Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Living Within Your Means

If there's one thing I've learned about living a creative lifestyle, it is this: you can not operate at your full creative potential if you're constantly worried about money.

It is only now, in my early 30's that I am starting to comprehend how much of a practical feminist work "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolfe is.

To quote The Indigo Girls, "I wrote papers about her in college, but I didn't know what I was talking about."

If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. In this book, basically, Virgina examines why more women don't go on to become business people or creatives. It comes down to a simple perspective. A woman must have money - meaning a way to support herself that is not dependent on anyone else that can be taken away. One can not reach their full potential if they're constantly worried that their electricity might be shut off or that someone will get mad at them and kick them out onto the street.

The second thing that Virginia says a woman (or anyone) needs to be creative is 'a room of one's own.' This means space and time to be able to sit and hear one's inner voice. It is very hard to concentrate on creative work when you have no corner, no time where you won't be interrupted by the daily ins and outs of life.

I am very lucky. I have all my essentials. I have a house that is warm. I have food for myself and my family every day. I have clean water to drink that comes directly to my house. Not all people have these bear essentials in their lives. When I look around the world, I see that I am fortunate.

I am also fortunate to have Hubby. He helps in all the child rearing things like changing of diapers. He helps with the chores that need to be done and understands that, mama needs some time, just needs rest or some time to be the "me" I was before my identity of "mama."

Hubby is much less social than I am. In order to function happily, I need hang-out with friends. I need to be able to cut loose and stay out all night and drink coffee and talk. He has his time away, too, with his martial arts. But we respect each other enough to understand the need for time away. And give the other their occasionally needed breathing room. This, I think, is one of the most important things of being in a psychologically healthy relationship.

But, really, the most important thing for us is the money. Everything is taken care of. Everything we need, we have or can get. This is thanks to many different kinds of support systems. My family, we do not live extravagantly. We don't think we have to have a brand new, flashy car. We don't need the latest in cell phone technology. We don't even need an entirely new wardrobe every year. In short, we live within our means.

We don't have massive debt. We don't rack up credit card bills. We make, we make due, or we do without.

Living within your means is one of the biggest things you can do to support yourself, creatively. As the quote from Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love) says, if you're not demanding that your creativity support a very extravagant lifestyle, it can be about where your art needs to go. It doesn't have to be about how much money it can make you.

I've known artists who have fallen into this trap of needing their work to make them a certain amount of money. They get burnt out very quickly.

Art, writing, dance, creativity of any kind does not thrive when you're constantly worried about your next mortgage payment or rent. You can not give of yourself and your talents, fully, if you're coming from a place of lack. In order to create, our hearts must come from a place of abundance, where we feel that we are taken care of, we are safe and valued. Only then will our spirit be able to speak its' deepest truth.

Reduce, my beautiful souls. What do you really need out of this life?

Keep this in mind, my lovelies. I encourage you to live more simply. I encourage you to live more sustainably and, more than anything, I encourage you to live the life that you've always wanted. A life that makes your eyes sparkle, makes your heart break open and makes your spirit sing.

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

Love to All,


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: UberKuchi

As always, I love being able to draw attention to small businesses. Today is no different. When I found UberKuchi on Etsy, I was treated to some very cool, tribal eye candy.

Operating out of Coventry, Conneticuit, Michele and Andrzej Lysik are selling some really nifty things. From rings to Kuchi jewelry to belts, I pretty much want every single thing on their site.

Check out this beautiful vintage Afghanistan Kuchi embroidered choker!

 I have some Kuchi pieces, personally, and they are some of my favorite pieces to wear.

Mich sent me this beautifully embroidered fringe belt.

I know that belly dancers collect and wear all sorts of Kuchi items, but I think they're just awesome for everyday wear. If you're an urban primitive, a fashionista, or even a mama who loves supporting small businesses, this shop is an awesome one to patronize.

Available in all kind of different colors, their accessories are the perfect addition to any outfit. These Kazakh style earrings would pretty much go with everything in my wardrobe.

