to be stiff, but these aren't. They feel and move just like my natural hair. Do you see the beads that Diva Dreads put on? Those are handmade limited run beads and all the beads that Diva Dreads uses are. They look like aged brass and they're just so neat! The ends of the dreads taper off like natural hair and look astounding both up close and far away.

I'm a big fan of using faux hair in fashion and I own several pieces. All the top bellydancers in the US are using Diva Dreads for their falls and they're the hands-down best hair accessories I've ever worn. 

Another cool thing? When your purchase your own dread falls from Diva Dreads, they're guaranteed for life! If you wear them to a festival, dance with them in or go to Burning Man and they get dirty or become loose? Just send them to Diva Dreads and for $10, they'll clean them, tighten them and send 'em back to you! I have never heard of another company that does this and it's really great to know that Diva Dreads is serious about and helpful with maintaining the beauty and quality of their products.

I can not rave enough about this company. So stop on by their site and get yourself a brand new beauty product that you'll love and will last you for the rest of your life. Heck, get 5 or 6 in different colors (they come in the whole rainbow) and tell 'em that Visionary Bri sent you! I know that I'm going to be getting some brown ones with purple in them, in the future.

Now, for the absolute best part. Go and "like" Diva Dreads on Facebook. Send 'em a message saying where you saw this review. Order from their site and tell 'em Visionary Bri sent you, or even just email them and tell them how awesome they are. Diva Dreads has agreed that, if we get enough of a buzz going, they'll do a giveaway and one lucky reader will a set of CUSTOM dread falls for their very-own-self!
That's right, loves. Now, get out there and spread this post. Put it on Reddit. Tweet it. G+ it. Share it on Facebook. Put it in an appropriate linky. Let's get the buzz of this Visionary Friend going! I really would love to run this giveaway, so get to sharing, my lovelies.

And don't forget that we're all Visionaries. We just have to figure out where we excel!

Love to All,

-Bri

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