 Here's another one of UberKuchi's belts. I could go completely broke from this store, they've got such neat stuff!

So bop on over to UberKuchi the next time you need to add a little tribal style to your life. Their prices are reasonable and you're supporting a small business. It's a win all around!

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

Love to All,


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Would you like me to review your business, your products or services? I'd be happy to!
Check out my Product and Service Promotion Guidelines and I look forward to hearing from you, soon.

Friday, February 15, 2013

If I Had a Fortune Cookie

If I had a fortune cookie for this particular day, it would have said "You will take the best bath of your life. Afterwards, still glowing, you will go outside to get your sweater and be covered in a cloud of pig poo. This will propel you into a realm of pissed that you never thought your gambit of emotions could experience. Your lucky numbers for today: None. You're going to get covered in powdered poo. Sorry."

In May of 2010, hubby and I had gone to visit his parents' house. Out in the middle of the country and surrounded by fields for farming, their house is quiet and peaceful. On this particular day, my stepson was doing his homework at the kitchen table and my body really started to ache. So, I went up to the parents' bathroom, upstairs. Newly remodeled, their bathroom was beautiful - all sandstone tile and big mirrors. AND a built-for-two garden tub with jets.

In the vanity, I found some bubble bath and I poured some in as the bath filled and I patiently waited while the tub filled up. I slid my aching body into the hot water and bubbles and I was in heaven. At some point, I think Hubby even came in and asked me how I was doing. I was so relaxed and feeling so good from the water, I think I mumbled, "Hold all my calls. I'm never coming out."

Eventually, my brain came back into reality land a bit and I realized that I was sweating and that it may be time to get out of the tub. So, I did. The process of drying off and getting clothes on was apparently a little much for my blood pressure at the time because my heart was pounding in my ears. I looked at my bra that I'm going to put back on and I thought, "There is no way that is happening. I'm too relaxed and putting that on is gonna be a lot of effort. Plus, I don't want to be strapped into that torture device, right now." I dressed and walked down the stairs to the kitchen, dopey and happy. I felt like the world was perfect. I was relaxed and calm. It was a little chilly downstairs, so I decided to go out to my car and get my sweater.

I went outside and noticed that the farmers were spreading stuff on the fields, but it didn't really register in my brain as something I should pay attention to. People spread stuff on fields all the time, here. I walked out to my car, grabbed my sweater from the back set, put it on and then I looked up and saw this gray cloud rolling my direction. Still, it didn't dawn on me. And, even if it had, that cloud was so big, there was no way I was going to be able to avoid it. I just stood there, hot water-dopey, and watched that cloud roll towards me like a movie. I had just enough time to wonder, "What the . . . " and that's when it hit me. And it smelled worse than anything I'd smelled, before.

At that point, I realized what has happened. They were spreading pig poo from the c.a.f.o. (contained animal feeding operation) on the field and I had just gotten hit with a cloud of flying poo-dirt that the spreader kicked up. This proceeded to send me flying off the handle into a realm of pissed that I never could have dreamed existed within my gambit of emotions. And I stayed outside for a minute, fuming, 'cause my stepson was downstairs and my mind is very inventive with the English language when I get mad. I stayed outside and I calmed down for a minute, enough that I wouldn't explode into new, inventive profanities when I went back inside

After a bit, I went into the house and Hubby could tell right away from my face that something was amiss. He asked me what happened. "I. Just. Got. Covered. In. A. Cloud. Of. Pig. Poo."
"Can you smell it on you?"
"I was in the middle of it. I don't know. Can YOU smell it on me?"
Hubby proceeded to walk over, sniff me, then immediately stumbled back 3 paces, clutching his face. He suggested, "Why don't you go take a shower?"
"And put on poo-covered clothes when I get out all clean? I don't think so."
"Here," he says. "I brought a change of clothes. You can put these on." And he handed me a pair of his pants and a beaten up tee shirt.

I took a shower and I put on Hubby's clothes. And, when my in-laws got home, I was still standing there, hair wet and still mad. Hubby told them all about what happened. My mom-in-law patted my shoulder and tried to reassure me by saying, "Oh, we're sure it was mostly dirt. . . "

Some days, my dears, the poo's going to hit you, whether you're ready for it or not. Really? It's best to find the humor in it and learn to laugh at the situation. I hope you enjoyed this tale.

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

Love to All,


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Friday, February 8, 2013

Levitate - Can You?

I found this video last week and I was amazed. Before I go on, I'll let you watch it.

The song is by a band named Hadouken and is called "Levitate." The lyrics are as follows:

Heart in my mouth, but my head in the clouds yeah
I can feel it rising
Bound to the Earth but, we could ascend yeah
I’m realizing
I feel both feet lift off the ground
I can levitate
With every truth that leaves I close my eyes
And levitate

Oh, my darlings. Where to start? Every time I see videos like this of my fellow humans reaching for the sky, I am inspired. Every time I hear a song that alludes to Universal Truth, I feel so grateful to be alive.

My dears, each of us can aspire to be the highest and best versions of ourselves possible. We can take up the mantle of our Spirit-given gifts and run with them. We can use them every day in this world to lift each other up, inspire each other, help each other.

The truth of it is that we can work together, if we can put all of our efforts into making this world beautiful and whole, we CAN levitate. We can raise each other up, higher and higher. By working together, can banish poverty and sickness and the hurt that lies in the hearts of our neighbors.

I may be an idealist. I may speak of something that is beyond what we think the people of this world are capable of doing, but I have hope. Even if it doesn't happen until I'm long, long dead, I believe that we can turn our lives around and shine forward our best faces for The Universe to see.

Be amazed, my lovelies. Be in awe. Be humbled by this world and all the people in it and give thanks that you are alive to see such wonders. The Babylonians couldn't even conceive of a thing like the internet, where we can talk to anyone, anywhere in the world at pretty much any time we desire. That we, through technology, have access to all the collective knowledge that man has amassed. How cool of a thought is that?

And we take it for granted.

I believe, dears, that we can levitate. More than levitate, I believe that we can fly past what we've ever thought possible. I think it's only a matter of time before every soul, everywhere sees it. I'm just the visionary.

For a long time in this life, I was angry. Sure, I was happy and sad and in awe, but beneath all those emotions at the core of me was anger. And I was angry at everything. I was angry with sexism and classism and racism and homophobia. I was angry that I had a traumatic childhood. I was angry that people around me teased me and found me to be "less than" them. I was angry that I'd been hurt and I was angry because, in my mind, I secretly felt that I deserved every single crap thing that happened to me . . .

I know. It's tough to admit. . .

I am different, now. Now, my underlying emotion is one of joy. Sure, I get sad and I get mad, but my "default setting," now, is joy. But my anger made me fierce. In my younger years, my anger galvanized me into someone who could look past all of the negative and see through to the light.

And, now, I can turn back and show everyone the path. Through my words and art, I can tell my story and illustrate to you that, if I've walked the path of coming through all the worlds' negativity, you can too. No matter your story, you can step beyond it into a life of pure, unbridled, down-to-the-tip-of-your-toes happy.

Right now, I'm levitating. But I can't do it alone. In order to truly fly, I need other to come to where I am. We all need each other. We are communal organisms. We thrive best, together.

I'm so happy that you are all coming with me on this journey of life. I feel blessed to be able to write to you.

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

Love to All,


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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

In a Bad Funk

Today, I'm in a funk. My body doesn't feel right. My head isn't clear. In general, things suck.

Even I have days like this.

I'm in the grocery store at 10 o'clock at night, staring into the frozen food cases. My shoulders are slouched. My hair is pulled back in a low ponytail. I don't have on any socks or makeup and I'm wearing pajama pants. Through the frost-coated glass doors, I'm trying to figure out what flavor of ice cream contains the secret to getting my happy back.

I know this won't work, but everything else I've tried has failed.

It's snowing out. There are clouds from horizon to horizon, so there's no sun to bathe in. When I get home, I know that hubby and the kids have bathed, so sitting down in the shower and letting hot water run over me? Not going to happen.

Cookie Dough? Pistachio? Strawberry? Super-Fudgy-Chunk?

I stare at the rainbow of little pint containers. Finally, I select one I haven't tried before. "Maybe it's just that I've not tried ALL the flavors, yet," I think to myself.

Again, I know this isn't true, but I'm grasping at straws.

As I'm walking to the checkout line, it hits me. Potato chips. I want salt. I bypass the checkout line and stroll down the aisle with different colored mylar bags just winking at me in the florescent light. "Why do stores keep putting florescent lights in? Don't they know that it just makes people feel worse?" I think.

I select a bag of popcorn instead of the chips and I think, "These are healthier . . . I think." The bag is black and I remember how a cashier once, about 4 months ago, who told me that she didn't feel any smarter after eating the bag of corn, despite what the company who made it was called. Some cynical remark about the cashier's intelligence that I don't mean skitters across my brain like a beetle.

Then a song so depressing comes on the PA that it feels like the world is just conspiring with my funk to keep my shoulders slouched.

At home, I sit with a spoon, watching some comedian's special on my television for the 20th time. I know the jokes. I'm not laughing, anymore. But, somehow, the familiar voice cadence of a routine that I know by heart makes me less agitated. I love the lilts of the comedian's voice. I love the little laughs and sidetracks that happen in the moment.

I spoon the ice cream in my mouth. Then, when I'm done, I mute the television. I pull out my laptop and I write, "Today, I'm in a funk."

I can't change the fact that I'm in this strange funk that nothing seems to be able to penetrate, so I try to do something with it. I put it down on the page. In words or art, I put it down. I try to get it out of me so that it doesn't stay and wreck the next couple of days.

I think back to what may be the root of my malaise. Is it the fact that there hasn't been sun in a couple of days 'cause it's winter in Indiana? Did I do too much at that television interview and now, with my Lupus, I'm paying the price for it? Did I miscalculate my spoons? Did the nightmares that I woke screaming from cause me not to get enough good sleep, again?

It's pointless to try and figure it out. It may be one, all, or none of those reasons and knowing doesn't help me, at all. So I write. And I write. And I write some more. I pour it out on the page.

That's what I do when things are crap and nothing seems to make them better. I watch television. I eat ice cream. I take my pills and I type on my computer. I read books. I play with Pookie while sitting in bed. Maybe it's just my body trying to tell me that I need this cave time - that I need to hunker down and just not be as many things to people as I usually am. Or maybe this is just another one of those things that come with having Lupus.

So I try to get by with my ice cream and comedy specials. And maybe tomorrow I'll feel better. Maybe tomorrow the clouds will break and the wind will quit blowing stinging snow in my face and I can get out and take a walk. Maybe I'll go into a store and not hear depressing songs in minor chords. And maybe there could be Alfredo for dinner. Tomorrow. All tomorrow.

Today, it's time to be honest. It's time to write. Today, there's the truth of everything and the power of being authentic - of not pretending that everything is okay.

Today, I'm in a bad funk and I can't figure a way out.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lovin' the Hustle

A friend of mine was speaking to me on the phone last week. "I thought I could just create art and be happy. But that's not all there is to it. It's so much 'hustle'!" "Yeah," I said. "Making your own way in the art world is a lot of hustle."

Oh, my dears, I encourage you each and every day to chase your creative dreams. Why would you spend one more second of this beautiful, precious life doing something you hate? Why would you wake up on a day you've been blessed to receive and not be 100% tickled and thrilled that you're alive? Why, in this vast, wide and wonderful world, would you continue down a path that's making your life harder and less fulfilling?

Honeys, I've never said that chasing your dream was easy. Sometimes, it takes true grit to stick to your guns and be who you are, not be who everyone else thinks you should be. Sometimes, it's weathering a million 'no's in the world, just to get one 'yes' and then making that one 'yes' count.

This past week, I appeared on television for the first time in my adult life promoting this Visionary Bri project. How did I get on television? I'm glad you asked. I hustled.

See? There's a university in my town and I know that they have 1) a radio station and 2) a television station. And it occurred to me, "They need stories to run on these things. Why can't one of their stories be about me?" So, at 2:00 am on a Monday, I looked up the website for the college television station and I sent them an email.

That's right, honeys. Nobody called me. Nobody said, "Hey. You're so awesome, we'd like to put you on TV." I didn't have to wait for that validation. If you wait for someone else to deem you worthy of publicity and take time out of their day to call you? You're going to be waiting a long time, dear.

Now, I don't say this to sound mean. I just want to give you a dose of reality. Two weeks later, the programming manager emailed me back and said, "Can you tape with us tomorrow?" Out of the blue! It was a great surprise to wake up to. "I'm gonna be on TV, tonight!"

When I went in for my interview taping, do you know what the programming manager said to me? He said, "Thank you, so much, for emailing us. I wish more people would. Most of the time, we're scraping for content. People just don't tell us what they're doing."

Hear that? He was happy that I emailed him. Truthfully, the website had the wrong person's name on it and I emailed the former programming manager. No worries, though. My letter got through to the person who needed to see it to make things happen.

That's the press' job, babies, to write about and report on things. Their job is to tell the world what's going on that they may not know about. If you're happening in your area and no one knows, why should the media not cover you? Aren't you awesome and deserving of a little press? I'd say that you are.

Basically, when you contact the media yourself and say "Look what I'm doing," you're making their job easier. And who doesn't love it when their job is made easier? You just have to give them a reason to cover you. Do you have a good following, already? Are you a local person? Are you doing something new and different?

And now, some tips. For my television appearance, I showed up when it was convenient for them to tape. I figured that they were giving me a big blessing, letting me come on their show, so I was going to make it as easy for them as possible. Also, I was honest and I told the programming manager, "This is my first time doing anything like this. Could you walk me through it?" He was more than happy to explain things to me along the way. His job was to get a good, engaging interview for his station. Mine was to be overflowing with enthusiasm and promote what I do. It was a win-win.

Honeys, my friend was complaining about the 'hustle' of being in a creative line of work. Me? I love it. I love sending out 60 inquiry emails, only getting 5 responses back and (even then) only 2 are a yes. I love the hours spent researching potential markets, potential contributors, potential sponsors. It lets me see a lot of what other people out there are doing and it gives me more ideas.

Flat out, I love the hustle. I think it's great! I love to building of contacts and trying to figure out a way where everyone can get what they need. I love the emailing, the letter writing, the phone calls. Each 'yes' that I get brings me closer to my goal. Each new contact builds this wonderful creative empire and allows me to bring each and every one of you my message of hope, of self love, of joy and wonder, of glitter and tiaras, of ice cream and fun ideas.

This is my advice to you, this week, my darlings. Learn to love the hustle. If you love it and look at it as a blessing, it will take you far. After all, you are essentially promoting the best and most beautiful gift you can offer this world - yourself!

If you look the hustle as a chore, you will become bogged down by it and your true work will suffer. Do whatever you need to do to make it fun for yourself. Send emails while eating your favorite ice cream. Try to find something about the person you're talking to that you like or you respect and TELL THEM about it! Just make it fun.

 Everything about your dream should be fun. It should be an adventure to try new things, see what works and see if you can find a better way to do them. Will a different pen give you better grip to write with? How about writing on unlined paper? What about creating an entire dance built around the concept of octagons? Push yourselves to innovate, my loves, but gently. 

Who says you can't call a television station and say, "Hey! You should interview me!" Who says you can't call up a newspaper and say, "I've got an awesome story for you!" Who says you can't rent out a space and fill it with your watercolors of your feet, then offer to paint visitor's foot portraits?

This world is vast, my beauties. It has room enough for all of us. What will you do with your little slice?

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

All my Love,


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